AO 7:01, Jan/Feb 2004
How the Ancients Waged War
Siege warfare was the most arduous and terrifying form of war in the ancient world. For the attacked, defeat threatened not only their warriors but their women and children. For the attackers, a siege meant long weeks in a filthy camp, short rations and backbreaking labor under extremely hazardous conditions. Massacre, enslavement and rape often followed a siegeas starved, angry troops sacked the city in a wild, bloody frenzy.
From the beginning, human beings have built fortifications to protect themselves from attack. Ancient Jericho built massive fortifications as early as 7000 B.C.E. The towns defensive wall, 10 feet thick and 13 feet high, enclosed a settlement of perhaps 2,500 people. Even with primitive flint tools, the citizens of Jericho were able to hack a large moat out of the bedrock at the base of the wall to make access to the wall more difficult.