The Dictionary

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HAGAR EL-MERWA. Large rocky outcrop close to the point where the desert road from Lower Nubia regains the Nile between the Fourth and Fifth Cataracts with inscriptions of Thutmose I and Thutmose III. These define Egypt’s southern border along the desert roads and in relation to the gold-mining region of Ikayta. Both pharaohs left parallel inscriptions at the river Euphrates in Naharin. There is also a cartouche of Ramesses II and a damaged text referring to the land of Miu.

HAKOR (ACHORIS) (reigned 393–380 BC). Pharaoh of the 29th Dynasty. His reign seems to have been interrupted by that of Pshenmut. The main military actions of the reign were against Persia. In 389 BC, Hakor established an anti-Persian alliance with Evagoras ruler of Salamis in Cyprus. The rebellion of Evagoras had begun in circa 391 BC with successes that had extended his rule onto the Asiatic mainland in Cilicia and Phoenicia. A late source refers to an alliance between Hakor and the Pisidians (in southern Asia Minor), which would, if it has any veracity, be linked with the activities of Evagoras. Athens sent a fleet of 10 ships to the aid of Evagoras in 387 BC, but the Persian peace treaty of 387/386 BC severely limited Greek involvement. Around 385 BC, Persia moved to regain control of Cyprus and this involved an attack on Egypt. There appear to have been Egyptian actions in Phoenicia at this time in response to the Persian aggression. A major Persian attack on Evagoras was launched in 382 BC, but Hakor continued to lend practical support until the end of his reign, including, in 381, 50 ships (some modern accounts call them triremes). Although defeated, Evagoras was left in power on favorable terms. A new anti-Persian alliance was formed between Egypt, Sparta, and a rebel governor, Glos. Hakor hired the Athenian general Chabrias to command a force of Greek mercenaries, but the Persian commander Pharnabazos ordered his recall to Athens. The death of Hakor was followed by the brief reign of his son, Nefaarud II, who was deposed before the end of the year by Nakhtnebef.

HARKHUF (fl. c. 2280 BC). Official of the Sixth Dynasty who served the pharaohs Nemtyemsaf I and Pepy II. The inscriptions carved on the facade of his tomb at Aswan are an important source of information on the trading expeditions of the Egyptians into southern Nubia and the political changes taking place in Nubia at that time. Although the texts do not describe direct conflicts between Egypt and its neighbors, they relate that the ruler of the Kushite kingdom of Yam had gone to “smite the Libyans,” and that he supplied an armed escort (perhaps mercenary troops going to serve in Egypt) for the homeward journey through Lower Nubia. The narratives of the four expeditions also chart the unification of three chiefdoms in Lower Nubia, Wawat, Irtjet, and Satju, into a single, larger, kingdom.

HARONNOPHRIS (HAR-WEN-NOFER) (reigned 205–199 BC). Rebel pharaoh in the reigns of Ptolemy IV and Ptolemy V. There has, in the past, been confusion over the reading of the name of this ruler, Hurgonaphor and Harmachis, appearing in earlier literature. The correct reading is now recognized as Haronnophris (in its Greek form), from the Egyptian Harwennofer. The chronology and detail of the rebellion has been clarified in recent years. The rebellion was based in Upper Egypt and apparently had some support from the priesthood of Thebes. At Edfu, work on the construction of the temple ceased between 207/206 and 176 BC. The rebellion broke out in 205/204 BC, at the very end of the reign of Ptolemy IV (or perhaps at the announcement of his death). It must have gained rapid support, as the Greek soldiers left Thebes and went to Abu (Elephantine). Haronnophris controlled the region from Abydos (including the administrative center of Ptolemais and Koptos) to Pathyris. The presumed death of Haronnophris took place in his sixth regnal year, after July/August 199 BC. It is now clear that the regnal years begun by Haronnophris were continued by his successor Chaonnophris (Ankh-wen-nofer). Following the rebellion, military camps were established at Krokodilopolis and Pathyris.

