Thirteenth Dynasty of Egypt

Last updated
1803 BC–1649 BC
Agyptisches Museum Kairo 2019-11-09 Emramescha 01.jpg
Granite statue of Pharaoh Imyremeshaw in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo
Capital Itjtawy
Common languages Egyptian language
ancient Egyptian religion
Government Absolute monarchy
Historical era Bronze Age
1803 BC
1649 BC
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt
Fourteenth Dynasty of Egypt Blank.png
Fifteenth Dynasty of Egypt Blank.png
Sixteenth Dynasty of Egypt Blank.png

The Thirteenth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty XIII) is often combined with Dynasties XI, XII and XIV under the group title Middle Kingdom . Some writers separate it from these dynasties and join it to Dynasties XIV through XVII as part of the Second Intermediate Period . Dynasty XIII lasted from approximately 1803 BC until approximately 1649 BC, i.e. for 154 years. [1]


The 13th dynasty was a direct continuation of the preceding 12th dynasty, with its first ruler believed to be a son of Amenemhat IV. [1] Kim Ryholt proposes that the demarcation between the two dynasties reflects the rise of the independent 14th dynasty in the eastern Delta, an event which, he proposes, occurred during Sobekneferu's reign. [1] As direct heirs to the kings of the 12th dynasty, pharaohs of the 13th dynasty reigned from Memphis over Middle and Upper Egypt, all the way to the second cataract to the south. The power of the 13th dynasty waned progressively over its 150 years of existence and it finally came to an end with the conquest of Memphis by the Hyksos rulers of the 15th dynasty, c. 1650 BC. [1]


In later texts, this dynasty is usually described as an era of chaos and disorder. However, the period may have been more peaceful than was once thought since the central government in Itj-tawy near the Faiyum was sustained during most of the dynasty and the country remained relatively stable. The period was undoubtedly characterized by decline, with a large number of kings with short reigns and only a few attestations. It is clear that they were not from a single family line, and some of them were born commoners. Unfortunately, the true chronology of this dynasty is difficult to determine as there are few monuments dating from the period. Many of the kings' names are only known from odd fragmentary inscriptions or from scarabs. [ citation needed ] The names and order in the table are based on Dodson and Hilton and Ryholt. [1] [2]

Dynasty XIII pharaohs
Name of pharaohImageBurialConsort(s)Comments
Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep I Sobekhotep I.jpg The dominant hypothesis is that Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep was the founder of the dynasty, [3] [4] in older studies Wegaf
Sonbef AmenemhatSenebefCylinderPetrie.png Perhaps a son of Amenemhat IV and brother of Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep. [3]
Nerikare Stele of Nerikare.png
Sekhemkare Amenemhat V Amenemhat V.jpg
Ameny Qemau Plaque Qemaw by Khruner.jpg Pyramid of Ameny Qemau
Hotepibre Qemau Siharnedjheritef [5] Mace Hotepibre Ebla by Khruner.jpg Perhaps identical with King Sehotepibre in the Turin Canon
Iufni Known only from the Turin canon
Seankhibre Ameny-Intef-Amenemhat VI
Semenkare Nebnuni Stele Nebnuni by Khruner.jpg
Sehetepibre Sewesekhtawy Cylinder Sehetepibre by Khruner.jpg
Sewadjkare I Known only from the Turin canon
Nedjemibre Known only from the Turin canon
Khaankhre Sobekhotep II Louvre 032007 40.jpg
Renseneb Amenemhat
Awybre Hor Ka Statue of horawibra.jpg Buried in Dahshur near the pyramid of Amenemhet III Nubhetepti (?)
Sekhemrekhutawy Khabaw Khabaw2.png Possibly a son of Hor Awybre.
Djedkheperew OsirisBed.jpg Possibly a brother of Sekhemrekhutawy Khabaw.
Sedjefakare Kay-Amenemhet VII Cylinder Sedjefakare Petrie.jpg
Khutawyre Wegaf Wegaf Rubensohn.png
Userkare Khendjer Khendjer JE 53368 01.jpg Pyramid of Khendjer, South Saqqara [6] Seneb[henas?]May also have borne the name Nimaatre.
Smenkhkare Imyremeshaw Agyptisches Museum Kairo 2019-11-09 Emramescha 01.jpg Aya (Iy)?
Sehetepkare Intef Hotepkare cylinder Petrie.png Aya (Iy)?
Seth Meribre Stele JE 35256 Randall-MacIver.png
Sekhemresewadjtawy Sobekhotep III SobekhotepIII-DualRelief BrooklynMuseum.png Senebhenas [7]
Neni [7]
Khasekhemre Neferhotep I Neferhotep KS 1799 01c.JPG Perhaps buried at Abydos Senebsen [7]
Menwadjre Sihathor Turiner2.png Ephemeral coregent with his brother Neferhotep I
Khaneferre Sobekhotep IV Louvres-antiquites-egyptiennes-img 2808.jpg Perhaps buried at Abdydos: S 10 (Abydos) Tjan [7] Brother of Neferhotep I and Sihathor
Merhotepre Sobekhotep V Statue of Merhotepre Sobekhotep V.jpg Nubkhaes ? [7]
Khahotepre Sobekhotep VI KneelingStatueOfSobekhotepV-AltesMuseum-Berlin.png
Wahibre Ibiau Ibiau stele BM Budge.png
Merneferre Ay Merneferre Ay.jpg Built a pyramid whose location is unknown, maybe near Memphis. [8] Inni ?Reigned 23 years, the longest reign of the dynasty. Last king to be attested in both Lower and Upper Egypt.

