The- Thebans

According to the Turin Canon, there were 15 kings in the Seventeenth Dynasty, yet, according to the Karnak King-Lists they were nine only. The Theban monuments bear the names of 10 kings of the Seventeenth Dynasty. Seven of the tombs that belong to the listed kings have also been found at Thebes, as well as an 8th tomb of a king whose name does not appear in either of the lists. For about 75 years, these kings ruled over the first 8 nomes of Upper Egypt, from Elephantine to Abydos. They were in short of economic resources, particularly lacking an access to mines or quarries. In the cemetery of Dra Abu el-Naga, each of the Seventeenth Dynasty's rulers had himself buried under a mud-brick pyramid. A new dynasty appeared in Thebes out of a local branch of the Thirteenth Dynasty. It was founded by Rahotep, whose Horus name was Wahankh.


Rahotep restored the Temples of Min and Osiris at Koptos and Abydos respectively. At the time of Rahotep's reign, the Hyksos King was Yaqub-Har, Salitis' successor, who reigned for 18 years. He remained on good terms with the three Theban Kings who succeeded Rahotep.

Inyotef The Old & Inyotef V

 Inyotef 'the Old' whose Horus name Up-Maat; his claim to the throne went back to Neferhotep I (of the 13th Dynasty). He reigned for 3 years and was buried by his young brother and short-lived successor Inyotef VI at Dra Abu el-Naga. The sarcophagus of Inyotef VI, who reigned for only few months, is in the Louvre.                                                                                     

Sobekemsaf II 

Sobekemsaf II reigned for 16 prosperous years. He has buildings at Karnak and Abydos. In about 1635-1633 BC, during Sobekemsaf II Reign, the Thirteenth Dynasty came to an end, and the Fourteenth Dynasty managed to survive for only 2 or 3 generations at Xois.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 Inyotef VII    

Inyotef VII is the first king of the Seventeenth Dynasty for whom there is evidence of military and administrative activities. He built at Koptos, Abydos, EI-Kab and Karnak. In the 8th year of his reign, he issued a decree concerning the Temple of Min at Koptos that gives some indication of the nature of Theban power. During Inyotef VII's reign Thebes was at peace with the Hyksos King Apophis I, who ruled for 40 years according to the Turin Canon. There were numerous contacts between the Theban an the Hyksos Kingdoms: there is a possibility of peaceful relations as there is evidence for the presence of Apophis I as far south as Gebelein, but he might even have been related by marriage to the Theban Royal Family: the tomb of Amenhotep I contained a vase bearing the name of Apophis I's daughter, Rent. This object was probably passed on through successive generations commemorating a marriage that would have made her one of the ancestors of the Eighteenth Dynasty. He had been buried with two bows and six arrows that were found in his coffin (now in the British Museum). He placed his tomb to the north of his predecessors at Dra Abu el-Naga, and his wife Sobekemsaf who was buried at Edfu, was an ancestor of the 18th Dynasty.   

Taa II

Taa I was succeeded by Seqenenre Taa II who married Queen Ahhotep I, the mother of Ahmose. The mummy of Seqenenre Ta'a II was preserved from pillage in the time of Ramses IX and was placed, along with other royal remains, in the cachette discovered in 1881 by G. Maspero. The body, bearing violent-death marks, provides evidence of the hostility between the North and South (the Hyksos and the Thebans). Seqenenre declared war against the Hyksos as far north as Cusae. 


When Seqenenre Taa II died, his son Kamose rose to the throne. He adopted tutelary implied in his three Horus names:

(1)-'Khay-her-nesetef H‘y-hr-nst=f' which means "He who has been crowned on his throne".

(2)- 'Hornefer-khab-tawy Hr-nfr-h‘b-t3wy' which means "the Perfect Horns who curbs the Two Lands".

(3)-'Sedjefa-tawy Sdf3-t3wy' which means "He who nourishes the Two Lands", as in his Nebty name 'Wehem-menu Whm-mnw' which means "He who renews the Monuments".

Kamose continued the war against the Hyksos and marched with his Medjay troops, north to Nefrusy in the region of Beni Hassan, and therefore defeated the army of a man called Teti. Teti, the son of Pepi, was the chief of the Asiatics in Nefrusy. Kamose sent a naval expedition against the Hyksos possessions in Middle Egypt, which perhaps reached as far as the borders of the 14th nome of Lower Egypt, that is, around Avaris itself. He gained control of the river trade, capturing at least the towns of Gebelein and Hermopolis. Kamose then returned to Thebes, where he had the account of his exploits inscribed on the temple's wall. There is a possibility that Kamose might have reconquered Nubia and had certainly begun to move southwards, and this expansion into Nubia was to be continued by Ahmose, as we can deduce from a graffito found at Toshka giving the names of both rulers together.

