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African Kingdoms

Ancient Egypt

 

Ancient Egypt
34th Century - 30 BC

Ancient Egypt was formed essentially of a narrow valley that was bordered on either side by extensive deserts. With the River Nile running through it like a ribbon, it depended on these waters for its very life and also for its transportation. The annual floods would ensure another year of food stocks, and occasional dry spells could spell famine and death. The river also connected the Mediterranean to the lands beyond Egypt, lands which were barely understood at first but which crystallised over time into Nubia and Ethiopia.

One of the oldest known civilisations in human history, the rulers of Egypt were known as pharaohs (meaning 'Great House'). They left their mark in countless records, including royal inscriptions, and in pyramids and tombs. Many early records from outside of Egypt are Greek in origin, so in many cases the Greek version of names are shown in parenthesis.

From around 9000 BC, the North African hunter-gatherer inhabitants of the fertile Nile Valley enjoyed the milder post-glacial conditions, domesticating animals and increasing in number. In the late sixth millennium BC farming villages appeared, as did rock art in some of the region's caves, and the following two millennia saw the gradual formation of small states.

FeatureAfter 4000 BC, thanks to the sudden desiccation of the grass plains of the Sahara and an influx of people towards the Nile, there was a substantial increase in population, and villages sizes increased accordingly. From around 3500 to 3000 BC there were great and very sudden advances in craftsmanship and technology, which culminated in the working of copper, stone mace heads, and ceramics. The first walled towns appeared at Naqada and Heirakonpolis (circa 3300 BC), and were associated with rich tombs, probably the resting places of the rulers of Upper Egypt (to the south). One of these rulers was the first to unite the whole valley, from the first cataract near the Nubian Desert to the Mediterranean, as a single kingdom around 3400 or 3100 BC.

There are two main schools of thought regarding the dating of Egyptian dynasties. The earlier one was long used here as it was generally accepted, but a more recent (and increasingly accepted) version is now replacing that. There are also other, far more radical theories being proposed which either dramatically length or shorten the timescale shown here. None of them are entirely conclusive or are at all widely accepted.

Egypt's Archaic Period

The archaic period includes the Early Dynastic Period, when Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt were ruled as separate kingdoms, and the First and Second Dynasties.

Highly interesting new research that was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society in 2013 established what was possibly the most accurate timeline for early Egypt. Previous records had suggested that the pre-Dynastic period, a time in which early groups began to settle along the Nile and farm the land, began in 4000 BC. But the new analysis revealed this process to have started later, between 3700 or 3600 BC. By the thirty-second century, Egypt had transformed into two kingdoms, north and south, and these were quickly merged into one.

FeatureAround 3600 BC there was known to be a kingdom centred around Hierakonpolis in Upper Egypt. Archaeologists discovered one of Egypt's largest funerary complexes in the Kom al-Ahmar region, to the south of Luxor, which probably belonged to this kingdom. According to the experts, the city probably extended its influence northwards, defeating rival entities along the way, especially the smaller but still powerful rival centre in Lower Egypt. This was the process which eventually united the two early dynastic kingdoms in Egypt (see feature link, right).

New Dating

Early Dynastic (Lower Egypt)

Lower Egypt, the area nearest the Mediterranean, was known as the Black Land, and consisted of the northern Nile and the Nile Delta. The following list is probably incomplete.

Tiu

Thesh

Hsekiu

c.3150 BC?

Wazner

c.3250 - 3125 BC

Early Dynastic (Upper Egypt)

Upper Egypt was known as the Red Land, and consisted of the southern Nile and the deserts. An early centre of power was at Hierakonpolis, which may have produced the strongest kingdom in the Archaic Period. No names of rulers are known, unfortunately, but the kings here established a large necropolis to the south of Luxor. The following list is probably incomplete, as there are many more names which are of uncertain existence.

FeatureUpper Egypt was also the site of archaeological discoveries of some of the earliest-known purpose-built boats. These boats, buried for five millennia, are believed to date between the Archaic Period and the 3rd Dynasty. They are probably intended for the pharaoh in the afterlife, and all point towards the nearby Nile. These early boats are the ancestor of the later, grander solar boats which were designed for the same purpose.

c.3250 BC?

Serket I

Oldest tomb at Umm el-Qa'ab had scorpion insignia.

c.3200 BC?

Iry-Hor

Kingship uncertain.

c.3150 BC?

Ka

c.3150 BC?

Serqet II (King Scorpion)

Very uncertain. May be same as Menes or Narmer.

c.3125 - 2890 BC

First (Thinite) Dynasty (Egypt)
3400 - 3200 BC

FeatureThe Old Kingdom was a theocratic state dominated by a divine king. Belief in life after death was a fundamental religious tenet, and both kings and courtiers built increasingly elaborate tombs to reflect this belief. Mummification was already being practised, from perhaps 5000 BC in its most basic sense (see feature link, right).

Egypt was governed by ministers who were answerable to the pharaoh and headed by the vizier, responsible for administration, justice and taxation. The country was divided into provinces (nomes), each ruled by a provincial governor, who became increasingly independent of central control. (Many early records from outside of Egypt are Greek in origin, so in many cases the Greek version of names are shown in parenthesis.)

New research that was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society in 2013 established what was possibly the most accurate timeline for early Egypt, placing the accession of its first unified ruler at about 3100 BC. The formation of Egypt was unique in the ancient world in that it was a territorial state of the modern type which straight away formed borders. Until now, the chronology of Egypt's earliest days had been based on rough estimates, but with no written records from this very early period, the timeline was based on the evolving styles of ceramics unearthed from human burial sites. The 2013 research used radiocarbon dating of excavated hair, bones and plants alongside established archaeological evidence and computer models to pinpoint when the ancient state came into existence.

c.3125 BC

c.3400 BC

Menes / Meni (Min)

United North & South kingdoms.

c.3125 BC

According to Herodotus, Memphis is founded as the capital of Egypt by Menes. According to other sources the capital is at the city of 'This' near Abydos, which itself dates back to prehistory. Perhaps the confusion arises from the fact that Menes has tombs at both Saqqara, close to Memphis in Lower Egypt, and at Abydos in Upper Egypt.

First Dynasty Egyptian Basketwork coffin
Coffins started to be used in Egyptian graves from about 3000 BC, and could be made of wood, basketry or pottery. This First Dynasty basketwork coffin comes from Tarkhan

c.3300 BC

Narmer

Important in the unification of Egypt.

The Narmer Palette shows the pharaoh Narmer wielding the unified symbols of both Upper and Lower Egypt. Some theorise that Narmer and Menes are in fact the same person; others that Menes had inherited an already-unified kingdom from Narmer; while others suggest that Menes had completed a process of unification which Narmer had begun. The view that Narmer actually succeeded Menes seems to be an older one, and is used here.

c.3100 BC

Aha / Hor-Aka

Son.

