Monday, April 23, 2012

The Hyksos in Tradition and History

[Note: This is an essay written in the 2nd year of my degree course in Ancient History and Egyptology at University College London (1989). As a result, it does not include the latest research. However, it does give an insight into how I was thinking back then.]

The field of Tell ed-Daba/Avaris where a palace and pyramid tomb were found.

Until recently much of what had been written on the Second Intermediate Period (SIP) revolved around attempts to establish its chronology, both in relative and absolute terms. Little monumental or settlement archaeology had apparently survived upon which to draw conclusions about the social and cultural history of the period. Scholars were therefore dependent mainly on later written sources to reconstruct any sort of history of the SIP. Some of these sources were near contemporary, such as the Speos Artemidos inscription (mid-18th Dyn) – in which Hatshepsut proclaims her restoration of monuments neglected by the Asiatics of an earlier time; the Turin Canon (mid-19th Dyn) – listing the kings of the 13th to 17th Dynasties; and the Papyrus Sallier tale (late-19th Dyn) of Sekenenre and Apophis – a folk tale about the machinations of a 17th Dynasty Theban king and his contemporary, the 'Hyksos' ruler of Avaris. From several centuries later we also have the Genealogy of the Memphite Priesthood – a large block from a Sakkara tomb containing a list of priests of Ptah (and in some instances the rulers under which they served) extending back to Mentuhotep II and therefore including the SIP. Finally, of course, considerable use had to be made of the history of Egypt recorded by the Ptolemaic priest, Manetho, as handed down to us in the writings of Africanus, Eusebius and, for this period in particular, Josephus [Waddell 1971, pp. 73-99]. The only two primary source documents considered to be contemporary with the period under discussion are: the Kamose Stela describing the king's war against Auserre Apophis; and, the biography from the el-kab tomb of Ahmose, son of Ibana [Lichtheim 1976, II, pp. 12-15], who served in the army of Ahmose I and had participated in the siege and capture of Avaris – the event which finally resulted in the Hyksos expulsion from Egypt. Both these documents deal with the end of 'Hyksos' rule and we thus have no contemporary material which throws light on the events which led up to the rise of a foreign dynasty in Lower and Middle Egypt.

Recently, within the last fifteen years, we have at last begun to receive data from settlement sites of the period, and the initial results are suggesting that a new approach is needed to both our understanding of the nature of 'Hyksos' society and to the historical events related to their occupation of Egypt.

The remainder of this essay will review the corpus of material currently available to us in the late 1980s (including recent archaeological discoveries in the eastern delta) and will, in particular, attempt a new reconstruction of the famous Turin Canon papyrus fragments – a proposal which has important consequences for both the length of the SIP and the relative position of the principal 'Hyksos' dynasty.

The first of our tasks is to attempt to construct a picture of the society which occupied Egypt (and in particular the delta) in the years following the 12th Dynasty and prior to the Hyksos dominance. In other words, we shall be discussing the archaeological and textual evidence for Manetho's 13th and 14th Dynasties. Let us start with a new phenomenon which is apparently introduced on a large scale for the first time in Egyptian society during the 13th Dynasty.

The Evidence for Slavery in Egypt

The major document which has come to light concerning the Canaanite population of Egypt during the 13th Dynasty is the Brooklyn Papyrus 35.1446 [Hayes 1955], but there are also several papyri from the pyramid town of Senuseret II at Kahun, known collectively as the Illahun Papyri [Griffith 1898]. In the case of the former, out of a total holding in one Theban estate amounting to 79 domestic slaves, no less than 45 bore Canaanite names [Kemp 1983, p. 155]. The fact that the household was located in Upper Egypt suggest that an even higher proportion might be expected for the eastern delta where Egypt adjoins Canaan. Thus it should be quite reasonable to infer that between 50% and 75% of the slave/servant population during the 13th Dynasty was of Asiatic/Canaanite origin.

