Second Intermediate Period of Egypt

The Second Intermediate Period dates from 1700 to 1550 BC.[1]: 123  It marks a period when ancient Egypt was divided into smaller dynasties for a second time, between the end of the Middle Kingdom and the start of the New Kingdom. The concept of a Second Intermediate Period generally includes the 13th through to the 17th dynasties, however there is no universal agreement in Egyptology about how to define the period.[2]

The Second Intermediate Period
c. 1700–1550 BC
The political situation in the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt (c. 1650 – c. 1550 BC)
The political situation in the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt (c. 1650 – c. 1550 BC)
Ancient Egyptian religion
Demonym(s)Egyptians and Hyksos
• c. 1701 – c. 1677 BC
Merneferre Ay (first)
• c. 1555 – c. 1550 BC
Kamose (last)
• approximately around the late 13th Dynasty
c. 1700
• The end of the 17th Dynasty of Egypt
1550 BC
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Middle Kingdom of Egypt
New Kingdom of Egypt

It is best known as the period when the Hyksos people of West Asia established the 15th Dynasty and ruled from Avaris, which, according to Manetho's Aegyptiaca, was founded by a king by the name of Salitis.[3] The settling of these people may have occurred peacefully, although later recounts of Manetho portray the Hyksos "as violent conquerors and oppressors of Egypt".[4]

The Turin King List from the time of Ramesses II remains the primary source for understanding the chronology and political history of the Second Intermediate Period, along with studying the typology of scarabs, beetle-shaped amulets mass-produced in Ancient Egypt and often inscribed with the names of rulers.[5]

Collapse of the Middle Kingdom edit

The 12th Dynasty of Egypt ended in the late 19th century BC with the death of Queen Sobekneferu.[6] She had no heirs, causing the dynasty to come to an abrupt end, and with it, the most prosperous era of the Middle Kingdom; it was succeeded by the much weaker 13th Dynasty. According to the Byzantine chronicler George Syncellus, all three sources of the translated king list of Africanus, Eusebius, and the Armenian of Eusebius state that the 13th Dynasty had sixty kings that ruled and lived in Dioplus for roughly 453 years.[7] Retaining the seat of the 12th Dynasty, the 13th Dynasty (c. 1773 – 1650 BC) ruled from Itjtawy ("Seizer-of-the-Two-Lands") for most of its existence.

The pyramid of Khendjer is the only pyramid known to have been completed during the 13th Dynasty
Upper part of a statue of pharaoh Khendjer from his pyramid complex

Migration to Thebes edit

The 13th Dynasty switched to Thebes in the far south possibly in the reign of Merneferre Ay.[1]: 123  Daphna Ben Tor believes that this event was triggered by the invasion of the eastern Delta and the Memphite region by Canaanite rulers, who had their own culture, a variant of the contemporary late Palestinian Middle Bronze Age culture of the southern Levant.[8] For some authors, this marks the end of the Middle Kingdom and the beginning of the Second Intermediate Period.[9] This analysis is rejected by Ryholt and Baker however, who note that the stele of Seheqenre Sankhptahi, reigning toward the end of the dynasty, strongly suggests that he reigned over Memphis. The stele is of unknown provenance.[10][11]

Though the 13th Dynasty may have controlled Upper Egypt, the 14th Dynasty ruled Lower Egypt, and both houses agreed to co-exist allowing trade.[12] Evidently the rulers had trouble with securing power within their territory, being replaced in rapid fashion, but other factors like famine may have played a part.[13] The eventual collapse of the 13th Dynasty became an opening for two smaller dynasties to take control of Egypt.[13]

Transitional period edit

Similar to the First Intermediate Period of Egypt, the Second Intermediate Period was dynamic time in which rule of Egypt was roughly divided between rival power bases in Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, each controlling a portion of land.

14th Dynasty edit

The 13th Dynasty proved unable to hold on to the entire territory of Egypt, and a provincial ruling family, located in the Nile Delta, broke away from the central authority to form the 14th Dynasty (c. 1700–1650 BC). According to Syncellus, all three sources agree that the 14th Dynasty had seventy-six kings and their court was located in Xois, now modern day Sakha, although they provide different numbers of years ruled. Africanus stated the dynasty reigned for 184 years, while the Armenian version of Eusebius states 484 years. Eusebius states the same as Africanus, but in another copy the same number as the Armenian version.[7][14]

The precise borders of the 14th Dynasty state are not known, due to the general scarcity of its monuments. In his study of the Second Intermediate Period, Kim Ryholt concludes that the territory directly controlled by the 14th Dynasty roughly consisted of the Nile Delta, with borders located near Athribis in the western Delta and Bubastis in the east.[15] Most modern Egyptologists share the view that Avaris – rather than Xois – was the 14th Dynasty's seat of power.[16]

