Amenemhat II

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See Amenemhat, for other individuals with this name.

Nubkaure Amenemhat II was the third pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. Although he ruled for at least 35 years, his reign is rather obscure, as well as his family relationships.

Pharaoh Title of Ancient Egyptian rulers

Pharaoh is the common title of the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the actual term "Pharaoh" was not used contemporaneously for a ruler until Merneptah, c. 1200 BCE. In the early dynasty, ancient Egyptian kings used to have up to three titles, the Horus, the Sedge and Bee (nswt-bjtj) name, and the Two Ladies (nbtj) name. The Golden Horus and nomen and prenomen titles were later added.

Ancient Egypt ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa

Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes. The history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age.



Archaeological findings have provided the name of Amenemhat's mother, the "king's mother" Neferu III, but not the name of his father. Nevertheless, it is commonly assumed that he was a son of his predecessor Senusret I. An early attestation of Amenemhat may have come from the tomb of the namesake nomarch Amenemhat, buried at Beni Hasan This nomarch, who lived under Senusret I, escorted the "King's son Ameny" in an expedition to Nubia, and it is believed that this prince Ameny was no other than Amenemhat II in his youth. [3]

Neferu was an ancient Egyptian queen of the 12th Dynasty. She was a daughter of Amenemhat I, sister-wife of Senusret I and the mother of Amenemhat II.

Senusret I pharaoh of Egypt

Senusret I also anglicized as Sesostris I and Senwosret I, was the second pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from 1971 BC to 1926 BC, and was one of the most powerful kings of this Dynasty. He was the son of Amenemhat I. Senusret I was known by his prenomen, Kheperkare, which means "the Ka of Re is created."

A nomarch was a provincial governor in Ancient Egypt; the country was divided into 42 provinces, called nomes. A nomarch was the government official responsible for a nome.

The identity of Amenemhat's queen consort is unknown. Many royal women were buried within his pyramid complex, but their relationships with the king are unclear: a queen Keminub must be dated to the later 13th Dynasty, and three "king's daughters" named Ita, Itaweret, and Khenmet may have been Amenemhat's daughters, although a definitive proof is still lacking. [3] His successor Senusret II was likely his son, although this is never explicitly stated anywhere. [4] Other children were prince Amenemhatankh and the princesses Nofret II and Khenemetneferhedjet, likely the same person of Khenemetneferhedjet I; both those ladies later became wives of their purported brother Senusret II. [5]

Keminub was an Ancient Egyptian woman with the title king's wife. She is only known from her burial next to the pyramid of Amenemhet II at Dahshur. For that reason, it has been suggested she was his wife.

Ita was an Ancient Egyptian king's daughter who lived in the 12th Dynasty around 1850 BC. She is known from the statue of a sphinx found in Qatna in modern Syria. The statue is today in the Louvre. On this statue she bears the titles noblewomen (iry-pat) and king's daughter of his body. She is perhaps further known from her burial next to the pyramid of king Amenemhat II at Dahshur. The burial was found intact and contained a decorated wooden coffin with longer religious texts including her name and a set of precious personal adornments, including a richly adorned dagger. It is uncertain whether both women are identical. The location of the tomb might indicate that she was a daughter of Amenemhat II.


Itaweret was an Ancient Egyptian king's daughter who lived in the 12th Dynasty around 1850 BC. She is known from her burial next to the pyramid of king Amenemhat II at Dahshur. The burial was found intact and contained a decorated wooden coffin and canopic box with longer religious texts including her name. Some personal adornments were found in the tomb too. The location of the tomb might indicate that she was a daughter of Amenemhat II, but a final proof is missing.. Remarkable is the wooden statue of a swan found in her burial apartments.



Sphinx of Amenemhat II, from Tanis. Louvre, A23 Great Sphynx, Louvre 2009.jpg
Sphinx of Amenemhat II, from Tanis. Louvre, A23
Necklace of Princess Khenmet, daughter of Amenemhat II Jewellery of Khenmet- 12th Dynasty.jpg
Necklace of Princess Khenmet, daughter of Amenemhat II

Amenemhat II was once believed to have shared a period of coregency with his predecessor Senusret I, an hypothesis based on the double-dated stela of an official named Wepwawetō (Leiden, V4) that bears the regnal year 44 of Senusret I and the regnal year 2 of Amenemhat II. [6] The existence of such coregency is now considered unlikely and the meaning of the double-date on the stela is interpreted as a time range when Wepwawetō was in charge, from Senusret I's year 44 to Amenemhat II's year 2. [7] [8]

A coregency or co-principality is the situation where a monarchical position, normally held by only a single person, is held by two or more. It is to be distinguished from diarchies or duumvirates such as ancient Sparta and Rome, or contemporary Andorra, where monarchical power is formally divided between two rulers.

