Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt

Last updated
Egypt
1991 BC–1802 BC
Capital Thebes, Itjtawy
Common languages Egyptian language
Religion
ancient Egyptian religion
Government Absolute monarchy
Historical era Bronze Age
 Established
1991 BC
 Disestablished
1802 BC
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Eleventh Dynasty of Egypt
Thirteenth Dynasty of Egypt Blank.png
Upper part of a statuette of an unidentified queen. The nose was deliberately battered. Black granite. Early 12th Dynasty. From Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London Upper part of a statuette of an unidentified queen. The nose was deliberately battered. Black granite. Early 12th Dynasty. From Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London.jpg
Upper part of a statuette of an unidentified queen. The nose was deliberately battered. Black granite. Early 12th Dynasty. From Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London

The Twelfth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (Dynasty XII), is often combined with the Eleventh, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Dynasties under the group title Middle Kingdom.

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.

The Eleventh Dynasty of ancient Egypt is a well-attested group of rulers. Its earlier members before Pharaoh Mentuhotep II are grouped with the four preceding dynasties to form the First Intermediate Period, whereas the later members are considered part of the Middle Kingdom. They all ruled from Thebes in Upper Egypt.

The Thirteenth Dynasty of ancient Egypt 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.

Contents

Rulers

Known rulers of the Twelfth Dynasty are as follows: [1]

Dynasty XII pharaohs of Egypt
Name of KingHorus (Throne) NameDatePyramidQueen(s)
Amenemhat I Sehetepibre1991 – 1962 BC Pyramid of Amenemhet I Queen Neferitatjenen
Senusret I (Sesostris I)Kheperkare1971 – 1926 BC Pyramid of Senusret I Queen Neferu III
Amenemhat II Nubkhaure1929 – 1895 BC White Pyramid Queen Kaneferu
Queen Keminub?
Senusret II (Sesostris II)Khakheperre1897 – 1878 BCPyramid at El-Lahun Queen Khenemetneferhedjet I
Queen Nofret II
Queen Itaweret?
Queen Khnemet
Senusret III (Sesostris III)Khakaure1878 – 1839 BCPyramid at Dahshur Queen Meretseger
Queen Neferthenut
Queen Khnemetneferhedjet II
Queen Sithathoriunet
Amenemhat III Nimaatre1860 – 1814 BC Black Pyramid; Pyramid at Hawara Queen Aat
Queen Hetepi
Queen Khenemetneferhedjet III
Amenemhat IV Maakherure1815 – 1806 BC Southern Mazghuna pyramid (conjectural)
Queen Sobekneferu Sobekkare1806 – 1802 BC Northern Mazghuna pyramid (conjectural)

The chronology of the 12th dynasty is the most stable of any period before the New Kingdom. The Ramses Papyrus canon (1290 BC) in Turin gives 213 years (1991–1778 BC). Manetho stated that it was based in Thebes, but from contemporary records it is clear that the first king moved its capital to a new city named "Amenemhat-itj-tawy" ("Amenemhat the Seizer of the Two Lands"), more simply called Itjtawy. The location of Itjtawy has not been found, but is thought to be near the Fayyum, probably near the royal graveyards at el-Lisht. Egyptologists consider this dynasty to be the apex of the Middle Kingdom.

Manetho Egyptian historian and priest from Ancient Egypt

Manetho is believed to have been an Egyptian priest from Sebennytos who lived in the Ptolemaic Kingdom in the early third century BC, during the Hellenistic period. He authored the Aegyptiaca in Greek, a major chronological source for the reigns of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. It is unclear if he wrote his work during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter or Ptolemy II Philadelphos, but no later than that of Ptolemy III Euergetes.

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 for long periods during the Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom eras. 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 where the city proper was situated; and the western bank, where a necropolis of large private and royal cemeteries and funerary complexes can be found.

Itjtawy City in Ancient Egypt

Itjtawy, is the as yet unidentified location of the royal city founded by Twelfth Dynasty Egyptian King Amenemhat I, who ruled from about 1991 BC to 1962 BC, during year 20 of his reign. It is located in the Faiyum region, and its cemeteries were located at Lisht, el-Lahun and Dahshur. The site of Itjtawy may have been chosen due to its proximity to the source of Asiatic incursions into Egypt to help prevent further attacks.

The order of its rulers is well known from several sources two lists recorded at temples in Abydos and one at Saqqara, as well as Manetho's work. A recorded date during the reign of Senusret III can be correlated to the Sothic cycle, [2] consequently many events during this dynasty can be frequently assigned to a specific year.

Abydos, Egypt City in ancient Egypt

Abydos is one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt, and also of the eighth nome in Upper Egypt. It is located about 11 kilometres west of the Nile at latitude 26° 10' N, near the modern Egyptian towns of el-'Araba el Madfuna and al-Balyana. In the ancient Egyptian language, the city was called Abdju. The English name Abydos comes from the Greek Ἄβυδος, a name borrowed by Greek geographers from the unrelated city of Abydos on the Hellespont.

