Intef I

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Sehertawy Intef I was a local nomarch at Thebes during the early First Intermediate Period and the first member of the 11th Dynasty to lay claim to a Horus name. Intef reigned from 4 to 16 years c. 2120 BC or c. 2070 BC [2] during which time he probably waged war with his northern neighbor, the Coptite nomarch Tjauti. Intef was buried in a saff tomb at El-Tarif, known today as Saff el-Dawaba. [4]

Nomarchs were Ancient Egyptian administration officials responsible for the provinces. Effectively serving as provincial governors, they each held authority over one of the 42 nomes into which the country was divided. Nome is derived from the Greek nomos, meaning a province or district, and nomarch is derived from the Greek title nomarches, the ruler of a nomos.

Thebes, Egypt ancient Egyptian city

Thebes, known to the ancient Egyptians as Waset, was an ancient Egyptian city located along the Nile about 800 kilometers (500 mi) south of the Mediterranean. Its ruins lie within the modern Egyptian city of Luxor. Thebes was the main city of the fourth Upper Egyptian nome and was the capital of Egypt mainly during the Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom. It was close to Nubia and the Eastern Desert, with its valuable mineral resources and trade routes. It was a cult center and the most venerated city of ancient Egypt during its heyday. The site of Thebes includes areas on both the eastern bank of the Nile, where the temples of Karnak and Luxor stand and the city proper was situated; and the western bank, where a necropolis of large private and royal cemeteries and funerary complexes can be found.

El-Tarif village in Egypt

El-Tarif is a necropolis on the West Bank of the Nile, at the site of ancient Thebes (Luxor), Egypt. It is located in the northwestern outskirts of Luxor and southeast of the Valley of the Kings, opposite Karnak, just to the southwest of the modern village of At-Tarif. It is the oldest of West Thebes' necropolises. It is a small mortuary temple, and the farthest north of the Tombs of the Nobles, and contains tombs of the late First Intermediate Period, Second Intermediate Period and early Middle Kingdom. Old Kingdom mastabas are possibly attributed to local rulers of the Fourth or Fifth Dynasty. Eleventh Dynasty tombs of local rulers have also been noted in the form of a series of rock-cut tombs dated to 2061-2010 B.C.E, the largest of which are Intef I to Intef III, who were kings of this dynasty.



Intef is known for certain from only one near-contemporary monument: two inscribed blocks from the temple of Montu at Tod which were erected during Mentuhotep II's reign. The blocks represent Mentuhotep II facing the names of three of his ancestors which are identified by their proper name (nomen) and Horus name. These are Intef (I) Sehertawy, Intef (II) Wahankh and Intef (III) Nakht-neb-tep-nefer (although in this case only the Horus names Sehertawy and Wahankh are preserved). [5] This relief establishes the succession of kings of the 11th Dynasty.

Montu was a falcon-god of war in ancient Egyptian religion, an embodiment of the conquering vitality of the Pharaoh. He was particularly worshipped in Upper Egypt and in the district of Thebes, despite being a Delta-native, astral deity.

[Ramesses II] whom victory was foretold as he came from the womb,
Whom valor was given while in the egg,
Bull firm of heart as he treads the arena,
Godly king going forth like Montu on victory day.

El-Tod town and archaeological site in Egypt

El-Tod was the site of an Ancient Egyptian town and a temple to the Egyptian god Monthu. It is located 20 kilometres (12 mi) southwest of Luxor, Egypt, near the settlement of Hermonthis. A modern village now surrounds the site.

Mentuhotep II Egyptian pharaoh

Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II was a Pharaoh of the 11th Dynasty who reigned for 51 years. Around his 39th year on the throne he reunited Egypt, thus ending the First Intermediate Period. Consequently, he is considered the first pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom.

There are no contemporary monuments which can be positively attributed to Intef I. [6] A possible exception is a short inscription discovered in the western desert: "the assault troops of the son of Re, Intef". In the original publication of the inscription this king Intef is identified with Intef I, although Intef II has also been proposed as a possibility. [4] The inscription is located in the vicinity of an inscription commissioned by the contemporary Coptite nomarch named Tjauti (see below). [7]

