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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

The Political Approach to the Classical World 33
elements—the native Subarean population, the conquering
Khurrians, and the ruling caste who introduced Indo-European
words into the language and called their own gods to witness
their treaties with foreign Powers.
This southward movement of peoples into Asia Minor,
Subartu, and Mesopotamia naturally caused a displacement of
the populations already settled in the Fertile Crescent, and it
drove down into Syria and Palestine the dreaded Hyksos, the
Shepherd Kings. Their identity is a matter of debate; perhaps
it is safest to assume that they were a mixed race, speaking a
Semitic language and worshipping the storm-god Sutekh. From
the northern invaders they had learnt the use of the chariot;
their fortresses were massive structures surrounded by a smooth
sloping glacis which made approach difficult. Through Palestine
they came, conquering and destroying, and into Egypt, where
the Thirteenth Dynasty was maintaining a feeble hold and no
leader was found strong enough to unite the country in resist-
ance. Again Egypt split into local principalities, and now, for
the first time in her history, she suffered the indignities of con-
quest by foreigners. At first destroyers, the later Hyksos kings
did their best, it seems, to adapt themselves to Egyptian ways;
they adopted hieroglyphic writing and identified their storm-
god with the Egyptian Set, and they forbore to interfere with
their subjects more than was necessary. But the Egyptians never
forgot that they were foreigners, and centuries later their name
was still anathema. At last a line of deliverers arose, again in
the city of Thebes. The last princes of the Seventeenth
Dynasty fought against the foreigners and gradually, step by step,
drove them out of Egypt. Not content with the liberation of
their country, the first kings of the Eighteenth Dynasty pressed
on into Palestine, and-so the Egyptians, carried northward by
the impetus of their pursuit, found themselves embarking on a
career of conquest in Asia such as they had never before
attempted.