Saqqara village in Giza Governorate, Egypt

Saqqara, also spelled Sakkara or Saccara in English, is a vast, ancient burial ground in Egypt, serving as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. Saqqara features numerous pyramids, including the world-famous Step pyramid of Djoser, sometimes referred to as the Step Tomb due to its rectangular base, as well as a number of mastabas. Located some 30 km (19 mi) south of modern-day Cairo, Saqqara covers an area of around 7 by 1.5 km.

Senusret III Pharaoh of Egypt

Khakaure Senusret III was a pharaoh of Egypt. He ruled from 1878 BC to 1839 BC during a time of great power and prosperity, and was the fifth king of the Twelfth Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom. He was a great pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty and is considered to be, perhaps, the most powerful Egyptian ruler of the dynasty. Consequently, he is regarded as one of the sources for the legend about Sesostris. His military campaigns gave rise to an era of peace and economic prosperity that reduced the power of regional rulers and led to a revival in craftwork, trade, and urban development. Senusret III was among the few Egyptian kings who were deified and honored with a cult during their own lifetime.

Amenemhat I and Senusret I

This dynasty was founded by Amenemhat I, who may have been vizier to the last pharaoh of Dynasty XI, Mentuhotep IV. His armies campaigned south as far as the Second Cataract of the Nile and into southern Canaan. He also reestablished diplomatic relations with the Canaanite state of Byblos and Hellenic rulers in the Aegean Sea. His son Senusret I followed his father's triumphs with an expedition south to the Third Cataract, but the next rulers were content to live in peace until the reign of Senusret III.

Amenemhat I ruler of Egypt

Amenemhat I also Amenemhet I and the hellenized form Ammenemes, was the first ruler of the Twelfth Dynasty, the dynasty considered to be the golden-age of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. He ruled from 1991 BC to 1962 BC.

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.

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.

Senusret III

Head of Senusret III with youthful features. 12th Dynasty, c. 1870 BC. State Museum of Egyptian Art, Munich Head of Senusret III with youthful features. 12th Dynasty, c. 1870 BC. State Museum of Egyptian Art, Munich.jpg
Head of Senusret III with youthful features. 12th Dynasty, c. 1870 BC. State Museum of Egyptian Art, Munich

Finding Nubia had grown restive under the previous rulers, Senusret sent punitive expeditions into that land; he also sent an expedition into the Levant. These military campaigns gave birth to a legend of a mighty warrior named Sesostris, a story retold by Manetho, Herodotus, and Diodorus Siculus. Manetho claimed the mythical Sesostris not only subdued the lands as had Senusret I, but also conquered parts of Canaan and had crossed over into Europe to annex Thrace. However, there are no records of the time, either in Egyptian or other contemporary writings that support these claims.

Nubia region along the Nile river, which is located in northern Sudan and southern Egypt

Nubia is a region along the Nile river encompassing the area between Aswan in southern Egypt and Khartoum in central Sudan. It was the seat of one of the earliest civilizations of ancient Africa, with a history that can be traced from at least 2500 BC onward with the Kerma culture. The latter was conquered by the New Kingdom of Egypt under pharaoh Thutmose I around 1500 BC. Nubia was home to several empires, most prominently the kingdom of Kush, which conquered Egypt during the 8th century BC during the reign of Piye and ruled the country as its Twenty-fifth Dynasty.

Levant Geographic and cultural region consisting of the eastern Mediterranean between Anatolia and Egypt

The Levant is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean, primarily in Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the eastern Mediterranean with its islands; that is, it included all of the countries along the Eastern Mediterranean shores, extending from Greece to Cyrenaica.

Sesostris

Sesostris was the name of a king of ancient Egypt who, according to Herodotus, led a military expedition into parts of Europe.

Amenemhat III

Upper part of a statue of Amenemhat III. 12th Dynasty, c. 1800 BC. State Museum of Egyptian Art, Munich Upper part of a statue of Amenemhat III. 12th Dynasty, c. 1800 BC. State Museum of Egyptian Art, Munich.jpg
Upper part of a statue of Amenemhat III. 12th Dynasty, c. 1800 BC. State Museum of Egyptian Art, Munich

Senusret's successor Amenemhat III reaffirmed his predecessor's foreign policy. However, after Amenemhat, the energies of this dynasty were largely spent, and the growing troubles of government were left to the dynasty's last ruler, Queen Sobekneferu, to resolve. Amenemhat was remembered for the mortuary temple at Hawara that he built, known to Herodotus, Diodorus, and Strabo as the "Labyrinth". Additionally, under his reign, the marshy Fayyum was first exploited.

Ancient Egyptian literature

Stele of Abkau Stele of Abkau.jpg
Stele of Abkau

It was during the twelfth dynasty that Ancient Egyptian literature was refined. Perhaps the best known work from this period is The Story of Sinuhe , of which several hundred papyrus copies have been recovered. Also written during this dynasty were a number of Didactic works, such as the Instructions of Amenemhat and The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant .

Pharaohs of Dynasties XII through XVIII are also credited with preserving for us some of the most remarkable Egyptian papyri:

See also

Related Research Articles

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.

