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What if Ancient Egyptians discover gunpowder?

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: What if Ancient Egyptians discover gunpowder?
    Posted: 23-Jun-2008 at 17:08
From another thread. Yes I thought it was kooky too at first but think about it. They had sulphur, saltpetr and charcoal, the main ingridients of gunpowder. By the New Kingdom they had bronze, and the best guns were made from bronze until at least the Crimean war.
 
Granted when it was historically discovered, it was a thousand year until, it became more than a pyrotechnic, or used to propel arrows and in granades, to something like muskets and cannon. But a point....
 
If gunpowder is discoved in Egypt, an advanced society its perfectly possible they have the tools, and since in the New Kingdom era they were in almost continous wars, first as an expansionist entity, later to defend their holdings, still later against invaders, they have the necessary conditions needed for military innovation. So firstly
 
1) Do you think its possible. The Pharaohs musketmen?
 
2) If it is and lets say they develop the tech of roughly the 18th century, with its inevitable poliferation, how would it change history. Alexanders companion artillery anyone? The Thin Red Roman Line? The Bayonet charge of the Persian immortals?
 
 
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  Quote IDonT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jun-2008 at 21:06

The militarization of gunpowder was farely quickly.  Gunpowder went from an alchemists tool to cannon in a space of a hundred years.  The Chinese had bamboo cannons first as well as the assorted rocket propeled arrows and grenades.  The iron cannon came later.

For the Pharaoh musketmen to appear, Egypt must first develop a high level of metal working.  Triger mechanisms in muskets are very small and may be beyond their level of techonology.  I believe they need to develop blast furnace first for this to occur.  Cannons, however, is a possibility as well as your assorted rocket propelled arrow. 
 
To attain 18th century level technology, you need more than gun powder technology. 
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  Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jun-2008 at 21:26
Very interesting question!  Although I will have to claim relative ignorance concerning the details of ancient Egyptian history, perhaps I can contribute something.
 
Originally posted by Sparten

1) Do you think its possible. The Pharaohs musketmen?
 
Depending on the accuracy of the firearms, this unit might be a formidable foe indeed.  However, if the firearms are as primitive and unreliable as the early handcannons and bombards were, their use would be confined to scaring the enemy and causing confusion with their novelty.
 
I wonder if, at this time during the Pharonic period, if the government would run into conservative unwillingness to utilize this technology in the ranks of the army and the priestly class?  If we look at later Egyptian history for precedence, the Mamluk warrior class subbornly refused to adopt gunpowder weapons right up intil the Ottoman conquest of the sixteenth century.  Their use was relegated to a class of black slave bodyguards; and, at that, the weapons they used were quite primitive compared to the those with which the Janissaries attacked.
 
Originally posted by Sparten

2) If it is and lets say they develop the tech of roughly the 18th century, with its inevitable poliferation, how would it change history. Alexanders companion artillery anyone? The Thin Red Roman Line? The Bayonet charge of the Persian immortals?
 
Also, how would the Egyptian state protect this new technology?  The pharaohs would want to guard this secret so that their enemies could not adopt it.  After the initial shock of facing gunpowder weapons for the first time, how might the Egyptians' enemies adapt to them?  I am wondering if the smelting and metalworking technology (and access to the mineral resources) was advanced enough to allow bullet-resistant armor to be produced at this time.  The Romans of the Republic and Empire had early blast furnace technology, so who knows.
 
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Jun-2008 at 17:52
They were pretty good at metalurgy. So maybe not a flintlock musket, but an aquebus? Maybe.
 
 
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  Quote IDonT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jun-2008 at 16:58
Originally posted by Sparten

They were pretty good at metalurgy. So maybe not a flintlock musket, but an aquebus? Maybe.
 
 
 
Good enough to make a gun barrel?  
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jun-2008 at 17:12
Yes, the basic knowledge needed to make an alloy which is suitable for a gun were known to the Egyptians.
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  Quote Count Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jul-2008 at 00:55
An interesting idea although it may have been almost imposssible to develop a musket wit the technology of that era why not a small cannon and or rocket launcher and mount them in chariots thus having the ancient equivalent of a tank there is an Egyptian relief that shows fully barded horses and scale armored charioteers you could give that to the crew of the cannon chariots and to their horses the rockets could be anti-personnel weapons and the cannons could be siege weapons and you could have sect of religious fanatic guards after the pharoah was suppoedly a god and train them from the time they were young to guard the gunpowder factory(s) and if a cannon chariot when't down their job is recover the cannon and the ammo, but they would need iron which the kushites had and there was an iron dagger found in king tuts tomb and the late egyptians had acsess to iron and you could grenades fired from staff slings and giant bombs that secret agents would plant inside camps and citys and touch them off prior to the siege and you have cannons and rocket lanchers on the howdahs of armored war elephants and you could have cannons and rocket launchers on ship the late egyptian navy had biremes and mabye even some giant field pieces for sieges and large scale mayhem and the egyptians knew about siege warfare they mount an exsplosive on a battering and mount a shield to protect the rammers and touch of the fuse and hit the gate and you could undermine a wall and plant a bomb like those uruk-hai in lord of the rings the two towers, and you could mount torpedo spars on ships, imagine the damage a fire ship full of gunpowder could do or a bomd lacnched from a catapult ballista, etc.      

Edited by Count Belisarius - 26-Jul-2008 at 01:08


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