|Reign||730 – 715/13 BC (22nd or 23rd Dynasty)|
|Predecessor||Shoshenq V or Pedubast II|
|Successor||end of the dynasty|
|Died||before 712 BC|
Usermaatre Osorkon IV was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh during the late Third Intermediate Period. Traditionally considered the very last king of the 22nd Dynasty, he was de facto little more than ruler in Tanis and Bubastis, in Lower Egypt. He is generally – though not universally – identified with the King Shilkanni mentioned by Assyrian sources, and with the biblical So, King of Egypt mentioned in the second Books of Kings.
Osorkon ruled during one of the most chaotic and politically fragmented periods of ancient Egypt, in which the Nile Delta was dotted with small Libyan kingdoms and principalities and Meshwesh dominions; as the last heir of the Tanite rulers, he inherited the easternmost parts of these kingdoms, the most involved in all the political and military upheavals that soon would afflict the Near East. During his reign, he had to face the power, and ultimately submit himself—to the Kushite King Piye during Piye's conquest of Egypt. Osorkon IV also had to deal with the threatening Neo-Assyrian Empire outside his eastern borders.
Osorkon IV ascended to the throne of Tanis in c. 730 BC, at the end of the long reign of his predecessor Shoshenq V of the 22nd Dynasty, who was possibly also his father. However, this somewhat traditional collocation was first challenged in 1970 by Karl-Heinz Priese who preferred to place Osorkon IV in a lower–Egyptian branch of the 23rd Dynasty, right after the reign of the shadowy pharaoh Pedubast II; this placement found the support of a certain number of scholars. Osorkon's mother, named on an electrum aegis of Sekhmet now in the Louvre, was Tadibast III. Osorkon IV's realm was restricted only to the district of Tanis (Rˁ-nfr) and the territory of Bubastis, both in the eastern Nile Delta. His neighbors were Libyan princes and Meshwesh chiefs who ruled their small realms outside of his authority.
Around 729/28 BC, soon after his accession, Osorkon IV faced the crusade led by the Kushite pharaoh Piye of the Nubian 25th Dynasty. Along with other rulers of Lower and Middle Egypt – mainly Nimlot of Hermopolis and Iuput II of Leontopolis – Osorkon IV joined the coalition led by the Chief of the West Tefnakht in order to oppose the Nubian.However, Piye's advance was unstoppable and the opposing rulers surrendered one after another: Osorkon IV found it wise to reach the Temple of Ra at Heliopolis and pay homage to his new overlord Piye personally— an action which was soon imitated by the other rulers. As reported on his Victory Stela, Piye accepted their submission, but Osorkon and most of the rulers were not allowed to enter the royal enclosure because they were not circumcised and had eaten fish, both abominations in the eyes of the Nubian. Nevertheless, Osorkon IV and the others were allowed to keep their former domains and authority.
In 726/25 BC Hoshea, the last King of Israel, rebelled against the Assyrian King Shalmaneser V who demanded an annual tribute, and, according to the second Book of Kings, sought the support of So, King of Egypt (2 Kings 17:4) who, as already mentioned, was most likely Osorkon IV (see below). For reasons which remained unknown – possibly in order to remain neutral towards the powerful Neo-Assyrian Empire, or simply because he did not have enough power or resources – King So did not help Hoshea, who was subsequently defeated and deposed by Shalmaneser V. The Kingdom of Israel ceased to exist, many Israelites were brought to Assyria as exiles,and Assyrian and Babylonian settlers occupied Israel.
In 720 BC, a revolt occurred in Palestine against the new Assyrian King Sargon II, led by King Hanno (also Hanun and Hanuna) of Gaza who sought the help of "Pirʾu of Musri", a term most probably meaning "Pharaoh of Egypt" and referring to Osorkon IV. Assyrian sources claim that this time the Egyptian king did send a turtanu (an army–commander) called Reʾe or Reʾu (his Egyptian name was Raia, though in the past it was read Sibʾe) as well as troops in order to support his neighboring ally. However, the coalition was defeated in battle at Raphia. Reʾe fled back to Egypt, Raphia and Gaza were looted and Hanno was burnt alive by the Assyrians.
