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The History of Egypt: The Hyksos (Part 4)

The History of Egypt: The Hyksos (Part 4)

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Dr. Neiman explains that the Hyksos were able to conquer Egypt because of their superior technology. Their advanced weapons included the two-wheeled war chariot and the laminated bow.

Weapons in ancient Egypt

The Old Kingdom had soldiers equipped with a great variety of weapons: shields, spears, cudgels, maces, daggers, bows and arrows. Quivers and battle axes came into use before the second Intermediary Period, which was a time of revolution in the Egyptian martial arts. The earliest metal arrowheads date from the 11th dynasty (ca.2000 BCE), made of copper hardened by hammering.  The principal weapon of the Egyptian army was the bow and arrow. Nubian mercenaries formed the best archery units. It was transformed into a formidable weapon with the introduction by the Hyksos of the composite bow made of horn, sinews and wood, combined with body armour - which was often little more than broad leather straps - and the war chariot, enabling fast attacks at long range [1].  The infantry of the New Kingdom carried spears, battle axes, sickleswords and daggers. The sicklesword (MdC transliteration: xpS - khepesh or khopesh) came to Egypt from Syria, where Thutmose III used it first. There are many depictions of the gods handing the pharaoh this weapon of victory [2]. It quickly became part of the infantryman's basic equipment. After the bowmen, either on foot or on chariots, had softened up the enemy forces with a shower of arrows [4], the infantry would rush in, breaking their ranks with hand weapons, maces with wooden handles and stone - later metal - heads, battle axes, hatchets, clubs, swords, sickleswords and daggers. 

The spear was used for stabbing, giving greater reach to the soldier. Charioteers carried with them, apart from their bows and arrows, a number of spears and were thus not left weaponless after shooting their arrows.

Many of the new arms that came into use during the New Kingdom had their origin in Asia. The helmets Ramses III ordered distributed looked like Syrian helmets, the main difference being that the Syrian helmet was decorated with a horsetail while the Egyptian had cords ending in pendants. The body armour was of Asiatic origin too. It consisted of a leather jacket covered with little metal scales, not completely protecting the soldier from arrows, as the Egyptians could conclude from their own successes, or the Syrians when a lucky shot killed the disguised Ahab [3] 34     And a certain man drew a bow at a venture , and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness. Kings 1, 22 Despite such deficiencies, the charioteers of Thutmose III wore occasionally scale armour centuries before Ahab's mishap, but many preferred broad bands (of leather possibly) crossed over the chest or carried a shield. Their torso was thus more or less protected, while the lower body was shielded by the chariot itself. The pharaohs often wore armour with inlaid semi-precious stones, which offered better protection, the stones being harder than the metal used for arrow tips. It is difficult to estimate, how widespread the use of armour or helmets really was, as the reliefs depict Egyptians very rarely carrying protection other than shields.

Elite's Esoteric Symbols

Have you ever wondered why there's so many references to ancient Egypt in the symbolism of "the Elite"? For example, why have they put obelisks in every major cities? Why do the masons use the pyramid symbol? Why do the elites like the sphinxes and lions so much? Why is an eagle, the symbol of the Egyptian royals, in so many coats of arms?

Masonic symbolism: the pyramid

Masonic symbolism: the pyramid

Washington monument - an obelisk

Cleopatra's needle - an obelisk in New York
(stolen from Egypt)

A sphinx in London

An Egyptian lion statue in Stockholm
(stolen from Egypt)

There is a clear and simple reason for this obsession with Egypt and Egyptian symbols. "The Elite" has a long history, and that history starts from the land of the pharaohs.

One of the first people to reveal the true origins of "the Elite" was Sigmund Freud. It might be a little surprise for many to hear that, because Freud is better known of his work on psychoanalysis. Nevertheless, he was also a historian and did a remarkable, but unfortunately very little known, study on the origins of the Jews.

Sigmund Freud's book Moses and Monotheism presented the controversial idea, that the true identity of Moses was something completely different from what we can read from the Bible or the Torah. Freud's thesis claimed, that the story of Moses was actually a cover-up story of the pharaoh Akhenaton - the father figure of the world's first monotheistic religion Atonism.

It was Sigmund Freud's work that paved the way for the works of later scholars like Michael Tsarion, Ralph Ellis, Moustafa Gadalla and Ahmed Osman who have continued the research. It's these great men who have revealed the secret origins of the ruling elite and their Cult of Aton. It's this cult that all the monotheistic religions, secret societies, royal dynasties and various other branches of the network of power and control originate from.

The main character of the historical story of the Cult of Aton is the 18th dynasty pharaoh Akhenaton - the great hero for the elites of the world. But to understand his story, one must first learn about his ancestors, the Hyksos kings.

Aton was a sun god worshiped by the Hyksos kings, who were the rulers of Lower Egypt (northern part Egypt). They invaded the area of Nile Delta and formed the 15th Dynasty around 1650 BC. This historical event is "documented" in the Bible, but in a cryptic form. The rulers of the Hyksos, "the shepherd kings", were the true "Jewish Patriarchs".

When the origins of the "Jews" is decrypted with the "Hyksos key", it's easy to understand why the official version of the Jewish history is so full of holes, and why there's so little historical evidence supporting the biblical story of Abraham and his descendants.

The Hyksos were driven out of Egypt after the civil war between the kingdoms of Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt. The pharaoh of Upper Egypt, Ahmose I, was able to defeat the Hyksos and unite both kingdoms under his rule.

But this was not the end of the Hyksos royals. Two hundred years later they were able to put "their man" on the throne of Egypt again. This is something the mainstream history books choose to ignore: Pharaoh Akhenaton was a descendant of the Hyksos - by his mother Tiye,

Tiye's father (Akhenaton's grandfather) was Yuya, the richest man in Egypt. He was a descendant of the Hyksos kings and played an important role in the royal court of Akhenaton's father, pharaoh Amenhotep III. He was also the "educator" of the young Akhenaton, which explains Akhenaton's later obsession with the worship of Aton.

We can read about Yuya from the Bible, but we have to understand his identity is hidden under the code name "Joseph", the "dream analyst" of the pharaoh.

Brainwashed by his grandfather, Akhenaton became a devoted worshiper of the sun god Aton. He was so obsessed with it, that as a pharaoh he forbid the worship of any other deities. This religious reform was a monumental change in Egyptian society. Forbidding the worship of all the other gods was an unprecedented change that shook the whole country.

The motives behind this change were not entirely religious. It was the priesthood of the rival sun cult, Cult of Amun, that the Atonists led by Akhenaton wanted to get rid of. This old Amunistic priesthood based on ancient druidistic traditions had lots of power and influence in Egypt, something that the megalomaniac pharaoh couldn't stand.

Akhenaton's forced monotheism stirred up a fierce resistance among the common Egyptians. This resistance lead-up to a civil war between the Atonists and the Amunists. The latter won the war, and the end result of it was the expulsion of Akhenaton and the Atonists. It's this exile we can read about in the Bible as the Exodus.

The biblical story of the Israelites escaping from slavery in Egypt is nothing more than a propaganda cover-up story made up by the descendants of the Atonists, who were kicked out of Egypt. It serves as a mask to hide the true origins of the "Israelites" and the true identity of "Moses" a.k.a. Akhenaton. No, the "Israelites" were not slaves. No, they did not escape heroically from the evil pharaoh (which the Bible even fails to name). They were the descendants of the Hyksos people. They were Akhenaton's supporters and the followers of the Cult of Aton, which brought nothing but chaos and havoc to Egypt.

Actually, the story of the Exodus is most likely a combination of two similar events: The first expulsion of the Hyksos people from Lower Egypt (by Ahmose I) and the later exile of Akhenaton and his supporters. Ralph Ellis explains it on this video (from 5:48 onward):

Understanding who Moses really was, and who the "Israelite" really were, uncovers many secrets. It reveals that the so called "Judaic" religion is nothing more than an updated version of the Cult of Aton. It reveals that Yahweh/Jehova is actually the sun god Aton. This can be easily understood just by looking at the name Adonai, which is the one the Jews are allowed to say out loud instead of Yahweh.

Yes, the "Judaic" religion is actually an Atonistic religion. And so is Christianity, which is just another later updated version of the same sun cult. Just look at the massive amount of sun symbolism in Christianity. It's sun worship from beginning to end.

Christian symbolism: the sun

Christian symbolism: the sun

Christian symbolism: the sun

Christian symbolism: the sun

Of course they don't tell you that. For you "the Elite" serves the exoteric version of their religion and keep the esoteric secrets to themselves.

All the major powerbrokers of the world are servants of the same Cult of Aton. It's a big club, and you ain't in it! They have a long history, and their different institutions of power have different faces, like Judaism, Christianity, Vatican, Freemasonry, Jesuits, Illuminati, Royal families, Knights of Malta, Knights of Columbus, United Nations, Bilderberg, Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, etc., but behind the closed doors the men and women running the show are all part of the same sun cult, that originates from ancient Egypt.

They have ruled the world for a long time, and they have done a great job hiding it from the public. Studying the symbolism they use reveals how the dots get connected. The same motifs, which many of go back to ancient Egypt, are used over and over again - hidden in plain sight.

Ancient Egyptian Armies

Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization in eastern North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the River Nile. The civilization began around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh, and continues to thrive over the next three millennia. The history of ancient Egypt is divided into three kingdoms stabilized: The Old Kingdom (c.2686-2160 BC), The Middle Kingdom (c.2055-1650 BC) and The New Empire (c.1550-1069 BC) separated by two periods unstable intermediates.

"For most parts of its history, Ancient Egypt was unified under one government, so that the military chief concern was to keep the enemies from invading the nation.
The arid plains and deserts surrounding Egypt were inhabited by nomadic tribes who occasionally tried to plunder or settle in the fertile valley of the River Nile. Although the vast expanses of desert formed a barrier that protected the river valley and was almost impossible for massive armies to cross, the Egyptians built fortresses and outposts along the border and is west of the Nile Delta in the eastern desert and Nubia in the south. Most Egyptian cities lacked city walls and other defenses.
The Old and Middle Kingdom Egyptian armies were very simple, they consisted of conscripted peasants and artisans, who would then fight under the flag of the Pharaoh. The early Egyptian army used specific military units, while differentiated military hierarchy came on the scene by the Middle Kingdom.

The major advance in weapons technology and warfare began around 1600 BC when the Egyptians finally defeated the Hyksos. Conquests of foreign territories, as Nubia, need a permanent force to be stationed abroad. The meeting with other powerful kingdoms of the Middle East as Mitanni, the Hittites, and later the Assyrians and Babylonians, the Egyptians made it necessary to conduct campaigns far from home. It was also during this period, the horse and chariot were introduced in Egypt.
Their presence has caused changes in the army&aposs role in Egyptian society and so during the New Kingdom, the Egyptian army has changed its volunteer troops to an organization of professional soldiers. The Egyptian army divided into three main branches: the infantry, tanks, and navy.

Infantry troops were part written, part voluntary. Foreigners have also been incorporated into the army.Medjay Nubian Egyptian armies came during the interim period unstable first as mercenaries and trained some of the best units in archery. They are famous for their missions against the Hyksos people, who had made themselves lords of Lower Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, under Kamose. In the Realms of Middle and early news, Asian maryannu troops were used, and Sherden, Libyans, and "Na&aposarn" were used in the Ramesside period, ie, the late New Empire (c.1292-1075 BC).

The ancient Egyptian chariots

Chariots, inspired armies of Western Asia, was officially presented as a division of the army at the end of the Second Intermediate Period (c.1650-1550 BC). New Kingdom, it became the backbone of the Egyptian army.Charioteers were drawn from the upper classes in Egypt. Chariots were generally used as a mobile platform from which to use projectile weapons, and were generally drawn by two horses and two chariots mounted: a driver who was wearing a shield, and a man with a bow or the javelin . Chariots also had the support of infantry.

Before the New Kingdom, the Egyptian army was essentially aquatic. Navy was an integral part of the Egyptian army, although more often than not, it was little more than a way for ground troops to where they were needed. However, for the interim period later, the Navy has become very sophisticated and complicated naval maneuvers used, for example Kamose the campaign against the Hyksos in the harbor of Avaris (c.1555-1550 BC).
Egyptian squadrons composed of fast "Keftiu / kebentiu" Byblos and Egyptian transports patrolling the eastern Mediterranean, and the higher ranks were composed of the elite middle. The Egyptian deployment of archers and the fact that Egyptian ships could both be sailed and rowed, gave them a decisive advantage, despite the inferiority of the ships themselves, which were sometimes quite considerable carrying up &aposTwo hundred and fifty soldiers.
Egypt lost its role as a maritime superpower after the late New Kingdom. Phoenicians and Greeks have become key players in the Mediterranean continental powers like the Persians used these sea nations to impose their control over the seas. The last of the Ptolemies, Queen Cleopatra VII joined forces with Marc Anthony Roman, in an attempt to preserve the independence of Egypt. But his fleet was defeated at Actium, which defined the end of Pharaonic Egypt.

The View Of Egyptian Military Pharaohs

"Too often those who have risked their own freedom, and all their prospects during popular struggle, are much forgotten, after a while,by the younger generation who do not know, who do not even care about,what their fathers have gone through.(Karl Blind)

Cheik Anta Diop, Egyptologist, linguist, physicist, historian and an owner of a carbon-dating lab, allows 10,000 years for the cycle of Egyptian civilization." He further states that: "This civilization called Egyptian in our period developed for a long time in its early cradle. This cycle of civilization, the longest in history, presumably lasted 10,000. This is a reasonable compromise between long chronology(based on data provided . by Manetho [which] places the beginning at 17,000 B.C.) and the short chronology (3100 B.C.) of the moderns - for the latter are obliged to admit that by 4245 B.C. the Egyptians had already invented the calendar (Which necessarily requires the passages of thousands of years.)"

