Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Third Intermediate Period


1069 - 525 BC

High Priests: (at Thebes)


Pinedjem I
Smendes II
Pinedjem II
Psusennes III
wall carving of Herihor from temple of Khonsu at Karnak
Pinedjem I1070-1032
The Amun priesthood owned two thirds of all temple land in the country.They also owned 90% of all the ships and 80% of all resources in Egypt, hence their power. Herihor may have been married to a sister of Rameses XI, hence his position although he was not a king, but he ruled over the Theban area. After Herihor's death, Piankh ruled for a short while but was then succeeded by Pinedjem. At the same time, Smendes ruled the north of the country from Tanis. Pinedjem took on full pharonic titles but still continued to co-rule with Smendes and it seems that the rulers of north and south were all related by marriage. He passed his office to his son Masaherta before he died. Menkheperre took over as High Priest for a short while and was then succeeded by his son Smendes II and another of his sons Pinedjem II. Psusennes III was thought to be a son of Pinedjem II but it is not clear whether he reigned for 5 or 24 years.


Dynasty 21: (at Tanis)


Smendes I
Psusennes I
Osorkon the Elder
Psusennes II
gold mask of Psusennes I
After the death of Rameses XI, Smendes declared himself king after marrying one of Rameses daughters. He moved the capital to Tanis, which became a city of obelisks. When he died, a son of Herihor, Amenemnisu took over the throne but was soon replaced by Psusennes I. During this time the civil was war still in progress and some of the rebels were exiled to the western oases, which were held by Lybian chiefs. These kings were buried at Tanis using sarcophagi and riches recycled from Thebes and were found intact in 1939. Amenemope followed from his father Psusennes I and then a short reign by Osorkon the elder is recorded. Siamun reigned for almost 20 years and undertook building work at Tanis by extending the temple of Amun. Biblical records suggest that it was around this dynasty that David was trying to unite the tribes of Isreal and destroy the Philistines. The dynasty came to an end with a 14 year rule by Psusennes II. His daughter Maatkare married Sheshonq to begin the 22nd Dynasty.

Dynasty 22: (at Tanis)


Sheshonq I
Osorkon I
Sheshonq II
Takelot I
Osorkon II
Takelot II
Sheshonq I
Granite torso of Osorkon I
golden death mask of Sheshonq II
granite bust of Osorkon II
This is referred to as the Libyan or Bubastite dynasty. Sheshonq began the sequence of Libyan chiefs who were to rule Egypt for the next 200 years. Sheshonq brought upper and lower Egypt back together by giving his sons high offices so that he had power over the whole country. He led a campaign to Judah and took all of Solomons treasures. His triumphs were carved into the second pylon at Karnak. Osorkon I succeeded his father and carried on his building programmes. He took on his son Sheshonq II as co-regent in 890 but unfortunately Sheshonq II died before his father. A further son Takelot I continued the bloodline for 15 years but during his reign, the country began to divide again. Osorkon II succeeded as king in 874 but his cousin declared himself as High priest of Amun at Karnak and also as king of the south. Osokon corrected this when his cousin died by declaring one of his own sons as high Priest of Amun. He also erected many buildings to himself, at Memphis, Tanis, Thebes and Leontopolis. He successfully halted an attack by the Syrians. After his death, he was succeeded by his son Takelot II and north and south was again joined through the marriage of his half brother, Nimlot, who was High Priest of Amun at Thebes to his daughter. When his half brother died there were more rebellions, which he eventually crushed.


Sheshonq III
Sheshonq V
Osorkon IV
(at Thebes)
bronze statuette of Pami 773-767
Sheshonq III, who was the younger brother of Nimlot took over power after the death of Takelot II and reigned for 53 years. At this time the Thebans once again gained power over the south with Chief High Priest Harsiese. He also had to contend with problems in the Delta, when a prince named Pedibastet proclaimed a new dynasty.

Dynasty 23: (at Leontopolis)


Sheshonq IV
Osorkon III
Takelot III
Pedubaste I was the first king of the Twenty-third Dynasty. He is mentioned several times in the inscriptions at Karnak and is thought to have been the son of Harsiese, the high priest of Amun. He reigned for 25 years and was succeeded by Sheshonq IV, followed by Osorkon III, who reigned from Leontopolis, with Sheshonq III at Tanis. After Sheshonq's death, Osorkon made his son Takelot III High Priest and ruler of Herakleopolis. Meanwhile an obscure king called Pami, ruled at Tanis before being succeeded by his son Sheshonq V followed by his son Osorkon IV.

