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(hĭk`sōs) [Egyptian,=rulers of foreign lands], invaders of ancient EgyptEgypt
, Arab. Misr, biblical Mizraim, officially Arab Republic of Egypt, republic (2015 est. pop. 93,778,000), 386,659 sq mi (1,001,449 sq km), NE Africa and SW Asia.
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, now substantiated as the XV–XVIII dynasties. They were a northwestern Semitic (Canaanite or Amorite) people who entered Egypt sometime between 1720 and 1710 B.C. and subdued the pharaohs of the Middle Kingdom. They used Avaris-Tanis in the Nile delta as their capital rather than the Egyptian capital of Thebes. Under their hegemony, which lasted over a century, they established a powerful kingdom that included Syria and Palestine, and maintained peace and prosperity in their territories. They introduced the horse-drawn chariot and the composite bow, and their successful conquests were furthered by a type of rectangular fortification of beaten earth used as a fortress; archaeologists have uncovered examples of these mounds at Jericho, Shechem, and Lachish. Their most important contribution was perhaps the introduction into Egypt of Canaanite deities and Asian artifacts, which were instrumental in abrogating the despotism and isolationism of the Old and Middle kingdoms. The Hyksos were crushed by Amasis I at the battle of Tanis in 1550 B.C.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a group of Asiatic tribes that crossed the Isthmus of Suez from Southwest Asia into Egypt and conquered it in about 1700 B.C. The word “Hyksos” in Egyptian first referred to kings of foreign countries (“shepherd rulers”), but later came to denote the whole group of tribes. The true ethnic name of the Hyksos is unknown; their ethnic composition was highly mixed, judging from the presence of both Semitic and Hurrian names. They settled in Lower Egypt, where they established their capital, Avaris. They were the first to introduce horse breeding and the wheel as a means of transportation into Egypt. They simplified the Egyptian written language by creating purely alphabetical writing. In the beginning of the 16th century a liberation movement was begun in Egypt against the Hyksos, headed by Seqenenre II, the ruler of Thebes, and later by Kamose. The struggle was completed by Pharaoh Ahmose I (ruled in the years 1584-59), who captured Avaris. The surviving Hyksos fled to Palestine, and nothing is known about their fate thereafter.


Lapis, I. A. “Novye dannye o giksosskom vladychestve v Egipte.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1958, no. 3.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.