|1189 BC–1077 BC|
|Common languages||Egyptian language|
|Religion||Ancient Egyptian Religion|
|Historical era||Iron Age|
|Dynasties of Ancient Egypt|
All years are BC
See also: List of Pharaohs by Period and Dynasty
The Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt (notated Dynasty XX, alternatively 20th Dynasty or Dynasty 20) is the third and last dynasty of the Ancient Egyptian New Kingdom period, lasting from 1189 BC to 1077 BC. The 19th and 20th Dynasties furthermore together constitute an era known as the Ramesside period.
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 New Kingdom, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire, is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties of Egypt. Radiocarbon dating places the exact beginning of the New Kingdom between 1570 BC and 1544 BC. The New Kingdom followed the Second Intermediate Period and was succeeded by the Third Intermediate Period. It was Egypt's most prosperous time and marked the peak of its power.
Upon the death of the last pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, Queen Twosret, Egypt descended into a period of civil war, as attested by the Elephantine stela built by Setnakhte. The circumstances of Twosret's demise are uncertain, as she may have died peacefully during her reign or been overthrown by Setnakhte, who was likely already middle aged at the time.
Twosret was the last known ruler and the final Pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt.
Userkhaure-setepenre Setnakhte was the first pharaoh (1189 BC–1186 BC) of the Twentieth Dynasty of the New Kingdom of Egypt and the father of Ramesses III.
A consistent theme of this dynasty was the loss of pharaonic power to the High Priests of Amun. Horemheb, a pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty, had restored the traditional Ancient Egyptian religion and the priesthood of Amun after their abandonment by Akhenaten. With the High Priests now acting as intermediaries between the gods and the people, rather than the pharaoh, the position of pharaoh no longer commanded the same kind of power as it had in the past.
Horemheb was the last pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled for 14 years somewhere between 1319 BC and 1292 BC. He had no relation to the preceding royal family other than by marriage to Mutnedjmet, who is disputed to have been the daughter of his predecessor Ay; he is believed to have been of common birth.
The Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt is classified as the first dynasty of the New Kingdom of Egypt, the era in which ancient Egypt achieved the peak of its power. The Eighteenth Dynasty spanned the period from 1549/1550 to 1292 BC. This dynasty is also known as the Thutmosid Dynasty for the four pharaohs named Thutmose.
Ancient Egyptian religion was a complex system of polytheistic beliefs and rituals that formed an integral part of ancient Egyptian society. It centered on the Egyptians' interaction with many deities believed to be present in, and in control of, the world. Rituals such as prayer and offerings were provided to the gods to gain their favor. Formal religious practice centered on the pharaohs, the rulers of Egypt, believed to possess a divine power by virtue of their position. They acted as intermediaries between their people and the gods, and were obligated to sustain the gods through rituals and offerings so that they could maintain Ma'at, the order of the cosmos. The state dedicated enormous resources to religious rituals and to the construction of temples.
Setnakhte stabilized the situation in Egypt, and may have driven off an attempted invasion by the Sea Peoples. He ruled for about 4 years before being succeeded by his son Ramesses III.
The Sea Peoples are a purported seafaring confederation that attacked ancient Egypt and other regions of the East Mediterranean prior to and during the Late Bronze Age collapse. Following the creation of the concept in the nineteenth century, it became one of the most famous chapters of Egyptian history, given its connection with, in the words of Wilhelm Max Müller: "the most important questions of ethnography and the primitive history of classic nations". Their origins undocumented, the various Sea Peoples have been proposed to have originated from places that include western Asia Minor, the Aegean, the Mediterranean islands and Southern Europe. Although the archaeological inscriptions do not include reference to a migration, the Sea Peoples are conjectured to have sailed around the eastern Mediterranean and invaded Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Canaan, Cyprus and Egypt toward the end of the Bronze Age.
In Year 5 of his reign, Ramesses defeated a Libyan invasion of Egypt by the Libu, Meshwesh and Seped people through Marmarica, who had previously unsuccessfully invaded during the reign of Merneptah.
The Libu were an Ancient Libyan Berber large group of tribes, from which the name Libya derives.
The Meshwesh were an ancient Libyan tribe of Berber origin from beyond Cyrenaica. According to Egyptian hieroglyphs, this area is where the Libu and Tehenu inhabited.
Marmarica in ancient geography was a littoral area in Ancient Libya, located between Cyrenaica and Aegyptus. It corresponds to what is now the Libya and Egypt frontier, including the towns of Bomba, Timimi, Tobruk, Acroma, Bardiya, As-Salum, and Sidi Barrani. The territory stretched to the far south, encompassing the Siwa Oasis, which at the time was known for its sanctuary to the deity Amun. The eastern part of Marmarica, by some geographers considered a separate district between Marmarica and Aegyptus, was known as Libycus Nomus. In late antiquity, Marmarica was also known as Libya Inferior, while Cyrenaica was known as Libya Superior.
