This is a History of Egypt From Pre-dynastic Period c 5500-3100 BC to Ptolemaic Period 332-30 BC.
This is my telling of it, and in so am fallible. I do not Claim this is 100% right, but is close in my summation. This will begin with Contemporary history, as generally taught, and will go into Alternative histories, as i have researched them, and tied into the bigger picture.
There is a lot of ground to cover, so i'll be using short summaries that touch on the different periods and the goings on. As Archeology has allowed us to determine.
To be able to see the truth, one needs to understand the origin. One can not claim to see beyond the Mainstream Spectrum, with out knowledge
Badarian Culture, Lived in upper Egypt, about the eastern bank of the Nile, in and about 5000 bce to 4400bce, A semi-nomadic people, started with small settlements, cultivating grain ,domesticating animals, made pottery, Fairly simple people, who buried their dead in cemeteries. They did not mummify their dead, instead burying them in a foetal position, facing west (towards the setting sun).
About 40 or so settlements have been attributed to these people.
The Naqadan : The Naqadan culture pretty much evolved from what was the Badarians,
around 4500 BC and became arguably the most important prehistoric culture in Upper Egypt. It is named after the city of Naqada where many of the archaeological evidence for the period was found. There are three classifications in Egyptology that are used when referencing the Naqadan, which are Naqada I , Naqada II and Naqada III.
Naqada I , encompassed a much lager area then their predecessors, spreading further south into Nubia.
Nagadan I, By c. 4000 BC a distinctive type of "black topped ware" pottery is found within grave good assemblages. Some of the Craftsman of this group of people, were never equaled again, producing stone vessels from hard stone. Even though agriculture was widely practised, hunting was still relied upon for supporting their diet.
Naqada II The shift from Naqada I to Naqada II was the result of more intense interaction and trade with foreign groups from west Asia.
The settlements became larger, With the change in size of settlements can stone buildings, and more materials implemented into their carftmans ship such as copper and gold, the tools also became more refined. Greater amounts of mud-brick buildings reflect an increasing Mesopotamian influence, and with it started a new burial process with more lavish tombs belonging to a chief figure of the community. A greater improvement in variety of artifacts represents a new socio-economic shift.
Naqada III : being the same as the so-called 'Dynasty 0', which represents the phase before the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. Between the periods of 3200Bce to 3000 Bce. An estimated thirteen kings reigned from Nekhen (Hierakonpolis). Unfortunately, only the last few have been identified. The kings were named after animals, no doubt relating to the favored totem of their home towns. The ruler was seen as the personification of the god (in much the same way as later Pharaohs were considered to be the "Son of Ra") and wore the white crown of Upper Egypt. The art work of the time suggests they were a fairly warlike bunch (for example the scorpion macehead).
Burials become more elaborate, with most graves containing stone vessels and some possessing precious jewelery and sophisticated tools. Hierakonpolis is one of the centers of upper Egyptian Naqada cultures, and of key importance during the Naqada III cultural phase.
This immense site was occupied for a very long time, with core samples providing evidence for occupation from Badarian times. To the ancient Egyptians this area was called Nekhen and was home to the important hawk god ' Horus of Nekhen'; the Greeks called the town Hierakonpolis, "city of the falcon". Horus is the one deity whose form is unequivocally associated with early dynastic kingship. In early history the ruler was seen as a manifestation of Horus, the falcon sky god. Hierakonpolis's occupation stretches back to the beginning of Naqada I when farming and herding lifestyles joined hunting. Over the next 1000 years the population increased alongside the growing regional technical specialization, people had to leave and move nearer to the Nile flood plain.
By at least 3200 BCE a large mud brick wall with niched facade gateway was built around the settlement.
In Lower Egypt, the system was more bureaucratic and commercial. Important families ruled small areas and there does not appear to have been a rigid hierarchy. The rulers, such as they were, wore the red crown of Lower Egypt. Seven kings from Lower Egypt are listed on the Palermo stone. However, little is known about them and some doubt that they ever existed. Buto is generally considered to have been the largest and most important town, but there were also population centres at Ma'adi and Tell Farkha.
In AD1898 James Quibell and Frederick Green excavated an early temple with deposits of ceremonial and votive objects. Further evidence of monumental architecture was discovered by the American archaeologist Hoffman, who located another temple with faunal and ceramic offerings that date to Naqada II-III cultural phase. These temples and the vast size of Hierakonpolis concur that this was a site of great importance.
Pre dynastic Conclusion
In the Predynastic phase the Egyptians developed a writing system based on pictures which included combinations of pictograms and phonograms. Pottery fragments reflect the basics of the early Egyptian writing and remained fundamental through its history. Eventually it developed to include ideograms, phonograms and determinatives (end symbols which clarified the word and its meaning), and would include up to several thousand signs depending on the period.
Horus and Nekhbet (the vulture goddess of Al Kab), came to represent Upper Egypt, while Set and Wadjet (the cobra goddess of Buto) represented Lower Egypt. The vulture and cobra were united to represent the Pharaoh´s dominion over both lands. Some scholars theorise that the "followers of Horus" (led by Narmer or Hor Aha) defeated the "followers of Set" making Nekhem the most powerful town, and promoting Horus to the position of king of the gods. Thus the Pharaoh was the living Horus. Certainly the Narmer palette shows the king wearing the crowns of upper and lower Egypt and includes an image of Horus dominating a personified marsh which is thought to represent Lower Egypt.
DYNASTIES : Archaic Period (3050 - 2705 BC)
Much of what happened during the earlier periods of Egyptian history is speculative. It seems that the southern king Narmer (perhaps Aha or the legendary Menes) won a victory over a northern king which has been immortalized by the Narmer Palette. What may have been another southern victory over the inhabitants of the Delta is depicted on the Bull Palette
1st Dynasty (3100-2890 BCE)
According to Herodotus Upper and Lower Egypt were united by Menes (who may be representing a number of kings involved in the process of unification), the founding king of the first dynasty who, according to Manetho, came from the Thinite province in Upper Egypt. Whether unification was achieved by military or peaceful means is uncertain.
According to tradition, Menes founded Memphis on an island in the Nile, conducted raids against the Nubians and extended his power as far as the first cataract. He sent ambassadors to Canaan and Byblos in Phoenicia to establish peaceful commercial trade links. He founded the city of Crocodilopolis and built the first temple to the god Ptah.
Legend has it, that he died at the age of sixty three, killed by wild dogs and crocodiles near Fayum. According to Manetho he was killed by a hippopotamus after a 62 year reign. His was buried at Saqqara, the necropolis of Memphis. His wife Neithotep became regent until their child, Djer, was old enough to reign.
Herodotus on Menes
Djer, married to Herneith, ruled from Memphis during fifty years, building palaces and conducting military expeditions against Asiatics in the Sinai desert. An inscription with his name south of the first cataract points to the extent of the realm.
Of Djet (Wadj), who succeeded him little is known. His limestone stela was found near Abydos where he was buried.
Queen Merenith ruled Egypt as regent when Den became king as a child. There are, however, many scholars who think that Merenith was a ruler in her own right. Stone vessels and sealings bearing her name were found at Saqqara, as was a stela with her name written in an archaic form with crossed arrows signifying the name of Neith. Merenith has two burial sites, one at Abydos and one at Saqqara (Mastaba 3503). The Saqqara tomb contains some artifacts that show the the name of a high court official called Seshemka. The Abydos burial complex is amongst those of the kings of her dynasty.
During Den's fifty year reign he conducted military campaigns in the Sinai desert in order to gain control of the mineral deposits there. He was buried at Saqqara, even though he built his mortuary complex in Abydos. The cult of Apis was introduced during his reign.
Anendjib who was legitimized by his marriage to Betrest of the Memphite royal family, ruled for fourteen years from Memphis. His power over the south was challenged by local tribes and the northern nomes were often rebellious.
Semerkhet reigned for only nine years, and is thought by some to have been a usurper. According to Manetho disasters occurred during his reign. He may have caused the unrest during Anendjib's reign. He is responsible for erasing Anendjib's name from stone vases. A little black stela bearing his name is the only direct evidence found.
Qa'a is mentioned on jar sealings and two damaged stela. One one of these stela he is shown wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt and being embraced by the God Horus. According to Manetho he reigned for about 26 years. He was buried at Abydos in the tomb designated Tomb Q. A German archaeological expedition in 1993 re-excavated the tomb and discovered that several alterations had been made in the tomb.
Until the reign of Den Egypt seems to have enjoyed stability and prosperity. Order broke down during Anendjib's reign, when conflicting factions caused changes that would end this great dynasty. The practice of subsidiary burial where retainers were killed in order to serve the ruler in the afterlife ceased after the reign of Qa'a.
According to Manetho, this dynasty consisted of nine kings of Thinis. The royal names Manetho gives bear little resemblance to those found in contemporary inscriptions. These rulers were buried at Saqqara or Abydos.
Hotepsekhemwy has been identified only by some sealings discovered at Saqqara near the Pyramid of Unas. He may have been given his name which translates as Pleasing in Powers for having ended the political strife that occurred during the 1st Dynasty. His rule spanned 35 years and may have been ended by a military coup organized by his brother.
Raneb followed Hotepsekhemwy to the throne of Egypt, and is thought to have ruled for 39 years. Many sealings found at Saqqara and a stela located at Abydos bear his name. Raneb had, according to Manetho, initiated the worship of the sacred goat of Mendes.
Nynetjer ruled according to some accounts for 47 years. The Palermo Stone records a number of events that occurred between the 6th and 26th year of his reign. He had many festivals dedicated to various deities of Egypt. among them the Running of the Apis Bull. The wrecking of the city of Shem-Re is connected with his name .
Peribsen (Sekhemib) made sweeping political changes. The serekhs bearing the royal names are not surmounted by Horus anymore but by his religious rival, Seth, who became the primary royal patron deity. A stela bearing Peribsen's name found at Abydos illustrates this change in loyalties. He may have been a usurper or a member of a collateral branch of the ruling family. Peribsen was buried at Abydos.
When Khasekhemwy ascended the throne he had to put down a Northern rebellion. The rebels reached as far south as Nekheb and Nekhen, the ancient southern capital. His victory is described on two statues. Both portraits show the king with northerners cringing at his feet wearing the White Crown symbolizing the South. It is recorded that there were more than 47,000 casualties.
