|Khayan, Khian, Chayan, Apachnan, Apaq-khyran|
|Reign||Dating subject to ongoing debate in Egyptology. Possibly second half of the 17th century BC and more generally floruit may be anywhere between c. 1700 BC and c. 1580 BC. (Fifteenth Dynasty)|
|Successor||Yanassi or Apepi|
|Monuments||A Stela in Avaris|
Seuserenre Khyan (also Khayan or Khian and Apachnan from the West Semitic Apaq-khyran) was an Hyksos king of the Fifteenth Dynasty of Egypt, ruling over Lower Egypt in the second half of the 17th century BCE. His royal name Seuserenre translates as "The one whom Re has caused to be strong."Khyan bears the titles of an Egyptian king, but also the title ruler of the foreign land (heqa-khaset). The later title is the typical designation of the Hyksos rulers.
Khyan is one of the better attested kings from the Hyksos period, known from many seals and seal impressions. Remarkable are objects with his name found at Knossos and Hattusha indicating diplomatic contacts with Crete and the Hittites. A sphinx with his name was bought on the art market at Baghdad and might demonstrate diplomatic contacts to Babylon, in an example of Egypt-Mesopotamia relations.
Khyan's rule marks the peak of the Hyksos kingdom power.Khyan directly ruled over Lower and Middle Egypt up to Cusae and indirectly dominated the Nile Valley as far south as Thebes, forcing native Egyptian kingdoms including those of the 16th and Abydos Dynasty into vassal states. At the time of Khyan, relations between the Hyksos and their Egyptian vassals were likely peaceful, centered on exchange and trade and possibly even including donations to Upper Egyptian sanctuaries, such as one in Gebelein, were blocks inscribed with Khyan's name were uncovered.
Khyan's seat of power was located in Avaris, which hosted a strongly fortified palace. 5 m (16 ft) wide pits with animal bones and thousands of pottery fragments in consequence. Some of these fragments came from an array of vessels produced by the Kerma culture, a Nubian kingdom and Hyksos' ally during the Second Intermediate Period. The Egyptologist Manfred Bietak proposes that the ritual feast and abandonment of the palace were triggered by the death of its owner, most probably Khyan. On the western edge of Avaris, another fortress was subsequently erected in the later Hyksos period c. 1560-1530 BC, likely under Khyan's successor Apepi.Seal impressions of Khyan and a stela of his eldest son, prince Yanassi, were found in two areas of the city during excavations, confirming his presence onsite. The palace, possibly destroyed during the later conquest of the Hyksos' kingdom by the Thebans under Ahmose I, comprised a high platform built on massive brick casemates surrounded by columned halls and monumental staircases leading to a still higher platform, on which the royal apartments probably stood. This palace seems to have been abandoned c. 1600 BC, at which point an enormous ritual feast was orchestrated, filling several
East of Avaris, the Hyksos controlled the massive 350 m × 400 m (1,150 ft × 1,310 ft) fortress of Tjaru on the road to Sinai and Canaan, where stelae of the Hyksos king Apepi were uncovered.
Khyan is identified with king Iannas in the works of Josephus whose knowledge of the Hyksos Pharaohs was derived from a history of Egypt written by Manetho. Josephus mentions him after Apophis when discussing the reign lengths of kings who ruled after Salitis. This led 18th century scholars such as Arthur Bedford to place Khyan after Apophis, towards the end of the Hyksos dynasty. However, in Sextus Julius Africanus' version of Manetho's Epitome, Khyan (whose name is transcribed there as Staan) is listed after a king Pachnan, perhaps Yaqub-Har. Stylistically Khyan's scarabs resemble closely those of Yaqub-Har, who might date rather to the beginning and not to the end of the Hyksos-period.This indicates that Khyan was one of the earlier rulers of the 15th dynasty.
The early position of Khyan within the 15th dynasty may be confirmed by new archaeological finds at Edfu. On this site were found seal impressions of Khyan in close connection with seal impressions of the 13th Dynasty king Sobekhotep IV, indicating that both kings could have reigned at about the same time.The scholars Moeller and Marouard discuss the discovery of an important early 12th dynasty Middle Kingdom administrative building in the eastern Tell Edfu area which was continuously employed into the early Second Intermediate Period before it fell out of use during the 17th dynasty when its remains were sealed by a large silo court. Fieldwork by Egyptologists in 2010 and 2011 into the remains of the former 12th dynasty building which was also used in the 13th dynasty led to the discovery of a large adjoining hall which proved to contain 41 sealings showing the cartouche of the Hyksos ruler Khyan together with 9 sealings naming the 13th dynasty king Sobekhotep IV. As Moeller and Marouard write: "These finds come from a secure and sealed archaeological context and open up new questions about the cultural and chronological evolution of the late Middle Kingdom and early Second Intermediate Period." These conclusions are rejected by Robert Porter who argues that Khyan ruled much later than Sobekhotep IV and that the seals of a pharaoh were used even long after his death. Another option he proposed is that Sobekhotep IV reigned much later than previously thought.