Amenemhat III pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt

Amenemhat III, also spelled Amenemhet III, was a pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from c. 1860 BC to c. 1814 BC, the highest known date being found in a papyrus dated to Regnal Year 46, I Akhet 22 of his rule. His reign is regarded as the golden age of the Middle Kingdom. He may have had a long coregency with his father, Senusret III.

Menes Founder of Manethos 1st dynasty and unifier of Egypt

Menes was a pharaoh of the Early Dynastic Period of ancient Egypt credited by classical tradition with having united Upper and Lower Egypt and as the founder of the First Dynasty.

Middle Kingdom of Egypt period in the history of ancient Egypt between about 2000 BC and 1700 BC

The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is the period in the history of ancient Egypt following a period of political division known as the First Intermediate Period. The Middle Kingdom lasted from around 2050 BC to around 1710 BC, stretching from the reunification of Egypt under the reign of Mentuhotep II of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Twelfth Dynasty. The Eleventh Dynasty ruled from Thebes and the Twelfth Dynasty ruled from el-Lisht. Some scholars also include the Thirteenth Dynasty of Egypt wholly into this period as well, in which case the Middle Kingdom would finish around 1650, while others only include it until Merneferre Ay around 1700 BC, last king of this dynasty to be attested in both Upper and Lower Egypt. During the Middle Kingdom period, Osiris became the most important deity in popular religion. The Middle Kingdom was followed by the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt, another period of division that involved foreign invasions of the country by the Hyksos of West Asia.

History of ancient Egypt aspect of history

The history of ancient Egypt spans the period from the early prehistoric settlements of the northern Nile valley to the Roman conquest, in 30 BC. The Pharaonic Period is dated from the 32nd century BC, when Upper and Lower Egypt were unified, until the country fell under Macedonian rule, in 332 BC.

Apries Egyptian pharaoh

Apries is the name by which Herodotus and Diodorus designate Wahibre Haaibre, a pharaoh of Egypt, the fourth king of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt. He was equated with the Waphres of Manetho, who correctly records that he reigned for 19 years. Apries is also called Hophra in Jeremiah 44:30.

Sobekneferu Egyptian queen regnant

Sobekneferu reigned as pharaoh of Egypt after the death of her brother Amenemhat IV. She was the last ruler of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt and governed Egypt for almost four years from 1806 to 1802 BC. Her name means "the beauty of Sobek."

Amenemhat IV Pharaoh of Egypt

Amenemhat IV was the seventh and penultimate pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty of Egypt during the late Middle Kingdom period, ruling for over nine years in the late 19th century BC or the early 18th century BC.

Late Period of ancient Egypt time period of Ancient Egypt

The Late Period of ancient Egypt refers to the last flowering of native Egyptian rulers after the Third Intermediate Period in the 26th Saite Dynasty founded by Psamtik I, but includes the time of Achaemenid Persian rule over Egypt after the conquest by Cambyses II in 525 BC as well. The Late Period existed from 664 BC until 332 BC, following a period of foreign rule by the Nubian 25th dynasty and beginning with a short period of Neo-Assyrian suzerainty, with Psamtik I initially ruling as their vassal. The period ended with the conquests of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great and establishment of the Ptolemaic dynasty by his general Ptolemy I Soter, one of the Hellenistic diadochi from Macedon in northern Greece. With the Macedonian Greek conquest in the latter half of the 4th century BC, the age of Hellenistic Egypt began.

Egyptian chronology timeline

The majority of Egyptologists agree on the outline and many details of the chronology of Ancient Egypt. This scholarly consensus is the so-called Conventional Egyptian chronology, which places the beginning of the Old Kingdom in the 27th century BC, the beginning of the Middle Kingdom in the 21st century BC and the beginning of the New Kingdom in the mid-16th century BC.

Instructions of Amenemhat literary work

Instructions of Amenemhat is a short ancient Egyptian poem of the sebayt genre written during the early Middle Kingdom. The poem takes the form of an intensely dramatic monologue delivered by the ghost of the murdered 12th Dynasty pharaoh Amenemhat I to his son Senusret I. It describes the conspiracy that killed Amenemhat, and enjoins his son to trust no-one. The poem forms a kind of apologia of the deeds of the old king's reign. It ends with an exhortation to Senusret to ascend the throne and rule wisely in Amenemhat's stead.

<i>Loyalist Teaching</i>

The Loyalist Teaching, or The Loyalist Instructions, is an ancient Egyptian text of the sebayt ('teaching') genre. It survives in part from a stela inscription of the mid Twelfth dynasty of Egypt. The whole text can be found in papyrus scrolls of the New Kingdom period. Its authorship is uncertain, although it has been suggested that it was written by the vizier Kairsu of the early Twelfth dynasty. The text emphasizes the virtues of loyalty to the ruling pharaoh and the responsibilities one must maintain for the sake of society.

References

  1. Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. The American University in Cairo Press, London 2004
  2. Parker, Richard A., "The Sothic Dating of the Twelfth and Eighteenth Dynasties," in Studies in Honor of George R. Hughes, 1977



Preceded by
Eleventh Dynasty
Dynasty of Egypt
1991 − 1802 BCE
Succeeded by
Thirteenth Dynasty