Ramesses III is most famous for decisively defeating a confederacy of the Sea Peoples, including the Denyen, Tjekker, Peleset, Shardana and Weshesh in the Battle of the Delta and the Battle of Djahy during Year 8 of his reign. Within the Papyrus Harris I, which attests these events in detail, Ramesses is said to have settled the defeated Sea Peoples in "strongholds", most likely located in Canaan, as his subjects.
The Denyen is purported to be one of the groups constituting the Sea Peoples.
The Tjeker or Tjekker were one of the Sea Peoples.
The Philistines were an ancient people who lived on the south coast of Canaan between the 12th century BC and 604 BC when they were exiled to Mesopotamia by King Nebuchadnezzar II. They are known for their biblical conflict with the Israelites. The primary source of information about the Philistines is the Hebrew Bible, but they are first attested to in reliefs at the Temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu, where they are called Peleset, accepted as cognate with Hebrew Peleshet; the parallel Assyrian term is Palastu, Pilišti, or Pilistu.
In Year 11 of Ramesses' reign, another coalition of Libyan invaders was defeated in Egypt.
Between regnal Year 12 and Year 29, a systematic program of reorganization of the varied cults of the Ancient Egyptian religion was undertaken, by creating and funding new cults and restoring temples.
In Year 29 of Ramesses' reign, the first recorded labor strike in human history took place, after food rations for the favored and elite royal tomb builders and artisans in the village of Set Maat (now known as Deir el-Medina), could not be provisioned.
The reign of Ramesses III is also known for a harem conspiracy in which Queen Tiye, one of his lesser wives, was implicated in an assassination attempt against the king, with the goal of putting her son Pentawer on the throne. The coup was unsuccessful, as while the king apparently died from the attempt on his life, his legitimate heir and son Ramesses IV succeeded him to the throne, arresting and putting approximately 30 conspirators to death.
At the start of his reign Ramesses IV started an enormous building program on the scale of Ramesses the Great's own projects. He doubled the number of work gangs at Set Maat to a total of 120 men and dispatched numerous expeditions to the stone quarries of Wadi Hammamat and the turquoise mines of the Sinai. One of the largest expeditions included 8,368 men, of which some 2,000 were soldiers.Ramesses expanded his father's Temple of Khonsu at Karnak and possibly began his own mortuary temple at a site near the Temple of Hatshepsut. Another smaller temple is associated with Ramesses north of Medinet Habu.
Ramesses IV saw issues with the provision of food rations to his workmen, similar to the situation under his father. Ramessesnakht, the High Priest of Amun at the time, began to accompany state officials as they went to pay the workmen their rations, suggesting that, at least in part, it was the Temple of Amun and not the Egyptian state that was responsible for their wages.[ citation needed ]
He also produced the Papyrus Harris I, the longest known papyrus from Ancient Egypt, measuring in at 41 meters long with 1,500 lines of text to celebrate the achievements of his father.
Ramesses V reigned for no more than 4 years, dying of smallpox in 1143 BC. The only monument attested to him is a stela near Gebel el-Silsila.[ citation needed ] The Turin Papyrus Cat. 2044 attests that during his reign the workmen of Set Maat were forced to periodically stop working on Ramesses' KV9 tomb out of "fear of the enemy", suggesting increasing instability in Egypt and an inability to defend the country from what are presumed to be Libyan raiding parties.
The Wilbour Papyrus is thought to date from Ramesses V's reign. The document reveals that most of the land in Egypt by that point was controlled by the Temple of Amun, and that the Temple had complete control over Egypt's finances.
Ramesses VI is best known for his tomb which, when built, inadvertently buried the tomb of pharaoh Tutankhamun underneath, keeping it safe from grave robbing until its discovery by Howard Carter in 1922.
Ramesses VII's only monument is his tomb, KV1.[ citation needed ]
Almost nothing is known about Ramesses VIII's reign, which lasted for a single year. He is only attested at Medinet Habu and through a few plaques. The only monument from his reign is his modest tomb, which was used for Mentuherkhepeshef, son of Ramesses IX, rather than Ramesses VIII himself.[ citation needed ]
During Year 16 and Year 17 of Ramesses IX's reign famous tomb robbery trials took place, as attested by the Abbott Papyrus. A careful examination by a vizierial commission was undertaken of ten royal tombs, four tombs of the Chantresses of the Estate of the Divine Adoratrix, and finally the tombs of the citizens of Thebes. Many of these were found to have been broken into, like the tomb of Pharaoh Sobekemsaf II, whose mummy had been stolen.