Posener has noted that all the early references to Aamu (i.e. Canaanites) living in Egypt date to the period from Amenemhat III down to the mid-13th Dynasty, around the time of Neferhotep I (Turin Canon VI, 25) [Posener 1957, pp. 145-63]. The evidence further suggests that they were more numerous in the 13th Dynasty, in spite of the poverty of archaeological data for this period, compared to the relatively rich preceding dynasty [Van Seters 1966, p. 90]. In general, they seem to have assimilated well into the existing culture of Egypt. The surviving Aamu population records of the 13th Dynasty also show a greater number of female slaves to male [Hayes 1955, p. 99]. 

Asiatics entering Egypt from the tomb of Khnumhotep, Beni Hassan.

A number of texts have come to light which indicate that certain of these Aamu managed to reach high positions in the administration during the latter part of the 12th Dynasty (some also marrying Egyptian women), but that this state of affairs did not last into the late 13th Dynasty:

‘The fact that important persons in the time of Amenemhet III felt free to designate themselves as Aam or as born of an Aamt means that one can hardly consider them as slaves in the ordinary sense as in the Brooklyn Papyrus. One must therefore reckon with a deterioration in the status of Asiatics between the time of Amenemhet III and that of Neferhotep.' [Van Seters 1966, p. 91]

Van Seters also interestingly compares the Aamu of the Middle Kingdom with the Habiru, referred-to throughout the Levant from the Middle Kingdom to the el-Amarna Period [Van Seters 1966, p. 91].

Seth Worship in the Eastern Delta

An obelisk of a 'king's son' Nehesy ('the Nubian') found at Tanis [Leclant & Yoyotte 1957, pp. 50-54] has been used to establish the relative date for the beginning of the 14th Dynasty in the eastern delta. It has been almost unanimously agreed that this new dynasty arose sometime during the second half of the 13th Dynasty, whilst the kings of the latter dynasty apparently still ruled from the old 12th Dynasty royal residence of Itj-tawy south of Memphis. The argument goes something on the following lines: as artefacts for the 13th Dynasty kings succeeding Khaneferre Sebekhotep IV (Turin Canon VI, 27) have not been found in the delta, these kings must have lost control of Lower Egypt to a local dynasty which the archaeological evidence suggests was based at or near Avaris. In spite of the fact that it is an argument based on negative evidence from a region which has rarely received the archaeologists' attention until recently, this understanding of SIP history has remained the popular option. This is in no small measure due to the chronological restrictions which have been imposed upon the 13th to 17th Dynasties as a result of two key Sothic dates. By dating Year 7 of Senusret III (?) to 1830 BC (Illahun Papyrus) – and thus the end of the 12th Dynasty to 1759 BC [1]; and Year 9 of Amenhotep I to 1505 BC (Ebers Papyrus) – giving a starting date for the 18th Dynasty of 1539 BC, the SIP is restricted to just 220 years [Kitchen 1987, pp. 43-44]. Given the minimum lengths attributable to both the 13th and 14th Dynasties, as derived from the Turin Canon and Manetho, this must force an overlap between the two dynasties simply on chronological grounds.

Seth Lord of Avaris.

Returning to Nehesy, the primary candidate for founder of the 14th Dynasty, we can make certain tentative assumptions based on eastern delta archaeology. As obelisks are associated with temple facades, it would be reasonable to assume that Nehesy was involved in the construction of a temple, somewhere in the eastern delta; this is on the basis of the provenance of other Ramesside obelisks found at Tanis which have been shown to have originally come from the city of Pi-Ramesse, built at the site of the earlier city of Avaris. The obelisk is inscribed with the phrases ‘eldest royal son, Nehesy, beloved of Seth, Lord of r-3ht’ and ‘beloved of hry-s.f’ (Arsaphes). Montet has suggested that perhaps the origin of the name of the Sethroite (14th) nome is to be identified with the cult of ‘Seth Ra-akhet’ [Montet 1957, p. 199].