A statue of him, which resides in the Cairo Museum, is the first example of use of hard stone . He married Nemathap, a woman of royal Northern lineage. The marriage consolidated the kings rule in both regions. Nemathap is documented as being a "King Bearing Mother". She is also credited with being the ancestor of the 3rd Dynasty.
Old Kingdom (2650-2150 BC)
The Old Kingdom is generally described as the period from the Third Dynasty through to the Sixth Dynasty (2686 BC-2181 BC). This period was followed by the First Intermediate Period, when central authority declined and the country fragmented into different factions. However, a number of Egyptologists also include the Memphite Seventh and Eighth Dynasties (of the First Intermediate Period) in the Old Kingdom because there is evidence that Memphis retained a fairly high degree of control over much of the country. A huge number of pyramids were constructed, and so the Old Kingdom is frequently referred to as "the Pyramid Age".
Djoser established his royal court in Memphis at the beginning of the Third Dynasty. He also built the Step Pyramid at Saqqara with the help of his famous vizier, Imhotep, and so began the trend of building pyramids. The Fourth Dynasty saw the construction of the Pyramids at Giza including the Great Pyramid and the sphinx. This period marked the height of pharonic power during the Old Kingdom. However, the Fifth Dynasty pharaoh Userkhaf initiated reforms that weakened both the Pharaoh and central government. His reign was followed by a period of intermittent civil war as a result of the reforms and the strain put on the treasury by the building works of the previous dynasty. There was widespread famine caused by the civil wars and by a period of cooling in the area which reduced and occasionally eliminated the Nile flooding on which their food supplies depended. Central authority crumbled and power returned to local monarchs.
Pharaohs of the 3rd Dynasty
Capital city Memphis
The first pyramids were constructed
The Step Pyramid of Saqqara built for Pharaoh Zoser by his architect Imhotep
Sanakhte 2650-2630 BC
Djoser (Zozer or Djeser) 2630-2611 BC
Sekhemkhet 2611-2603 BC
Khaba 2603-2599 BC
Huni 2599-2575 BC
This period is one of the landmarks of human history. A prosperous age and the appearance of the worlds first great monumental building - the Pyramid. The artistic masterpieces in the tombs of the nobles show the martial wealth of this time Djoser - one of the outstanding kings of Egypt. His Step Pyramid at Saqqara is the first large stone building and the forerunner of later pyramids.
Pharaohs of the 4th Dynasty
Expansionism and pyramid construction in Giza and Dahshur
Egypt became governed by organized state rules
the 4th Dynasty has brought about several changes that set it apart from the first three dynasties.
The most remarkable change is the transition of Step Pyramids to 'true' pyramids with smooth surfaces. This transition was not only the result of increasing technical skills, but even more of religious views that shifted from stellar to solar. The Step Pyramid symbolized a staircase to the stars. The 'true' pyramid, on the other hand was considered as a solar symbol and as a representation of the primeval mound from which all life had sprung.
Egypt was able to accomplish the ambitious feat of the Giza pyramids because there had been a long period of peace and no threats of invasion.
So the energy of the Egyptians was spent in cultivating art to its highest forms.The fourth dynasty came from Memphis and the fifth from the south in Elephantine. The transition from one ruling family to another appears to have been peaceful.
Pharaohs of the 5th Dynasty
Relative decline in Pharaonic power and wealth
Construction of Solar temples and smaller Pyramids at Abusir
In contrast to cult and funerary temples, worship of the sun god was typically done in open air, not in the small dark rooms in which other gods were reverently housed
Unas is murdered and Teti founds the 6th Dynasty
The first two kings of the fifth dynasty, were sons, Khentkaues, who was a member of the fourth dynasty royal family. There was an institutionalization of officialdom and high officials for the first time came from outside the royal family.
The pyramids are smaller and less solidly constructed than those of the fourth dynasty, but the carvings from the mortuary temples are well preserved and of the highest quality.There are surviving papyri from this period which demonstrate well developed methods of accounting and record keeping. They document the redistribution of goods between the royal residence, the temples, and officials.
During the 5th Dynasty, the solar religion was even more firmly established, when the kings built solar temples as well as pyramids. This may well explain why the 5th Dynasty Pyramids are far less dominating than their predecessors: the building effort was no longer concentrated on the building of a single pyramid and their temples.
Economic and political factors may have had some importance as well: the 5th Dynasty government seems to have been less centralized and less strong. Private tombs were no longer restricted to the vicinity of the king’s pyramid and their decoration became richer and more elaborate. Some private people had their tombs built in their own province and not in or near the necropolis of Memphis.
The last king of the 5th Dynasty, Unas, introduced yet another innovation: his pyramid was the first to have been "decorated" with texts, the so-called Pyramid Texts. These texts relate to the fate of the king in the afterlife, when he takes his place among the gods and among the stars.
Pharaohs of the 6th Dynasty
Small provincial principalities emerged to challenge Pharaonic power
With the 6th Dynasty, the Old Kingdom would start its slow decline. Although some military activity is reported to the East of the Delta or in Palestine and in Nubia, the central power of the king kept on decaying. This may have been caused, in part, by the long reign of Pepi II, during which more power may have been relegated to the central and local administrations.
There are many inscriptions from the sixth dynasty. These include records of trading expeditions to the south from the reigns of Pepi I. One of the most interesting is a letter written by Pepi II.
The pyramid of Pepi II at southern Saqqara is the last major monument of the Old Kingdom.
Another key factor in the decline of the Old Kingdom was a decreasing inundation of the Nile. By the end of the Old Kingdom, the inundation apparently became less abundant. Local measures needed to be taken to ensure that the inundation would flood enough land and keep it fertile. Local administrators and governors who succeeded in controlling the flow of the floods for their region strengthened their position against the central government.
Other Notable Things about Ancient Egyptian Life.
<Disclaimer: Taking a Break and allowing others to fill in some gaps>
Slaves and Slavery in Ancient Egypt
by Jimmy Dunn
For many years, it was presumed that in ancient Egypt, the Great Pyramids at Giza were built by many thousands of foreign slaves, toiling under very harsh conditions over a period of decades. Today, many scholars refute this picture of ancient Egypt, believing instead that they were built by the free Egyptians themselves, some perhaps as seasonal conscripts with other artisans consigned permanently to the projects. One must also consider just how the Egyptians would really control so many slaves in one location with the rudimentary weapons of the Old Kingdom.
A slave is defined as "One bound in servitude as the property of a person or household". This is an interesting definition, considering that it does not refer to entities other than persons or households, such as the state. The definition of slavery does provide that it is "The state of one bound in servitude as the property of a slaveholder or household", which seems to have a broader scope. Certainly most of us would consider anyone bound in servitude, regardless to whom, a slave.
In ancient Egypt, textual references to slaves are indistinct. From word usage along, it is difficult to ascertain whether one was a slave or a servant. For example, a priest could be read as a god's slave, but by our definition and understanding of slavery he was not. In reading Egyptian texts, therefore, context is the only criteria for determining such a status, and even then, it can be difficult, because there were different levels of servitude. Those who were not free might not only include slaves, but also those with various degrees of encumbered liberty. For example, could an artisan who worked on tombs who lived in the Deir el-Medina worker's village on the West Bank at Thebes simply walk of his job? In effect, almost anyone under the authority of an absolute ruler such as a pharaoh might in some degree be considered a slave. We should also note that, if it is difficult to identify slaves from textual references, it is even harder to do so with depictions.
In fact, the term that conjures up anachronistic visions either of ancient Rome or of the nineteenth century plantation of the New World do little to help understand slavery in Egypt. Most of the population of pharaonic Egypt were tied to the land or followed strictly hereditary professions. These men or women were often included among the possessions of kings, high-ranking officials or Temple estates. Serfs might better describe these people, though even that term is too closely connected with images of feudal society in medieval Europe, especially in view of the fact that Egyptian farmers were tied to the land not so much legally but by tradition and economic circumstances.
For ancient Egypt, a better, or at least more precise definition of a slave might be a "person owned by a master, as was any other chattel, used as the master pleased, to the extent of being disposed of by inheritance, gift sale and so forth". In reality, such slavery seems to have been fairly rare in Egypt prior to the Greek Period, progressing over time.
Like all ancient population statistics, estimating the number of slaves in ancient Egypt is based more on guesswork than on knowledge. In pharaonic times their part in the population may have been greatest during the expansionary stage of the New Kingdom, when whole populations were enslaved at times. Thutmose III, for instance, is reported to have returned from a campaign in Canaan with almost 90,000 prisoners. Given the small size of armies usually numbering in the thousands rather than tens of thousands of soldiers, most of these prisoners must have been civilians.
There is one collective noun, written with the hoe-sign hieroglyphic, that refers to groups of people who belonged to individuals and institutions such as temples. As early as the Old Kingdom, such groups were mentioned along with land and cattle. During the Middle Kingdom, we also know that they could be acquired by bequest or other arrangements. During the New Kingdom, they could be recruited from captives or given in an endowment. Considering their apparent permanent attachment to the land and their master, they were almost certainly a form of slave.
Another similar term, written with the canal-sign, appear to denote another group of people assigned to individuals and institutions, but who were not directly connected with land and cattle. Though we know little about this group of people, they may have been similar or the same as the king's slaves who, during the Middle Kingdom, were often transferred to estates of priests, nobles and officials. The king's slaves were considered the property of their master, but their occupations were not confined to agriculture, as they were also employed in households. We believe that their children undoubtedly inherited the status of their parents.
In Egypt, as well as elsewhere, the principal and oldest cause of slavery was capture in war. Specifically in Egypt, the general rule was that all captives including those outside of the military forces, became a royal resource. The king certainly did not keep all of these slaves, though some were resettled in colonies for labor. However, he also granted some of them to temples, to meritorious individuals and also as booty for his soldiers. From ancient documents, we know that as many as nineteen captives could be assigned to an individual as slaves, including both male and female. Temples, on the other hand, could receive an unlimited numbers of captives as slaves, and some references mention many thousands. Also, a trade in (possibly captured) people from foreign countries was also possible. For example, Amenhotep III ordered forty girls from Milkilu, a Canaanite prince, paying 40 kit of silver for each:
"Behold, I have sent you Hanya, the commissioner of the archers, with merchandise in order to have beautiful concubines, i.e. weavers; silver, gold, garments, turquoises, all sorts of precious stones, chairs of ebony, as well as all good things, worth 160 deben. In total: forty concubines - the price of every concubine is forty of silver. Therefore, send very beautiful concubines without blemish."