HARSIESIS (fl. 131 BC). Theban rebel pharaoh under Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II. Harsiesis seized power in Thebes during the time of the civil war (dynastic war) between Euergetes II and his sister Kleopatra II. Until July 131 BC, Thebes was under the control of Euergetes II, but by October the same year, either Kleopatra II or Harsiesis held it. By 10 November 131 BC, Euergetes II had regained control of the city, and Harsiesis had been expelled, fleeing north. Two demotic papyri from Karara in Middle Egypt record him. Between 13 November 131 BC and January 130 BC, Thebes was held by Kleopatra II. Nothing further is known of the rebellion.

HARSIYOTEF (reigned c. 380 BC). Kushite king of Meroe. Harsiyotef reigned for at least 35 years, but it is difficult to place him precisely. A number of factors suggest he reigned in the first half of the fourth century BC. Harsiyotef left a large stela with a long text written in Egyptian hieroglyphics, in the temple of Amun at Gebel Barkal (Napata) now in the Nubia Museum, Aswan. The inscription records military actions led or sent by Harsiyotef in his regnal years 3, 5, 6, 11, 16, and 35. The campaigns of year 3, 5, and 6 were against the Meded who occur in other Meroitic texts as nomadic peoples of the Eastern Desert. In year 11, the army marched into Lower Nubia and attacked Aqna, perhaps to be identified with Mirgissa. It then advanced on Aswan, where there was some sort of battle with another army led by Braga and Sa-amani-sa. In year 16, the army went against Mekhuf, an otherwise unidentified region. In years 18 and 23, the Rehrehsa, apparently a nomadic group, who are named in other Kushite texts, attacked Meroe itself. In year 35, the army went against the desert lands of Mekhty. How any of these events, particularly those in Lower Nubia and Aswan, relate to events in Egypt in the 30th Dynasty is, at present, impossible to know.


HATHOR. Goddess, with many aspects. Hathor was the daughter of the sun god Re. In her violent manifestation (as the “Eye of Re”), she is identified with the lioness-headed goddesses, Tefnut and Sakhmet. This form was also later associated with the warlike Asiatic goddesses Astarte and Anath when they were introduced into the Egyptian pantheon. Hathor is associated with foreign lands from the earliest times, particularly the mining regions of Serabit el-Khadim in the Sinai and later at Timna. The Egyptians equated Hathor with foreign goddesses and as such, she became the image of “the Lady of Byblos.”

HATSHEPSUT (reigned c. 1472–1458 BC). Regnant queen, and therefore, correctly, a pharaoh. Daughter of Thutmose I, she was the Great Royal Wife of Thutmose II and acted as regent in the earliest years of Thutmose III before assuming full pharaonic style. During the coreign with Thutmose III, there were perhaps as many as four campaigns in Nubia. The first, shortly after her assumption of the kingship, was probably led by Hatshepsut in person. The others, toward the close of her reign, appear to have been commanded by Thutmose III. One of these reached Miu. A major trading expedition was sent along the Red Sea to the land of Punt, in the Ethiopian highland. The reliefs recording this show a significant role played by contingents of the army. There is no direct evidence for any Asiatic campaigns during this period, and the military activities of Thutmose III’s sole reign were directed to that region.

HATTUSILI III (reigned c. 1264–1239 BC). Great King of the Hittites. As a local ruler in the reigns of his brother Muwatalli and nephew Urhi-teshub (Mursili III), Hattusili fought campaigns in the northern part of Asia Minor, regaining considerable territory. He then deposed his nephew and ascended the throne. Ramesses II considered lending his support to the exiled Urhi-Teshub, but he eventually signed a peace treaty with Hattusili in 1258 BC, sealed by diplomatic marriage. Both the Hittite and Egyptian versions of this are preserved. The peace was no doubt in response to the increasing power of Assyria, following the fall of Mitanni.

