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Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times
Donald Redford -- Princeton University (1992)

Winner of the 1993 Best Scholarly Book in Archaeology
Award of the Biblical Archaeological Society

Pre-History and Archaeology Glossary

Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums

Hyksos is merely the Greek garbling of the common way of designating a ruler of foreign lands [in Egyptian]; therefore it applies to the regime and not the people. Recent excavations at Hyksos sites in the eastern Delta have revealed an intrusive culture whose ceramic and artifactual content differs not at all from the culture of contemporary Middle Bronze Age II B Palestine and Phoenicia. The linguistic picture is wholly consistent with speakers of a West Semitic tongue. [Therefore, we may consider the boundary of these invaders to be] no further north than the Lebanon [Mountain] ranges and no further south than the Judaean highlands. The Hyksos remained throughout their century of power in Egypt "Asiatics" and their kings "foreign rulers" or "princes of Retenu". [In the Delta] an urban but thoroughly Middle Bronze Canaanite population had insinuated itself. And this population surely did not take shape through sporadic infiltration but through the migration en bloccommunities already urban in nature.

The international climate prevailing in the Near East in the second quarter of the seventeenth century BC commends itself for examination, for measured against the backdrop of the contesting states of the Fertile Crescent of Middle Bronze Age II B and C, the sudden and outright conquest of Egypt by the 15th Dynasty [Hyksos] becomes much more likely. It was a period of internecine warfare in which great power centers vied with one another for the feudal allegiance of lesser kings. The motivation and the situation are alike optimal for postulating such an event: a strong Amorite state in the Levant, a weakened Egypt, the prospect of easy conquest and much booty.

The relative chrnology of Egyptian history, combined with the evidence of carbon-14 tests, the ceramic chronology of western Asia, and the tightly meshed political history of Mesopotamia will permit only about a century for Hyksos rule. The extent of Asiatic occupation [of Egypt was] in the Delta in the seventeenth and sixteenth centuries BC, as revealed by recent archaeological work, and was confined to the eastern Bubastite branch of the Nile and the Wady Tumilat; thus the eastern fringe of the Delta. Here we have to reckon with a large immigrant population of Palestinian or Syrian origin, which lived unto itself apart from, and with little or no intercourse with, any native Egyptian population that may have been in the area. Elsewhere, in the central and western Delta, and in the Nile Valley proper, we may safely assume the Egyptian population to have survived intact, albeit subverted now to Hyksos authority.

At the height of its power around 1580 BC and beginning to ape the ways of the natives, the Hyksos regime and the territory ruled from Avaris had nonetheless doomed itself by its very nature and its reliance on force to be a pariah.

[EB Excerpt: Resuming the war of liberation against the Hyksos early in his reign, Ahmose (the "southern prince" advanced from the south to) crush the foreigners (Egyptian) allies in Middle Egypt and, advancing down the Nile River, captured Memphis, the traditional capital of Egypt, near modern Cairo. While his mother, Queen Ahhotep, ran the government in Thebes, near modern Luxor, he undertook a waterborne operation against Avaris, the Hyksos capital, in the eastern delta, followed by a land siege. He captured Avaris (which was burned and abandoned along with the other Hyksos enclaves), and then pursued the enemy (who fled across the Sinai) to Sharuhen, a Hyksos stronghold in Palestine (south of Gaza), which was reduced after a three year siege].

Some Asiatics would have been captured in engagements or taken as part of the booty and dispersed as domestics among the Egyptian troops; but these were relatively few, and the absence in Egypt during the next fifty years of a servile community of aliens speaks agains the postulate of a seizure of a large segment of the Hyksos population by the liberators. The Hyksos realm of the 15th Dynasty had ceased to exist ...

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