HISTORY, ROMANCE AND...CATS!
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a vet by day and author of intelligent historical fiction by night. Grace is an avid reader and believes that smart people need to read romance - as an antidote to the modern world!
Grace is also obsessed by all things feline.
My midweek post is about ‘Cats in Battle’ and how cats helped the Eygptians win (and also lose!) a battle.
The first story is recorded by ancient historian, Herodotus. He writes about an attack on Egypt in 701 by the Assyrians. Now this invasion caught the Egyptians on the hop; they had become lazy and neglected to maintain a well-trained and armed fighting force. The pharaoh, Sethos, wept in despair at the very real fear that his country would be invaded and overrun. But one night he had a dream where the gods told him to be of good cheer and meet the enemy with courage.
So Sethos did his best and raised a rag tag army of labourers, artisans and tradesmen. They marched to meet the Assyrian invaders and on the night before battle set up camp in fields close to the invading force. But during the night mice ate through the Assyarians bow strings and shield straps, such that in the morning and unable to defend themselves they fled. And the reason the Egyptian bow strings remained intact? They had taken cats with them to protect their food stores from vermin!
Modern day 'cat armour.'
But in another story told by the military writer, Polyaenus, the outcome was very different. He writes of the Persian king, Cambyses, attacking Egypt in 525 BC. Now Cambyses knew that the Egyptians revered certain animals as sacred and so placed rows of cats, dogs and ibis in front of his advancing army. The superstitous Eygptian soldiers, feared to harm the sacred animals and refused to attack. In so doing Cambyses seized the advantage, and was able to take the city and then Egypt!