For this week’s blog post, I decided to combine the information I learned in two videos and elaborate on it. I focused on the end of the Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Period this week, mainly because I didn’t know that much about either of those topics to begin with. As a historian-in-training, I often wonder what exactly makes an era collapse or segue into a new one. The end of the Middle Kingdom was especially interesting to learn about this week because one would think that the arrival of the Hyksos people would foster some degree of conflict. However, it seems like they Hyksos just drifted in and assimilated with the Egyptians by adopting their name style as well as their royal titles. It wasn’t long before the Hyksos were dominant over Lower Egypt and the Nile Delta, leaving the pharaohs with Upper Egypt.
It makes sense that there would be some turmoil during this time. According to several king’s lists found in Egypt, there were 175 rulers during the Second Intermediate Period. On the other hand, the number of viziers stayed relatively low, showing that while the seat of power was unstable, the administration behind the seat was almost unmovable.
One of the many things I found interesting was that the Egyptians were unnerved because of the Hyksos’ alliance with the Nubians, a people that Egypt had previously come into contact with. Essentially, the Egyptian pharaohs were caught between a rock and a hard place (the Hyksos and the Nubians, respectively). It wasn’t until the 18th dynasty, under the reign of Ahmose, that the Hyksos would be permanently expelled from Egypt, thanks to a siege that lasted for three years at Sharuhen (or Tell el Ajjul).
Despite the tension between the Hyksos and the pharaohs, the Hyksos contributed new ideas to modern warfare in Egypt, with inventions like the horse-drawn chariot, the battle-axe and a fancier compound bow.