Towards the end of the predynastic Gerzean period (3600-3200 B.C. armed conflict and conquest emerged, with several kingdoms seeking hegemony over the Nile Valley. One of these kingdoms, originating in Lower Nubia, was in fact ruled by "pharaohs" prior to the unification of Egypt

King Scorpion

King Scorpion ruled in the same Dynasty period before Narmer. This Dynasty is today known as the "00 Dynasty". He too has been thought that he was the first one to united the Upper and Lower Egypt through his army and captured 6,000

Aha is known to millions of people as King Menes, the founding King of Egypt&aposs 1st Dynasty and was the first king to unify Upper and Lower into one Kingdom. Ancient Egyptian form of civilization began with him. and he founded Crocodopolis. The Egyptian army under him performed raid against the Numbians in the south of Egypt, and expanded his sphere of influence as far as the First Cataract. It is purported that his death was a mystery because he was attacked by wild dogs and Nile crocodiles in Faiyum. He died at the age of sixty three. There is not enough readily available data about King Scorpion. It got lost over the millenniums and changes that happened in Egypt. the mace head and other artifacts enable us to know about him

King Narmer or Menes

The story of the rule of Menes is etched in raised relief in a palette discovered in 1898 by archeologist James Quibell in the Upper Egyptian city of Nekhen(Today&aposs Hierakonpolis). The palette, which is shaped like a shield, dates to as long ago as 3200 B.C. It holds one of the oldest known document about Menes. The Narmer palette is one of the most famous and ambitious commemorative stone objects for the period just before Egypt&aposs first Dynasty. On the two palettes, Narmer is shown wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt, smites the defeat enemy. The scene is labelled from above by a group which shows a falcon holding a rope leading from a man&aposs head. This head is combined with a "land" sign and papyrus plants to make a personification of Lower Egypt. On the second side, which is the opposite side side, Narmer is wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt and accompanied by standards and servants, reviews the slain enemy beside his ship.

Narmer showed his genius in many ways. He was by far much more acquainted with hydrostatics and hydraulic engineering more than the modern world did in the 1900s. The diverting of the course of the Nile was done with degree of skill and precaution that still baffles us to this day. The river flowed entirely along the sandy ridge of hills which skirts Egypt on the other side of Libya. Narmer-Menes, however, by banking up the river at the bend which forms about a hundred furlongs south of Memphis, laid the ancient channel dry, while he dug a new course for the river halfway between the two lines of the hills. To this day, the elbow which the Nile forms at the point where it is forced aside into the new channel is guarded with the greatest care by the Persians, and strengthened every year. of Lower and Upper Egyptian kingdoms, and created the first nation-state. pastoralists(Herodotus)

Menes is credited with the unification and has been linked to the crushing of Northern territories tribes and hordes of Euro-Asian Barbarians. These tribes were a source of great agitation for the Egyptians. Attracted by the wealth of the southern inhabitants, these tribes continuously raided their settlements consequently travel, travel was becoming a dire undertaking. Historically, these Tamahu, as the Egyptians called them, were described as having white skin, red to blond hair, and blue eyes.(Rosalie Davis) In the Egyptian language, "Tama" means people created and "Hu" is white, light or ivory.(Gerald Massey)

King Senwosret I

King Senwosret took office after his father was assassinated, some speculate, by his harem when he was out was fighting in Libya, that he quickly and swiftly left the campaign and went home, where he got into action by executing the plotters and making his public will for everyone to see, and it was called "Instructions of Amenemhet and is a classic piece of Egyptian Literature. It was during his reign that literature and craftsmanship was at it peak. His father was , Amenemhet I was a leader during the a significant rise in Kemet&aposs international power and influence. Ka-Kepra-Re Sen Wosret is the African king who is mentioned in the ancient Greek legends, &aposKing Kecrops&apos. &aposKecrops is important and that he was said by the Greeks to be the founder of Greek city-state, Athens. The sphere of power and influence included not only the Red Sea, up to as far as Punt, it also included what today we call the Mediterranean, Libya, Palestine, Syria, Crete, the Aegean Islands, and even the mainland of of Greece itself. Sen Wosret inherited this legacy(Bernal, &apos87 Kamil, &apos76) By the time he was in his early twenties, the politics had not changed much, and he secured the country like is father by guarding the south border with fortresses and watching the mobile Libyans clans in the north-west. The expeditions he had sent out brought back valuable minerals and for the first time the oases in the western desert wee explored

Senwosret eventually captured Lower Nubia and built over a dozen fortresses as far as south as the the second cataract the large stronghold at Buhen, now lost forever under the water of Lake Nasser. He expanded the Osiris religion and built monuments in every cult city in Egypt. He remodeled the temple of Khentiamentiu and Osiris at Abydos and constructed two new shrines at Karnak and Heliopolis. In Helipolis he erected two 20 meter (121) tons red granite obelisks for the Jubilee of this 30 years in office. One of the pair remains the oldest standing obelisk in Egypt. He built his pyramids at Lisht close to Fayum basin, and today it&aposs just in ruins.

Pharaoh Ahmose The Great

Egypt had been defeated at the end of the Second Intermediate period by the superior Nomadic Semites forces from Canaan and Syria used a new weapon, the chariot and these foreigners were called the Shepherd. The Hyksos occupied the north part of Egypt, enslaved the Egyptians brutally. The Hyksos worshiped a God called Set(Satan) who was the equivalent of to their God(s). The Hyksos used the Egyptian slave labor to build their new city known as Avaris. Pharaohs like Seqenera were the earliest patriots of resisting the Hyksos, and this was made possible by the rise of the princes of Thebes, who managed to keep the south of Egypt under their control. He conquered the Libu people of the western Nubia and Kush The reorganized and built their army, and improved their weapons and even used chariots. After Pharaoh Seneqera was slain battle, it was left to two great brothers, Prince Ka Mose and Prince Ahmose to pursue the war of liberation of against the Hyksos.

Pharaoh Ahmose resumed the war of liberation against the Hyksos or &aposShepherd Kings early in his reign. He crushed the foreigners&apos allies in Middle Egypt and, advancing down the Nile River, he captured Memphis, the traditional capital of Egypt, near modern Cairo. While his mother ran the government in Thebes, near modern Luxor, he undertook a waterborne operation against Avaris, The Hyksos Capital, in eastern delta followed by a land siege. When a rebellion flared in Upper Egypt, he hastened upriver to quell the uprising, while the queen mother Ahhotep helped to contain it.. Having put down the uprising, he captured Avaris and then pursued the enemy to Sharuben, A Hyksos stronghold in Palestine, which was reduced after a three-year siege. He went on to conquer Sinai pushing towards the final destruction of the Hyksos He went on to prepare and conquer Canaan, Byblos and the middle Eastern regions that posed a threat to Egypt.

Before advancing into Palestine,Ahmose, in three campaigns, advanced into Nubia, whose ruler was an ally of the Hyksos. The rich gold mines of the of the south provided another incentive for Ahmose&aposs expansion into Nubia. After his borders were secure, Ahmose established an administration loyal to him in Egypt and granted lands to distinguished veterans of his campaigns and to members of the royal family. He reactivated the copper mines at Sinai and resumed trade with the cities of the Syrian coast, as attested by inscriptions recording the use of cedar found in Syria an by the rich jewelry from his reign. After that, he pursued the Hyksos to Sharuhen, a Hyksos stronghold in Palestine and conquered them. Egypt became a major power and rose again to be a world force. During Ahmose&aposs reign the temples that he built were for the gods, Ptah, Amon, Montu and Osiris. He restored neglected temples, erected chapels for his family, and planned more ambitious works, but he died soon afterward, leaving a prosperous and untied Egypt.

Hatshepsut was the daughter of Thutmose I, who had ruled for 13 years during which he expanded the frontiers of Egypt as far as the most western part of the Euphrates river. He increased the wealth of his empire, as those lands were very productive. Thutmose I was also responsible for building The Valley of the Kings,where he and other pharaohs were buried. Thutmose wished that when he died, Hatshepsut succeeded him. But Vizier Ineni(builder/architect oft he Valley of the KIngs would not have a woman rule the empire. He promoted a weak and fledgling Thutmose II, who was the son of Thutmose I, but begat of a secondary wife. He was Hatshepsut&aposs half brother.

Hatshepsut was married off to Thutmose II, her half brother. It was a hard blow to her for she was raised as a pharaoh and wanted to fulfill her father&aposs wishes. Thutmose II was a very weak man and in bad health. He died three years later, but he had a son with a concubine called Thutmose III. since Thutmose III was still a child and could not rule, Hatshepsut came into power. She got the power that were granted both to men and women. she dressed like a Pharaoh and used their false beard too. Hatshepsut of ancient Egypt was the greatest female ruler of all time. Among those whom she dominated was her brother, Thotmes III, "The Napoleon of Far Antiquity". She was the first woman in history to challenge the supremacy of the male, and arrayed against her was a 3000 years of masculine tradition. She lived 150 years before Tutankhamen, or 3,500 years, in our time line

When her father was king, he was suddenly stricken with paralysis, and Hatshepsut became his chief aide. She was so efficient that Thothmes I entrusted her with the management of the kingdom and made her co-ruler. She and Thotmes III fought some serous wars which eventually left Hatshepsut had to compromise and marry Thotmes III, whom she eventually sidelined and went o to build temples, she restored cities devastated by wars. In Thebes, her city, she built temples an obelisks decorated with gold and silver.

Hatshepsut sent expeditions to distant lands, one of which was Punt. Punt was the traditional home of the earliest Egyptians and was located somewhere in East Africa. This mission was entrusted to Hehusi, the unmixed African who is spoken of in her inscriptions as "Prince Chancellor, First Friend, Wearing the Collar" Senmut, the architect and Thutiy, her treasurer. They left with five vessels of about 300 tons each, and returned with gold, myrrh, incense, incense bearing trees, strange animals, and other products of that region. The full story of this expedition may be read on the walls of her temple at Deir-el-Bahari.

When she died, her husband Thutmose III, succeeding the throne, killed off her friends, defaced her inscriptions, chipped her features fro her portraits, and walled in her obelisks, doing all with such thoroughness that she was forgotten for 300 years. Hatshepsut&aposs wish was to live in memory of mankind. To the Egyptian,that was true immortality and her story, written is still fresh and fascinating now as when it was in her life thirty-five centuries ago.

Thotmes III

He was the mightiest conquerer and administrator of Far East Antiquity and was a son of Thotmes I and a slave woman Isis or Asnut. He had a handicap of birth, but he forged ahead of those born noble and won supreme power not only in Egypt, but in the then known world was during his reign that Kemet reached the peak of its imperial power, when Asia had yet to develop its great civilization. He became know as the Napoleon of Far Antiquity His early bid for power failed in the long contest for the throne with Hatshepsut, his sister, for whom he proved no match. At one time, Thotmes III&aposs army numbered nearly 700,000 men (Steindorff and Steele, &apos57). Kemet embarked upon a phase of imperialism because of the invasion of the Hyksos or &aposShepherd Kings&apos, whom he ousted. It sought to establish a buffer to thwart further attempts at invasion. The rule if Thotmes III reached all the way to the Aegean, to mainland Greece right up to the Euphrates River. He, like all the other Thotmes Kings, followed the diplomatic practice of marrying Asian wives, daughters of foreign kings, as extra wives. Thotmes had 3 Asian wives. Neither became his Great Royal Wife. With the exception of Akhenaton and Thotmes IV, who married the daughter of the King of Mitanni, no Egyptian King took foreign wives as their Great Royal Wife. This was because the African Custom was the royal blood-line ran through the female or the queen, the Great Royal Wife

Thotmes III brought back to Egypt the kings of other nations to grace his triumphs, and such wealth of golden thrones, royal chariots,gold, jewels, gold and silver vessels and cattle as had never been seen before in Egypt. It is on record that in his seventieth year, Africans from Nubia brought him a tribute of 1570 pounds of gold from Waiwat alone.

He was utterly fearless, and it is said he once attacked an elephant in battle single-handed The beast was about to seize him when his general, Amenenhab, struck off its trunk with a blow of his sword and saved his life. The rule of Thotmes III was unlike many conquerers of antiquity because he showed mercy and spared the defeated nations, instead of putting the old and decrepit to the sword. Breasted writes:

"His character stands with more color and individuality that that of any other king of early Egypt, save Akhnaton. We see the man of tireless energy unknown in any Pharaoh before or since the man of versatility designing exquisite vases in a moment of leisure the lynx-eyed administrator who launched his armies upon Asia with one hand and with the other crushed the extortionate tax-gatherer. . While he was proud to leave a record of his unparalleled achievements, Thotmes III protests more than once his deep respect for the truth in so doing. . His reign marks an epoch not only in Egypt but in the whole east as we know it in his age. Never before in history had a single brain wielded the resources of so great a nation and wrought them into such centralized permanence and at the same time mobile efficiency, that for years they could be brought to bear with incessant impact as a skilled artisan manipulates a 100-ton forge hammer. Although the figure is inadequate unless we remember that Thotmes III forged his own hammer. The genius which rose from an obscure priestly office to accomplish this for the first time in history reminds us of an Alexander or Napoleon. He built the first real empire and is thus the first character possessed of universal aspects, the first world hero. From the fastness of Asia Minor,the marshes of the upper Euphrates, the Islands of the sea, the swamps of Babylonia, the distant shore of Libya, the Oases of the Sahara, the terraces of Somali Coast and the upper cataracts of the Nile, the princes of his time rendered tribute to his greatness. He thus made not only a world-wide impression upon his age, but an impression of a new order. His commanding figure, towering like an embodiment of righteous penalty among the trivial plots of the petty Syrian dynasts, must have clarified the atmosphere of oriental politics as a strong wind drives away miasmic vapors. The inevitable chastisement of his strong arm was held in awed remembrance by the men of Naharin for three generations. His name was one to conjure with for centuries after his empire had crumbled to pieces. It was placed on amulets as a word of power."

Thotmes III died at the age of eighty-two. He built many temples. Other of his obelisks was taken to Central Park, New YOrk City another was set up on the Thames Embarkment in London. And so in death, across the ages, King Thotmes III, The Great, rules in spirit in four major cities in the world, Constantinople, Rome, London and New York.

