While numerous studies have been published on Egyptian weaponry over the years, relatively few have looked at symbolic aspects of the use and display of weapons in Egyptian art and in actual combat. In the 1990’s the present author produced a series of studies on the symbolic use of the “turned bow” showing its actual and representational use as a symbol of dominance and submission. The present article greatly expands that research by examining the use of other weapons in similar circumstances. The results confirm the conclusions of the earlier studies of the bow and show that all weapons having a “front” and “back” were used in the same manner for the display of dominance. Although the present article considers only the evidence from Egypt, a broader significance of its findings is suggested by the fact that the earlier research showed the use of the bow in dominance display was part of a lingua franca of gesture symbolism used throughout many areas of the ancient Near East and the Mediterranean world, from Achaemenid Persia in the east to Greece in the west.
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