Ancient Egypt, Apopis


Robert Guisepi, 1984

The Valley of the Nile

Apopis was the last great Hyksos king of Egypt (reigned c. 1585-42 BC), who initially controlled most of Egypt but was driven back northward to the vicinity of his capital in the Nile River delta by the successive attacks of the Theban pharaohs.

Apopis is attested in Upper Egypt by stone fragments from Al-Gabalayn that show his name surrounded by the sun disks of the solar god, Re. A story concerning Apopis and the Theban king Seqenenre shows that the Thebans were vassals of the Hyksos ruler. Egyptians and Hyksos peacefully coexisted for some time, as the Thebans grazed their cattle in the Nile delta, which was ruled by the Hyksos.

Apopis quarreled with Seqenenre, and war may have erupted. The Theban king's mummy displays terrible head wounds. His successor, Kamose, declared a Middle Egyptian town as his northern frontier. He carried on the war, as is shown by two monuments from Thebes, and drove the Hyksos northward to the vicinity of Memphis (near Cairo). A Theban fleet also sailed by Avaris, Apopis' delta capital.

Apopis reacted by calling on his ally to the south, the Cushite prince, to attack the Thebans in their rear. His messenger, however, was intercepted, and his plan was thwarted by Kamose. Some time soon after this raid, but before the final Hyksos expulsion, Apopis died. Contrary to later Egyptian propaganda, he honoured the sun god, Re, and had many collaborators in Middle and Lower Egypt.

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