From the Brooklyn Papyrus, we learn that Near Eastern men and women were intermingled with Egyptian servants and outnumbered them. Interestingly, they seem to have been more highly regarded then their Egyptian counterparts. This is probably due to the fact that, as prisoners of war or their descendants, they initially belonged to a social stratum superior to that of the Egyptian servants. In fact, the Egyptians of similar status probably came to be slaves due to committing some sort of unlawful act. Hence, some of the Egyptians who became slaves were originally free people who, having committed some sort of illicit acts, were forced to forfeit their liberty, perhaps including the liberty of their spouse and children. It should also be noted that the birth of a child to a slave mother, whether or not the father was free, resulted in slavery for the child. In fact, abandonment of undesired newborn children was not infrequently practiced in Egypt and the Near East, and has also been attested in Greco-Roman Egypt. Though there seems to be no extant documents of such a practice in Egypt, elsewhere foundlings were considered ownerless property who might be picked up to become slaves.
Another way that one could be come a slave was actually through self-sale into servitude, as several Demotic papyri of the sixth century BC evidence. In reality, this did not result from the individual's free will, but was rather the results of their inability to pay off debt. The creditor therefore discharged the debt by acquiring the debtor as a slave. Not only did the debtor become a slave, but also his children, and in addition, he or she also gave up all that they owned. However, at other times peasants might sell themselves into slavery for food or shelter. This also suggests to us that, unlike slaves of some other societies and periods, those of ancient Egypt were frequently better off than some of the poor, freeman.
Though not an uncommon business in ancient Egypt, information about slave trading is rare. There appears to have been no public market for slaves. Rather, individual dealers seem to have approached their customers personally. The transaction was evidenced by commercial documents, executed before officials or a local council, that contained clauses usually used in the sale of valuable commodities. One inscription that records the sale of land, together with thirty-five slaves (men and women), appears to infer that a special register of slaves was held by administrators. There may also have been a special tax levied on such sales.
However, while slaves were often sold, they might also be transferred for other reasons such as religious endowments. The 26th Dynasty king, Apries, for example, decreed that a district near Memphis be dedicated to the god Ptah, together with its slaves, cattle and their produce as a foundation. However, non-royal individuals might do likewise. An 18th Dynasty overseer of Amun's domain, Sen-mut did so, ceding fields and at least two slaves (a male and female) for baking bread and brewing beer. Also, the steward of Amun's temple, a man named Amun-mes, recorded on his statue the donation of all of his property to the state god, which included male and female slaves, houses, gardens, cattle and all that he had obtained.
Of course, slaves were also acquired through inheritance. In one Demotic marriage agreement, the husband states that "To the children you shall bear for me shall belong everything I won, [be it] a house, land, slaves, animals, chattels". Upon the death of a slave holder, the slaves could become co-owned by the beneficiaries or distributed separately. When owned jointly, each of the co-owners would be entitled to a fraction of the slaves work, determined by a monthly number of "slave's days". Subsequently, the fractional owner could also sell or otherwise dispose of his share in a slave.
The price of slaves varied (as, of course it would over several millenniums). In the Leiden Papyrus dating to 727 BC, very late in the Pharaonic period, thirty-two slaves were sold privately for one deben and one third kite in silver (per slave). However, during the 25th and 26th Dynasties, the average price was about 2.9 debens. In the Ramessid period, a dealer received barter goods worth four debens and one kite for a single young Syrian girl, according to the Cairo Papyrus. Of course, silver was rarely used for such transaction and their was no coinage. The prices stated were actually the value of goods exchanged. Hence, a named Intef recorded two deeds on an 11th Dynasty stela in favor of two men to arrange the celebration of certain ceremonies in his favor after his death. In return, he gave one man twenty packages of cloths and ten to the other as well as a male and a maid slave to each.
How many slaves an individual could own varied considerably. One official of the 13th Dynasty recorded well over forty Near Eastern slaves in his personal possession. On one stela, its owner reports, "I have acquired three male slaves and seven females in addition to what my father granted me. An 11th Dynasty stela also records its owners boastful comments that, "[Whereas] my father's people were house-born as property of his father and his mother, my people are likewise [from] the property of my father and my mother [but also from] my own property, which I have acquired through my activities".
The master might employ a slave in many different manners, such as in domestic service as the guardian of children, cooks, brewers or maids. They might be used as gardeners or field hands or in the stable. The master might also require the slave to learn a trade to improve his property (the slave). They could become craftsman, or attain a higher status. One of the items in an inheritance consisted of some trade agents who were presumably trained slaves. Slaves who were taught to write could rise as high as a manager of the master's estate. In one case, a freeman was recorded in the Leopold Papyrus as working under the supervision of a Nubian slave who belonged to the high priest of Amun. However, captive slaves were mostly assigned to the king and the temples, and their status entailed manual labor. Perhaps the worst treatment that a slave could be assigned was to work the quarries and mines.
Although slaves were considered personal chattel and part of their master's property, and even though the master enjoyed a number of rights in their regard, the master was nevertheless held to some obligations. For example, the mistress of a household was responsible for nourishing the slave children and bringing them up. Also, from the contents of an 18th Dynasty letter, we learn the child slaves were not allowed to be set to hard work. It should also be noted that slaves sometimes became adored members of the owner's household. For example, on one statue of a man and his wife, a young slave was also depicted as a token of affection.
Also, as in many ancient legal systems, the Egyptian slaves were not only capable of negotiating transactions but also of owning personal property. In the Wilbour Papyrus dating to the New Kingdom, there were no less than eleven salves, on the same footing as others, who were individual land holders, though their status regarding the property is not entirely clear. On a stela, we also find two slave women who each gave their master land in exchange for various commodities. They acted independently, as owners of property.
Slaves were also apparently given reasonable consideration in Egypt's legal system. A papyri that reported the investigations of New Kingdom tomb robberies revealed, among others, several male slaves implicated in those crimes. During the hearings, the slaves seem to be treated little differently than others. All those implicated were tortured to some extent. Though many slaves in this case acted as witnesses, mostly against their master, only some of the slaves were incriminated of complicity.
Though little information has survived related to the marriage of slaves, a union was apparently possible. This seems to have taken place as cohabitation sanctioned by the master. Slaves were also, at least in certain circumstances, allowed to marry non-slaves. During the New Kingdom, a king's barber gave his own niece as a wife to one of his slaves and in another instance, a lady allowed her younger brother to marry one of her slaves. However, it must be noted in these examples that these slaves had to be publicly freed. In the latter case, the mistress actually extended the freedom to all her child slaves, with the intention of adopting them and thus bequeathing to them her estate.
Slaves, of course, were frequently not happy being slaves. In ancient Egypt, there has so far never been any evidence to show that a slave ever purchased his freedom. When a slave escaped, the master could pursue the fugitive and ask the authorities for assistance in the recapture of the runaway. While the fugitive's best chance of escape was to leave Egypt altogether, this was not always as successful as it might at first seem. For example, in the famous treaty between Ramesses II and the Hittites after the Battle of Kadesh, fugitives, even of humble birth, were bound to be restored to their native land. The treaty reads in part:
"If a man or two men who are unknown flee, and if they escape from the country of Egypt and if they don't want to serve him, then Hattusili, the great king, the king of the country of Hatti, has to deliver them into his brother's hands and he shall not allow them to inhabit the country of Hatti."
It is likely that such treaties existed for other neighboring states. However, it would seem that most of the time, slaves only attempted escape when their treatment was unusually harsh. For many, being a slave in Egypt made them better off than a freeman elsewhere.
Will Continue with more tomorrow, as we move threw the 7th Dynasties to the Ptolemaic Period
Brought to you By
<with the help of sources to be credited at the conclusion of this post>
Part 1 Contemporary history Pt2
First Intermediate Period
The government crumbles and civil war breaks out as several rival kingdoms fight for control of Egypt.
The only direct evidence for the existence of a Seventh and Eighth Dynasty in Egyptian history appears in two inconsistent, badly garbled, and heavily redacted copies of Manetho’s history of Egypt. One copy was prepared by Africanus in the third century and the other by Eusebius in the fourth century. According to Africanus, the Seventh Dynasty consisted of “seventy kings of Memphis, who reigned for 70 days
and the Eighth Dynasty consisted of “twenty-seven kings of Memphis, who reigned for 146 years
Eusebius has a slightly different account. He has a Seventh Dynasty that consisted of “five kings of Memphis, who reigned for 75 days
and an Eighth Dynasty that consisted of “five kings of Memphis, who reigned for 100 years.
These descriptions present Egyptologists with some problems. Not only does the description of the Seventh Dynasty appear to be either spurious or badly garbled, but no archaeologists would allow much more than a quarter of a century for both dynasties combined. Adding to the difficulty is that there are three additional Egyptian king-lists that encompass this period, and while all have a different number of Memphite kings beginning with the Sixth Dynasty, none of them indicates any sort of dynastic break for a Seventh and/or Eighth Dynasty. the great chaos in this time and the scarcity of records, Egyptologists generally assume that the differences among the two Manetho copies and the various king-lists simply reflect the confusion among the various scribes who attempted to recreate the political records of this earlier era.
Like the confusion of the Seventh and Eight Dynasties, the Ninth is still pretty much up in the air. Centralized government is still failing, and regional and local warlords are claiming the thrones.
Achthoes, the ruler of Heracleopolis, seized control of Middle Egypt, then seized the throne of Egypt and founded the Ninth Dynasty, which is dated roughly 2160--2130 BCE. The dates are widely differing though: Egyptsite notes that the 9th and 10th dynasties were from 2135 -- 1986 BCE, and piccione notes dates that are much older -- 2213 -- 2175 for dynasty IX.
Through the Tenth Dynasty, the kings in Hieracleopolis maintained control over Northern Egypt. However, rival kings in Edfu and Thebes continued to fight over control of Upper Egypt. Eventually, the battle was won by the kings in Thebes, who moved on to found the Eleventh Dynasty, intending to control all of Egypt.
Eventually, the North and South were reunited under Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II, which marked the beginning of the Middle Kingdom.
