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Seuserenre Khyan, Khian or Khayan was a king of the Hyksos Fifteenth dynasty of Egypt. His royal name Seuserenre translates as "The one whom Re has caused to be strong." [1] 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.

Pharaoh Title of Ancient Egyptian rulers

Pharaoh is the common title of the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the actual term "Pharaoh" was not used contemporaneously for a ruler until Merneptah, c. 1200 BCE. In the early dynasty, ancient Egyptian kings used to have up to three titles, the Horus, the Sedge and Bee (nswt-bjtj) name, and the Two Ladies (nbtj) name. The Golden Horus and nomen and prenomen titles were later added.

Hyksos Asian invaders of Egypt, established 15th dynasty

The Hyksos were a people of diverse origins, possibly from Western Asia, who settled in the eastern Nile Delta some time before 1650 BC. The arrival of the Hyksos led to the end of the Thirteenth Dynasty and initiated the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt. In the context of Ancient Egypt, the term "Asiatic" refers to people native to areas east of Egypt.

Ra ancient Egyptian solar deity

Ra or Re is the ancient Egyptian deity of the sun. By the Fifth Dynasty in the 25th and 24th centuries BC, he had become one of the most important gods in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the noon sun. Ra was believed to rule in all parts of the created world: the sky, the Earth, and the underworld. He was the god of the sun, order, kings, and the sky.


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.

Knossos ancient Minoan city

Knossos, is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe's oldest city.

Crete The largest and most populous of the Greek islands

Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, and Corsica. It bounds the southern border of the Aegean sea. Crete lies approximately 160 km (99 mi) south of the Greek mainland. It has an area of 8,336 km2 (3,219 sq mi) and a coastline of 1,046 km (650 mi).

Hittites ancient Anatolian people who established an empire

The Hittites were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing an empire centered on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1600 BC. This empire reached its height during the mid-14th century BC under Suppiluliuma I, when it encompassed an area that included most of Anatolia as well as parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia.

The remains of a palace were recently excavated at Avaris. Seal impressions of Khyan were found there, indicating that this was his palace. [2]

Avaris Archaeological site in Egypt

Avaris was the capital of Egypt under the Hyksos. It was located at modern Tell el-Dab'a in the northeastern region of the Nile Delta, at the juncture of the 8th, 14th, 19th and 20th Nomes. As the main course of the Nile migrated eastward, its position at the hub of Egypt's delta emporia made it a major administrative capital of the Hyksos and other traders. It was occupied from about 1783 to 1550 BC, or from the Thirteenth Dynasty of Egypt through the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt until its destruction by Ahmose I, the first Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty. The name in the Egyptian language of the 2nd millennium BC was probably pronounced *Ḥaʔat-Wūrat 'Great House' and denotes the capital of an administrative division of the land. Today, the name Hawara survives, referring to the site at the entrance to Faiyum. Alternatively, Clement of Alexandria referred to the name of this city as "Athyria".

Khyan's position in the Hyksos dynasty

Scarab of Khyan KhyanScarabPetrie.png
Scarab of Khyan

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. [4] [5] This indicates that Khyan was one of the earlier rulers of the 15th dynasty.

Josephus First-century Romano-Jewish scholar, historian and hagiographer

Titus Flavius Josephus, born Yosef ben Matityahu, was a first-century Romano-Jewish historian who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Roman Judea—to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry.

Manetho Egyptian historian and priest from Ancient Egypt

Manetho is believed to have been an Egyptian priest from Sebennytos who lived in the Ptolemaic Kingdom in the early third century BC, during the Hellenistic period. He authored the Aegyptiaca in Greek, a major chronological source for the reigns of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. It is unclear if he wrote his work during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter or Ptolemy II Philadelphos, but no later than that of Ptolemy III Euergetes.

Arthur Bedford, was an English miscellaneous writer and Vicar. He is most notable for his pamphlets against the Theatre and popular music.

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. [6] 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." [7] 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. [8]

Edfu Place in Aswan Governorate, Egypt

Edfu is an Egyptian city, located on the west bank of the Nile River between Esna and Aswan, with a population of approximately sixty thousand people. For the ancient history of the city, see below. Edfu is the site of the Ptolemaic Temple of Horus and an ancient settlement, Tell Edfu. About 5 km (3.1 mi) north of Edfu are remains of ancient pyramids.

Sobekhotep IV Egyptian pharaoh of the 13th Dynasty

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.

Stela of Yanassi, from Tell el-Dab'a (Avaris), mentioning Khyan Stela Yanassi by Khruner.png
Stela of Yanassi, from Tell el-Dab'a (Avaris), mentioning Khyan

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." [9] [10]

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).

The royal titulary or royal protocol is the standard naming convention taken by the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. It symbolises worldly power and holy might and also acts as a sort of mission statement for the reign of a monarch.

Yanassi Hyksos prince

Yanassi was a prince during the 15th Dynasty of Egypt. He was the eldest king's son of the Hyksos pharaoh Khyan and this title suggests that he was the crown prince, designated to be his successor. Nevertheless, Khyan was succeeded by Apophis who, for this reason, is believed to have been an usurper.

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. [10]

Origin of Khyan's name

Khyan [11]
in hieroglyphs

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." [12] 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)." [12]

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Second Intermediate Period of Egypt period of Ancient Egyptian history

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.

Yaqub-Har Egyptian pharaoh

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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 (pharaoh) ruler of Lower Egypt during the fifteenth dynasty

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.

