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After two centuries of peace and prosperity, Egypt entered another dark age. About 35 Ancient Egypt 1800 bc it fell for the first time to foreign invaders. Down from the north came the Hyksos, a barbarian people who used horses and chariots in combat and also had superior bows. The Egyptians, fighting on foot, were no match for them. The Hyksos occupied Lower Egypt, living in fortified camps behind great earthen walls; but they failed to conquer Upper Egypt. When the Egyptians had learned the new methods of warfare, the ruler Kamose began a successful war of liberation.

Beyond the court rose the hypostyle hall—a forest of huge pillars holding up a roof. Past the hall was the sanctuary of the temple-god. Only priests and the pharaoh were allowed to enter the sanctuary. There were many variations of this plan. Large temples—particularly the great Temple at El Karnak—had a series of courts, each faced by a pylon. An avenue of sphinxes led from El Karnak to the Temple at Luxor. Painting and Sculpture Wall paintings took the place of reliefs in many private tombs of the New Kingdom.

Radiating flower clusters bloom at the tip of each stem. The Egyptians made a parchmentlike paper, also called papyrus, from the pith, or inner portion, of the stalk. Papyrus stalks were also used to make boats and to weave baskets. The fiber provided materials for sails, matting, and rope. Caulk for boats was derived from the pith, and, when dried, the roots furnished fuel. The scientific name of the papyrus plant is Cyperus papyrus. The plant is now cultivated chiefly as an ornamental in parts of northern and tropical Africa.

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