A stela of Khyan mentioning a king's son' was also discovered at Avaris. Manfred Bietak observed that: "a stela set up in Avaris contains the nomen and prenomen of Khyan and a now lost dedication (presumably to Seth, Lord of Avaris) below which are inscribed the title and name of the Eldest King's Son Yanassi."
The Danish Egyptologist Kim Ryholt, who published an extensive catalogue of the monuments of all the numerous pharaohs of the Second Intermediate Period, notes an important personal detail regarding this king's family; Ryholt writes that the association of Khyan with those of his eldest son upon this stela suggests that Yanassi in fact was his designated successor, as also implied by his title." Ryholt speculates that Manetho might have mentioned Yanassi in a now lost passage and that one possible explanation of the name Iannas used by Josephus for Khyan is a misquotation of such a passage in which the son's name was extracted instead of the father's.
These hypotheses formed the consensus in Egyptology until the 2010s when significant archaeological discoveries showed major problems with the general dating of Khyan's rule. First was the discovery of seals of Khyan together with seals of the Thirteenth Dynasty king Sobekhotep IV in a secure and sealed archaeological context suggesting both were near contemporary. Yet, in the prevailing consensus, nearly a hundred years should separate both kings. Then, nearly all carbon-14 analyses of materials related to the Second Intermediate Period yield dates on average 120 years earlier than was expected from the prevailing chronological reconstruction of the 15th Dynasty. While the debate is ongoing, Egyptologists have acknowledged the validity of these observations and that they indicate some major issue with the consensus reached hitherto. Khyan's rule is no longer dated with any accuracy. The Egyptologist David Aston has showed available evidence is compatible with Khyan ruling anywhere between 1700 BC and 1580 BC, with the former his preferred scenario.The possibility that one or more kings reigned between him and Apophis is now the dominant hypothesis.
Ryholt notes that the name, Khyan, generally has been "interpreted as Amorite Hayanu (reading h-ya-a-n) which the Egyptian form represents perfectly, and this is in all likelihood the correct interpretation."It should be stressed that Khyan's name was not original and had been in use for centuries before the fifteenth (Hyksos) Dynasty. The name Hayanu is recorded in the Assyrian king lists—see "Khorsabad List I, 17 and the SDAS List, I, 16"--"for a remote ancestor of Shamshi-Adad I (c.1800 BC)."
Hyksos is a term which, in modern Egyptology, designates the kings of the Fifteenth Dynasty of Egypt. The seat of power of these kings was the city of Avaris in the Nile delta, from where they ruled over Lower and Middle Egypt up to Cusae. In the Aegyptiaca, a history of Egypt written by the Greco-Egyptian priest and historian Manetho in the 3rd century BC, the term Hyksos is used ethnically to designate people of probable West Semitic, Levantine origin. While Manetho portrayed the Hyksos as invaders and oppressors, this interpretation is questioned in modern Egyptology. Instead, Hyksos rule might have been preceded by groups of Canaanite peoples who gradually settled in the Nile delta from the end of the Twelfth Dynasty onwards and who may have seceded from the crumbling and unstable Egyptian control at some point during the Thirteenth Dynasty.
The Second Intermediate Period marks a period when ancient Egypt fell into disarray for a second time, between the end of the Middle Kingdom and the start of the New Kingdom. The concept of a "Second Intermediate Period" was coined in 1942 by German Egyptologist Hanns Stock.
Manfred Bietak is an Austrian archaeologist. He is professor emeritus of Egyptology at the University of Vienna, working as the Principal investigator for an ERC Advanced Grant Project “The Hyksos Enigma” and Editor in Chief of the Journal “Egypt and the Levant” and of four series of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Oriental and European Archaeology (2016–2020).
Meruserre Yaqub-Har was a pharaoh of Egypt during the 17th or 16th century BCE. As he reigned during Egypt's fragmented Second Intermediate Period, it is difficult to date his reign precisely, and even the dynasty to which he belonged is uncertain.
The Thirteenth Dynasty of ancient Egypt is often combined with Dynasties XI, XII and XIV under the group title Middle Kingdom. Some writers separate it from these dynasties and join it to Dynasties XIV through XVII as part of the Second Intermediate Period. Dynasty XIII lasted from approximately 1803 BC until approximately 1649 BC, i.e. for 154 years.
The Fourteenth Dynasty of Egypt was a series of rulers reigning during the Second Intermediate Period over the Nile Delta region of Egypt. It lasted between 75 and 155 years, depending on the scholar. The capital of the dynasty was probably Avaris. The 14th Dynasty existed concurrently with the 13th Dynasty based in Memphis. The rulers of the 14th Dynasty are commonly identified by Egyptologists as being of Canaanite (Semitic) descent, owing to the distinct origins of the names of some of their kings and princes, like Ipqu, Yakbim, Qareh, or Yaqub-Har. Names in relation with Nubia are also recorded in two cases, king Nehesy and queen Tati.
