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The 15th. (Hyksos) Dynasty of Egypt

Plus excerpts from the books of Manetho and Josephus Flavius


Note: Hyksos control of Northern Egypt was NOT sudden: Hyksos kings controlled certain Egyptian Cities from the 13th Dynasty, thru to the 17th Dynasty. The 15th Dynasty was a period of consolidated Hyksos rule in the Delta. All through this period, Egyptian Kings ruled in Upper (southern) Egypt.

Pictures of the Sphinx of Apepy I, and of two Hyksos/Hebrew Priests has been uncovered.

Click here for a link to those pictures.


Only four Hyksos kings are dealt with here.



Salitis was the 1st king of the 15th Dynasty. Northern Egypt was under Hyksos rulers throughout the Dynasty. The Hyksos are the Asiatics that invaded/migrated through Sinai and settled in the Delta. The Hyksos controlled all the Nile Delta and Northern Egypt. As they grew more powerful they set their own Dynasties (from the 14th till the end of the 16th Dynasty). Some scholars mention Salitis's name as "Sultan". This is an Arabic translation of the phrase 'powerful king'. Salitis captured Memphis and placed himself in higher rank than any of the royal families in the Capitol

Manetho writes that king Salitis (also Saites) conquered Egypt when it was ruled by pharaoh Tutimaios, that is Dedumose I of dynasty 13. When he founded the "real" Hyksos dynasty it is obvious that these people had been nomads in the country (delta) for a good many years. He resided in Memphis and is credited for making Avaris the new capital and fortified stronghold. The northern part of Egypt was now to be ruled by Hyksos until the end of their era some 110 years later. His reign is estimated to have been about 8 years around 1655-1647 BC.

Ryholt (1997) places him in the middle of dynasty 13 and Manetho gives him 19 years on the throne. He is usually identified with a king called Sark (or Salk) mentioned only once in a list made by priests from Memphis. An attached throne name, Se-kha-en-Re, meaning - The one introduced by Re, (shown in picture right), can be his. Evidence from his reign is scarce, only his name written on three occasions on blocks of stone taken from larger monuments.








Apachnan was the third king of the 15th Dynasty. He was considered one of the "Great Hyksos" rulers. Apachnan's power reached beyond his kingdom in Northern Egypt. Archeologists found some scarabs and seals bearing his name in Northern and Southern Egypt and some Mediterranean islands such as Crete.























Apepy I

This ruler is well attested for and he was probably the one who had the longest reign of all Hyksos kings.
His personal name Apepy (Greek: Apopis) was obviously taken from the Egyptian god Apep and his throne name (seen within a cartouche in picture right) means - "Great and Powerful Like Re". He's believed to have been a well educated ruler who got into a war he was strongly opposed to. He probably triggered it himself by sending a provocative letter (now in British Museum) where he addresses the Egyptian king Tao II in Thebes with a complaint that was really odd.

He wrote that he couldn't sleep at night because he was disturbed by the snoring and roaring of king Tao's hippopotami in Thebes 800 km to the south!. Soon after this message, king Tao is believed to have taken up arms against him and thereby the war of liberation was started.
It's quite possible that his power at this late state of his reign had been going over to others and the letter was a product of their will and not his own. Some scholars advocate that two rulers were named Apepy due to some names appearing (see cartouche at next king below) but it's possible that he had different forms of his name during his long reign. Apepi is mentioned in two papyri, a list from priests in Memphis and many pieces of architecture, which give the names of his sisters Tani and Tcharydjet and daughter Harta. Manetho (by Flavius) gives him a good 36 yearlong reign and scholars of today up to 42 around 1600-1559 B.C.



















Khamudy concluded the Hyksos period in Egypt and is possibly the owner of the names a few thought to belong to an illusive Apepy II. Manetho calls him Assis (Aseth) or Archles, and give him a rule of 49 years. Today his reign is estimated to 10-12 years around 1558-1547 B.C. He made an obelisk that was discovered near Avaris and was militarily defeated and had to withdraw from Egypt.

Egyptian king Ahmose I from Thebes attacked him and in year 11 of his reign (the 18th of Ahmose's), and the big town of Heliopolis was captured. Within the year Khamudi negotiated with the Egyptians about the withdrawal of the Hyksos army from Avaris and most of the Delta. But the determined Egyptians continued the attack and took his capital Avaris after a third attack. The fleeing king Khamudy had foreseen what was coming and had moved his people along the coast up to southern Canaan. The Egyptians raided that area for several years afterwards to prevent a Hyksos comeback. Many details in this scenario are found in contemporary documents and many of them written under supervision of the victorious king Ahmose himself. Therefore a dose of skepticism is needed when valuing them.




Manetho was an Egyptian priest who wrote a history of Egypt in the Greek language, probably for Ptolemy I (305–282 B.C.)

