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The Political Approach to the Classical World 37
vas followed by his son Akhenaton, whose preoccupation with
•eligious problems led him to abandon the capital and withdraw
:o a new city, the modern Tell el-'Amarna. By his champion-
ihip of the worship of the sun-disk Aten exclusively, he alienated a
arge and powerful section of his subjects, including the priests
Df the wealthy State god, Amon. Through their hands came
much o$the produce of the Nubian gold-mines, and Akhenaton,
even if he had had time and inclination to interest himself in
foreign affairs, would still have found it difficult to maintain
enough agents in his pay and keep up the needful subsidies. A
large military campaign might have saved the situation and
driven the Hittites back, but Akhenaton was no warrior. So the
unfortunate governors of the Egyptian possessions in the north
wrote in vain for help. The crafty Shubbiluliuma employed
'indirect methods, encouraging the anti-Egyptian faction in the
Syrian cities and no doubt subsidizing the Amorites to attack
the cities of the Phoenician coast, until one by one Byblos,
Simyra, Tyre, and Sidon fell or went over to the enemy. All
Syria would have been lost to Egypt had not Shubbiluliuma
been called home to fight wars in Asia Minor.
In the south, the Egyptian possessions were being threatened
by different foes. The governor of Jerusalem writes complaining
that he is being attacked by the Khabiru, bands of robber
nomads who appear elsewhere, in texts of the period from
Boghaz-keui, from Nuzi, and from Babylonia, as adventurers,
mercenaries, and bandits. It has been suggested that this
account of the raids of the Khabiru in Palestine is a version of
the campaign of Joshua told from the Canaanite point of view.
Even if the philological equation Khabiru = 'Aperu be not
accepted, there is nothing improbable in the suggestion that
the Hebrews were at this time entering Palestine over the
Jordan, and that they were classed by the more civilized town-
dwellers of Canaan with the nomadic plunderers of the
desert familiar to all townsmen. On various computations