Contested rulers proposed by Ryholt as the first five rulers of the dynasty are commonly identified as being of Canaanite (Semitic) descent based on their names. His conclusions about their chronological position within the period are contested in Ben Tor's study.[17][18] Other sources don't refer to the dynasty as foreign or Hyksos and they were not referred to as "rulers of foreign lands" or "shepherd kings" in kings lists.[19][20][21][22]

The contested rulers (with the translation of their nomens) are:

The most attested, non-contested ruler of the dynasty, Nehesy Aasehre, left his name on two monuments at Avaris. His name means "the Nubian". According to Ryholt, he was the son and direct successor of the pharaoh Sheshi with a Nubian Queen named Tati.[18]

The 14th Dynasty saw great success during their early years, but like the late 13th Dynasty, the rulers were replaced in rapid succession. The 14th Dynasty was overthrown by the Hyksos.[14]

15th Dynasty edit

The Hyksos established their own dynasty in Egypt, the 15th Dynasty (c.1650 to 1550 BC).[1]: 123  The first king of the 15th Dynasty, Salitis, described as a Hyksos (ḥḳꜣw-ḫꜣswt, a "shepherd" according to Africanus), led his people into an occupation of the Nile Delta area and settled his capital at Avaris. According to Manetho, Salitis is believed to have conquered the entirety of Egypt, however it is more likely that his rule did not extend beyond Lower Egypt. Salitis may be equated to a poorly known king named Sharek, and possibly even Sheshi, the most attested ruler of the Second Intermediate Period.[26][27] The Turin King list indicates that there were six Hyksos kings, with an obscure Khamudi listed as the final king of the 15th Dynasty.[28]

The 15th Dynasty of Egypt ruled from Avaris but did not control the entire land, leaving some of northern Upper Egypt under the control of both the Abydos Dynasty and the early 16th Dynasty. The 16th Dynasty was ruled not by the Hyksos themselves, but the Thebans.[28]

Fifteenth Dynasty
Name Image Dates and comments
Salitis Unattested Mentioned by Manetho as first king of the dynasty; currently unidentified with any known archaeologically attested person. Ruled for 19 years according to Manetho, as quoted by Josephus.
Semqen   Mentioned on the Turin king list. According to Ryholt, he was an early Hyksos ruler, possibly the first king of the dynasty; von Beckerath assigns him to the 16th dynasty.[29]
Aperanat   Mentioned on the Turin king list. According to Ryholt, he was an early Hyksos ruler, possibly the second king of the dynasty; von Beckerath assigns him to the 16th dynasty.[29]
Khyan   Ruled 10+ years.[30]
Khyan's eldest son, possibly at the origin of the mention of a king Iannas in Manetho's Aegyptiaca
Sakir-Har Named as an Hyksos king on a doorjamb found at Avaris. Regnal order uncertain.
Apophis   c. 1590?–1550 BC

Ruled 40+ years.[30]

Khamudi   c. 1550–1540 BC

It is debated if the movement of the Hyksos was a military invasion or a mass migration of Asiatics from Palestine.[31][1]: 127–128  The settling of Canaanite populations may have occurred peacefully in the wake of the disintegration of the 14th Dynasty.[32][33][4] A recent Strontium isotope analysis also dismissed the invasion model in favor of a migration one. Contrary to the model of a foreign invasion, the study didn't find more males moving into the region, but instead found a sex bias towards females, with a high proportion (77%) being non-locals.[34][35]

Abydos Dynasty edit

Possible extent of power of the Abydos Dynasty c. 1650 BC - 1600 BC, ruling from Abydos, Egypt

The Abydos Dynasty (c. 1640 to 1620 BC.)[36] may have been a short-lived local dynasty ruling over part of Upper Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period in Ancient Egypt and was contemporary with the 15th and 16th dynasties. The Abydos Dynasty stayed rather small with rulership over just Abydos or Thinis.[36] Very little is known about the Abydos dynasty, since it was a very short-lived, though we do have some king names that appear in Turin king list, but it not in any other sources.

The dynasty tentatively includes four rulers: Wepwawetemsaf, Pantjeny, Snaaib, and Senebkay.[36] The Abydos Dynasty ceased when the Hyksos expanded into Upper Egypt.

16th Dynasty edit

The 16th Dynasty (c. 1650-1580 BC) ruled the Theban region in Upper Egypt. Of the two chief versions of Manetho's Aegyptiaca, the 16th Dynasty is described by the more reliable Africanus (supported by Syncellus) as "shepherd [Hyksos] kings", but by Eusebius as Theban.[7]

The continuing war against the 15th Dynasty dominated the short-lived 16th Dynasty. The armies of the 15th Dynasty, winning town after town from their southern enemies, continually encroached on 16th Dynasty territory, eventually threatening and then conquering Thebes itself. Famine, which had plagued Upper Egypt during the late 13th Dynasty and the 14th Dynasty, also blighted the 16th Dynasty, most evidently during and after the reign of Neferhotep III.