In 2013, a new timeline for the origin of ancient Egypt is established by scientists. A British team finds that the transformation from a land of disparate farmers into a state ruled by a king had been more rapid than was previously thought. Using radiocarbon dating and computer models, they believe the civilisation's first ruler - King Aha - comes to power around 3100 BC.

c.3000 BC

The first evidence of Egyptian hieroglyphics - already very advanced in form - appears at this time.

Djer

Ruled a united Egypt. Reigned for 41 years.

Djer's reign of forty-one years is perhaps unfeasibly long for this time period, raising the possibility that he dies much sooner and the kingdom collapses, if only briefly. The king rules in name simply because no one else has replaced him, leading later generations to assume that he is alive for this entire period.

Djet / Wadj/Zet/Uadji (Uenephes)

Den (Dewen)

First to use the title 'King of Upper and Lower Egypt'.

Merneith

Female regent or queen.

Anedjib / Enezib / Andjyeb

Reigned for 10 years.

Semerkhet

Possible usurper. Reigned for 9 years.

2916 - 2890 BC

c.3200 BC

Qa'a / Ka'a

Reigned for 26 years.

2890 - 2686 BC

Second (Thinite) Dynasty (Egypt)
3200 - 2980 BC

Little is known about the start of the Second Dynasty. It is possible that Hotepsekhemwy reached office by marriage to a princess, so it isn't known if he was related to the old Thinite line of rulers or not. He is not thought to be the son of Qa'a, but could possibly be his son-in-law. He made offerings in memory of the man and was possibly responsible for Qa'a's funeral. Seals with the name of 'Hotepsekhemwy' have been found outside the tomb of Qa'a at Abydos. His tomb has been identified in Saqqara; the substructure has survived but there are no remains of a superstructure.

Many early records from outside of Egypt are Greek in origin, so in many cases the Greek version of names are shown in parenthesis.

2890 - ? BC

c.2915 BC

Hotepsekhemwy (Boethos)

Raneb (Nebra)

Possibly reigned for 39 years.

Nynetjer

Reigned for 40 years.

Wneg

Reigned for 8 years.

Senedj

Reigned for 20 years.

Seth-Peribsen

Reigned 17 years. Possibly only ruled Upper Egypt.

While Sekhemi-Perenmaat seems to be fairly securely recognised as the predecessor of the final second dynasty pharaoh, Khasekhemui, Seth-Perinsen is much harder to pin down. It is likely that he ruled the southern half of Egypt only, while Perenmaat rules the northern half and succeeds to the rest upon Peribsen's death.

Egyptian Second Dynasty vase
The vase on the left is of sedimentary stone and dates from the Second Dynasty, while the other two are stone vases with gold-covered handles, First or Second Dynasty

Sekhemib-Perenmaat

Possibly only ruled Lower Egypt.

2704 - 2686 BC

Khasekhemui (Khasekhemwy)

Reigned for 18 years.

Egypt's Old Kingdom

Egypt attained its first continuous peak of complexity in its civilisation and achievements with its administration centralised at Memphis, where Zoser established his court. The Old Kingdom is perhaps best known for the large number of pyramids which were constructed at this time as pharaonic burial places. For this reason, the Old Kingdom is frequently referred to as 'the Age of the Pyramids', and for much of its existence, it achieved a remarkable level of stability, not only for its ruling elite but for Egyptians in general.

FeatureThat pyramid culture, according to Dr Robert Lomas of the University of Bradford, could have developed as far away as Orkney to the north of the British Isles. He developed the theory that complex pyramid construction techniques were developed there more than a thousand years years before the Egyptians used similar ideas. He said skills used on the islands from 3800 BC were extremely sophisticated, perhaps spreading from there through Europe until they could be picked up by the Egyptians. To offset this theory, the Neolithic farmer migrations into the British Isles from around 4000 BC would have seen the arrival of people with an Anatolian heritage who had spent two thousand years in Iberia following their journey along the northern edge of the Mediterranean. It is much more likely that they brought with them some form of shared knowledge that eventually led to pyramid building both in Egypt and the Orkneys.

2686 - 2613 BC

Third (Memphite) Dynasty (Egypt)
2980 - 2900 BC

Sanakhte's name means 'strong protection'. He presumably gained his position by marriage to a daughter of Khasekhemui, with rule even at this early period being passed down through the female line. (Many early records from outside of Egypt are Greek in origin, so in many cases the Greek version of names are shown in parenthesis.)

Memphis was the capital of the first province (nome) of Lower Egypt, and it became the kingdom's capital, strategically situated as it was at the junction of the Nile Valley and the Delta. Memphis remained a major administrative centre, if not always the capital, until it was supplanted by Cairo in the seventh century AD. Its original Egyptian name was Ineb Hedj (The White Walls), while the name 'Memphis' was a Greek deformation of the Egyptian name of Pepi I's (Six Dynasty) pyramid, Men-nefer.

(Additional information on the incorrect dating of the Old Kingdom by Sean B.)

2686 - 2668 BC

Sanakhte / Nebka (Mesochris)

Egyptian (Greek) versions of same name.

2668 - 2649 BC

Zoser (Djoser)

Heralded the age of pyramids.

c.2650 BC

FeatureThe first Egyptian stepped pyramid - the sixty-two metre-high stone-stepped Pyramid of Zoser - is built at the Saqqara necropolis opposite Memphis. The chief architect for the project is Imhotep (or variously Immutef, Ii-em-Hotep, or Imuthes, the latter being a Greek variation). Is this first stepped pyramid to be aligned to the north-finding stars in the way of later versions (see feature link for details).

Zoser pyramid in Egypt
The Zoser pyramid - built during the twenty-seventh century BC for the burial of Zoser (or Djoser) - shows the development towards the later Great Pyramid of Khufu

2649 - 2643 BC

Sekhemkhet

One school of thought on the dating of the early Egyptians and the Israelites suggests that evidence proves that the Third Dynasty (and therefore the rest of the Old Kingdom) is dated too early, with Menes more accurately being placed about 2300 BC. That would allowSekhemkhet to be claimed as Joseph of the Israelites, vizier to the pharaoh, Zoser. However, even this dating places Sekhemkhet about six hundred years before Abraham exists, let alone his descendant, Moses.

2643 - 2637 BC

Khaba

2637 - 2613 BC

Huni

2613 - 2498 BC

Fourth (Memphite) Dynasty (Egypt)
2900 - 2750 BC

The fourth dynasty saw the flowering of pyramid construction. Central administration continued to be based at Memphis. Trading links were established with the Canaanite trading city of Gebal (if they hadn't already been established as early as 3000 BC).

Many early records from outside of Egypt are Greek in origin, so in many cases the Greek version of names are shown in parenthesis.

2613 - 2589 BC

c.2920 BC

Sneferu (Snefru)

2589? BC

Son? Mentioned by inference: Khufu is 'third to rule'.

