The Second Intermediate Period. 1650-1550 BC. 15th Dynasty (Hyksos) 1650-1550 BC Salitis/Sekerher Khyan Apepi Khamudi 16th Dynasty 1650-1580 BC Theban rulers contemporaneous with the 15th Dynasty. 17th Dynasty 1580 (?)-1550 BC Rahotep Sobekemsaf I Intef VI
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16th Dynasty1650-1580 BC
Theban rulers contemporaneous with the 15th Dynasty
“.. the general pattern of these dark periods is roughly thesame. Both begin with a chaotic series of insignificant native rulers; in both, intruders from Palestine cast their shadow over the Delta and even into the Valley; and in both relief comes at last from a hardy race of Theban princes, who after quelling internal dissension expel the foreigner and usher a new epoch of immense power and prosperity.” (Sir Alan Gardiner)
The quarrel between Apepi and Seqenenra Taa. Theban military outpost at Deir el-Ballas.
Kamose’s campaign:The capture of Buhen and the northern campaign.The sack of Nefrusy and the surrounding area of Avaris. Kamose, the last king of the 17th Dynasty.
Apepi and Kamose die.
Conquest of Avaris by the Theban Ahmose, first king of the 18th Dynasty.
of an Asiatic woman
King Nubkheperra Intef VII
Meanwhile, in Upper Egypt the last of the 13th Dynasty kings were quickly losing control of the northern and southern territories and were eventually reduced to rule in a small area between south of Abydos and Thebes.
“Tutimaios [king Ddjedmose?or Tuthmose?]. In his reign, for what cause I know not, a blast of God smote us; and unexpectedly from the regions of the East invaders of obscure race marched in confidence of victory against our land. By main force they easily seized it without striking a blow; and having overpowered the rulers of the land, they then burned our cities ruthlessly, razed to the ground the temples of the gods, and treated all the natives with cruel hostility, massacring some and leading into slavery the wives and children of the others.
It is doubtful that in the north the so-called Hyksos Kingdom included Palestine and even eastern Syria. Although after the Hyksos takeover of the Delta the influx of Canaanites became even greater, it seems probable that the Levant city-states retained their independence during this period.
Ruled at the zenith of the Hyksos period. Exceptionally long reign (at least 40 years). He had scribal training as recorded on a palette of a scribe Atu. The Hyksos had fairly extensive trade relations with Palestine, the Levant and also with Cyprus. The Kamose stelae list commodities imported by the Hyksos. He claimed to be King of Upper and Lower Egypt but in reality, never ruled below Cusae.
(Sir Alan Gardiner believes that the 16th Dynasty is a pure fiction.) Contemporary military titles such as commander of the crew of the ruler, suggest defensive grouping of military resources and instability.
Seqenenre Taa (c. 1560 BC), the second to the last king of the 17th Dynasty, after slowly building up his military in extremely difficult circumstances (being cut off from both the south and north in supplies) began campaigning in Middle Egypt and succeeded to regain some of the lost territory. These were not part of the Hyksos Kingdom but they were Hyksos allies opposed to Theban rule.
His son, Kamose followed his father’s footsteps. First he retook Buhen and drove the Kerma Nubians south. Then he turned northward, assembled a flotilla and conducted a campaign in Hyksos territory.
The women of Avaris will not conceive ...
I will make Apophis see a wretched time.”
He sacked Nefrusy, north of Cusae, and the following
excerpt shows the ferocity of the fight:
“as lions are with their prey, so were my army with their servants,
their cattle, their milk, fat, and honey, in dividing up their
possessions with joyous hearts.”
Nefrusy was only an ally of the Hyksos, so its sack must have been punitive and a warning for the other allies.
In celebration of the Hyksos campaign Kamose erected two victory stelae in the Temple of Amun at Karnak after his triumphal entering to Thebes. They are considered historical and a good source of information of what was the actual situation and what happened.
Auserra, son of Re, Apophis greets my son the ruler of Kush. Why have you arisen as a ruler without letting me know? Do you see what Egypt has done to me? The Ruler who is in her midst-Kamose-the Mighty, given life!-is pushing me off my (own) land! I have not attacked him in any way comparable to all he has done to you; he has chopped up the Two Lands to their grief, my land and yours, and he has hacked them up. Come north! Do not hold back! See, he is here with me: There is none who will stand up to you in Egypt. See, I will not give him a way until you arrive! Then we shall divide the towns of Egypt..”
The job of finishing off the foreign rulers fell on his battle hardened younger brother Ahmose. It is unclear how much advantage he had after his father’s campaign. He came to the throne young and the kingdom was taken care of by the queen mother, Ahhotep. It seems that Ahmose had to reconquer significant amount of territories in the north.
“Then Avaris was despoiled. Then I carried off spoil from there: one man three women, a total of four persons. Then his majesty gave them to me to be slaves.”
“They [the Hyksos] enclosed [Avaris] with a high strong wall in order to safeguard all their possessions and spoils. The Egyptian king attempted by siege to force them to surrender, blockading the fortress with an army of 480,000 men. Finally, giving up the siege in despair, he concluded a treaty by which they should all depart from Egypt.”
“Then Sharuhen [town in the southwestern corner of the land of Canaan] was besieged for three years. Then his majesty despoiled it. Thereupon I carried off spoil from there: two women and a hand..”
After Sharuhen was taken, Ahmose had to turn south, to retake Buhen (if this was necessary), and to restore Egyptian control in Nubia.
“Now after his majesty had slain the Asiatics, he ascended the river to Khenthennofer, to destroy the Nubian Troglodytes, his majesty made a great slaughter among them.”
There came an enemy of the South; his fate, his destruction approached; the gods of the South seized him, and his majesty found him...”
“Then came that fallen one whose name was Teti-en, he had gathered to himself rebels. His majesty slew him and his servants, annihilating them.”
Ahmoase died shortly after his reconquest of Egypt.
After the sack and destruction of Avaris, the city and the fortress have been rebuilt.
Minoan style frescoes. Connection with Crete? The eruption of the Thera volcano possibly in 1628 BC (traditional date is 1530 BC during the reign of Ahmose); pumice dated later in the reign of AmenhotepI/Tuthmose III. (The pumice is from workshops where it was used as a raw material, so it gives uncertain date.) No significant fallout ash has been detected.
The 17th Dynasty Theban pharaohs fought the Hyksos for over 20 years. Ahmose I, the first king of the 18th Dynasty finally defeated the foreign rulers and Egypt became once again united. Ahmose I’s victory was due not only his military skills but the international situation as well. Apepi died in the year of his ascension and the Hittites started flexing their muscles at the back of Hyksos allies. (This is an example when a new dynasty is created not because of the break in the royal succession but because of the change of the era.) Kamose and Ahmose I are the founders of the 18th Dynasty and the New Kingdom (Dynasties 18-20; c. 1550-1070 BC) began.