The end of the 16th Dynasty came after relentless military pressure by the succeeding 15th Dynasty after many attempts, with evidence of Nebiryraw I's own personal seals being found in the Hyksos territory. Sometime around 1580 BC, the 16th Dynasty collapsed after being conquered by King Khyan of the Hyksos 15th Dynasty.[37]

17th Dynasty edit

The 17th Dynasty (c.1571-1540 BC)[38] was established by the Thebans quickly after the fall of the 16th. The details of the overthrow of the Hyksos in Thebes are unclear.[38] Sources such as Africanus and Eusebius indicate that the 16th Dynasty comprised shepherd kings (like the 15th Dynasty), but also Theban kings too.[7]

The 17th Dynasty would also see four different ruling families whose last king did not have a male heir to the throne. Subsequently, other powerful families established kings having short reigns.[38] The 17th Dynasty maintained a short-lived peace with the 15th Dynasty, which ended with the start of the reign of Seqenenre (c. 1549-1545 BC), who started a series of wars against the Hyksos. King Kamose (c. 1545-1540 BC) continued the war against the Hyksos as a whole, but his brother Ahmose I would be the king to deal the final blow; he thus became the first king of the New Kingdom 18th Dynasty.[38]

Pharaoh Ahmose I (ruled c. 1549–1524 BC) slaying a probable Hyksos. Detail of a ceremonial axe in the name of Ahmose I, treasure of Queen Ahhotep II. Inscription "Ahmose, beloved of (the War God) Montu". Luxor Museum[39][40][41][42]

Reunification edit

At the end of the Second Intermediate period, the 18th Dynasty came to power in Egypt. The first king of the 18th Dynasty, Ahmose, completed the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt and consolidated his rule over the land, unifying Upper and Lower Egypt. With that, Ahmose ushered in a new period of prosperity, the New Kingdom.[43]

Gallery edit

Depiction of an Asiatic (Hyksos) official, with the distinctive "mushroom headed" hairstyle[44]
The 15th Dynasty ruled Lower Egypt from Avaris for a hundred years. It is believed that Avaris was the largest city in the world from 1670 to 1557 BC[45]
Front view of one of the "Hyksos sphinxes" of Amenemhat III, usurped by Hyksos king Apepi

