Hershel Shanks

Semites in Egypt. Bearing the Egyptian title for Hyksos, a figure named Abisha (leaning over an ibex, second from right), leads his western Semitic clansmen into Egypt in order to conduct trade. The scene dates to about 1890 B.C.E. and has been preserved on the wall of one of the tombs carved into cliffs overlooking the Nile at Beni Hasan, about halfway between Cairo and Luxor.

“Hyksos” is a Greek term derived from an Egyptian phrase meaning either “ruler of foreign lands” or “shepherd-kings.” The Hyksos were Canaanites who ruled Egypt for roughly two and a half centuries, starting about 1800 B.C.E.