Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Middle Kingdom Dynasties


2040 -1782 BC

Dynasty 11:

From the 11th dynasty 2125-1991 BC to the 17th dynasty 1650-1550 BC 

Egyptian dating is expressed by ruling families - dynasties. The historian Manetho (270 BC) wrote a history of Egypt giving the number of dynasties, the number of kings, their names and the length of each reign.
The Middle Kingdom begins with the reunification of the country under Mentuhotep I who ousted the kings of Herakleopolis. 

He assumed the Horus name Divine of the White Crown, implicitly claiming all of Upper Egypt. This was later changed to Uniter of the Two Lands. 

His remarkable mortuary complex at Dayr al-Bahri was the architectural inspiration for Hatshepsut's temple which was built alongside some 500 years later.

 11th dynasty 2125-1991 BC

  • Intef I
  • Intef II
  • Intef III
  • Mentuhotep I
  • Mentuhotep II
  • Mentuhotep III
Intef I
Intef II
Intef III
Mentuhotep I
Mentuhotep II
Mentuhotep III
relief of Intef
relief of Intef II
coffin of Intef
Mentuhotep I
Mentuhotep II
Mentuhotep III wearing the red crown
Not actually from a royal bloodline, but each of the Intefs were involved in struggles against the northern kings of Herakleopolis Called himself king of Upper and Lower Egypt but his control did not extend beyond Thebes, as did his namesakes. Gave himself the name "beautiful strong champion".
The three Intefs were buried in tombs at Dra Abu el-Naga near to the road to the later "Valley of the Kings"
First part of his reign saw bitter fighting but by year 39 he re-united the two lands.
He reigned for 50 years, the latter part of which saw peace and prosperity. Built an impressive Temple-tomb in the clifff at Deir el-Bahari
Son of Mentuhotep I, was quite old when he came to power and reigned only for 12 years. Maintained defences and traded south of the first cateract. He carried out much building work and led many expeditions to gather building materials. Not many records exist from his reign but his name exists along with his vizier and governer of the south, Amenemhet. He continued the building programme of his father erecting temples to Amun and Montu.
Amenemhet overthrew the king and claimed the crown for himself and founded Dynasty 12.

Dynasty 12:

 Amenemhet I moved the capital back to the Memphis. There was a revival of Old Kingdom artistic styles. 

He later took his son, Sesostris as his co-regent. During the 10 years of joint rule Sesostris undertook campaigns in Lower Nubia which led to its conquest. Amenemhet was murdered during Sesostris' absence on a campaign in Libya, but Sesostris was able to maintain his hold on the throne and consolidated his father's achievements, 

Sesostris III reorganised Egypt into four regions the northern and southern halves of the Nile Valley and the eastern and western Delta. He and his successor Amenemhet III left a striking artistic legacy in the form of statuary depicting them as ageing, careworn rulers. 

It was during this period that the written language was regularised in its classical form of Middle Egyptian. The first body of literary texts was composed in this form, although several are ascribed to Old Kingdom authors. The most important of these is the "Instruction for Merikare," a discourse on kingship and moral responsibility. 

Queen Sobeknefru, the first female monarch marked the end of the dynastic line. 

12th dynasty 1991-1782 BC
  • Amenemhet I
  • Sesostris I
  • Amenemhet II
  • Sesostris II
  • Sesostris III
  • Amenemhet III
  • Amenemhet IV
  • Queen Sobeknefru
Amenemhet I
Sensuret I
Amenemhet II
Sensuret II
Amenhemhet I
Granite bust of Sensuret I
Amenemhet II
Sensuret II
Visier to Mentuhotep III, of Upper Egyptian origin he started the 12th Dynasty. His 30 year reign brought stability to Egypt. His first conquest was of the Nubians at the south. He set up his base 20 miles south of Memphis. Set up the practice of co-regency with his son Sensuret who he put in charge of military matters. He set up a new royal burial ground at Lissht not far from the new capital. came to power when his father was murdered and squashed the coup against him. Reigned for 34 years. Maintained control through a series of at least 13 forts and led expeditions looking for gold and precious stones and agricultural goods. He took his son as co-ruler at least 3 years before his death. Reigned for 34 years. Improved the irrigation systems in the Faiyum area. Led expeditions to the Red Sea area and to Punt. There is also evidence of contact with Crete and the Mediterranean. A great treasure contining his cartouche was found at the Temple of Montu just south of Luxor. He built his pyramid at Dahshur but all that remains now is a mound of mud brick. Again he had been co-regent for at least 3 years. He had a peaceful reign and expanded cultivation in the Faiyum region. He built his pyramid at Lahun, now Kahun. Excavations have found personal belongings and papyri covering information about life at the time.

Sensuret III
Amenemhet III
Amenemhet IV
Queen Sobeknefru
Sensuret III
Amenemhet III
Torso of Queen Sobeknefru
Thought to have reigned for 37 years.Although a great warrior, much emphasis went on agricultural reforms. A very tall and commanding figure at over 6'6".Secured southern borders and built a canal to bypass the 1st cateract at Aswan. Erected a great stela to tell of his military prowess against the Nubians. Much of the wealth gained from Nubia was used to repair and renew many of the temples and shrines around the kingdom. Son of Sensuret II reigned for 45 years and continued his fathers work. He exploited the quarries in Egypt and the turquoise mines in Sinai. He built two pyramids for himself, one at Dahshur and one at Hawara, where he was buried. Little is known about Amenemhet IV and it is probable that he co-ruled with his father. Died without a male heir and was succeeded by his sister. Queen Sobeknefru is thought to have acted as regent after Amenemhet's premature death and then ruled independently. Known as the first female king of Egypt, otherwise not much else is known about her.

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