Following these kings, the remaining rulers of the 13th Dynasty are only attested by finds from Upper Egypt. This may indicate the abandonment of the old capital Itjtawy in favor of Thebes. [9] Daphna Ben Tor believes that this event was triggered by the invasion of the eastern Delta and the Memphite region by Canaanite rulers. For some authors, this marks the end of the Middle Kingdom and the beginning of the Second Intermediate Period. [9] This analysis is rejected by Ryholt and Baker however, who note that the stele of Seheqenre Sankhptahi, reigning toward the end of the dynasty, strongly suggests that he reigned over Memphis. Unfortunately, the stele is of unknown provenance. [3] [4]

Dynasty XIII pharaohs continued
Merhotepre Ini Also known as Ini I
Sankhenre Sewadjtu
Mersekhemre Ined Possibly the same as Neferhotep II
Sewadjkare Hori Also known as Hori II
Merkawre Sobekhotep VII
Eight kings, names lost
Merkare Known only from the Turin canon
One lost king
Sewadjare Mentuhotep V
Ibi [...]maatre
Hor [...] [...]webenre
Seheqenre Sankhptahi Represented on a stele offering to Ptah

The chronological position of a number of attested rulers could not be conclusively determined due to a lack of evidence:

Dynasty XIII pharaohs, undetermined position
Mershepsesre Ini II According to von Beckerath, successor of Sewadjare Mentuhotep V and predecessor of Merkheperre
Mersekhemre Neferhotep II Possibly the same as Mersekhemre Ined
Sewahenre Senebmiu According to von Beckerath, successor of Se[...]kare

Sobekhotep I and II

Ryholt posits a ruler named "Sobkhotep I Sekhemre Khutawy" as the first king of this dynasty. This is now the dominant hypothesis in Egyptology [4] and Sobekhotep Sekhemre Khutawy is referred to as Sobekhotep I in this article. Ryholt thus credits Sekhemre Khutawy Sobkhotep I with a reign of 3 to 4 years c. 1800 BC and proposes that Khaankhre Sobekhotep II reigned c. 20 years later in 1780 BC. [3] Dodson and Hilton similarly believe that Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep predated Khaankhre Sobekhotep. [10]


Statue of the royal sealer and high steward Gebu, 13th dynasty, c. 1700 BC from the temple of Amun in Karnak. Ny Carlsberg Glypthotek - Schatzmeister Gebu.jpg
Statue of the royal sealer and high steward Gebu, 13th dynasty, c. 1700 BC from the temple of Amun in Karnak.

After allowing discipline at the southern forts to deteriorate, the government eventually withdrew its garrisons and, not long afterward, the forts were reoccupied by the rising Nubian state of Kush. In the north, Lower Egypt was overrun by the Hyksos, a Semitic people from across the Sinai. An independent line of kings created Dynasty XIV that arose in the western Delta during later Dynasty XIII. According to Manetho, into this unstable mix came invaders from the east called the Hyksos who seized Egypt "without striking a blow; and having overpowered the rulers of the land, they then burned our cities ruthlessly, razed to the ground the temples of gods..." Their regime, called Dynasty XV, was claimed to have replaced Dynasties XIII and XIV in most of the country.

