Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Size of the Hyksos Empire (Part 2)

The next matter to concern us is the question of whether or not the Hyksos ever ruled any portion of Nubia. Once again, we find that earlier archaeologists believed the Hyksos did indeed rule Nubia. They cited as evidence the presence of Hyksos scarabs and Tell-el-Yahudieh pottery.

It must be emphasized that no text or statue of a Hyksos king has ever been found in Nubia. Further, the excavations at Kerma have produced abundant evidence to contradict the beliefs of earlier archeologists. For instance, the graves at Kerma which are contemporary with the Fifteenth Dynasty (as shown by the presence of Hyksos scarabs in these graves) contain burials which are totally different from those of the Egyptians, the Hyksos and the peoples of the Levant[1]! Trigger further states that Uronarti (a fortress in Nubia) there are over 4,500 sealings datable to this period, but no other evidence of a foreign culture[2]. At Buhen (another fortress in Nubia) some Tell-el-Yahudieh ware juglets were found along with some stelae of this time, stelae which clearly show Egyptians living in Nubia and serving the King of Nubia (and not the Hyksos King!)[3]. Furthermore, the Kamose stela clearly shows that there was a separate king in Nubia[4], who ruled independently of both the Egyptians in southern Egypt and the Hyksos.

An inscription in the tomb of one Sobeknakht has recently been cleaned and translated and provided a surprise. Sobeknakht claims to have helped repel an invasion from Nubia during "the latter part of the Seventeenth Dynasty." Dr. Vivian Davies points out that this is the explanation for the presence of Egyptian artifacts in the tombs of the Nubian kings at Kerma, they were war trophies. It seems clear from this text, and from the Kamose Stela, that Nubia was at this time an independent and powerful enemy on Egypt's southern border.

[1] Trigger, B. Ancient Egypt, pp. 163 – 66.

[2] Trigger, B. Ancient Egypt, p. 161.

[3] Trigger, B. Ancient Egypt, pp. 161 - 2.

[4] Habachi, L. Second Stela of Kamose (Gluckstadt: Verlag J. J. Augustin, 1972), p. 39, where the Hyksos King Apopis sends a letter addressed to “the Ruler of Kush…” in an attempt to get him to attack Kamose from the South.

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