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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2 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.

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