Narmer was an ancient Egyptian king of the Early Dynastic Period. He was the successor to the Protodynastic king Ka, or Scorpion; some consider him the unifier of Egypt and founder of the First Dynasty, in turn the first king of a unified Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, exhibits a limestone head of an early Egyptian king which the Museum identifies as being a depiction of Narmer on the basis of the similarity to the head of Narmer on the Narmer Palette; this has not been accepted. According to Trope, Quirke & Lacovara, the suggestion that it is Narmer is "unlikely". Alternatively, they suggest the Fourth Dynasty king Khufu. Stevenson identifies it as Khufu. Charron identifies it as a king of the Thinite Period, but does not believe it can be assigned to any particular king. Wilkinson describes it as "probably Second Dynasty". Narmer's identity is the subject of ongoing debates, although the dominant opinion among Egyptologists identifies Narmer with the pharaoh Menes, renowned in the ancient Egyptian written records as the first king, the unifier of Ancient Egypt.
Narmer's identification with Menes is based on the Narmer Palette and the two necropolis seals from the Umm el-Qa'ab cemetery of Abydos that show him as the first king of the First Dynasty. The date given for the beginning of Narmer's reign is c. 3100 BC. Other mainstream estimates, using both the historical method and radiocarbon dating, are in the range c. 3273–2987 BC. The complete spelling of Narmer's name consists of the hieroglyphs for a catfish and a chisel, hence the reading "Narmer"; this word is sometimes translated as "raging catfish". However, there is no consensus on this reading. Other translations include ″angry, fierceful, furious, evil, menacing″, or "stinging catfish"; some scholars have taken different approaches to reading the name that do not include "catfish" in the name at all, but these approaches have not been accepted. Rather than incorporating both hieroglyphs, Narmer's name is shown in an abbreviated form with just the catfish symbol, sometimes stylized in some cases, represented by just a horizontal line.
This simplified spelling appears to be related to the formality of the context. In every case that a serekh is shown on a work of stone, or an official seal impression, it has both symbols. But, in most cases, where the name is shown on a piece of pottery or a rock inscription, just the catfish, or a simplified version of it appears. Two alternative spellings of Narmer's name have been found. On a mud sealing from Tarkhan, the symbol for the ṯꜣj-bird has been added to the two symbols for ″Narmer″ within the serekh; this has been interpreted as meaning "Narmer the masculine". Godron suggested that the extra sign is not part of the name, but was put inside the serekh for compositional convenience. In addition, two necropolis seals from Abydos show the name in a unique way: While the chisel is shown conventionally where the catfish would be expected, there is a symbol, interpreted by several scholars as an animal skin. According to Dreyer, it is a catfish with a bull's tail, similar to the image of Narmer on the Narmer Palette in which he is shown wearing a bull's tail as a symbol of power.
Although interrelated, the questions of "who was Menes?" and "who unified Egypt?" are two separate issues. Narmer is credited with the unification of Egypt by means of the conquest of Lower Egypt by Upper Egypt. While Menes is traditionally considered the first king of Ancient Egypt, Narmer has been identified by the majority of Egyptologists as the same person as Menes. Although vigorously debated, the predominant opinion is; the issue is confusing because "Narmer" is a Horus name while "Menes" is a Bee name. All of the King Lists which began to appear in the New Kingdom era list the personal names of the kings, all begin with Menes, or begin with divine and/or semi-divine rulers, with Menes as the first "human king"; the difficulty is aligning the contemporary archaeological evidence which lists Horus Names with the King Lists that list personal names. Two documents have been put forward as proof either that Narmer was Menes or alternatively Hor-Aha was Menes; the first is the "Naqada Label" which shows a serekh of Hor-Aha next to an enclosure inside of which are symbols that have been interpreted by some scholars as the name "Menes".
