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Adams E. - Hwt.W'Rt_ Ha-Wari (ANE Digest V2000)


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Hwt.W'rt/ ha-Wari?

ANE Digest Saturday, September 2 2000 Volume 2000 : Number 250

---Date: Fri, 01 Sep 2000 23:01:45 -0400 From: nyokabi@kingcon.com

Subject: ane Hwt.W'rt/ ha-Wari?

On Aug 30 P J Cowie wrote: On 28/8/00, E. Adams wrote:

** "I've seen w'rt/district, but the MK was divided into many w'rt's wasn't it? How does "desert" slip in there? Just stick it in to make it sound more plausible?? Why would this be chosen as a name for a capital city and great commercial river port? Of course if Nehesi's

Nubian mom had named it Hwt Ware.t from Nubian [K-D] wari/distant, far-off, or warti/ enemy, perhaps stranger [Dair], we could understand

if the later Egyptian scribes mistook it for w'r.t...." **

I am not sure whether we need to introduce a Nubian derivation in order to understand the w'r.t in Hw.t-w'r.t / Avaris - such a move would seem unnecessary.

My real point (which I illustrated by making a Nubian suggestion) was, if we don't know when and why and by whom the name was changed from Hat-Amenemhat-maat-heru-Net-Rowarty/ "The Estate of Amenemhat, true of voice, of the Mouth of the Two Ways" (Rohl, Pharaohs and Kings p 419 * 27), how do we know if the new name was originally Egyptian?

If we are dealing with late spellings in which Egyptian ideograms like w'rt/shin (leg), used in spelling Hwt.w'rt, may have been

substituted for what may originally have been a foreign name spelled out phonetically, we are still in the dark. Again, it all boils down to an ayin. D. Redford (see Redford, in Oren, 1997, The Hyksos, p.22) mentions a "reinterpretation of the name during the Late

Period as involving w'rt, 'leg (i.e. of Osiris)'," while I am talking about a possible respelling, substituting a leg ideogram for an original w-a-r-e(.t). But since we do not have any original 12th dynasty spellings of this name how do we know? (Does

anyone have the actual Egyptian spelling of Avaris on the Nehesi statue from Tell Muqdam? It may be in Helck, 1975, Hist-Biog Text von Zweite Zwischenzeit,etc. , p 48 [# 66]).

If all we know is that the name Avaris "replaced" the old

Amenemhat...Ro Warty name in the SIP, then the name could have been introduced by "the obscure people from the East", as Manetho called the Shepherd Kings, perhaps Wari/Uri/Akkadians, part of the "scattered


hordes of Eshnunna" /Warum? Hwt/Royal Foundation, House of the Wari(.t), HaWari, kind of like Hwt Yebu(.t), HaJebusi!! :-}

After all it is to the Eshnunna/Diyala area that Bietak points for the origins of the mudbrick vault burials with sacrificed servants which appear in the Nehesi stratum F at Tell el-Daba (in Oren, op. cit., p. 109). God forbid that the custom, along with the robust non-Asiatic concubines who were sacrificed, should actually have arrived from Kush (along with Nehesi or his mother?) where it appears seemingly

simultaneously! But then we also have black ware with punctuate incisions filled with white paste, typical of Kush, Meroe, and Tell el-Yahudiyah ware, appearing even earlier during the Isin-Larsa period in the area East of

the Tigris, i.e. in Warum! We have only recently uncovered the fact that Eshnunna was perhaps the major Great Power in Mesopotamia in the post-Shamshi-Addu period, and brought war to the gates of Subartu and Khana in the era preceding Nehesi's takeover in Avaris, so anything is possible here. Once the chronologists have made up their minds and performed their sliding surgeries, today's cultural donors may be tomorrow's cultural recipients! Don't you wish you could live for 300 years to see how it all turns out?