2589 - 2566 BC

2900 - 2877 BC

Khufu (Cheops)

Brother? One of the earliest great pharaohs.

c.2550 BC

FeatureConstruction of the one hundred and forty-seven-metre-high Great Pyramid of Khufu is completed at Giza. However, the pyramid contains several chambers and shafts, some of which are still reluctant to give up their secrets even in the twenty-first century AD (see feature link).

FeatureThe Sphinx is generally dated to the same period, intended to guard the pyramid. However one theory claims that there should be two sphinxes, while another claims that the single Sphinx is much older, and only now is its head reshaped to resemble a pharaoh (see feature link).

FeatureAt this time the desiccation of the Sahara region is increasing.

2566 - 2558 BC

Dedefrê / Djedefra (Radjedef)

FeatureSon.

2558 - 2532 BC

Khafrê (Chephren)

Son of Snefru. Built 2nd Great Pyramid.

Bikheris

Mentioned by the historian Manetho.

2532 - 2503 BC

2800 BC

Menkure (Mycerinus)

Built 3rd (Lesser) Great Pyramid.

c.2500 BC

Egyptians begin to move into Nubia, importing their culture and setting up trading centres. This would seem to be the same land as that of the kingdom of Punt or Put. Punt is sometimes described as being Libya in Greek texts, but 'Libya' could be used to describe a broad sweep of the North African territories. Instead, Punt appears to lie to the south-east of Egypt, making either Nubia or the Arabian peninsula more likely as its location.

2503 - 2498 BC

Shepseskaf

Built 3rd (Lesser) Great Pyramid.

Thampthis

Mentioned by the historian Manetho.

2498 - 2345 BC

Fifth (Memphite) Dynasty (Egypt)
2750 - 2625 BC

FeatureThe circumstances behind the founding of this dynasty seem to be completely unknown at present, but considering Userkaf's grandfather, he was probably from a secondary line of the pharaonic royal family. Userkaf started the tradition of building sun temples at Abu Sir, just south of Cairo. The resultant complex there is very popular during the dynasty's existence but falls into disrepair afterwards, only to be revived again under the Twenty-Sixth dynasty.

2498 - 2491 BC

Userkaf / Shepseskaf (Weserkef)

Grandson of Khafrê.

2491 - 2477 BC

Sahure

Probable son.

2477 - 2467 BC

Nefererkere Kakai

Probable brother.

2467 - 2460 BC

Shepseskare Isi

2460 - 2453 BC

Neferefre

2453 - 2422 BC

Nyuserre Ini

2422 - 2414 BC

Menkauhor Kaiu

2414 - 2375 BC

Djedkare Isesi

2400 BC

Royal power is in decline and the size of the pyramids decreases accordingly. Regional governors have become so powerful that they treat their provinces as petty kingdoms, and are buried in impressive rock-cut tombs at provincial centres up and down the Nile Valley.

2375 - 2345 BC

Unas

2345 - 2181 BC

Sixth (Memphite) Dynasty (Egypt)
2625 - 2475 BC

This dynasty was founded by Teti, who married Iput, commonly believed to be the daughter of Unas of the fifth dynasty. Under it, there was trade with the relatively newly-established city states of Syria, including Ebla. Towards its end the dynasty descended into uncertainty and decline, as natural disaster combined with social disorder to end the Old Kingdom Period in Egypt.

2345 - 2333 BC

Teti

2333 - 2332 BC

Userkere (Weserkere)

2332 - 2283 BC

2590 - 2570 BC

Pheops / Pepi I Merire

The wives of Pheops I (Pepy or Pepy) are both named Ankh-sn-Pepi (Ankhesenpepi I and II, otherwise known as Ankhesenmeryre), and the two are sisters. Ankhesenpepi II's son is Pheops II, who reigns following the death of his half-brother.

FeatureHe may serve as supreme king while four successive sub-kings also govern the country, although this is unclear. Coming to the throne at a young age, he may also have his mother as regent for the start of his reign. Upon her death, she is buried in a pyramid at Saqqara (see feature link).

It is also Egypt under Pheops which launches an invasion into the lands of the 'sand-dwellers' beyond the Sinai. This could be the lands of the Canaanites, but it could equally be a campaign to ward off encroaching desert Arabs of the eastern Sinai.

2283 - 2278 BC

Merenre Nemtyemsaf I

Son by Ankhesenpepi I.

2278 - 2184 BC

2566 - ? BC

Pheops (Pepi) II Neferkere

Half-brother. Possibly reigned while the next 4 ruled.

2200 - 2199 BC

Neferka

Child. Co-regent.

2197 - 2193 BC

Nefer

Reigned for 2 years, 1 month and a day.

2193 - 2176 BC

Aba

Highly unlikely.

?

Unknown and uncertain pharaoh.

2184 BC

Merenre Nemtyemsaf II

Uncertain pharaoh.

2184 - 2181 BC

Nitiqret

Uncertain queen.

c.2200 BC

Great climatic changes are taking place which result in a mega-drought in the Far East's Longshan culture and in the Near East. The latter sees the decline of Sumerian civilisation, the Akkadian empire, and the Egyptian Old Kingdom, the start of Egypt's 'First Intermediate' period, and flooding in Bronze Age Britain.

Egypt's First Intermediate Period

The First Intermediate Period, beginning around 2200 BC, was Egypt's Dark Age, heralding a period of disunity and relative cultural decline. Traditional thinking says that the Old Kingdom rapidly collapsed after the death of Pheops II. He had reigned for 94 years, longer than any monarch in history, and he died aged a hundred. The latter years of his reign were marked by inefficiency due to his advanced age, and when he was gone the Union of the Two Kingdoms fell apart amid bitter in-fighting to select his successor. Regional leaders had to cope with the resulting famine.

FeatureIn fact, there seems to have been a general climate-induced collapse around this time in the Near East. Sumerian cities were also affected in the twenty-second century BC, as was China and Bronze Age Britain. A much more all-encompassing theory about the collapse of the Old Kingdom can be tied to this same extreme climate change event, and the effect it had on Egypt. The event was triggered by the onset of a mini ice age (known to occur in Europe every 1,500 years or so, and lasting for about 200 years). Due to reduced rainfall at the Nile's headwaters, the river suffered a series of low or completely failed annual floods which destroyed Egypt's crop supply. Sandstorms fed by the increased desiccation of formerly green or semi-green areas on the edge of the Sahara smothered the land.

The large inland lake known today as Birket Qarun was linked during this period to the Nile by a tributary. When the Nile flood arrived each year, the lake would greatly expand. During the First Intermediate, the lake did not expand. In fact, the lack of sediments for this period show that it died up completely, and all of the previous Old Kingdom sediments were blown away by the winds and the scouring desert sands. This is the only time in its entire history that the lake has dried up completely.