The second is the seal impression from Abydos that alternates between a serekh of Narmer and the chessboard symbol, "mn", interpreted as an abbreviation of Menes. Arguments have been made with regard to each of these documents in favour of Narmer or Hor-Aha being Menes, but in neither case, are the arguments conclusive; the second document, the seal impression from Abydos, shows the serekh of Narmer alternating with the gameboard sign sign, together with its phonetic compliment, the n sign, always shown when the full name of Menes is written, again representing the name “Menes”. At first glance, this would seem to be strong evidence. However, based on an analysis of other early First Dynasty seal impressions, which contain the name of one or more princes, the seal impression has been interpreted by other scholars as showing the name of a prince of Narmer named Menes, hence Menes wa
Bat was a cow goddess in Egyptian mythology depicted as a human face with cow ears and horns. By the time of the Middle Kingdom, her identity and attributes were subsumed within the goddess Hathor; the worship of Bat dates to earliest times and may have its origins in Late Paleolithic cattle herding. Bat was the chief goddess of Seshesh, otherwise known as Hu or Diospolis Parva, the 7th nome of Upper Egypt; the epithet Bat may be linked to the word ba with the feminine suffix't'. A person's ba equates to his or her personality or emanation and is translated as'soul'. Although it was rare for Bat to be depicted in painting or sculpture, some notable artifacts include depictions of the goddess in bovine form. In other instances she was pictured as a celestial bovine creature surrounded by stars or as a human woman. More Bat was depicted on amulets, with a human face, but with bovine features, such as the ears of a cow and the inward-curving horns of the type of cattle first herded by the Egyptians.
Bat became associated with the sistrum, the center of her cult was known as the "Mansion of the Sistrum". The sistrum is a musical instrument, shaped like an ankh, one of the most used sacred instruments in ancient Egyptian temples; some instruments would include depictions of Bat, with her head and neck as the handle and base and rattles placed between her horns. The imagery is repeated on each side, having two faces, as mentioned in the Pyramid Texts:. I am Praise; the imagery of Bat as a divine cow was remarkably similar to that of Hathor, a parallel goddess from Lower Egypt. In two dimensional images, both goddesses are depicted straight on, facing the onlooker and not in profile in accordance with the usual Egyptian convention; the significant difference in their depictions is that Bat's horns curve inward and Hathor's curve outward slightly. It is possible. Hathor's cult center was in the 6th Nome of Upper Egypt, adjacent to the 7th where Bat was the cow goddess, which may indicate that they were once the same goddess in Predynastic Egypt.
By the Middle Kingdom, the cult of Hathor had again absorbed that of Bat in a manner similar to other mergers in the Egyptian pantheon. The goddess Bat - discussion on Philae The goddess Bat - discussion on Egyptian Myths
New Kingdom of Egypt
The New Kingdom 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, 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 marked the peak of its power; the part of this period, under the 19th and 20th Dynasties, is known as the Ramesside period. It is named after the 11 Pharaohs that took the name Ramesses, after Ramesses I, the founder of the 19th Dynasty; as a result of the foreign rule of the Hyksos during the Second Intermediate Period, the New Kingdom saw Egypt attempt to create a buffer between the Levant and Egypt proper, during this time Egypt attained its greatest territorial extent. In response to successful 17th century attacks during the Second Intermediate Period by the powerful Kingdom of Kush, the rulers of the New Kingdom felt compelled to expand far south into Nubia and to hold wide territories in the Near East.
In the north, Egyptian armies fought Hittite armies for control of modern-day Syria. The 18th Dynasty included some of Egypt's most famous Pharaohs, including Ahmose I, Thutmose III, Amenhotep III, Akhenaten and Tutankhamun. Queen Hatshepsut concentrated on expanding Egypt's external trade by sending a commercial expedition to the land of Punt. Thutmose III expanded Egypt's army and wielded it with great success to consolidate the empire created by his predecessors; this resulted in a peak in Egypt's power and wealth during the reign of Amenhotep III. During the reign of Thutmose III, the term Pharaoh referring to the king's palace, became a form of address for the person, king. One of the best-known 18th Dynasty pharaohs is Amenhotep IV, who changed his name to Akhenaten in honor of the Aten, a representation of the Egyptian god, Ra, his exclusive worship of the Aten is interpreted as history's first instance of monotheism. Akhenaten's wife, contributed a great deal to his new take on the Egyptian religion.
Nefertiti was bold enough to perform rituals to Aten. Akhenaten's religious fervor is cited as the reason why he and his wife were subsequently written out of Egyptian history. Under his reign, in the 14th century BC, Egyptian art flourished in a distinctive new style. By the end of the 18th Dynasty, Egypt's status had changed radically. Aided by Akhenaten's apparent lack of interest in international affairs, the Hittites had extended their influence into Phoenicia and Canaan to become a major power in international politics — a power that both Seti I and his son Ramesses II would confront during the 19th Dynasty; the Nineteenth Dynasty was founded by the Vizier Ramesses I, whom the last ruler of the 18th dynasty, Pharaoh Horemheb, had chosen as his successor. His brief reign marked a transition period between the reign of Horemheb and the powerful pharaohs of this dynasty, in particular, his son Seti I and grandson Ramesses II, who would bring Egypt to new heights of imperial power. Ramesses II sought to recover territories in the Levant, held by the 18th Dynasty.