Piankhy - King of Ethiopia and Conquerer of Egypt

King Pianhky of Nubia watched his tribute of gold, cattle,slaves, and fighting men floating down the Nile to his overlord. for more than 1800 years his country had been dominated by Egypt, which drew from it much of her gold and most of her fighting men. Now he decided that when tribute was net due,he was going to be the receiver,not the giver.

Piankhy was the son of Kashta and he ascended to the throne of the Nubian-Egyptian nation. Ethiopia was in a flourishing state, and the Ethiopian kings had a certain claim to the throne of Egypt. Piankhy of Nepata, therefore, set out to enforce the claim, and he left a detailed account of his invasion. "(Dr. Murray). During is time on the throne, he had been strengthening his power. When his plans were ready, Piankhy started out on the conquest of the worlds then mightiest power. His fleet and transports were so numerous that they stretched for miles down the river As he advanced, he captured all small towns, sacrificing to the gods of Nubia on their altars, until he arrived at the first fortress.

Following this service of devotion and charge of valor, Piankhy and his legions sailed down the NIle to either augment his forces already in the Middle of Egyptian Townships - but under siege - or to overpower additional, key metropolises of Egypt. Governor Pefnefdebast of Heracleopolis was relieved that he was not killed and he prostrated himself before his conquerer. further down the river, another princeling - Osorken, King of Babustis - also knelt and paid paid homage to the regal Ethiopian and proclaiming his desire to look upon the beauty of his majesty and sniffed the ground before Piankhy.

As a warrior-king, Piankhy could - and did,when events demanded it - strike swiftly and ruthlessly, although he certainly was no vandal chieftain, killing wantonly or wreaking havoc in his wake simply to establish a name that was feared near and far. For example, when he became monarch of Egypt he protected rather than laid to waste its treasure-swollen temples, and his display of humanity and passion for justice tempered with mercy astonished ad pleased is opponents. Ethiopia&aposs great and well -trained army of black warriors and his own good behavior and his troops caused the Egyptians to regard him almost. (as) a protector from Assyria and Libya.

Success after success soon put Piankhy in control of all Egypt and the East African gladiator became the ruler of a commonwealth which stretched from the shores of the Mediterranean to the borders of modern Ethiopia - almost one quarter of the the African Continent. He loved women(Had at east seven wives) and horses. The Libyan Viceroys offered him spirited, powerful steeds. His horses, when excavators found them, were buried standing clad in full battle attire facing the south. He appointed a vassal prince and made the citizenry happy and peaceful and Piankhy controlled the fiscal and military power, that is, it remained in the hands of the Ethiopians. His decisive and speedy mastery of Egypt showed him to be a man of great physical stamina, ready decision and quick mental power. As a military tactician, in the assault of Memphis alone, he earned a high place among the battlefield strategists of all time. A man of action, a soldier with a sense of humanity, a ruler who governed in the interests of the people, Piankhy&aposs quality of character have assured him a place of high honor among the monarchs of man&aposs early civilized state.

The rulers of Egypt reviewed above had a sense of humanity, mercy, compassion and development of their people at all costs. The worked very hard for the defenses of their people and lands they liberated themselves from oppressive foreigners they rebuilt their temples, and built new ones the built large and strong armies they did all the could do to maintain the over 4000 years of consistent and unbroken rule of about twenty- something dynasties. We will be looking at the achievement of different Pharaohs throughout the existence of Egyptian Dynasties. Sometimes their deeds read like a fairy tale, and yet, it all happened and it is what we can learn from them how to deal with war, peace and development of cities and humanity and our spiritual well-being, for our &aposmodern&apos civilizations.

King Piye, The Bull Ruler of Egypt

Piye&aposs triumphant return south is not recorded, although it be assumed that he some time in Thebes. It is possible that the princesses Shepenwepeet and Muturdis were dedicated to the service of the Theban deities at this time, rather than on the northwards journey. Piye had doubtless bought architects and sculptors from Egypt. The timber and treasures he had received from the defeated rulers went towards the aggrandizement of the Kushite sanctuary which was now adorned with statuary brought form the older temples of Nubia.

By the time the Egyptian twenty-fifth dynasty rolled around, there once-all-powerful domain of the Pharaohs was not what it used to be. The New Kingdom was still a dominant civilization with an advanced culture filled with mummies, pyramids, and animal god-heads, but these were a far-cry from the days of the rule of Ramses II, with his war chariots, or Thutmose III giant obelisks. These dynasties fell because of ineffective leadership, general political in-fighting, and the centuries old civilization crumpled into several smaller kingdoms ruled by some petty despots. Out of these divided nomes arose a tyrant. It was during tis time of his rule that Tefnakht came up with the idea of unifying Egypt. He raised a mighty army and went about plundering ities along the Nile, and his enemies surrendered without giving up a fight. this raised Tefnakht on is way to being the supreme ruler of Egypt. As a ruler, he was not satisfied with the subjugation of the lesser cities of the Nile, and his need was going to be satiated by conquering all places that needed to be conquered. After he unified Egypt and all were subjected to his rule, he diced to march his armies south and invaded the Nubian Kingdom for some reason.

What he failed to realize, Tefnakht, was that Nubia, an ancient Kingdom that existed in the northern part of Sudan as very powerful indeed., and they never took kindly to some King trying to conquer them. As a matter of fact, the Nubians had been for millennium had been conquering and bashing heads and they were a hardcore civilization no one wanted to tangle with in war.. Tefnakht overlooked that and marched his armies into the the domain of the Kushite, where he came face to face with the Bull of Kush, Piye. By then he had been ruling for some twenty years and was known to be pious and just and an honorable ruler. When he heard that Tefnakht was coming to attack him, made sacrifices in the name of the god Amon.. Piye went out to face combat of a coalition of three kings and five princes loyal to the king of Egypt, and defeated them soundly. The enemy nobles and commanders lost their armies, fled the filed and ran off to their castles. To finnish his conquering streak, Piye went around one by one besieging them until, in his words, they "exuded the stench of decomposition". Piye went about conquering everything he could find his strategy was basically just to surround a city and demand that the submit to him, and when they did, he would march in, plunder their treasury and left. If they crossed him, , as was the case of the Egyptian metropolis of memphis, he would destroy their army, smash their navy and sacked the city by tearing down the walls,. He never encouraged his army to pillage, and rape, and he never ruthlessly killed the peasants to prove his benevolence as a King. Piye chased Tefnakht out of his city and as Tefnakht sued for peace reportedly to have said: "Be gracious! I cannot see your face in the days of shame I cannot stand before your flame, I dread your grandeur." After making himself a Pharaoh, Piye bailed out and headed back home to Nubia. He spent the rest of his days living in his giant palace, and never set his foot in Egypt again. He ruled Egypt benevolently and lived in Nubia, carved out his story on a giant stone stele, and was buried in a pyramid. Piye&aposs son went on to arrest Tefnakht&aposs son and burnt him on a stake.

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6 Answers 6

Boy is that wikipedia article riddle with citation needed around the part mentioning Joseph.

The thing that points to Joseph being of the Hyksos, looks to be what I thought was the best evidence against it. If you didn't think of this yourself, permit me to state the obvious, The evidence is in where the bones went. Joseph wanted his bones buried where they came from, so unless they, and everyone else, forgot where they came from, they buried him in the wrong place. But if they came from Canaan and went back to Canaan then that's rather appropriate.

However, and with the help of the only reference to Hyksos on Vatican.va translated into English, the key is in the revulsion that the Egyptians felt towards Joseph and his brothers.

Genesis 43:32 (DRA)
32 And when it was set on, for Joseph apart, and for his brethren apart, for the Egyptians also that ate with him, apart, (for it is unlawful for the Egyptians to eat with the Hebrews, and they think such a feast profane:)

If there is evidence of revulsion (or evidence of future subjugation) then yeah, that could be the historical Joseph story. But if there's no evidence for this, then they're separate folks.

Which may be the reason some are hesitant to jump on the Joseph as Hyskos bandwagon.

As an archaeologist of Central Europe and adherent of processual paradigm, I'd argue that it's (almost) impossible to prove existence of a person archaeologically. But here we can join study of historical texts with archaeology and ignore the boundaries between these two disciplines. Archaeology itself without aid of written texts can say very little on ethnicity and even less about fates of exact individuals (unless we have the body post-procesuallism tries to change it, but its approach is not very exact).

As the wikipedia article on Hyksos says, they probably came from Kanaan and are thought to be multiethnic (some of their names are not semitic, but seems to be indoeuropean - but indoeuropean Hittites lived in Canaan too, so it's no problem). This makes the theory of Hyksos as Joseph and his relatives (plus lots of other people not mentioned in Bible) quite plausible.

On the other hand, from "quite plausible" is a long way to "proved". "Joseph" is not mentioned in any Egyptian text we have. We don't know all the kings of 15th dynasty, so he could have been lost somewhere around Sakir-Har or Khyan. If we take into account the biblic legend of Joseph being more powerful than the pharaoh, he might have been the same person as Yaqub-Har. But all these are wild speculation, nothing worth solid scientific theory or even claim to prove anything.

Well, there are still no records of Joseph himself. From an objective perspective, these Hyksos could only be considered proof of the possibility of Joseph, not of Joseph himself. Yes, there is a record which says that it is quite possible that the stories of Genesis and Exodus represents some sort of mytho-symbolic truth, but that does not mean that the details of the stories are accurate by any means.

We have proof of George Washington, we do not have proof of the cherry tree. While it is possible that a cherry tree was chopped down by Washington, there is not definitive proof.

I use Washington here as a matter of illustration. I am not stating that Genesis and Exodus are wrong, merely that they do not hold up to what are now considered modern standards of evidence.

The Hyksos were Semites from the Levant, probably from the northern Levant, ie Syria. The names of the Hyksos kings have no resemblance to the names of Israelites, except for one of their kings. "Jacob". Manetho the Egyptian historian of the first or second century BCE did not see them as Israelites. They worshipped other gods, and when someone died they quite often buried a horse alongside the body of the person. They were driven out of Egypt in about 1580 bc and Manetho says some of them went on to capture Jerusalem, so the Jebusites may have been Hyksos. It is sometimes supposed the Hyksos were Amorites.

Archaeological light on the life of Joseph

When Joseph left prison to appear before the pharaoh to give the interpretation of the pharaoh’s dream he first shaved himself lest he offend the pharaoh (Genesis 41:14). According to Eugene Merrill:

This is precisely what the Egyptian exile Sinuhe did when he returned to Egypt after living for years among the Semites of Syria. For Joseph to have shaved prior to appearing before a bearded Hyksos king would, of course, have been an insult rather than a concession. And when Joseph’s brothers came to him to request grain, not yet having learned their true identity, he set them apart at dinnertime because “Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews” (Gen 43:32). If Joseph had been representing himself as a Semitic official of a Hyksos king, it is strange that he would have segregated himself from fellow Semites. That he was acting in accordance with long-standing Egyptian tradition proves beyond question that the story has nothing to do with the Hyksos (“Kingdom of Priests”, (1987), page 52, 53).

When Joseph had interpreted the dream of the pharaoh he was given the name of “Zaphnath Paaneah” (41:45). If the king had been Hyksos there would have been no need to give Joseph an Egyptian name at all. According to Kenneth Kitchen the name he was given was very likely “Joseph who is called (I)pi-ankh”, with “zaphnath” meaning “who is called” and with the soft I being dropped and (I)pi-ankh meaning “giver of life”. (I)pi-ankh was not an uncommon name in the Middle Kingdom era if I understand Kitchen rightly. So his Egyptian name may have been "Joseph who is called Giver of Life". The name construct was common in Egypt’s Middle Kingdom era:

The Papyrus Brooklyn 35.1446 of circa 1730 bc has forty-eight “Asiatics” in its list of seventy-seven household servants, and twenty-eight of these show precisely the construction proposed here “X (Semitic name) who is called Y (Egyptian name).” One could hardly ask for a better pedigree than this. (“On the Reliability of the Old Testament” by Kenneth Kitchen, 2003, page 346).

Is there direct evidence for Joseph?

There is no direct evidence of the person Joseph in Egyptian history. But various events, names and titles of officials give strong evidence that the story of Joseph was written early by someone with a good knowledge of Egyptian society. Furthermore Hebrew words which are Egyptian loanwords are much more prevalent in the Pentateuch than in the rest of the Old Testament.

But… should we expect to find direct evidence of the Joseph himself? Many monuments, stele, statues, etc in ancient Egypt were paid for by the person themselves and were a consequence of the desire for self-aggrandizement of the person in question. Joseph was a godly, humble, believer in Yahweh, and would have eschewed such proud self-promotion. He chose not to have a permanent burial in Egypt, but chose rather that his bones should go back to the Promised Land when the Israelites left Egypt. He was an administrator, not the ruler, and probably would have thought it prudent not to promote himself and thus provoke the envy of those around him.

So now let's look at indirect evidence

The chronology for Egypt from the beginning of the Middle Kingdom to the start of the New Kingdom is taken from the "British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt" compiled by Ian Shaw and Paul Nicholson (1st edition 1995) with dates reduced by 2 years for a more precise fit of astronomical data:

Middle Kingdom 2053-1650

Queen Sobekneferu 1797-1793

13th DYNASTY 1793- after 1650

Some 70 rulers, of which the five more frequently attested are:

Minor rulers probably contemporary with the 13th dynasty.

Second Intermediate Period 1650-1575

(I have altered the dates from Shaw and Nicholson to the “High Chronology” for the start of the New Kingdom. Egyptologists are equally divided over which is correct, but the High Chronology fits the Scriptural chronology and the Low Chronology does not. For Egyptologists the Low and the High are equally possible.)

Minor Hyksos rulers contemporary with the 15th Dynasty

Several rulers based in Thebes, of which the four most prominent examples are listed:

In the above list, there is by no means a consensus for either the reign lengths or dates of the 12th dynasty rulers: the dates are to be taken as approximate only. However, the radiocarbon and dendochronological dating of a funeral boat of Senusret III to 1887 bc (+ or – 11 years) gives some confidence the dates are in the right ball park.

