In the Shadow of Egypt

During the Late Bronze Age, Egypt was the imperial power that controlled the territory of Canaan. The local rulers fought amongst each other, sought to gain advantage over competing city states by appealing to the local governor or the Pharaoh. The main administrative centers of the Egyptian government were in Gaza, Jaffa and Beth-Shean. The Egyptian residence on Beth-Shean has been excavated. In it was a victory stele erected on behalf of Pharaoh Seti I. Here’s a reproduction of the stele as it sits in Beth-Shean. It celebrated the victory over several Canaanite rulers that rebelled against the Egyptians.

One of the other Egyptian governor palaces was in Afeq, the shallow pass near the coast, just north of Jaffa, where the swampy areas could be avoided. This fort controlled the traffic on the Via Maris, a road strategically located for trade as well as military movements. It was also located near the source of the Yarkon River, with access to good fresh water, which was used throughout the millennia and still supplies water today.

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