Royal Canon of Turin Column VIII with the name of King Nehesy at the top.

It has recently been suggested by Ahmed Osman [Sunday Times, 21st May 1989] that a newly discovered fortress town of Ramesside date, just east of the Suez Canal, may be Pi-Ramesse: the capital of the 19th and 20th Dynasties. The large 400m by 400m enclosure of Tell el-Hebua also contains an Asiatic occupation level, beneath the New Kingdom structures, which he therefore associates with Avaris. However, it is much more likely that the EAO excavator, Mohamed Abdel Maksoud, has unearthed the famous frontier town of Djaru/Sile, known to be located near Kantara, and which was undoubtedly occupied throughout most of Egypt’s history, given its strategic importance as the ‘gateway’ into the delta. That the site lies on a sand spit between salt flats and alongside the ancient pharaonic water course of the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, points clearly to el-Hebua being one of the fortress towns built to protect the principal eastern entrance into Egypt. Its large dimensions (the biggest Egyptian fort ever found) reduces the possibilities of identifying the site to either Seti I’s ‘House of the Lion’ (Karnak annals) or Djaru/Sile, both of which lay at the western end of the line of Ramesside forts.

Van Seters has persuasively argued that Ra-akhet, which means ‘gateway of the cultivation’ is to be located at Sile where cultivation and desert meet [Van Seters 1966, p. 101]. The phrase ‘beloved of Arsaphes’ gives us a further clue as to where the Nehesy obelisk may have been erected. Arsaphes was worshipped in later times at Heracleopolis Parva, capital of the 14th nome, and this too has been tentatively located at or near Sile. Thus we may postulate that Nehesy’s obelisk, and therefore the temple which it adorned, was probably erected at the Kantara fortress site where substantial remains of his time have been found. What is more, the only stelae recovered so far from el-Heboua are two bearing the name of Nehesy [2]. The implication of all this is that Nehesy, as a king’s son and heir, was charged with the protection of Egypt’s eastern frontier and that he may have resided at Sile at least for a time. Maksoud’s continuing excavations will no doubt prove to be of considerable importance and an investigation of the SIP strata at the site may well add much to our knowledge of 13th and 14th Dynasty history.

Fragments of a lintel of Nehesy found at Tell ed-Daba.

Soon after Nehesy became king, he established or enhanced the cult of ‘Seth, Lord of Avaris’ (a block of his bearing this epithet was found at Tell Moqdam – one of the two primary candidates for the Biblical Pithom). It has thus been suggested that Nehesy built a temple to Seth at Avaris which in turn is to be identified with the Canaanite temple found by Bietak at Tell ed-Daba (Stratum F/E) [Bietak 1986, p. 247]. This, however, should only be taken as a tentative suggestion. Clearly, a few monuments from the reign of Nehesy prove nothing regarding the origins of Seth-worship in the eastern delta, and, with a large part of the site as yet unexcavated, evidence might still be unearthed to show that a temple of Seth was already established and functioning at Tell ed-Daba prior to the reign of this king. It is not even absolutely certain whether the Canaanite temple was built by the Stratum F population (as seems likely) or those of the later Stratum E [Bietak 1979, p. 241-42]. Nor is it certain which of the strata represents the arrival of the main Hyksos dynasty at Avaris – any candidate from F to D/2 appears to remain a possibility [Bietak 1979, p. 237].

Professor Manfred Bietak.

Moreover, Bietak himself has tentatively postulated that a palace from Area F at ed-Daba (which is located in the equivalent stratum to Stratum G on the main tell) may be a royal palace and therefore the residence of Nehesy and his dynasty [Bietak 1986, p. 294]. If this is so, then the temple must be of a later date than the palace and would clearly have to be that constructed by the Hyksos of the 15th Dynasty – perhaps the temple of Seth built by Apophis, as related in Papyrus Sallier. With this scenario, the temple which had previously been suggested as marking the establishment Seth worship by the founding kings of the 14th Dynasty must, in fact, still await discovery at Tell ed-Daba.