HELMET. Egyptian troops are rarely depicted wearing helmets, although for mercenaries and foreigners they are frequently an identifying feature. Helmets are, however, depicted in various scenes showing the manufacture of military equipment and also as part of the “foreign tribute” presented to the pharaoh. Helmets also occur in some of the Amarna Letters as part of the arms trade. The pharaoh’s khepresh or “Blue Crown” is often called a war helmet in the literature, and although it may be worn in battle scenes, it is not the only crown to appear in those. Indeed, pharaohs are often shown in battle wearing the double ostrich plumes and ram’s horns, which should alert us to the nonfactual aspects of the scenes. There are depictions of Egyptians wearing helmets in the battle reliefs of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu. In the scene of distribution of weapons, there are helmets the same shape as the lappeted wig, and in the scene of the storming of Dapur, archers in long coats wear the more typical conical helmets. In several scenes, the pharaoh’s charioteer is shown with a conical helmet over his lappeted wig. A similar type of helmet, made of faience, was worn by the mummy of Hor-Psamtik (now New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art).

The Hittites wore a pointed, conical helmet; the Shardana a rather flatter one with horns and a spike and ball (or disk) on top, and sometimes with cheek guards. The Peleset (Philistines) are shown with a feathered or horsehair crest. A papyrus apparently depicting Mycenaean troops seems to show the famous boar’s tusk helmet.

HERAKLEOPOLIS. The Greek name for the Egyptian town of Nennesu, the modern Ihnasya el-Medina in Middle Egypt. It stands at a strategic point near the entrance to the Fayum. It must always have been an important center, but only fragments of its history are so far known. It was the seat of the rulers of Dynasties 9–10, the last of whom was overthrown by Menthuhotep II in his wars of reunification. Herakleopolis might have been attacked or besieged during these actions. In the later 20th Dynasty, Libyans were settled in the region, and the city came to prominence again during the Third Intermediate Period. Osorkon I founded a fortress, Per-Sekhemkheperre, near the city, probably to its north. In the late Libyan period, when Lower and Middle Egypt was divided between four Libyan pharaohs with the Kushite king, Piye, controlling Thebes and much of Upper Egypt, Herakleopolis was the capital of a kingdom. Its ruler, Peftjauawybast, acknowledged Piye’s suzerainty, and when the coalition led by Tefnakht marched south, he refused to yield the town. Herakleopolis endured a lengthy siege, but was relieved by Piye’s army as it marched north to Memphis.



HITTITES. The kingdom of Hatti in central Anatolia, with its capital at Hattusa (Bogazköy), became one of the great powers of the Late Bronze Age and Egypt’s major opponent for control of north Syria in the later 18th and 19th Dynasties. Hittite history is divided into “Old Kingdom” c. 1650–1500 BC, “Middle Kingdom” circa 1500–1430/1420 BC, and “Empire” 1430/20–1200 BC. The direct contacts and conflicts with Egypt came under the “Empire,” and the dates for the Hittite Great Kings of this period are achieved largely through synchronisms with the Egyptian and other western Asiatic powers (notably Mitanni and Babylon). The first conflict came in the reign of Akhenaten when Suppiluliuma I detached Egypt’s north Syrian vassal, Amurru, and there is some evidence that the Egyptians came into conflict with the Hittites in the succeeding reigns. A chapel at Karnak of the reign of Tutankhamun carried a scene of an Asiatic battle, and in the contemporary tomb of Horemheb at Saqqara, Asiatics (including Hittites) are depicted as tribute bearers. Following the death of Tutankhamun, his widow Ankhesenamun sought a Hittite prince as her husband. This was against the policy operated by Egypt in diplomatic marriage and was apparently opposed by some court factions because the prince was murdered en route to Egypt. The campaigns of Sety I and Ramesses II brought Egypt into direct military conflict with the Hittites. Sety I attempted to regain control of Qadesh (year 5 or 6) and succeeded in capturing the city, but it soon returned to the Hittite control.

When Ramesses II ascended the throne, the Egyptians controlled Canaan with much of the Phoenician coast and the Beqa Valley. In the campaign of year 4, Ramesses attacked Amurru, which once again became an Egyptian vassal. In retaliation, the Hittite king, Muwatalli (reigned 1295–1271), moved to recapture Amurru. He assembled an army from Hatti and 16 provinces and allies, totaling 2,500 chariots and 37,000 men. As Ramesses had set his eyes on Qadesh, conflict was inevitable. Despite the claims in his numerous inscriptions celebrating the battle of Qadesh, Ramesses achieved no significant gains. Although Ramesses II brought his armies into north Syria again, in years 8–10, his later campaigns were directed much farther south.

