Egypt History - The Empire

Egypt History – The Empire

According to searchforpublicschools, for the third time it was the merit of Upper Egypt to have composed the country into unity. The Theban prince Kamóśe (circa 1575) boldly takes the offensive north and south; but, having died in this while, his heroic enterprise was continued by his brother Aḥmóśe I (1571-1549 BC). After various fighting, Avaris was captured and razed to the ground. The bulk of the enemy army escaped encirclement, rearranged itself in Sharuḥen in lower Palestine, between Beerseba and Rimmōn, and capitulated only after a long three-year siege. In Nubia the operations were carried out under the second cataract and the fortress of Buhen (Wādī Ḥalfā) looked at the new Egyptian border. Inside, the state administration and the militia were the object of assiduous care; in these times the war chariot pulled by the horse is used. Aḥmóśe’s successors further expanded the Nubian dominion and wisely transformed it into a viceroyalty; but their eyes were directed above all to Syria. Tḥutmóśe I (1528-1498) went as far as the banks of the Euphrates and erected a stele there in his memory. The brief reign of his son Tḥutmóśe II (1498-1496) made Egypt run a serious risk over a question of succession to the throne. He had married his sister Ḥatšepśówe, of royal lineage also on the maternal side; but only heir remained a third Tḥutmóśe, born to him of a concubine named Ēse. As the heir was still a young man, on the death of the pharaoh the government came into the hands of the widowed queen. Whether it was driven by great ambition, whether high dignitaries sought to rule through this woman, she placed the heir in second line or eliminated altogether and assumed the titles of royal protocol. A commercial expedition to Somalia and the construction of the admirable temple of Deir el-Baḥrī are the major works of this queen (1496-1476). Regarded as a usurper, her memory was damned. Tḥutmóśe III (1496-1442) is undoubtedly the most glorious of the Egyptian rulers. When he came to the throne, the Asian empire was reduced to Gaza and, just alone, the first thought he had was that of regaining it. Syria was then broken up into numerous lordships of cities and these in the face of common danger coalesced, under the direction of the prince of Qidša (Qadēsh sull’Oronte). Tḥutmóśe, towards the end of his 22nd year of reign, which corresponds to 1475, in April he began his first campaign against Megiddo, located in the plain of Esdraelon, which commanded the way from Egypt to Syria. Having placed himself at the head of the troops, marching intrepidly through a narrow Carmel pass, he manages to surprise the enemy and defeats him on the field.

Unfortunately, the Egyptians abandon themselves to the sacking of the rich encampment, so that the Syrians have the opportunity to flee into the city and barricade themselves there. In a few weeks of siege, however, they were overcome. Palestine was occupied as far as Lebanon and the plain of Damascus; Pharaoh returned home laden with glory and prey. However, it took seventeen campaigns, lasting 19 years, before Egyptian supremacy was recognized. The cities won, at the first opportunity they rebelled and had to be repressed mercilessly. For the penetration into upper Syria, the king chose the Phoenician coast as his base; the undisputed dominion of the sea kept him in contact with Egypt far from any betrayal. In the year 30 Qidša was taken and sacked. In the spring of the year 33, the eighth campaign: the king fights against Nahrīn on the banks of the Euphrates and goes as far as Nî. In 35 the prince of that country and his allies return to the attack and are defeated at Arnê in upper Syria. The latest expedition is from 42; garrisons in suitably elevated cities and fortresses reduce adversaries to peace. Pharaoh’s officers were charged with administering and supervising the places of greatest importance; but the princes who had paid homage also remained in their posts. The children, however, were taken to Egypt and while they guaranteed the fidelity of their fathers as hostages, they, educated to the Egyptian civilization, were enabled to love and serve it, returning to their countries. Even in Nubia the borders were pushed to “a fourth cataract. From distant Lydia (Azûje), from the Hittites, from Cyprus, from Cilicia, from Assyria, from Babylon tributes were received; all the politics of the East were directed by the pharaohs. Under the reigns of Amenḥótpe II (1442-1416), of Tḥutmóśe IV (1416-1408), of the magnificent Amenḥótpe III (1408-1372; see Amenothês; the Memnon of the Greeks), the country enjoyed the benefits of the immense riches, which flowed in from all over, have raised the standard of life to a finesse never seen before. It was said that even the dust of the Egyptian streets was gold. The mad religious struggle in which Amenḥótpe IV got himself almost submerged everything. A little late, but still in time, Ḥaremḥábe (‘Αρμαΐς), generalissimo of the troops of Syria, seized the reins of power and restored order and tranquility from Memphis (1343-1315). Śetôḫe I (Sethōsis) fought with full success against the Libîs, the Arabs, the Amorrites and the Hittite kingdom of Karkemiš and the high sovereignty of Egypt over Palestine and Phenicia was reaffirmed (1318-1300). A great danger loomed: the menacing advance of the Hittites. The collision occurred shortly after. In the year 5 of Rameśśêśe II (about 1294) their king Muwattal, with an army of 25 or 30 thousand men who he had collected from Gašgaš, Araowanna (both in Paflagonia), from Kizwadna (Pontus), Lukki (Lycaonia), Pîtaśśa (north-east of Cilicia), from Qête and Arzawa (parts of Cilicia), from Maša (near Elaeusa), Karkiśa (Coracesium), from Syria at the Euphrates (Nahrīn), Karkemiš, Ugarita (Seleucis), Aleppo, Nuḫaśśe (Chalcis), Qidša, Arvad and from the still unknown villages of Mešenes (? Miššuwanzaš) and Terṭenje (between Pîtaśśa and Maša?), he clashes with the pharaoh in Qidša and only after a bloody fight does he recognize his defeat. Sixteen years of bitter war and the Assyrian threat represented by the enterprising Adad-nirâri I and Shalmanassar I, led the Hittites to peace. It was stipulated in 1278 by Ḥattusil; later sealed with the marriage of his eldest daughter to the pharaoh. The long reign of Rameśśêśe II (1299-1233) has once again made Egypt experience the happy times of glory. Superb and numerous monuments pass down his name to posterity, almost surrounded by legend. In the early years of Merneptáḥ (1233-1223) insurgents still appear in Canaan; the Israelites were among them and saw their countryside plundered.