The Ipuwer Papyrus

‘The Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage’, as Gardiner has called the text of Papyrus Leiden 344 (recto), is a plea to an un-named king of Egypt by one Ipuwer, who relates to his lord how the land of Egypt has degenerated into chaos. The papyrus itself was found at Memphis and, according to Gardiner, is to be dated to the 19th Dynasty at the earliest; however, the palaeography and orthography suggest that the 19th Dynasty version was a copy of an earlier 18th Dynasty text, whereas the language is typical of the Middle Kingdom. Gardiner, on somewhat tenuous grounds, proposed a date at the beginning of the First Intermediate Period (FIP) for the original story. Because of the authority he holds in the discipline of the ancient Egyptian language, his view has generally held sway ever since. On the other hand, Gardiner himself conceded that a date as late as the early 18th Dynasty could not be excluded [Gardiner 1909, pp. 3 & 18].

Van Seters has since convincingly argued that the original Ipuwer text belongs securely in the late Middle Kingdom or Second Intermediate Period [Van Seters 1966, pp. 103-20]. He has shown that the orthography and language are not typical of Old Kingdom texts and that, if Gardiner's view holds, then ‘the many intimate connections with the Middle Kingdom’ would have to be ‘considered merely as anticipations’. There are so many points of language, social structure and ethnic terminology which favour the later period that our current view of Egyptian cultural and social history would have to be turned on its head if a First Intermediate Period date is to be retained.

I shall briefly summarise Van Seter’s arguments concerning the Admonitions of Ipuwer here and rely on the reader to pursue the points in more detail in the original work. His telling observations include the following:

1. The md3yw as a pro-Egyptian military force are not attested until the Middle Kingdom [Van Seters 1966, p. 106], yet they appear in line 14:14 of the Ipuwer text as a force to be relied upon by the Egyptian authorities during troubled times [Lichtheim 1973, p. 161].

2. The term sttyw to designate Asiatics who carry the bow (with an archery target as its determinative) [Admonitions 14:11 & 15:2] is common during the Middle Kingdom but does not occur in this form in the Old Kingdom and rarely in the New Kingdom [Van Seters 1966, p. 107].

3. Winlock noted that there was a shortage of coffin wood from Syria and Lebanon near the beginning of the Second Intermediate Period [Winlock 1947, p. 101]; this is reflected in the Admonitions [3:6-8]: ‘None indeed sail north to Byblos today. What shall we do for the ’s wood (pine?) for the making of coffins?’

4. The term Keftiu (kftiw) for Crete, found in line 3:9, does not occur in the Old Kingdom and is even quite rare in the 12th Dynasty [Van Seters 1966, pp. 108-9].

5. ‘The institution of slavery, apart from a type of serfdom associated primarily with royal land estates, is not attested for the Old Kingdom. Slavery is, at the earliest, a product of the Middle Kingdom; in this period there is clear evidence for privately owned household slaves, male and female, who were considered as transferable, moveable property.’ The term hm/hmt is used seven times in the Admonitions in the context of household slaves, exactly as it is used in the slave list of the Brooklyn Papyrus which is dated to the 13th Dynasty.

In summation of his findings Van Seters makes the following statement:

‘One date seems to fit all the requirements: late Thirteenth Dynasty. The orthography and the linguistic evidence have always pointed toward this later date, and our present knowledge of the social and political history of this period confirms this opinion.’ [Van Seters 1966, p. 115]

Thus the Admonitions of Ipuwer should more justifiably be utilised in the elaboration of SIP history than the FIP. Even if one were to argue that this type of literature is of the didactic variety (like the predominantly Middle Kingdom sb3yt ‘instruction’ texts which often deal with chaos versus order), there is no reason why it should not reflect, to some degree, the conditions which Egypt found itself in at the time of the writing of the original text. In other words, Egypt was suffering from severe distress sometime during the mid-13th Dynasty/early SIP, at least partly due to the machinations of the large Asiatic population in the delta which looms large in the Admonitions.