When did Joseph rule? The Bible says that the Israelites were in Egypt for 430 years "to the very day" (Exodus 12:40, 41). This is usually taken to mean from the date that Jacob entered Egypt with all the family at the beginning of the third year of the famine.

There are two dates suggested for the Exodus, the late date of about 1250 bc and the early date of, say, 1446 bc. The 1250 date is arrived at by assuming that 1 Kings 6:1 is not to be understood literally, whereas for 1446 bc it is taken literally.

430 years back from 1250 is 1680 bc, which is just before the beginning of the Hyksos period this was a period of relative weakness in Egypt's fortunes, when the land of Egypt probably split in two with the Hyksos ruling the north from Avaris and an Egyptian king ruling from Thebes in the south.

430 years before 1446 bc is 1876 bc which is right in the heart of the Egypt's glorious 12th Dynasty. This was a long time before the Hyksos era. It was an era when the pharaoh became very powerful.

During the years of plenty Joseph purchased the surplus grain on behalf of the pharaoh (at very low prices because no one else wanted it or had any where to store it). During the famine Joseph sold the grain that had been gathered up back to the Egyptians for money at a good profit (Genesis 47:13,14). When their money ran out Joseph bought all their livestock (47:16,17). When they had sold all their animals he bought all their land (47:20-23). In the process of buying all the land, the Egyptians now owned nothing, but were the servants of the Pharaoh. And so Joseph instituted an annual income tax upon the Egyptians of 20% (47:24-27). In this account obviously the Bible documents a huge centralizing of wealth and power away from the people and towards the Pharaoh.

Is there any evidence of this centralizing of power either in the 12th Dynasty or in the Second Intermediate Period? As said already, the Second Intermediate Period (about 1650 - 1575 BC) was a period of a lack of central authority and power in Egypt. However the Middle Kingdom is notable for the fact that at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom the power of the pharaoh was quite limited but by the end of the 12th Dynasty the pharaoh was supreme. This was because, at the beginning, a lot of power was held by the local “Nomarchs”. Ancient Egypt was divided into areas called Nomes (not to be confused with gnomes… they played no part in Egyptian history… (probably)). The Nomes were ruled by family dynasties and the ruler of the Nome was the Nomarch, leading to a political structure similar to feudal Europe with barons under a king. At the beginning of the Middle Kingdom the Nomarchs were very powerful. This power was much reduced during the reign of Senusret III in the 12th Dynasty. Quoting from “The British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt” compiled by Ian Shaw and Paul Nicholson (1995) on the entry for Senusret III:-

Since the Old Kingdom (2686-2181) the major threat to royal power had probably come from the nomarchs, the provincial governors a shift in funerary patterns of the elite (a decline in provincial tombs) may indicate that Senusret III reduced their authority drastically by removing many of their established priveleges. The means by which this was achieved in unclear, but henceforth it was to be the King’s viziers who oversaw all branches of administration (page 259).

The evidence that the power of the nomarchs was drastically reduced is the dramatic reduction in the splendour of the provincial tombs of the nomarchs. Before Senusret III these tombs were very notable for their grandeur grand tombs for the provincial nomarchs ceased during the reign of Senusret III. Though Egyptologists confess they do not know how Senusret III achieved this they are agreed there is no evidence it was achieved by any kind of civil war.

Another feature of his reign was a big increase in the bureaucracy of the pharaoh’s central administration, in the number and variety of official positions in the central royal administration (c.f. “Court Officials of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom” by Wolfram Grajetzki).

These changes in the political structure of the Middle Kingdom fit well with the Bible’s account of the famine and of the “purchase of Egypt” in exchange for grain by Joseph on behalf of the pharaoh.

During the years of plenty Joseph stored up the grain for the lean years. He would have needed new buildings for this storage. Also it is likely he would have tried to find ways to increase the quantity of land in Egypt under cultivation, or to store water during the good years to use it during the years of the low inundation of the Nile.

During the 12th dynasty the region of Egypt known as the Fayum (or Fayoum) began to be developed. Under the entry for Senusret II the British Museum Dictionary says:

He also inaugurated an ambitious irrigation system in the Fayum region, which enabled large areas of new agricultural land to be brought under cultivation.

Under Amenemhat III the same book says:

His reign evidently represented the most prosperous phase of the dynasty . he is particularly associated with the economic and political rise of the Fayum region, where he completed a large-scale irrigation project inaugurated by his father [grandfather??] .

Muslims living in the region of Fayum believe the canals, dams and the great lake were all built by Joseph. In ancient times the lake was truly huge, with the water level 85 meters higher than the level of today's lake, and thus covering a vast expanse of the fayum region.

The second mortuary complex of Amenemhat III, at Hawara on the borders of the Fayum region, includes the multi-roomed mortuary temple known to Classical authors as the "Labyrinth".

The Labyrinth, then, is also associated with Amenemhat III and consists of large rooms. The Labyrinth today is under the sand and only visible using modern sonar techniques. Running through a corner of the Labyrinth is a canal. What is striking is that some of the rooms of the Labyrinth run parallel to the canal the canal is clearly part of the structure of the Labyrinth. This canal runs for a few hundred miles parallel to the Nile and then joins up the Nile to the lake in the Fayum region. In ancient times the Fayum region contained a huge lake called Lake Meoris. The canal that joins the Nile to the (current much smaller) lake in the Fayum region is called “Bahr Yussef” or the “Canal of Joseph” and the Egyptians say it was built by the Joseph of the Bible. (http://www.touregypt.net/fayoum.htm)

The Labyrinth had an "upstairs" and a "downstairs". In ancient times the Greek historian Herodotus was permitted a tour of the upstairs based on which he gives a description of its huge size. But Herodotus was not permitted to see the downstairs.

I have two thoughts on the possible purpose of the Labyrinth. Perhaps it was built by Joseph to store grain: this explains the large size of the rooms. The grain was brought to the "Labyrinth" by boat and taken away by boat.

However, it is clear that the "dowstairs" is and always was below the ground-water level. This means it would not be a good place to store grain. the grain would likely go mouldy. Another possibility is the lower levels were built as mausolium, a burial place for the administrators of the royal administration. It has already been noted that during the reign of Senusert III and into the reign of Amenemhat III the central administration greatly increased in size, recruiting staff from the regional nome administrations. Some of the new administrators were members of the nomarcial ruling families, which took their burials very seriously. It may be that the pharaoh had the lower Labyrinth built as a mausolium as a perk of the job and as a solution to one of the concerns of the nomarcial families upon joining the royal administration . that they might not have a decent burial.

As has been said Jacob came to Egypt at the beginning of the third year of the famine in 1876 BC. Amenemhat II was the pharaoh who had the dreams and chose Joseph to rule Egypt, and who ruled during the years of plenty. Senusert II ruled during most of the years of famine. Senusert III began to reign in the final year of famine. The administrative changes and collapse of the power of the nomarchs is attributed to Senusert III possibly because some of the nomarchs had already prepared their mortuary splendour before the years of famine had kicked in: after all, Cheops took about 25 years to prepare his pyramid, the Egyptians took their dying and their fame arising from their burial remains very seriously!

A start date of 1872 for the reign of Senusert III fits all the astronomical data very well: for more on this see "Die chronologische Fixierung des agyptischen Mittleren Reiches nach dem Tempelarchiv von Illahun" by Ulrich Luft (1992) and "The astronomical evidence for dating the end of the Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt to the Early Second Millenium: a reassessment" by Lynn Rose (free online). Much thanks to Rita Gautschy for her astronomical data on the Heliacal Rising of Sothis/Sirius at http://www.gautschy.ch/

rita/archast/mond/mondeng.html (google search "last and first sightings of the lunar crescent gautschy"). In short there are 40 lunar observations and one heliacal rising of Sothis in the 7th year of Senusert III which need to fit: from these a number of possible years for the year of the beginning of the reign of Senusert III can be arrived at: I have chosen the only option which supposes that the events in the life of Senusert II and Senusert III, with regard to the Fayum region and with regard to the decline of the power of the nomarchs, relate to the life of Joseph.

The year I have chosen for the start of Senusert III's reign is also the best fit in the sense that it assumes the heliacal rising of Sothis was observed from Memphis. Other options for the start of the reign of Senusert III assume that the heliacal rising in the 7th year of unnamed pharaoh on the Egyptian date IV Peret 16 was observed from a different location, which would have thus been in a different year. There is good evidence, however, that Memphis was always the town of observation of the heliacal rising of Sothis/Sirius. For instance, the heliacal rising of Sothis in the nineth year of the reign of Amenhotep I can only fit the biblical chronology if we assume the 18th dynasty's High Chronology which neccessitates an observation from Memphis.

So in the Twelfth Dynasty we have the collapse of the power of the nomarchs, and a great increase in the central administration of the royal court we have the rise of the Fayum region both as a place to increase the amount of agricultural land and as a reservoir lake/sea to send back to the Nile for irrigating the fields in times of low innundation we have the Bahr Yussef, the Canal of Joseph, which joined Lake Meoris in the Fayum region to the Nile, and which also passed through the Labyrinth with its large rooms for storage. The Twelfth Dynasty is by far the best period for seeing the handiwork of Joseph.

Joseph is often said to have been a "vizier" for two reasons I think this is not the case: first, it comes as a surprise but we actually know the names of the viziers of the Twelfth Dynasty and second, people wrongly equate vizier with a Prime Minister under a sovereign. In fact there were often two viziers in Egypt at the same time, and sometimes three. Each vizier administered a different region of Egypt. I think Joseph was above the viziers. Joseph had a unique position in Egyptian history, planning both the survival for the seven years of poor innundation/(poor rainfall in Ethiopia), and planning the long term administration of Egypt viziers were going to be part of that long term administration.

How readers will view this information will really be decided by whether they want to have evidence for Joseph found by archaeologists or whether they do not. For me, the events of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt harmonize with the Biblical story of the rule of Joseph at this time. If so, what are the implications of this?

This period was well before the period of the Hyksos, so there is no evidence that Joseph was Hyksos himself or that he administered during the Hyksos period. But when the Hyksos peoples and other Semites came into Egypt there may have been some intermarriage with the Israelites.

If Joseph administered during the 12th Dynasty then this is yet further evidence supporting an Exodus around 1446 bc. For more on who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus see Who was Pharaoh when Moses lived in Egypt?

The only time Joseph is actually mentioned in an Egyptian text is the "Osarseph" report in the "Aegyptopaea", the Egyptian history of the Egyptian/Greek historian Manetho, thought to be written on the basis of Egyptian temple documents and by direction of king Ptolemy II of Egypt in Memphis around 300 B.C. In this report, Osarseph, a renegade priest of Heliopolis of Asian or Hyksos origin, instigated an uprising of Asian or Hyksos slaves, who were remnants of a once large Hyksos population driven out of Egypt centuries earlier (by the pharaoh Ahmose in 1521 B.C. as we know from his victory stela today), and who were considered "unclean" or "leprous" by the Egyptians, probably meaning that they were corrupted by an un-Egyptian faith, and therefore banned to work in the Egypt-wide stone quarries first, and then locked away in the town "Avaris", the former Hyksos capital in the north-eastern delta of the Nile.

In Avaris, Osarseph renamed himself as "Moses" (which basically means the one who came out of the water as a source of divine inspiration), gave the slaves laws completely contrary to the Egyptian laws (which basically means that he denounced that pharaoh is the supreme god on Earth and hence the supreme god is beyond this Earth and no image or human representative can be made of him), invited contingents of the formerly chased away Hyksos, who had settled down in and around Jerusalem in Palestine, back to Avaris to join the uprising, and launched a religious war on Egypt. In this war, which lasted thirteen years and penetrated Egypt up to Memphis in the south in Middle Egypt, the temples of Egypt were the major targets, and they were deprived of their idols and their sacred animals were being killed. The same war also brought plagues and famine over Egypt. In the end, the Egyptian pharaoh was able to counter the slave revolt with the help of Nubian reinforcements, and he drove the slaves with Hyksos origin out of Avaris and pursued them right into Syria in the north. These slaves found refuge in Jerusalem and the hill country surrounding this city, and Manetho adds that these slaves are considered as the ancestors of the Jews now.

Two versions of this Osarseph report have survived, both of which quoted in the work "Against Apion" by the first century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who was an eye witness of the Jewish war that ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and the second temple in 70 A.D., who became a protegee of the later Roman emperors Vespasian and Titus, who waged this Jewish war, and who wrote extensively about Jewish history in Rome up to his death around 100 A.D. The second version of this Osarseph report deviates from the other version in the detail that it says that Joseph and Osarseph were the leaders of the slave revolt.

And this is the point where the biblical Joseph is actually mentioned in the Egyptian writings. This makes perfect sense, because Joseph according to the Bible was the first of the tribunal faction of the Hyksos migration into Egypt that later became the Israelites to enter Egypt, and Osarseph alias Moses was the one who finally led these people out of Egypt. Also a linkage between Joseph and Osarseph becomes apparent, since Joseph according to the Bible married the daughter of the high priest of Heliopolis. It is therefore very plausible that some of Joseph's offspring remained in the priestly service at Heliopolis, and Osarseph was the last one in that line. One can further observe, since "Osarseph" is obviously a combination of "Osiris" and "Joseph", that there is a direct name relation between Moses and Joseph, and because Osiris is the supreme Egyptian god of creation and the one who presides over the afterlife, one can get a clue from where Moses draw his monotheistic convictions.

Manetho's Orsarseph report has caused much confusion among scholars, starting with Josephus, mainly because the pharaoh mentioned in that report is "Amenophis", a pharaoh Josephus cannot align with any pharaoh in the otherwise conclusive list of Egyptian kings in Manetho's history. Modern scholars mostly identify this pharaoh with Amenophis IV or pharaoh Akhenaten, the "heretical" king who introduced the cult of the single god of the life-giving Sun Aton and also fought a religious war about this issue during his whole reign between about the years 1353 - 1336 B.C. Yet this king makes no sense in a Hyksos setup, and so the scholars conclude that something is mixed up in Manetho's report, maybe based on vague folks traditions, thus leaving the report little credibility.

