The Hyksos Invasion the Hyksos period marks the first in which Egypt was ruled by foreign rulers. Many details of their rule, such as the true extent of their kingdom and even the names and order of their kings, remain uncertain. The Hyksos practiced many Levantine or Canaanite customs as well as many Egyptian customs. They have been credited with introducing several technological innovations to Egypt, such as the horse and chariot, as well as the sickle sword and the composite bow, a theory which is disputed. The Hyksos did not control all of Egypt. Instead, they coexisted with the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Dynasties, which were based in Thebes. Warfare between the Hyksos and the pharaohs of the late Seventeenth Dynasty eventually culminated in the defeat of the Hyksos by Ahmose I, who founded the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. In the following centuries, the Egyptians would portray the Hyksos as bloodthirsty and oppressive foreign rulers.


Ancient historians Blue glazed steatite scarab in a gold mount, with the cartouche of Hyksos ruler Khyan: In his epitome of Manetho, Josephus connected the Hyksos with the Jews, but he also calls them Arabs. In their own epitomes of Manetho, the Late antique historians Sextus Julius Africanus and Eusebius say that the Hyksos came from Phoenicia. Until the excavation and discovery of Tell El-Dab’a (the site of the Hyksos capital Avaris) in 1966, historians relied on these accounts for the Hyksos period. Modern historians Material finds at Tell El-Dab’a indicate that the Hyksos originated in the Levant.The Hyksos’ personal names indicate that they spoke a Western Semitic language and “may be called for convenience’s sake Canaanites.” A Retjenu, associated to the Hyksos in some Egyptian inscriptions. Kamose, the last king of the Theban Seventeenth Dynasty, refers to Apepi as a “Chieftain of Retjenu” in a stela that implies a Levantine background for this Hyksos king. According to Anna-Latifa Mourad, the Egyptian application of the term ꜥꜣmw to the Hyksos could indicate a range of backgrounds, including newly arrived Levantines or people of mixed Levantine-Egyptian origin.

Historical records suggest that Semitic people and Egyptians had contacts at all periods of Egypt’s history. The MacGregor plaque, an early Egyptian tablet dating to 3000 BC records “The first occasion of striking the East”, with the picture of Pharaoh Den smiting a Western Asiatic enemy. During the reign of Senusret II, c. 1890 BC, parties of Western Asiatic foreigners visiting the Pharaoh with gifts are recorded, as in the tomb paintings of 12th-dynasty official Khnumhotep II. These foreigners, possibly Canaanites or nomads, are labelled as Aamu (ꜥꜣmw), including the leading man with a Nubian ibex labelled as Abisha the Hyksos