Kamose

Kamose

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Kamose was the last king of the Theban
Thebes, Egypt
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

 Seventeenth Dynasty
Seventeenth dynasty of Egypt
The Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Dynasties of ancient Egypt are often combined under the group title, Second Intermediate Period. The Seventeenth Dynasty dates approximately from 1580 to 1550 BC.-Rulers:...

. He was probably the son of Seqenenre Tao II and Ahhotep I
Ahhotep I
Ahhotep I , was an Ancient Egyptian queen who lived circa 1560- 1530 BC, during the end of the Seventeenth dynasty of ancient Egypt, she was the daughter of Queen Tetisheri and Senakhtenre Tao I, and was likely the sister, as well as the wife, of pharaoh Seqenenre Tao...

 and the full brother of Ahmose I
Ahmose I
Ahmose I was a pharaoh of ancient Egypt and the founder of the Eighteenth dynasty. He was a member of the Theban royal house, the son of pharaoh Tao II Seqenenre and brother of the last pharaoh of the Seventeenth dynasty, King Kamose...

, founder of the Eighteenth Dynasty
Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt
The eighteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt is perhaps the best known of all the dynasties of ancient Egypt...

. His reign fell at the very end of the Second Intermediate Period. Kamose is usually ascribed a reign of three years (his highest attested regnal year), although some scholars now favor giving him a longer reign of approximately five years.

His reign is important for the decisive military initiatives he took against the Hyksos
Hyksos
The Hyksos were an Asiatic people who took over the eastern Nile Delta during the twelfth dynasty, initiating the Second Intermediate Period of ancient Egypt....

, who had come to rule much of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

. His father had begun the initiatives and, quite possibly, lost his life in battle with them. It is thought that his mother, as regent, continued the campaigns after the death of Kamose (also in battle with the Hyksos), and that his full brother made the final conquest of them and united all of Egypt.

Casus Belli


Kamose was the final king in a succession of native Egyptian kings at Thebes. Originally, the Theban Seventeenth dynasty
Seventeenth dynasty of Egypt
The Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Dynasties of ancient Egypt are often combined under the group title, Second Intermediate Period. The Seventeenth Dynasty dates approximately from 1580 to 1550 BC.-Rulers:...

 rulers were at peace with the Hyksos kingdom to their north prior to the reign of Seqenenre Tao II. They controlled Upper Egypt up to Elephantine and ruled Middle Egypt as far north as Cusae
Cusae
Cusae or Kusai is the Greek name of a city in Upper Egypt, known to the Egyptians as Qis or Kis. Today, the city is known as el-Qusiya and is located on the west bank of the Nile, in the Asyut Governorate....

. Kamose sought to extend his rule northward over all of Lower Egypt. This apparently was met with much opposition by his courtiers. It appears that at some point, these princes in Thebes
Thebes, Egypt
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

 had achieved a practical modus vivendi with the later Hyksos rulers, which included transit rights through Hyksos-controlled Middle
Middle Egypt
Middle Egypt is the section of land between Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt, stretching upstream from Asyut in the south to Memphis in the north. At the time, Ancient Egypt was divided into Lower and Upper Egypt, though Middle Egypt was technically a subdivision of Upper Egypt. It was not until the...

 and Lower Egypt
Lower Egypt
Lower Egypt is the northern-most section of Egypt. It refers to the fertile Nile Delta region, which stretches from the area between El-Aiyat and Zawyet Dahshur, south of modern-day Cairo, and the Mediterranean Sea....

 and pasturage rights in the fertile Delta
Nile Delta
The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers some 240 km of Mediterranean coastline—and is a rich...

