Hyksos (//; Egyptian ḥqꜣ(w)-ḫꜣswt, Egyptological pronunciation: hekau khasut, "ruler(s) of foreign lands"; Ancient Greek: Ὑκσώς, Ὑξώς) is a term which, in modern Egyptology, designates the kings of the Fifteenth Dynasty of Egypt (fl. c. 1650–1550 BC). The seat of power of these kings was the city of Avaris in the Nile delta, from where they ruled over Lower and Middle Egypt up to Cusae. In the Aegyptiaca, a history of Egypt written by the Greco-Egyptian priest and historian Manetho in the 3rd century BC, the term Hyksos is used ethnically to designate people of probable West Semitic, Levantine origin. While Manetho portrayed the Hyksos as invaders and oppressors, this interpretation is questioned in modern Egyptology. Instead, Hyksos rule might have been preceded by groups of Canaanite peoples who gradually settled in the Nile delta from the end of the Twelfth Dynasty onwards and who may have seceded from the crumbling and unstable Egyptian control at some point during the Thirteenth Dynasty.
|Periods and dynasties of ancient Egypt|
All years are BC
The Hyksos period marks the first in which Egypt was ruled by foreign rulers. Many details of their rule, such as the true extent of their kingdom and even the names and order of their kings, remain uncertain. The Hyksos practiced many Levantine or Canaanite customs, but also many Egyptian customs. They have been credited with introducing several technological innovations to Egypt, such as the horse and chariot, as well as the sickle sword and the composite bow, but this theory is disputed.
The Hyksos did not control all of Egypt. Instead, they coexisted with the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Dynasties, which were based in Thebes. Warfare between the Hyksos and the pharaohs of the late Seventeenth Dynasty eventually culminated in the defeat of the Hyksos by Ahmose I, who founded the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. In the following centuries, the Egyptians would portray the Hyksos as bloodthirsty and oppressive foreign rulers.