The Second Intermediate Period dates from 1700 to 1550 BC.: 123 It marks a period when ancient Egypt was divided into smaller dynasties for a second time, between the end of the Middle Kingdom and the start of the New Kingdom. The Second Intermediate Period generally includes the 13th through to the 17th dynasties.
The Second Intermediate Period
|c. 1700–1550 BC|
|Religion||Ancient Egyptian religion|
|Demonym(s)||Egyptians and Hyksos|
• c. 1701 – c. 1677 BC
|Merneferre Ay (first)|
• c. 1555 – c. 1550 BC
• approximately around the late 13th Dynasty
• The end of the 17th Dynasty of Egypt
It is best known as the period when the Hyksos people of West Asia established the 15th Dynasty and ruled from Avaris, which, according to Manetho's Aegyptiaca, was founded by a king by the name of Salitis.
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.
Retaining the seat of the 12th dynasty, the 13th dynasty (c. 1773 – 1650 BC). Ruled from Itjtawy ("Seizer-of-the-Two-Lands") for most of its existence, switching to Thebes in the far south possibly in the reign of Merneferre Ay.: 123 According to the Syncellus, all three sources of the translated king list of Africanus, Eusebius, and the Armenian of Eusebius state that the 13th dynasty had sixty kings that ruled and lived in Dioplus for roughly 453 years. The first king was Sobekhotep I even though it was led to believe that the first two kings were the sons of Amenemhat IV. Though the 13th dynasty may have controlled Upper Egypt, the 14th dynasty ruled Lower Egypt, and both houses agreed to co-exist with one another, allowing trade. The kings of the dynasties may have had trouble with containing power within their dynasty, since the dating we have for the kings' reigns are short, with rulers seemingly being replaced in rapid fashion. The eventual collapse of the 13th dynasty became an opening for two smaller dynasties to take control of the land.
The 13th Dynasty is notable for the accession of king Khendjer (whose name Kim Ryholt interprets as Semitic). The 13th dynasty proved unable to hold on to the entire territory of Egypt however, and a provincial ruling family, located in the Nile Delta, broke away from the central authority to form the 14th Dynasty (contested rulers proposed by Ryholt as the first five rulers of the dynasty are commonly identified as being of Canaanite (Semitic) descent based on their names. His conclusions about their chronological position within the period are contested in Ben Tor's study. Other sources do not refer to the dynasty as foreign or Hyksos and they were not referred to as "rulers of foreign lands" or "shepherd kings" in kings lists.).
The 14th dynasty (c. 1700–1650 BC) was also ruling in Egypt around the time of the late 13th dynasty. While the 13th dynasty was ruling in Thebes, the 14th dynasty ruled in parts of Lower Egypt.: 123 According to Syncellus, all three sources agree that the 14th dynasty had seventy-six kings and their court was located in Xois, now modern day Sakha, though they do provide to different numbers of years ruled, with the Africanus stating that the 13th dynasty reigned for 184 years while the Armenian version of the Eusebius stating that they reigned for 484 years. While the other Eusebius states the same as Africanus, but in another copy it states the same number as the Armenian version.
The 14th dynasty saw great success during their early years, but it would apparently turn when kings would have start using prenomens that may be construed as giving signs of famine plaguing Egypt. Also being very similar to the 13th Dynasty with the late kings being replaced in a very rapid succession. The 14th dynasty was overthrown by the Hyksos.
The 15th Dynasty (c.1650 to 1550 BC.): 123 of Egypt ruled from Avaris but did not control the entire land, leaving some of northern Upper Egypt under the control of both the Abydos Dynasty and the early 16th dynasty. With the 16th dynasty being ruled not by the Hyksos themselves, but the Thebans. 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.
The Hyksos name was translated by Josephus who was looking over the conveys of Manetho's court. The name translates into two different meanings, with the first being "Shepherd kings", and the second being as "Captive Shepherds". It is up to debate on if the movement of the Hyksos was a military invasion or a mass migration of Asiatics from Palestine.: 127–128 The Hyksos established their own dynasty in Egypt, the 15th Dynasty.
The Abydos Dynasty (c. 1640 to 1620 BC.) 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. The Abydos dynasty stayed rather small with rulership over just Abydos or Thinis. Very little is known about the Abydos dynasty, since it was a very short-lived, though we do have some king names that appear in Turin king list, but it not in any other sources.
The 16th Dynasty (c. 1650-1580 BC) ruled the Theban region in Upper Egypt. Of the two chief versions of Manetho's Aegyptiaca, Dynasty XVI is described by the more reliable Africanus (supported by Syncellus) as "shepherd [hyksos] kings", but by Eusebius as Theban. The continuing war against the 15th dynasty 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. Famine, which had plagued Upper Egypt during the late 13th dynasty and the 14th dynasty, also blighted the 16th dynasty, most evidently during and after the reign of Neferhotep III. The end of the 16th dynasty came after relentless military pressure by the suceeding 15th dynasty after many attempts, with evidence of Nebiryraw I's own personal seals being found in the Hyksos territory.
The 17th dynasty (c.1571-1540 BC) was established by the Thebans quickly after the fall of the 16th. The details of the overthrow of the Hyksos in Thebes are unclear. Sources such as Africanus and Eusebius indicate that the 16th Dynasty comprised shepherd kings (like the 15th Dynasty), but also Theban kings too. The 17th Dynasty would also see four different ruling families whose last king did not have a male heir to the throne. Subsequently, other powerful families established kings having short reigns. The 17th Dynasty maintained a short-lived peace with the 15th dynasty, which ended with the start of the reign of Seqenenre (c. 1549-1545 BC), who started a series of wars against the Hyksos. King Kamose (c. 1545-1540 BC) continued the war against the Hyksos as a whole.
At the end of the Second Intermediate period, the 18th Dynasty came to power in Egypt. The first king of the Eighteenth Dynasty, Ahmose, completed the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt and consolidated his rule over the land. With that, Ahmose ushered in a new period of prosperity in Egypt, the New Kingdom.