In the fifth year a Libyan chief, across the Marmarica, fell upon the golden crops of the Delta. He had with him numerous adventurers from Asia Minor, the Lukki, the Šerdani, the Tereš, the Šekereš, the Eqejweš from the regions of the sea (which cannot be the Aḫḫijawa of Pamfilia); but he was punished properly and, for the moment at least, there was peace on this side. Around 1215 unknown causes promote a long anarchy, followed by the reign of a Syrian adventurer. This ignominy was truncated in 1201 by Naḫtśêtḫ (20th dynasty); and his son Rameśśêśe III (1200-1168), inspired by the work of his great predecessor of the same name, returns to Egypt welfare and authority. To test him were the usual raiders of the Aegean and Asia Minor, the Philistines, the Šeker, the Ṭenen, the Wešeše i Tereš, who, attacked Cyprus, Cilicia and fin Karkemiš, had turned towards Amur and threatened the Egyptian possessions. The pharaoh mobilized the army in Phenicia, chased them by sea with his fleet and defeated them. The Philistines later infiltrated lower Syria and the country they occupied was given the name of Palestine. Subsequent campaigns in Libya, in Nubia, against the Hittites, raised the fortunes of Egypt. Grave wrong of Rameśśêśe was that of having excessively increased the dead hand of the temples. Alongside his cowardly successors (1168-1085), the power of the Theban priests of the god Ammon grows every day. The XXI dynasty is composed of them (1035-935); in the Delta some governors remain more or less independent. The long struggles for supremacy during five hundred years had largely reaped the strength of the strong and daring of the Egyptian people. A vigorous breed of peasants, it will not be long in making a comeback; but, by the time we are, she looks almost exhausted.

According to a sad habit, which manifests itself in other periods of human history, one’s own security is entrusted to the arms of foreigners; mercenary tribes are called into the country, they acquire power there, they become the arbiters of the nation. From Libî residing in Eracleopoli came Šešonk (934-913), who began the XXII dynasty in Bubasti. At least in appearance he re-establishes unity and also meddles in the affairs of Syria. The fifth year of Rehoboam invades Palestine and sacks Jerusalem (circa 927). But still for the whole XXIII dynasty (745-718) inept sovereigns let Egypt break up among numerous rulers. Among these, around 726, a prince of the western Delta, Tefnáḫte, had come to extend his supremacy as far as Ermopoli. His adversaries, jealous, had turned for help to the king of Nubia, Pi‛ánḫe, who reigned in Napata (741-717). An army sent from there to Egypt and reinforcements led by the king himself won over Tefnáhte. However, when the Nubians withdrew, he succeeded in carrying out his plans and assumed the pharaonic titles. His son, the sage Bocchoris (v.), Constitutes the twenty-fourth dynasty (around 718-712); it was destroyed by Šabako, which happened to Pi‛ánḫe, who re-established Ethiopian hegemony in Egypt (XXV dynasty). The new pharaoh (712-700) had to shelter the Assyrian threat of Sennacheribbo and supported the alliance of Judah, Tire, Edom, Moab and Amur against Nineveh. In Altaqu the Egyptians had no luck; but Jerusalem, besieged, became free (701). After Šabataka (700-688) Tahraq, the biblical Tirhāqāh, son of Pi‛ánḫe who became king (688-663) continued the same policy in Syria; but in 671 he attracted the open hostility of the Assyrian king Asarhaddon. Taken by this Memphis, he was forced to retire to Thebes. As the bulk of the Assyrian army departed, Tahraq made Egypt rise again; another Assyrian expedition led by Ashurbanipal (667) reached as far as Thebes. Tantamôn (663-655), son of Šabako, resumed hostilities, but the Assyrians sacked Thebes (663).

Egypt History - The Empire

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