It is therefore also my own view that Gardiner was quite wrong in his dating of this important text, and to continue to regard Ipuwer as reflecting the troubles at the end of the Old Kingdom, as most authoritative reference works still do, is to perpetuate a serious misconception concerning the nature of the era known as the First Intermediate Period and deprive the 13th Dynasty of an important document relating to the troubled conditions that generally pertained at the time. One may legitimately argue that the Admonitions has no real historical value, but this would be to ignore the obvious point that pessimistic writings tend to be born out of periods of political instability and can justifiably be used to some degree to create a picture of the era which created them. In the case of Ipuwer it is the continuous references to 'Asiatics’, who seem to be at the focus of the troubles, which can add to information from other sources pointing to a general decline during the second half of the 13th Dynasty. It has been suggested that one major element in this scenario of decline was ‘Asiatic’ expansion in the delta and this appears to be precisely the sort of political picture described in the Ipuwer Papyrus.

Hyksos Invasion or Asiatic Infiltration and Internal Coup?

Save-Soderbergh [Save-Soderbergh 1951, p. 55] and others [e.g. Alt 1959] have argued that there was no sudden invasion of Egypt by Asiatic chiefs who subsequently became the Hyksos 15th Dynasty of Manetho. They point to the ‘Asiatic’ names of rulers of Egypt found in the Turin Canon at lines IX:29 & 30 (An[a]ti = Anath (?) & Bebnem = Bnon (?)), who occur 16 places before the Hyksos kings of the 15th Dynasty (currently residing in column X), according to the accepted reconstruction of the papyrus. Thus they argue that Asiatic kings were already ruling in the eastern delta long before the main group of 6 Hyksos kings. This then contradicts Josephus’ supposed verbatim account of Manetho which tells of a sudden invasion of oppressive Asiatics ‘from Phoenicia’ [Waddell, pp. 77-91].

On the other hand, Helck has strongly supported the invasion story of Josephus and the Manethonian excerptors [Helck 1962]. He argued (before Bietak’s discoveries at Tell ed-Daba) that, by its very nature, an invasion of a civilised and established culture by nomadic groups will not necessarily appear in the stratigraphical record. He sites the Kassite conquerors of Babylonia, who were completely assimilated into the existing culture of the region and only identifiable as a new group through the evidence of later written records. He also cites the Speos Artemidos inscription of Hatshepsut as literary support of the character of Hyksos rule, less than a century after their expulsion:

‘Listen all people, as many as you may be! I have done this according to the wishes of my heart ... I have restored that which was in ruins, I have raised up that which was unfinished since the Asiatics were in the midst of Avaris of the Northland, and the barbarians were in the midst of them, overthrowing that which had been made, while they ruled without Ra’.

  Hatshepsut's Speos Artemidos temple.

This, Helck argues, is clear evidence for the veracity of the Manethonean tradition, whereas there are no native Egyptian or Syro-Palestinian sources which can be seen to contradict the Egyptian priest’s version of events – only the apparent occurrence of kings bearing Asiatic names prior to the main Hyksos dynasty.

