Ancient Egypt eBook

George Rawlinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Ancient Egypt.
increasing demands.  First of all he required Taa-ken to relinquish the worship of all the Egyptian gods except Amen-Ra, the chief god of Thebes, whom he probably identified with his own Sutekh.  It is not quite clear whether Taa-ken consented to this demand, or politely evaded it.  At any rate, a second embassy soon followed the first, with a fresh requirement; and a third followed the second.  The policy was successful, and at last Taa-ken took up arms.  It would seem that he was successful, or was at any rate able to hold his own; for he maintained the war till his death, and left it to his successor, Aahmes.

There was an ancient tradition, that the king who made Joseph his prime minister, and committed into his hands the entire administration of Egypt, was Apepi.  George the Syncellus says that the synchronism was accepted by all.  It is clear that Joseph’s arrival did not fall, like Abraham’s, into the period of the Old Empire, since under Joseph horses and chariots are in use, as well as wagons or carts, all of which were unknown till after the Hyksos invasion.  It is also more natural that Joseph, a foreigner, should have been advanced by a foreign king than by a native one, and the favour shown to his brethren, who were shepherds (Gen. xlvi. 32), is consonant at any rate with the tradition that it was a “Shepherd King” who held the throne at the time of their arrival.  A priest of Heliopolis, moreover, would scarcely have given Joseph his daughter in marriage unless at a time when the priesthood was in a state of depression.  Add to this that the Pharaoh of Joseph is evidently resident in Lower Egypt, not at Thebes, which was the seat of government for many hundred years both before and after the Hyksos rule.

If, however, we are to place Joseph under one of the “Shepherd Kings,” there can be no reason why we should not accept the tradition which connects him with Apepi.  Apepi was dominant over the whole of Egypt, as Joseph’s Pharaoh seems to have been.  He acknowledged a single god, as did that monarch (Gen. xli. 38, 39).  He was a thoroughly Egyptianized king.  He had a council of learned scribes, a magnificent court, and a peaceful reign until towards its close.  His residence was in the Delta, either at Tanis or Auaris.  He was a prince of a strong will, firm and determined; one who did not shrink from initiating great changes, and who carried out his resolves in a somewhat arbitrary way.  The arguments in favour of his identity with Joseph’s master are, perhaps, not wholly conclusive; but they raise a presumption, which may well incline us, with most modern historians of Egypt, to assign the touching story of Joseph to the reign of the last of the Shepherds.


[15] “Manuel d’Histoire Ancienne de l’Orient,” vol i. p. 360.



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Ancient Egypt from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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