However, seven different copies of Manetho's kings list have survived, five of which state "Amenophis" for the pharaoh in question, and two state "Merenptah" instead, two pharaohs whose regnal Egyptian names only differ with a syllable. This makes it almost certain that the substitution of "Amenophis" in Josephus' copy is the consequence of an ancient transcription error. Further evidence for this follows from the fact that Manetho's Osarseph report tells us that the alleged pharaoh "Amenophis" named his son after his father "Rameses" and his grandfather "Sethos", but according to the correct and Egyptologically underpinned succession of the kings, it was pharaoh Merenptah who was the son of Rameses II and the grandson of Sethos I (^*). With pharaoh Merenptah instead of "Amenophis" there is no contradiction with the archaeological records. This means that pharaoh Merenptah was the pharaoh of the suppression (probably when he still ruled together with his father) and the exodus of the Israelites.

Pharaoh Merenptah reigned for seventeen years from 1213 B.C. onwards. From this pharaoh a victory stela is preserved, dated for the fifth year of his sole reign, which is the year 1208 B.C., on which he proudly pronounced that he has driven the enemies of Egypt out of the country, namely the Lybians back to Lybia in the north-west, and four other groups back to Syria in the north. One of the latter groups are the "beaten unsettled tribes of the Israelites, whose seeds are no more" (meaning that many of their young warriors have been killed). This Merenptah inscription corresponds to Manetho's report of the pursuit of the Hyksos decendant slaves into Syria or Palestine.

(^*) A reference for this important point is: R. Kittel, "A History of the Hebrews: In Two Volumes", page 260: . But if it [Manetho's account] does [embody an independent Egyptian reminiscence of the Exodus], the question must then be asked as to what period of Egyptian history it is to be assigned. The names Rameses, Amenophis, Sethos-Rameses (^1) appear to correspond most nearly with those of the Kings Rameses II., Merenptah, and Seti II., who stood to each other in the relation of father, son, and grandson. Accordingly most moderns have agreed that Rameses II. was the Pharaoh of the Oppression [in his later time with Merenptah as a co-ruler] and Merenptah of the Exodus. And, as a matter of fact, it is impossible to deny that by the Amenophis of Josephus, Manetho cannot have meant any one but Merenptah (^2).

(^1) More precisely, in Josephus: Rhampses, Amenophis, Sethos-Rhamesses in Julius Africanus and Syncellus [versions of Manetho's report]: Rhapeakes (Rhampses), Amenephibes (Merenpthah), Rhamesses. See Lepalus, K"onigsbuch Ant., p. 16f Ebers, Gosen, p.536.

(^2) The proof is that Julius Africanus and Syncellus actually give [A)menephthes in place of Amenophis. Amenophis must therefore be due to a misunderstanding of the part of Josephus, or an ancient clerical error in his copy of Manetho.

The Six Hyksos "Great Kings"

Many years ago (1987 to be exact), I wrote a couple of papers on Egypt's Second Intermediate Period. In one of them, I made a half-hearted attempt to identify the six Hyksos "Great Kings". I include the relevant section of the paper below. I my next post, I will retract part of what I wrote many years ago in light of new evidence that has become available.

The Six “Great Kings” of the Hyksos :

It is difficult to determine exactly who the six Hyksos “Great Kings” were. Manetho claims that the Sixteenth Dynasty was comprised of Hyksos Pharaohs, but this is impossible as the Kamose Stela proves that Kamose (of Dynasty Seventeen) and Apopis (of Dynasty Fifteen) were contemporaries[1]. Furthermore, the Turin Canon clearly states that there were six Hyksos Kings[2]. The usual explanation for Manetho ’s Sixteenth Dynasty is that Manetho somehow got a list of Hyksos “ Princelings ” and came to the conclusion that they were Pharaohs in a separate dynasty[3]. In view of the almost total lack of evidence for this period it must be admitted that no better idea is available.

Going on the assumption that there were only six Hyksos Pharaohs and that they comprised the Fifteenth Dynasty we next turn to the question of exactly who those six Kings were. Manetho ’s version of the names of these King’s is too garbled to be of any real use, and will be ignored for the most part in the following discussion.

The Inscribed monuments show that Apopis must have been one of the six Kings in question and that he must have been either the last of the six or next to the last (this is proven by the Kamose Stela , which clearly shows that Apopis is a contemporary of Kamose ). Khian is certainly one of the six as well, but it cannot be stated for certain who the other four were.

Attempts to clear this matter up have been made by several scholars in the past. Olga Tufnell , in her analysis of the scarabs of the period[4], is one of the persons who have tried to shed light on this topic. A detailed analysis of her work is impossible here, but a summary of her results is in order.

First of all, she concludes that the only “Kings” who must be included in Dynasty Fifteen for sure are Khian , Apopis and Khamudy , There are no scarabs or other monuments of Khamudy Manetho provides the only evidence for his existence when he claims that Khamudy was the (short-lived) successor of Apopis [5].

Secondly, she separates a list of “Kings” who are represented by a greater amount of “evidence” than the others. She includes on this list: Khian , Meruserre Yakubher , Mayebre Sheshi , Kauserre Amu , Sekhaenre Ykbmw , Nebuserre Y’ mw , Ahetepre , Apopis and Khamudy . The remaining three Pharaohs could be any three persons on this list, or even from a list of lesser know individuals.

Thirdly, and most importantly, she has created a relative chronology of the Kings in question, which is not contradicted by any other historical source. This chronology indicates that Khian must be one of the earliest Kings of the period, while Apopis must be at the end. Most scholars accept Mayebre Sheshi as one of the Hyksos Kings[6] and, if her chronology is accurate, he must rule after Khian and before Apopis [7]. There is no way to prove who the remaining two Hyksos rulers were, but the present author is inclined to follow von Beckerath and, very tentatively, suggest Yakubher and Sekhaenre [8], as these two have left behind a larger number of scarabs than other candidates. Taking all of this in to consideration, I would suggest that the six “Great Kings” of the Hyksos , in the order that they ruled, were Meruserre Yakubher , Khian , Mayebre Sheshi, Sekhaenre , Apopis and Khamudy .

[1] Hibachi, p. 31 and passim.

[4] Tufnell , O. Studies on Scarab Seals, vol II, ( Warminster : Aris & Phillips, lt ., 1984).

[8] Von Beckerath , p. 32 and Tufnell , p. 162 and sources quoted therein.

Hot Cup of Joe

Chariots are frequent subjects of Egyptian art and are nearly always depicted as an instrument of war or hunting with the Pharaoh in a grand pose about to lay waste to an enemy or slay a wild beast (fig. 1). Among the many representations of chariots in Egyptian art, are those found in the tombs of Ahmose at Abydos (Spalinger 2005), the Userhet, a royal scribe of the 18 th Dynasty (Lloyd 1961), Khaemhet, Amenhotep Huy (Smith 1998), Tutankhamen (Smith 1998 Partridge 1996 Littauer & Crouwel 1985), and Thutmose IV (Partridge 1996) among others. Chariots are also found in temple art such as the depictions of Seti I on the exterior wall of the Hypostyle Hall at the temple of Amun at Karnak mounting his vehicle then trampling his enemy at Kadesh (Partridge 1996 Smith 1998). There are also a few artifacts of chariots that have proveniences from the pharaonic tombs of Amenhotep II, Thutmose IV, and Amenhotep III as well as the tomb of Yuya and Thuya, the parents-in-law of Amenhotep III (Littauer & Crauwel 1985 Partridge 1996). The first intact chariot was discovered in 1829 in a tomb whose owner remains unknown and is now on display at the Museo Archeologico in Florence , Italy (Littauer & Crouwel 1985). The Florence Chariot (fig. 2) has wheels of four spokes and is considered to be of earlier construction and design than other chariots found, which have six spokes (Partridge 1996).

While the exact date of the Florence Chariot's tomb may not be known Partridge (1996) suggests that it probably originated from early in the 18 th Dynasty, there is epigraphic evidence of chariot use in Egypt during the reign of Ahmose I at the beginning of the same Dynasty. In the biography left in the tomb of Ahmose, son of Eben, a military elite under the Pharaoh Ahmose and later Thutmose I (Spalinger 2005 Pritchard 1958), descriptions of his exploits in expelling the Hyksos from Egypt include mention of chariotry, though in a brief, even casual manner:

"I served as soldier in his place in the ship, "The Wild Bull," in the time of the Lord of the Two Lands: Neb-pehti-Re, the triumphant, when I was (still) a boy, before I had taken a wife [. ] But after I had set up a household, then I was taken on the ship, "Northern," because I was valiant. Thus I used to accompany the Sovereign -life, prosperity, health! -on foot, following his excursions in his chariot" (Pritchard 1958, p. 173).

Ahmose, son of Ebana, makes no direct mention of Egyptian use of chariots as war machines or in battle and Pritchard comments that the chariot is introduced to the Egyptians by the Hyksos.

The Hyksos first appear in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, 1782-1570 BCE (Brewer & Teeter 1999), and began occupying the Eastern Delta region. The term "Hyksos" is derived from hk hswt, referring to "foreign rulers" of Asiatic lands. Van Seters (1966) discusses in detail the argument of Wolfgang Helck that the Hyksos were of Hurrian or Indo-Aryan origin and part of an invasion or massive immigration with the intent to occupy and dominate Egypt , based largely on the account of Manetho as retold by Flavius Josephus. Van Seters contends that Helck's arguments are dubious and speculative and notes that the linguistic, archaeological, and epigraphic evidence points to Semitic, probably Canaanite, origins for the people that have come to be known as the Hyksos. Van Seeters argues that the name Salitas as indicated by Manetho is the Semitic title "sultan." Likewise, he points out that the name of a slave given to Ahmose, the son of Ebana, is Ishtar-ummi, and of West-Semitic origin. Ahmose, son of Ebana, participated in several raids on Avaris in which he took hands of his enemy as well as live captives, which Ahmose, the Pharaoh, awarded him as slaves along with "The Gold of Valor" on at least two occasions (Pritchard 1958).

The Hyksos, however, are frequently attributed as having introduced the chariot and the composite bow to the Egyptians (Lloyd 1961 Van Seters 1966 Brewer & Teeter 1999 Drews 1993 Partridge 1996 Spalinger 2005). Van Seters concedes that this is a compelling argument for the possibility of at least an element of Hurrians within the Hyksos, which isn't a term specific to a single ethnicity to the Egyptians, but to foreigners in general, particularly Asiatics (Van Seters 1966 Brewer & Teeter 1999). As already noted, the chariot was described by Ahmose, son of Ebana, in context of the siege of Avaris by Pharaoh Ahmose. But warfare at this point depended upon rapidly moving large numbers of troops via ships on the Nile (Spanlinger 2005) rather than attacking with fast-moving chariot divisions. Indeed, Spalinger along with Littauer and Crouwel (2002) point out the difficulty that chariots would have on any terrain but smooth, level and dry surfaces. The Nile Valley itself is considerably less forgiving to the easily tipped or stuck in the mud chariots and devoid of the wide-open spaces characteristic of Syria and Palestine , which would be faced by Egypt later (Spalinger 2005). Littauer and Crouwel (1985) make note of the "second stela" of Kamose and its mention of the "chariotry" of the pharaoh's enemies, but they also raise the question of interpretation of that stela. His Hyksos enemies may or may not have had chariots, but it seems reasonable to assume, however, that Pharaoh Kamose might have when evidence exists that his brother and successor Ahmose did ( Harvey 1998).

Battle scene fragments from the walls of the Ahmose Temple at Abydos (fig. 3) are close in composition to those of the temples of Thutmoses I and II (fig. 4) such that the later Thutmoside scenes may have been influenced by those at the Ahmose Temple . The Ahmose images clearly indicate four-spoke wheels, while some Thutmoside images show four-, six-, and eight-spoke wheels. Those of the pharaoh in Thutmoside images are clearly eight-spoke wheels, while the Asiatics in the same images are depicted as much smaller in stature than the pharaoh and their chariots have only four spokes ( Harvey 1998). The Ahmose Temple images are the earliest depictions of chariots in Egypt (Harvey 1998 Spalinger 2005) and include no depictions of Hyksos chariots nor does the biography of Ahmose, son of Ebana, speak of chariots used by the Hyksos.

The chariot, however, is certainly an imported technology from outside Egypt and from the East based on design and materials (Littauer and Crouwel 2002, 1985 Partridge 1996 Spalinger 2005). According to Littauer and Crouwel the Egyptian chariot followed design trends of Assyrian models in being "small, fast two-man" vehicles (2002) and assert that both the chariot and the horse in Egypt are imported from the Levant (1985). Partridge notes the materials used in chariot construction, such as elm and birch, were not native to Egypt and implied some level of trade with sources outside of Egypt . According to Spalinger, the Asiatic and Egyptian chariots of the early 16 th and 15 th centuries BCE are "virtually identical" and that their suitability for use in arid regions "should alert us to the origins outside of the so-called ' Fertile Crescent ' (p. 13)."

Brewer, D. J., & Teeter, E. (1999). Egypt and the Egyptians. Cambridge : University Press.

Drews, R. (1993). The End of the Bronze Age: CHanges in Warfare and the Catastrophe ca. 1200 B.C.. Princeton , New Jersey : Princeton University Press.

Harvey, S. P. (1998). The Cults of King Ahmose at Abydos (Diss, University of Pennsylvania, 1998). Dissertation Abstracts International, p. 1231A.

Littauer, M., & Crouwel, J. (1985). Chariots and Related Equipment from the Tomb of Tutankhamun. Oxford : Griffith Institute.

Littauer, M., & Crouwel, J. (2002). The Origin of the True Chariot. In P. Raulwing (Ed.), Culture and History of the Ancient Near East. Vol. 6: Selected Writings on Chariots and Other Early Vehicles (pp. 45-52). Leiden : Brill Academic Publishers.

Lloyd, S. (1961). The Art of the Ancient Near East. New York : Frederick A. Praeger.

Partridge, R. (1996). Transport in Ancient Egypt . London : Rubicon Press.

Postgate, J. (1994). Early Mesopotamia : Society and Economy at the Dawn of History. New York : Routledge.

