Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Page 14: The Founding of the New Kingdom

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action against the Hyksos economic base than they might have accomplished through a more direct military encourter with the main body of the Hyksos forces whose outcome might have been less certain.

Ahmose appears to have also understood that no enemy should be forced to fight to the death, for the desperate may well achieve what those who may safely flee would never dare. After entering the ancient capital of Memphis, soon to become the northern administrative city and the arsenal of militant New Kingdom Egypt, Ahmose captured Tjaru, at the far eastern fringe of the Nile Delta. Having thereby prevented a Hyksos espcape either up the Nile Valley into Middle Egypt or south into the Eastern Desert and the Red Sea littoral, and leaving open a narrow strip of the land south of the Mediterranean coast - a corridor northeast of Avaris - Ahmose then turned west and marched on Avaris itself. Presented with a difficult fight at Avaris or flight across the northern Sinai into southern Palestine, the remnants of the Hyksos soon chose the latter option, and ensconced themselves in their final redoubt, the fortified town of Sharuhen in southern Palestine (probably modern Tell el-Ajjul). After a siege of three years, Ahmose took the city, and the Hyksos disappear from history.

The destruction of the Hyksos as a military and economic power appears to have been the main and early-achieved goal of the late Seventeenth and early Eighteenth dynasties' military activity in the ancient Egyptian Delta and in Syria-Palestine. What more Ahmose may have accomplished or planned in western Asia is known to us. For the reign of Amunhotep I, a son of Ahmose, no definite evidence for Asiatic campaigning has emerged. With the accession of the third king of the Eighteenth Dynasty, Egyptian foreign policy changes. Whereas Ahmose and Amunhotep I were of the family of the late 17th Dynasty, Thutmose I and his chief queen were not royal before their accession; Ahmose Nefertari, the wife and sister of the pharaoh Ahmose, often appears with them in depictions, giving Thutmose I and his queen a connection with the early 18th Dynasty through iconography that they never had through blood.

The first two rulers of the 18th Dynasty shared not only the blood of the late 17th Dynasty kings; like those rulers, they appear to have shared the Middle Kingdom's approach to ancient Egypt's northern and southern frontiers. After the defeat of Kerma and the southern rebels, the early 18th Dynasty was content to maintain a southern border roughly equivalent to that of the Middle Kingdom. In the north, following the expulsion of the Hyksos from Sharuhen, the first rulers of the 18th Dynasty may have dispensed with even the razzias (plundering raids) of the Middle Kingdom.

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