The generally accepted perception of Ancient Egypt is that of a superpower amongst the cultures and countries of the Ancient East. Violent, combative action is represented in Egyptian sources as the main instrument for exercising a policy of expansion and the strengthening of Egypt among its neighbors, beginning at the dawn of Egyptian history. This policy is perceived as a product of a determined and consistent militaristic political outlook of the world.

However, a close examination of the facts refutes the oneness of this impression. A detailed study of the kinds of wars in which the Egyptians participated, their frequency and the circumstances in which they took place raise doubts regarding the extent of the Egyptians’ determination to use violent means to realize an uncompromising ideology. This examination reveals a different picture: the Egyptian wars were limited in scope, few in number relative to the long history of Egypt and their implications were short term.

Therefore, the Egyptian occupation with the war motif should be attributed a different motive: religious ideology at the center of which is the attitude of the Egyptian monarchy. The written and artistic sources that were dedicated to documenting the war phenomenon and its central status in the Egyptian outlook on the world are of ideological value and religious significance. They were interested in depicting the role of the Egyptian king as the guardian of the cosmic order and Egyptian stability. Their connection to the reality in which the Egyptians operated has not been fully ascertained. The impression they leave deserves to be examined carefully.

Outside of the realm of ideological thought war was pushed to the margins of Egyptian social awareness. In actual fact, Egypt’s outlook on the world espoused a life of creation, spirit and the belief in the hereafter. The occupation with war and the military was considered at times a necessary evil, inferior from the standpoint of its value and status in relation to other fields of existence and performance. All of these shaped the character of ancient Egypt with different cultural outlines than those which fashioned the character of other imperialistic aggressive cultures that functioned and were active in the ancient Near East during this period of time.