35 THE EGYPTIAN PRESENCE IN NUBIA The internal struggles that took place in Egypt during the First Intermediate Pe- riod (2118-1980 BC) led to waning Egyptian influence inNubia. However, many Nubian warriors, already resident in the country, were recruited mainly as archers in the service of the governors of the southern provinces. Numerous epigraphic records, including funer- ary stelae, have been found in Upper Egypt which record the settlement and integration of Nubians in Egyptian territory. It was during the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (1980-1700 BC) that the Nubian territory was reconquered and permanently garrisoned, with several strongholds built at strategic points along the Nile. The fortresses of Buhen, Kor, Mirgissa, Askut, Shel- fak, Uronarti and Semna, among others, reveal the pharaohs’ determination to keep the region under their control. The conquest was followed by a policy of pacifying the sub- jugated tribes, and the Egyptian garrisons were chiefly responsible for patrolling and con- trolling the trade routes. Following the political crisis that led to the end of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt, and the civil wars that ensued (Second Intermediate Period, 1700-1539 BC), control over the region was again loosened. The pharaohs of the New Kingdom (1539-1076 BC) ush- ered in a new era which notably strengthened and unified the Egyptian state. They also took a renewed interest in Egypt’s southern borders with the purpose of reasserting their dominance. They returned to Nubia in force, making several expeditions and going so far as to extend control, during the reign of the Pharaohs Thutmose I and Thutmose III, over the territory beyond the Fourth Cataract. This marked the furthermost Egyptian expansion along the Nile. Throughout the New Kingdom, in contrast to the past, an am- bitious program of political and cultural integration of the Nubian region was carried out, with the construction of monumental temples. They included the two great rock temples of Abu Simbel in Egypt and the shrine of Jebel Barkal in Sudan. Politically, the region was divided into two regions (Wawat in the north, Kush in the south) governed by a viceroy who was directly responsible to the pharaoh. This administrative division led to a loss of independence and local traditions, while favoring the expansion of Egyptian culture. With the decline of the New Kingdom, the viceroys of Kush became increasingly independent of central power and played a major role in the ensuing power struggles. During the Egyptian cri- sis represented by the Third Intermediate Period (1076-722 BC), a dynasty of local sovereigns arose at Napata, near the Fourth Cataract. They succeed- ed undisturbed in reunitingNubia and gaining their independence. This unstable situation in Egypt en- couraged the arrival of priests and dignitaries flee- ing Egypt. They were welcomed to the court of the sovereign, where they kept Egyptian culture alive. At the end of the 8th Century BC, the Nubian sovereign Piye (753-722 BC) was involved in military action in support of Thebes against the principalities of Lower Egypt. His successor Shabaka (722-707 BC) continued his policy and succeeded in annexing Egypt to Nubia. This led to a new dynasty of Nubian sover- eigns which historians refer to as the 25th Dynasty of Egypt (722-655 BC). Following the Assyrian invasion of Egypt, the sovereign Tantamani (664-655 BC) abandoned the country and took refuge in Nubia. Henceforth relations between the two countries be- came more sporadic. Egypt then succumbed to the Entrance to the rock tomb of the dignitary Herkhuf, who lived at the end of the 6th Dynasty (c. 2200 BC). LEFT Donkey men on the banks of the Nile, near !ebes, 1910.