Communities in the Nile Delta were reduced to absolute poverty, not knowing where their next meal would come from. Some were reduced to fighting amongst themselves for the smallest scraps, including corpses, carrion, dogs, and waste. One account, on the walls of the tomb of a local governor named Ankhtifi, relates that people were even eating their children in their desperation to survive. A first-hand account by a doctor who was in Old Cairo in AD 1200 describes much the same thing for another, much more brief famine, supporting the evidence for this earlier famine.

(Additional information from the BBC documentary series, Ancient Apocalypse: Death on the Nile, first broadcast 26 July 2001.)

2181 - 2160 BC

Seventh & Eighth (Memphite) Dynasties (Egypt)
2475 - 2445 BC

A time of confusion and collapse, records are sparse and details unclear. The Nile floods, always erratic, now proved to be consistently low, causing drought and turmoil. Half a century of disastrous famine caused organised society to fall apart and there followed a period in which provincial officials engaged in power struggles and twenty short-lived pharaohs ruled in a state of feudal strife that lasted for a century. (This table is based on the Abydos Table from the Temple of Seti I and is not conclusive.)

Neferkara I

The combined seventh and eight dynasties survive as little more than a series of names, and not even all of those are accepted by all scholars as valid pharaohs. After perhaps twenty years of famine and chaos, Egypt is still suffering vastly reduced Nile floods and its people are starving. There seems to be no end in sight of their suffering, and it will be a further century and-a-half before the situation recovers appreciably.

Sandstorm over the Sphinx
This impression of a sandstorm (by Johann Jakob Frey, 1813-1865) around the Sphinx conveys something of its oppressiveness, but this is a brief, single event that cannot be compared to the two centuries of suffering experience in Egypt at this time

Neferkara Nebi

Djedkara Shemai

Neferkara Khendu

Merenhor

Not accepted by all scholars.

Neferkamin Seneferka

Nikara

Neferkara Tereru

Neferkahor

Neferkara Pepyseneb

Neferkamin Anu

Qakare Ibi

Neferkara II

Neferkawhor Khuwihap

Neferirkara

2160 - 2130 BC

Ninth (Herakleopolitan) Dynasty (Egypt)
2445 - 2415 BC

Around 2160 BC, a new line of pharaohs tried to reunite Lower Egypt from their capital at Herakleopolis Magna, the twentieth nome (province) of Egypt. A rival line based at Thebes was reuniting Upper Egypt and a clash between the two rival dynasties was inevitable.

2160 - ? BC

2445 - ? BC

Meryibre Khety (Achthoes I)

Nomarch (provincial ruler). Founded the dynasty.

Meribre Khety II

Neferkare III

Nebkaure (Acthoes II)

Setut

Wakhare Khety I / Achthoës

Merykare

Wankhare Khety II

Menethoupe I

Wankhare Khety III

Khety II

Daughter.

- 2130 BC

Merikare's daughter.

2130 - 2040 BC

Tenth (Herakleopolitan) Dynasty (Egypt)
2415 - 2160 BC

The Tenth Dynasty continued at Herakleopolis Magna, while Egypt remained fragmented. Only four names are known here, although there is the possibility that more actually reigned. The rulers of Thebes quickly became major rivals for power.

2130 - ? BC

Meryhathor

Neferkare IV

Wankare (Acthoes III)

- 2040 BC

Merykare

Egypt's Middle Kingdom

The Middle Kingdom can be noted for the expansion of trade outside of the kingdom which occurred during this time, including maintaining a presence along the Mediterranean coast, in Canaanite cities such as Gebal and Syrian cities such as Carchemish. This opening of trade eventually led to the downfall of the Middle Kingdom, induced by an invasion by the Hyksos.

FeatureHowever, it was around this time, 2000 BC, that something dramatic was taking place on Egypt's western border. Over a very short time scale - possibly as short as three hundred years - the Sahara Desert went from grassland and low shrubs to arid desert. Summer temperatures increased rapidly and rainfall almost ceased. The loss of agricultural land to the desert may be one reason why the Middle Kingdom flourished along the banks of the Nile, and builds a presence along the Mediterranean coast to its north.

2040 - 1991 BC

Eleventh (Theban) Dynasty (Egypt)
2160 - 1991 BC

The Eleventh Dynasty was based at Thebes (the Greek version of the Egyptian word niwt-rst, 'Southern City') and began as a rival to the Herakleopolitan Tenth Dynasty. Around 2055 BC, Mentuhotep II defeated the Herakleopolitan pharaohs, reunited the Two Lands, founded the Eleventh Dynasty and ruled as Mentuhotep II, the first pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom.

2134 - ? BC

Mentuhotep I

Founded the dynasty in Thebes.

? - 2118 BC

Sehertawy Intef I (the Great)

Son of Iku. Nomarch of Thebes.

2118 - 2069 BC

Wahankh Intef II

Claimed to rule over all Egypt.

Intef II is the first of the dynasty to claim to rule over the whole of Egypt, which brings the Thebans into conflict with the rulers of Herakleopolis Magna. Intef undertakes several campaigns northwards, and captures the important nome (province) of Abydos.

2069 - 2061 BC

Nakhtnebtepnefer Intef III

2061 - 2010 BC

Nebheteprac Mentuhotep II

Reunited Egypt.

The reunification of Egypt is effected under Mentuhotep II. Nubia is occupied as far as the Second Cataract.

2010 - 1998 BC

Sankhkara Mentuhotep III

1998 - 1991 BC

Nebtawyra Mentuhotep IV

Died mysteriously.

1991 - 1802 BC

Twelfth (Theban) Dynasty (Egypt)
1991 - 1788 BC

The reign of the last king of the Eleventh Dynasty is something of a mystery. Contemporary records refer to 'seven empty years' following the death of Mentuhotep III, which correspond to the reign of Nebtawyra Mentuhotep IV. Modern scholars identify his vizier, Amenemhat, with Amenemhat I as part of a theory that Amenemhat became king during a palace coup.

The dynasty founded a new capital at El-Lisht. Middle Kingdom rulers were buried in desert-edged pyramids nearby.

1991 - 1962 BC

1991 - 1970 BC

Amenemhet I (Ammenemes)

Vizier of the previous pharaoh.

1971 - 1926 BC

1970 - 1938 BC

Senusret I (Sesostris)

Son.

c.1950 BC

Senusret I officially establishes the southern border of Egypt 'in order to prevent' any people from the Nubian kingdom of Kerma 'crossing the frontier, by water or by land unless for trading or other approved purposes'.

1926 - 1895 BC

1938 - 1903 BC

Amenemhet II

Son.

1897 - 1878 BC

1903 - 1887 BC

Senusret II

Son.

1878 - 1860 BC

1887 - 1849 BC

Senusret III

Son. Most powerful of the Middle Kingdom pharaohs.

c.1850 BC

The heavily policed Egyptian border is used as a launch pad for a series of raids under Senusret III against Kerma in Nubia. A canal is built around the Nile's first great series of rapids (the First Cataract) near Aswan to facilitate troop movements. The pharaoh launches a series of invasions and boasts of his exploits in the kingdom of Kerma.

