The Hyksos: The History of the Foreign Invaders Who Conquered Ancient Egypt and Established the Fifteenth Dynasty

Written by Charles River Editors
Category: · History

*Includes pictures
*Includes ancient Egyptian accounts of the Hyksos
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
*Includes a table of contents

From approximately 3100 BCE until around 1075 BCE, ancient Egypt was ruled by 20 different dynasties. The length of the dynasties varied: some, such as those during the First and Second Intermediate periods could be quite short, while the Thirteenth and 18th Dynasties each contained more a one dozen kings and ruled over the Nile Valley for around 200 years each. Although the first 20 Egyptian dynasties varied in number of rulers and length, most shared one important attribute: they were all native Egyptian dynasties.

The one important exception came during Egypt’s Second Intermediate Period, when a mysterious foreign group of people, known as the Hyksos, conquered Egypt and established the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Dynasties some time shortly after 1700 BCE. For centuries, the Hyksos rule over Egypt was an enigma shrouded in half-truths and myth. The Hyksos were sometimes mistakenly associated with the biblical Israelites, but were for the most part forgotten in modern times due to the dearth of written texts that can be dated to their rule. It was only in the mid-20th century that Egyptologists, using newly discovered and translated texts, shed fresh light on the Hyksos to reveal details about their origins and rule in Egypt.

An examination reveals that although the Hyksos were initially foreign to Egypt, they probably did not come from too far, and once they did establish themselves as rulers, a degree of acculturation then took place, until the foreign rulers became gradually more “Egyptianized” themselves. Eventually, the Hyksos were driven from the Nile Valley by the native Egyptians, but their influence continued to resonate in Egypt for centuries. For example, the Egyptians adapted some of the successful warfare techniques that they learned from the Hyksos in order to establish their New Kingdom Empire in the 18th Dynasty. Later, the Hyksos proved to be a good foil or “bogeyman” for Egyptian literature in the New Kingdom and Late Period. Truly, the Hyksos may not have ruled Egypt for a long period, but their regime left a resounding impression on Egyptian society for centuries.

The Hyksos: The History of the Foreign Invaders Who Conquered Ancient Egypt and Established the Fifteenth Dynasty looks at the controversial and mysterious history of the group that conquered Egypt and established a new dynasty there in the middle of the 2nd millennium BCEE. Along with pictures depicting important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Hyksos like never before.



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