His campaigns of reconquest culminated in the Battle of Kadesh, where he led Egyptian armies against those of the Hittite king Muwatalli II. Ramesses was caught in history's first recorded military ambush, although he was able to rally his troops and turn the tide of battle against the Hittites thanks to the arrival of the Ne'arin; the outcome of the battle was undecided, with both sides claiming victory at their home front, resulting in a peace treaty between the two nations. Egypt was able to obtain stability under Ramesses' rule of over half a century, his immediate successors continued the military campaigns, although an troubled court—which at one point put a usurper on the throne—made it difficult for a pharaoh to retain control of the territories. Ramesses II was famed for the huge number of children he sired by his various wives and concubines; the last "great" pharaoh from the New Kingdom is considered to be Ramesses III, a 20th Dynasty pharaoh who reigned several decades after Ramesses II.
In the eighth year of his reign the Sea Peoples invaded Egypt by sea. Ramesses III defeated them in two great sea battles, he incorporated them as subject peoples and settled them in Southern Canaan although there is evidence that they forced their way into Canaan. Their presence in Canaan may have contributed to the formation of new states, such as Philistia, in this region after the collapse of the Egyptian Empire, he was compelled to fight invading Libyan tribesmen in two major campaigns in Egypt's Western Delta in his sixth year and eleventh year respectively. The heavy cost of this warfare drained Egypt's treasury and contributed to the gradual decline of the Egyptian Empire in Asia; the severity of the difficulties is indicated by the fact that the first known labor strike in recorded history occurred during the 29th year of Ramesses III's reign, when the food rations for Egypt's favored and elite royal tomb-builders and artisans in the village of Deir el Medina could not be provisioned.
Air pollutants prevented much sunlight from reaching the ground and arrested global tree growth for two full decades until 1140 BC. On
The Ptolemaic Kingdom was a Hellenistic kingdom based in ancient Egypt. It was ruled by the Ptolemaic dynasty, which started with Ptolemy I Soter's accession after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and which ended with the death of Cleopatra and the Roman conquest in 30 BC; the Ptolemaic Kingdom was founded in 305 BC by Ptolemy I Soter, a diadochus from Macedon in northern Greece who declared himself pharaoh of Egypt and created a powerful Macedonian Greek dynasty that ruled an area stretching from southern Syria to Cyrene and south to Nubia. Scholars argue that the kingdom was founded in 304 BC because of different use of calendars: Ptolemy crowned himself in 304 BC on the ancient Egyptian calendar, but in 305 BC on the ancient Macedonian calendar. Alexandria, a Greek polis founded by Alexander the Great, became the capital city and a major center of Greek culture and trade. To gain recognition by the native Egyptian populace, the Ptolemies named themselves as pharaohs; the Ptolemies took on Egyptian traditions by marrying their siblings per the Osiris myth, had themselves portrayed on public monuments in Egyptian style and dress, participated in Egyptian religious life.
The Ptolemies were involved in foreign and civil wars that led to the decline of the kingdom and its final conquest by Rome. Their rivalry with the neighboring Seleucid Empire of West Asia led to a series of Syrian Wars in which both powers jockeyed for control of the Levant. Hellenistic culture continued to thrive in Egypt throughout the Roman and Byzantine periods until the Muslim conquest; the era of Ptolemaic reign in Egypt is one of the best-documented time periods of the Hellenistic period. In 332 BC, Alexander the Great, King of Macedon, invaded Egypt, which at the time was a satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire known as the Thirty-first Dynasty under Emperor Artaxerxes III, he visited Memphis, traveled to the oracle of Amun at the Siwa Oasis. The oracle declared him to be the son of Amun. Alexander conciliated the Egyptians by the respect he showed for their religion, but he appointed Macedonians to all the senior posts in the country, founded a new Greek city, Alexandria, to be the new capital.
