Salitis

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In the Manethonian tradition, Salitis (Greek Σάλιτις, also Salatis or Saites) was the first Hyksos king, the one who subdued and ruled Lower Egypt and founded the 15th Dynasty.

Biography[edit]

Salitis is mainly known from few passages of Flavius Josephus' work Contra Apionem; for these passages, Josephus claimed to have reported Manetho's original words. It seems that during the reign of an Egyptian pharaoh called Tutimaios or Timaios, an army of foreigners suddenly came from the Near East and took over the Nile Delta without a fight. After conquering Memphis and likely deposing Tutimaios, the invaders committed several atrocities such as destroying cities and temples and killing or capturing the native Egyptians.[1] After that, they

“made one of their number, whose name was Salitis, king. He resided in Memphis and exacted tribute from both the upper and lower country, leaving fortresses in the most strategic places.”[2]

It seems that Salitis' main concern was the defense of his new realm from the possibility of an Assyrian attack. For this reason he fortified the eastern borders, and sought a strategic position to establish an imposing stronghold. Having found it in the city of Avaris on the east bank of the Bubastite branch of the Nile,[3]

“(Salitis) established this city and rendered it extremely secure with walls, settling there a large body of armed troops – as many as 240,000 men – as a frontier guard. He used to go there in the summer, partly to hand out rations and distribute pay, and partly to train them carefully in military exercises, to frighten foreigners.”[4]

Salitis died after 19 years of reign and his throne passed to another asiatic called Bnon or Beon.[5]

Identification[edit]

Several attempts were made to identify Salitis with an archaeologically attested ruler. He was sometimes associated with a ruler named Sharek or Shalek – who is mentioned in a genealogical priestly document from Memphis – and also with the much more attested king Sheshi.[6][7] German Egyptologist Jürgen von Beckerath believed that Salitis could be associated with Yakbim, another second intermediate period ruler.[8] At the current state of knowledge, Salitis remains unidentified.[9][10]
Even for his name there are no clues of what it could have originally meant in Egyptian, though the variant Saites used by Sextus Julius Africanus in his epitome of Manetho, might contain a reference to the deltaic city of Sais. It has been suggested that the name might be linked to shallit, a title borne by the biblical patriarch Joseph during his stay in Egypt (Genesis 42:6) with the meaning of "keeper of the power"; however, this is also considered a very weak assumption.[11][10]

As for him, also the identification of his Egyptian predecessor Tutimaios and asiatic successor Bnon were matter of debate; though the former was tentatively identified with Djedneferre Dedumose of the dying 13th Dynasty[12][7] this identification was questioned for being rather weak.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Josephus, I:75-76
  2. ^ Josephus, I:77
  3. ^ Josephus, I:77-78
  4. ^ Josephus, I:78-80
  5. ^ Josephus, I:80-91
  6. ^ Hayes 1973, p. 59
  7. ^ a b Grimal 1992, p. 185
  8. ^ Salitis' page on eglyphica.de
  9. ^ Labow 2005, 76-77, n.71
  10. ^ a b Josephus, I:77, n. 300
  11. ^ Troiani 1974, p. 107
  12. ^ Hayes 1973, p. 52
  13. ^ Helck et al. (eds.) 1986

Bibliography[edit]

  • Grimal, Nicolas (1992). A History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Blackwell Books. p. 512. ISBN 9780631174721. 
  • Hayes, William C. (1973). "Egypt: from the death of Ammenemes III to Seqenenre II". In Edwards, I.E.S. The Cambridge Ancient History (3rd ed.), vol. II, part 1. Cambridge University Press. pp. 42–76. ISBN 0 521 082307. 
  • Helck, Wolfgang; Otto, Eberhard; Westendorf, Wolfhart, eds. (1986). Lexikon der Agyptologie, vol. 6. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. 
  • Josephus, Flavius (2007). Against Apion – Translation and commentary by John M.G. Barclay. Leiden-Boston: Brill. ISBN 978 90 04 11791 4. 
  • Labow, D. (2005). Flavius Josephus Contra Apionem, Buch 1. Einleitung, Text, Text-kritischer Apparat, Übersetzung und Kommentar. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. 
  • Troiani, L. (1974). "Sui frammenti di Manetone nel primo libro del «Contra Apionem» di Flavio Giuseppe". Studi Classici e Orientali. 23.