THE death of Amenhotep II I. (1375 B.C.), while it did not actually produce a new situation in the world of the ancient east, was one of those events which, like the shaking of a saturated solution, cause the tendencies which have been working more or less in quiet, perhaps for years, to crystallise and take definite form, so that what was latent now becomes manifest. I t may very well be that the Egyptian Empire was a thing which was too artificial and too slightly compacted to endure for very long; after all, Egyptian dominion in Syria and N aharina was an alien thing, and however gentle the pressure of the yoke may have been, still it was there, and was manifestly resented: but it was the accession of the new king, and then the astonishing characteristics of his faith, with their reactions on Egyptian rule within the empire, which gave to the restless spirits among the Egyptian vassals, and to the jealous outsiders, such an opportunity of compassing the overthrow of Egyptian power as they may have often longed for, but could scarcely have expected. We have already seen, from our survey of the various states involved, the general lie of the international situation. Roughly speaking, there was a cluster of apparently not unequally matched states, none of them, at least, so manifestly superior to the others as to compel submissiveness on their part, each one bitterly jealous of its neigh-
bour, and all on the look-out for any chance of selfaggrandisement. Egypt rose head and shoulders above any of them, and their only deference, and perhaps also their main jealousy, was towards her.