Neferhotep I Egyptian pharaoh

Khasekhemre Neferhotep I was an Egyptian pharaoh of the mid Thirteenth Dynasty ruling in the second half of the 18th century BC during a time referred to as the late Middle Kingdom or early Second Intermediate Period, depending on the scholar. One of the best attested rulers of the 13th Dynasty, Neferhotep I reigned for 11 years.

Anat-her Egyptian pharaoh

Anat-her may have been the first ruler of the Sixteenth dynasty of Egypt, reigning over some part of Lower Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period as a vassal of the Hyksos kings of the 15th Dynasty. This is contested however, with the egyptologists Kim Ryholt and Darrel Baker believing that 'Anat-Har was a Canaanite chieftain contemporary with the powerful 12th Dynasty. Others such as Nicholas Geoffrey Lempriere Hammond contend that he was a prince of the 15th Dynasty. 'Anat-Har's name means "Anat is content" and refers to the Semitic goddess Anat, showing that he was of Canaanite descent.

Khamudi Egyptian pharaoh

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.

Sheshi Egyptian pharaoh

Maaibre Sheshi was a ruler of areas of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period. The dynasty, chronological position, duration and extent of his reign are uncertain and subject to ongoing debate. The difficulty of identification is mirrored by problems in determining events from the end of the Middle Kingdom to the arrival of the Hyksos in Egypt. Nonetheless, Sheshi is, in terms of the number of artifacts attributed to him, the best-attested king of the period spanning the end of the Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate period; roughly from c. 1800 BC until 1550 BC. Hundreds of scaraboid seals bearing his name have been found throughout Canaan, Egypt, Nubia, and as far away as Carthage, where some were still in use 1500 years after his death.

Sobekhotep VIII Pharaoh of Egypt

Sekhemre Seusertawy Sobekhotep VIII was possibly the third king of the 16th Dynasty of Egypt reigning over the Theban region in Upper Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period. Alternatively, he may be a ruler of the 13th or 17th Dynasty. If he was a king of the 16th Dynasty, Sobekhotep VIII would be credited 16 years of reign by the Turin canon, starting c. 1650 BC, at the time of the Hyksos invasion of Egypt.

Nehesy Egyptian pharaoh

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.

Aperanat ancient Egyptian king of the Second Intermediate Period

'Aper-'Anati was a ruler of Lower Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period in the mid-17th century BC. According to Jürgen von Beckerath he was the second king of the 16th Dynasty and a vassal of the Hyksos kings of the 15th Dynasty. This opinion was recently rejected by Kim Ryholt. In his 1997 study of the Second Intermediate Period, Ryholt argues that the kings of the 16th Dynasty ruled an independent Theban realm c. 1650–1580 BC. Consequently, Ryholt sees 'Aper-'Anati as an early Hyksos king of the 15th Dynasty, perhaps its second ruler. This analysis has convinced some egyptologists, such as Darrell Baker and Janine Bourriau, but not others including Stephen Quirke.

Qareh Egyptian king

Qareh Khawoserre was possibly the third king of the Canaanite 14th Dynasty of Egypt, who reigned over the eastern Nile Delta from Avaris during the Second Intermediate Period. His reign is believed to have lasted about 10 years, from 1770 BC until 1760 BC or later, around 1710 BC. Alternatively, Qareh could have been a later vassal of the Hyksos kings of the 15th Dynasty and would then be classified as a king of the 16th Dynasty.

Sekhemrekhutawy Khabaw Egyptian pharaoh of the early 13th dynasty

Sekhemrekhutawy Khabaw was an Egyptian pharaoh of the early 13th dynasty during the Second Intermediate Period. According to the egyptologist Kim Ryholt, he was the sixteenth king of the dynasty, reigning for 3 years, from 1775 BC until 1772 BC. Thomas Schneider, on the other hand, places his reign from 1752 BC until 1746 BC. Alternatively, Jürgen von Beckerath sees him as the third king of the dynasty. As a ruler of the early 13th Dynasty, Khabaw would have ruled from Memphis to Aswan and possibly over the western Nile Delta.

Shenshek Egyptian pharaoh

Shenshek was a ruler of some part of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, possibly during the 17th century BC, and likely belonging to the 14th Dynasty. As such he would have ruled from Avaris over the eastern Nile Delta and possibly over the western Delta as well. His chronological position and identity are unclear.

Nuya Egyptian pharaoh

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.


  1. Khiyan Titulary Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
  2. M. Bietak: A Hyksos Palace at Avaris, In: Egyptian Archaeology 38 Spring 2011, S. 38-41
  3. Flinders Petrie: Scarabs and cylinders with names (1917), available copyright-free here, pl. XXI
  4. W. Ward, in; O. Tufnell: Scarabs and their Contribution to History in the Early Second Millennium B.C., Warminster 1984, 68, fig. 29
  5. A scarab of Khyan at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  6. N. Moeller, G. Marouard, N. Ayers: Discussion of Late Middle Kingdom and Early Second Intermediate Period History and Chronology in Relation to the Khayan Sealings from Tell Edfu, in: Ägypten und Levante XXI (2011), 87-121 online PDF
  7. N. Moeller, G. Maround, N. Ayers, Ägypten und Levante XXI (2011), p.87
  8. Robert M. Porter: The Second Intermediate Period according to Edfu, Goettinger Mizsellen 239 (2013), p. 75-80
  9. Manfred Bietak, MDAIK 37, pp.63-71, pl.6
  10. 1 2 Kim SB Ryholt, The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, CNI Publications, (Museum Tusculanum Press: 1997), p.256
  11. Khiyan Titulary Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine (by Jacques Kinnaer, Belgian Egyptologist)
  12. 1 2 Ryholt, p.128


Further reading

Preceded by
Pharaoh of Egypt
Fifteenth Dynasty
Succeeded by