The Ninth Dynasty is comprised of four kings ( only two of which we know) who ruled from Hieracleopolis, and were at least recognized throughout the rest of Egypt. The sequence of the pharaohs is very unclear:
The Tenth Dynasty is not much clearer. There were fourteen Heracleopolitan kings who rule the North, and shared control of the South with the contemporary Theban Dynasty XI until Mentuhotep united the country once again some time between 2047 and 2022 BCE. Only Six kings are attested to in contemporary sources:
Little remains of this period, and examples of art are not common.
The Eleventh Dynasty Manetho accords this Theban dynasty 16 kings and a reign of 43 years. Its members before Mentuhotep II who united the country under his rule, are not considered to have been pharaohs. The later kings were buried at Deir el Bahri.
Inyotef I (ca.2133-2123) took Thebes as the capital of Egypt and ruled from 2074 till 2064 BC. He was the son of Mentuhotep I, the "elder". The king took over a divided Egypt and tried to reunite the north and the south.
Inyotef II (ca.2123-2074) led an army against his Herakleoplitan allies in Sauty (Assyut). His enemies sacked the city of Tjeni (Thinis) and desecrated its tombs. Inyotef captured the entire tribe but ceased hostilities. He decided to trade with them and maintain the integrity of the Southern Kingdom peacefully.
He was followed by Inyotef III who ruled from 2074 until 2066.
Mentuhotep I (2066-2040 B.C.) took the city of Herakleopolis which was the capital of the kings of the rival 10th Dynasty. This victory established his rule from Thebes. He fought against the Libyans in the Delta and the nomads in the Sinai. He built his mortuary complex at Deir el Bahri. He is not generally accepted as a pharaoh.
Mentuhotep II Nebhepetre (c.2040-2010) conquered the north and rebuilt a centralized monarchy, inaugurating the Middle Kingdom.
The intensity and causes of these disruptive events are uncertain. Later Egyptian writers, appalled by the deviation from accepted norms, exaggerated the revolutionary aspects; they also described an imaginary environmental deterioration, actually a poetic cosmological counterpart to social disorder. More significant were external pressure and internal political instability that long endured; even the 11th dynasty may have been ended by a coup, and the victor, Amenemhet I was himself later assassinated
Summation Of the First Intermediate Period 7th threw 11th Dynasties
The first intermediate period is quite rightly considered to be a dark period in Egyptian history, largely because the information we have regarding this period is sketchy at best and often contradictory.
It is generally suggested that the centralized state collapsed shortly after the rule of Pepi II . Pepi was in his nineties when he passed away. He survived many of his heirs but left a large number of people with tenuous claims to the throne and there were significant succession difficulties following his departure. There also seem to have been problems caused by the rise in the power of certain noble families. As it this was not enough, there also seem to have been unpredictable fluctuations in the level of the inundation which cased widespread famine and instability during which the temples were pillaged and art works vandalized. Pharaonic authority buckled under the pressure and powerful "nomarchs" struggled to step into the breach and seize control of Egypt.
Between the end of the Old Kingdom and the beginning of the Middle Kingdom there were three centers of power competing for supremacy: Memphis (the seat of power in the Old Kingdom and dynasties seven and eight), Hierakliopolis (home of the rulers of dynasties nine and ten) and Thebes (the home of the rulers of the eleventh dynasty and the Middle Kingdom).
Confirming the chronology of this turbulent time is far from easy. Manetho is often criticized for accepting fable as fact, and this problem is compounded by the fact that we do not have a complete version of his works, only excerpts from later writers. Unfortunately, these versions do not always agree. The Saqqara Kings List ends with Pepi II of the sixth dynasty, ignores the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth dynasties and jumps to Montuhotep II of the eleventh dynasty (Middle Kingdom). The Abydos Kings List records eight rulers for dynasty seven and nine rulers for dynasty eight then jumps to the eleventh dynasty (at the end of the First Intermediate Period and the beginning of the Middle Kingdom). Meanwhile the Turin Kings list is patchy with many damaged entries but appears list twenty four rulers from dynasty seven to dynasty eleven.
The discrepancies between the various Kings Lists could well be down to their tendency to support a specific political agenda. The writers of the Abydos List chose not to recognize the rulers in Hierakliopolis and the rulers in Thebes who co-existed with rulers in Memphis but instead project the idea that power moved seamlessly from Memphis to Thebes with the rule of Montuhotep II. The Saqqara kings list ignores the entire period and jumps from the Old kingdom to the Middle Kingdom as though there had never been any break in power. The Turin List includes all of the Theban rulers and includes the rulers of Hierakliopolis (who the Thebans defeated to seize power), but cuts out some of the Memphite rulers.
12th Dynasty, c.1991-1786 BCE
The 12th dynasty which, according to Manetho had seven kings, was founded by Amenemhet I, Mentuhotep IV's vizier, (1991 BCE), and worked hard to restore royal prestige, serious damaged by civil war and periodic famine. Its kings, moving their capital to Itjtawy, reduced the power of the provincial rulers and fostered the growth of a loyal central elite, using propagandist literature to encourage recruitment of able civil servants and their unconditional allegiance, and transform the royal image from that of an insecure war leader to that of a confident, semi-divine ruler. They continued the tradition of pyramid building and were buried in the Fayum region and at Dahshur.
The external situation remained dangerous. The northern Nubian and Sinai buffer zones were reoccupied and, for the first time, heavily fortified. Foreign trade expanded and diplomatic contacts were established, but Egyptian activity was more confined than during the Old Kingdom.
Social change was considerable. People had become more conscious of their rights, and royal policies had to both satisfy and temper this tendency. Religion was affected: funerary beliefs and rituals once largely restricted to kings, their immediate family and close followers, spread throughout all classes.
During the First Intermediate Period Egyptians had been less dependent on the state which had virtually disintegrated, stressing their economic self-sufficiency. Under the 12th dynasty royal policies encouraged the growth of a middle class, whose members were buried in well-furnished tombs and active at cult centers such as Abydos. Osiris, formerly a royal funerary god, became accessible to all.
Architectural remains become more varied. At Kahun, a large town was divided up into zones of better and poorer housing, reflecting significant socio-economic stratification; superbly designed fortresses were built in Nubia; and the ground plans of several temples have survived. Some kings built cenotaphs at Abydos, where many private memorial chapels of unique type have also been discovered recently.
Funerary remains continue to be the best source of art forms. At Thebes a new type of royal tomb developed, culminating in the unique terraced monument of Nebhepetre topped, not by a pyramid, but by a cubical version of the primeval mound. The pharaohs of the 12th dynasty, anxious to be identified with the autocratic Old Kingdom, revised the classic complex pyramid but included unusual subterranean elements evoking the mythical tomb of Osiris. Royal statues were often idealized, but some depicted a care-worn and more realistic figure. The elite continued to be buried in mastabas and rock-cut tombs, decorated first in awkward but striking styles reflecting the breakdown of the ancient stylistic norms, but later returning to more sophisticated, traditional modes.
Amenemhet I, (Ammenemes I) , murdered in 1962 BCE, overthrew the Theban rulers of Egypt to found the 12th Dynasty about 1991 BCE. He campaigned against the Libyans and the nomads in the Sinai. There he erected the Wall of the Prince to guard the eastern borders. He also built a trading post in Nubia at Kerma. He moved his capital from Thebes to central Egypt (on the border of Upper and Lower Egypt) and named it Itj-Tawy, "Seizer of Two Lands." Among his many wives was Nefrutotenen, mother of Senusret I. Amenemhet made Senusret I co-ruler in 1971 BCE.
Amenemhet's line, from non-royal origin, began a golden age for Egypt. The 'Testament of Amenemhet', included in the Milligan Papyrus and the Papyrus Sallier II, was written as a commemorative following Amenemhet's death. The 'Testament' defines royal obligations and the needs of the people. It states that there are perils awaiting a king who is not wary of those around him. It also states that loneliness and personal sacrifice make for a good king.
Senusret I (Sesostris), (1971-1928 BCE) who had not been appointed successor yet, secured the throne for himself after Amenemhet's assassination, by executing the plotters and publicizing his father's testament, The Teachings of Amenemhet, which became an Egyptian literary classic. He conquered Lower Nubia (Wawat) and controlled it by building a number of fortresses, among them Buhen. The economic importance of the region lay in its mines and quarries - gold in the Wadi Allaqi, amethyst in the Wadi el Hudi and gneiss at Toshka. To the east in the Red Sea region, expeditions were led to Wadi Hammamat, Gawasis and Gasus. Senusret I was succeeded by his son Amenemhet II.
Amenemhet II was co-ruler with his father Senusret I for three years. Upon his father's death, Amenemhet II became the third king of the 12th Dynasty. His only campaign was in Nubia. Instead of military expeditions he directed his attention toward internal affairs and the nomarchs. These nomarchs were nobles of Egyptian provinces, or nomes, and served as the kings representatives. Raising their own armies, they defended their own borders.
Senusret III, 1878-1843 BCE, fixed Egypt's southern border above the second cataract of the Nile. He also waged campaigns aimed at combating the Libyans of the Western Desert and retaining Egyptian influence and trade ties with Syria and Canaan. He supervised the design and construction of numerous public works and curbed the power of the nobility. These efforts led to an ever greater centralization of the administration and concentration of power in the capital, with an accompanying growth of well-being, and a decline of the provinces.
Amenemhet III (Nimaatre) (1817-1772 BCE) completed the building of the great waterwheels of the Fayum, thus diverting the flood waters of the Nile into Lake Moeris. The irrigation system and an overflow canal, was used to drain the marshes. An estimated 153,600 acres of fertile land was reclaimed from the water.
Amenemhet raised two colossal statues of himself nearby to celebrate this feat. Among his many achievements was the famous Labyrinth, also known as the Pyramid of Hawara, one of the great wonders of the ancient world. The central burial chamber of the pyramid, carved from a single block of granite, is estimated to have weighed 110 tons. His pyramidal tomb was built at Dashur, which he abandoned in favor of the Hawara Pyramid.
While most kings were forgotten by the population a short while after their deaths, Amenemhet III was still remembered in the region in Ptolemaic times, and children were named after him.
Under Amenemhet copper was mined in the Sinai and local mines, often under dreadful conditions for the miners.
According to two missives Amenemhet prevented a migration of starving Nubians into Upper Egypt by providing food aid, sending bread and beer to the drought stricken region.
Second Intermediate Period
13th Dynasty, 1786-1633 BCE
With the decline of the 13th Dynasty, Egypt lost much of its power and cohesion. The military leaders and soldiers stationed in Nubia became more and more independent. Some of them may even have permanently settled in Nubia. The fortresses built along the Eastern border were either abandoned, or control over who passed the borders was not as strict as it used to be. Canaanite nomads entered the country freely.