Despite Manetho's importance for the study of the history of Ancient Egypt, nothing much is really known about the man himself. Even the exact meaning of his name has been a point of discussion among Egyptologists and although it is now generally agreed upon that the name "Manetho" comes from the Ancient Egyptian mniw-htr, which means "keeper of the horses", the existence of such a name is not attested by Ancient Egyptian sources.

Manetho lived in Sebennytos, the capital of Egypt during the 30th Dynasty, and was a priest during the reigns of Greek kings: Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II. He is said to have been involved in the creation of the cult of Serapis - a god added to the Egyptian pantheon with both Hellenistic and Egyptian traits during the reign of Ptolemy I -, but this cannot be confirmed. 

Manetho owes his importance to the fact that he wrote the Aegyptiaca, a collection of three books about the history of Ancient Egypt, commissioned by Ptolemy II in his effort to bring together the Egyptian and Hellenistic cultures.

In order to do so, Manetho had access to the archives of the temple where he served as a priest. Such archives contained a vast number of different kinds of writings, ranging in contents from mythological texts to official records, from magical formulas to scientific treaties. He thus had all the sources he needed to write down the history of his country. With such sources, however, we may not be surprised to find myths and folk-tale mixed with the facts of the Egyptian history. 

It is to Manetho's Aegyptiaca that we owe the division of Ancient Egyptian history in 30 dynasties. This division is not always based on historical facts: it was in parts based on mythology and in parts on divisions of ruling families already established in the past.


Note: please keep in mind that all of these accounts were written well after the fact.

Manetho on the Hyksos

Manetho, from his book "Aegyptiaca"., frag. 42, 1.75-79.2

Tutimaeus [0]. In his reign, for what cause I know not, a blast of God smote us; and unexpectedly, from the regions of the East, invaders of obscure race marched in confidence of victory against our land. By main force they easily overpowered the rulers of the land, they then burned our cities ruthlessly, razed to the ground the temples of the gods, and treated all the natives with a cruel hostility, massacring some and leading into slavery the wives and children of others. Finally, they appointed as king one of their number whose name was Salitis. He had his seat at Memphis, levying tribute from Upper and Lower Egypt, and leaving garrisons behind in the most advantageous positions. Above all, he fortified the district to the east, foreseeing that the Assyrians, as they grew stronger, would one day covet and attack his kingdom.

In the Saite [Sethroite] nome he found a city very favorably situated on the east of the Bubastite branch of the Nile, and called Auaris (= Avaris ) after an ancient religious tradition. This place he rebuilt and fortified with massive walls, planting there a garrison of as many as 240,000 heavy-armed men to guard his frontier. Here he would come in summertime, partly to serve out rations and pay his troops, partly to train them carefully in maneuvers and so strike terror into foreign tribes.



Josephus Flavius quoting passages concerning the Hyksos from

Manetho's Aegyptiaca


Note: There are no known statues or portraits of Flavius Josephus, all such are Bogus!

Flavius Josephus: from his book "Against Apion"

(Slightly different, longer version)

Book 1, section 73
Under a king of ours named Timaus (Tutimaeus) God became angry with us, I know not how, and there came, after a surprising manner, men of obscure birth from the east, and had the temerity to invade our country, and easily conquered it by force, as we did not do battle against them. After they had subdued our rulers, they burnt down our cities, and destroyed the temples of the gods, and treated the inhabitants most cruelly; killing some and enslaving their wives and their children.

Then they made one of their own king. His name was Salatis [1]; he lived at Memphis, and both the upper and lower regions had to pay tribute to him. He installed garrisons in places that were the most suited for them. His main aim was to make the eastern parts safe, expecting the Assyrians, at the height of their power, to covet his kingdom, and invade it. In the Saite Nome there was a city very proper for this purpose, by the Bubastic arm of the Nile. With regard to a certain theological notion it was called Avaris. He rebuilt and strengthened this city by surrounding it with walls. and by stationing a large garrison of two hundred and forty thousand armed men there. Salitis came there in the summer, to gather corn in order to pay his soldiers, and to exercise his men, and thus to terrify foreigners.

After a reign of thirteen years, he was followed by one whose name was Beon [2], who ruled for for forty-four years. After him reigned Apachnas [3] for thirty-six years and seven months. After him Apophis [4] was king for sixty-one years, followed by Janins for fifty years and one month. After all these Assis reigned during forty-nine years and two months. These six were their first kings. They all along waged war against the Egyptians, and wanted to destroy them to the very roots.

"These people, whom we have called kings before, and shepherds too, and their descendants," as he [5] says, "held Egypt for five hundred and eleven years. Then," he says, "the kings of Thebes and the other parts of Egypt rose against the shepherds, and a long and terrible war was fought between them." He says further, "By a king, named Alisphragmuthosis [6], the shepherds were subdued, and were driven out of the most parts of Egypt and shut up in a place named Avaris, measuring ten thousand acres." Manetho says, "The shepherds had built a wall surrounding this city, which was large and strong, in order to keep all their possessions and plunder in a place of strength.