Pritchard, J. B. (1958). The Ancient Near East Volume I: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures. Princeton , NJ : Princeton University Press.

Sandor, B. I. (2004). The rise and decline of the Tutankhamun-class of chariot. Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 23(2), 153-175.

Smith, W. S. (1998). The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt . New Haven and London : Yale University Press.

Spalinger, A. J. (2005). War in Ancient Egypt : The New Kingdom . Malden , MA : Blackwell Publishing.

Van Seters, J. (1966). The Hyksos: A New Investigation. New Haven and London : Yale University Press.

The History of Egypt: The Hyksos (Part 4) - History

Myths of Babylonia and Assyria , by Donald A. MacKenzie, [1915], at sacred-texts.com


Rise of the Hittites, Mitannians, Kassites, Hyksos, and Assyrians

The War God of Mountaineers--Antiquity of Hittite Civilization--Prehistoric Movements of "Broad Heads"--Evidence of Babylon and Egypt--Hittites and Mongolians--Biblical References to Hittites in Canaan--Jacob's Mother and her Daughters-in-law--Great Father and Great Mother Cults--History in Mythology--The Kingdom of Mitanni--Its Aryan Aristocracy--The Hyksos Problem--The Horse in Warfare--Hittites and Mitannians--Kassites and Mitannians--Hyksos Empire in Asia--Kassites overthrow Sealand Dynasty--Egyptian Campaigns in Syria--Assyria in the Making--Ethnics of Genesis--Nimrod as Merodach--Early Conquerors of Assyria--Mitannian Overlords--Tell-el-Amarna Letters--Fall of Mitanni--Rise of Hittite and Assyrian Empires--Egypt in Eclipse--Assyrian and Babylonian Rivalries.

WHEN the Hammurabi Dynasty, like the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt, is found to be suffering languid decline, the gaps in the dulled historical records are filled with the echoes of the thunder god, whose hammer beating resounds among the northern mountains. As this deity comes each year in Western Asia when vegetation has withered and after fruits have dropped from trees, bringing tempests and black rainclouds to issue in a new season of growth and fresh activity, so he descended from the hills in the second millennium before the Christian era as the battle lord of invaders and the stormy herald of a new age which was to dawn upon the ancient world.

He was the war god of the Hittites as well as of the

northern Amorites, the Mitannians, and the Kassites and he led the Aryans from the Iranian steppes towards the verdurous valley of the Punjab. His worshippers engraved his image with grateful hands on the beetling cliffs of Cappadocian chasms in Asia Minor, where his sway was steadfast and pre-eminent for long centuries. In one locality he appears mounted on a bull wearing a fringed and belted tunic with short sleeves, a conical helmet, and upturned shoes, while he grasps in one hand the lightning symbol, and in the other a triangular bow resting on his right shoulder. In another locality he is the bringer of grapes and barley sheaves. But his most familiar form is the bearded and thick-set mountaineer, armed with a ponderous thunder hammer, a flashing trident, and a long two-edged sword with a hemispherical knob on the hilt, which dangles from his belt, while an antelope or goat wearing a pointed tiara prances beside him. This deity is identical with bluff, impetuous Thor of northern Europe, Indra of the Himalayas, Tarku of Phrygia, and Teshup or Teshub of Armenia and northern Mesopotamia, Sandan, the Hercules of Cilicia, Adad or Hadad of Amurru and Assyria, and Ramman, who at an early period penetrated Akkad and Sumer in various forms. His Hittite name is uncertain, but in the time of Rameses II he was identified with Sutekh (Set). He passed into southern Europe as Zeus, and became "the lord" of the deities of the Ægean and Crete.

The Hittites who entered Babylon about 1800 B.C., and overthrew the last king of the Hammurabi Dynasty, may have been plundering raiders, like the European Gauls of a later age, or a well-organized force of a strong, consolidated power, which endured for a period of uncertain duration. They were probably the latter, for although they carried off Merodach and Zerpanitu m , these

idols were not thrust into the melting pot, but retained apparently for political reasons.

These early Hittites are "a people of the mist". More than once in ancient history casual reference is made to them but on most of these occasions they soon vanish suddenly behind their northern mountains. The explanation appears to be that at various periods great leaders arose who were able to weld together the various tribes, and make their presence felt in Western Asia. But when once the organization broke down, either on account of internal rivalries or the influence of an outside power, they lapsed back again into a state of political insignificance in the affairs of the ancient world. It is possible that about 1800 B.C. the Hittite confederacy was controlled by an ambitious king who had dreams of a great empire, and was accordingly pursuing a career of conquest.

Judging from what we know of the northern worshippers of the hammer god in later times, it would appear that when they were referred to as the Hatti or Khatti, the tribe of that name was the dominating power in Asia Minor and north Syria. The Hatti are usually identified with the broad-headed mountaineers of Alpine or Armenoid type--the ancestors of the modern Armenians. Their ancient capital was at Boghaz-Kai, the site of Pteria, which was destroyed, according to the Greeks, by Crœsus, the last King of Lydia, in the sixth century B.C. It was strongly situated in an excellent pastoral district on the high, breezy plateau of Cappadocia, surrounded by high mountains, and approached through narrow river gorges, which in winter were blocked with snow.

Hittite civilization was of great antiquity. Excavations which have been conducted at an undisturbed artificial

mound at Sakje-Geuzi have revealed evidences of a continuous culture which began to flourish before 3000 B.C. 1 In one of the lower layers occurred that particular type of Neolithic yellow-painted pottery, with black geometric designs, which resembles other specimens of painted fabrics found in Turkestan by the Pumpelly expedition in Susa, the capital of Elam, and its vicinity, by De Morgan in the Balkan peninsula by Schliemann in a First Dynasty tomb at Abydos in Egypt by Petrie and in the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age (Minoan) strata of Crete by Evans. It may be that these interesting relics were connected with the prehistoric drift westward of the broad-headed pastoral peoples who ultimately formed the Hittite military aristocracy.

According to Professor Elliot Smith, broad-headed aliens from Asia Minor first reached Egypt at the dawn of history. There they blended with the indigenous tribes of the Mediterranean or Brown Race. A mesocephalic skull then became common. It is referred to as the Giza type, and has been traced by Professor Elliot Smith from Egypt to the Punjab, but not farther into India. 2

During the early dynasties this skull with alien traits was confined chiefly to the Delta region and the vicinity of Memphis, the city of the pyramid builders. It is not improbable that the Memphite god Ptah may have been introduced into Egypt by the invading broad heads. This deity is a world artisan like Indra, and is similarly associated with dwarfish artisans he hammers out the copper sky, and therefore links with the various thunder gods--Tarku, Teshup, Adad, Ramman, &c., of the Asian mountaineers. Thunderstorms were of too rare occurrence in Egypt to be connected with the food supply,

which has always depended on the river Nile. Ptah's purely Egyptian characteristics appear to have been acquired after fusion with Osiris-Seb, the Nilotic gods of inundation, earth, and vegetation. The ancient god Set (Sutekh), who became a demon, and was ultimately re-exalted as a great deity during the Nineteenth Dynasty, may also have had some connection with the prehistoric Hatti.

Professor Elliot Smith, who has found alien traits in the mummies of the Rameses kings, is convinced that the broad-headed folks who entered Europe by way of Asia Minor, and Egypt through the Delta, at the close of the Neolithic Age, represent "two streams of the same Asiatic folk". 1 The opinion of such an authority cannot be lightly set aside.

The earliest Egyptian reference to the Kheta, as the Hittites were called, was made in the reign of the first Amenemhet of the Twelfth Dynasty, who began to reign about 2000 B.C. Some authorities, including Maspero, 2 are of opinion that the allusion to the Hatti which is found in the Babylonian Book of Omens belongs to the earlier age of Sargon of Akkad and Naram-Sin, but Sayce favours the age of Hammurabi. Others would connect the Gutium, or men of Kutu, with the Kheta or Hatti. Sayce has expressed the opinion that the Biblical Tidal, identified with Tudkhul or Tudhula, "king of nations", the ally of Arioch, Amraphel, and Chedor-laomer, was a Hittite king, the "nations" being the confederacy of Asia Minor tribes controlled by the Hatti. "In the fragments of the Babylonian story of Chedor-laomer published by Dr. Pinches", says Professor Sayce, "the name of Tid c al is written Tudkhul, and he is described as King of the Umman Manda, or Nations of the North,

of which the Hebrew Goyyim is a literal translation. Now the name is Hittite. In the account of the campaign of Rameses II against the Hittites it appears as Tidcal, and one of the Hittite kings of Boghaz-Köi bears the same name, which is written as Dud-khaliya in cuneiform. 1

One of the racial types among the Hittites wore pigtails. These head adornments appear on figures in certain Cappadocian sculptures and on Hittite warriors in the pictorial records of a north Syrian campaign of Rameses II at Thebes. It is suggestive, therefore, to find that on the stele of Naram-Sin of Akkad, the mountaineers who are conquered by that battle lord wear pig-tails also. Their split robes are unlike the short fringed tunics of the Hittite gods, but resemble the long split mantles worn over their tunics by high dignitaries like King Tarku-dimme, who figures on a famous silver boss of an ancient Hittite dagger. Naram-Sin inherited the Empire of Sargon of Akkad, which extended to the Mediterranean Sea. If his enemies were not natives of Cappadocia, they may have been the congeners of the Hittite pigtailed type in another wooded and mountainous country.

It has been suggested that these wearers of pigtails were Mongolians. But although high cheek bones and oblique eyes occurred in ancient times, and still occur, in parts of Asia Minor, suggesting occasional Mongolian admixture with Ural-Altaic broad heads, the Hittite pig-tailed warriors must not be confused with the true small-nosed Mongols of north-eastern Asia. The Egyptian sculptors depicted them with long and prominent noses, which emphasize their strong Armenoid affinities.

Other tribes in the Hittite confederacy included the

representatives of the earliest settlers from North Africa of Mediterranean racial stock. These have been identified with the Canaanites, and especially the agriculturists among them, for the Palestinian Hittites are also referred to as Canaanites in the Bible, and in one particular connection under circumstances which afford an interesting glimpse of domestic life in those far-off times. When Esau, Isaac's eldest son, was forty years of age, "he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite" 1 . Apparently the Hittite ladies considered themselves to be of higher caste than the indigenous peoples and the settlers from other countries, for when Ezekiel declared that the mother of Jerusalem was a Hittite he said: "Thou art thy mother's daughter, that lotheth her husband and her children." 2 Esau's marriage was "a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah". 1 The Hebrew mother seems to have entertained fears that her favourite son Jacob would fall a victim to the allurements of other representatives of the same stock as her superior and troublesome daughters-in-law, for she said to Isaac: "I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?" 3 Isaac sent for Jacob, "and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan-aram, to the house of Bethuel, thy mother's father and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban, thy mother's brother." 4 From these quotations two obvious deductions may be drawn: the Hebrews regarded the Hittites "of the land" as one with the Canaanites, the stocks having probably

been so well fused, and the worried Rebekah had the choosing of Jacob's wife or wives from among her own relations in Mesopotamia who were of Sumerian stock and kindred of Abraham. 1 It is not surprising to find traces of Sumerian pride among the descendants of the evicted citizens of ancient Ur, especially when brought into association with the pretentious Hittites.

Evidence of racial blending in Asia Minor is also afforded by Hittite mythology. In the fertile agricultural valleys and round the shores of that great Eur-Asian "land bridge" the indigenous stock was also of the Mediterranean race, as Sergi and other ethnologists have demonstrated. The Great Mother goddess was worshipped from the earliest times, and she bore various local names. At Comana in Pontus she was known to the Greeks as Ma, a name which may have been as old as that of the Sumerian Mama (the creatrix), or Mamitu m (goddess of destiny) in Armenia she was Anaitis in Cilicia she was Ate (’Atheh of Tarsus) while in Phrygia she was best known as Cybele, mother of Attis, who links with Ishtar as mother and wife of Tammuz, Aphrodite as mother and wife of Adonis, and Isis as mother and wife of Osiris. The Great Mother was in Phoenicia called Astarte she was a form of Ishtar, and identical with the Biblical Ashtoreth. In the Syrian city of Hierapolis she bore the name of Atargatis, which Meyer, with whom Frazer agrees, considers to be the Greek rendering of the Aramaic ’Athar-’Atheh--the god ’Athar and the goddess ’Atheh. Like the "bearded Aphrodite", Atargatis may have been regarded as a bisexual deity. Some of the specialized mother goddesses, whose outstanding attributes reflected the history and politics of the states they represented, were imported into Egypt--the land of

ancient mother deities--during the Empire period, by the half-foreign Rameses kings these included the voluptuous Kadesh and the warlike Anthat. In every district colonized by the early representatives of the Mediterranean race, the goddess cult came into prominence, and the gods and the people were reputed to be descendants of the great Creatrix. This rule obtained as far distant as Ireland, where the Danann folk and the Danann gods were the children of the goddess Danu.

Among the Hatti proper--that is, the broad-headed military aristocracy--the chief deity of the pantheon was the Great Father, the creator, "the lord of Heaven", the Baal. As Sutekh, Tarku, Adad, or Ramman, he was the god of thunder, rain, fertility, and war, and he ultimately acquired solar attributes. A famous rock sculpture at Boghaz-Köi depicts a mythological scene which is believed to represent the Spring marriage of the Great Father and the Great Mother, suggesting a local fusion of beliefs which resulted from the union of tribes of the god cult with tribes of the goddess cult. So long as the Hatti tribe remained the predominant partner in the Hittite confederacy, the supremacy was assured of the Great Father who symbolized their sway. But when, in the process of time, the power of the Hatti declined, their chief god "fell . . . from his predominant place in the religion of the interior", writes Dr. Garstang. "But the Great Mother lived on, being the goddess of the land." 1

In addition to the Hittite confederacy of Asia Minor and North Syria, another great power arose in northern Mesopotamia. This was the Mitanni Kingdom. Little is known regarding it, except what is derived from indirect sources. Winckler believes that it was first established

by early "waves" of Hatti people who migrated from the east.

