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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.


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.

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

Khyan's position in the Hyksos dynasty

Scarab of Khyan KhyanScarabPetrie.png
Scarab of Khyan
Scarab of "Khyan the Hyksos" ("Hyksos" highlighted) Khyan the Hyksos (Hyksos highlighted).jpg
Scarab of "Khyan the Hyksos" ("Hyksos" highlighted)

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.

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]

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]

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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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 1,500 years after his death.

Neferhotep III Egyptian pharaoh

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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.

Qareh Egyptian king

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Seankhenre Mentuhotepi Egyptian pharaoh

Seankhenre Mentuhotepi was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh during the fragmented Second Intermediate Period. According to egyptologists Kim Ryholt and Darrell Baker, he was the fifth king of the 16th Dynasty reigning over the Theban region in Upper Egypt. Alternatively, Jürgen von Beckerath sees him as the fifth king of the 17th 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.

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.


  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