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.

Contents

Rulers

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

Dynasty XII pharaohs of Egypt
NameHorus (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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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Sobekneferu Egyptian queen regnant

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Sesostris

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

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.

Senusret I pharaoh of Egypt

Senusret I also anglicized as Sesostris I and Senwosret I, was the second pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from 1971 BC to 1926 BC, and was one of the most powerful kings of this Dynasty. He was the son of Amenemhat I. Senusret I was known by his prenomen, Kheperkare, which means "the Ka of Re is created."

Senusret II pharaoh of Egypt

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Senusret III Pharaoh of Egypt

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Late Period of ancient Egypt time period of Ancient Egypt

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Lisht Place in Giza Governorate, Egypt

Lisht or el-Lisht is an Egyptian village located south of Cairo. It is the site of Middle Kingdom royal and elite burials, including two pyramids built by Amenemhat I and Senusret I. The two main pyramids were surrounded by smaller pyramids of members of the royal family, and many mastaba tombs of high officials and their family members. They were constructed throughout the Twelfth and Thirteenth Dynasties. The site is also known for the tomb of Senebtisi, found undisturbed and from which a set of jewelry has been recovered. The pyramid complex of Senusret I is the best preserved from this period. The coffins in the tomb of Sesenebnef present the earliest versions of the Book of the Dead.

Egyptian chronology timeline

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Hawara Village in Faiyum Governorate, Egypt

Hawara is an archaeological site of Ancient Egypt, south of the site of Crocodilopolis at the entrance to the depression of the Fayyum oasis. It is the site of a pyramid built by the Pharaoh Amenemhat III in the 19th 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