The wealth of Egypt could now be harnessed for Alexander's conquest of the rest of the Achaemenid Empire. Early in 331 BC he was ready to depart, led his forces away to Phoenicia, he left Cleomenes of Naucratis. Alexander never returned to Egypt. Following Alexander's death in Babylon in 323 BC, a succession crisis erupted among his generals. Perdiccas ruled the empire as regent for Alexander's half-brother Arrhidaeus, who became Philip III of Macedon, as regent for both Philip III and Alexander's infant son Alexander IV of Macedon, who had not been born at the time of his father's death. Perdiccas appointed one of Alexander's closest companions, to be satrap of Egypt. Ptolemy ruled Egypt from 323 BC, nominally in the name of the joint kings Philip III and Alexander IV. However, as Alexander the Great's empire disintegrated, Ptolemy soon established himself as ruler in his own right. Ptolemy defended Egypt against an invasion by Perdiccas in 321 BC, consolidated his position in Egypt and the surrounding areas during the Wars of the Diadochi.
In 305 BC, Ptolemy took the title of King. As Ptolemy I Soter, he founded the Ptolemaic dynasty, to rule Egypt for nearly 300 years. All the male rulers of the dynasty took the name Ptolemy, while princesses and queens preferred the names Cleopatra, Arsinoë and Berenice; because the Ptolemaic kings adopted the Egyptian custom of marrying their sisters, many of the kings ruled jointly with their spouses, who were of the royal house. This custom made Ptolemaic politics confusingly incestuous, the Ptolemies were feeble; the only Ptolemaic Queens to rule on their own were Berenice III and Berenice IV. Cleopatra V did co-rule, but it was with another female, Berenice IV. Cleopatra VII co-ruled with Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator, Ptolemy XIV, Ptolemy XV, but she ruled Egypt alone; the early Ptolemies did not disturb the customs of the Egyptians. They built magnificent new temples for the Egyptian gods and soon adopted the outward display of the Pharaohs of old. During the reign of Ptolemies II and III, thousands of Macedonian veterans were rewarded with grants of farm lands, Macedonians were planted in colonies and garrisons or settled themselves in the villages throughout the country.
Upper Egypt, farthest from the centre of government, was less affected though Ptolemy I established the Greek colony of Ptolemais Hermiou to be its capital. But within a century, Greek influence had spread through the country and intermarriage had produced a large Greco-Egyptian educated class; the Greeks always remained a privileged minority in Ptolemaic Egypt. They lived under Greek law, received a Greek education, were tried in Greek courts, were citizens of Greek cities; the first part of Ptolemy I's reign was dominated by the Wars of the Diadochi between the various successor states to the empire of Alexander. His first objective was to hold his position in Egypt securely, secondly to increase his domain. Within a few years he had gained control of Libya, Coele-Syria, Cyprus; when Antigonus, ruler of Syria, tried to reunite Alexander's empire, Ptolemy joined the coalition against him. In 312 BC, allied with Seleucus, th
Thinis or This was the capital city of the first dynasties of ancient Egypt. Thinis is, as yet, undiscovered but well attested to by ancient writers, including the classical historian Manetho, who cites it as the centre of the Thinite Confederacy, a tribal confederation whose leader, united Egypt and was its first pharaoh. Thinis began a steep decline in importance from Dynasty III, when the capital was relocated to Memphis which thought to be the first true and stable capital after unification of old Egypt by Menes, this is despite of the power of the southern city Thinis and its kings, its location on the border of the competing Heracleopolitan and Theban dynasties of the First Intermediate Period, its proximity to certain oases of possible military importance, ensured Thinis some continued significance in the Old and New Kingdoms. This was a brief respite and Thinis lost its position as a regional administrative centre by the Roman period. Due to its ancient heritage, Thinis remained a significant religious centre, housing the tomb and mummy of the regional deity.
In ancient Egyptian religious cosmology, as seen in the Book of the Dead, Thinis played a role as a mythical place in heaven. Although the precise location of Thinis is unknown, mainstream Egyptological consensus places it in the vicinity of ancient Abydos and modern Girga; the name Thinis is derived from Manetho's use of the adjective Thinite to describe the pharaoh Menes. Although the corresponding Thinis does not appear in Greek, it is demanded by the Egyptian original and is the more popular name among Egyptologists. Suggested is This. In correcting a passage of Hellanicus, Jörgen Zoega amended Τίνδων ὄνομα to Θὶν δὲ ᾧ ὄνομα. Maspero found that this revealed the name Thinis and from the same passage, a key geographic indicator: επιποταμίη. Maspero used this additional detail to support the theory, which included among its followers Jean-François Champollion and Nestor L'Hôte, locating Thinis at modern-day Girga or a neighbouring town El-Birba. Other proposals for Thinis' location have lost favour at the expense of the Girga-Birba theory: Auguste Mariette, founder director of the Egyptian Museum, suggested Kom el-Sultan.