Shortly after the battle of Qadesh, the king of Assyria, Adad-nerari I, attacked Hanigalbat, the remaining fragment of the old kingdom of Mitanni, and conquered it. He then wrote to the Hittite king seeking alliance and expecting to be treated on an equal level as a Great King; Muwatalli spurned him. On the death of Muwatalli (c. year 8/10 of Ramesses II), he was succeeded by his son Mursili II, but Mursili was soon deposed and replaced by his uncle, Hattusili III. With a new king in Assyria (Shalmaneser I), the king of Hanigalbat moved to renew his alliance with Hatti and to shake off the Assyrian yoke. Inevitably, Assyria attacked, and Hanigalbat was absorbed, leaving Assyria directly bordering the Hittite empire, with no intervening buffer state.

A peace treaty was finally concluded between Ramesses II and the Hittites, and is recorded by two tablets in Babylonian cuneiform found at Hattusa (Bogazköy) and a stela at Karnak. It was signed in year 21, 1st month of winter, day 21. Also found at Bogazköy were 26 letters from Ramesses to the Hittite king and 13 to Pudukhepa, the queen. Ramesses II’s chief wife, Nefertari (Naptera), wrote to Pudukhepa and the Hittite king, as did the Queen Mother, Mut-Tuya, and the Crown Prince, Seth-hir-khepeshef (Shoutakhapshap). The Hittite crisis ended in year 34 when Ramesses married the daughter of Hattusili. The Marriage Stela survives in versions at Karnak, Elephantine, Abu Simbel, and Amara.

The end of the Hittite empire is obscure. The last Great Kings gained control of part of Cyprus but suffered from the attacks of the Assyrians on their eastern borders. Hattusa itself was destroyed in a massive conflagration, and it was once conventional to ascribe the end of the Hittite empire to the invasions of the Sea Peoples and other groups. The fragmentation of the Hittite Empire is paralleled by the collapse of other great powers at the end of the Late Bronze Age. Smaller kingdoms replaced them, and there were “Neo-Hittite” states in Anatolia and north Syria, notably at Carchemish and Tarhuntassa, some ruled by scions or viceroys of the royal house.

HOR-AHA (reigned c. 3080 BC). Pharaoh of the First Dynasty. A wooden label from Abydos apparently shows a bound captive and a rectangular fortified structure, although the opponent is not specified.

HOREMHEB (reigned c. 1323/1312–1295 BC). Last pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. Horemheb’s origins are obscure, and he does not claim to be directly related to the royal family. He first appears in the reign of Tutankhamun as one of the most important officials in Egypt, therefore his career must have begun in the reign of Akhenaten. His tomb at Saqqara, decorated in the reign of Tutankhamun, accredits him with some 90 titles and their variants, many of them military. Horemheb was certainly responsible for the military activities in Asia and Nubia that are known from Tutankhamun’s reign, and he might have led some of them in person. Scenes in his tomb at Saqqara show Horemheb introducing defeated Asiatic rulers and their tribute bearers into the presence of Tutankhamun. These include Hittites bringing teams of horses. There are also scenes of the army setting up camp. After the short reign of Tutankhamun’s successor, Ay, Horemheb himself ascended the throne as pharaoh. There are rather few records from the reign, which might have lasted as long as 28 years (although some Egyptologists favor a shorter reign of around 10 years). The reigns of Horemheb and his successors, Ramesses I and Sety I are often seen as the culmination of the rise of the military in the 18th Dynasty.

HOREMHEB (fl. c. 1410–1380 BC). Military official buried at Thebes (TT 78) who also left rock inscriptions at Konosso and Sehel in the region of Aswan and the First Cataract. Horemheb was a royal scribe, scribe of Recruits, and general in the reigns of Amenhotep II, Thutmose IV, and Amenhotep III. The paintings, similar in content and style to those of his elder contemporary, Tjanuni, show the Asiatic tribute, including large quantities of weapons and ranks of horses. Squadrons of troops, some Nubian, are shown, with trumpeters and a double-ended drum. One scene shows the enrolling of recruits in the army.