The Hittite connection is based chiefly on the following evidence. One of the gods of the Mitanni rulers was Teshup, who is identical with Tarku, the Thor of Asia Minor. The raiders who in 1800 B.C. entered Babylon, set fire to E-sagila, and carried off Merodach and his consort Zerpanitu m , were called the Hatti. The images of these deities were afterwards obtained from Khani (Mitanni).

At a later period, when we come to know more about Mitanni from the letters of one of its kings to two Egyptian Pharaohs, and the Winckler tablets from Boghaz-Köi, it is found that its military aristocracy spoke an Indo-European language, as is shown by the names of their kings--Saushatar, Artatama, Sutarna, Artashshumara, Tushratta, and Mattiuza. They worshipped the following deities:

[paragraph continues] Mitra, Varuna, Indra, and Nasatyau (the "Twin Aswins" = Castor and Pollux)--whose names have been deciphered by Winckler. These gods were also imported into India by the Vedic Aryans. The Mitanni tribe (the military aristocracy probably) was called "Kharri", and some philologists are of opinion that it is identical with "Arya", which was "the normal designation in Vedic literature from the Rigveda onwards of an Aryan of the three upper classes". 1 Mitanni signifies "the river lands", and the descendants of its inhabitants, who lived in Cappadocia, were called by the Greeks "Mattienoi". "They are possibly", says Dr. Haddon, "the ancestors

of the modern Kurds", 1 a conspicuously long-headed people, proverbial, like the ancient Aryo-Indians and the Gauls, for their hospitality and their raiding propensities.

It would appear that the Mitannian invasion of northern Mesopotamia and the Aryan invasion of India represented two streams of diverging migrations from a common cultural centre, and that the separate groups of wanderers mingled with other stocks with whom they came into contact. Tribes of Aryan speech were associated with the Kassite invaders of Babylon, who took possession of northern Babylonia soon after the disastrous Hittite raid. It is believed that they came from the east through the highlands of Elam.

For a period, the dating of which is uncertain, the Mitannians were overlords of part of Assyria, including Nineveh and even Asshur, as well as the district called "Musri" by the Assyrians, and part of Cappadocia. They also occupied the cities of Harran and Kadesh. Probably they owed their great military successes to their cavalry. The horse became common in Babylon during the Kassite Dynasty, which followed the Hammurabi, and was there called "the ass of the east", a name which suggests whence the Kassites and Mitannians came.

The westward movement of the Mitannians in the second millennium B.C. may have been in progress prior to the Kassite conquest of Babylon and the Hyksos invasion of Egypt. Their relations in Mesopotamia and Syria with the Hittites and the Amorites are obscure. Perhaps they were for a time the overlords of the Hittites. At any rate it is of interest to note that when Thothmes III struck at the last Hyksos stronghold during his long Syrian campaign of about twenty years' duration, his

Click to enlarge
Marble slab showing Ashur-natsir-pal and army advancing against a besieged tow. A battering ram is being drawn on a six-wheeled carriage.
From N.W. Palace of Nimroud: now in the British Museum.
Photo. Mansell

operations were directly against Kadesh on the Orontes, which was then held by his fierce enemies the Mitannians of Naharina. 1

During the Hyksos Age the horse was introduced into Egypt. Indeed the Hyksos conquest was probably due to the use of the horse, which was domesticated, as the Pumpelly expedition has ascertained, at a remote period in Turkestan, whence it may have been obtained by the horse-sacrificing Aryo-Indians and the horse-sacrificing ancestors of the Siberian Buriats.

If the Mitanni rulers were not overlords of the Hittites about 1800 B.C., the two peoples may have been military allies of the Kassites. Some writers suggest, indeed, that the Kassites came from Mitanni. Another view is that the Mitannians were the Aryan allies of the Kassites who entered Babylon from the Elamite highlands, and that they afterwards conquered Mesopotamia and part of Cappadocia prior to the Hyksos conquest of Egypt. A third solution of the problem is that the Aryan rulers of the Mitannian Hittites were the overlords of northern Babylonia, which they included in their Mesopotamian empire for a century before the Kassites achieved political supremacy in the Tigro-Euphrates valley, and that they were also the leaders of the Hyksos invasion of Egypt, which they accomplished with the assistance of their Hittite and Amoritic allies.

The first Kassite king of Babylonia of whom we have knowledge was Gandash. He adopted the old Akkadian title, "king of the four quarters", as well as the title "king of Sumer and Akkad", first used by the rulers of the Dynasty of Ur. Nippur appears to have been selected by Gandash as his capital, which suggests that his war and storm god, Shuqamuna, was identified with Bel Enlil, who

as a "world giant" has much in common with the northern hammer gods. After reigning for sixteen years, Gandash was succeeded by his son, Agum the Great, who sat on the throne for twenty-two years. The great-grandson of Agum the Great was Agum II, and not until his reign were the statues of Merodach and his consort Zerpanitu m brought back to the city of Babylon. This monarch recorded that, in response to the oracle of Shamash, the sun god, he sent to the distant land of Khani (Mitanni) for the great deity and his consort. Babylon would therefore appear to have been deprived of Merodach for about two centuries. The Hittite-Mitanni raid is dated about 1800 B.C., and the rise of Gandash, the Kassite, about 1700 B.C. At least a century elapsed between the reigns of Gandash and Agum II. These calculations do not coincide, it will be noted, with the statement in a Babylonian hymn, that Merodach remained in the land of the Hatti for twenty-four years, which, however, may be either a priestly fiction or a reference to a later conquest. The period which followed the fall of the Hammurabi Dynasty of Babylonia is as obscure as the Hyksos Age of Egypt.

Agum II, the Kassite king, does not state whether or not he waged war against Mitanni to recover Babylon's god Merodach. If, however, he was an ally of the Mitanni ruler, the transference of the deity may have been an ordinary diplomatic transaction. The possibility may also be suggested that the Hittites of Mitanni were not displaced by the Aryan military aristocracy until after the Kassites were firmly established in northern Babylonia between 1700 B.C. and i 600 B.C. This may account for the statements that Merodach was carried off by the Hatti and returned from the land of Khani.

The evidence afforded by Egypt is suggestive in this

connection. There was a second Hyksos Dynasty in that country. The later rulers became "Egyptianized" as the Kassites became "Babylonianized", but they were all referred to by the exclusive and sullen Egyptians as "barbarians" and "Asiatics". They recognized the sun god of Heliopolis, but were also concerned in promoting the worship of Sutekh, a deity of sky and thunder, with solar attributes, whom Rameses II identified with the "Baal" of the Hittites. The Mitannians, as has been stated, recognized a Baal called Teshup, who was identical with Tarku of the Western Hittites and with their own tribal Indra also. One of the Hyksos kings, named Ian or Khian, the Ianias of Manetho, was either an overlord or the ally of an overlord, who swayed a great empire in Asia. His name has been deciphered on relics found as far apart as Knossos in Crete and Baghdad on the Tigris, which at the time was situated within the area of Kassite control. Apparently peaceful conditions prevailed during his reign over a wide extent of Asia and trade was brisk between far-distant centres of civilization. The very term Hyksos is suggestive in this connection. According to Breasted it signifies "rulers of countries", which compares with the Biblical "Tidal king of nations", whom Sayce, as has been indicated, regards as a Hittite monarch. When the Hittite hieroglyphics have been read and Mesopotamia thoroughly explored, light may be thrown on the relations of the Mitannians, the Hittites, the Hyksos, and the Kassites between 1800 B.C. and 1500 B.C. It is evident that a fascinating volume of ancient history has yet to be written.

The Kassites formed the military aristocracy of Babylonia, which was called Karduniash, for nearly six centuries. Agum II was the first of their kings who became thoroughly Babylonianized, and although he still gave

recognition to Shuqamuna, the Kassite god of battle, he re-exalted Merodach, whose statue he had taken back from "Khani", and decorated E-sagila with gifts of gold, jewels, rare woods, frescoes, and pictorial tiles he also re-endowed the priesthood. During the reign of his successor, Burnaburiash I, the Dynasty of Sealand came to an end.

Little is known regarding the relations between Elam and Babylonia during the Kassite period. If the Kassite invaders crossed the Tigris soon after the raid of the Mitannian Hittites they must have previously overrun a great part of Elam, but strongly situated Susa may have for a time withstood their attacks. At first the Kassites held northern Babylonia only, while the ancient Sumerian area was dominated by the Sealand power, which had gradually regained strength during the closing years of the Hammurabi Dynasty. No doubt many northern Babylonian refugees reinforced its army.

The Elamites, or perhaps the Kassites of Elam, appear to have made frequent attacks on southern Babylonia. At length Ea-gamil, king of Sealand, invaded Elam with purpose, no doubt, to shatter the power of his restless enemies. He was either met there, however, by an army from Babylon, or his country was invaded during his absence. Prince Ulamburiash, son of Burnaburiash I, defeated Ea-gamil and brought to an end the Sealand Dynasty which had been founded by Ilu-ma-ilu, the contemporary and enemy of Samsu-la-ilu, son of Hammurabi. Ulamburiash is referred to on a mace-head which was discovered at Babylon as "king of Sealand", and he probably succeeded his father at the capital. The whole of Babylonia thus came under Kassite sway.

Agum III, a grandson of Ulamburiash, found it necessary, however, to invade Sealand, which must

therefore have revolted. It was probably a centre of discontent during the whole period of Kassite ascendancy.

After a long obscure interval we reach the period when the Hyksos power was broken in Egypt, that is, after 1580 B.C. The great Western Asiatic kingdoms at the time were the Hittite, the Mitannian, the Assyrian, and the Babylonian (Kassite). Between 1557 B.C. and 1501 B.C. Thothmes I of Egypt was asserting his sway over part of Syria. Many years elapsed, however, before Thothmes III, who died in 1447 B.C., established firmly, after waging a long war of conquest, the supremacy of Egypt between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean coast as far north as the borders of Asia Minor.

"At this period", as Professor Flinders Petrie emphasizes, "the civilization of Syria was equal or superior to that of Egypt." Not only was there in the cities "luxury beyond that of the Egyptians", but also "technical work which could teach them". The Syrian soldiers had suits of scale armour, which afterwards were manufactured in Egypt, and they had chariots adorned with gold and silver and highly decorated, which were greatly prized by the Egyptians when they captured them, and reserved for royalty. "In the rich wealth of gold and silver vases", obtained from captured cities by the Nilotic warriors, "we see also", adds Petrie, "the sign of a people who were their (the Egyptians’) equals, if not their superiors in taste and skill." 1 It is not to be wondered at, therefore, when the Pharaohs received tribute from Syria that they preferred it to be carried into Egypt by skilled workmen. "The keenness with which the Egyptians record all the beautiful and luxurious products of the Syrians shows that the workmen would

probably be more in demand than other kinds of slave tribute." 1

One of the monarchs with whom Thothmes III corresponded was the king of Assyria. The enemies of Egypt in northern Mesopotamia were the Hittites and Mitannians, and their allies, and these were also the enemies of Assyria. But to enable us to deal with the new situation which was created by Egypt in Mesopotamia, it is necessary in the first place to trace the rise of Assyria, which was destined to become for a period the dominating power in Western Asia, and ultimately in the Nile valley also.

The Assyrian group of cities grew up on the banks of the Tigris to the north of Babylonia, the mother country. The following Biblical references regarding the origins of the two states are of special interest:--

Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. . . . The sons of Ham: Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. . . . And Cush begat Nimrod he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Asshur and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.

The children of Shem: Elam and Asshur . . . (Genesis, x, 1-22).

The land of Assyria . . . and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof (Micah, v, 6).

It will be observed that the Sumero-Babylonians are Cushites or Hamites, and therefore regarded as racially akin to the proto-Egyptians of the Mediterranean race--an interesting confirmation of recent ethnological conclusions.

Nimrod, the king of Babel (Babylon), in Shinar (Sumer), was, it would appear, a deified monarch who became ultimately identified with the national god of Babylonia. Professor Pinches has shown 1 that his name is a rendering of that of Merodach. In Sumerian Merodach was called Amaruduk or Amarudu, and in the Assyro-Babylonian language Marduk. By a process familiar to philologists the suffix "uk" was dropped and the rendering became Marad. The Hebrews added "ni" ="ni-marad", assimilating the name "to a certain extent to the 'niphal forms' of the Hebrew verbs and making a change", says Pinches, "in conformity with the genius of the Hebrew language".

Asshur, who went out of Nimrod's country to build Nineveh, was a son of Shem--a Semite, and so far as is known it was after the Semites achieved political supremacy in Akkad that the Assyrian colonies were formed. Asshur may have been a subject ruler who was deified and became the god of the city of Asshur, which probably gave its name to Assyria.

According to Herodotus, Nineveh was founded by King Ninus and Queen Semiramis. This lady was reputed to be the daughter of Derceto, the fish goddess, whom Pliny identified with Atargatis. Semiramis was actually an Assyrian queen of revered memory. She was deified and took the place of a goddess, apparently Nina, the prototype of Derceto. This Nina, perhaps a form of Damkina, wife of Ea, was the great mother of the Sumerian city of Nina, and there, and also at Lagash, received offerings of fish. She was one of the many goddesses of maternity absorbed by Ishtar. The Greek Ninus is regarded as a male form of her name like

[paragraph continues] Atargatis, she may have become a bisexual deity, if she was not always accompanied by a shadowy male form. Nineveh (Ninua) was probably founded or conquered by colonists from Nina or Lagash, and called after the fish goddess.

All the deities of Assyria were imported from Babylonia except, as some hold, Ashur, the national god. 1 The theory that Ashur was identical with the Aryo-Indian Asura and the Persian Ahura is not generally accepted. One theory is that he was an eponymous hero who became the city god of Asshur, although the early form of his name, Ashir, presents a difficulty in this connection. Asshur was the first capital of Assyria. Its city god may have become the national god on that account.