In 716 BC, Sargon II almost reached Egypt's boundaries. Feeling directly threatened this time, Osorkon IV (here called Shilkanni by Assyrian sources, see below) was carefully diplomatic: he personally met the Assyrian king at the "Brook of Egypt" (most likely el-Arish) and tributed him with a present which Sargon personally described as "twelve large horses of Egypt without equals in Assyria". The Assyrian king appreciated his gifts and did not take action against Osorkon IV.
No mention of Osorkon IV is known after 716 BC. Some archaeological findings
A few years later a man called Gemenefkhonsbak, possibly a descendant of the now-defunct 22nd Dynasty, claimed for himself the pharaonic royal titles and ruled in Tanis as its prince.
It is believed that Shilkanni is a rendering of (U)shilkan, which in turn is derived from (O)sorkon – hence Osorkon IV – as first proposed by William F. Albright in 1956.This identification is accepted by several scholars while others remain uncertain or even skeptical. Shilkanni is reported by Assyrians as "King of Musri ": this location, once believed to be a country in northern Arabia by the orientalist Hans Alexander Winckler, is certainly to be identified with Egypt instead. In the same way, the "Pir'u of Musri" to whom Hanno of Gaza asked for help in 720 BC could only have been Osorkon IV. The identity of the biblical King So is somewhat less definite. Generally, an abbreviation of (O)so(rkon) is again considered the most likely by several scholars, but the concurrent hypothesis which equates So with the city of Sais, hence with King Tefnakht, is supported by a certain number of scholars.
Osorkon IV is attested by Assyrian documents (as Shilkanni and other epithets) and probably also by the Books of Kings (as King So), while Manetho's epitomes seem to have ignored him. –as the name does not coincide with those of any of the other Osorkon kings' mothers–can only be Osorkon IV's mother.He is undoubtedly attested by the well-known Victory Stela of Piye on which he is depicted while prostrating in front of the owner of the stela along with other submitted rulers. Another finding almost certainly referring to him is the aforementioned aegis of Sekhmet, found at Bubastis and mentioning a King Osorkon son of queen Tadibast who
Osorkon's throne name was thought to be Aakheperre Setepenamun from a few monuments naming a namesake pharaoh Osorkon, such as a faience seal and a relief–block, both in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden,but this attribution was questioned by Frederic Payraudeau in 2000. According to him, these findings could rather be assigned to an earlier Aakheperre Osorkon – i.e., the distant predecessor Osorkon the Elder of the 21st Dynasty – thus implying that Osorkon IV's real throne name was unknown. Furthermore, in 2010/11 a French expedition discovered in the Temple of Mut at Tanis two blocks bearing a relief of a King Usermaa(t)re Osorkonu, depicted in a quite archaizing style, which at first were attributed to Osorkon III. In 2014, on the basis of the style of both the relief and the royal name, Aidan Dodson rejected the identification of this king with both the already-known kings Usermaatre Osorkon (Osorkon II and III) and stated that he was rather Osorkon IV with his true throne name. A long-known, archaizing "glassy faience" statuette fragment from Memphis now exhibited at the Petrie Museum (UC13128) which is inscribed for one King Usermaatre, had been tentatively attributed to several pharaohs from Piye to Rudamun of the Theban 23rd Dynasty and even to Amyrtaios of the 28th Dynasty, but may in fact represent Osorkon IV.
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Kenneth Anderson Kitchen is a British biblical scholar, Ancient Near Eastern historian, and Personal and Brunner Professor Emeritus of Egyptology and Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool, England. He is one of the leading experts on the ancient Egyptian Ramesside Period, and the Third Intermediate Period of Egypt, as well as ancient Egyptian chronology, having written over 250 books and journal articles on these and other subjects since the mid-1950s. He has been described by The Times as "the very architect of Egyptian chronology".
The Third Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt began with the death of Pharaoh Ramesses XI in 1070 BC, which ended the New Kingdom, and was eventually followed by the Late Period. Various points are offered as the beginning for the latter era, though it is most often regarded as dating from the foundation of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty by Psamtik I in 664 BC, following the expulsion of the Nubian Kushite rulers of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty by the Assyrians under King Assurbanipal. The concept of a "Third Intermediate Period" was coined in 1978 by British Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen.