HORSE. The Hyksos are generally accredited with introducing the horse into Egypt, along with the chariot, in the mid-second millennium BC. Both horse and chariot rapidly became a significant factor in the warfare of the Late Bronze Age. The skills required for both meant that they were controlled by an elite, known throughout the Near East and Egypt as mariyannu. The main sources of horses were north Syria. The horses of this period were small and not widely used as cavalry; this might have been because of difficulties caused by the lack of saddles. Occasionally, riders are depicted, but they are assumed to have been scouts and messengers rather than soldiers. The tomb of the future pharaoh Horemheb at Saqqara does show armed riders. Capture following battle played an important role in the early acquisition of horses by the Egyptians. After Megiddo, Thutmose III seized 2,041 horses.

The trade in horses soon became very important. The Amarna Letters refer to horses sent to Egypt from many kings of western Asia as part of the gift exchange that accompanied royal letters. One gift of a chariot was specified as drawn by white horses. Horses appear in the scenes of foreign tribute from Syria, where Mitanni was one of the principal suppliers. The Hittites bring horses in the Saqqara tomb of the general, later pharaoh, Horemheb. In the period following the end of the New Kingdom, Israel under Solomon seems to have gained control of the trade in horses. There is some evidence that horses were bred in Kush and were exported to Assyria. Larger breeds of horses were available to the Assyrians, probably from the Iranian highlands, and Urartu, and this led to an increased use of cavalry during the eighth and seventh centuries BC. The satrap of Armenia sent 20,000 horses per year to the Great King of Persia.

Because the Egyptians used stallions rather than geldings, check rowels were attached to the reins to distract quarrelsome teams. These were wooden rods with a central spiked disk of copper.

HORUS. The god most closely associated with the kingship, generally depicted with a falcon’s head. Horus was the avenger of his murdered father, restorer of divine order, and therefore warlike by nature. Horus was also a deity presiding over foreign lands and became assimilated with some local deities. So, in Nubia, he was the presiding deity of the Middle Kingdom fortresses of Buhen, Miam (Aniba), and Kubban. A later form was “Horus Lord of Foreign Lands.” In this guise, he was an image of the all-conquering divine pharaoh and associated with Monthu.

HOST (ARMY). Division of the army comprising two companies each of five platoons (500 men).

HYKSOS. A Greek term derived from the Egyptian Heqa-Khasut “Ruler of Foreign Lands,” the Hyksos (known as the “shepherd kings” in earlier literature) ruled from the city of Avaris in the eastern Delta. Their control over Egypt extended as far as the border with the Upper Egyptian kingdom ruled from the Thebes. Objects carrying the name of the Hyksos pharaoh Khyan have been found in Crete and Mesopotamia. On this evidence, early Egyptologists proposed a vast “Hyksos empire”: this is now regarded as fallacious. However, excavations at Tell el-Daba have found Minoan-style paintings, which are indicative of cross Mediterranean contacts in the late 17th–early 18th Dynasties.

The Hyksos kings maintained a diplomatic correspondence and extensive trading partnership with the kingdom of Kush, which undoubtedly formed the basis of their wealth. There are indications that the African trade from Kush bypassed the Theban kingdom and went through the Delta. It might have been to regain control of this trade that the Thebans began to expand. The evidence suggests a largely peaceful coexistence of the Hyksos in the north of Egypt and princedom of Thebes, until the later 17th Dynasty when Seqenenre Tao and Kamose began to expand their power.

Kamose launched a major offensive, attacking Avaris itself: he might have been killed in battle. There was then a lull in the conflict, probably because of the youth of Kamose’s successor, Ahmose I. Ahmose took Avaris and drove the Hyksos from Egypt. The vilification of the Hyksos in the historiographic record began in the reign of Hatshepsut (in an inscription at Speos Artemidos).

HYPAITHRON. A Greek term for a “military camp” that is found in documents of the Ptolemaic period written in Egyptian demotic script (as hapitres). It was used specifically at a military center at Krokodilopolis in Upper Egypt, which was under the authority of the (epi)strategos of the Thebaid. A subdivision of the hypaithron of Krokodilopolis was at Pathyris.

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