Most of these Canaanites settled and became traders, farmers or craftsmen, but at least one of them, Khendjer, became a king. By the end of the 13th Dynasty, the Eastern Delta was populated mostly by Asiatics.
14th Dynasty, c. 1786-1603 BCE
According to Manetho the 14th dynasty was from Xois and comprised seventy-six kings who ruled for 184 years. The dynasty is very obscure.
15th and 16th Dynasties: the Hyksos, c. 1684-1567 BCE
Weakened by internal problems, Lower Egypt was taken over seemingly with little fighting by the invading or perhaps just immigrant Hyksos, who set up two contemporaneous dynasties. The 15th dynasty (1674-1567) of the great Hyksos kings, which according to Manetho consisted of six kings, dominated the, according to Manetho, 32 Hyksos vassal chiefs of the 16th dynasty (1684-1567). Alternatively this was a dynasty of five kings ruling at Thebes.
Greek writers, beginning with Manetho, called them "Hyksos," which was mistranslated as "shepherd kings." Egyptians seem to have called these kings heqa-khasut, rulers of foreign lands, but they generally referred to invading foreigners as amu, asiatics or shamu, sand-dwellers.
The Hyksos were a Semitic (Canaanite or Amorite) people and may have come from southern Canaan or Syria. Evidence seems to point to their having had a nomadic life style.
The dating and naming of the Hyksos kings is still quite uncertain. The foundation of their capital Avaris, which used to be referred to as Tanis, and the beginning of their domination of the Delta took place in about 1720, according to the 400 year stela of Ramses II found there, which describes the arrival of his father Seti, then Vizier of Horemheb at Tanis to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the adoration of Seth at Tanis. The Bible mentions the foundation of Tanis
Their rule over Lower Egypt lasted from the conquest of Memphis by Salitis (Sheshi) in 1674, till their expulsion in 1567 BCE and was mainly a time of peace and prosperity. Major Hyksos cities or camps were at Tell el-Yahudiyeh, Heliopolis, Tell el-Maskhuta and Tell ed-Dab'a (Avaris).
Egyptian religion was respected; Egyptian was the language of government; and many Egyptians served in the administration.
Their most important contributions to Egyptian culture were perhaps the introduction of Canaanite deities such as the Storm God whom they identified with Seth, and Asian artifacts, which were instrumental in abrogating the despotism and isolationism of the Old and Middle kingdoms.
Foreign culture became established at a few eastern Delta sites, and the Egyptians acquired new military techniques, such as the use of the horse-drawn chariot and the composite bow during this period. Their conquests were strengthened by a type of rectangular fortification of beaten earth used as a fortress; archaeologists have uncovered examples of these mounds in Canaan at Jericho, Sihem, and Lahish.
The Hyksos seem to have behaved in accordance with Egyptian manners, laws, and theories of monarchy since the times of Khyan (Iannas, last third of the 17th century). It was also during his reign that Hyksos influence, political and economical, over Egypt and Canaan became more marked. They maintained tribute or trade relations with the Minoans and Babylonians and Egyptian artifacts bearing Khyan's name were found as far as Babylon, Knossos and Hatti. As so often happened in the ancient world, the foreign conquerors gradually adopted the ways of the conquered.
But the Hyksos dream of being integrated into Egyptian society died within a century. The ruling family of Upper Egypt which originated from Thebes, waged war against the Hyksos kings. Apepi I Tao II Sekenenre (Auserre, c.1600 to 1560) tried unsuccessfully to counter the threat posed by Tao II (Sekenenre) and Kamose (Wadjkheperre) by entering into an alliance with the Kushites who had conquered Nubia. He killed Tao II in battle (though some think that Tao was assassinated), but had to retreat northward before Kamose to the vicinity of Avaris in the delta.
In the end the Thebans forced Khamudi (Apepi II), the last king of the 15th (Hyksos) Dynasty to negotiate the withdrawal of the Hyksos army from Avaris and most of the Delta. The southern Pharaohs did not keep the agreement and Amosis (Ahmose I), the great general, drove the Hyksos out of Egypt by 1550 BCE after a decisive victory at Tanis.
17th Dynasty, c.1650-1567 BCE
The surviving records of Manetho concerning this dynasty are confusing. It sometimes seems to be identified with the 15th dynasty, alternatively 43 kings are given ruling at Thebes. Among them were Tao I Seakhtenre, Tao II Sekenenre, and Kamose who conducted the military campaign against the Hyksos. After their expulsion the Theban kings of the 18th Dynasty kept on raiding the Hyksos cities of the Middle East for many years to come.
The role played by the queens of this epoch was at times crucial to the success of the Thebans and attested to in the tombs of the 18th dynasty. They didn't just provide legal continuity, but often led their armies after the demise of their husbands. The tomb of Queen Ahhotep, wife of Kamose, contained much weaponry and three golden flies, the Egyptian award for bravery.
Most pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty acceded while still very young and no reference is made to brothers of the king although in a number of cases certainly more princes were alive at the time of death of their father. These young rulers did not possess much power over the military, the officialdom and the priesthood of Amen. The queen's palace also played an important role. All these parties tried to manipulate the king, who often only served to legitimise the government controlled by one faction or another.
Expulsion and pursuit of the Hyksos Ahmose I (r. c.1570-1546 BCE), was the founder of the 18th dynasty, one of the most outstanding kings in the history of ancient Egypt. His principal achievement was to weaken the Hyksos, who had dominated Lower Egypt for some 300 years, by taking Avaris, their citadel in the north. He pursued them into southern Canaan and laid siege to Sharuhen for three years. On his campaign in Upper Egypt against rebels great slaughter was recorded in all the battles.
Ahmose continued Kamose's expansion into Nubia as far as Buhen (near the second cataract) in an attempt to prevent a recurrence of the incursions of the Kushites, which Upper Egypt had suffered from during the 17th Dynasty. The overseer over these conquered lands became one of the most important people in Egypt and was later given the title of "Son of the King".
Amenhotep I (Amenophis) was the son of Ahmose I, and ruled from c. 1546 to 1526. He undertook military campaigns in Libya and in Nubia (up to the 3rd cataract) using boats on the Nile to transport his army, and extended the boundaries of his empire by establishing a vice-royalty in Nubia.
Thutmose I, (r. c. 1525-1512), husband of the princess Ahmose, continued the expansive policy of his predecessors, appointed Turi vice-roy of Nubia and extended the empire southward deeper into Nubia. At the third cataract he erected a stela on an island proclaiming:
His sword touches both ends of the earth.
Later, while pursuing the retreating Hyksos during his Asian campaigns, he reached the Euphrates and crossed over into Nahrin, the land of the Two Rivers, which belonged to the Mitanni.
In his third year he re-excavated the canals bypassing the first cataract, put down a rebellion and returned with his fleet, with
that wretched Nubian Bowman head downward at the bow of his majesty's ship "Falcon."
He added walls and obelisks to the temple of Amen at Thebes and the axial temple he created was often copied. He was the first king to be buried in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes.
Thutmose II (r. c.1512-c.1504 BCE) married his half sister Hatshepsut and succeeded his father, Thutmose I. During his reign Thutmose put down Kushite rebellions in Nubia and revolts by bedouins in Canaan and continued temple construction, albeit on a small scale only, at Karnak.
Hatshepsut (Hatshepsowe), (died c.1482 BCE) was one of the few women to rule Egypt as a pharaoh. After the death (c.1504) of her husband, Thutmose II, she assumed power, first as regent for his son Thutmose III, and then (c.1503) as pharaoh. She encouraged commercial expansion, sent a trading expedition to Punt and sponsored a major building program overseen by Senenmut; the monuments of her reign include the temple at Deir el-Bahri. Toward the end of her reign she lost influence to Thutmose III who came to be depicted as her equal.
Thutmose III (c.1504-1450 BCE) was very young when his father, Thutmose II, died and was until 1482 the co-regent of his aunt, Hatshepsut. Some time after he became sole monarch,he tried, for unknown reasons, to erase the memory of Hatshepsut by destroying many of the monuments which bore her name or effigy. From 1482 onwards, he devoted himself to the expansion of the Egyptian empire, leading many campaigns into Canaan, Phoenicia and Syria.
At Megiddo (c.1480) he destroyed a Syrian-Canaanite coalition employing mercenary armies and chariots. On the east bank of the river Euphrates in Nahrin, he defeated the forces of the kingdom of Mitanni, which had been extending its power in the Middle East.
Thutmose expanded his navy and used it to transport his armies swiftly to the Phoenician coast, while in Setet (Nubia) and Kush he extended his rule beyond the fourth cataract.
He set up an efficient administration, both civil and military, and extorted large amounts of tribute from the defeated kings and chiefs. Much of this tribute Thutmose used to build temples at Karnak (the Festival Hall of the temple of Amen), Heliopolis and Abydos.
Amenhotep II, the 7th king of the 18th dynasty, son of Thutmose III, ruled Egypt from c.1450 to 1425 BCE. He continued the military exploits of his father, particularly in Syria, where he crushed an uprising and demanded oaths of loyalty from local rulers. His mummy was discovered in the Valley of the Kings.
Thutmose IV campaigned in Nubia and Retenu. He concluded a treaty with the Babylonians and entered into an alliance with the Mitanni by marrying Artatama's daughter.
Amenhotep III ruled (c.1417-1379 BCE) Egypt at the height of its power. His extensive diplomatic contacts with other Near Eastern states, especially Mitanni and Babylonia, are revealed in the Amarna tablets. Of the great temple he built near Thebes, only two statues, the so-called colossi of Memnon, remain. Amenhotep's wife Tiye, a woman of non-royal birth, was prominently associated with him during his long and peaceful reign.
Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) (c. 1379-1361), was invested as king not in the Amen temple at Karnak as custom dictated, but at Hermonthis, where his uncle Inen was High Priest of Re and immediately began building a roofless temple to the Aten, the disk of the rising sun. He soon forbade the worship of other gods, especially of the state god Amen of Thebes. In the 6th year he changed his name from Amenhotep ("Amen is satisfied") to Akhenaten ("beneficial to Aten") and left Thebes for a new capital at Akhetaten (El Amarna).