Mainstream Egyptological consensus continues to locate Thinis at or near to either Girga, or El-Birba. Although the archaeological site of Thinis has never been located, evidence of population concentration in the Abydos-Thinis region dates from the fourth millennium BCE. Thinis is cited as the earliest royal burial-site in Egypt. At an early point, the city of Abydos resigned its political rank to Thinis, although Abydos would continue to enjoy supreme religious importance, its history and functions cannot be understood without reference to Thinis; the role of Thinis as centre of the Thinite Confederacy and into the Early Dynastic Period is taken from Manetho, according to Wilkinson, seems to be confirmed by Dynasty I and late Dynasty II royal tombs at Abydos, the principal regional necropolis. Such importance seems to have been short-lived: the national political role of Thinis ended at the beginning of Dynasty III, when Memphis became the chief religious and political centre. Nonetheless, Thinis retained its regional significance: during Dynasty V, it was the probable seat of the "Overseer of Upper Egypt", an administrative official with responsibility for the Nile Valley south of the Delta, throughout antiquity it was the eponymous capital of nome VIII of Upper Egypt and seat of its nomarch.
During the wars of the First Intermediate Period, nomarch of Hierakonpolis, demanded recognition of his suzerainty from the "overseer of Upper Egypt" at Thinis, although the city walls, cited in Ankhtifi's autobiography, seem to have left Ankhtifi capable of only a show of force, he appears to have purchased Thinis' neutrality with grain. Following Ankhtifi's death, Thinis was the northernmost nome to fall under the sway of Intef II, pharaoh of the Theban Dynasty XI. Progress north by the Theban armies was halted by Kheti III, pharaoh of the Heracleopolitan Dynasty IX, in a battle at Thinis itself, recorded in the Teaching for King Merykara, throughout Intef II's years, his war against the Heracleopolitans and their allies, the nomarchs of Assyut, was waged in the land between Thinis and Assyut; as Thebes began to take the upper hand, Mentuhotep II, on his campaign of reunification, brought Thinis, in revolt at Heracleopolitan instigation and with the support of an army under the command of the nomarch of Assyut under his control.
During the Second Intermediate Period, Thinis may have experienced resurgent autonomy: Ryholt proposes that the Abydos dynasty of kings might better be called the "Thinite Dynasty" and that, in any event, their royal seat was at Thinis a nome capital. The city's steady decline appears to have halted during Dynasty XVIII, when Thinis enjoyed renewed prominence, based on its geographical connection to various oases of possible military importance; the office of mayor of Thinis was occupied by several notable New Kingdom figures: Satepihu, who participated in the construction of an obelisk for Hatshepsut and was himself subject of an exemplary block statue.
Old Kingdom of Egypt
In ancient Egyptian history, the Old Kingdom is the period spanning c. 2686–2181 BC. It is known as the "Age of the Pyramids" or the "Age of the Pyramid Builders", as it encompasses the reigns of the great pyramid builders of the Fourth Dynasty—King Sneferu perfected the art of pyramid-building and the pyramids of Giza were constructed under the kings Khufu and Menkaure. Egypt attained its first sustained peak of civilization—the first of three so-called "Kingdom" periods which mark the high points of civilization in the lower Nile Valley; the term itself was coined by 18th-century historians, the distinction between the Early Dynastic Period and Old Kingdom is not one which would have been recognized by Ancient Egyptians. Not only was the last king of the Early Dynastic Period related to the first two kings of the Old Kingdom, but the "capital"—the royal residence—remained at Ineb-Hedg, the Ancient Egyptian name for Memphis; the basic justification for a separation between the two periods is the revolutionary change in architecture accompanied by the effects on Egyptian society and economy of large-scale building projects.