At an early period, perhaps a thousand years before Thothmes III battled with the Mitannians in northern Syria, an early wave of one of the peoples of Aryan speech may have occupied the Assyrian cities. Mr. Johns points out in this connection that the names of Ushpia, Kikia, and Adasi, who, according to Assyrian records, were early rulers in Asshur, "are neither Semitic nor Sumerian". An ancient name of the goddess of Nineveh was Shaushka, which compares with Shaushkash, the consort of Teshup, the Hittite-Mitanni hammer god. As many of the Mitannian names "are", according to Mr. Johns, "really Elamitic", he suggests an ethnic connection between the early conquerors of Assyria and the people of Elam. 2 Were the pre-Semitic Elamites originally speakers of an agglutinative language, like the Sumerians and present-day Basques, who were conquered in prehistoric times by a people of Aryan speech?

The possibility is urged by Mr. Johns's suggestion that Assyria may have been dominated in pre-Semitic times by the congeners of the Aryan military aristocracy of Mitanni. As has been shown, it was Semitized by the Amoritic migration which, about 2000 B.C., brought into prominence the Hammurabi Dynasty of Babylon.

A long list of kings with Semitic names held sway in the Assyrian cities during and after the Hammurabi Age. But not until well on in the Kassite period did any of them attain prominence in Western Asia. Then Ashur-bel-nish-eshu, King of Asshur, was strong enough to deal on equal terms with the Kassite ruler Kara-indash I, with whom he arranged a boundary treaty. He was a contemporary of Thothmes III of Egypt.

After Thothmes III had secured the predominance of Egypt in Syria and Palestine he recognized Assyria as an independent power, and supplied its king with Egyptian gold to assist him, no doubt, in strengthening his territory against their common enemy. Gifts were also sent from Assyria to Egypt to fan the flame of cordial relations.

The situation was full of peril for Saushatar, king of Mitanni. Deprived by Egypt of tribute-paying cities in Syria, his exchequer must have been sadly depleted. A standing army had to be maintained, for although Egypt made no attempt to encroach further on his territory, the Hittites were ever hovering on his north-western frontier, ready when opportunity offered to win back Cappadocia. Eastward, Assyria was threatening to become a dangerous rival. He had himself to pay tribute to Egypt, and Egypt was subsidizing his enemy. It was imperative on his part, therefore, to take action without delay. The power of Assyria had to be crippled its revenues were required for the Mitannian exchequer. So

[paragraph continues] Saushatar raided Assyria during the closing years of the reign of Thothmes III, or soon after his successor, Amenhotep II, ascended the Egyptian throne.

Nothing is known from contemporary records regarding this campaign but it can be gathered from the references

of a later period that the city of Asshur was captured and plundered its king, Ashur-nadin-akhe, ceased corresponding and exchanging gifts with Egypt. That Nineveh also fell is made clear by the fact that a descendant of Saushatar (Tushratta) was able to send to a descendant of Thothmes III at Thebes (Amenhotep III) the image of Ishtar (Shaushka) of Nineveh. Apparently five successive Mitannian kings were overlords of Assyria during a period which cannot be estimated at much less than a hundred years.

Our knowledge regarding these events is derived chiefly from the Tell-el-Amarna letters, and the tablets found by Professor Hugo Winckler at Boghaz-Köi in Cappadocia, Asia Minor.

The Tell-el-Amarna letters were discovered among the ruins of the palace of the famous Egyptian Pharaoh, Akhenaton, of the Eighteenth Dynasty, who died about 1358 B.C. During the winter of 1887-8 an Egyptian woman was excavating soil for her garden, when she happened upon the cellar of Akhenaton's foreign office in which the official correspondence had been stored. The "letters" were baked clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform alphabetical signs in the Babylonian-Assyrian language, which, like French in modern times, was the language of international diplomacy for many centuries in Western Asia after the Hyksos period.

The Egyptian natives, ever so eager to sell antiquities so as to make a fortune and retire for life, offered some specimens of the tablets for sale. One or two were sent

Click to enlarge

One of the Tell-el-Amarna tablets, now in the British Museum. (See pages 280-282)

to Paris, where they were promptly declared to be forgeries, with the result that for a time the inscribed bricks were not a marketable commodity. Ere their value was discovered, the natives had packed them into sacks, with the result that many were damaged and some completely destroyed. At length, however, the majority of them reached the British Museum and the Berlin Museum, while others drifted into the museums at Cairo, St. Petersburg, and Paris. When they were deciphered, Mitanni was discovered, and a flood of light thrown on the internal affairs of Egypt and its relations with various kingdoms in Asia, while glimpses were also afforded of the life and manners of the times.

The letters covered the reigns of Amenhotep III, the great-grandson of Thothmes III, and of his son Akhenaton, "the dreamer king", and included communications from the kings of Babylonia, Assyria, Mitanni, Cyprus, the Hittites, and the princes of Phoenicia and Canaan. The copies of two letters from Amenhotep III to Kallima-Sin, King of Babylonia, had also been preserved. One deals with statements made by Babylonian ambassadors, whom the Pharaoh stigmatizes as liars. Kallima-Sin had sent his daughter to the royal harem of Egypt, and desired to know if she was alive and well. He also asked for "much gold" to enable him to carry on the work of extending his temple. When twenty minas of gold was sent to him, he complained in due course that the quantity received was not only short but that the gold was not pure it had been melted in the furnace, and less than five minas came out. In return he sent to Akhenaton two minas of enamel, and some jewels for his daughter, who was in the Egyptian royal harem.

Ashur-uballit, king of Ashur, once wrote intimating to Akhenaton that he was gifting him horses and chariots

and a jewel seal. He asked for gold to assist in building his palace. "In your country", he added, "gold is as plentiful as dust." He also made an illuminating statement to the effect that no ambassador had gone from Assyria to Egypt since the days of his ancestor Ashur-nadin-akhe. It would therefore appear that Ashur-uballit had freed part of Assyria from the yoke of Mitanni.

The contemporary king of Mitanni was Tushratta. He corresponded both with his cousin Amenhotep III and his son-in-law Akhenaton. In his correspondence with Amenhotep III Tushratta tells that his kingdom had been invaded by the Hittites, but his god Teshup had delivered them into his hand, and he destroyed them "not one of them", he declared, "returned to his own country". Out of the booty captured he sent Amenhotep several chariots and horses, and a boy and a girl. To his sister Gilu-khipa, who was one of the Egyptian Pharaoh's wives, he gifted golden ornaments and a jar of oil. In another letter Tushratta asked for a large quantity of gold "without measure". He complained that he did not receive enough on previous occasions, and hinted that some of the Egyptian gold looked as if it were alloyed with copper. Like the Assyrian king, he hinted that gold was as plentiful as dust in Egypt. His own presents to the Pharaoh included precious stones, gold ornaments, chariots and horses, and women (probably slaves). This may have been tribute. It was during the third Amenhotep's illness that Tushratta forwarded the Nineveh image of Ishtar to Egypt, and he made reference to its having been previously sent thither by his father, Sutarna.

When Akhenaton came to the throne Tushratta wrote to him, desiring to continue the friendship which had existed for two or three generations between the kings of Mitanni and Egypt, and made complimentary references

to "the distinguished Queen Tiy", Akhenaton's mother, who evidently exercised considerable influence in shaping Egypt's foreign policy. In the course of his long correspondence with the Pharaohs, Tushratta made those statements regarding his ancestors which have provided so much important data for modern historians of his kingdom.

During the early part of the Tell-el-Amarna period, Mitanni was the most powerful kingdom in Western Asia. It was chiefly on that account that the daughters of its rulers were selected to be the wives and mothers of great Egyptian Pharaohs. But its numerous enemies were ever plotting to accomplish its downfall. Among these the foremost and most dangerous were the Hittites and the Assyrians.

The ascendancy of the Hittites was achieved in northern Syria with dramatic suddenness. There arose in Asia Minor a great conqueror, named Subbi-luliuma, the successor of Hattusil I, who established a strong Hittite empire which endured for about two centuries. His capital was at Boghaz-Köi. Sweeping through Cappadocia, at the head of a finely organized army, remarkable for its mobility, he attacked the buffer states which owed allegiance to Mitanni and Egypt. City after city fell before him, until at length he invaded Mitanni but it is uncertain whether or not Tushratta met him in battle. Large numbers of the Mitannians were, however, evicted and transferred to the land of the Hittites, where the Greeks subsequently found them, and where they are believed to be represented by the modern Kurds, the hereditary enemies of the Armenians.

In the confusion which ensued, Tushratta was murdered by Sutarna II, who was recognized by Subbi-luliuma. The crown prince, Mattiuza, fled to Babylon,

where he found protection, but was unable to receive any assistance. Ultimately, when the Hittite emperor had secured his sway over northern Syria, he deposed Sutarna II and set Mattiuza as his vassal on the throne of the shrunken Mitanni kingdom.

Meanwhile the Egyptian empire in Asia had gone to pieces. When Akhenaton, the dreamer king, died in his palace at Tell-el-Amarna, the Khabiri were conquering the Canaanite cities which had paid him tribute, and the Hittite ruler was the acknowledged overlord of the Amorites.

The star of Assyria was also in the ascendant. Its king, Ashur-uballit, who had corresponded with Akhenaton, was, like the Hittite king, Subbi-luliuma, a distinguished statesman and general, and similarly laid the foundations of a great empire. Before or after Subbi-luliuma invaded Tushratta's domains, he drove the Mitannians out of Nineveh, and afterwards overcame the Shubari tribes of Mitanni on the north-west, with the result that he added a wide extent of territory to his growing empire.

He had previously thrust southward the Assyro-Babylonian frontier. In fact, he had become so formidable an opponent of Babylonia that his daughter had been accepted as the wife of Karakhardash, the Kassite king of that country. In time his grandson, Kadashman-Kharbe, ascended the Babylonian throne. This young monarch co-operated with his grandfather in suppressing the Suti, who infested the trade routes towards the west, and plundered the caravans of merchants and the messengers of great monarchs with persistent impunity.

A reference to these bandits appears in one of the Tell-el-Amarna letters. Writing to Akhenaton, Ashur-uballit said: "The lands (of Assyria and Egypt) are

remote, therefore let our messengers come and go. That your messengers were late in reaching you, (the reason is that) if the Suti had waylaid them, they would have been dead men. For if I had sent them, the Suti would have sent bands to waylay them therefore I have retained them. My messengers (however), may they not (for this reason) be delayed." 1

Ashur-uballit's grandson extended his Babylonian frontier into Amurru, where he dug wells and erected forts to protect traders. The Kassite aristocracy, however, appear to have entertained towards him a strong dislike, perhaps because he was so closely associated with their hereditary enemies the Assyrians. He had not reigned for long when the embers of rebellion burst into flame and he was murdered in his palace. The Kassites then selected as their king a man of humble origin, named Nazibugash, who was afterwards referred to as "the son of nobody". Ashur-uballit deemed the occasion a fitting one to interfere in the affairs of Babylonia. He suddenly appeared at the capital with a strong army, overawed the Kassites, and seized and slew Nazibugash. Then he set on the throne his great grandson the infant Kurigalzu II, who lived to reign for fifty-five years.

Ashur-uballit appears to have died soon after this event. He was succeeded by his son Bel-nirari, who carried on the policy of strengthening and extending the Assyrian empire. For many years he maintained excellent relations with his kinsman Kurigalzu II, but ultimately they came into conflict apparently over disputed territory. A sanguinary battle was fought, in which the Babylonians suffered heavily and were put to rout. A treaty of peace was afterwards arranged, which secured for the Assyrians a further extension of their frontier "from

the borders of Mitanni as far as Babylonia". The struggle of the future was to be for the possession of Mesopotamia, so as to secure control over the trade routes.

Thus Assyria rose from a petty state in a comparatively brief period to become the rival of Babylonia, at a time when Egypt at the beginning of its Nineteenth Dynasty was endeavouring to win back its lost empire in Syria, and the Hittite empire was being consolidated in the north.


263:1 The Land of the Hittites, John Garstang, pp. 312 et seq. and 315 et seq.

263:2 The Ancient Egyptians, pp. 106 et seq.

264:1 The Ancient Egyptians, p. 130.

264:2 Struggle of the Nations (1896), p. 19.

265:1 Note contributed to The Land of the Hittites, J. Garstang, p. 324.

268:1 The Syrian Goddess, John Garstang (London, 1913), pp. 17-8.

269:1 Vedic Index of Names and Subjects, Macdonald & Keith, vol. i, pp. 64-5 (London, 1912).

270:1 The Wanderings of Peoples, p. 21.

271:1 Breasted's History of Egypt, pp. 219-20.

275:1 A History of Egypt, W. M. Flinders Petrie, vol. ii, p. 146 et seq. (1904 ed.).

276:1 A History of Egypt, W. M. Flinders Petrie, vol. ii, p. 147 (1904 ed.).

277:1 The Old Testament in the Light of the Historical Records and Legends of Assyria and Babylonia, pp. 126 et seq.

Later in time the pharaohs and kings were buried in tombs cut deep into the rock in a hidden valley, called the Valley of the Kings. Even though these were hidden tombs they were still found by robbers who stole the treasures from the tombs. The famous tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamen was the only one that escaped and in 1922 a team of British archaeologists (a scientist who studies human history by digging up human remains & artefacts) discovered this tomb with all the treasures almost intact. What a find! They say he died when he was only 18 years old but they still don’t know why.

Egypt was attacked by a group of people called Hyksos. The Hyksos people won as they had horses and chariots and the Egyptians were just on foot. The Egyptians quickly learnt from this and drove them out of their country. Then with their new power they attacked nearby lands and grew a large empire.

The Egyptian Pharaohs made the Egyptians battle many times. Pharaoh Tuthmosis III took his army to war 17 times! When he was king the Egyptian Empire was at its largest.

Pharaoh Ramesses II fought against their biggest enemy the Hittites for over 30 years. The two countries did make peace in the end and Pharaoh Remesses II married a Hittite princess!

Watch the video: Origins of the Hyksos. DNA. Ancient Egypt (July 2022).


  1. Cahal

    Certainly. All above told the truth. Let's discuss this question. Here or in PM.

  2. Marcus

    I would like to talk a lot with you.

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