Before the great civilizational clashes at Thermopylae, Plataea and Salamis, there was Pelusium.
The strategically important city on the Nile Delta was where the Egyptians under Pharoah Psametik III made their stand against the invading armies of Cambyses II, the king of Persia, in 525 BCE.
Amasis II was the last great Egyptian pharaoh before Persian King Cambyses defeated his son, Psametik II, and took that title for himself, beginning two centuries of Persian rule over Egypt.
It was a sound decision: Pelusium was heavily fortified, with high stone walls and ramparts. The pharaoh dedicated tens of thousands of men to the city’s defense, lining the ramparts with archers, stone throwers and catapults designed to launch flaming projectiles at the attacking, lightly-armored Persians.
For his part, Cambyses faced the prospect of a long siege or a bloody frontal assault that would cost thousands of lives as his men were tasked…
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