The Hyksos were Asiatics who ruled Egypt for about a century and a half. By about B.
Gradually, Semites replaced Egyptians in high administrative offices. The rise of Joseph to power and the migration of the Hebrews fits in well with what is known of the era of Hyksos rule. The Hyksos never seemed to have dominated Upper Egypt, where a native family retained control. One of the last kings of this dynasty, Seqenen-re II, began to organize the resistance against the Hyksos.
His son, Kamose, continued the struggle and succeeded in driving the Hyksos out of Upper Egypt and in recovering Memphis. Amose, brother of Kamose, completed the liberation of Egypt. He inflicted a crushing defeat on the Hyksos by capturing Avaris and driving them back into Canaan.
Amose ca. The Hyksos occupation was a humiliation for the Egyptians that had a profound effect upon the national psychology. Thenceforth, Egypt was acutely conscious of the perils lurking in the outside world. The danger of foreign invasion, especially from Asia via the Eastern Delta, could never again be smugly ignored or underestimated.
Furthermore, the Semitic population was not driven entirely from that region and was perceived as a danger to the security of Egypt. Let us then deal shrewdly with them, so that they may not increase; otherwise in the event of war they may join our enemies in fighting against us and rise from the ground. A close reading of the final pages of Genesis uncovers intimations of a deteriorating situation. The domicile of the Israelites in Egypt is not regarded as permanent.
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Most striking is the contrast between the private funeral of Joseph and the public state funeral earlier accorded his father, Jacob. They neglected the Delta, apparently begrudging any expenditure on the region that had been the base of the hated Hyksos. However, toward the end of this period attitudes began to change. Haremhab ca. Its meadows are verdant with grass; its banks bear dates; its melons are abundant on the sands. Four colossal statues of the Pharaoh seated on his throne one of which is shown above guard the entrance to his Great Temple at Abu Simbel.
Each statue is approximately 66 feet high 20 meters and measures 13 feet 4 meters from ear to ear. Photo by Marvin K. In other words, Ramses II built his capital in the very area of Israelite settlement. So why do it? Well, for one, the gods do it: there are all sorts of brother-sister pairings in our pantheon, and Egyptians are pious to a fault.
They do it because it keeps the royal seed and its power contained. I really do. So there Merneith is, getting it on with her brother-husband, trying to have royal babies that might one day be king. Because as far as titles go, Mother of the King is one of the most potent you can win.
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Most pharaohs have a royal harem, and lady favorites outside of it. These women often become important members of court and take an active part in royal functions.
Merneith milks that little loophole for some 6 to 8 years. Her first job as regent is to bury her husband, and that means choosing people to sacrifice and bury with him. She probably used the opportunity to eliminate people she saw as threats: young women and children were buried together, maybe because they were too close in the line of succession. Even some of his dogs are sacrificed. This is something Egyptian lady pharaohs will use over and over again. The question is this: when we know so little about her, how do we even know she ruled?
Mothers, wives, and sisters are seen as crucial to a ruler in life, but also in his afterlife. When a pharaoh is buried, his most important women are often buried close by.
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Khufu, that guy who built one of the great pyramids of Giza, made sure to add a sumptuous pyramid next door for his mom, Hetepheres. Hetepheres was really living her best life. Safe travels in the afterlife, you trailblazing queen. And they allow the Egyptian elite time to sort out who will rise after her.
Because unlike Merneith, this next woman gets to rule without a baby monarch beside her: circa near the end of the Middle Kingdom period, she rules alone. Egyptian elites change their fancy names more than Prince.
In some ways, he has the most publicly owned sex life in the ancient world. His sexy time keeps the world turning round. Dozens, and later even hundreds of women live together in these royal harems, making sure he has an heir and about a thousand spares on the go. Let's step into the harem for a minute, shall we? Like ancient incest, this is another place we modern gals have trouble understanding.
Because that is definitely what women do in their free time! The harem has its own power structure, and Neferusobek would have been mixing and melding with girls from all over, bought in diplomatic marriages meant to smooth over hurts and build bonds with other empires. So send very beautiful women, but none with shrill voices. But even this lady-hungry pharaoh still has a main squeeze, who even conducts some of her own diplomatic correspondence.
Her name is Tiye, a commoner who rises up to become his 1 Great Royal Wife. The Great Royal Wife runs things in the harem: she is the highest woman on the totem pole. She and any Sisters of the King have a definite advantage in this environment. The royal women's quarters are confined in its own compound, usually attached to the royal palace for ease of access, complete with acourtyard featuring pools, fish, fig trees, and probably a few monkeys, a popular pet amongst harem girls.
All children are housed in a nursery in a separate wing, tended to by wet nurses and nannies. Harem women might even run their own business, supervising female weavers. To try and speed along conception, the harem girls are eating poppy and pomegranate seeds, burning incense soaked in fat, probably praying, and keeping their fingers crossed. We can only imagine what they get up to on a Saturday. Ancient harem dance partyyyyyyy!
But it is NOT all hair braiding and sweet secrets up in here.
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And listen: as a harem girl, you are NOT allowed to sleep with anyone besides the pharaoh. One suspects there MUST have been some same-sex romance happening. It seems to have been led by Tiy, though not the same one from before, who wanted her son Pentawere on the throne. In the ensuing trial, several women are accused of having made wax figures and used black magic as part of the assassination. Wait: have I heard this one before? Oh, right, those many European witch trials. History is gross sometimes…In the end, 38 people were put to death, condemned either to kill themselves or be impaled by a spike.
Choices, choices. Given the limitations of ancient medicine, the harem sees a lot of tragedy at the birthing block.