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Second Intermediate Period

The Second Intermediate Period covers the  time between the end of the Middle Kingdom around 1782 BC and the beginning of  the New Kingdom around 1550 BC. It was a time of great upheaval and uncertainty,  marked by foreign invasion, political instability, and cultural transformation.

The Second Intermediate Period began with  the invasion of Egypt by the Hyksos, a foreign people who established a capital  at Avaris in the Delta region of Egypt. The Hyksos ruled over much of northern  Egypt for several centuries, during which time they introduced new technologies  and cultural practices to the region.

Despite the Hyksos' dominance, there were  still native Egyptian rulers who retained control over portions of the country.  These rulers established the 16th and 17th Dynasties, which were based in Upper  Egypt and which eventually succeeded in driving out the Hyksos and reuniting  Egypt.

The Second Intermediate Period was a time  of great cultural exchange and innovation, with the Hyksos introducing new  technologies and cultural practices to Egypt, and the native Egyptians  responding with their own artistic and literary innovations. The period saw the  emergence of new forms of art and literature, as well as significant  developments in religion and philosophy.

In this section, we will explore the key  events and developments of Egypt's Second Intermediate Period, including the  rise and fall of the Hyksos, the establishment of the 16th and 17th Dynasties,  and the cultural and artistic innovations of the period. We will also examine  the economic and social conditions that characterized the period, and the  legacy that it left on Ancient Egyptian civilization and the wider world.

Egyptian pharaoh on a throne. Source: Ivan / Adobe Stock.

Were Egyptian Pharaohs as Mighty as They Seemed? (Video)

In the shadows of the ancient temple of Medinet Habu , the grandiosity of Egyptian pharaohs is etched into stone, portraying them as formidable conquerors. Dr. Chris Naunton scrutinizes the...
Recreation of an Egyptian war chariot from the Early New Kingdom by Angus McBride

An Ancient Egyptian Arms Race (Video)

Seqenenre Tao , a determined pharaoh of the Seventeenth Dynasty in ancient Egypt, played a pivotal role in the arms race against the Hyksos during the Second Intermediate Period. Faced with the...
Painting of foreign delegation found at the tomb of Khnumhotep II. This contains a man described a “Abisha the Hyksos”, one of the earliest known uses of the term Hyksos. Source: Public domain

Researchers Reveal True Story of Hyksos Dynasty in Ancient Egypt

Researchers have revealed the truth behind the rise of the first “foreign” rulers of Ancient Egypt . It was long held that the Hyksos, the first non-native dynasty to rule Egypt, were invaders. A...
A depiction of Ahmose fighting back the Hyksos from Egypt.  Source: Public domain

Did the Hyksos Pull Off a Peaceful Invasion of Egypt?

The Hyksos were a dynasty of kings who ruled over the northern part of Egypt during the 2 nd millennium BC. They were not native Egyptians, but came from the East, most likely Western Asia...
Standing hippopotamus figurine. From Egypt, Middle Egypt, Meir, Tomb B3 of the nomarch Senbi II, pit 1 (steward Senbi), Khashaba excavations, 1910. (CC0) Background: Members of Hatshepsut's trading expedition to the mysterious 'Land of Punt' from this pharaoh's elegant mortuary temple at Deir El-Bahri. In this scene, Egyptian soldiers bear tree branches and axes. (Σταύρος/CC BY 2.0)

How Hungry, Hungry Hippos Started a War in Ancient Egypt

In the 17th century BC, a group of Semitic origin took advantage of political divisions to seize power in Egypt. These Levantine lords were called the “Hyksos” and were longtime residents of ancient...