Seqenenre (“Who Strikes Like Re”) Tao (“Great”) ruled during the second intermediate period of Ancient Egypt. He was one of the last kings of the seventeenth dynasty. It is believed he was the son of Queen Tetisheri and Sanakhtenre Ahmose. He reigned from Thebes while the Hyksos controlled Avaris.
When he came to power, there was an uneasy truce with the Hyksos, but Seqenenre worked hard to make Thebes great again, and the Hyksos were wary of him. His prowess in battle and the loyalty of his subjects is displayed in the biography of one of his soldiers, Ahmose son of Ebana.
According to one contemporary source the Hyksos king Apophis sent an official delegation to Seqenenre to cheekily remark;
“Give orders that the hippopotamus-pool which is in the flowing spring of the city be abandoned; for they (the voices of the hippos) do not allow deep sleep to come to me either by day or by night; but their noise is in mine ear.”
In complaining about the noise of the hippopotamus, Apophis was actually complaining about the Seqenenre Tao’s growing power. It seems that Seqenenre responded by launching his attack against the invaders.
Seqenenre met a violent death, probably during battle with the Hyksos. He had apparently been stabbed behind the ear, his cheek and nose had been smashed with a mace, and smacked above the right eye with a battle axe! However, some scholars have suggested that the injury had started to heal prior to the king’s death, and either he returned rashly to battle, or was assassinated as he recuperated.
The war did not end upon his death. Instead, his wife-sister Ahhotep I rallied the troops and pushed northward against the Hyksos until their son, Kamose came of age. It was his second son, Ahmose I who would eventually drive the Hyksos from Egypt.
Seqenenre (Who Strikes Like Re)
- Bard, Kathryn (2008) An introduction to the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt
- Bourriau, J (2000) “The Second Intermediate Period”, in The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt Ed I. Shaw
- Dodson, A and Hilton, D. (2004) The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt
- Kemp, Barry J (1991) Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation
- Rice, Michael (1999) Who’s Who in Ancient Egypt
- Van De Mieroop, Marc (1999) A History of Ancient Egypt
Copyright J Hill 2009