Intef I is most likely attested on later king lists, but this remains uncertain as his name is either lost or damaged. In the Karnak king list a king Intef appears next to "Men...", most likely Mentuhotep I, as part of the latter's Horus name, "the ancestor", is still visible. The few remains of Intef I's Horus name fit to Sehertawy. The name and duration of the reign of Intef I are not preserved in the Turin Canon, although from an analysis of the available space, it is possible that Intef I was mentioned in what is now a lacuna affecting entry 5.13. The durations of the reigns of the other 11th Dynasty kings are preserved in the Turin Canon and add up to 127 years. Furthermore, the summary of reigns of this Dynasty is also preserved in the Turin Canon and is given as 143 years. On the strength of these much later fragments, the two lost reigns of Mentuhotep I and Intef I have been calculated to add up to 16 years, further implying that Intef's reign lasted for less than 16 years. Thus the duration of Intef's reign is often reported to be between 4 and 16 years. [4] Intef I was succeeded by his brother Intef II who pursued the war with the northern neighbors of the Theban kingdom.

Karnak king list Wikimedia list article

The Karnak king list, a list of early Egyptian kings engraved in stone, was located in the southwest corner of the Festival Hall of Thutmose III, in the middle of the Precinct of Amun-Re, in the Karnak Temple Complex, in modern Luxor, Egypt. Composed during the reign of Thutmose III, it listed sixty-one kings beginning with Sneferu from Egypt's Old Kingdom. Only the names of thirty-nine kings are still legible, and one is not written in a cartouche.


Court of the saff tomb of Intef I, at Saff el-Dawaba TarifDawabaCourt.jpg
Court of the saff tomb of Intef I, at Saff el-Dawaba

Sehertawy Intef I was the first member of his Dynasty to assume a pharaonic title with the Horus name of Sehertawy variously rendered as "Maker of peace in the two lands", "He who has brought calm to the two Lands" and "Pacifier of the two lands". [3] [4] [8] Intef's parents may possibly have been Mentuhotep I and Neferu I. [4]

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.

Neferu I was the first queen of Ancient Egyptian Eleventh dynasty. She was a wife of the Pharaoh Mentuhotep I.

By taking a Horus name with both crowns, Intef declared himself ruler of all Egypt. [4] However, his authority was contested by the other nomarchs of Egypt, chief among them being the 10th Dynasty rulers at Herakleopolis Magna who also laid claim to the title of pharaoh and their powerful ally Ankhtifi, nomarch of Hierakonpolis, and a faithful follower of the Herakleopolitan Dynasty. [9] On his accession to the Theban throne, Intef probably ruled only the Theban (fourth) nome, but it is conjectured that after defeating Ankhtifi or one of his successors, Intef acquired the three nomes to the south of Thebes, down to Elephantine, and to the north all territories south of the border with the Coptite nome. Alternatively, this may have been achieved by Intef's predecessor Mentuhotep I. [4] Both hypotheses remain conjectural given the paucity of historical records on this period.

Ankhtifi ancient Egyptian nomarch

Ankhtifi was a nomarch of Hierakonpolis and a supporter of the pharaoh in Herakleopolis Magna, which was locked in a conflict with the Theban based 11th Dynasty kingdom for control of Egypt. Hence, Ankhtifi was possibly a rival to the Theban rulers Mentuhotep I and Intef I. He lived during the First Intermediate Period, after the Egyptian Old Kingdom state had collapsed, and at a time when economic hardship, political instability, and foreign invasion challenged the fabric of Egyptian society.

Nekhen religious and political capital of Upper Egypt in Ancient Egypt

Nekhen or Hierakonpolis was the religious and political capital of Upper Egypt at the end of prehistoric Egypt and probably also during the Early Dynastic Period.

Elephantine island

Elephantine ( EL-i-fan-TY-nee, -⁠TEE-; Ancient Egyptian: ꜣbw; Egyptian Arabic: جزيرة الفنتين‎, translit. Gazīrat il-Fantīn; Greek: Ἐλεφαντίνη; Coptic: is an island on the Nile, forming part of the city of Aswan in Upper Egypt. There are archaeological sites on the island.

Intef I got rapidly embroiled in a war with his northern neighbors. A graffito discovered by the Theban Desert Road Survey in the Gebel Tjauti northwest of Thebes reports the presence there of "the assault troops of the son of Ra, Intef". [4] [10] It has been posited that this inscription refers to Intef I whose soldiers were fighting the Coptite nomarch Tjauti. In support of this hypothesis is a nearby worn out stele erected by Tjauti reporting the construction of a road to allow his people to cross the desert "which the ruler of another nome had sealed off [when he came in order to] fight with my nome...". [4] Although not named explicitly, Darell Baker and other Egyptologists contend that this ruler must either be Intef I or his successor Intef II. [4] In any case, the subsequent defeat of Tjauti ultimately put Koptos, Dendera and the three nomes of Hierakonpolis under Theban control, expanding the Theban kingdom 250 km northward with a border near Abydos. [4]


