Avaris (Tell el Dab’a) located in the Nile Delta, was the capital of the Hyksos rulers of northern Egypt during the second millennium BC. Recent excavations have unearthed Minoan style frescoes, including bull leaping. At least one writer has remarked on the similarity of this ‘island’ city to Plato’s Atlantis (The Jerusalem Post, July 12th 2006).
Manfred Bietak (1940- ) the celebrated Austrian archaeologist spent many years excavating at two sites in the Nile Delta and identified Tell El-Dab’a as the location of Avaris, the capital of the Hyksos period; and Piramesse, which was the capital of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt(b). In 1996 he delivered an illustrated lecture on his work to the British Museum(c).
In 2021, Diego Ratti published Atletenu(a), in which he identified the Hyksos as Atlanteans and situated their capital as Avaris! He claims to have matched Plato’s description of the city of Atlantis with the Egyptian location. I identified a number of discrepancies and was not convinced.
Also See: Meizon
The Hyksos is the name applied to two dynasties of foreign kings who ruled Egypt around 1650-1530 BC(a). Gerard Gertoux suggests three dynasties reigning from circa 1750- 1530!(l) They are generally accepted to have been Semitic people, from an unknown land, who invaded Egypt around 1710 BC. They ruled for over a hundred years until defeated by the Egyptian Pharaoh Amasis I.
Their name was originally taken to mean ‘Shepherd Kings, but more recently, it is accepted that the Egyptian term ‘heqa-khase’ which means ‘rulers of foreign lands’ gives us a simple but credible title of ‘Foreign Kings’. It has been suggested by David J. Gibson (1904-1966) that the modern interpretation indicated that the Hyksos ruled a vast empire and has devoted a book to justifying this view(g). This empire lay mainly to the east of Egypt with the possible exception of Crete. Gibson identifies the Hyksos with the biblical Edomites!
Walter Baucum summarises his view on the subject as follows, “The Early Hyksos Shepherd Rulers of Egypt were descendants of Shem and identical with Typhon and the Titans, the peoples of Set, and to some degree with the Hebrews. The early Hyksos were to a large degree Israelites but after they left, the Amalekites conquered Egypt and were also referred to as Hyksos”.
This identification of the Hyksos with the biblical Amalakites was supported by Velikovsky, Rohl and Donovan Courville(o).>This identification is disputed by Emmet Sweeney , who is generally sympathetic to Velikovsky’s revised chronology, but disagrees with him in this instance.<
There have also been persistent suggestions that there were strong links between the Hyksos and Crete, as referred to both above and below. But the exact nature of the links is unclear and may not be more than you get between nations trading over an extended period. The relevance of such links, if they were ever shown to be political rather than commercial, would take on new significance for supporters of the Minoan Hypothesis. Time will tell.
Peter A. Clayton, an Egyptologist and author of Chronicle of the Pharaohs suspected that the Hyksos had their origins in Crete. E. J. de Meester has suggested links between Crete and the Hyksos, an idea included in an article by Philip Coppens(b). In a similar vein, Diaz-Montexano claims that a study of the names of the Hyksos pharaohs suggests to him that they were proto-Greek or Mycenaeans.
An example of the diversity of opinions regards the origins of the Hyksos is a brief article written by Emilio Spedicato who identifies them with the Scythians. Gunnar Heinsohn (1943- ) is a German professor emeritus at the University of Bremen, who presented a paper entitled ‘Who were the Hyksos’ to the 6th International Congress of Egyptology in 1993, in which he concluded that they were to be identified with the Old-Akkadians(j).
Perhaps even more radical is the suggestion by Riaan Booysen that the Hyksos were the fleeing Israelites in the biblical Exodus story(c). He claims that there were two ‘exoduses’ which coincided with two separate eruptions on Thera. This idea is not as new as it might seem as something similar was proposed by the 1st century AD Jewish historian Josephus(d).
Nick Austin also identifies the Hyksos as Jews [1661.184] but is more generous than Booysen claiming that there were four separate eruptions of Thera. Like many others, he has also associated the biblical Exodus and the Plagues of Egypt with the Theran eruptions.
Ralph Ellis, among others, has endorsed(e)(f) the idea that the biblical Exodus and the historical Expulsion of the Hyksos describe the same event.
There are theories, many and varied, regarding the origins and post-Egyptian settlement of the Hyksos. Arguably, the most exotic was put forward by a Chinese geochemist, Sun Weidong, who proposed that Hyksos migrants were responsible for the founding of the Chinese civilisation!(h)(i)
In July 2020, it was reported that “new research led by Bournemouth University archaeologists supports the theory that the Hyksos, the rulers of the 15th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, were not from a unified place of origin, but Western Asiatics whose ancestors moved into Egypt during the Middle Kingdom lived there for centuries, and then rose to rule the north of Egypt.”(k)
The full facts relating to the Hyksos’ rule are only slowly emerging(m) and I expect that it will be some years before a definitive history can be agreed upon. Just over a year after I wrote this, In March 2021, Diego Ratti published Atletenu, in which he identified the Hyksos as Atlanteans, with their capital situated at Avaris in the eastern Nile Delta(n).
>A paper by the distinguished Austrian archaeologist Manfred Bietak entitled Avaris: The Capital of the Hyksos(p) should be read in conjunction with Ratti’s theory.<
(b) See: Archive 2133
(g) See: Archive 3468