Concept

Ancient warfare

Summary
Ancient warfare is war that was conducted from the beginning of recorded history to the end of the ancient period. The difference between prehistoric and ancient warfare is more organization oriented than technology oriented. The development of first city-states, and then empires, allowed warfare to change dramatically. Beginning in Mesopotamia, states produced sufficient agricultural surplus. This allowed full-time ruling elites and military commanders to emerge. While the bulk of military forces were still farmers, the society could portion off each year. Thus, organized armies developed for the first time. These new armies were able to help states grow in size and become increasingly centralized. In Europe and the Near East, the end of antiquity is often equated with the Fall of Rome in 476 AD, the wars of the Eastern Roman Empire on its Southwestern Asian and North African borders, and the beginnings of the Muslim conquests in the 7th century. In China, it can also be seen as ending of the growing role of mounted warriors needed to counter the ever-growing threat from the north in the 5th century and the beginning of the Tang dynasty in 618 AD. In India, the ancient period ends with the decline of the Gupta Empire (6th century) and the beginning of the Muslim conquests there from the 8th century. In Japan, the ancient period is considered to end with the rise of feudalism in the Kamakura period in the 12–13th century. Early ancient armies continued to primarily use bows and spears, the same weapons that had been developed in prehistoric times for hunting. The findings at the site of Nataruk in Turkana, Kenya, have been interpreted as evidence of inter-group conflict and warfare in antiquity, but this interpretation has been challenged. Early armies in Egypt and China followed a similar pattern of using massed infantry armed with bows and spears. Infantry at this time was the dominant form of war, partially due to the camel saddle and the stirrup not being invented yet.
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