This is why the placing of Nehesi with his first attestation of Seth of Avaris is critical to maintaining current Ethio-exclusive paradigms for the events of this period. If he precedes the so-called Hyksos by 50 years, as Bietak informs us in SAK 11, p. 62, then they could not have introduced the name Avaris, nor Seth worship to Avaris. Poor Nehesi! Thank God the Turin List only gave him 3 months! He's been shuffled around so many times (see Redford, op cit, p 26, and below, for the latest suggested reshuffle), he must feel as if no Dynasty wants him! His mother should have thought more carefully before giving him such a politically loaded name!

The point is, did Nehesi rename the place? We could at least check in Proto-Cushitic, Proto-Nubian, etc. rather than simply disconnecting from the very real possibility of Southern options. Or we could look at W3w3.t, which was interpreted by Hommel , Grundriss v. Ethnologie u. Geog. des Alten Orient, 1926, p 73 *4 as WarWar/ Barbar.

I would prefer Warawara or Burabura, as it is supposedly only the intervocalic r which is represented as 3 in early transcriptions of foreign names (Albright JPOS 8, p.255).

cf. Proto-Cushitic: *barr/ cultivated field; S.Cushitic: Alagwa: burabura/ cultivated ground; Hurrian awari/farmland - thanks B.K.! By the way it doesn't matter if we don't have obvious Hurrian RN's in the 14-16th dyn king lists, etc. Awari could have been a Hurrian LW into Canaanite or Proto-Phoenician or Amelekite (!), or vice versa a loanword into Hurrian from some other language we've lost or don't consider (e.g. Nubian barr/river bank, ostensibly a LW from Arabic barr/land).

W'r.t can indeed be used and translated as a general term for


w'r.t can just as often be used and translated as "desert region / tract" and

even as "necropolis region" - cf. any fairly comprehensive Egyptian

dictionary, eg. Hannig's Grosses Handwoerterbuch. Much depends on overall context and on the determinative given to the spelling of the word - when it appears, the inclusion of the desert / hill country / foreign land

determinative [Gardiner M25] helps with the reading of the term w'r.t as "desert region / tract", or something along those lines. Mind you, the appearance of this determinative after the writing of Hw.t-w'r.t / Avaris could be unlikely given the automatic writing of the njw.t / city


D. Rohl in Pharoahs and Kings p 348 gives a spelling with the hill country determinative, but with no date. It would be unlikely to antedate the 14th or 15th dynasty as it was not a foreign land in the 12th and presumably early 13th. (M. Bietak in SAK 11, 1984, p. 75, claims to see the upper part of the throwstick symbol, the

determinative for a foreign ruler, on the limestone doorpost fragment inscribed by Nehesi found in T. el-Daba. I frankly can't see that at all in his reproduction on p. 64, and Redford in Oren, op cit. p. 4, doesn't mention it either.)

"Region", then, stands as the straightforward translation of the term w'r.t and could well be generally used (as per Bietak) in the translation of the name Hw.t-w'r.t. There is no problem with that. The further suggestion that the w'r.t in Hw.t-w'r.t / Avaris should be "best translated" (my words) as "desert tract / region", however, derives (I believe) originally from Donald Redford (cf. Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times, p.114)....

Redford quite plausibly sees a strong connection between the frequent, more specific meaning of w'r.t as "desert tract / region" and the geographical circumstances of the city. Far from suggesting that capital city and port of Avaris should then logically be sited within the desert (the basis of

Kaldhol's subsequent reservations), or reflecting some vague attempt to make the translation "more plausible" (what would be the point?), such a

translation would rather underscore the city's other important role as a gateway and guardian of the proximate desert routes leading into the Eastern Delta (Avaris being located on the broad eastern margin of the cultivated area). Redford backs this interpretation with the observation that,

conversely, the local district around Avaris "again because of the proximity of the desert, was dubbed `the Opening of the Farmland'" [loc.cit].

B. Kaldhol's suggestion of Hurrian awari/ farmland could practically be a translation of 3ht/cultivated field in R3-3ht, Redford's 'Opening of the Farmland'. cf. Seth lord of R3-3ht on Nehesy's earlier pre-royal monument vs. Seth lord of Avaris when Nehesy was now "king of the two lands." ( Redford in op cit. p.4.). It's theoretically possible that he translated the old name into a new one, and that the name Avaris extended to the surrounding


agricultural region as well as the town.