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden national archaeological museum of the Netherlands

The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden is the national archaeological museum of the Netherlands, located in Leiden. It grew out of the collection of Leiden University and still closely co-operates with its Faculty of Archaeology. The museum calls itself "the national centre for archaeology" and focuses on ancient Egypt, the ancient Near East, the classical world of Greece, Etruria and Rome and the early Netherlands.

Account of reign

Stela of the overseer of the chamber Senitef, who led the works at the "first temple", servants are shown bringing offerings to a statue of Amenemhat II (upper left), British Museum, EA 576 Stele EA576 Budge.jpg
Stela of the overseer of the chamber Senitef, who led the works at the "first temple", servants are shown bringing offerings to a statue of Amenemhat II (upper left), British Museum, EA 576

The most important record for Amenemhat's early reign is on fragments of the so-called Annals of Amenemhat II unearthed at Memphis (later reused during the 19th Dynasty). It provides records of donations to temples and, sometimes, of political events. Among the latter, there is a mention of a military expedition into Asia, the destruction of two cities – Iuai and Iasy – whose location is still unknown, and the coming of tribute-bearers from Asia and Kush. [9] Under Amenemhat II several mining expeditions are known: at least 3 in the Sinai, one in the Wadi Gasus (year 28) and one in search for amethysts in the Wadi el-Hudi. He is known to have ordered building works at Heliopolis, Herakleopolis, Memphis, in the Eastern Delta, and rebuilt a ruined temple at Hermopolis. There are some mentions of the building of a "First temple" but it is still unclear what it should have been. [10] A well-known finding associated with Amenemhat II is the Great Sphinx of Tanis (Louvre A23), later usurped by many other pharaohs. He is also named on the boxes of a treasure of silver objects found under the temple of Montu at Tod: notably, many of these objects are not of Egyptian workmanship but rather Aegean, evidencing contacts between Egypt and foreign civilizations in the Middle Kingdom. Many private stelae bears Amenemhat's cartouches – and sometimes even his regnal years – but are of little help in providing useful information about the events of his reign. [11]

Annals of Amenemhat II

Several fragments belonging to Annals of Amenemhat II are known from Memphis in Egypt. They are an important historical document for the reign of the Ancient Egyptian king Amenemhat II, but also for the history of Ancient Egypt and understanding kingship in general.

Memphis, Egypt Ancient capital of Inebu-hedj, Egypt

Memphis was the ancient capital of Inebu-hedj, the first nome of Lower Egypt. Its ruins are located near the town of Mit Rahina, 20 km (12 mi) south of Giza.

Kingdom of Kush ancient African kingdom

The Kingdom of Kush was an ancient kingdom in Nubia, located at the Sudanese and southern Egyptian Nile Valley.

Court officials

Some members of Amenemhat's court are known. Senusret was the vizier at the beginning of his reign, and one of his successors was Ameny, later likely followed by Siese who had a remarkable career and also was a treasurer and a high steward before his vizierate. Beside Siese, other known treasurers were Rehuerdjersen and Merykau. The "overseer of the gateway", Khentykhetywer, was buried near the king's pyramid. Other known officials were the "overseers of the chamber", Snofru and Senitef, and the royal scribe and iry-pat Samont. [10] As great overseer of troops, a certain Ameny dates most likely under the king.

Senusret was an Ancient Egyptian official who was a vizier during the last years of king Senusret I's rule and in the first years of Amenemhet II. Senusret is known from a stela found in Abydos, which is dated to year 8 of Amenemhet II. He also appears in biographical inscriptions in the tomb of the governor Amenemhat at Beni Hasan, where it is reported that he was on a mission to Koptos. The inscription reports events under Senusret I.

Vizier (Ancient Egypt) highest rank of official in Ancient Egypt

The vizier was the highest official in Ancient Egypt to serve the pharaoh (king) during the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. Vizier is the generally accepted rendering of ancient Egyptian tjati, tjaty etc., among Egyptologists. The Instruction of Rekhmire, a New Kingdom text, defines many of the duties of the tjaty, and lays down codes of behavior. The viziers were often appointed by the pharaoh. During the 4th Dynasty and early 5th Dynasty, viziers were exclusively drawn from the royal family; from the period around the reign of Neferirkare Kakai onwards, they were chosen according to loyalty and talent or inherited the position from their fathers.

Ameny was an Ancient Egyptian vizier under Middle Kingdom king Amenemhat II, around 1900 BC, in the Twelfth Dynasty. Ameny appears on the fragment of an annal stone of the king. The fragment was found by Flinders Petrie in Memphis and mentions a statue of this vizier. Ameny is perhaps also known from an offering table. However, the name Ameny belongs to the most common names of the Middle Kingdom. Therefore, the identity of both people on these objects is far from certain.