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d Van de Mieroop, Marc (2021). A history of ancient Egypt. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-119-62087-7. OCLC 1200833162.
  2. ^ Von Beckerath 1964, Ryholt 1997
  3. ^ "LacusCurtius • Manetho's History of Egypt — Book II".
  4. ^ a b Ilin-Tomich, Alexander. “Second Intermediate Period” (2016).
  5. ^ "Second Intermediate Period". Retrieved 2023-12-03.
  6. ^ Kim S. B. Ryholt, The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, c. 1800–1550 B.C., Museum Tusculanum Press, Carsten Niebuhr Institute Publications 20. 1997, p.185
  7. ^ a b c d "LacusCurtius • Manetho's History of Egypt — Book II".
  8. ^ "Second Intermediate Period". Retrieved 2023-12-31.
  9. ^ Daphna Ben Tor: Sequences and chronology of Second Intermediate Period royal-name scarabs, based on excavated series from Egypt and the Levant, in: The Second Intermediate Period (Thirteenth-Seventeenth Dynasties), Current Research, Future Prospects edited by Marcel Maree, Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta, 192, 2010, p. 91
  10. ^ K.S.B. Ryholt. The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period c. 1800–1550 B.C. Carsten Niebuhr Institute Publications 20. Copenhagen
  11. ^ Darrell D. Baker: The Encyclopedia of the Pharaohs: Volume I - Predynastic to the Twentieth Dynasty 3300–1069 BC, Stacey International, ISBN 978-1-905299-37-9, 2008
  12. ^ "14th Dynasty (1797-1640) | the Ancient Egypt Site".
  13. ^ a b "13th Dynasty (1783-1640) | the Ancient Egypt Site".
  14. ^ a b "14th Dynasty (1797-1640) | the Ancient Egypt Site".
  15. ^ Kim Ryholt, The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, Museum Tusculanum Press, (1997)
  16. ^ Kim Ryholt, The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, Museum Tusculanum Press, (1997)
  17. ^ Ben-Tor, Daphna; Allen, Susan J.; Allen, James P. (August 1999). "Review: Seals and Kings: The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period c. 1800-1550 B. C. by K. S. B. Ryholt". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. 315: 47–74. doi:10.2307/1357532. JSTOR 1357532. S2CID 155317877.
  18. ^ a b Ryholt, Kim (1997). The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period. Museum Tusculanum Press. p. 101.
  19. ^ Grimal, Nicolas (1994). A History of Ancient Egypt. Wiley-Blackwell (July 19, 1994). pp. 182–197.
  20. ^ "Hyksos". Britannica.
  21. ^ Shaw, Ian (2004). The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press. pp. 172–206.
  22. ^ Ilin-Tomich, Alexander (2016). "Second Intermediate Period". UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology: 1–21.
  23. ^ Leprohon, Ronald J. (2013-04-30). The Great Name: Ancient Egyptian Royal Titulary. Society of Biblical Lit. p. 75. ISBN 978-1-58983-736-2.
  24. ^ T. Schneider 1998 (sic), 126-127
  25. ^ Conflicting with footnote, bibliography lists Schneider, Thomas. 1996. Lexikon der Pharaonen. Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag.
  26. ^ Edwards, I. E. S.; Gadd, C. J.; Hammond, N. G. L.; Sollberger, E. (1973-05-03). The Cambridge Ancient History. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-08230-3.
  27. ^ "Salitis | Pharaoh, Hyksos, Dynasty | Britannica". Retrieved 2024-01-12.
  28. ^ a b "15th Dynasty (1640-1522) | the Ancient Egypt Site".
  29. ^ a b Jürgen von Beckerath: Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen, Münchner ägyptologische Studien, Heft 49, Mainz : P. von Zabern, 1999, ISBN 3-8053-2591-6, available online Archived 2015-12-22 at the Wayback Machine see p. 120–121.
  30. ^ a b Ryholt, K. S. B.; Bülow-Jacobsen, Adam (1997). The Political Situation in Egypt During the Second Intermediate Period, C. 1800-1550 B.C. Museum Tusculanum Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-87-7289-421-8.
  31. ^ "Hyksos | History, Kings, & Significance | Britannica". 2023-10-27. Retrieved 2023-11-27.
  32. ^ Ryholt, K. S. B.; Bülow-Jacobsen, Adam (1997). The Political Situation in Egypt During the Second Intermediate Period, C. 1800-1550 B.C. Museum Tusculanum Press. pp. 131–132. ISBN 978-87-7289-421-8.
  33. ^ Ryholt, K. S. B.; Bülow-Jacobsen, Adam (1997). The Political Situation in Egypt During the Second Intermediate Period, C. 1800-1550 B.C. Museum Tusculanum Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-87-7289-421-8.
  34. ^ Stantis, Chris; Kharobi, Arwa; Maaranen, Nina; Nowell, Geoff M.; Bietak, Manfred; Prell, Silvia; Schutkowski, Holger (2020-07-15). "Who were the Hyksos? Challenging traditional narratives using strontium isotope (87Sr/86Sr) analysis of human remains from ancient Egypt". PLOS ONE. 15 (7): e0235414. Bibcode:2020PLoSO..1535414S. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0235414. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 7363063. PMID 32667937.
  35. ^ Stantis, Chris; Kharobi, Arwa; Maaranen, Nina; Macpherson, Colin; Bietak, Manfred; Prell, Silvia; Schutkowski, Holger (2021-06-01). "Multi-isotopic study of diet and mobility in the northeastern Nile Delta". Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. 13 (6): 105. Bibcode:2021ArAnS..13..105S. doi:10.1007/s12520-021-01344-x. ISSN 1866-9565. S2CID 235271929.
  36. ^ a b c "Abydos Dynasty (1640-1620) | the Ancient Egypt Site".
  37. ^ "16th Dynasty (1640-1580) | the Ancient Egypt Site".
  38. ^ a b c d "17th Dynasty (1571-1540) | the Ancient Egypt Site".
  39. ^ Daressy 1906, p. 117.
  40. ^ Montet 1968, p. 80. "Others were later added to them, things which came from the pharaoh Ahmose, like the axe decorated with a griffin and a likeness of the king slaying a Hyksos, with other axes and daggers."
  41. ^ Morgan 2010, p. 308. A color photograph.
  42. ^ Baker & Baker 2001, p. 86.
  43. ^ "17th Dynasty (1571-1540) | the Ancient Egypt Site".
  44. ^ Bader, Bettina. "Cultural Mixing in Egyptian Archaeology:~The 'Hyksos' as a Case Study". Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW).
  45. ^ "Tell-el-Daba - History".

Bibliography edit

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  • Van Seters, John. The Hyksos: A New Investigation. New Haven, 1966.
Preceded by Time Periods of Egypt
1650–1550 BC
Succeeded by