Tethmosis [7], son of Alisphragmuthosis, attempted to take the city by force and by siege with four hundred and eighty thousand men surrounding it. But he despaired of taking the place by siege, and concluded a treaty with them, that they should leave Egypt, and go, without any harm coming to them, wherever they wished. After the conclusion of the treaty they left with their families and chattels, not fewer than two hundred and forty thousand people, and crossed the desert into Syria. Fearing the Assyrians, who dominated over Asia at that time, they built a city in the country which we now call Judea. It was large enough to contain this great number of men and was called Jerusalem.


Book 1, section 93

I shall quote Manetho again, and what he writes as to the order of the times in this case. He says "After this people or shepherds [8] had left Egypt to go to Jerusalem, Tethmosis [2], who drove them out, was king of Egypt and reigned for twenty five years and four months, and then died; ..."

Book 1, section 227

He [5] writes these words: "Those sent to work in the quarries lived miserably for a long while, and the king was asked to set apart the city Avaris, which the shepherds had left, for their habitation and protection; and he granted them their wish.

According to the ancient mythology, Avaris was Typho's [10] city. But when these men had entered it, and found it suitable for a revolt, they chose a ruler from among the priests of Heliopolis, whose name was Osarsiph [9]. They swore an oath that they would obey him in all things. The first laws he gave them were that they should not worship the Egyptian gods, nor should they abstain from any of the sacred animals that the Egyptians held in the highest esteem, but could kill them, and that they should not ally themselves to any but those that were of their conspiracy.

After making such laws as these, and others contrary to Egyptian customs, he ordered that the many the hands at their service to be employed in building walls around the city and prepare for a war with king Amenophis. He colluded with the other priests, and those that were polluted as well, and sent ambassadors to those shepherds expelled by Tethmosis to Jerusalem, informing them of his own affairs, and of the state of those others that had been treated so shamefully, and desired that they would come united to his assistance in this war against Egypt. He also promised their return to their ancient city and land of Avaris and plentiful support for their people; that he would protect them and fight for them if need be, and that the land would easily be subdued. The shepherds were delighted with his message, and assembled two hundred thousand men. Shortly they arrived at Avaris.

King Amenophis of Egypt, when he heard of their invasion, was perplexed remembering what Amenophis, the son of Papis, had foretold him. He gathered many Egyptians, and deliberated with their leaders, and sent for their sacred animals, above all those worshipped in the temples, and ordered the priests to hide the images of their gods with the utmost care. He also sent his son Sethos, who was also called Ramses, and only five years old, from his father Rhampses to a friend of his. He continued with three hundred thousand of the most warlike Egyptians against the enemy, who met them. But he did not join battle with them, afraid to be fighting against the gods. He turned back and returned to Memphis, where he took Apis and the other sacred animals which he had sent for, and continued to Kush, together with his whole army and masses of Egyptians.

The king of Ethiopia was under an obligation to him and received him, and took care of the masses that were with him, while the land supplied all that was necessary for the men's sustenance. He gave them cities and villages to live in, that was to be from its beginning during those fatally determined thirteen years. He sent his army to guard the borders of Egypt in order to protect King Amenophis. And this is what happened in Kush."

This is some of what the Egyptians tell about the Jews, I omit much for brevity's sake. Manetho continues:

"Later Amenophis returned from Kush with a great army, his son Ahampses led another army, and both of them joined battle with the shepherds and the polluted people, and conquered them, and killed a great many of them, and pursued them to the borders of Syria."


[0] Tutimaeus: Also Tutimaios, Timaios, perhaps Dedumos? There were two kings of this name during the Second Intermediate Period, Djedneferre and Djedhetepre, variously assigned to either the 13th or the 16th dynasty. Many historians reject the suggestion that Tutimaeus is identical with Dedumos.
[1] Salatis: Salitis, possibly Sheshi
[2] Beon: Yakubber?
[3] Apachnas: Khyan
[4] Apophis: Apepi I
[5] He: Manetho
[6] Alisphragmuthosis: Kamose
[7] Tethmosis: Ahmose
[8] An Egyptian term misunderstood by Flavius: This whole nation was styled Hyksos, that is, Shepherd-kings: for the first syllable Hyk, according to the sacred dialect, denotes a king, as is sos a shepherd; but this according to the ordinary dialect; and of these is compounded Hyksos: but some say that these people were Arabians." Now in another copy it is said that this word does not denote Kings, but, on the contrary, denotes Captive Shepherds, and this on account of the particle Hyk; for that Hyk, with the aspiration, in the Egyptian tongue again denotes Shepherds, and that expressly also; and this to me seems the more probable opinion, and more agreeable to ancient history. Josephus Flavius, Against Apion, 1,73
[9] Moses: It was also reported that the priest, who ordained their polity and their laws, was by birth of Heliopolis, and his name Osarsiph, from Osyris, who was the god of Heliopolis; but that when he was gone over to these people, his name was changed, and he was called Moses.
[10] Typho: Set (Seth)





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