Sunday, September 11, 2011

First Intermediate Period


2181 -2040 BC


First Intermediate Period 7th and 8th dynasties 
2181- 2125 BC

About this time the Old Kingdom state collapsed. Egypt simultaneously suffered political failure and environmental disaster. There was famine, civil disorder and a rise in the death rate. With the climate of Northeast Africa becoming dryer, combined with low inundations of the Nile and the cemeteries rapidly filling, this was not a good time for the Egyptians. 

The years following the death of Pepy II are most obscure. The only person from this era to have left an impression on posterity is a woman called Nitokris who appears to have acted as king. There are no contemporary records but Herodotus wrote of her: 

"She killed hundreds of Egyptians to avenge the king, her brother, whom his subjects had killed, and had forced her to succeed. She did this by constructing a huge underground chamber. Then invited to a banquet all those she knew to be responsible for her brother's death. When the banquet was underway, she let the river in on them, through a concealed pipe. After this fearful revenge, she flung herself into a room filled with embers, to escape her punishment." 

For a time petty warlords ruled the provinces. Then from the city of Herakleopolis there emerged a ruling family led by one Khety who for a time held sway over the whole country. However, this was short lived and the country split into North, ruled from Herakleopolis and South, ruled from Thebes. 

Whereas the Theban dynasty was stable, kings succeeded one another rapidly at Herakleopolis. There was continual conflict between the two lands which was resolved in the 11th dynasty.

Dynasties 7 & 8:


Qakare Iby
After the death of Pepi II, the 7th Dynasty was thought to have lasted for 70 days with no real rulers. The 8th Dynasty lasted for about 20 years but very little evidence has been found about the rulers. It seems that local Nobles set themselves up as warlords fighting for power. One royal decree has been found by Wadjkare and a small pyramid of Qakare Iby.

Dynasties 9 & 10


Meryibre cartouche
bust of Merykare
cartouche of Kaneferre
Not clear what this king achieved but thought to have taken over from a very cruel king called Achthoes who was eaten by a crocodile. A warrior king but humane as one record shows him feeding the starving population during famine. Regent of Heracleopolitan Kingdom. identified with a king named Neferkare and prince of Moala, less than 30 km south of Thebes. Ankhtify led a coalition of his own and the Edfu nomes against the Thebans. His name appears in fokelore but no detailed records survive

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