Alt’s typically sceptical approach to Manetho views the Hyksos invasion tradition as a symptom of the later military invasions of Assyria and Persia [Alt 1959, pp. 72-98]. Thus, having rightly observed that Josephus’s ‘verbatim’ account is riddled with later additions, including the mention of Assyrians, who do not appear on the Egyptian scene until much later in 7th century Egypt, he contends that the story of a sudden invasion is a reflection of the Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal invasions of 671 and 667 BC. But can this approach really be employed to deny the substance of Manetho’s history, simply because there were other invasions between the Hyksos period and the Ptolemaic historian’s own era? The fact that peoples and places mentioned in the traditions are to be identified with political and geographical conditions nearer to Manetho’s lifetime simply shows that the writer thought of his country’s past in terms of the political topography of its recent history; but this in itself cannot deny the basic truth of the original event. The Romans did not build a garrison town at York but at ‘Eboracum’, and Julius Caesar did not cross the ‘English Channel’. Do these simple statements mean that we must reject all popular accounts of historical events simply because modern historians employ 20th-century names to describe ancient events and places? Surely in this case Alt’s reasoning is not based on a sound methodology.

Alt’s somewhat jaundiced view of ancient historical tradition also accounts for the loss to history of the Conquest narratives of the Old Testament. This sort of scholarship is partly responsible for the trend towards the so-called ‘healthy skepticism’ approach to the study of ancient history, which, in my view, has tended towards rampant gradualism. Virtually all the great traditions of invasions and population movements in the ancient world are now apparently seen as rather insipid infiltrations thanks to the Alt and Noth school of thought.

As the non-invasion view of the Hyksos period is now given prominence in the standard works on Egyptian history, the reconstruction of the surviving Turin Canon fragments proposed below, which undermines one of the principal arguments at the heart of this view, is important for the re-establishment of a counterweight to this now somewhat unbalanced debate.

The Turin Canon: A New Reconstruction

During one afternoon spent undertaking research in the Edwards Library at University College London, I chanced to come across the original publication of The Royal Canon of Turin by Alan Gardiner [Gardiner 1959]. I decided to thumb through the pages of this large format volume, just to give my brain a rest from the long and somewhat dry tome that I had been studying. Almost at once I noticed something on Plate III which struck me as very odd, for in the middle of column IX of the reconstructed papyrus, Ibscher (who undertook the second restoration) had placed one of the ancient repair patches which were otherwise consistently to be found at the top of the Canon’s columns.

Column IX (left) with the darker patch towards the bottom of the column.

The most reasonable explanation for these patches would be that, after the 19th Dynasty tax list on the recto was put into store, the top of the role had been eaten through by an insect, leaving a hole right through the document, a couple of centimetres from the top edge. When the papyrus was reused to record a copy of the kings list (on the blank verso) it was necessary to stick small patches of papyrus over the holes which had been discovered upon unrolling the papyrus. The patches thus appear at intervals of 17cms along the upper section of its length – that is except for the patch which now stands in the middle of column IX and one which remains in the collection of unplaced fragments. 

Greedy beetle!

What appeared quite obvious to me was the simple fact that in three places where one might have expected to find repair patches there were none: in the gaps at the top of columns I and IV and the left side of column IX.

Simplified layout of the Royal Canon showing positions of patches (darker).

Why then hadn’t someone suggested that the patch in the middle of column IX, and that assigned to the fragments, belonged in the gaps at the top of these columns? Surely a closer scrutiny would reveal why those who had assembled the fragments had not taken this logical step? Subsequent investigation has, however, convinced me that a serious error was made in the mounting of the Turin Canon by Ibscher [published in Farina, 1938] and later retained by Gardiner. This in turn has led to a number of false assumptions about the length of the SIP and the position of the Hyksos 15th Dynasty within that period.

Looking in detail at the two patches of concern: the one mounted in column IX bears names which Gardiner describes as ‘wholly fictitious beings’ and ‘fantastically named royalties’ [Gardiner 1959, p. 17]. They include animals and animal deities like ‘ibis/Thoth?’ (IX,17), ‘goose/Geb?’ (IX,18) and ‘Apis’ (IX,19) and the term ‘shemsu’ – a designation for the semi-divine beings of Predynastic Egypt. If any location on the papyrus were to suit these strange entries it must surely be in the space at the top of column I where, at the bottom half of the column, we find the gods and demi-gods of the prehistoric era. This would leave the patch from the unplaced fragments (containing only numerals of reign durations) to occupy either the top of column IV or the left half of the top of column IX.

