Essay on What Caused Death and Injury During (and After) Ancient Battles?

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What caused injury and death during (and after) ancient battles?

Soldiering has never been an easy job. In any period of history the risks are rarely any different, death and injury stalk every battlefield the world over. Egyptian and Greek warfare became sophisticated theatres of mortality and injury in their day, the means by which the enemy could be dispatched were numerous and effective. Rivalling this however, was nature; infection and disease were as big a risk to the soldier as any blade. Injury is also present in the mind of the warrior, the stress of battle, the grief, the inner turmoil caused by murder and the horrors one could witness remained long in the memory of every veteran and for some this manifested itself in mental
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This walking wounded would invariably suffer not only from their injuries but also financially on return home unable to provide for himself or his family.

Campaign could be just as dangerous as battle itself, and if it did not kill it would certainly leave some soldiers predisposed to death. Malnutrition was a serious issue, especially during a siege where often the aggressors would struggle to provide themselves with provisions as much as the besieged. Papyrus Anastasi describes a returning soldier as such, ‘If thou blowest beside him as he passes, he will drop down far off like a leaf of foliage’, fighting in such a state would leave a soldier susceptible to many injuries, fatigue may leave him unable to lift his shield high enough, or retreat with enough vigour to save his skin. The diet on the march would consist largely of bread which contained high levels of grit, this would wear down teeth and could even cause abscesses or infections which could be fatal but at best would cause discomfort. The campaign had other methods of killing off its followers, the dangers of the landscape were numerous and snakes, scorpion, crocodile and hippopotami were all real dangers to troops. Disease was rife in camp;