British Museum

Sinuhe was employed by the wife of Senuseret I (1971–1928 B.C.), shown above in a granite bust from Memphis. Senuseret served as co-regent with his father, Amenemhet I, and then succeeded his father as the second pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty. Sinuhe’s narrative is, in part, a paeon to Egypt’s new king. But it also describes Sinuhe’s life among the Canaanites—presented as a civilized, agricultural people capable of controlling extensive territories. For author Anson Rainey, this suggests that the prevalent view among archaeologists—that the Levant of the 20th century B.C. was dominated by tribal nomads—is wrong.