1860 - 1815 BC

1849 - 1801 BC

Amenemhet III (Moarith)

Son.

c.1800 BC

The horse is introduced into Egypt.

Wall painting of Nubians
This Egyptian wall painting depicts Nubians bringing offerings of gold around 1850 BC, at which time Pharaoh Senusret III was launching a series of raids against the Nubian kingdom of Kerma

1815 - 1807 BC

1801 - 1792 BC

Amenemhet IV

Son. Had a co-regency for one year.

1807 - 1803 BC

1792 - 1788 BC

Sebeknefrure (Nefrusobek)

Queen. Applauded as a national heroine.

1803 BC

1788 BC

The Middle Kingdom falls.

Egypt's Second Intermediate Period

The Second Intermediate Period is best known as the point at which the Hyksos made their appearance in Egypt, whose reign comprised the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Dynasties. Seventy pharaohs ruled in a disrupted Egypt during this period, and for much of that time, they paid homage to the Hyksos. To the south, the Nubian kingdom was at its height, freed from interference by Egypt.

1803 - 1600 BC

Thirteenth (Theban) Dynasty (Egypt)
1788 - ? BC

In later texts, this period is usually described as one of chaos and disorder. However, the period may have been more peaceful than was once thought since the central government in Itj-tawy near the Faiyum (former location of the Faiyum Neolithic culture) was sustained during most of the dynasty and the country remained relatively stable. However, the pharaohs were unable to prevent a break-away dynasty forming in the north.

Unfortunately it is difficult to ascertain an accurate chronology for this as there are few monuments dating from the period. Many of the kings' names are only known from an odd fragmentary inscription or from scarabs.

1803 - 1799 BC

Wegaf Khutawyre

Sekhemre

Brother.

1795 - 1792 BC

Ameny Intef IV (Amenemhet V) Sankhibre

? - 1790 BC

Sehetepre

Iufni

Seankhibre

Semenkare

Sewadjkare

Nedjem

Reigned for 7 months.

Sobekhotep I

c.1775 BC

Renseneb

Reigned for 4 months.

c.1775? BC

Hor Auyibre I

Sedjefakare

Reigned for 5-7 years. A well-attested ruler.

c.1767 BC

Sobekhotep II (Amenmehet VI) Sekhemre Khutawy

c.1765 BC

Khendjer Userkare

Reigned at least 4 years and 3 months.

Imyremeshaw

Antef V

c.1755 BC

Sobekhotep III Sekhemre Sewadjtawy

Reigned for 4 years and 2 months.

1751 - 1740 BC

Neferhotep I Khasekhemre

Reigned for 11 years.

1740 - 1730 BC

Sobekhotep IV Khaneferre

Reigned for 10 or 11 years.

1720 BC

The Hyksos make their first appearance during the reign of Sobekhotep IV, and around now they take control of the town of Avaris (the modern Tell ed-Dab'a / Khata'na).

c.1730 BC

Sobekhotep V

c.1725 - 1714 BC

Wahibre Ibiau

Reigned 10 years and 8 months.

c.1714 - 1691 BC

Ay Merneferre

Reigned 23 years and 8 months.

Merhetepre Ini

Reigned 2 years and 2 months.

Neferhotep II Sekhemre Sankhtawy

Precise dates unknown.

Mersekhemre Ined

Sewadjkare Hori

The position of the following kings is uncertain.

c.1654 BC

Dudimose I

The Hyksos, led by Salitis, the founder of the Fifteenth Dynasty, overrun Egypt during the reign of Dudimose I. Egyptian protections across Canaan are likely to be disrupted precisely at the point at which the city of Shechem is destroyed by Jacob of the Israelites.

Dudimose II

Senebmiu

Mentuhotep V

Senaayeb

c.1705 - 1690 BC

Fourteenth Dynasty (Egypt)

The provincial ruling family in Xois (Avaris), located in the marshes of the western Delta, broke away from the central authority to form the Fourteenth Dynasty. As a result, some dates overlap with those of the preceding dynasty. The Turin King List provides an additional 25 names, some fragmentary, and no dates. None are confirmed elsewhere, and all are of very dubious provenance. The dynasty was a very-short-lived one, being swiftly conquered by the Hyksos.

c.1705 BC

Nehesy

Khakherewre

c.1704 BC

Nebefawre

Sehebre

c.1699 BC

Merdjefare

Sewadjkare

c.1694 BC

Nebdjefare

Webenre

?

Unknown pharaoh.

--djefare

c.1690 BC

--webenre

c.1705 - 1534 BC

Fifteenth (Hyksos/Shepherd Kings) Dynasty (Egypt)
c.1650 - 1580 BC

The Hyksos, Semitic Sea Peoples who based themselves at the Nile Delta, made their capital at Avaris, the captured Fourteenth Dynasty capital. They ruled Lower Egypt directly, and exacted tribute from Upper Egypt, treating it as a subject satellite state. While Hyksos was formerly taken to mean 'shepherd king', modern thinking translates it as 'foreign king', and the Hykos are usually accepted as being refugees from early Palestine, although Edom has also been claimed for the source.

It is possible that the Hyksos were driven to invade Egypt by the same famine in the Near East which caused the Israelites to migrate towards Egypt. Hurrians were also beginning to campaign into Syria and the Levant and may have pushed refugees southwards. At the same time as Memphis fell to the Hyksos, the native Thebans set up the rival Seventeenth Dynasty which fought to free Egypt.

An interesting discovery from the more recent post-communist era archaeology in China is the realisation that much of the nation's Bronze Age technology came from regions outside China. Bronze that arrived in China originated in the Babylonia-dominated Near East or ancient Egypt. Some of the wilder theories have put this down to an epic migration from Egypt to China, seemingly during the Hyksos period when long-distance seaborne travel was a definite possibility, although the distances involved in this case may have been far too great. A more prosaic consensus is that bronze was transmitted into China from Central Asia by a slow process of cultural exchange (trade, tribute, dowry) across the northern frontier, mediated by Eurasian steppe pastoralists who had contacts with indigenous groups in both regions. However, intriguingly, Sima Qian in his first century historiography, the Records of the Grand Historian, wrote in his description of the topography of the Xia empire, 'northwards the stream is divided and becomes the nine rivers. Reunited, it forms the opposing river and flows into the sea'. This was not a description of the Yellow River, which runs from east to west. The world's only great river to flow south to north is the Nile, with the 'nine rivers' being the Nile delta where it meets the Mediterranean. So far, no conclusive explanation has been provided for this.

(Additional information by Edward Dawson, and from External Links: Does Chinese Civilisation Come From Ancient Egypt?, and Were the Hyksos home-grown? (Nature Middle East).)

c.1705 - 1685 BC

Salitis

Reigned for 20 years.

Sakir-Har

Named as an early king but position uncertain.

c.1674 - 1671 BC

Sheshi

Reigned for either 3 or 1 years.

