The Egyptian Domination
In the mid – sixteenth century BC Egypt recovered from the weakness of the second intermediate period, during the reigns of Ahmose and his son Amenhotep I.
After the end of the Middle Kingdom and the time when foreigners, the so-called Hyksos ruled Egypt, the military control of Lower Nubia passed into Egyptian hands.
Three archaeological groups probably corresponding to different groups dominate the picture of lower Nubia during the time of the Hyksos and the early New Kingdom, the C Group, the Kerma group, and the Pan-Grave group representing a desert tribe called the Medja. All three seem to have had a common origin in Dongola.
The end of the Hyksos rule in Egypt is marked by several texts of the Theban liberator of the country. King Kamose, in whose reign the struggle began in earnest, was faced with enemies both to the north and to the south of his small Upper Egyptian state. The Hyksos rulers controlled all of Egypt from the Delta almost to Assuit, and the rulers of Kush exercised control over the whole of Nubia as far north as Aswan.
Ahmose I, founder of the New Kingdom who, expelled the Hyksos from Egypt and began the reconquest of lower Nubia. During the reign of Ahmose and his son Amenhotep I, the Egyptian armies gradually pushed southward. The second cataract fortresses were recaptured and the fortifications at Buhen were repaired.
Against this background, the Egyptian hostility toward Nubia and contact between the inhabitants of the two lands continued unabated. Both Kushite and Medjay Nubians had served in the Egyptian army during the war of liberation and were to continue to do so throughout the New Kingdom. Some Kushites may have moved to the north of Egypt after the expulsion of the Hyksos. During the next half century Egyptian armies had to quell numerous rebellions from which they brought away many intention probably being to secure Egypt’s southern boundary which was known as Karoy, by the end of Thutmose III reign Egypt had secured substantial imperial possession in the Levant as well as in Nubia.
Two tombs from the reigns of Queen Hatshepsut and Thutmose III about 1450 BC were investigated by the Scandinavian Joint Expedition in the northernmost part of the Sudan in the district of Debeira. They belonged to two brothers Djehutihotp and Amenmhet born to Nubian parents to judge by their names. The tomb of Dyehutihotep, the elder brother, is decorated in the style of the tomb in the capital.
The tomb of the younger brother Amenmhet is also entirely Egyptian and all the finds in the tomb are of good Egyptian craftsmanship.
An Egyptian imperial government was imposed to oversee the administration of the land at every level. At the head of the civil administration was the viceroy who acted as the pharaoh’s deputy. He was appointed directly by the title overseer of the southern lands, and King’s son of Kush. His main duties were the running of the administration of Nubia and the exploitation and collection of the valuable resources obtained from Nubia itself and from the south.
There were two main periods of temple building in Nubia during the New Kingdom. The first is associated with the reigns of Thutmos II and Thutmos III. It is Thutmos who built templates in several of the second cataract forts and temples of Semna and Kumma not reconstructed in Khartoum. These are among the most complete surviving examples of eighteenth Dynasty temple architecture. The temple of Amenhotep III built in the Abri Delgo was the second temple for his wife. The temple of the heretic pharaoh Akhenaton was built at Sesbi and Kawa. Tutankhamon, one of the last kings of the eighteenth Dynasty, built minor temples within existing settlements at Faras and Kawa.
The second great wave of temple building in Nubia begins and ends with the reign of Ramses II. He had built temples in Abu Simbel, Beit al Wali, Gerf Hussein, Wadi El-Sebua, Elderr and Gabal Barkal.
The Viceroy of Nubia
In Nubia, an Egyptian imperial government was imposed to oversee the administration of land at every level. At the head of civil administration was the viceroy, who acted as the pharaoh’s deputy. He was appointed directly by the Egyptian king and usually bore the titles “overseer of the southern lands” and “king’s son of Kush.” The title king’s son of Kush was held by more than twenty-five rulers who governed both Nubia and the southernmost district of Egypt as deputies of the pharaoh.
The authority of the king’s son depended on many factors, the most important being the vast extent of land controlled by the Egyptians in the south, sometimes including the area of Hieraconpolis in the north to Gebel Barkal in the south. He was helped by a commander of the Bowmen of Kush and two deputies one for Wawat, and the other for Kush. Most of the viceroy’s officials were no doubt Egyptian but they included some Egyptianized Nubians. The center of administration was usually Aniba.
The main duties of the viceroy were the running of the administration of Nubia and the exploitation and collection of valuable resources obtained from Nubia itself and from the south. He also organized construction on the king’s behalf and was responsible for military operations in the region of Nubia. The viceroy was responsible for the punctual payment of the tribute of Nubia, both from Wawat and Kush. He was usually chosen from the royal entourage to ensure his fidelity and responsible for the tribute of their people.
He was directly responsible to the king. He seems to have brought the tribute personally and to have handed it over with ceremony to the vizier or treasurer.
These titles first appeared in the time of Ahmose as the “commander of Buhen”, and during Amenophis I’s reorganization of the administration became “overseer of the southern countries.” For example, Twrj, who is the first well documented viceroy of Nubia, was promoted from “scribe of a temple” to “father of the god, overseer of cattle, mayor and first prophet,” then later to “commander of Buhen” and “king’s son.”
Later, the Egyptian pharaohs started a new policy in Nubia: they started taking the children of Nubian chiefs to Egypt, originally as hostages, but they were given both Egyptian education and rank to prepare them to be as a “king’s son of Kush”.
It was clear that the general character of the titles of the viceroy of Nubia has long been a matter of common knowledge. The essential title was “king’s son” which conferred a rank as well as an office. For many purposes, especially in his own territory, this was a sufficient designation; and in Nubia the viceroy was probably mentioned simply as “the king’s son” just as a modern governor is called simply “the pasha” in his own Province.
Parallel to “king’s son” occurs the more definite title of rank and office “king’s son Kush”. Both of these essential titles are often accompanied by the secondary titles “overseer of the southern lands” or “overseer of the Gold lands of Amun” or “overseer of the Gold Lands of the Lord of the Two Lands”. Just as in the case of some other titles to which they are attached, the secondary titles define the geographical limits of the administration indicated by the chief title. They are, therefore, not essential and are, in fact, often omitted. They occur most commonly in the personal monuments, the prayer-stelae cut on the rocks of Nubia and the inscriptions of the funerary monuments, both of them places where an effort is made to accentuate the honourable position of the man in question.