The Old Kingdom is most regarded as the period from the Third Dynasty through the Sixth Dynasty. Information from the Fourth through Sixth Dynasties of Egypt is scarce, historians regard the history of the era as "written in stone" and architectural in that it is through the monuments and their inscriptions that scholars have been able to construct a history. Egyptologists include the Memphite Seventh and Eighth Dynasties in the Old Kingdom as a continuation of the administration centralized at Memphis. While the Old Kingdom was a period of internal security and prosperity, it was followed by a period of disunity and relative cultural decline referred to by Egyptologists as the First Intermediate Period. During the Old Kingdom, the king of Egypt became a living god who ruled and could demand the services and wealth of his subjects. Under King Djoser, the first king of the Third Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, the royal capital of Egypt was moved to Memphis, where Djoser established his court. A new era of building was initiated at Saqqara under his reign.
King Djoser's architect, Imhotep, is credited with the development of building with stone and with the conception of the new architectural form—the step pyramid. The Old Kingdom is best known for the large number of pyramids constructed at this time as burial places for Egypt's kings; the first King of the Old Kingdom was Djoser of the Third Dynasty, who ordered the construction of a pyramid in Memphis' necropolis, Saqqara. An important person during the reign of Djoser was his vizier, Imhotep, it was in this era that independent ancient Egyptian states became known as nomes, under the rule of the king. The former rulers were forced to assume the role of governors or otherwise work in tax collection. Egyptians in this era worshiped their Pharaoh as a god, believing that he ensured the annual flooding of the Nile, necessary for their crops. Egyptian views on the nature of time during this period held that the universe worked in cycles, the Pharaoh on earth worked to ensure the stability of those cycles.
They perceived themselves as a specially selected people. The Old Kingdom and its royal power reached a zenith under the Fourth Dynasty, which began with Sneferu. After Djoser, Pharaoh Snefru was the next great pyramid builder. Snefru commissioned the building of three pyramids; the first is called the Meidum pyramid, named for its location in Egypt. Snefru abandoned it; the Meidum pyramid was the first to have an above-ground burial chamber. Using more stones than any other Pharaoh, he built the three pyramids: a now collapsed pyramid in Meidum, the Bent Pyramid at Dahshur, the Red Pyramid, at North Dahshur. However, the full development of the pyramid style of building was reached not at Saqqara, but during the building of'The Great Pyramids' at Giza. Sneferu was succeeded by his son, who built the Great Pyramid of Giza. After Khufu's death, his sons Djedefra and Khafra may have quarrelled; the latter built the Sphinx in Giza. Recent reexamination of evidence has led Egyptologist Vassil Dobrev to propose that the Sphinx had been built by Djedefra as a monument to his father Khufu.
Alternatively, the Sphinx has been proposed to Khufu himself. There were military expeditions into Canaan and Nubia, with Egyptian influence reaching up the Nile into what is today the Sudan; the kings of the Fourth Dynasty were king Menkaure, who built the smallest pyramid in Giza and Djedefptah. The Fifth Dynasty began with Userkaf and was marked by the growing importance of the cult of sun god Ra. Fewer efforts were devoted to the construction of pyramid complexes than during the Fourth Dynasty and more to the construction of sun temples in Abusir. Userkaf was succeeded by his son Sahure. Sahure was in turn succeeded by Neferirkare Kakai, Sahure's son. Neferirkare introduced the prenomen in the royal titulary, he was followed by two short-lived kings, his son Neferefre and Shepseskare, the latter of uncertain parentage. Shepseskare may have been deposed by Neferefre's brother Nyuserre Ini, a long lived pharaoh who built extensively in Abusir and rest
Second Intermediate Period of Egypt
The Second Intermediate Period marks a period when Ancient Egypt fell into disarray for a second time, between the end of the Middle Kingdom and the start of the New Kingdom. It is best known as the period when the Hyksos people of West Asia made their appearance in Egypt and whose reign comprised the 15th dynasty founded by Salitis; the 12th Dynasty of Egypt came to an end at the end of the 19th century BC with the death of Queen Sobekneferu. She had no heirs, causing the 12th dynasty to come to a sudden end, with it, the Golden Age of the Middle Kingdom. Retaining the seat of the 12th dynasty, the 13th dynasty ruled from Itjtawy near Memphis and Lisht, just south of the apex of the Nile Delta; the 13th dynasty is notable for the accession of the first formally recognised Semitic-speaking king, Khendjer. The 13th Dynasty proved unable to hold on to the entire territory of Egypt however, a provincial ruling family of Western Asian descent in Avaris, located in the marshes of the eastern Nile Delta, broke away from the central authority to form the 14th Dynasty.