Somewhere between Thebes and Dendera, Kamose founded a new estate, giving it the name 'Sedjefa-tawy', which is his Horus name. He also set up a naos and stelae at Karnak. His tomb at Dra Abu el-Naga was still intact when the necropolis was pillaged during the reign of Ramses IX. His coffin was transferred to the Deir el-Bahari cachette. In 1857, a non-royal anthropomorphic coffin was discovered, this must have been Kamose's, but it contained only a mummy crumbled to dust and a few precious objects. After the struggles of Apophis I with Kamose, he was succeeded by Apophis II, whose name is not recorded on any monuments or objects found south of Bubastis (except for a dagger bought on the antiquities market in Luxor but not necessarily excavated from that area). The authority of the Hyksos King seems to have been reduced: he conducted a building programme at Bubastis and simply usurped the statues of his predecessors: two granite sphinxes of Amenemhat III, which were later moved to Tanis, and two colossal statues of the Thirteenth Dynasty King Smenkhkare.


The exact date of Ahmose's reign is understandably obscure: he must have come to the throne in about 1570, 1560, or 1551 BC, and his reign must have ended in 1546, 1537, or 1527 BC. The physical examination of his mummy, which was among those rescued by Ramses IX, suggests that he lived until the age of about 35, with a reign of just over 25 years (according to Manetho). He probably resumed the struggle against the Hyksos in about the 11th year of his reign, and this would have lasted for several years in the Delta, leading eventually to the capture of Memphis and later, Avaris. Hyksos domination within Egypt itself had already been overwhelmed when the Egyptian troops captured the town of Sharuhen in (south-west to Palestine), which was the last citadel of the 'Asiatics'. This final stage of the reconquest took place before the 16th year of Ahmose's reign.

The most detailed surviving account of these campaigns is that left by an official at EI-Kab, Ahmose Son of Ibana, in the autobiography decorating his tomb. The last two Hyksos Kings are not known for sure. They ruled between the 10th and 15th years of Ahmose's reign. One of those two rulers bears the name 'Aazehre' (the last king of the Fifteenth Dynasty), a name that appears on an obelisk at Tanis. The other ruler, Apophis III, was the last of the Sixteenth Dynasty Hyksos Kings, and his name appears on several monuments, including a dagger from Saqqara. No textual source can supply the minute details on the final phase of the Hyksos rule. They were obviously no longer posing a real threat to the Thebans when Ahmose launched a campaign in the 22nd year of his reign, in which he advanced into the Djay Region of Syria-Palestine and perhaps up to the Euphrates. This would have made him the first pharaoh to have extended the frontiers this far into Western Asia. After routing the Hyksos, Ahmose undertook the reconquest of Nubia, and Ahmose Son of Ibana also describes this campaign.

A campaign that was followed by a revolt from a man called Aata, who was perhaps Nedjeh's successor as king of Kerma. However, Ahmose succeeded in restoring Egyptian control over Nubia. He may also have founded the first New Kingdom temple there, on the island of Sai to the south of Buhen, and he established Buhen as the center of administration of the province. He assigned the commander's post at Buhen to a man called Tun, and under his successor Amenhotep I, Turi was to become the first clearly attested viceroy of Kush, although his father Zatayt may have performed this role without holding the specific title. When Ahmose died, he left the throne to Amenhotep I, his son from Ahmose-Nefertari. In his 25th year of reign, he had achieved the liberation of Egypt and restored Egyptian links with the rest of the world, at least bringing them back to the level that had been achieved at the end of the Middle Kingdom. On this firm basis, the successors were able to build the power of their empire. Although the body of Ahmose was found in the royal mummy cache at Deir el-Bahari, the location of his tomb remains unknown.


On the Hyksos' part, Yaqub-Har's successor, Khyan, cannot be said to have ruled an actual empire, although his name appears frequently (not only on an architectural fragment in Egypt at Gebelein and at Bubastis, but also in foreign countries such as Palestine and Baghdad). The Kingdom of Kerma, which was allied with the Hyksos according to texts, was to last until the Theban King Kamose recaptured Buhen. The Theban contemporaries of Khyan are obscure. There is one Theban ruler named Djehuty who reigned for only one year, but nothing more than a canopic chest bearing his name has survived. Mentuhotep VII, whose reign was also short, left a pair of sphinxes at Edfu.