Battle of Pelusium

Or the War of Cats if you will

That’s right, it was the first and possibly last battle in history where the main weapon was cats.

You know that Cheapo loves war.

The stranger the better.

And when it comes to strangeness, this one takes the baklava.

This battle occurred way way way back in 525 BC.

According to Herodotus, the conflict between the Pharaoh Amasis II of Egypt, and Cambyses II of Persia was a gradual process involving many people (more or less like a Bollywood movie).

It all started when Cambyses II requested an Egyptian physician from Amasis II, to which Amasis II complied. The physician was not happy that all of a sudden he was ordered to go to a foreign land. Vowing revenge, he persuaded Cambyses II to ask of Amasis II a daughter in marriage, knowing how Amaris would dislike losing his daughter to a Persian.

Cambyses II  – a lover of bunga bunga – was more than enthusiastic about the thing and asked Amasis II for his daughters in marriage. Amasis, unable to let go of his offspring, and unwilling to start a conflict with the Persians, instead sent Nitetis who was a daughter of an Egyptian named Apries (Apries was the previous pharaoh whom Amasis had defeated and killed).

Naturally, Nitetis was not very fond of Amasis. Once greeted by Cambyses II, as “the daughter of Amasis”, Nitetis explained the trickery employed by Amasis.

Cambyses II was angry.

Now, that was one strand.

There is another strand (I did tell you that the whole thing’s Bollywoodesqe)

There was a dude called Phanes of Halicarnassus. He was a council man and adviser to Amasis. However, in time, bitterness grew between the two. Phanes ran away to Lydia, Amasis sent agents after him. He was captured but outwitted his guards by getting them drunk and escaped to Persia. There, he began assisting the Persian king in all manners of strategy, and was instrumental in shaping his resolve for conquest of Egypt.

Cambyses started the invasion.

When the news of the impending battle reached Egypt, Psamtik III (Psammenitus), son and heir of Amasis II, gathered the Egyptian army stationing them along the fork of the Red sea and the river Nile. Psamtik III (Psammenitus) as revenge against Phanes, arrested all his sons, and cut them one by one, draining their blood and mixing it with wine.

Amasis died six months before Cambyses reached Egypt. So it was between Cambyses and Psamtik III (Psammenitus) that the battle would take place.

So the background and setting’s all in place.

War was about to begin.

Cambyses II decided on using psychological warfare.

The Egyptians loved cats. Cats, for them, were gods.


Knowing how Egyptians worship cats, Cambyses ordered his army to paint the image of Bastet on their shields. Bastet was an Egyptian God of lots of things.

Moreover, he filled his front rank with dogs, sheep, cats, ibeses and whatever other animals the Egyptians thought of as sacred.

Egyptians under Psammenitus, seeing their own beloved goddess on the shields of enemies, and fearing to shoot arrows in case they hurt the cats, started fleeing.

The Persians went after them. It was more or less a massacre. Herodotus noted that 50,000 Egyptians fell in battle, while only 7,000 Persians lost their lives. Cambyses II conquered Egypt soon after.

It was, simply put, a CATaclysm.


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