Ancient History- Historical Time Period:
New Kingdom Egypt to the Death of Thutmose IV
1. Internal Developments:
Impact of the Hyksos: political, economic, and technological Political:
The second Intermediate Period was a time of great disunity in Egypt. There was no centralised rule with the country being broken up into independently administered regions. Hyksos sources are archaeological rather than written and are incomplete. Excavations at Tell el- Dab’a in the north-eastern Delta by Manfred Bietak (archaeologist), have identified this site as an ancient Avaris, the capital of a foreign people known as the Hyksos. Who were the Hyksos? The name comes from the Greek version of the Egyptian hekau khasu, an epithet meaning ‘rulers of foreign countries’. The Egyptians reserved this name for Asiatic rulers to denote a lower status than the Egyptian king and the Hyksos rulers used it themselves. By the end of the 18th century BC, the Hyksos had extended their rule westward eventually capturing Memphis, the Egyptian capital. Evidence from the period also indicates that they established diplomatic and trading relations with the Nubians from Kerma. The Hyksos occupation produced significant cultural and technological developments in Egypt. Among the most important of these were innovations in weaponry, notably the horse-drawn chariot and the composite bow, which they Egyptians were later able to use successfully against them. The Hyksos also established extensive diplomatic and trading contacts wit the eastern Mediterranean region and Nubia.
The traditional weaponry of the Egyptians consisted of bows and arrows, shields, spears, axes and throwing sticks, an array of impact weapons such as maces, cudgels and clubs. During the Hyksos wars, the Egyptians added to their armoury by adopting superior military technology of the enemy, the horse-drawn war chariot and the composite bow. The khepresh was introduced from Asia.
Archaeological and written evidence indicates that the Egyptians were using the horse and chariot during Ahmose’s reign. Newly found relief fragments at Abydos dating to his reign depicted horses hitched to chariots. This is supported by inscriptional evidence from the tomb of a famous soldier of the time, Ahmose son of Ebana: I followed the king [Ahmose] on foot when he rode abroad in his chariot.
The composite bow
The bow and arrow was the most important long-range weapon in the Egyptian armoury.
Other weapons and armour
More sophisticated versions of weapons included a longer, narrower battleaxe blade. Another development deriving from the Hyksos helmet was the protective headgear worn by the pharaoh. This helmet, called the ‘blue war crown’, became an important part of the pharaoh’s regalia.
Establishment of the 18th dynasty: wars against the Hyksos, reunification of Upper and Lower Egypt Wars against the Hyksos:
Royal seals found in Nubia, inscribed with the name of a Hyksos king reveals to the historian how these foreigners from the North-East migrated and integrated into Egyptian society around 1760 B.C, eventually coming into power and ruling through the 15th and 16th Dynasties. In the North, the foreign king invaded Egypt and was declared pharaoh; his people were the Hyksos. In the South, the war-like Nubians threatened the last remanence of Egypt. The Egyptians viewed these foreigners as primitive and barbaric. Historians draw different conclusions on the invasion of the Hyksos. The historian Fox states that, ‘It appears that the Hyksos left much of Egypt alone… Hyksos living in Egypt have been described as "Peculiarly Egyptian". They were great builders and artisans. And little seems to have changed between the Egyptian style of governing, and that of the Hyksos. Whereas, the historian Manley quotes from Josephus, a Jewish historian who says, ‘The Hyksos were a barbarian race from the east which ravaged Egypt, before appointing a king to...
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