Apepi or Apophis was a ruler of Lower Egypt during the Fifteenth Dynasty and the end of the Second Intermediate Period that was dominated by this foreign dynasty of rulers called the Hyksos. According to the Turin Canon of Kings, he ruled over the northern portion of Egypt for forty years. He ruled during the early half of the 16th century BC and outlived his southern rival, Kamose, but not Ahmose I. Although his reign only entailed northern Egypt, Apepi was dominant over most of Egypt during the early portion of his reign, and traded peacefully with the native Theban Seventeenth dynasty to the south.
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Khaneferre Sobekhotep IV was one of the more powerful Egyptian kings of the 13th Dynasty, who reigned at least eight years. His brothers, Neferhotep I and Sihathor, were his predecessors on the throne, the latter having only ruled as coregent for a few months.
Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 13th Dynasty during the Second Intermediate Period, who reigned for at least three years c. 1800 BC. His chronological position is much debated, Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep being either the founder of the dynasty, in which case he is called Sobekhotep I, or its twentieth ruler, in which case he is called Sobekhotep II. In his 1997 study of the Second Intermediate Period, the Egyptologist Kim Ryholt makes a strong case for Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep as the founder of the dynasty, a hypothesis that is now dominant in Egyptology.
Khamudi was the last Hyksos ruler of the Fifteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Khamudi came to power in 1534 BC or 1541 BC, ruling the northern portion of Egypt from his capital Avaris. His ultimate defeat at the hands of Ahmose I, after a short reign, marks the end of the Second Intermediate Period.
Kim Steven Bardrum Ryholt is a professor of Egyptology at the University of Copenhagen and a specialist on Egyptian history and literature. He is director of the research center Canon and Identity Formation in the Earliest Literate Societies under the University of Copenhagen Programme of Excellence and director of The Papyrus Carlsberg Collection & Project.
Sakir-Har was an Hyksos ruler over some part of Lower Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, possibly in the early 16th century BC. Sakir-Har is attested by a single inscription on a doorjamb excavated at Tell el-Dab'a—ancient Avaris—by Manfred Bietak in the 1990s. The doorjamb, now in Cairo under the catalog number Cairo TD-8316, bears his partial royal titulary in the manner of the Ancient Egyptian, showing his Nebti and Golden Falcon names, as well as his nomen. The doorjamb reads
[Horus who... ...], The possessor of the Wadjet and Nekhbet diadems who subdues the bow people. The Golden Falcon who establishes his boundary. The heka-khawaset, Sakir-Har.
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Nehesy Aasehre (Nehesi) was a ruler of Lower Egypt during the fragmented Second Intermediate Period. He is placed by most scholars into the early 14th Dynasty, as either the second or the sixth pharaoh of this dynasty. As such he is considered to have reigned for a short time c. 1705 BC and would have ruled from Avaris over the eastern Nile Delta. Recent evidence makes it possible that a second person with this name, a son of a Hyksos king, lived at a slightly later time during the late 15th Dynasty c. 1580 BC. It is possible that most of the artefacts attributed to the king Nehesy mentioned in the Turin canon, in fact belong to this Hyksos prince.
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Nuya was a ruler of some part of Lower Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, possibly during the 17th century BC. Nuya is attested by a single scarab seal of unknown provenance. Based on a seriation of the seals of the Second Intermediate Period, the Danish Egyptologist Kim Ryholt has proposed that Nuya was a king of the 14th Dynasty, reigning after Nehesy and before Yaqub-Har. As such, he would have ruled in the 17th century BC from Avaris over the eastern Nile Delta and possibly over the Western Delta as well.
Yanassi was a prince and possibly a Hyksos king of the Fifteenth Dynasty. He was the eldest king's son of the Hyksos pharaoh Khyan and possibly the crown prince, designated to be Khyan's successor. He may have succeeded his father as king Iannas from the West Semitic Jinaśśi’-Ad, thereby giving rise to the mention in Manetho's Aegyptiaca of a king Iannas ruling–improbably–after Apophis. Alternatively, the Egyptologist Kim Ryholt has proposed that Khyan was succeeded by Apophis, and because Yanassi was Khyan's eldest son, Ryholt proposed that Apophis was an usurper. This opinion has been rejected as mere speculation by scholars including David Aston Archaeological discoveries in the 2010s show that Khyan's rule may have to be pushed further back in time, creating the need and time for one or more kings to reign between Khyan and Apophis. In addition, the Turin canon, an exhaustive list of kings written during the reign of Ramses II, can be interpreted to have credited more than 10 years of reign to a king ruling before Apophis and after Khyan, possibly Yanassi, if he was indeed Apophis' immediate predecessor.
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