Hyksos, The

The Hyksos was believed to be Asiatic people that conquered the east coast of the Nile Delta and founded the Second Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt and were evicted during the end of the Seventeenth Dynasty.

Their exact origins were not that clear, but they were thought to be a nomadic nation that could have come from Palestine and Syria. They are found on the Bible Timeline during the 20th century BC The Hyksos brought new weapons of warfare to Egypt. They specifically taught the Egyptians how to use excellent bronze weapons, compound bows, and horse-drawn chariot during wars. They brought the hump-backed Zebu cattle to Egypt and developed the potter’s wheels for pottery production and the vertical loom for weaving. They excelled in construction and were great artisans. They also helped in preserving the important Egyptian contributions to knowledge.

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A group of Asiatic peoples (perhaps the future Hyksos)

The fifth ruler of Hyksos, King Apophis appointed scribes to make a copy of significant Egyptian articles so that it would survive for generations. Among the texts, he managed to recopy were the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, the Westcar Papyrus, and the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus. Up until the presence of the Hyksos in Egypt, there had been no strong link between Egypt and the nations in Asia. The short stay of the Hyksos in Egypt managed to strengthen the connections of Phoenicia and Syria.

The Hyksos also adopted several Egyptian ways of living and cultures. They retained the Egyptian language as the official government language, even allowing several Egyptians to hold an important role in government. Hyksos kings started to use scarabs and Egyptian arts along with the Egyptian kingship titles. They allowed the Egyptian to exercise their religious freedom and even absorbed Seth, an Egyptian god of storm and desert as their own storm god. The term Hyksos was first used by Manetho to specify the Asian tribes that ruled Lower Egypt during the Fifteenth Dynasty.

However, he mistranslated Hyksos as the Greek term for “Shepherd Kings”. Hyksos for the Egyptians refers to the “rulers of foreign countries”. They showed up in Egypt during the Eleventh Dynasty, strengthened their influence during the Thirteenth Dynasty and finally invaded Avaris and the Nile Delta during the Second Intermediate Period. They then built their capital city at Avaris that also served as the heart of their administrative power and maintained an economic relationship with the kingdom in the Upper Egypt. Hyksos rulers were recognized as legitimate kings who ruled in Egypt along with the Egyptian pharaohs during the Sixteenth Dynasty until they were expelled at the last period of the Seventeenth Dynasty.

After Pharaoh Ahmes had won the battle against the Hyksos, he pushed them out of Egypt and even followed them to the south of Palestine. Finally, on 1567 BC, Ahmose I managed to drive out the Hyksos at their last stand in Sharuhen, Gaza; and thus started his reign as the first pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. After they had been evicted, all hints of their occupation in Egypt disappeared along with them. They were erased from the Egyptian history. The only remembrance of their settlement in the country was the accounts like the Rhind Papyrus that discussed the Egyptians success in expelling their foreign rulers. Moreover, important evidence pointing out the Hyksos in Egypt is found in the excavations of their ancient capital, Avaris.

Avaris: The Capital of Hyksos

Avaris is now situated in Tell el-dab`a. To identify its people from that of the native Egyptians, the term Aamu was used to refer to the inhabitants of Avaris. Aamu means “Asiatics”. Excavations in Avaris revealed that it was once occupied by people of non-Egyptian origin. The town itself, the houses, and the burials showcased a nation that was not Egyptian. It is thought that the Hyksos flourished in this city for about 50 years. They were also able to conquer another significant area in Egypt, the city of Memphis in 1674 BC.

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3 thoughts on “Hyksos, The

  1. Was it Kamose and his brother Ahmose that conquered the Hyksos people?

  2. Yes that is correct… And later Tutmoses1 who kept them out. This history is the root of the story of Moses. Notice moses in the name Ahmoses Kamoses and Tutmoses.

  3. My research suggests that Pharaoh Ahmose/Ahmoses I, who expelled the Hyksos circa 1530 BC, was recast as Moses in the Bible. Ahmoses is also, for me, the un-named Pharaoh of the Exodus. The proof: The Bible has Israel being expelled from Egypt by the Egyptians: Exodus 11:1 “…Pharaoh…he will drive you away completely…” Later, after Israel has left Egypt, Pharaoh pursues after Israel. This recalls for me, the Egyptian priest Manetho, claiming that the Hyksos capital was too strongly fortified for capture, thus a compromise is reached, Ahmoses will allow the Hyksos to depart, back to Canaan (apparently with weapons) and found Jerusalem. After leaving Egypt, Ahmoses I then pursues after the departed Hyksos to enslave them. This sounds like Israel’s warriors leaving armed with weapons, then Pharaoh pursues after them after they have left Egypt. The archaeological proof: Israel burns Jericho after its defensive wall collapses. The city is then burned. Dame Kathleen Kenyon found Jericho’s collapsed wall and burned city. She understood the burning was by Ahmoses I and his Egyptian army in later pursuit of Hyksos, his intent being to make all of Canaan part of the Egyptian Empire. Thus, I understand the 1530 BC burning of Jericho by Ahmoses’ forces was recast in the Bible as being burned by Israel, lately expelled from Egypt. Perhaps some of the Hyksos who had been expelled from Egypt by Ahmoses were holded-up in Jericho at its fall and burning? But there is more to the Exodus story: Sites in Moab conquered by Israel under Moses (the kingdom of Sihon the Amorite), upon excavation were found to be no earlier than Iron Age I, circa 1200BC to 1100 BC (sites like Heshbon and nearby Elea’leh, modern El Al, Numbers 32:3). This reveals that two events have been fused together in the Exodus account, the Hyksos Expulsion of 1530 BC and the Iron Age I founding of sites in Moab created by the tribe of Reuben, with Moses’ permission. So, where is Iron Age I Israel coming from? Probably from Harran, Syria, the home of Abraham. Why? Iron Age I is the world of the Philistines who arrived in Canaan by 1180 BC in the days of Rameses III, who fought them. Abraham disputes a well at Beersheba with Philistines. The well was excavated and found to have in its depths Philistine pottery sherds, which suggest the archaeological background to the dispute between Abraham of Harran, Syria and Philistines. As Abraham is the progenitor of Israel, and the Philistine sherds in the Beersheba well are Iron Age I, thus the Iron Age I settlers of Moab and Canaan are from Syria, not Egypt. The Bible tells us that after the conquest, Israel married the Canaanites and worshipped their gods (Judges 3:5-7). Thus, via intermarriages with the descendants of the 1530 BC Hyksos Expulsion (the Late Bronze Age Canaanites), Israel came to be by Iron Age II (1000 BC-500 BC) the “blood descendants” of the Hysos and the notion of an Exodus from Egypt under a man called Moses, prince of Egypt (Ahmoses I, Prince of Egypt). When the Primary History, Genesis-2 Kings, was composed in the Babylonian Exile circa 560 BC, Israel could truly claim a bloodline descent from the 1530 BC Expelled Hyksos via the Iron Age I intermarriages with the Hyksos’ descendants. Regards, Walter R. Mattfeld

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