Ramesses IX's cartouche has been found at Gezer in Canaan, suggesting that Egypt at this time still had some degree of influence in the region.
Most of the building projects during Ramesses IX's reign were at Heliopolis.
Ramessex X's reign is poorly documented. The Necropolis Journal of Set Maat records the general idleness of the workmen at this time, due, at least in part, to the danger of Libyan raiders.
Ramesses XI was the last pharaoh of the 20th Dynasty. During his reign the position grew so weak that in the south the High Priests of Amun at Thebes became the de facto rulers of Upper Egypt, while Smendes controlled Lower Egypt even before Ramesses XI's death. Smendes would eventually found the Twenty-First dynasty at Tanis.
As happened under the earlier Nineteenth Dynasty, this dynasty struggled under the effects of the bickering between the heirs of Ramesses III. For instance, three different sons of Ramesses III are known to have assumed power as Ramesses IV, Ramesses VI and Ramesses VIII respectively. However, at this time Egypt was also increasingly beset by a series of droughts, below-normal flooding levels of the Nile, famine, civil unrest and official corruption – all of which would limit the managerial abilities of any king.
The pharaohs of the 20th Dynasty ruled for approximately 120 years: from c. 1187 to 1064 BC. The dates and names in the table are mostly taken from "Chronological Table for the Dynastic Period" in Erik Hornung, Rolf Krauss & David Warburton (editors), Ancient Egyptian Chronology (Handbook of Oriental Studies), Brill, 2006. Many of the pharaohs were buried in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes (designated KV). More information can be found on the Theban Mapping Project website.
|Pharaoh||Image||Throne Name / Prenomen||Reign||Burial||Consort(s)||Comments|
|Setnakhte||Userkhaure-setepenre||1189 – 1186 BC||KV14||Tiy-merenese||May have usurped the throne from his predecessor, Twosret.|
|Ramesses III||Usermaatre-Meryamun||1186 – 1155 BC||KV11|| Iset Ta-Hemdjert |
|Ramesses IV||Usermaatre Setepenamun, later Heqamaatre Setepenamun||1155 – 1149 BC||KV2||Duatentopet|
|Ramesses V / Amenhirkhepeshef I||Usermaatre Sekheperenre||1149 – 1145 BC||KV9|| Henutwati |
|Ramesses VI / Amenhirkhepeshef II||Nebmaatre Meryamun||1145 – 1137 BC||KV9||Nubkhesbed|
|Ramesses VII / Itamun||Usermaatre Setepenre Meryamun||1136 – 1129 BC||KV1|
|Ramesses VIII / Sethhirkhepeshef||Usermaatre-Akhenamun||1130 – 1129 BC|
|Ramesses IX / Khaemwaset I||Neferkare Setepenre||1129 – 1111 BC||KV6||Baketwernel|
|Ramesses X / Amenhirkhepeshef III||Khepermaatre Setepenre||1111 – 1107 BC||KV18||Tyti|
|Ramesses XI / Khaemwaset II||Menmaatre Setpenptah||1107 – 1077 BC||KV4||Tentamun|
The Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt was the last of the New Kingdom of Egypt. The familial relationships are unclear, especially towards the end of the dynasty.
|Nubkhesbed||Duatentopet||Amenhirkhopshef||Khaemwaset E||Parahiremenef||Mentuhirkopshef B||Takhat B|
Pharaoh is a historical novel by Bolesław Prus, set in Egypt at the end of the Twentieth Dynasty, which adds two fictional rulers: Ramesses XII and Ramesses XIII. It has been adapted into a film of the same title.
Usermaatre Ramesses III was the second Pharaoh of the Twentieth Dynasty in Ancient Egypt. He is thought to have reigned from 1186 to 1155 BC and is considered to be the last great monarch of the New Kingdom to wield any substantial authority over Egypt. His long reign saw the decline of Egyptian political and economic power, linked to a series of invasions and internal economic problems that also plagued pharaohs before him. He has also been described as "warrior Pharaoh" due to his strong military strategies. He led the way by defeating the invaders known as "the Sea People", who had caused destruction in other civilizations and empires. He was able to save Egypt from collapsing at the time when many other empires fell during the Late Bronze Age; however, the damage of the invasions took a toll on Egypt.
Articles related to Egypt include:
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.
Neferkare Ramesses IX was the eighth pharaoh of the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt. He was the third longest serving king of this Dynasty after Ramesses III and Ramesses XI. He is now believed to have assumed the throne on I Akhet day 21 based on evidence presented by Jürgen von Beckerath in a 1984 GM article. According to Papyrus Turin 1932+1939, Ramesses IX enjoyed a reign of 18 years and 4 months and died in his 19th Year in the first month of Peret between day 17 and 27. His throne name, Neferkare Setepenre, means "Beautiful Is The Soul of Re, Chosen of Re." Ramesses IX is believed to be the son of Mentuherkhepeshef, a son of Ramesses III since Montuherkhopshef's wife, the lady Takhat bears the prominent title of King's Mother on the walls of tomb KV10 which she usurped and reused in the late 20th dynasty; no other 20th dynasty king is known to have had a mother with this name. Ramesses IX was, therefore, probably a grandson of Ramesses III.