Three stages of reconstruction.

By removing the patch from column IX we now find ourselves with a large gap in the middle of that column and an equally large question begging to be answered – why, in the first place, was the Canon reconstructed into eleven columns when all the pieces could be mounted in ten columns? The small fragments in column X could easily fit in the new space now available in column IX and, what is more, fragments 150 and 152 certainly do not belong at the top of column X where they currently reside, as neither is a patch (on the arguments already aired above, a patch would have to stand here). The recto tax list, on the back of the fragments placed in columns IX to XI, is ‘wholly chaotic’ (in Gardiner's words), so is useless in determining any of the positions for the fragments of the last third of the document.

Unfortunately, it seems that historians in recent years have taken the order and position of these fragments as established with some degree of certainty, and have failed to take into consideration Gardiner’s salutary remarks found in the notes of his publication of the Turin Canon:

‘Down to IX,10 of the King-list the positions of the fragments as seen in F[arina] may be regarded as on the whole certain or at least plausible, but the arrangement of the remainder of col. IX and the whole of col. X must be regarded with the utmost skepticism. The scanty traces on the recto are wholly chaotic. In our Plates the positions given by Farina or Ibscher are retained, but only in order to avoid relegating to the Unplaced a number of pieces that undoubtedly belong to this papyrus. ... With the scanty material before us we see no solution to these problems.’ [Gardiner 1959, p. 17]

It is thus difficult to understand why the two great modern works on the chronology of the Turin Canon, those of von Beckerath [1964] and Malek [1982], have made use of the existing mounting of columns IX and X to develop their arguments.

  Columns VI to IX of the Royal Canon of Turin.

It is my contention that Ibscher’s column X is superfluous, resulting in an artificial stretching of the Canon (and therefore the chronology) by one column of 25 to 30 kings. Column XI, containing some of the 17th Dynasty rulers, should therefore be renamed as column X and brought into contact with a newly reconstructed column IX. It is the latter to which we should now turn in order to relocate the fragment bearing the total for the Hyksos dynasty which previously resided in the now defunct column X.

The Hyksos fragments reunited.

The reconstruction of column IX is best explained by reference to the illustration above. The top two fragments (105 & 108) have been retained in their original position. Similarly, fragment 112 has been left where Ibscher mounted it although it must be said that there is no evidence for doing so (but see below). The patch fragments 41, 41a and 42 have been relocated to column I, and in their place is positioned the un-numbered fragment bearing the name of the last Hyksos ruler, Khamudy, followed by the total line: ‘6 rulers of foreign lands for 100[+x years]’ (this fragment will be designated the number 112a in order to simplify references to it in the following discussion). Beneath this is placed the small fragment 22 from the old column X, simply to fill the gap above fragments 123 and 122 which have been retained in their original positions. Now let us look at the results of this arrangement to see what information can be gleaned.

The place to start is with the central fragments 112 and 112a which form the focus of this new reconstruction. What we now have is the following:

[...] – Line IX,14

Dual King [...] – Line IX,15

Dual King Anak[...] – Line IX,16

Dual King Ia[...] – Line IX,17

Dual King Ap[...] – Line IX,18

[...] Khamudy – Line IX,19

6 [heqau]-khasut for 100[+x years] – Line IX,20

I would therefore like to tentatively propose that this constitutes the 6 kings of the 15th Dynasty and that Manetho's list of Hyksos kings may be arranged as follows:

Salites/Saites = Shalek

Bnon/Baion = Bebnem

Apachnan = Anak-idbu ('Lord of the Isles') Khyan [3]

Iannas/Staan = Ianassi (son of Khyan)

Apophis = Auserre Apophis

Assis/Archles = Khamudy

One of the principal arguments against the theory of a sudden Asiatic invasion of Egypt was that the Turin Canon had kings with Asiatic names residing at the bottom of column IX, a number of generations before the Hyksos 15th Dynasty (represented by 112a) standing in the middle of the old column X. Now that we have relocated the 15th Dynasty before these other Asiatic rulers, they simply become part of Manetho's ‘17th Dynasty’ group of ‘shepherd kings’ and no longer predate the arrival of the Hyksos.

