Seventh Dynasty of Egypt

Last updated
ca. 2181 BC
Capital Memphis
Common languages Egyptian language
ancient Egyptian religion
Government Absolute monarchy
Historical era Bronze Age
ca. 2181 BC
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Sixth Dynasty of Egypt
Ninth Dynasty of Egypt Blank.png
Tenth Dynasty of Egypt Blank.png

The Seventh Dynasty of Egypt would mark the beginning of the First Intermediate Period in the early 22nd century BC but its actual existence is debated. The only historical account on the Seventh Dynasty was in Manetho's Aegyptiaca, a history of Egypt written in the 3rd century BC, where the Seventh Dynasty appears essentially as a metaphor for chaos. Since next to nothing is known of this dynasty beyond Manetho's account, Egyptologists such as Jürgen von Beckerath and Toby Wilkinson have usually considered it to be fictitious. [1] [2] In a 2015 re-appraisal of the fall of the Old Kingdom, the Egyptologist Hracht Papazian has proposed that the Seventh Dynasty was real and that it consisted of kings usually attributed to the Eighth Dynasty.


Historical sources

Based on the now lost writings of Africanus (c. 160–240) and Eusebius (c. 260–340), themselves based on the now lost work of the Egyptian priest Manetho (3rd century BC), the Byzantine scholar George Syncellus (died after 810) variously assigns to the period after the Sixth dynasty – the Seventh Dynasty – 70 kings in 70 days (Africanus) or 5 kings in 75 days (Eusebius). [3] :395 According to Manetho, these kings would have ruled in Memphis. [3] :396 Rather than a historical reality, this rapid succession of kings has long been interpreted as a metaphor for chaos. [3] :395

Some Egyptologists, such as Papazian (2015), [3] :395 believe that this interpretation may give undue weight to Manetho's writings, and that it distorts the general scholarly understanding of the end of the Old Kingdom. According to Papazian (2015), [3] :395 "a re-examination ... of the Seventh Dynasty's existence, remains fully justified" and some of the kings usually attributed to the mid-Eighth Dynasty should instead be understood to belong to the Seventh Dynasty. Being attested by two additional ancient historical sources as well as archeological evidence, the Eighth Dynasty is not quite as obscure as the Seventh. As a consequence, some Egyptologists combine the Seventh and Eighth Dynasty into a single line of kings, reigning immediately after the Sixth Dynasty.

List of rulers

The Seventh Dynasty is usually considered fictitious and is thus either ignored altogether by modern scholars or it is combined with the Eighth Dynasty. The Egyptologist Hracht Papazian has proposed in 2015 that a number of rulers usually seen as belonging to the mid-Eighth Dynasty identified by the Abydos king list should be attributed to a Seventh Dynasty: [3] :416

Dynasty VII as per Papazian [3] :416
NameEvidence beyond the Abydos king list
Djedkare Shemai
Neferkare Khendu
Nikare Possibly attested by a cylinder seal. [4]
Neferkare Tereru
Neferkahor Attested by a cylinder seal.
Neferkare Pepiseneb Turin Canon gives at least one year. [5]
Neferkamin Anu

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Manetho Egyptian historian and priest from Ancient Egypt

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Sanakht Egyptian pharaoh

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Shepseskare Egyptian pharaoh

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Sixteenth Dynasty of Egypt ancient Egyptian dynasty

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Menkare Egyptian pharaoh

Menkare was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, the first or second ruler of the Eighth Dynasty. Menkare probably reigned a short time at the transition between the Old Kingdom period and the First Intermediate Period, in the early 22nd century BC. The rapid succession of brief reigns at the time suggests times of hardship, possibly related to a widespread aridification of the Middle East, known as the 4.2 kiloyear event. As a pharaoh of the Eighth Dynasty, according to Manetho, Menkare's seat of power would have been Memphis.

Neferkare Khendu Egyptian pharaoh

Neferkare Khendu was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Eighth Dynasty during the early First Intermediate Period. According to the egyptologists Kim Ryholt, Jürgen von Beckerath and Darrell Baker he was the sixth king of the Eighth Dynasty.

