SECOND INTERMEDIATE PERIOD 1783-1532 BC
Dynasty XV & XVI – The Hyksos, about 1720, established an independent regime at Avaris, near Tanis and Qantir in the Delta, with Set as its god. This line of rulers, the XVth, continued until about 1670. The XVIth Dynasty seems to be a minor ruling nobility from which High Kings were sometimes chosen, giving the impression that XVth and XVIth are just two components of the same dynastic system. The Hyksos are also known from their dealings with other regions in Asia, such as Crete, Palestine and Saudi Arabia. Six High Kings can be identified as Hyksos rulers, one of whom, Ausar-ra Sutekh, ruled for 40 years.
Dynasty XVII – Upper Egypt’s growing independence during the XIIIth Dynasty resulted in a new Dynasty, the XVIIth, which emerged around 1650. Traditionally divided into two groups, the first of which preserved Middle Kingdom titles and culture, but co-existed with the Hyksos. The second group, beginning with Nubkheperre Inyotef, asserted its claim to the whole of Egypt, which brought them into conflict with the Hyksos. Kamose, last king of the XVIIth dynasty, brought the war to the very gates of Avaris. His son Amose completed the conquest in 1567 BC and founded the XVIIIth Dynasty. Tombs on west bank of Thebes, Edfu and Abydos; some temples and structures at Karnak.
The chronology and even identity of the kings of this period is very confused. The Turin Canon lists dozens of kings that could be of the XIII, XIV, or XVII Dynasties. The gaps and fragmentary names reflect damage to the Turin Papyrus itself. It might also be that some of the kings changed their name during their rule, and are listed more than once. At least there are five Dynasties in this second period of political instability; three are native Egyptian and two are Hyksos, “Princes of Foreign Lands” who seized control of the Delta and then extended their power up the Nile. Some building activity was undertaken and the level of artistic standards did not fall as low as the first intermediate period.
The “Hyksos,” who probably introduced the horse and chariot into Egypt. Some of the Hyksos names, however, appear to be Semitic.
Dynasty XIII & XIV – Centralized government continues to function in spite of a rapid turnover of Kings. Capital remains in north, Itj-toway and Memphis; south begins to drift away. XIV. Dynasty, perhaps contemporaneous with XIII., ruled western delta and desert from the nome of Xois until conquered by the Hyksos.
There had already been Semitic immigrants in the Eastern Delta in the XII Dynasty, and their presence would continue from then on. There is little doubt that such settlement underlies the Biblical story of the Israelites in Egypt, though real evidence about anything beyond their mere existence is thin.
Manethô gives six “great” Hyksos kings of the XV Dynasty, but his names in Greek match up only imperfectly with the names known from inscriptions. The XVII Dynasty at Thebes, though called by Manethô a Hyksos dynasty, was clearly Egyptian.
It appears to have become vassals of the Hyksos, and later to have revolted. We have a long account by Kamose on the outbreak of open war with the Hyksos, who were making humiliating demands on the king. Kamose’s brother, Ahmose, credited as the first king of the great XVIII Dynasty, then drove the Hyksos out of Egypt and even pursued them into Palestine. Perhaps like the Hyksos themselves, the Egyptians adopted the horse and chariot from their enemies and, thus equipped, began to project Egyptian power for the first time deep into the Levant.
The area of the Hyksos capital of Avaris is where Ramesses II later began building a fortress city and palace that became the capital, and for whose construction the local population, heavily Semitic, was impressed. The locals, previously distant from most New Kingdom building activity and unused to the traditional Egyptian corvée, would certainly find this forced labor oppressive and slave-like, just as represented in Exodus.
‘Aper-‘Anati (Bnôn) ?
Apepi I (Archlês)
Siamun (Tao I)