In the absence of specific confirmation from ancient sources, of course, the choice in readings (straightforward / higher-order) must remain largely a matter of personal preference.

I hope this serves to clarify my earlier remarks. Best Regards,

P. James Cowie (London & Sydney)

Thanks for expanding on the details of the currently accepted Egyptian etymology, as per Redford. What we really need is an attestation before Nehesi. You didn't speak to the chronological problem. What has happened is that the old name had been "replaced" by the Second Intermediate Period. Yet there is an unbroken series of strata from the late 12th dynasty at Tell el-Daba to the Hyksos.

Amenemhat was an illustrious pharoah. Who would change the ancient name of this place, dropping his name and substituting an appellative like "the region", and why ? D. O'Connor in Oren, 1997, The Hyksos, p 58 references Bietak and Kemp for the estimations that in the 13th Dyn. the central

town at Hat Waret or Avaris occupied 100 ha. as opposed to Thebes with 50-75 ha.! This huge city and we don't know what it was called!

At least the southern Waret/W'rt under the 13th dynasty had a name, Tp Resy, Head of the South! Don't we have a Tp Mehw for Avaris? Rohl at least attempts to provide a reason for the name change. He places it in the time of Amenemhat III's alleged

administrative reforms (actually carried out by Joseph!) and translates (p.345) the new name Haware "(the feminine ending 't's were not pronounced)" as " 'Estate' or 'House of the Department'." He states that Haware (mod. Arabic Hawara) was the administrative center for the region from the Delta to Memphis, while another Hawara (modern name!) was at the Labyrinth of Amenemhat III near the Fayum, covering the nomes as far S. as Akhmim, and the

Third, the waret tep-resy/ Department of the Head of the South, covering from Yebu to Akhmim (p 348). You can say what you will about Rohl but at least this is an attempt to account for the serious name change. Although he doesn't go this far, I can't resist crediting Joseph with a bureaucratic standardization of the names of food redistribution centers or warets as a covert way of freeing his people from the the shame of living in a town which required them to pronounce the name of another God (Amen) constantly! But of course, Joseph or no Joseph, Rohl's theory is weakened by the fact that there is no 12th

dynasty attestation of the name Avaris for this town.

O'Connor, op cit, p. 56, envisages a period in the earlier 13th Dynasty (Stratum G -i.e. pre-Nehesi/ str. F) when Egyptians would have lived at the site of the old Egyptian settlement of Hwt Amenemhat nr the 12th dyn. temple at Ezbet Rushdi ("on the central mound"), while


Canaanites lived on the adjacent SW mound at Tell el-Daba, site of the later stratum F MBII style monumental Seth temple, and therefore the site of Nehesi's capital city Avaris: "Clearly during the earlier

Thirteenth Dynasty, Canaanites were living in substantial numbers on the southwestern tell in the Tell el-Daba region...These Canaanites were organized in terms of an internal hierarchy of authority and prestige, and the 'great house' (rather than 'palace') of stratum G/4=d/1 may have been used by their leader over one or two generations. Nevertheless, I would suggest, these Canaanites were subordinate to Egyptian officials housed in the then more important town located on the central mound..." So it may be this period which saw the need for a new name, to distinguish the foreign ghetto, as it were, on the SW mound, from the Egyptian rulers in the old 12th dynasty town: Riddle: which one was HaWari.t? In this situation it would be difficult to imagine that the

"department"/w'rt would be located amongst the foreigners/ refugees/ descendants of POW's/ escaped slaves/Apiru/ Asiatic and/or Nubian mercenaries etc. and not on the central mound where the ruling elements lived. [Unless Nehesy's 14th dynasty predecessors were the Egyptian rulers in the main town of Hwt Amenemhat Ro Warty, while the administrative storerooms paying out rations to the Asiatics

and Nubians were located in Hwt.W'rt!/The headquarters of the District! or the new (Seth) Temple of the District!]