However, recent archaeological finds at Edfu could indicate that the Hyksos 15th dynasty was already in existence at least by the mid-13th dynasty reign of king Sobekhotep IV. In a recently published paper in Egypt and the Levant, [11] Nadine Moeller, Gregory Marouard and N. Ayers discuss the discovery of an important early 12th dynasty Middle Kingdom administrative building in the eastern Tell Edfu area of Upper Egypt which was in continual use into the early Second Intermediate Period until the 17th dynasty, when its remains were sealed up by a large silo court. Fieldwork by Egyptologists in 2010 and 2011 into the remains of the former 12th dynasty building which was also used in the 13th dynasty led to the discovery of a large adjoining hall which proved to contain 41 sealings showing the cartouche of the Hyksos ruler Khyan together with 9 sealings naming the 13th dynasty king Sobekhotep IV. [12] The preserved contexts of these seals shows that Sobekhotep IV and Khyan were most likely contemporaries of one another. This could mean that the 13th dynasty did not control all of Egypt when Sobekhotep IV acceded to power, and that there was a significant overlap between the 13th and 15th dynasties since Sobekhotep IV was only a mid-13th dynasty ruler; although one of its most powerful kings. Therefore, Manetho's statement that the Hyksos 15th dynasty violently replaced the 13th dynasty could be a piece of later Egyptian propaganda. Rather, the 13th dynasty's authority must have been collapsing throughout Egypt in its final decades and the Hyksos state in the Delta region simply took over Memphis and ended the 13th dynasty's kingdom. However, this analysis and the conclusions drawn from it are rejected by Egyptologist Robert Porter, who argues that Khyan ruled much later than Sobekhotep IV (a gap of c. 100 years exists between the two in conventional chronologies) and that the seals of a pharaoh were used long after his death. Thus the seals of Sobekhotep IV might not indicate that he was a contemporary of Khyan. [13]

Merneferre Ay was the last Egyptian ruler of the 13th Dynasty who is attested by objects in both Lower and Upper Egypt. [14] Henceforth, his successors, from Merhotepre Ini on, are only attested in Upper Egypt. [15]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Kim S. B. Ryholt, The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, c. 1800–1550 B.C., Museum Tusculanum Press 1997, p.197
  2. Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. The American University in Cairo Press, London 2004. pp. 100–101
  3. 1 2 3 4 K.S.B. Ryholt. The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period c. 1800–1550 B.C. Carsten Niebuhr Institute Publications 20. Copenhagen
  4. 1 2 3 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
  5. K. S. B. Ryholt, Hotepibre, a Supposed Asiatic King in Egypt with Relations to Ebla, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 311 (Aug., 1998), pp. 1–6
  6. Verner, Miroslav. The Pyramids: The Mystery, Culture, and Science of Egypt's Great Monuments. Grove Press. 2001 (1997). ISBN   0-8021-3935-3
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 Grajetzki, Ancient Egyptian Queens: A Hieroglyphic Dictionary, Golden House Publications, London, 2005, ISBN   978-0954721893
  8. Labib Habachi: Khata'na-Qantir: Importance, ASAE 52 (1954) pp. 471–479, pl.16–17
  9. 1 2 Daphna Ben Tor: Sequences and chronology of Second Intermediate Period royal-name scarabs, based on excavated series from Egypt and the Levant, in: The Second Intermediate Period (Thirteenth-Seventeenth Dynasties), Current Research, Future Prospects edited by Marcel Maree, Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta, 192, 2010, p. 91
  10. Dodson, Hilton, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, 2004
  11. Nadine Moeller, Gregory Marouard & N. Ayers, Discussion of Late Middle Kingdom and Early Second Intermediate Period History and Chronology in Relation to the Khayan Sealings from Tell Edfu, in: Egypt and the Levant 21 (2011), pp. 87–121 online PDF
  12. Moeller, Marouard & Ayers, Egypt and the Levant 21, (2011), pp. 87–108
  13. Robert M. Porter: The Second Intermediate Period according to Edfu, Goettinger Mizsellen 239 (2013), p. 75–80
  14. Thomas Schneider, "The Chronology of the Middle Kingdom and the Hyksos Period", in: E. Hornung/R. Krauss/D. Warburton (eds.), Ancient Egyptian Chronology (Handbook of Oriental Studies 1, 83), Leiden/ Boston 2006, p.180
  15. Schneider, p.180
Preceded by
Twelfth Dynasty
Dynasty of Egypt
1803−1639 BC
Succeeded by
Fourteenth Dynasty