Seqenenre Ta'o II


Seqenenre Ta'o II
King c.1575 BC.
    Seqenenre Ta'o II succeded his father Seqenenre Ta'o I as the ruler of Thebes in the Seventeenth Dynasty. Ta'o I's wife was Tetisheri who was apparently not of royal descent, and their children, Seqenenre Ta'o II and *Ahhotpe, married each other. Queen Tetisheri was venerated by later generations as a powerful influence in the fortunes of the dynasty and of the country.
    Seqenenre II was probably the first Theban ruler who openly opposed *Hyksos rule; although the south was perhaps virtually independent of the *Hyksos in political terms, they nevertheless were obliged to pay them tribute. It was the Theban princes—Seqenenre II, *Kamose and *Amosis I—who eventually sought to drive the *Hyksos rulers out of Egypt.
    Preserved in Papyrus Sallier I, there is a story that describes the beginning of the conflict. The Theban rulers had apparently revived the ancient ritual of harpooning hippopotami in a pool or canal at Thebes; this rite was designed to destroy the king's enemy through sympathetic magic and to ensure the safety of the Egyptian kingship. The *Hyksos king, *Apophis I, who was ruling at Avaris in the Delta took offence at this revival, probably because it was designed to threaten his political position, but also because the hippopotamus represented Seth, the god worshipped as a patron deity by the *Hyksos. In the papyrus, the excuse given by *Apophis I for his complaint to Seqenenre is that he cannot sleep because of the noise made by the hippopotami at Thebes—although this city was several hundred miles away from his capital!
    He ordered Seqenenre to come away from the pool of the hippopotami, and this led to the start of their conflict. It is evident that the *Hyksos ruler wanted to provoke a fight; only the earlier part of the text is preserved, but it is assumed that the tale would have continued with an account of the struggle and of a victory for the Thebans. In reality the conflict was probably indecisive and although a limited truce may have been arranged, it was Seqenenre's successors, *Kamose and *Amosis, who fought on to defeat the *Hyksos.
    Seqenenre II was nevertheless known as 'The Brave', and he may have lost his life in this struggle. His body was discovered in the cache of royal mummies at Deir el Bahri in 1881, and certain physical signs indicate that he may have died in battle. The body is twisted in the agony of death, there were wounds to the neck and the head, where a blow behind the left ear had been caused by a dagger. The Papyrus
    Sallier story also provides some interesting background information regarding the period of *Hyksos rule in Egypt: it makes it clear that *Apophis ruled as king at Avaris in the north, while the Thebans concurrently controlled the southern district, although they paid tribute to the *Hyksos.
BIBL. Gunn, B. and Gardiner, A.H. New renderings of Egyptian texts. II. The expulsion of the Hyksos. JEA 5 (1918) pp. 36-56; Save-Soderbergh, T. On Egyptian representations of hippopotamus hunting as a religious motive. Horae Soederblomianae, 3. Uppsala: 1953; Save-Soderbergh, T. The Hyksos rule in Egypt. JEA 37 (1951) pp. 53-71; Smith, G.E. The Royal Mummies. Cairo: 1912 pp 1-4.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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