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Victory of Hyksos

Chaos reigned during Egypt’s Second Intermediate Period. Which was right before the Hyksos took over around 1700 BC where it is listed on the Biblical Timeline. Disunity was rampant after the fall of the Middle Kingdom at the time of Sobekneferu’s death. She was a female Pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom’s 12th Dynasty, who passed away without an heir. The lack of an heir resulted in problems in succession to the throne and different factions vied to obtain absolute power. A series of ineffectual kings of the 13th Dynasty ruled some parts of Egypt, except Xois (Khasut or Sakha) which was ruled by 14th Dynasty rulers and Avaris, which was under the rule of Hyksos. The Hyksos were Semitic-Asiatic people from West Asia related to Canaanites. They settled in Egypt during the 18th century BC and by 1630 BC, Hyksos kings ruled a greater part of Egypt, forming the 15th Dynasty.

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Hyksos
“An earlier group of Asiatic peoples depicted entering Egypt c. 1900 BC, from the tomb of a 12th Dynasty official Khnumhotep II under pharaoh Senusret II at Beni Hasan.”

Brief Foreign Rule over Egypt

There are two hypotheses regarding how the Hyksos came to rule Egypt. The first is by gradual migration into the Nile River Delta, and as their population increased, they simply took advantage and overpowered the vulnerable and chaotic 13th and 14th Dynasties.

The second is through warfare. As mentioned before, the Hyksos were related to Amorites/Canaanites as seen on the Stela of Kamose regarding Apophis (Apepi). It depicts Apophis as the King of Retjenu (ancient Egyptian name for Canaan and Syria). The Amorites were mighty warriors who may have conquered Egypt by force using more modern warfare technologies such as the two-wheeled chariots, composite bows, and better battle axes.

When it came to warfare, the rider of the two-wheeled chariot had the advantage due to its maneuverability. There is evidence that Egyptians had also used chariots by that time. However, the Hyksos seemed more adept at handling them. The combination of the use of chariots and the composite bows (made from wood and horn) may have ensured the success of the Hyksos. The composite bow was smaller yet powerful and more convenient for warriors who are mobile. They also introduced the strengthening of fortresses, and they built their fortified camp in Avaris in the northeastern Nile delta which also served as their capital.

The Hyksos ruled a vast area of Egypt from the Nile Delta to the southern territory of Cusae for more than 100 years, sometimes overlapping with other Egyptian dynasties. They assimilated well within the Egyptian society by worshiping the Egyptian god Seth and adopting the native customs. They were overthrown and driven out of Egypt later on by the Theban pharaohs Kamose and his successor, Ahmose.

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