Nikare Egyptian pharaoh

Nikare was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Eighth Dynasty during the early First Intermediate Period, at a time when Egypt was possibly divided between several polities. According to the Egyptologists Kim Ryholt, Jürgen von Beckerath and Darrell Baker he was the ninth king of the Eighth Dynasty. As such, Nikare's seat of power would have been Memphis.

Neferkahor Egyptian pharaoh

Neferkahor was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Eighth Dynasty during the First Intermediate Period. According to egyptologists Jürgen von Beckerath and Darrell Baker, he was the eleventh king of this dynasty. His name is attested on the Abydos King List and on a black steatite cylinder seal of unknown provenance. His name is absent from the Turin canon, a lacuna affecting the 7th/8th dynasty where his name would have been listed.

Neferkare Pepiseneb Egyptian pharaoh

Neferkare Pepiseneb was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Eighth Dynasty during the early First Intermediate Period. According to the egyptologists Kim Ryholt, Jürgen von Beckerath and Darrell Baker he was the twelfth king of the combined Eighth Dynasty.

Nebka Ancient Egyptian king

Nebka is the throne name of an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Third Dynasty during the Old Kingdom period, in the 27th century BCE. He is thought to be identical with the Hellenized name Νεχέρωχις recorded by the Egyptian priest Manetho of the much later Ptolemaic period.

Thamphthis is the hellenized name of an ancient Egyptian ruler (pharaoh) of the 4th dynasty in the Old Kingdom, who may have ruled around 2500 BC under the name Djedefptah for between two and nine years. His original Egyptian name is lost, but it may have been Djedefptah or Ptahdjedef according to William C. Hayes. Thamphthis is one of the shadowy rulers of the Old Kingdom, since he is completely unattested in contemporary sources. For this reason, his historical figure is discussed intensely by historians and Egyptologists.

Bikheris Egyptian pharaoh

Bikheris is the Hellenized name of an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh, who may have ruled during the 4th Dynasty around 2570 BC. Next to nothing is known about this ruler and some Egyptologists even believe him to be fictitious.

Merkawre Sobekhotep was the thirty-seventh pharaoh of the 13th dynasty during the second intermediate period. He probably reigned over Middle and perhaps Upper Egypt during the mid-17th century BC from 1664 BC until 1663 BC. Alternatively, the German Egyptologist Thomas Schneider dates this short-lived king's reign from 1646 BC to 1644 BC

Khui ancient Egyptian pharaoh

Khui was an ancient Egyptian kinglet during the early First Intermediate Period. Khui may have belonged to the Eighth Dynasty of Egypt, as Jürgen von Beckerath has proposed, or he may instead have been a provincial nomarch who proclaimed himself king.


  1. Wilkinson, Toby (2010). "Timeline". The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt. New York: Random House. p. xiii. ISBN   9781408810026. The system of dynasties devised in the third century B.C. [by Manetho] is not without its problems—for example, the Seventh Dynasty is now recognized as being wholly spurious, while several dynasties are known to have ruled concurrently in different parts of Egypt...
  2. Jürgen von Beckerath, Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen. Münchner ägyptologische Studien (in German). 49. Mainz: Philip von Zabern. ISBN   978-3-8053-2591-2.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Hratch Papazian (2015). "The State of Egypt in the Eighth Dynasty". In Peter Der Manuelian; Thomas Schneider (eds.). Towards a New History for the Egyptian Old Kingdom: Perspectives on the Pyramid Age. Harvard Egyptological Studies. BRILL.
  4. Peter Kaplony: Die Rollsiegel des Alten Reichs, vol. 2: Katalog der Rollsiegel (Monumenta Aegyptiaca Vol. 3), La Fondation Égyptologique Reine Élisabeth, Brüssel 1981, issue 144.
  5. Kim Ryholt: "The Late Old Kingdom in the Turin King-list and the Identity of Nitocris", Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, 127 (2000), p. 91
Preceded by
Sixth Dynasty
Dynasty of Egypt
c. 2181
Succeeded by
Eighth Dynasty