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Second Intermediate Period of Egypt

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The Second Intermediate Period marks a period when Ancient Egypt fell into disarray for a second time, between the end of the Middle Kingdom and the start of the New Kingdom. It is best known as the period when the Hyksos made their appearance in Egypt and whose reign comprised the fifteenth and sixteenth dynasties.

The brilliant Egyptian twelfth dynasty came to an end around 1800 BCE with the death of Queen Sobekneferu (1807 BCE – 1803 BCE). Apparently, she had no heirs, causing the twelfth dynasty to come to a sudden end as did the Golden Age of the Middle Kingdom, which was succeeded by the much weaker thirteenth dynasty of Egypt. Retaining the seat of the twelfth dynasty, the thirteenth dynasty ruled from Itjtawy ("Seizer-of-the-Two-Lands") near Memphis and el-Lisht, just south of the apex of the Nile Delta. The thirteenth dynasty is notable for the accession of the first formally recognised Semitic king, Khendjer. The thirteenth dynasty proved unable to hold onto the entire territory of Egypt, however, and the provincial ruling family in Xois, located in the marshes of the western delta, broke away from the central authority to form the fourteenth dynasty. The splintering of the land accelerated after the reign of the thirteenth dynasty king Sobekhotep IV. It was during the reign of Sobekhotep IV that the Hyksos may have made their first appearance, and around 1720 BCE took control of the town of Avaris (the modern Tell ed-Dab'a/Khata'na), a few miles from Qantir. The outlines of the traditional account of the "invasion" of the land by the Hyksos is preserved in the Aegyptiaca of Manetho, an Egyptian priest who wrote in the time of Ptolemy II Philadelphus. Manetho recorded that it was during the reign of "Tutimaios" (who has been identified with Dudimose I of the fourteenth dynasty) that the Hyksos overran Egypt, led by Salitis, the founder of the fifteenth dynasty. This dynasty was succeeded by a group of Hyksos princes and chieftains, who ruled in the eastern delta region with their local Egyptian vassals and are known primarily by scarabs inscribed with their names and the period of their reign is called the sixteenth dynasty by modern Egyptologists.

The later rulers of the thirteenth dynasty appear to be only ephemeral monarchs under the control of a powerful line of viziers, and indeed, it has been suggested that the ruler in this period might have been elected, if not appointed. One monarch late in the dynasty, Wahibre Ibiau, may have been a former vizier elevated to the office. Beginning with the reign of Sobekhotep IV, the power of this dynasty, weak to begin with, deteriorated. The later king Merneferre Ai (ruled c.1700 BCE) appears to have been a mere vassal of the Hyksos princes ruling there; his successors held onto their diminished office until c.1633 BCE.

Around the time Memphis and Itj-tawy fell to the Hyksos, the native Egyptian ruling house in Thebes declared its independence from the vassal dynasty in Itj-tawy and set itself up as the seventeenth dynasty. This dynasty was to prove the salvation of Ancient Egypt and eventually would lead the war of liberation that drove the Hyksos back into Asia. The two last kings of this dynasty were Tao II the Brave and Kamose, who traditionally are credited with the final defeat of the Hyksos. With the eighteenth dynasty, the New Kingdom begins.

Bibliography Edit

  • Von Beckerath, Jürgen. "Untersuchungen zur politischen Geschichte der zweiten Zwischenzeit in Ägypten," Ägyptologische Forschungen, Heft 23. Glückstadt, 1965.
  • Gardiner, Sir Alan. Egypt of the Pharaohs. Oxford, 1964, 1961.
  • Hayes, William C. "Egypt: From the Death of Ammenemes III to Seqenenre II." Chapter 2, Volume II of The Cambridge Ancient History. Revised Edition, 1965.
  • James, T.G.H. "Egypt: From the Expulsion of the Hyksos to Amenophis I." Chapter 8, Volume II of The Cambridge Ancient History. Revised Edition, 1965.
  • Kitchen, Kenneth A., "Further Notes on New Kingdom Chronology and History," Chronique d'Egypte, 63 (1968), pp. 313-324.
  • Oren, Eliezer D. The Hyksos: New Historical and Archaeological Perspectives Philadelphia, 1997.
  • Ryholt, Kim The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period c.1800-1550 B.C., Museum Tuscalanum Press, 1997. ISBN 87-7289-421-0
  • Van Seters, John. The Hyksos: A New Investigation. New Haven, 1966.
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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Second Intermediate Period of Egypt. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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