Yakubher

The Israelites are presumed to descend into Egypt to escape famine just as Lower Egypt is being invaded and governed by the Hyksos. This fact probably makes Israelite entrance and acceptance easier. They settle in the region of modern Cairo, at first as welcomed guests but later enduring worsening conditions and eventually slavery.

More recent theories have diverted away from the idea that it is Hyksos Egypt which the Israelites enter. Some scholars place the early Israelites even earlier, by as much as four centuries, with them interacting with Twelfth Dynasty Egypt. Another school of thought prefers a much earlier period, Third Dynasty Egypt under Zoser, based on the idea that early Egyptian dating is still incorrect, with Menes being placed up to seven hundred years too early.

Depictions of the Hyksos
The Hyksos were foreign invaders who brought chaos when they invaded Egypt, although chemical analysis of tooth enamel reveals that they had actually settled in Egypt for some years before taking power

c.1620 BC

Khyan

Reigned 30-40 years.

c.1580 - 1540 BC

Apepi I

c.1550 - 1540 BC

Apepi II?

May be the same man as Apepi I.

c.1540 - 1534 BC

Khamudi

Obscure.

c.1663 - 1555 BC

Sixteenth (Theban) Dynasty (Egypt)
c.1663 - 1555 BC

This Theban dynasty was a local group based on the north coast of the Sinai (Pelusium), and cover a period of time when Egypt was split into a set of small Hyksos-ruled kingdoms. The rulers were contemporary with the Fifteenth Dynasty.

They are known mainly from their entries in the Turin King List, and are mostly unknown elsewhere. Dates and in some cases, order of reign, are also unknown. It s unclear how the names listed in green fit in with the rest of the list, except that all but the last reigned before Bebankh, as he is mentioned in both lists.

Anat-her

User-anat

Semqen

Djehuty (Sekhemresementawy)

Reigned for 3 years. May be the same as Semqen.

Zaket

Wasa

Qar

Pepi III

Sobekhotep VIII (Sekhemresewosertawy)

Reigned for 16 years.

Neferhotep III (Sekhemresankhtawy)

Reigned for 1 year.

Mentuhotepi (Sankhenra)

Reigned for 1 year.

Nebiryraw I (Sewadjenra)

Reigned for 26 years.

Nebiryraw II

Reigned for 3 months?

? (Semenra)

Reigned before Bebankh for 1 year?

Bebankh / Bebiankh (Sewoserenra)

Reigned for 12 years.

? (Sekhemreshedwaset)

Reigned after Bebankh for 3 months?

Nebmaatre

Nikare II

Aahotepre

Nubankhre

Nubuserre

Khauserre

Khamure

Jacob-Baal

Yakbam/Sekkhaenre?

Yakbam is an Amorite name.

Yoam

Amu

1650 - 1550 BC

Seventeenth (Theban) Dynasty (Egypt)
1680 - 1580 BC

At around the time Memphis fell to the Hyksos, the native Egyptian ruling house in Thebes declared its independence and set itself up as the Seventeenth Dynasty. This dynasty eventually drove the Hyksos out of Egypt. The last two pharaohs of the dynasty opposed the Hyksos rule over Egypt and initiated a war that would rid Egypt of the Hyksos kings and began a period of unified rule which is known as the New Kingdom.

Rahotep Sekhemrewahkhaw

Intef V the Elder

Reigned for 3 years.

Sobekemsaf I Sekhemreshedtawy

The Theban kings of the Seventeenth Dynasty locate their tombs in part of the Theban necropolis now known as Dra Abu el-Naga. They incorporate small pyramids in their building. Though the position of some tombs is known by the early nineteenth century AD, they are subsequently lost.

Seventeenth Dynasty Theban sarcophagus
A sarcophagus from the Theban necropolis - known today as Dra Abu el-Naga - which was located on the west bank of the Nile opposite the city of Thebes in Upper Egypt

Antef VI Sekhemrewepmaat

Antef VII Nebkheperre

Intef VIII Sekhemreherhermaat

Sobekemsaf II Sekhemrewadjkhaw

Reigned for 7 years.

Thuty

Reigned for 1 year.

Mentuhotep VI

Reigned for 1 year.

Nebiryerawet I

Reigned for 6 years.

Nebiryerawet II

Semenmedjatre

Seuserenre

Reigned for 12 years.

Shedwast

Intef VII

1559 - 1558 BC

Tao I the Elder Senakhtenre

Reigned for 1 year.

1558 - 1554 BC

Tao II the Brave Seqenenre

Reigned for 4 years.

1554 - 1549 BC

Kamose

Second son. Reigned for 5 years.

fl 1580 BC

Apophis of Avaris

Position unclear, but reigned at end of the dynasty.

1580 BC

Egypt is freed from Hyksos rule by Kamose. Nubia is regained.

Egypt's New Kingdom

FeatureWith the Hyksos thrown out of Egypt and the country reunited under native rule, the descendants of the Seventeenth Dynasty pharaohs formed the Eighteenth Dynasty. Quite probably as a result of the foreign rule of the Hyksos during the Second Intermediate Period, the New Kingdom saw Egypt attempt to create a buffer between the Levant and Egypt through military dominance abroad, creating Egypt's greatest territorial gains. It expanded far into Nubia in the south, and held wide territories in the Near East. Egyptian armies fought against Hittite armies for control of ancient Syria. Egypt also began to construct a chain of impressive forts, part of the militarisation of the Sinai (see feature link). There would be no repeat of the Hyksos invasion while Egypt was capable of ensuring that fact.

1550 - 1292 BC

Eighteenth (Diospolite) Dynasty (Egypt)
1580 - 1315 BC

The Eighteenth Dynasty had its capital at Thebes, although much of the administration probably remained at Memphis. The dynasty contained some of Egypt's most famous pharaohs including Ahmose I, Hapshepsut, Thutmose III, Amenhotep III, Akhenaten and Tutankhamun. Queen Hatshepsut concentrated on expanding Egypt's external trade, sending a commercial expedition to the land of Punt. Thutmose III ('the Napoleon of Egypt') expanded Egypt's army and wielded it with great success, militarising the eastern border and ensuring Egypt was properly defended.

(Additional information from The Amarna Letters, William L Moran, 1992, from The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, Aidan Dodson & Dyan Hilton, from Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II, Peter der Manuelian, and from the Egypt Exploration Society.)

1550 - 1525 BC

1580 - 1557 BC

Amasis (Ahmosi I)

Son of Kamose.

FeatureNew Kingdom pharaohs begin the practice of burial in rock-cut tombs in the Valley of the Kings. They also immediately take control of the Canaanite city of Hazor.

1525 - 1504 BC

1557 - 1540 BC

Amenhotep I

Son.

1504 - 1492 BC

1540 - 1505 BC

Tuthmosis I (Thotmes)

Son. Re-conquered Nubia.

