April 9, 2012

Diplomatic relations outside Ancient Egypt 1663 - 1555 BC

Diplomatic relations outside Egypt
At Tell el-Daba (Avaris) in the north-eastern Delta, there is evidence from the recent excavations of terrible destruction wrought upon the palaces there. Incredible Minoan-style wall-painting fragments (which might even predate the Minoan frescoes at Knossos on Crete) have been found scattered in a garden area at the site, testifying not only to the intensity of the onslaught but, more importantly, to connections with the Minoan artistic world. Another Cretan connection is a circular alabaster jar lid found in the palace of Knossos, inscribed with the cartouche of the third Hyksos king, Khyan.

His name has also been found in a graffito inscription scratched on the shoulder of a red granite Middle Kingdom couchant sphinx which was, curiously, found in Baghdad. Khyan is better known from inscribed material than his brother kings, most of whom are only known from scarabs (which are the characteristic artifacts of the dynasty).

Large semitic ruins at Tell el-Maskhuta (Succoth)

Records for the period of the Hyksos are sparse, probably due to two main factors. First, their influence was largely confined to the Delta and the northern areas of Egypt, where they had their centre of authority.

New Innovations in Warfare
The military expertise of the Hyksos undoubtedly contributed greatly to their ability to overcome so rapidly any Egyptian resistance. Not only did they introduce the horse and chariot to warfare, giving them a huge tactical advantage, but they were also skilled archers. The Egyptians were quick to recognize the importance of these new methods of warfare, and both the bow and the chariot were utilized a great deal in the conquests of the New Kingdom pharaohs.

Secondly, to have foreign rulers was regarded as a terrible thing in ancient Egypt and once the essential equilibrium had been restored - there was a definite movement of damnatio memoriae, and Hyksos monuments would have been obliterated or destroyed.

The ephemeral 16th Dynasty (minor kings who almost certainly operated in the shadow of and by the authority of the Hyksos rulers at Avaris) produces only two names - Anather and Yakobaam - which do not occur in cartouches and are largely only known from scarabs found in northern Egypt and southern Palestine.

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