IMHICIHU   13380
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
congresos y reuniones científicas
Economics, Political Practices and Identities on the Nile: Convergence and Conflicts at the End of the Second Intermediate Period
Workshop; Economic and Political Interaction on the Edges of Ancient Empires; 2014
Institución organizadora:
Exzellenzcluster TOPOI Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
The rise of the Hyksos dynasty in the Egyptian Eastern Delta during the Second Intermediate Period (SIP) is a unique and complex phenomenon. I sustain that a world-system analysis perspective allows sustaining a more comprehensive approach to such socio-historical process. During the late 12th dynasty, Egypt became the core area of a world-system, which extended at least from Kerma to Byblos and the Levantine coast. The core was articulated around two main nucleus: Thebes in the south (controlling the Second Cataract line of fortresses and the exchange with Kerma) and Ititawy in the north (controlling the Eastern Delta, its surroundings and the exchange with the Levant). The establishment of a settlement of individuals with a strong Levantine cultural background in the Eastern Delta was probably related to different reasons, mainly to the strengthening of the exchange with the Levant through the maritime route and to the exploitation of the copper and turquoise mines located at the Sinai. By the end of the 12th dynasty the reign of a female king, Sobeknefrure, probably shows the existence of inner succession and legitimacy problems. In this way, that the early 13th dynasty kings used filiative nomina, stressing their royal ancestry, is revealing. In parallel, the settlement located at the Delta increased its autonomy. Thus, a picture where local dynasties emerged in a fragmented Egypt is highly plausible. This political phenomenon had also its economical and cultural correlation. In this regard, the world-system was disrupted during the SIP, but it did not disappear. It just paralleled the atomization reflected in the other levels. Unfortunately, the evidence to establish a clear sequence of facts during the early SIP is scarce and controversial. But it is quite consistent for the late SIP: atomization was reduced to the existence of three polities on the Nile, the Hyksos, the Thebans and the Kermans. In terms of exchange, the Hyksos strengthened the relationships with Cyprus, while Avaris became one of the most important port-cities of the ancient world. The impoverishment of the Theban area could be related to the interruption of the exchange with the north. Finally, the Hyksos disputed not only the control of the southern territory - in terms of political patronage - but built a political identity of their own, through the incorporation of Egyptian and Levantine cultural features. Thus, by the end of the SIP, a convergence among economics, political practices and identities played a role in the armed conflict which finished the disrupted process.