. Kamose's records on the Carnarvon Tablet relate the misgivings of this king's council to the prospect of a war against the Hyksos:
However, Kamose's presentation here may be propaganda designed to embellish his reputation since his predecessor, Seqenenre Tao II, had already been engaged in conflict with the Hyksos only to fall in battle. Kamose sought to regain by force what he thought was his by right, namely the kingship of Lower and Upper Egypt. The king thus responds to his council:
There is no evidence to support Pierre Montet's assertion that Kamose's move against the Hyksos was sponsored by the priesthood of Amun
Amun
Amun, reconstructed Egyptian Yamānu , was a god in Egyptian mythology who in the form of Amun-Ra became the focus of the most complex system of theology in Ancient Egypt...

 as an attack against the Seth
Set (mythology)
Set was in Ancient Egyptian religion, a god of the desert, storms, and foreigners. In later myths he was also the god of darkness, and chaos...

-worshippers in the north (i.e., a religious motive for the war of liberation). The Carnarvon Tablet does state that Kamose went north to attack the Hyksos by the command of Amun, but this is simple hyperbole
Hyperbole
Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally....

, common to virtually all royal inscriptions of Egyptian
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 history, and should not be understood as the specific command from this deity. Kamose states his reasons for an attack on the Hyksos was nationalistic pride. He was also likely merely continuing the aggressive military policies of his immediate predecessor, Seqenenre
Tao II the Brave
Seqenenre Tao II, , called The Brave, ruled over the last of the local kingdoms of the Theban region of Egypt in the Seventeenth Dynasty during the Second Intermediate Period. He probably was the son and successor to Senaktenre Tao I the Elder and Queen Tetisheri...

, who apparently died in battle against the Hyksos.

Northern Campaign



In Kamose's third year, he embarked on his military campaign against the Hyksos by sailing north out of Thebes on the Nile
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

. He first reached Nefrusy, which was just north of Cusae and was manned by an Egyptian garrison loyal to the Hyksos. A detachment of Medjay troops attacked the garrison and overran it. The Carnavon Tablet recounted this much of the campaign, but breaks off there. Nonetheless, Kamose's military strategy probably can be inferred. As Kamose moved north, he could easily take small villages and wipe out small Hyksos garrisons, but if a city resisted, he could cut it off from the rest of the Hyksos kingdom simply by taking over the city directly to the north. This kind of tactic probably allowed him to travel very quickly up the Nile. A second stele also found in Thebes, continues Kamose's narrative again with an attack on Avaris
Avaris
Avaris , capital of Egypt under the Hyksos , was located near modern Tell el-Dab'a in the northeastern region of the Nile Delta, at the juncture of the 8th, 14th, 19th and 20th Nomes...

. Because it does not mention Memphis
Memphis, Egypt
Memphis was the ancient capital of Aneb-Hetch, the first nome of Lower Egypt. Its ruins are located near the town of Helwan, south of Cairo.According to legend related by Manetho, the city was founded by the pharaoh Menes around 3000 BC. Capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom, it remained an...

 or other major cities to the north, it has long been suspected that Kamose never did attack Avaris, but instead recorded what he intended to do. Kim Ryholt recently has argued that Kamose probably never advanced farther than the Anpu or Cynopolis
Cynopolis
-Cynopolis superior:Cynopolis, the Greek name for the ancient Egyptian town Hardai in the seventeenth nome of Upper Egypt, it was home to the cult of Anubis . A burial ground for dogs is found on the opposite Nile bank near Hamatha...

 Nome
Nome (Egypt)
A nome was a subnational administrative division of ancient Egypt. Today's use of the Greek nome rather than the Egyptian term sepat came about during the Ptolemaic period. Fascinated with Egypt, Greeks created many historical records about the country...

 in Middle Egypt (around the Faiyum and the city of Saka) and did not enter either the Nile Delta, nor Lower Egypt proper.

