Military History of Ancient Egypt - The Second Intermediate Period

The Second Intermediate Period

After Menferre Ay fled his palace in at the end of the 13th dynasty, a Canaanite tribe called the Hyksos sacked Memphis (the Egyptians capital city) and claimed dominion over Upper and Lower Egypt. After the Hyksos took control, many Egyptians fled to Thebes, where they eventually began to oppose the Hyksos rule.

The Hyksos, Asiatics from the Northeast, set up a fortified capital at Avaris. The Egyptians were trapped at this time; their government had collapsed. They were literally in the middle of an 'enemy sandwich' between the Hyksos in the north and the Kushite Nubians in the south. This period marked a great change for Egypt's military. The Hyksos brought with them to Egypt the horse, the chariot, and the composite bow. These tools drastically altered the way Egypt's military functioned. The Hyksos introduced the Ourarit (Chariot) to the Egyptians.Although the Hyksos have been credited with these introductions, a fragment from a Stela shows Khonsuemwaset, son of Pharaoh Dudimose, one of the last rulers of the 13th Dynasty, with a pair of chariot gloves under his seat, which denote his status as Master of the Horse, as is seen in the tomb of Ay (18th Dynasty), with him depicted as Master of the Horse, wearing charioteer's gloves, like those depicted in the above stela fragment. Clearer evidence for the use of horses in the early SIP comes from Tell-el-Khebir, where Ali Hassan had excavated the complete skeleton of a horse, which he has dated, from associated finds, to the 13th Dynasty. Kanawati has also uncovered a 12th Dynasty tomb at el-Rakakna containing an object engraved with the head of a horse'. The Chariot was not invented by the Hyksos but was introduced in the north by the Hurrians. The composite bow allowed for more accuracy and kill distance with arrows. These advances ultimately worked against the Hyksos because they allowed the Egyptian military to mobilize and roust them from Egypt.

The Thebans started to rebel against the Hyksos when Pharaoh Sekenre (or Senakhtenre) Taa became Pharaoh. Sekenre called the Thebans to a battle against the Hyksos, a battle that claimed his own life. Sekenre was succeeded by Kamose, who also attempted to battle the Hyksos, but spent only three years on the throne, before probably being killed in battle. Kamose’s brother Ahmose was far more successful than his predecessors. He battled the Hyksos, and drove them from Egypt. This marked the beginning of the New Kingdom.

Read more about this topic:  Military History Of Ancient Egypt

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