Egypt: Horus Military Route in Egypt

Horus Military Route

In spite of the divergent opinions of Egyptologists as regards the beginning of the military route or what is called " The Great Horus Route" illustrated in the battle relief of King Seti I in the columns court of the Karnak Temple, as having 12 fortresses and military compounds, yet they agree upon the route's real existence.

Egyptologists have discovered until now 4 fortresses, two at Qantrah Sharq (Eastern Qantarah) at Tell Habouh and Tell Al-Borg; the third in Bir Al-Abd; the fourth in the Kharoub area near Al-Arish.

But the largest is that of Tell Habouh which had been previously the old Pharaonic Fortress of Tharou, the first to be built on the great military route. This was confirmed by the Anstasy Papyrus which bears variegated drawings inscribed by Thutomose III. The fortress embraced a station of the Egyptian army, the barracks of the soldiers and the houses of the officers; the central stores of the State and a stable. In fact, it is an important discovery because it constitutes a model of Ancient Egypt's military architecture, and the Egyptian strategy, through different ages, for the protection of the entirety of Egypt.

It presents, likewise, a pattern of the Egyptian commander and soldier, three thousand years ago, while founding this great edifice and defensive line in the form of a series of fortresses and military cities.

According to an old Pharaonic script, the Tharou Fortress had been chosen by the Egyptian military strategy, to be at the end of the line separating the green line from the yellow one. It was the first to be fortified by two parallel walls, followed by 11 fortresses acting as early alert points before the arrival of any conquering army to the strategically located Tharou Fortress. In the same area there was an economic society, indicating that it
had been a commercial and customs zone where customs taxes were collected before reaching the Delta.

The most significant discovery by the American mission in Tell El-Borg was a collection of blue-coloured pottery dating back to the 18th Dynasty; a drawing of King Ramesses II; earthen jars bearing the seals of Tutankhamun, a matter which indicates that the Horus route had been used by several Pharaonic kings such as Thutmose III, Ramesses II, Memeptah and Horemheb. The discovered earthen jars which date back to El-Amarna Era, indicate that there had been economic relations between Thebes in Upper Egypt and Tharou area, famous for exporting the jars containing the best wine at the time; this is an indication also that this area of East Qantarah (Assalam Canal at present) had been planted with grapes.

Among the new discoveries in Tell El-Borg, is an important archeological cemetery containing rectangular graves built of bricks, wide chambers and pottery imported from Palestine, Syria and Cyprus, thus indicating that there had been commercial relations between Egypt and Ancient Near-Eastern countries; and that the Horus route had been both a military and commercial route.

The head of the Egyptian archeological mission working in the area refers also to Tell Abu Seify near Tell Habouh in Eastern Qantarah as representing the second main location which defined the Eastern Gate of Egypt; there, it was discovered the fortress of Sylah with its 13-meter-wide walls intervened by spaces and rooms for the guards.

The Fortress has an eastern tower with an outer principal gate and a path of limestone leading to the interior of the fortress and to the main 1500-sq-meter temple of Sylah, the Romanian city; were discovered also chambers of the different deities, provisions' stores and a wide collection of educational tableaux used by the priests to teach the students inside the temple.

A small city dating back to the Ptolemaic Era was also discovered with a series of houses looking on four main streets intersecting like a chessboard, in a way similar to theAncient Hellenic architectural planning.

The discovery of Tell Seify led to the discovery of a large dykelike structure and a series of anchorage, as a sign of the existence of harbors' architecture in the Eastern Gate of Egypt, a matter which indicates that there had been commercial exchange between Egypt and the Mediterranean countries.

Finally, and by the discovery of some existing fortresses along the Horus military route, in addition to the endeavors for the Egyptian-American mission responsible of the search and excavations to discover the ruins of the route's fortresses.. Northern Sinai has become the open military museum with its military monuments, after the flooding of the Nubian fortresses which were the remaining military symbol of Sinai's fortresses.