According to the second stele, after moving north of Nefrusy, Kamose's soldiers captured a courier bearing a message from the Hyksos king Awoserre Apopi at Avaris to his ally, the ruler of Kush, requesting the latter's urgent support against Kamose. Kamose promptly ordered a detachment of his troops to occupy and destroy the Bahariya Oasis
Bahariya Oasis
El-Wahat el-Bahariya or el-Bahariya is a depression in Egypt. It is approximately 360 km away from Cairo. Located in Giza Governorate, the main economic sectors are agriculture, iron ore mining, and tourism...

 in the western desert, which controlled the north-south desert route. Kamose, called "the Strong" in this text, ordered this action to protect his rearguard. Kamose then sailed southward, back up the Nile
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

 to Thebes, for a joyous victory celebration after his military success against the Hyksos in pushing the boundaries of his kingdom northward from Cusae past Hermopolis through to Sako, which now formed the new frontier between seventeenth dynasty of Thebes and the fifteenth dynasty Hyksos state.

Ryholt notes that Kamose never claims, in his second stela to attack anything in Avaris
Avaris
Avaris , capital of Egypt under the Hyksos , was located near modern Tell el-Dab'a in the northeastern region of the Nile Delta, at the juncture of the 8th, 14th, 19th and 20th Nomes...

 itself, only "anything belonging to Avaris (nkt hwt-w'rt, direct genetive) ie: the spoil [of war] which his army has carried off" as lines 7-8 and 15 of Kamose's stela—the only references to Avaris here—demonstrate:

Line 7-8: I placed the brave guard-flotilla to patrol as far as the desert-edge with the remainder (of the fleet) behind it, as if a kite were preying upon the territory of Avaris.

Line 15: I have not overlooked anything belonging to Avaris, because it (the area which Kamose was plundering) is empty.

The Second Stela of Kamose is well known for recounting that a Hyksos messenger was captured with a letter from Apophis—appealing for aid from the king of Kush against Kamose—while travelling through the western desert roads to Nubia. The final evidence that this king's military activities affected only the Cynopolite nome, and not the city of Avaris itself, is the fact that when Kamose returned the letter to Apophis, he dispatched it to Atfih
Atfih
Atfih is a city in Middle Egypt. It was part of the now defunct Helwan Governorate from April 2008 to April 2011, after which it was reincorporated into the Cairo Governorate. As of 2001, it has a population of 106,300 inhabitants.-Etymology:...

 which is about a hundred miles south of Avaris. Atfih, hence, formed either the new border or a no-man's land between the now shrunken Hyksos kingdom and Kamose's expanding seventeenth dynasty state. Furthermore, Kamose states in his second stele that his intention in returning the letter was for the Hyksos messenger to inform Apophis of the Theban king's victories "in the area of Cynopolis which used to be in his possession." This information confirms that Kamose confined his activities to this Egyptian nome and never approached the city of Avaris itself in his Year 3.

First Nubian Campaign


Kamose is known to have campaigned against the Kushites prior to his third year since the Hyksos king directly appeals to his Kushite counterpart to attack his Theban rival and avenge the damage which Kamose had inflicted upon both their states. It is unlikely that Kamose had the resources, simultaneously, to defeat the Kushites to the south and then, inflict a serious setback on the Hyksos to the north in just one year over a front-line that extended over several hundred kilometres.

Length of reign


His Year 3 is the only attested date for Kamose and was once thought to signal the end of his reign. However, it now appears certain that Kamose reigned for one or two more years beyond this date because he initiated a second campaign against the Nubia
Nubia
Nubia is a region along the Nile river, which is located in northern Sudan and southern Egypt.There were a number of small Nubian kingdoms throughout the Middle Ages, the last of which collapsed in 1504, when Nubia became divided between Egypt and the Sennar sultanate resulting in the Arabization...

