Asiatics


Asiatics
('Aamu).
    The Egyptians gave the term 'Aamu (Asiatic) to a range of foreign peoples whom they encountered to the north and north-east of Egypt. The name was applied to the desert tribesmen who made constant incursions into the Delta from southern Palestine and to the more northerly inhabitants of Syria and the lands beyond.
    Sometimes, it is used to refer to slaves who resided in Egypt, who were brought back from the great military campaigns in Syria and Palestine which were waged in particular by the kings of the New Kingdom. The term was also used for the *Hyksos—the foreign dynasts who established their rule in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period.
    In records found at Kahun (a pyramid workmen's town of the Twelfth Dynasty), the 'Asiatics' are distinguished in the work lists; this not only shows the range of activities they undertook in the community, including domestic and temple duties and work on the building sites, but also indicates that they formed a substantial element of the town's population.
    Some Asiatics, particularly in the Ramesside period, reached the highest levels: Bay (who was probably a Syrian), became Chancellor and exercised great influence on the kingship, and another Asiatic, Ben-Azen, held the position of Cup-bearer to King *Merneptah.
BIBL. Griffith, F.Ll. Hieratic papyri from Kahun and Gurob. (three vols) London: 1897-8.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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