Moreover, the number of kings which follow the first Hyksos ruler (IX,14) accord perfectly with von Beckerath’s excellent suggestion that Manetho’s 17th Dynasty (Africanus version) represents the 6 main Hyksos kings, plus 5 Theban rulers, plus 32 minor Asiatic rulers – a total of 43 kings ruling for a period of 151 years [von Beckerath 1964, p. ..]. According to this argument, the 17th Dynasty is therefore a construct which arose from Manetho’s misunderstanding of a summary line in the original kings list giving in reality the total reigns and years since the foreign occupation of Egypt had begun. The reconstruction offered here has exactly 43 kings from the first Hyksos (IX,14) to the end of the new column X – the beginning of the 18th Dynasty (according to the column line totals calculated by Malek, p. 94).

The new arrangement of the Turin Canon is also compatible with the Genealogy of the Memphite Priesthood (see diagram) where we have 7 generations between one ‘Aken’ (perhaps Akenenre Apophis, an early Hyksos ruler not to be identified with Auserre Apophis – a theory for which there is absolutely no proof and little precedent) and Ahmose I (at 22 years a generation a total of around 154 years and therefore close to the figure arrived at for the 17th Dynasty). Before Aken the Genealogy gives the name Iby, and this ruler is attested in the Canon (VII,14) immediately after a broken entry which reads ‘[...]mes’, almost certainly the Djedneferre Dudimose of the Gebelain Stela and several other monuments from this period [Gauthier 1907, pp. 50-51]. Thus again Manetho may be quite correct when he states (Josephus version) that:

‘Tutimaeos. In his reign, for what cause I know not, a blast of God smote us; and unexpectedly, from the regions of the East, invaders of obscure race marched in confidence of victory against our land.’ [Waddell, p. 79]

It is very likely that this Tutimaeos is our Dudimose of the 13th Dynasty and, given the overlap already established for the late 13th and early 14th Dynasties it is not inconceivable that the Hyksos invasion may have taken place during the reign of the 38th king of the 13th Dynasty and some 9 or 10 rulers into the parallel 14th.

With this scenario, the new reconstruction of the Turin Canon is consistent and compatible with both the Memphite Genealogy and Manetho. The latter’s history of this period once again appears to have been vindicated by new research, just as both Malek and von Beckerath had independently argued that the data derived from the Ptolemaic priest’s dynastic list had a genuine historical basis which simply required the correct interpretation. By adopting this new proposal, a number of the riddles which have tended to confuse the chronology of the SIP have been solved and an opportunity exists to establish a clearer chronological framework for the history of this fascinating period of Egypt’s past.

The golden diadem of a Hyksos princess from Tell ed-Daba.


1. The dates used here are the low chronology of Krauss [1985]. For the higher chronology of Parker the reader should date the end of the 12th Dynasty to 1801 and the start of the 18th to 1550, giving an interval of 251 years in which to place the dynasties of the SIP. Krauss’ dates are based on observations of the heliacal rising of Sirius at Elephantine whereas Parker locates the observations at Memphis or Itj-tawy.

2. Disclosed by the excavator at the recent seminar held in the Egyptian Cultural Centre in London – May 1989.

3. Personal communication from Dr Bietak – letter of 29/9/86 in which he informed me that his team had found a stela of ‘the eldest son of king Ianasi, son of king Khyan’. Manfred Gorg proposed that Ianasi should be identified with Iannas and that Khyan must therefore be identified with the predecessor of Iannas in the redactions of Manetho.


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