Living there with his queen Nefertiti, six daughters, and possibly several sons, he fostered new styles in art and literature. The confiscation of the wealth of the Amen temples wreaked havoc upon its priesthood. Akhenaten used these riches to strengthen the royal control over the army and his officialdom. His concentration on internal affairs brought about the loss of some of the Egyptian possessions in Canaan and Retenu (Syria) and of the Egyptian naval dominance, when Aziru defected to the Hittites with his fleet.
His religious reforms did not survive his reign and monotheism  in its pure form was forgotten in Egypt, even though it found a new expression in the trinity of Re, Ptah and Amen. The Aten temples were demolished, and Akhenaten came to be called "the Enemy" or the "criminal of Akhetaten."
The subsequent events are unclear, but it is possible that on the death of Akhenaten, Meritaten, who had become his wife as well as co-regent, married Smenkhkare. (Some think that Meritaten may have been Smenkhkare)
An attempt by Kiya to usurp the throne was suppressed and the remains of Akhenaten and Tiye were transferred to another site in the Valley of the Kings; Akhenaten was buried in Kiya's coffin. In Tutankhamen's reign, both mummies were moved to the tomb of Amenhotep III.
Tutankhamen (c. 1361-1352 BCE), the son in law of Akhenaten, succeeded his brother Smenkhkare when he was only nine years old. His vizier Ay restored the traditional polytheistic religion, abandoning the monotheistic cult of Aten of Akhenaten, its religious centre at el Amarna and returning to the capital Thebes. By reviving the cult of the state god Amen he strengthened the position of Amen's priesthood. The pharaoh changed his name Tutankhaten, (living image of Aten), to Tutankhamen, (living image of Amen).
During his reign, the general Horemheb sought to 'pacify' Canaan and fought against the Hittites in northern Syria allied to the Assyrians.
Tutankhamen died at the age of 18, some claim that he was murdered, but there is no real evidence to support this. As there were apparently no legal heirs, a plea by the King's Wife for a suitable prince consort seems to have reached the Hittite king Suppiliuma.
Tutankhamen was succeeded by Ay (c. 1352-1348), who married his widow, Ankhesenamen, and furnished the former king's tomb . Ay acceded to the throne despite Horemheb's claim to be the designated successor. His accession to the throne may have been an attempt on the part of the Egyptians to appease the Hittites, by whom they had just been defeated.
Horemheb (c.1321-1293) who followed Ay, pursued a more hawkish policy vis-à-vis the Hittites, rebuilding his army devastated by the pestilence, which had affected much of the Near East killing the Hittite king Suppiluliuma who was followed by Mursili.
More on the 19th dynasty threw the Ptolemaic Period
To be Continued
Mugenroshi8 called me, and broke my train of thought and groove, so will continue the rest of Contemporary Egyptian History by sat or sun night, and once that is complete, will begin the Alternative as i have researched and placed them into perspective. again, links of all related material will be provided at the end of the post,.
Towards the end of his reign, Horemheb, the last king of the 18th Dynasty, appointed his old comrade in arms, general Paramesu, to be his successor. The choice of Paramesu was a logical one, as the general, himself already an old man, had an adult son and a grandson to secure the new royal line.
General Paramesu thus became the new king upon Horemheb's death, the first of many kings to rule under the name of Ramesses. The reign of Ramesses I only lasted for two years but it marked the start of a new dynasty.
Ramesses I was succeeded by his son, Seti I, whose principal goal was to restore Egypt's power and prestige to what it had been before the Amarna Revolution. In order to achieve this goal, Seti used the same means as some of his illustrious predecessors: warfare to rebuild Egypt's international status and a building policy for the new dynasty's national prestige.
The international situation, however, had drastically changed since the Amarna Revolution and Egypt no longer was the only major power in the ancient Near East.
The warrior kings of the early 18th Dynasty had encountered only little resistance from neighbouring kingdoms, allowing them to expand their realm of influence easily.
Towards the end of the 18th Dynasty, the situation had changed radically. Helped by Akhenaten's apparent lack of interest in international affairs, the Hittites had gradually extended their influence into Syria-Palestine and to become a major power in international politics. A power that both Seti I and his son Ramesses II would need to deal with.
Seti I succeeded in reconquering a large portion of Syria-Palestine and establish an Egyptian presence in the strategically important city of Kadesh. Equally important was the defection of the king of Amurru to the Egyptians, prompting the Hittites to mount a counter attack during which they were able to reclaim both Amurru and Kadesh.
During the 19th Dynasty, Egypt's northern realm of influence stretched to just south of the city of Kadesh in Syria-Palestine.
The decisive battle between the two empires, however, would be fought during the early years of the 67-year long reign of Ramesses II near the city of Kadesh.
Although he rushed his army into a trap that should have led to certain defeat, Ramesses II was able to force a status quo with the Hittites. Neither party had succeeded in crushing the other, but both would, of course, claim a total victory back home.
For the years that followed, Ramesses waged several campaigns into Syria-Palestina, but the territories he reclaimed were lost as soon as his armies went back home.
The first pylon the Ramesseum, the mortuary temple of Ramesses II on the Theban Westbank, is one of the many places where the battle of Kadesh is depicted.
Some 15 years after the battle at Kadesh, the emmerging power of the Assyrian empire in Mesopotamia had once again changed the international situation, but this time for the worse as far as the Hittites were concerned. In order to cope with this change which threatened his posessions in Syria-Palestine, the Hittite king had no option but to seek the help of his former foe, Ramesses II. A peace treaty, the first of its kind in known history, was agreed between the two empires, each pledging to support the other against its ennemies.
The treaty was sealed when the Hittite king sent one of his daughters to be married to Ramesses. Just how much the Hittites needed this treaty is made obvious by the fact that no Egyptian princess married a Hittite king or prince.
The first pylon the Ramesseum, the mortuary temple of Ramesses II on the Theban Westbank, is one of the many places where the battle of Kadesh is depicted.
Merenptah, Ramesses II's successor, had to subdue some rebellions in Syria-Palestine and in Nubia. His most important victory, however, was over a group of peoples, known as the Sea Peoples, who had brought destuction on the Aegean islands and parts of the Hittite empire and who, along with some Lybian tribes, now sought to invade the fertile regions of northwest Egypt.
Thousands of ennemies were killed during the ensuing battle, but many were taken prisoner and forced to settle in the Delta, where, several generations later, they would become a very important political factor.
The 19th Dynasty ended in dynastic upheaval. Although Seti was the legitimate successor of his father, Merenptah, another descendant of Ramesses II, Amenmes, appears to have succesfully claimed the throne for himself, at least for a few years in the south of the country. It is not known whether this happened at the beginning or somewhere during the reign of Seti II, but was is certain is that Seti outlived his rival and carefully set about to erase his titulary and usurp his monuments.
Seti II was succeeded by his only son, a young boy named Siptah, whose mother was not Seti's principal wife, but a Syrian concubine. Siptah's mummy also shows that this boy suffered from an atrophied leg caused by poliomyelitis. All this helped Seti's principal wife, Taweseret, to retain the title of Great Royal Wife and to impose herself as regent for the young king.
The true ruler of Egypt, however, appears to have been a chancelor of the entire land named Bay, a Syrian who even claimed to have established the king upon his throne. After Siptah's death, Taweseret officially continued to rule the country, probably with Bay directing her behind the scenes. With her death, the 19th Dynasty came to an end.
Merenptah was probably the last great king of the 19th Dynasty. His reign was followed by dynastic upheaval that led to the decline of the dynasty.
Amenmesse is generally considered to be the 5th ruler of Egypt's 19th Dynasty, though most Egyptologists believe he was probably not the legitimate heir to the throne. He succeeded Merneptah as pharaoh, but it was probably Merneptah's son, prince Seti-Merneptah who should have ascended the throne on his father's death.
Various theories exist about why he did not. It is very possible that Merenptah may have died suddenly while the crown prince was away, and Amenmesses simply took advantage of the situation. Interesting, but not unpredictable, is that this disorder came only a generation after the strong, but long rule of Ramesses II (Ramesses the Great).
However, it is also very likely that Seti-Merneptah was no other then Seti II, who ruled Egypt just after Amenmesses. It was probably Seti II who scraped the images and inscriptions from that kings monuments, and otherwise usurped Amenmesses' building projects. Therefore, very little is known about this king, who apparently ruled for three or four years. Various Egyptologists give him a reign from between 1202 - 1199 BC and 1203 - 1200 BC.
Amenmesses would have been his birth name, but a Greek version. Manetho called him Ammenemes and assigned five years to his rule, though we may also find his named as Amenmeses. His Egyptian name was probably Heqa-waset, which means "Fashioned by Amun, Ruler of Thebes".
His throne name was Men-mi-re Setep-en-re, meaning "Eternal like Re, Chosen by Re.
It was long believed that Amenmesses was a son of Merneptah by a queen Takhat, though really his origins are unknown, and that he probably married a woman named Baktwerel. However, some Egyptologists have suggested that Takhat and Baktwerel were actually the mother and wife of Ramesses IX.
There is enough confusion surrounding Amenmesses that some Egyptologists actually place his rule after that of Seti II. Yet, Seti II's name has been written over the name of Amenmesses in several Theban locations, it is generally believed that Seti II succeeded him. Still others believe that Amenmesses usurped Seti II in the middle of Seti II's reign, sometime between years three and five of his rule, which would seem more probable then him ruling after Seti II. It is also possible that Amenmesses only ruled the southern parts of Egypt during Seti II's reign.
If this is true, he may have been a vizier over Nubia named Messui during the time of Merneptah, but this theory has recently been called into question. There has even been speculation that a queen Ti'a, supposed mother of Saptah, the penultimate ruler of the dynasty, may have been a wife of Amenmeses, thus making him the father of the successor to Sety II as part of a rival dynastic branch.
It should also be noted that Amenmesses usurped a number of preexisting monuments himself, and though we now believe that tomb KV 10 in the Valley of the Kings was originally began by this king, little other building work exists. Inscriptions bearing his name are mostly only found in Upper Egyptian sites, primarily in the Theban region and in Nubia. These include inscriptions at Karnak, a dedication inscription at the small temple at Medinet Habu, an inscriptions at a chapel at Deir el-Medine and a stela found at Buhen.