1504 - 1503 BC

With the resurgence in Egyptian power, attention is turned again towards Nubia, where locals had created their own state or states during the Egyptian Intermediate Period, and now openly rebel when Tuthmosis gains the throne. A campaign south sees Nubia defeated and Egypt resumes control there. A swift campaign through Canaan and Syria follows in the pharaoh's second year.

1492 - 1479 BC

1505 - 1501 BC

Tuthmosis II (Thotmes)

Son. Died aged 24.

1479 - 1458 BC

1501 - 1479 BC

Hatshepsut

Regent and queen. Reasons for death unknown.

1477 BC

1503 BC

Following the sudden, and unexpected early death of Tuthmosis II, Hatshepsut, the daughter of Tuthmosis I and half-sister and wife of the dead king, acts as regent to the infant Tuthmosis III for the first two years of her reign. He is the son of Tuthmosis II and a junior wife who is unsuitable to act as regent. In 1503 Hatshepsut declares herself pharaoh and reigns for twenty-two years in a 'Gloriana' reign equivalent to that of Elizabeth I's of England.

1479 - 1425 BC

1501 - 1447 BC

Tuthmosis III (Thotmes)

Built first Egyptian empire.

1478 BC

FeatureTuthmosis begins to permanently extend Egypt's influence in the Near East by conquering Canaan (including early Palestine), and and entering into Syria on the southern borders of Mitanni. The city of Arvad is one of those taken in Canaan (see feature link for more on Tuthmosis).

1473 BC

Deir el-Medina is founded as a village of craftsmen responsible for Egyptian royal tombs.

1458 BC

1479 BC

Tuthmosis III gains the throne and immediately sets about removing any evidence of his stepmother's reign, bricking over her obelisks in the Luxor Temple and ordering images of her and cartouches bearing her name to be chiselled off walls.

c.1400s BC

Egypt is expanded to the Euphrates and the Fourth Cataract of the Nile.

1453 BC

Tuthmosis defeats Mitanni at the battle of Megiddo. Cyprus is also brought under Egyptian control. Egypt's territories in the Levant and Syria reach up to Amurru and include Canaan.

1425 - 1400 BC

1447 - 1420 BC

Amenhotep II

Son.

Oubensenou (also translated as Ouebsenou or Webensenu) is probably a son of Amenhotep II. His precise placing in the order of the pharaoh's children is unknown, and at least one scholar, Catharine H Roehrig, suggests that Tuthmosis III is actually his father. Dodson and Hilton state that he is a son of Amenhotep II who dies as a child and is buried with his father in tomb KV35. Peter der Manuelian refers to him as 'king's son and overseer of horses', and Betsy Bryan has suggested that he is born in the first five years of Amenhotep reign.

1400 - 1388 BC

1420 - 1411 BC

Tuthmosis (Thotmes) IV

Son. Marries daughter of the Mitanni king.

1388 - 1352 BC

1411 - 1375 BC

Amenhotep III

Son. Nicknamed 'the debauched'.

c.1385 BC

Amenhotep first marries the daughter of the Mitanni king Shuttarna II, the two kingdoms then being firm allies, and later marries the daughter of a successor, Tushratta.

Tushratta tablet to Amenhotep III
The cuneiform tablet inscribed with a letter from Tushratta, king of Mitanni, to Pharaoh Amenhotep III, covers various subjects such as the killing of the murderers of the Mitanni king's brother and a fight against the Hittites

1352 - 1334 BC

1375 - 1358 BC

Amenhotep IV / Akhenaten

Son.

1348 BC

1371 BC

FeatureFeatureAkhenaten institutes monotheism in the fourth year of his reign with the sole worship of the sun god Aton. In the following year he founds a new capital at Amarna. Unfortunately Egypt is not yet ready to abandon its many gods and, following the pharaoh's death virtually all traces of this 'heretic' and his beautiful wife, Nefertiti, are erased from history.

During his period of rule from there the Amarna letters are written - diplomatic correspondence with Assur-Uballit I of Assyria, the Kassite rulers of Babylonia, plus Mitanni, the Hittites, Alashiya, Arzawa, and the city states of Syria and Canaan - which includes descriptions of the disruptive activities of the 'habiru'.

1352 - 1339 BC

1375 - 1361 BC

Nefertiti

Wife & co-regent.

1334 - 1333 BC

1358 - 1357 BC

Smenkhare (Sakere)

Son-in-law of Akhenaten (or Nefertiti renamed?).

1333 - 1324 BC

1357 - 1352 BC

Tutankhamun

Probable son of Akhenaten.

FeatureFeatureFeatureThe eight year-old Tutankhamun's accession is probably handled by Ai, the priest and master of horse for Akhenaten. To ensure that no outside interests gain a foothold in what is now his power base, he chooses the boy pharaoh's elder sister to be the queen. However, Tutankhamun's comparatively brief reign is halted by a hunting accident and subsequent blood poisoning. No curse is attached to his tomb (see feature links).

FeatureFollowing his untimely death, Ankhesenamen, his young wife, seemingly succeeds him, but his regent (and possibly her grandfather), Ai, cements his own position by marrying Ankhesenamen.

1324 - 1320 BC

1351 - 1350 BC

Ankhesenamen / Kheperkheprure

Wife of Tutankhamun. Also known as Eje.

1320 - 1316 BC

1350 - 1346 BC

Ai

Regent to Tutankhamun & Ankhesenamen?

c.1300 BC

Egypt still conducts profitable trade with Damas in Syria, as witnessed by the building of a series of border fortresses as the former seeks to control the Sinai. The fortresses help to defend Egypt's trade route to Damas, which also passes through Edom and Moab at this time.

Tell Habua
The archaeological discovery of the Egyptian fort of Tell Habua (ancient Tharu, built around 1000 BC) near the Suez Canal underlined Egypt's policy of maintaining border fortresses on its eastern flank

1316 - 1292 BC

1346 - 1315 BC

Djeserkheperure Horemheb

Former C-in-C of Army (this is disputed).

1292 - 1186 BC

Nineteenth (Diospolite) Dynasty (Egypt)
1315 - 1198 BC

FeatureDjeserkheperure Horemheb was the last pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. After seizing back his position of designated crown prince from the 'usurper', Ai, and because he had no heir of his own, he appointed his vizier, Paramesse as his chosen successor before his death. Paramesse employed the name Ramses I upon assuming power. The Nineteenth Dynasty set about erasing the name of Tutankhamun from history.

FeatureHowever, they did continue to use the Valley of the Kings for royal burials. One tomb was dug out just five metres away from Tutankhamun's tomb (probably not the best way of inducing complete forgetfulness of the boy pharaoh) and seven coffins were placed there, one of which contained a garland which survived for three thousand years to be discovered by archaeologists (see feature link, right).

(Additional information from the NOVA/PBS documentary series, The Bible's Buried Secrets, first broadcast 18 November 2008.)