Intef's funerary complex was dug in a hill side at El-Tarif on the opposite bank of the Nile at Thebes and is known today as Saff el-Dawaba. The site of El-Tarif comprises three monumental royal tombs, known as saff tombs. Inscriptions found in one tomb indicate that it belonged to Wahankh Intef II, Intef I's successor. At the opposite, the Saff el-Dawaba is devoid of inscriptions but yielded the earliest type of pottery found at El-Tarif and, for this reason, is most often assigned to Intef I. [2] [11] The Saff el-Dawaba comprises a large 300 by 75 metres (984 ft × 246 ft) sunken courtyard backed by a colonnade leading to a mortuary chapel carved into the hill and flanked by two chambers. The burial chamber of Intef I was dug beneath the mortuary chapel. [4]

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First Intermediate Period of Egypt period in ancient Egyptian history after end of the Old Kingdom

The First Intermediate Period, often described as a "dark period" in ancient Egyptian history, spanned approximately one hundred and twenty-five years, from c. 2181–2055 BC, after the end of the Old Kingdom. It comprises the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, and part of the eleventh dynasties. Very little monumental evidence survives from this period, especially towards the beginning of the era. The First Intermediate Period was a dynamic time in history where rule of Egypt was roughly divided between two competing power bases. One of those bases resided at Heracleopolis in Lower Egypt, a city just south of the Faiyum region. The other resided at Thebes in Upper Egypt. It is believed that during this time, the temples were pillaged and violated, their existing artwork was vandalized, and the statues of kings were broken or destroyed as a result of this alleged political chaos. These two kingdoms would eventually come into conflict, with the Theban kings conquering the north, resulting in reunification of Egypt under a single ruler, Mentuhotep II, during the second part of the eleventh dynasty. This event marked the beginning of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt.

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History of ancient Egypt aspect of history

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Intef II Egyptian Pharaoh

Wahankh Intef II was the third ruler of the Eleventh Dynasty of Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. He reigned for almost fifty years from 2112 BC to 2063 BC. His capital was located at Thebes. In his time, Egypt was split between several local dynasties. He was buried in a saff tomb at El-Tarif.

Intef III was the third pharaoh of the Eleventh Dynasty of Egypt during the late First Intermediate Period in the 21st century BC, at a time when Egypt was divided in two kingdoms. The son of his predecessor Intef II and father of his successor Mentuhotep II, Intef III reigned for 8 years over Upper Egypt and extended his domain North against the 10th Dynasty state, perhaps as far north as the 17th nome. He undertook some building activity on Elephantine. Intef III is buried in a large saff tomb at El-Tarif known as Saff el-Barqa.

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  1. Redford, Donald B., ed. (2001). "Egyptian King List". The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, Volume 2. Oxford University Press. pp. 626–628. ISBN   978-0-19-510234-5.
  2. 1 2 3 Thomas Schneider: Ancient Egyptian Chronology - Edited by Erik Hornung, Rolf Krauss, And David a. Warburton, available online, see p. 491
  3. 1 2 3 Clayton, Peter A. Chronicle of the Pharaohs: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. p72. 2006. ISBN   0-500-28628-0
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Darrell D. Baker: The Encyclopedia of the Pharaohs: Volume I - Predynastic to the Twentieth Dynasty 3300–1069 BC, Stacey International, ISBN   978-1-905299-37-9, 2008, pp. 143-144
  5. Labib Habachi: King Nebhepetre Menthuhotep: his monuments, place in history, deification and unusual representations in the form of gods, in Mitteilungen des deutschen Archaeologischen Instituts, Kairo 19 (1963), fig. 22)
  6. Schneider, op. cit. p. 161
  7. John Coleman Darnell: Theban Desert Road Survey in the Egyptian Western Desert, Volume I, Chicago 2002, ISBN   1-885923-17-1, 38-46
  8. Nicholas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt (Oxford: Blackwell Books, 1992), p. 143
  9. Grimal, p.142
  10. Theban Desert Road Survey website Archived 2013-12-01 at the Wayback Machine .
  11. Rasha Soliman: Old and Middle Kingdom Theban Tombs, London 2009 ISBN   978-1-906137-09-0, 31-35
Preceded by
Mentuhotep I
Pharaoh of Egypt
Eleventh Dynasty
Succeeded by
Intef II