The 15th Dynasty dates from 1650 to 1550 BC. Known rulers of the Fifteenth Dynasty are as follows: Salitis Sakir-Har Khyan Apophis, c. 1590? BC–1550 BC Khamudi, c. 1550–1540 BCThe 15th Dynasty of Egypt was the first Hyksos dynasty. It did not control the entire land; the Hyksos preferred to stay in northern Egypt. The names and order of their kings is uncertain; the Turin King list indicates that there were six Hyksos kings, with an obscure Khamudi listed as the final king of the 15th Dynasty. The surviving traces on the X figure appears to give the figure 8 which suggests that the summation should be read as 6 kings ruling 108 years; some scholars argue there were two Apophis kings named Apepi I and Apepi II, but this is due to the fact there are two known prenomens for this king: Awoserre and Aqenenre. However, the Danish Egyptologist Kim Ryholt maintains in his study of the Second Intermediate Period that these prenomens all refer to one man, who ruled Egypt for 40 or more years; this is supported by the fact that this king employed a third prenomen during his reign: Nebkhepeshre.
Apepi employed several different prenomens throughout various periods of his reign. This scenario is not unprecedented, as kings, including the famous Ramesses II and Seti II, are known to have used two different prenomens in their own reigns; the 16th Dynasty ruled the Theban region in Upper Egypt for 70 years. Of the two chief versions of Manetho's Aegyptiaca, Dynasty XVI is described by the more reliable Africanus as "shepherd kings", but by Eusebius as Theban. Ryholt, followed by Bourriau, in reconstructing the Turin canon, interpreted a list of Thebes-based kings to constitute Manetho's Dynasty XVI, although this is one of Ryholt's "most debatable and far-reaching" conclusions. For this reason other scholars do not follow Ryholt and see only insufficient evidence for the interpretation of the 16th Dynasty as Theban; the continuing war against Dynasty XV dominated the short-lived 16th dynasty. The armies of the 15th dynasty, winning town after town from their southern enemies, continually encroached on the 16th dynasty territory threatening and conquering Thebes itself.
In his study of the second intermediate period, the egyptologist Kim Ryholt has suggested that Dedumose I sued for a truce in the latter years of the dynasty, but one of his predecessors, Nebiryraw I, may have been more successful and seems to have enjoyed a period of peace in his reign. Famine, which had plagued Upper Egypt during the late 13th dynasty and the 14th dynasty blighted the 16th dynasty, most evidently during and after the reign of Neferhotep III. From Ryholt's reconstruction of the Turin canon, 15 kings of the dynasty can now be named, five of whom appear in contemporary sources. While they were most rulers based in Thebes itself, some may have been local rulers from other important Upper Egyptian towns, including Abydos, El Kab and Edfu. By the reign of Nebiriau I, the realm controlled by the 16th dynasty extended at least as far north as Hu and south to Edfu. Not listed in the Turin canon is Wepwawetemsaf, who left a stele at Abydos and was a local kinglet of the Abydos Dynasty.
Ryholt gives the list of kings of the 16th dynasty. Others, such as Helck, Bennett combine some of these rulers with the Seventeenth dynasty of Egypt; the estimated dates come from Bennett's publication. The Abydos Dynasty may have been a short-lived local dynasty ruling over part of Upper Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period in Ancient Egypt and was contemporary with the 15th and 16th Dynasties from 1650 to 1600 BC; the existence of an Abydos Dynasty was first proposed by Detlef Franke and elaborated on by Egyptologist Kim Ryholt in 1997. The existence of the dynasty may have been vindicated in January 2014, when the tomb of the unknown pharaoh Seneb Kay was discovered in Abydos; the dynasty tentatively includes four rulers: Wepwawetemsaf, Pantjeny and Seneb Kay. The royal necropolis of the Abydos Dynasty was found in the southern part of Abydos, in an area called Anubis Mountain in ancient times; the rulers of the Abydos Dynasty placed their burial ground adjacent to the tombs of the Middle Kingdom rulers.
Around the time Memphis and Itj-tawy fell to the Hyksos, the native Egyptian ruling house in Thebes declared its independence from Itj-tawy, becoming the 17th