1292 - 1290 BC

1315 - 1314 BC

Ramses I

FeatureArmy general.

1290 - 1279 BC

1313 - 1292 BC

Seti I

FeatureSon.

1279 - 1213 BC

1292 - 1225 BC

Ramses II 'the Great'

Son. Co-regent 1292.

1275 BC

1286/1258 BC

Ramses reaches a stalemate with the Hittites at the Battle of Kadesh, after which the earliest known peace treaty is signed in 1258 BC. Ramses limits his control to southern Canaan, where he draws a firm and fortified boundary.

A statue which is erected at Luxor by Ramses II lists Mu'ab as one of a series of states which are conquered by him during a campaign, usually assumed to be Moab. He also has to repel at least one raid by a group of Sea Peoples who are known as Shardana.

Ramses II is known during his reign as the oppressor of the Israelites, and he may be the unnamed pharaoh of the Old Testament, but whether the well-known story of the Israelite exodus from Egypt occurs at this point in time is still unproven and highly debatable.

FeatureEgyptian control over the Levant gradually slips away despite large chariot-driven forces (see feature link) and supporting foot soldiers. Instead, Ramses constructs a series of forts close to the Egyptian border.

Egyptian jackal-headed deity
Wooden figure of a jackal-headed deity from the Valley of the Kings, Nineteenth or Twentieth Dynasty, representing either Anubis or Duamutef, one of the four sons of Horus

1213 - 1203 BC

1225 - 1215 BC

Merneptah

Son.

1208 BC

In his fifth year, Merneptah claims to successfully repel an attack by Libyans and an assortment of people from the north (including detachments of the Lukka and Shekelesh), whom he calls 'of the countries of the sea', or Sea Peoples. They try to enter Egypt by force, but also bring their families and cattle, clearly intending to stay.

In a brief addendum near the bottom of the stele which captures this glory (now exhibited in the Cairo Museum), Merneptah also mentions that Ashkelon, Gezer, and Yanoam (in the north Jordan Valley) have been captured and that Israel 'has been shorn. Its seed no longer exists'. The first two cities have probably already been captured by the invading Philistines and are therefore targets for 'rescue' by a civilised king. Israel, too, is the name given to a recently-arrived or formed group which would need to be brought to heel (although the claim that its seed no longer exists is mere boastfulness). This is the earliest definitive mention in history of a people named 'Israel'.

1203 - 1200 BC

Amenemses

c.1200 BC

Egypt gains overlordship of Canaan, and perhaps the Israelites and Philistines, both of which are only just settling in the region.

1200 - 1194 BC

1215 - 1212 BC

Seti II

1194 - 1188 BC

1215 - 1209 BC

Siptak

Rival Regent.

1188 - 1186 BC

Tausret (Pielady)

Queen.

1185 - 1075 BC

Twentieth (Diospolite) Dynasty (Egypt)
1198 - 1150 BC

As happened under the later Nineteenth Dynasty, this group struggled under the effects of the bickering between the heirs of Ramses III. However, at this time Egypt was also increasingly beset by a series of droughts, below-normal flooding levels of the Nile, famine, civil unrest and official corruption - all of which would limit the managerial abilities of any king. The kingdom declined, and with it, Egyptian influence outside its own borders.

The power of the last king, Ramses XI, grew so weak that in the south the High Priests of Amun at Thebes became the effective de facto rulers of Upper Egypt, while Smendes controlled Lower Egypt even before Ramses XI's death. Smendes would eventually found the Twenty-First dynasty at Tanis. In fact, the whole region, from Syria and the Levant, to the Hittites in Anatolia, and Assyria and Babylonia, was at this time in the grip of a dark age resulting from the general instability of circa 1200 BC, and a new people, the Aramaeans, were migrating into Mesopotamia and Syria, exacerbating the situation.

1185 - 1183 BC

1198 BC

Setnakhte

1183 - 1152 BC

1198 - 1167 BC

Ramses III

Son. Last great pharaoh. Murdered.

1178 - 1175 BC

1193 - 1190 BC

In his fifth year (1179 BC), Ramses fights off attacks from people from the north, almost certainly the Sea Peoples. In his eighth year (1176 BC), as well as defeating another attack, he provides an overview of the general collapse in the eastern Mediterranean in the face of attacks by the Sea Peoples. The twelfth year (1172 BC) sees another attack. However, Ramses may be claiming the victories of his predecessor, Merneptah, although his statements do highlight Egypt's loss of influence outside its own borders by this date. There is a possibility that these defeated Sea Peoples include the Philistines, the defeat forcing them to settle in Canaan instead.

1152 BC

1167 BC

A plot to extract revenge is hatched by Tey (or Tiye), one of Ramses' wives, who has been overlooked for the position of principal wife when the pharaoh had chosen another wife, Isis. The plot results in the murder of Ramses and an armed uprising. Isis and her son, Ramses IV, defeat the uprising and the conspirators, including many senior figures, are sentenced to death. The eldest son of Tey, Pentawere, is the only one of Ramses' sons to join the uprising. He is tried and found guilty, and subsequently takes his own life.

FeatureModern CT scanning techniques have revealed that Ramses has his throat slit to kill him, and the embalmers who mummify his body embed a Horus eye in the wound, a charm that is most probably intended to promote healing. Pentawere seems to have been strangled, possibly meaning that he has someone else end his life on his orders. The process of mummification has been perfected by this point, with fashion and cost even influencing the choice of materials to use (see feature link, right).

The mummy of Ramses III
The mummy of the last great pharaoh, Ramses III, revealed the fact that his throat had been slit to a width of seven centimetres, more then enough to kill him instantly

1152 - 1146 BC

1167 - 1161 BC

Ramses IV

Son. Lost Philistia and part of Syria to Assyria.

1146 - 1142 BC

1161 - 1157 BC

Ramses V

1142 - 1134 BC

Ramses VI

1134 - 1126 BC

Ramses VII

c.1120 - 1060 BC

Partition of Egypt into the power domains of the High Priests of Amun (Ammon) in Thebes and the Pharaohs in Tanis. It is Smendes, a northern relative of the then-high priest of Amun, who gains the throne in 1060 BC, heralding the start of the Twenty-First dynasty.

1126 - 1124 BC

- 1142 BC

Ramses VIII

1124 - 1106 BC

1142 - 1123 BC

Ramses IX

1115 - 1077 BC

Assyria takes complete control of Syria and Armenia from a weakened Egypt.

1106 - 1102 BC

Ramses X

1102 - 1069 BC

1118 - 1090 BC

Ramses XI

Stripped of power by High Priest of Amun Herihor.

c.1100 BC

The Onomasticon of Amenemope document appears to confirm that the former Sea Peoples, the Peleshet, Sherden, and Tjekker, are still settled in Philistia.

1075 BC

1090 BC

Egypt loses control of its dominions in Nubia. End of the New Kingdom period.

The Third Intermediate Period begins in Egypt.

 
 

 

 
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