As Bietak goes on to explain, since the later 400 year celebration of the beginning of the era of Seth Nubti [Ombos in U.E.] had taken place, acc. to K Sethe, J. v. Beckerath, and W. Helck, in the reign of Horemhab, 400 years after the reign of Nehesi [1720-1320], then it is unlikely that any "Seth of Avaris" existed before Nehesi brought him there. (Bietak remarks that early attempts to find OK traces of Seth worship at this site had all "gescheitert"/foundered.) Now if this event was such a historical watershed that, like Columbus' "discovery" of America, it deserved to be commemorated centuries later on an exact date, one could imagine that the nome capital's name change , involving a sort

of "demotion" of the presumably Amun-worshipping k3 of Amenemhat, and of the 12th dynasty in general, would have happened at the same time.

One might have expected a substitution, honoring the newly built Seth temple in area F I of the SW mound: e.g. Hwt. Nubti or Hwt.Sutekh followed by a long epithet...

Were Horemhab or his no-longer-Seth-despising successors of the 19th dynasty actually commemorating the 400th anniversary, not of the introduction of an Asiatic Seth/Baal by the hated "Hyksos",

but the introduction of Seth Nubti of upper Egypt by Nehesi, come as the knight in shining armor to stave off the inroads of the burgeoning population of Asiatics in Hwt.w'rt? Nehesi or his father may have been sent to govern the enormous Asiatic colony by the 13th dynasty regime. Perhaps they were Mdj3iu, who had already had extensive contacts with the court at Memphis and Thebes, and were known for military prowess and large robust stature, if we judge by the Pan Graves! Bene Kedem! who also captured the throne of Ethiopia! Clearly this is an intolerable


series of thoughts, even though William Whiston begged us to think about it over a century and a half ago!

In any case building a temple to Seth in the Asiatic ghetto may have been an Egyptian policy aimed at reminding these foreigners from whence their chief weather god Baal/Teshub/Addu had come to them in

the beginning of history, after being expelled by his nephew Horus from the land of his birth. By reclaiming the Head God of the Asiatics

as an Egyptian, the high priests had set the ideological stage for Egyptian claims to rule Asia in the imperial age.

Redford has taken a stand against Bietak's dangerous suggestions (which lead to these kinds of thoughts) in Oren, 1997, p. 26 , a discussion he saved for the very end of his article "Textual Sources for the Hyksos Period":

"Of the problematic names of the period, that of Nehesy...poses a difficulty virtually unsolvable in the present state of our knowledge. It is difficult to link the king whose heir apparency, prenomen, and subsequent reign are reflected in the substantial monuments reveiwed above... with the ephemeral individual of Turin Canon viii. We must either postulate more than one king bearing this name or consider the possibility of an error in the placement and length of his reign. [Lists debateable reasons for moving him]...It seems to me inescapeable that Nehesy be placed within the timespan of the Fifteenth Dynasty, as an erstwhile eldest son of Khiyan or Apophis, the only Hyksos kings, incidentally, to leave behind constructions and inscriptions in stone. The name, though resembling a nickname "the Nubian", could enjoy perfectly good credentials in a West Semitic language; and such a derivation is likely to be preferred in light of Nehesy's

northern domicile."

Perhaps somebody else has the latest on this. I have not picked out Bietak's brave statements over the years on these matters. See his article in Oren,1997 for one: "The Center of Hyksos Rule: Avaris (Tell el-Dab'a)" with bibliography.

E. A'dams

PS: BTW shouldn't we really stop using this ridiculous name "Hyksos"? Manetho admitted that the Hyk- part meant "king"/[heqa]! Either we should call them the Susu/Zuzu/Shasu/Shutu/SU/ or Khalsu or whatever, or else we should start calling Sargon and Naram Sin the Sharakkadians!

Or we could compromise and call the 15th Dynasty what the Egyptians called them, the '3mw. Dusseaud BTW when confronted with the same spelling of a PN ('3m, a ruler of the Anaqim in the Execration Texts), rendered "'Elem", claiming K. Sethe had transcribed it as ayin-lamed-mem (Syria 8, 1927, p 220).


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