Monday, June 1, 2009

The Size of the Hyksos Empire (Part 4)

Having ruled out the possibility of the Levant and Nubia being a portion of the Hyksos “empire”, it remains to determine exactly how much of Egypt was ruled by the Asiatics. First it is clear that the Hyksos ruled the Nile delta as Manetho tells us that their capital was located there[1], and there is a great deal of evidence for a Middle Bronze Age II culture, heavily influenced by Palestine, at Tell-ed-Daba and at Tell-el-Yahudieh[2] in the delta. It is also clear that the Hyksos ruled Memphis, as a genealogy of a priest of Memphis in Dynasty XXII lists his ancestors as having served under Apopis (rather than under the kings of Dynasty XVII)[3].

Hall has argued that Upper Egypt was controlled as far as Aswan by the Hyksos, basing his argument on the fact that Aswan granite was used by Apopis in the construction of his monuments in the delta[4]. This is possible, but not necessarily true as the Kamose stela shows that the Egyptian nobility were grazing their cattle in the Delta at a time when the Asiatics certainly ruled that part of Egypt[5]. If it was possible for the Egyptians to graze their cattle in Hyksos territory then surely the Asiatics could have obtained granite from Aswan (in return for grazing rights?). One other possibility suggests itself. The Hyksos may have temporarily ruled a large part of Southern Egypt, or that Upper Egypt may have paid tribute to the Hyksos King in return for independence. There is some evidence for such a situation as the names of Khian and Apopis are known from objects found in Upper Egypt[6].

It should be emphasized that these are the only two Hyksos Kings who have left any trace of themselves anywhere in Upper Egypt[7]. Hyksos influence in Southern Egypt must have been of very short duration, however, as the Kamose stela tells us that Kamose ruled Upper Egypt independently of Apopis (who was clearly King of the Hyksos at the time Kamose was ruling Southern Egypt)[8]. Enberg notes that Hatshepsut’s inscription in the Speos Artemidos does not mention any temple south of Cusae needing repair as a result of Hyksos depredations[9] and the Kamose stela states flatly that the boundary between the Egyptians and the Asiatics was at Cusae[10].

[1] Gardiner, A. Egypt Under the Pharaohs, p. 164.

[2] Trigger, B. Ancient Egypt, pp. 156 – 7 and Bietak, M. Avaris and Pi-Ramesses (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979), pp. 238-9 and passim.

[3] Trigger, B. Ancient Egypt, p. 155.

[4] Enberg, R. “Hyksos Reconsidered”, p. 16 and sources quoted therein.

[5] Habachi, L. p. 48.

[6] Winlock, p. 99.

[7] Winlock, p. 99.

[8] Trigger, p. 156.

[9] Enberg, p. 15, note 49.

[10] Habachi, p. 48.

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