Ancient Egypt and Us

Ancient Egyptian Culture of Xenophobia

Xenophobia is the Greek term used for the intense dislike and or fear, of people and culture from other countries; it was an extremely strong aspect of Ancient Egyptians culture. It all started with the king. He considered himself a living god who ruled as heir to his divine father and was the intermediary between his people and the gods. Egypt believed it was the center of the world and that Egyptians were the gods’s chosen people. They believed that it was their dedication to ‘maat’ expressed as ‘cosmic order’ that set them apart from the culture of the ‘barbarians’ that surrounded them. They considered themselves far superior to their neighbors in all aspects, culturally, religiously, socially and militarily. Their country was fortunate in being isolated by deserts and seas, this largely insulated them from external threats for c1500 years after the founding of the united kingdom. However this almost became their down fall when the Asiatic Hyksos people were the first of the ‘hated foreigners’ to capture and control a very significant part of Egypt c1650BC. The Hyksos ruled the east Delta for a hundred years and captured the Egyptian national capital, Memphis, even threatening Thebes.

The Egyptians had not embraced the military advances that were occurring outside of the Nile valley at that time. When the Hyksos were finally expelled by the Theban king Ahmose 1, they were driven out of Egypt and pursued into Canaan; all future references to them were prefaced by the term ‘hated foreigners’. Egypt could no longer ignore their Asiatic neighbors and the rulers of the New Kingdom engaged in almost constant warfare and/or diplomacy to control the hostile states on their eastern frontier. Later, in the twilight of ancient Egypt’s authority, there were to be the barely tolerated kings of Libyan (22nd Dynasty) and Nubain (25th Dynasty) extraction.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The country later had to contend, c671BC, with the hated and feared Assyrians, and their occupation. The Persians then ruled an exhausted Ancient Egypt, on and off, for two hundred years; initially the Persians respected Egyptian culture and religion and were tolerated. However the later Persian kings and Satraps were so hated that Alexander was able to take Egypt from Persia without a fight, and was even welcomed with open arms; this however was not to last. The hatred of foreigners and their culture continued right to the end. The infamous indigenous mob of Alexandria was to continually disrupt the three hundred year reign of the subsequent ‘foreign’ Ptolemaic dynasty even though they mostly brought peace and prosperity.