Rudamon Iuput Peftjauabastet Nimlot
relief of Iuput
This time was very confusing with names and dates being unclear and many men claiming to be kings. Peftjauabastet, a commander from Herakleopolis, was married to Takelott's niece, who was also Rudamon's daughter and was claiming the throne at the same time as Iuput from Leontopolis and Nimlot from Hermopolis. It is believed that each one ruled over a small part of Egypt and kept the Nubians at bay.

Dynasty 24: (at Sais)

Tefnakht ruled from the Delta but organised the northern kings to fight against the invading Nubians led by Piankhi. Eventually the northern kings surrendered to Piankhy but he allowed them to continue to run their own territories and Tefnakht retreated to Hermopolis. (Bakenrenef was known in Greek myth as the Bocchoris who fought with Herakles.)

Dynasty 25 : (Nubian/Kushite)


Piankhi Shabaka Shebitku Taharqa Tamutamun
Piankhi (Piyi) defeated the four Egyptian kings in about 727BC but reinstated them all as governors. He prefered to rule from Napata in the south. He maintained the cult of Amun at Karnak and celebrated the Opet festival as well as continuing Egyptian customs.The Kushite kings also used similar burial customs except that their pyramid tombs were smaller and more pointed. Shabaka was the brother of Piankhi and he also followed Egyptian customs. He undertook much building work at Thebes, west and east banks and at Memphis, Abydos, Dendera, Esna and Edfu. Was buried in a steep sided pyramid at el-Kurru like his brother. Nephew of Shabaka stood against a Syian revolt, allied with the Palestinians and Phoenicians. Events of these campaigns were drawn on reliefs at the palace of Nineveh and are now on display at the British Museum. Taharqa succeeded his brother and Egypt underwent a quiet period. He did undertake widespread building throughout Egypt and Nubia. His re erected column can be seen in the first court at Karnak. There were frequent clashes with the Asyrians, Taharqa lost Memphis and fled to his capital at Napata, leaving the mayor of Thebes to surrender to the Asyrians. Tamutamun, Taharqa's cousin became co regent and took over on his death. He regained Aswan, Thebes and Memphis but his victory was shortlived when Memphis fell again followed by the sacking of the treasury at Thebes. The Asyrians held Egypt while Tamutamun stayed at Napata.

Dynasty 26: (Saite)


Psamtik I
Psamtik II
Ahmose II
Psamtik III

*(Psammetichus I)
ushabti figure of Nekau
Psammethichus II stela
*(Psammetichus II)
black granite head of Apries (Wahubre)
*(Psammetichus III)
The 26th (Saite) dynasty of the Assyrians overlapped the Nubian Dynasty but after the second uprising, Psamtik was recognised as king by the Assyrians as king of Egypt. He conscripted an army of mercenaries, many from Greece to bring the state back together. During his reign stability returned, along with many of the old religious traditions, especially from the Middle and Old Kingdoms. Trade with the Mediterranean also improved the economy. His son Nekau succeeded him and brought Palestine as an ally, nd recruited Ionian Greeks as an Egyptian navy. He had a canal dug between a branch of the Nile and the Red Sea to assist trade. His son Psamtik II, reigned for only 6 years but he marched into Nubia as far as the third cateract. Graffitti on one of Rameses II statues at Abu Simbel tells of this expedition. He also encouraged the biblical Judaean revolt against the Babylonians. His son Wakibre succeeded him and continued the involvement in Palestine but after a civil war a victorious general, Ahmose II took over when Wahibre was killed. Ahmose II granted trading rights and privileges to foreigners in the Delta in an attempt to prevent conflicts and he forged trading links with many foreign nations. However a new threat to Egypt came from the Persians, who had already conquered the Greeks and Ahmose's successor, Psamtik III was left to face them. He was inexperienced and he fled to Memphis, only to be defeated and transported to Susa, the Persian capital.


(* better known Greek names)

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