ns. Evidence that Kamose had started a first campaign against the Kushites is affirmed by the contents of Apophis' captured letter where the Hyksos king's plea for aid from the king of Kush is recounted in Kamose's Year 3 Second stela:
Two separate rock-inscriptions found at Arminna and Toshka, deep in Nubia, give the prenomen and nomen of Kamose and Ahmose side by side and were inscribed at the same time—likely by the same draughtsman—according to the epigraphic data. In both inscriptions "the names of Ahmose follow directly below those of Kamose and each king is given the epithet di'nh which was normally used only of ruling kings. This indicates that both Kamose and Ahmose were ruling when the inscription were cut and consequently that they were coregents. Since Kamose's name was recorded first, he would have been the senior coregent. However, no mention or reference to Ahmose as king appears in Kamose's Year 3 stela which indirectly records Kamose's first campaign against the Nubians; this can only mean that Kamose appointed the young Ahmose as his junior coregent sometime after his third year prior to launching a second military campaign against the Nubians. As a result, Kamose's second Nubian campaign must have occurred in his Year 4 or 5. The target of Kamose's second Nubian campaign may have been the fortress at Buhen
Buhen
Buhen was an ancient Egyptian settlement situated on the West bank of the Nile below the Second Cataract. It is well known for its fortress, probably constructed during the rule of Senusret III, around the year 1860 BC . The site may have been first established as an outpost in Nubia during the...

 which the Nubians had recaptured from Kamose's forces since a stela bearing his cartouche was deliberately erased and there is fire damage in the fort itself.

A slightly longer reign of five years for Kamose has now been estimated by Ryholt and this ruler's time-line has been dated from 1554 BC to 1549 BC to take into account a one year period of coregency between Ahmose and Kamose. Donald Redford notes that Kamose was buried very modestly, in an ungilded stock coffin which lacked even a royal uraeus
Uraeus
The Uraeus is the stylized, upright form of an Egyptian spitting cobra , used as a symbol of sovereignty, royalty, deity, and divine authority in ancient Egypt.The Uraeus is a symbol for the goddess Wadjet, who was one of the earliest Egyptian deities and who...

. This may imply that the king died before he had enough time to complete his burial equipment presumably because he was engaged in warfare with his Kushite and Hyksos neighbours.

Mummy


The mummy of Kamose is mentioned in the Abbott Papyrus
Abbott Papyrus
The Abbott Papyrus serves as an important political document concerning the tomb robberies of the twentieth dynasty of the New Kingdom in Ancient Egypt. It also gives insight into the scandal between the two rivals Pewero and Paser of Thebes....

, which records an investigation into tomb robberies during the reign of Ramesses IX
Ramesses IX
Ramesses IX was the eighth king of the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt. He was the third longest serving king of this Dynasty after Ramesses III and Ramesses XI...

, about 400 years after Ahmose's internment. While his tomb was mentioned as being "in a good state", it is clear that his mummy was moved at some point afterward, as it was discovered in 1857 at Dra' Abu el-Naga'
Dra' Abu el-Naga'
The necropolis of Dra' Abu el-Naga' is located on the West Bank of the Nile at Thebes, Egypt, just by the entrance of the dry bay that leads up to Deir el-Bahri, and north of the necropolis of el-Assasif....

, seemingly deliberately hidden in a pile of debris. The painted and stuccoed coffin was uncovered by early Egyptologists Auguste Mariette
Auguste Mariette
François Auguste Ferdinand Mariette was a French scholar, archaeologist and Egyptologist, the designer of the rebuilt Egyptian Museum under Maximilian of Austria orders when the later had gained control of the artifacts collected to that point.-Early career:Born at Boulogne-sur-Mer, Mariette...

 and Heinrich Brugsch, who noted that the mummy was in very poor shape. Buried with the mummy was a gold and silver dagger, amulets, a scarab, a bronze mirror, and a pectoral
Pectoral (Ancient Egypt)
The Pectorals of ancient Egypt were a form of jewellery, often represented as a brooch. This was mostly worn by richer people.One type, was the pectoral with a necklace, as a form of attachment, to be suspended from the neck, but to lay upon the breast...

 in the shape of a cartouche bearing the name of his successor and brother, Ahmose.

The coffin remains in Egypt, with the dagger in Brussels and the pectoral and mirror residing the Louvre
Louvre
The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement...

, Paris. The name of the pharaoh inscribed on the coffin was only recognized for what it was fifty years after the original discovery, by which time the mummy, which had been left with the pile of debris on which it was found, was almost certainly, long lost.