Heqamaatre Ramesses IV was the third pharaoh of the Twentieth Dynasty of the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. His name prior to assuming the crown was Amonhirkhopshef. He was the fifth son of Ramesses III and was appointed to the position of crown prince by the twenty-second year of his father's reign when all four of his elder brothers predeceased him. His promotion to crown prince:
is suggested by his appearance in a scene of the festival of Min at the Ramesses III temple at Karnak, which may have been completed by Year 22 [of his father's reign].
Usermare Akhenamun Ramesses VIII or Ramesses Sethherkhepshef Meryamun, was the seventh Pharaoh of the Twentieth Dynasty of the New Kingdom of Egypt and was one of the last surviving sons of Ramesses III.
Khepermaatre Ramesses X was the ninth pharaoh of the 20th dynasty of Ancient Egypt. His birth name was Amonhirkhepeshef. His prenomen or throne name, Khepermaatre, means "The Justice of Re Abides."
Menmaatre Ramesses XI reigned from 1107 BC to 1078 BC or 1077 BC and was the tenth and final pharaoh of the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt and as such, was the last king of the New Kingdom period. He ruled Egypt for at least 29 years although some Egyptologists think he could have ruled for as long as 30. The latter figure would be up to 2 years beyond this king's highest known date of Year 10 of the Whm Mswt era or Year 28 of his reign. One scholar, Ad Thijs, has suggested that Ramesses XI could even have reigned as long as 33 years.
Usermaatre Sekheperenre Ramesses V was the fourth pharaoh of the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt and was the son of Ramesses IV and Queen Duatentopet.
Ramesses VI Nebmaatre-Meryamun was the fifth pharaoh of the Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt. He reigned for about eight years in the mid-to-late 12th century BC and was a son of Ramesses III and queen Iset Ta-Hemdjert. As a prince, he was known as Ramesses Amunherkhepeshef and held the titles of royal scribe and cavalry general. He was succeeded by his son, Ramesses VII Itamun, whom he had fathered with queen Nubkhesbed.
Amenmesse was the fifth pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty in Ancient Egypt, possibly the son of Merneptah and Queen Takhat. Others consider him to be one of the innumerable sons of Ramesses II. Very little is known about this pharaoh, who ruled Egypt for only three to four years. Various Egyptologists date his reign between 1202 BC–1199 BC or 1203 BC–1200 BC with others giving an accession date of 1200 BC. Amenmesse means "born of or fashioned by Amun" in Egyptian. Additionally, his nomen can be found with the epithet Heqa-waset, which means "Ruler of Thebes". His royal name was Menmire Setepenre.
Bay, also called Ramesse Khamenteru, was an important Asiatic official in ancient Egypt, who rose to prominence and high office under Seti II Userkheperure Setepenre and later became an influential powerbroker in the closing stages of the 19th Dynasty. He was generally identified with Irsu mentioned in the Great Harris Papyrus, although no contemporary source connects Bay with Irsu.
Psusennes I was the third pharaoh of the 21st Dynasty who ruled from Tanis between 1047–1001 BC. Psusennes is the Greek version of his original name Pasibkhanu or Pasebakhaenniut, which means "The Star Appearing in the City" while his throne name, Akheperre Setepenamun, translates as "Great are the Manifestations of Ra, chosen of Amun." He was the son of Pinedjem I and Henuttawy, Ramesses XI's daughter by Tentamun. He married his sister Mutnedjmet.
Hedjkheperre Setepenre Smendes was the founder of the Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt and succeeded to the throne after burying Ramesses XI in Lower Egypt – territory which he controlled. His Egyptian nomen or birth name was actually Nesbanebdjed meaning "He of the Ram, Lord of Mendes", but it was translated into Greek as Smendes by later classical writers such as Josephus and Sextus Africanus. While Smendes' precise origins remain a mystery, he is thought to have been a powerful governor in Lower Egypt during the Renaissance era of Ramesses XI and his base of power was Tanis.
Pinedjem II was a High Priest of Amun at Thebes in Ancient Egypt from 990 BC to 969 BC and was the de facto ruler of the south of the country. He was married to his sister Isetemkheb D and also to his niece Nesikhons, the daughter of his brother Smendes II. He succeeded Smendes II, who had a short rule.
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.
Articles related to ancient Egypt include:
| Dynasty of Egypt |