April 5, 2012

The Middle Kingdom in Ancient Egypt 2040-1782 BC

The Middle Kingdom 2040-1782 BC
 We will talk today about 

Dynasty 11
(Theban)
2134 -1991 BC

Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs : 
Intef I (Sehertawy) : 2134 - 2117 BC
Intef II (Wahankh) : 2117 - 2069 BC
Intef III (Nakjtnebtepnefer) : 2069 - 2060 BC

Strictly speaking, the Middle Kingdom starts with the reunification of Egypt under the fourth king of Dynasty 11, Mentuhotep I. The dynasty itself began with a series of three kings (in fact hardly more than nomarchs), who ruled from Thebes. All known as Intef (or Inyotef), they were each involved in struggles against the northern kings of Herakleopolis. Interestingly, their Horus names indicate more their aspirations than reality: Intef II called himself 'King of Upper and Lower Egypt'/ whereas his control did not extend beyond the Thebes area; and Intef III gave himself the name Nakhjtnebtepnefer or 'Beautiful and Strong Champion'. Furthermore, they curiously reverted to having their Horus names in a serekh, with only their birth names in the cartouche.

The three Intefs were buried in great tombs in the Dra Abu el-Naga, an area to the north of the Theban plain on the west bank, close to where the road starts into the later Valley of the Kings. Because of their row of doorways, or porticoes, these have been called saff tombs, saff being an Arabic word for row. There is now little indication of their once royal status. One of the so-called 'tomb robbing' papyri dating from the reign of Ramses IX (c. 1115 BC) records that a check on the tomb of Wahankh Intef II found the burial to be intact. It notes furthermore that there was a stele in front of the tomb on which the king was shown with his favourite hunting dog, Behlca. Auguste Mariette found the broken lower half of the stele in I860; in fact there was not one dog on it but five. What remains of the inscription indicates that, in the territorial disputes against the Heracleopolitan dynasties, Intef II established his boundary as far north from Thebes as the 10th nome (Antaeopolis), taking the 8th nome of sacred Abydos on the way. His successor Intef III pushed the border yet further north, almost to Asyut, and it was at this frontier that Mentuhotep I (sometimes known as Mentuhotep II) fought for control of the whole country.

Intef I
Intef II
Intef III



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