Shebitku was the second pharaoh of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt who ruled from 714 BC-705 BC, according to the most recent academic research. He was a son of Piye, the founder of this dynasty. Shebitku's prenomen or throne name, Djedkare, means "Enduring is the Soul of Re." Shebitku's queen was Arty, who was a daughter of king Piye, according to a fragment of statue JE 49157 of the High Priest of Amun Haremakhet, son of Shabaka, found in the temple of the Goddess Mut in Karnak.
Titkheperure or Tyetkheperre Psusennes II [Greek Ψουσέννης] or Hor-Pasebakhaenniut II [Egyptian ḥr-p3-sb3-ḫˁỉ-⟨n⟩-nỉwt], was the last king of the Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt. His royal name means "Image of the transformations of Re" in Egyptian. Psusennes II is often considered the same person as the High-Priest of Amun known as Psusennes III. The Egyptologist Karl Jansen-Winkeln notes that an important graffito from the Temple of Abydos contains the complete titles of a king Tyetkheperre Setepenre Pasebakhaenniut Meryamun "who is simultaneously called the HPA and supreme military commander." This suggests that Psusennes was both king at Tanis and the High Priest in Thebes at the same time, meaning he did not resign his office as High Priest of Amun during his reign. The few contemporary attestations from his reign include the aforementioned graffito in Seti I's Abydos temple, an ostracon from Umm el-Qa'ab, an affiliation at Karnak and his presumed burial – which consists of a gilded coffin with a royal uraeus and a Mummy, found in an antechamber of Psusennes I's tomb at Tanis. He was a High Priest of Amun at Thebes and the son of Pinedjem II and Istemkheb. His daughter Maatkare B was the Great Royal Wife of Osorkon I.
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Hedjkheperre Setepenre Shoshenq IV ruled Egypt's 22nd Dynasty between the reigns of Shoshenq III and Pami. In 1986, David Rohl proposed that there were two king Shoshenqs bearing the prenomen Hedjkheperre – (i) the well-known founder of the dynasty, Hedjkheperre Shoshenq I, and (ii) a later pharaoh from the second half of the dynasty, whom Rohl called Hedjkheperre Shoshenq (b) due to his exact position in the dynasty being unknown. Following Rohl's proposal, the British Egyptologist Aidan Dodson supported the new king's existence by demonstrating that the earlier Hedjkheperre Shoshenq bore simple epithets in his titulary, whereas the later Hedjkheperre Shoshenq's epithets were more complex.
Usimare Setepenamun Takelot III Si-Ese was Osorkon III's eldest son and successor. Takelot III ruled the first five years of his reign in a coregency with his father, according to the evidence from Nile Quay Text No.14, and succeeded his father as king the following year. He served previously as the High Priest of Amun at Thebes. He was previously thought to have ruled Egypt for only 7 years until his 13th Year was found on a stela from Ahmeida in the Dakhla Oasis in 2005.
The High Priest of Amun or First Prophet of Amun was the highest-ranking priest in the priesthood of the ancient Egyptian god Amun. The first high priests of Amun appear in the New Kingdom of Egypt, at the beginning of the Eighteenth Dynasty.
Pedubast II was a Pharaoh of Egypt associated with the 22nd or more likely the 23rd Dynasty. Not mentioned in all King lists, he is mentioned as a possible son and successor to Shoshenq V by Aidan Dodson and Dyan Hilton in their 2004 book, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. They date his reign at about 743–733 BC, between Shoshenq V and Osorkon IV.
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Pi-Sekhemkheperre or Per-Sekhemkheperre, was an ancient Egyptian stronghold. Its name means "The estate of Sekhemkheperre", a reference to Sekhemkheperre Osorkon I, the pharaoh of the early 22nd Dynasty who founded the fortress during his reign. It has been suggested that its erection may be a symptom of the state of general insecurity in the country during the period.
Pi-Sekhemkheperre is at yet undiscovered but it is believed that it lies somewhere at the entrance of the Faiyum, just north to Herakleopolis Magna in Middle Egypt.
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