Perhaps as many as six quartzite statues originally placed along the axis of the hypostyle hall in the Amun Temple at Karnak are thought to be his, though these were also usurped (in the name of Seti II)
Seti II was probably the fifth or sixth king of Egypt's 19th Dynasty, depending on the treatment we give Amenmessses who may have ruled before, concurrently or even after him (though that is less likely). Seti (mer-en-ptah) was this king's birth name, meaning "He of the god Seti, Beloved of Ptah". He is also sometimes referred to by his Greek name, Sethos II. His throne name was User-kheperu-ra Setep-en-ra, meaning "Powerful are the Manifestations of Ra, Chosen of Ra".
It was not unusual in ancient Egypt for the successful, long reign of a king to be followed by succession problems. Of course, few kings had a longer, more successful reign than Ramesses II, and when he died, he left a son who was now old himself as the new King. This was Merneptah, who was almost certainly the father of Seti II. It is believed that an usurper named Amenemesses probably ruled either before him, or concurrently with Seti II during the early part of his rule. It may have been Amenemesses who erased the name of Seti II in his tomb and elsewhere, but it was likewise Seti II who probably did likewise to the names and images of Amenemesses after taking complete control of Egypt. It is believed that Seti may have only reigned for about six years, from about 1199 until 1193 BC.
Seti II's reign was apparently relatively peaceful. We have no evidence of foreign policy during his reign, though there was probably activity at the mines around Serabit el-Khadim in the Sinai. He made a number of claims regarding building projects, though there is little indication that his words translate into physical accomplishments. We find surviving trances of his work at Hermopolis, where he apparently finished some decorations in his grandfather's, Ramesses II, temple. He also did some work in Karnak, where he was probably responsible for a new way station of the sacred barks in the First Court of the temple of Amun-Ra, and he probably also completed some work in the temple of Mut.
Siptah he suffered the deformity of a club foot. His reign lasted from about 1193 until 1187 BC.
Like his father we know precious little about Siptah, though perhaps, there is little for us to know. He was probably the seventh ruler of Egypt's 19th Dynasty, though in fact he may have never actually ruled at all. He was questionably the second son of Seti II, by Tiaa, a relatively minor queen, and came to the throne because his older brother, Seti-Merenptah, died prior to the death of Seti II. However, he apparently inherited the throne while still a minor and it was his stepmother, Tausret, along with her Chancellor ("kingmaker" Bay) who actually controlled Egypt during the kings short life. Siptah seems to have died in the 6th year of his reign, after which his stepmother took full royal titles.
Like his father, or perhaps even because of his father, his tomb was entered shortly after his death and his cartouches were erased, though they were subsequently restored, possibly by Chancellor Bay but that is by no means proven.
Queen Tausert becomes known to us as the wife of Seti II, and apparently a very beloved wife at that, even though she was not his first. That was an honor given to a lady named Takhat II, though she apparently did not supply him with an heir.
Tausert gave birth to his first born sun, Sethos Merneptah, but unfortunately he died young. It was Seti II who initially ordered her tomb to be built in the Valley of the Kings, an honor given to few queens.
Upon Seti II's death, a son by what appears to be a Syrian wife, his third, named Tiaa, ascended to the throne of Egypt. His name was Ramesses-Siptah (Siptah Merenptah), but he was very young, probably in his early teens. He also suffered from a deformed left leg.
It was Tausert who assumed the role of regent as the "Great Royal Wife", though it appears that for the remainder of her life, another powerful non-royal personage would perhaps be the power behind the throne.
In effect, Siptah was under the double supervision of his stepmother and a certain chancellor Bay. Bay was originally the royal scribe of Seti II, and is thought to have also been of Syrian decent. If tradition is to be believed, Bay seduced the pharaoh's widow, who then gave him total control of Egypt's treasury.
Siptah held the throne of Egypt for approximately six years before his death, when Tausert formally ascended the throne of Egypt herself. In fact, in the fifth year of Siptah's rule, Tausert elevated herself considerably, taking full royal titles as Hatshepsut had done several hundred years in the past. However, it is believed that Bay continued to largely rule in the background.
Her reign was short, lasting perhaps two years.
While little is known of this time, we do believe that campaigns were waged in the Sinai and Palestine, and there is evidence of her building work at Heliopolis, where a statue of the queen was found as well as at Thebes.
At Thebes, she constructed a mortuary temple discovered by William Petrie to the south of the Ramesseum, and of course, continued work on her tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
Her name also appears at Abydos, Hermopolis and Memphis.
She was probably originally buried in her tomb in the Valley of the Kings, but this tomb was later taken by Ramesses III for his father, Setnakht.
Setnakht Refusing to acknowledge the previous two pharaohs, the first king of the 20th Dynasty dated the beginning of his reign to that of Seti II.
Setnakht ruled for only a few years but restored order after a period of chaos. His son Rameses III was the last great king. He gave Egypt a final moment of glory by defeating sea faring peoples who had completely destroyed the Hittite Empire and swept all before them on their march south.
Ramesses III assumed the throne after his father's short two year reign.
He fought the Libyans twice during his reign. He compared himself to Mont, the god of war and was confident in his abilities. He overcame an attack by the Sea Peoples in his eighth year as pharaoh. After defeating the Sea People (of which he took many captives) he attacked the Palestinian tribes and was again victorious. Ramesses received tributes from all conquered peoples.
Egypt, however, was experiencing financial problems. Workers were striking for pay and there was a general unrest of all social classes.During his thirty-one year reign, Ramesses III built the vast mortuary complex at Medinet Habu.
After Rameses III, Egypt began to suffer economic problems and a break down in the fabric of society. It was unable to exploit the revolution of the Iron Age and there followed a succession of kings all called Rameses. Perhaps this was a vain attempt to recapture past glories.
Ramesses IV was the son of Ramesses III. His reign lasted no more than six years.
Ramesses V is thought to have reigned no more than four years. He was the son of Ramesses IV and Queen Ta-Opet. The mummy was found in the tomb of Amenophis II and is now located in the Cairo Museum. The mummy shows that he died of smallpox at about the age of 35.
Ramses VI the fifth king of the 20th Dynasty usurped the throne from his nephew, Ramesses V. However, the son of Ramesses III allowed mortuary ceremonies to continue for Ramesses V, who was only on the throne for four years. He usurped cartouches of previous kings and left his name on inscriptions in the Sinai. His built statues in Bubastis, Coptos, Karnak and Nubia. After his tomb was vandalized, the priests had to pin the corpse on a board in order to provide the remains with a decent burial.
Ramesses VII is probably the son of Ramesses VI and was the sixth king of the Twentieth Dynasty. He built a tomb in the Valley of the Kings, but there are no other monuments that he built. He did have a son that did not live to succeed him.
Ramesses VIII was the seventh king of the Twentieth Dynasty and was probably Ramesses III's son. His mummy has never been found and all that remains of his reign is an inscription at Medinet Habu and some plaques. His tomb was found but was very modest.
Ramesses IX was the eighth king of the Twentieth Dynasty. He is thought to have reigned for about seventeen or more years. During his reign, there was a scandal in which the tombs in the Theban necropolis were being robbed. There were also campaigns by Libyan bandits. He had a son, Montuherkhopshef, who did not live to succeed Ramesses. His tomb was found in the Valley of the Kings.
Ramesses X was the ninth king of the Twentieth Dynasty. During his reign the workers went on strike for wages not paid. There are few monuments of Ramesses that have survived.
Ramesses XI was the tenth and the last king of the Twentieth Dynasty as well as the New Kingdom. The reign of this king was a period of turmoil. Ramesses was not a very energetic or vital ruler. The viceroy of Nubia, Panehsi, went from Elephantine to Thebes to try to stop the unrest that was arising from contention over the region that was between the high priest of Amon and others. At the same time there was a famine and was called the "Year of the Hyena." Hrihor was left in Thebes by Panehsi to control the affairs there.
He soon assumed the role of the high priest of Amon and eventually became the vizier as well. This was the cause of the eventual downfall of Panehsi.
Panehsi rebelled and stopped Egypt's domination in Nubia. Hrihor administered the affairs of Egypt while Ramesses XI remained in seclusion. Upon the death of Ramesses, Hrihor and Smendes divided Egypt between themselves. Ramesses was technically pharaoh until his death, but Hrihor was the ruler of Upper Egypt for all practical purposes. Ramesses' death marked the end of the Twentieth Dynasty and the New Kingdom.
Not Much Left Now Taken a break from the Historic ..Here is some additional information on the Gods of Ancient Egypt
* Man with a ram-head
* A ram
* Man wearing an ostrich plumed hat
Amun was one of the most powerful gods in ancient Egypt.
At the height of Egyptian civilisation he was called the 'King of the Gods'.
Amun was important throughout the history of ancient Egypt. However, when Amun was combined with the sun god Ra he was even more powerful. He was then called Amun-Ra.
A large and important temple was built at Thebes to honour Amun.
* Man with a jackal head
* A jackal
Anubis was the god of embalming and the dead.
Since jackals were often seen in cemeteries, the ancient Egyptians believed that Anubis watched over the dead.
Anubis was the god who helped to embalm Osiris after he was killed by Seth. Thus, Anubis was the god who watched over the process of mummifying people when they died.
Priests often wore a mask of Anubis during mummification ceremonies.
* A sun disk with rays which end in hands
Aten was a form of the sun god Ra.
During the reign of Akhenaten, the Aten was made the 'king' of the gods.
'The All' or 'Perfection'
* Man with the double crown
Atum was a creator god.
The ancient Egyptians believed that Atum was the first god to exist on earth.
The ancient Egyptians believed that Atum rose from the waters of chaos (Nun) and created all the gods.
* Woman with the head of a cat
Bastet was a protective goddess.
Bastet was usually seen as a gentle protective goddess. However, she sometimes appeared with the head of a lioness to protect the king in battle.
Bronze catThe cat was a symbol of Bastet. The ancient Egyptians made many statues of cats like this one to honour Bastet.
Bastet was one of the daughters of the sun god, Ra. A great temple was built in her honour at Bubastis in the Delta.
* Dwarf with lion and human features
* Dwarf wearing the skin of a lion
Bes was the protector of pregnant women, newborn babies and the family.
The ancient Egyptians also believed that Bes protected against snake and scorpion bites.
Amulets of Bes were popular at all levels of Egyptian society.
* Man lying down below the arch of the sky goddess Nut
* Man with a goose on his head
Geb was the god of the earth.