Amenemhat II and his successor Senusret II shared a brief coregency, the only unquestionable one of the whole Middle Kingdom. Unlike most of the double-dated monuments, the stela of Hapu from Konosso explicitly states that these two kings ruled together for a while [8] and that the regnal year 3 of Senusret II equates the regnal year 35 of Amenemhat II. Amenemhat's year 35 on the stela of Hapu is also the highest date known for him. [12]


Plan of Amenemhat II's pyramid complex at Dahshur Piramide-amenemhet2.png
Plan of Amenemhat II's pyramid complex at Dahshur

Unlike his two predecessors who built their pyramids at Lisht, Amenemhat II chose Dahshur for this purpose, a location which was no more used as royal cemetery since the time of Sneferu and his Red Pyramid (4th Dynasty). At the present time, Amenemhat's pyramid – originally called Amenu-sekhem, but best known today as the White Pyramid – is poorly preserved and excavated. The mortuary temple adjacent the pyramid was called Djefa-Amenemhat. [13] Many people were buried within the pyramid complex, whose tombs were rediscovered by Jacques de Morgan in 1894/5: the three aforementioned princesses Ita, Itaweret, and Khenmet were found untouched, still containing their beautiful jewels, and also the tombs of the lady Sathathormeryt, the treasurer Amenhotep, and the queen Keminub; unlike the others, the latter two were looted in antiquity and are dated to the subsequent 13th Dynasty. [9] [14]

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The Oryx nome was one of the 42 nomoi in ancient Egypt. More precisely, it was the 16th nome of Upper Egypt. It was named after the Scimitar oryx, and was roughly located in the territories surrounding the modern city of Minya in Middle Egypt.

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Djefaihapi was an ancient Egyptian official during the reign of pharaoh Senusret I of the 12th Dynasty. In literature, his name is found written in many other variants such as Hepzefa, Hapidjefa, Hapdjefai, and Djefaihap.

Ameny was an Ancient Egyptian official of the Twelfth Dynasty, most likely in office under king Amenemhat II. Ameny was great overseer of the troops and is mainly known from a series of stelae (Paris, Louvre C 35, Cairo CG 20546, London, British Museum 162 once set up at Abydos and there adorning a chapel. On these stelae he bears the most important ranking titles member of the elite, foremost of action, royal sealer and sole friend. As great overseer of the troops he was the leading official at the royal responsible organizing manpower that was used in military enterprises, but also for building projects. Ameny was the son of a person called Qebu. On each stelae a different wife is mentioned. These are Itet, Renefankh and Medhu. His tomb was found at Lisht, but is not yet fully excavated. The stelae of Ameny are not dated by any king's name. However, on stylistical grounds they most likely date under king Senusret I and Amenemhat II.. Some of the biographical phrases on the stelae indicate a date more precisely under the latter king.


  1. Amenemhat II on Digitalegypt
  2. Hornung 2006, p. 491.
  3. 1 2 3 Grajetzki 2006, p. 45.
  4. Grajetzki 2006, p. 48.
  5. Dodson & Hilton 2004, pp. 96–97.
  6. Murnane 1977, pp. 5–6.
  7. Delia 1979, pp. 16; 21–22.
  8. 1 2 Willems 2010, pp. 92–93.
  9. 1 2 Grajetzki 2006, pp. 45–46.
  10. 1 2 Grajetzki 2006, pp. 47–48.
  11. Grajetzki 2006, p. 47.
  12. Murnane 1977, p. 7.
  13. Grajetzki 2006, pp. 46–47.
  14. Untitled information on White Pyramid burials


Delia, Robert D. (1979). "A new look at some old dates: a reexamination of Twelfth Dynasty double dated inscriptions". Bulletin of the Egyptological Seminar of New York. 1: 15–28.
Dodson, Aidan; Hilton, Dyan (2004). The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. ISBN   0-500-05128-3.
Grajetzki, Wolfram (2006). The Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt: History, Archaeology and Society. London: Duckworth. ISBN   0-7156-3435-6.
Hornung, Erik; Krauss, Rolf; Warburton, David, eds. (2006). Ancient Egyptian Chronology. Handbook of Oriental Studies. Leiden, Boston: Brill. ISBN   978-90-04-11385-5. ISSN   0169-9423.
Murnane, William J. (1977). Ancient Egyptian coregencies (=Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization, no. 40). Chicago: The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. ISBN   0-918986-03-6.
Willems, Harco (2010). "The First Intermediate Period and the Middle Kingdom". In Lloyd, Alan B. (ed.). A companion to Ancient Egypt, volume 1. Wiley-Blackwell.