Egyptians hold in high esteem the two pharaohs who unified their country: the Old Kingdom pharaoh Narmer of around 3100 B.C., and Ahmose I (unknown—1525 B.C.), who reunited a divided Egypt around 1550 B.C. and ushered in the celebrated New Kingdom.
When young Ahmose I ascended the throne, Egypt was in tremendous turmoil. Intruders of Asiatic origin known as the Hyksos, meaning “rulers of foreign lands,” had taken control of the Nile Delta. They had savagely murdered Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao, Ahmose’s father, and decimated the army. They demanded tribute from the rulers of Upper Egypt in Thebes and took their princesses as wives. The barbarism of the Hyksos was memorialized by Egyptian historian Manetho. “[They] burned our cities ruthlessly, razed to