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Foreign relations of Ancient Egypt
Palestine/Syria - Middle Kingdom Egypt

There is good evidence for several kinds of contact between Egypt and Palestine-Syria in the Middle Kingdom (about 2025-1700 BC). The 'Tale of Sinuhe/ Sanehat ' is a work of literature which describes the adventure of an Egyptian official in Palestine. From the time of Amenemhat II is known an annals stone on which trade and war between Egypt and Palestine are mentioned (Altenmüller/Moussa 1991). A treasure found at Tod, with chests bearing the name of the same king, contained different silver and lapis-lazuli objects; the lapis objects clearly come from western Asia (Bisson de la Roque/Contenau/Chapouthier 1953). On a private stela dated under Senusret III further military actions against Palestine are mentioned (Baines 1987). Many Egyptian Middle Kingdom objects (including scarabs and statues: for a list of statues, see Helck 1971: 68-71) were found in Palestine, Syria and even Anatolia. The main town for trade with Egypt was Byblos. In the late Middle Kingdom, some rulers of Byblos even had an Egyptian titulary and were buried with Egyptian objects. Objects found in Syria especially at Ebla show the strong Egyptian influence on art, perhaps mediated via Byblos.

Further reading:

  • Eder 1995: 173-195 (summary on the relations between Egypt and the Near East in the Middle Kingdom)
  • Helck 1971 (on the relations between Egypt and the Near East)

Syrian cylinder-seals in the Petrie Museum


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