Second Intermediate Period of Egypt
|c. 1650 BC - c. 1550 BC|
The political situation in the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt (c. 1650 -- c. 1550 BC) Thebes was briefly conquered by the Hyksos c. 1580 BC
|Common languages||Ancient Egyptian|
|Religion||Ancient Egyptian religion|
o c. 1648 BC
o c. 1555 - c. 1550 BC
|c. 1650 BC|
|c. 1550 BC|
|Today part of||Egypt|
The Second Intermediate Period marks a period when ancient Egypt fell into disarray for a second time, between the end of the Middle Kingdom and the start of the New Kingdom. The concept of a "Second Intermediate Period" was coined in 1942 by German Egyptologist Hanns Stock.
The 12th Dynasty of Egypt came to an end at the end of the 19th century BC with the death of Queen Sobekneferu (1806-1802 BC). Apparently she had no heirs, causing the 12th Dynasty to come to a sudden end, and, with it, the Golden Age of the Middle Kingdom; it was succeeded by the much weaker 13th Dynasty. Retaining the seat of the 12th Dynasty, the 13th Dynasty ruled from Itjtawy ("Seizer-of-the-Two-Lands") for most of its existence, switching to Thebes in the far south possibly since the reign of Merneferre Ay.
The 13th Dynasty is notable for the accession of the first formally recognised Semitic-speaking king, Khendjer ("Boar"). The 13th Dynasty proved unable to hold on to the entire territory of Egypt however, and a provincial ruling family of Western Asian descent in Avaris, located in the marshes of the eastern Nile Delta, broke away from the central authority to form the 14th Dynasty.
The 15th Dynasty of Egypt was the first Hyksos dynasty. It ruled from Avaris but did not control the entire land. The Hyksos preferred to stay in northern Egypt since they infiltrated from the northeast. The names and order of their kings is uncertain. The Turin King list indicates that there were six Hyksos kings, with an obscure Khamudi listed as the final king of the 15th Dynasty.
Some scholars argue there were two Apophis kings named Apepi I and Apepi II, but this is primarily due to the fact there are two known prenomens for this king: Awoserre and Aqenenre. However, the Danish Egyptologist Kim Ryholt maintains in his study of the Second Intermediate Period that these prenomens all refer to one man, Apepi, who ruled Egypt for 40 or more years. This is also supported by the fact that this king employed a third prenomen during his reign: Nebkhepeshre. Apepi likely employed several different prenomens throughout various periods of his reign. This scenario is not unprecedented, as later kings, including the famous Ramesses II and Seti II, are known to have used two different prenomens in their own reigns.
Ryholt (1997), followed by Bourriau (2003), in reconstructing the Turin canon, interpreted a list of Thebes-based kings to constitute Manetho's Dynasty XVI, although this is one of Ryholt's "most debatable and far-reaching" conclusions. For this reason other scholars do not follow Ryholt and see only insufficient evidence for the interpretation of the 16th Dynasty as Theban.
The continuing war against Dynasty XV dominated the short-lived 16th dynasty. The armies of the 15th dynasty, winning town after town from their southern enemies, continually encroached on the 16th dynasty territory, eventually threatening and then conquering Thebes itself. In his study of the second intermediate period, the egyptologist Kim Ryholt has suggested that Dedumose I sued for a truce in the latter years of the dynasty, but one of his predecessors, Nebiryraw I, may have been more successful and seems to have enjoyed a period of peace in his reign.
From Ryholt's reconstruction of the Turin canon, 15 kings of the dynasty can now be named, five of whom appear in contemporary sources. While they were most likely rulers based in Thebes itself, some may have been local rulers from other important Upper Egyptian towns, including Abydos, El Kab and Edfu. By the reign of Nebiriau I, the realm controlled by the 16th dynasty extended at least as far north as Hu and south to Edfu. Not listed in the Turin canon (after Ryholt) is Wepwawetemsaf, who left a stele at Abydos and was likely a local kinglet of the Abydos Dynasty.
Ryholt gives the list of kings of the 16th dynasty as shown in the table below. Others, such as Helck, Vandersleyen, Bennett combine some of these rulers with the Seventeenth dynasty of Egypt. The estimated dates come from Bennett's publication.
The Abydos Dynasty may have been a short-lived local dynasty ruling over part of Upper Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period in Ancient Egypt and was contemporary with the 15th and 16th Dynasties, approximately from 1650 to 1600 BC. The existence of an Abydos Dynasty was first proposed by Detlef Franke and later elaborated on by Egyptologist Kim Ryholt in 1997. The existence of the dynasty may have been vindicated in January 2014, when the tomb of the previously unknown pharaoh Seneb Kay was discovered in Abydos. The dynasty tentatively includes four rulers: Wepwawetemsaf, Pantjeny, Snaaib, and Seneb Kay.
The royal necropolis of the Abydos Dynasty was found in the southern part of Abydos, in an area called Anubis Mountain in ancient times. The rulers of the Abydos Dynasty placed their burial ground adjacent to the tombs of the Middle Kingdom rulers.
Around the time Memphis and Itj-tawy fell to the Hyksos, the native Egyptian ruling house in Thebes declared its independence from Itj-tawy, becoming the 17th Dynasty. This dynasty would eventually lead the war of liberation that drove the Hyksos back into Asia. The Theban-based 17th Dynasty restored numerous temples throughout Upper Egypt while maintaining peaceful trading relations with the Hyksos kingdom in the north. Indeed, Senakhtenre Ahmose, the first king in the line of Ahmoside kings, even imported white limestone from the Hyksos-controlled region of Tura to make a granary door at the Temple of Karnak. However, his successors -- the final two kings of this dynasty -- Seqenenre Tao and Kamose are traditionally credited with defeating the Hyksos in the course of the wars of liberation. With the creation of the 18th Dynasty around 1550 BC the New Kingdom period of Egyptian history begins with Ahmose I, its first pharaoh, completing the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt and placing the country, once again, under centralised administrative control.