Geb was the husband and brother of the sky goddess Nut. He was also the father of Osiris, Isis, Nepthys and Seth.
When Seth and Horus fought for the throne of Egypt, Geb made Horus the ruler of the living.
The ancient Egyptians believed that earthquakes were Geb's laughter.
* Man with a pot belly, shown with water plants
Hapy was the god of the innundation.
Hapy was especially important to the ancient Egyptians because he brought the flood every year.
The flood deposited rich silt on the banks of the Nile, allowing the Egyptians to grow crops.
'House of Horus'
* Woman with the ears of a cow
* A cow
* Woman with a headdress of horns and a sun disk
Hathor was a protective goddess. She was also the goddess of love and joy.
Hathor was the wife of Horus, and was sometimes thought of as the mother of the pharaoh.
Hathor was connected with foreign places and materials. For instance, Hathor was the goddess of the desert and the turquoise mines in the Sinai.
A large temple was built to honour Hathor at Dendera.
'The One Far Above'
* Man with the head of a hawk
* A hawk
Horus was a god of the sky.
He is probably most well-known as the protector of the ruler of Egypt.
The Egyptians believed that the pharaoh was the 'living Horus'.
The ancient Egyptians had many different beliefs about the god Horus. One of the most common beliefs was that Horus was the son of Isis and Osiris.
After Osiris was murdered by his brother Seth, Horus fought with Seth for the throne of Egypt.
In this battle, Horus lost one of his eyes. The eye was restored to him and it became a symbol of protection for the ancient Egyptians. After this battle, Horus was chosen to be the ruler of the world of the living.
Eye of Horus
One of the best-preserved temples in Egypt today was dedicated to Horus. It is located in Upper Egypt at a town called Edfu.
* Woman with headdress in the shape of a throne
* A pair of cow horns with a sun disk
Isis was a protective goddess. She used powerful magic spells to help people in need.
Isis was the wife of Osiris and the mother of Horus.
Since each pharaoh was considered the 'living Horus', Isis was very important.
Isis with Horus
Isis is often shown holding Horus on her lap. Isis is associated with thrones because her lap was the first 'throne' that Horus sat upon.
Isis KnotThis amulet is called the 'Isis knot' and is a symbol of protection.
A temple was built to honour Isis at Philae. It is still standing today.
'He Who is Coming into Being'
* Man with the head of a scarab
* A scarab beetle
Khepri was a god of creation, the movement of the sun, and rebirth.
The scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung. Then, it rolls the ball along the ground until the young beetles are ready to hatch.
When the young beetles are ready, they crawl out of the ball.
The ancient Egyptians believed that the beetles just appeared from nowhere- as they believed that their creator god had appeared from nowhere. Thus, they thought that the scarab beetle was special.
In certain creation stories, Khepri is connected with the god Atum. He is also connected with the sun god Ra who pushed the sun through the sky every day.
* Man with the head of a curly-horned ram
Khnum was a creator god, and a god of the innundation.
Khnum was a creator-god, moulding people on a potter's wheel. Since potters used Nile mud, Khnum was also connected with the innundation.
* Woman with a feather on her head
* A feather
Ma'at was the goddess of truth, justice and harmony. She was associated with the balance of things on earth.
Ma'at was the daughter of the sun god Ra.
Pharaohs are frequently shown in wall reliefs making an offering of Ma'at to the gods-showing that they are preserving harmony and justice on earth.
The vizier who was in charge of the law courts was known as the 'priest of Ma'at'.
'Lady of the Mansion'
* Woman with headdress showing her name in hieroglyphs
Nephthys was a protective goddess of the dead.
Nephthys was the sister of Isis and Osiris, and the sister/wife of Seth. Nephthys was also the mother of Anubis.
She is often shown on coffins, or in funerary scenes.
* Man carrying a bark
According to an ancient Egyptian creation myth, Nun was the waters of chaos.
Nun was the only thing that existed on Earth before there was land. Then, the first land (in the form of a mound) rose out of Nun.
Nun was also associated with the chaos that existed at the edges of the universe.
* Woman whose body arches across the sky, wearing a dress decorated with stars.
Nut was the sky-goddess, whose body created a vault or canopy over the earth.
Nut was the sister/wife of Geb, the god of the earth. She was also the mother of Isis, Osiris, Nepthys and Seth.
The ancient Egyptians believed that at the end of the day, Nut swallowed the sun-god, Ra, and gave birth to him again the next morning.
* A mummified man wearing a white cone-like headdress with feathers
Osiris was the god of the dead, and ruler of the underworld.
Osiris was the brother/husband of Isis, and the brother of Nepthys and Seth. He was also the father of Horus.
As well as being a god of the dead, Osiris was a god of resurrection and fertility. In fact, the ancient Egyptians believed that Osiris gave them the gift of barley, one of their most important crops.
A large temple was built to honour Osiris at Abydos.
* Man wrapped in a tight white cloak carrying a staff
Ptah was the god of craftsmen.
In one creation myth Ptah was a creator god. He spoke the words and the world came into being.
* Man with hawk head and headdress with a sun disk
Ra was the sun god. He was the most important god of the ancient Egyptians.
The ancient Egyptians believed that Ra was swallowed every night by the sky goddess Nut, and was reborn every morning.
The ancient Egyptians also believed that he travelled through the underworld at night. In the underworld, Ra appeared as a man with the head of a ram.
'Horus in the Horizon'
* Man with the head of a hawk, with a sun disk headdress
Ra-Horakhty was a combination of the gods Horus and Ra.
Horus was a god of the sky, and Ra was the god of the sun. Thus, Ra-Horakhty was thought of as the god of the rising sun.
'The Powerful One'
* Woman with the head of a lioness
Sekhmet was the goddess of war.
* Woman wearing a panther skin dress and a star headdress
Seshat was the goddess of writing and measurement.
* Man with the head of a 'Seth animal' (unidentifiable)
Seth was the god of chaos.
Seth represented everything that threatened harmony in Egypt.
Statue of Seth
He was the brother of Osiris and Isis, as well as the brother/husband of Nepthys. He murdered his brother Osiris, then battled with his nephew Horus to be the ruler of the living.
At certain times in the history of ancient Egypt, Seth was associated with royalty.
'He Who Rises Up'
* Man wearing a headdress with feathers
* A lion
Shu was the god of the air.
Shu held up the figure of Nut so that the earth and the sky were separated.
* Man with the head of a crocodile and a headdress of feathers and a sun-disk
Sobek was a Nile god.
Sobek in crocodile form
Sobek was connected with the Nile, and protected the king. Live crocodiles were kept in pools at temples built to honour Sobek.
'The Great One'
* Head of a hippopotamus with the arms and legs of a lion, the back and tail of a crocodile, and the breasts and stomach of a pregnant woman.
Tawaret was a goddess who protected women during pregnancy and childbirth.
Many of the gods and goddesses in ancient Egypt had temples built to honour them. Other gods and goddesses like Tawaret and Bes were worshipped by people in their own homes.
Tawaret amuletThis is an amulet of the goddess Tawaret. People often wore amulets like this, or kept them in their homes.
* Woman with the head of a lioness
Tefnut was the goddess of moisture.
She was the wife of Shu and the mother of Nut (the sky) and Geb (the earth).
* A man with the head of an ibis holding a writing palette
* An ibis
* A baboon
Thoth was the god of writing and knowledge.
The ancient Egyptians believed that Thoth gave them the gift of hieroglyphic writing. Thoth was also connected with the moon.
And so ends our review of Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses
will have the Contemporary History, completed this week and start on Alternative Histories
i wish it was easy to save.......(i know.....that's my prob)
but , really , everyone here should be studying this history , corelated to ufos , christianity , budda , etc. .... (imo)
is your compilation found in any particular book(s)?
thanks for putting all together , regardless....
the57ironman wrote:i absolutely love what you've done.....
i wish it was easy to save.......(i know.....that's my prob)
but , really , everyone here should be studying this history , corelated to ufos , christianity , budda , etc. .... (imo)
is your compilation found in any particular book(s)?
thanks for putting all together , regardless....
thanks for the complement, will have more posted this wk, just took a break from it tonight.
i'll have sources and links to all the sites i use at the end of the post. some is copied, other parts typed, and i try to have pictures that are reflective of that time,or Pharaoh.
will also have some really interesting alternative histories to add too
which will tie into, or rewrite what i have posted up to this point, so when reading it, one may go. Oh that was in the 14th dynasty, the thing that he is referring to. and maybe cause some to dig deeper themselves.
21st Dynasty (1070 - 945 B.C.)
Kings of the 21st Dynasty
Smendes I 1070 - 1044
Amen-em-nesu 1044 - 1040
Psusennes I 1040 - 992
Amenemope 993 - 984
Osokhor 984 - 978
Siamun 978 - 959
Psusennes II 959 - 945
The priests of Amun in Thebes who usurped royal power in Southern Egypt
Herihor 1080 - 1074
Piankh 1074 - 1070
Pinodjem I 1070 - 1054
Masaherta 1054 - 1046
Men-kheper-re 1045 - 992
Smendes II 992 - 990
Pinodjem 990 - 969
Psusennes III 969 - 945
The period of the 21st Dynasty represents one of the most confused spots in Egyptian history. To call it a dynasty is actually somewhat of a misnomer since they were primarily powerful priests rather than royalty.
One of the results of revised chronology is, that now we have internal political and social conditions in neighboring countries matching each others circumstances. In conventional chronology the 21st Dynasty of priest-princes was in power in the days of the early Israelite monarchy.
In the 21st Dynasty the capital of Egypt moved from Tanis to Libyan, to Nubia, to Thebes, to SAIS, and then back to Nubia and Thebes.
After 1085 BC, Egypt split between a northern 21st dynasty claiming national recognition reigning from Tanis and a line of Theban generals and high priests of Amen who actually controlled the south from Thebes. Relations between the two authorities were peaceful. The Tanites were driven from power by Libyan warriors who established their own Twenty-Second Dynasty.
There was a tradition of representing the high priest as the king's representative: Herihor does not claim royal dignity. With the exception of Piankh, Herihor and his successors Pinedjem, Masaharta, and Menkheperre all used the title of High Priest of Amen as their principal title. The titles gradually diminished in number, reflecting not so much a reduction in power but an emphasis on their role as the highest authority in the Thebais and Upper Egypt. The title of High Priest of Amen gave the bearers control over the domains of Amen and at the same time emphasized the fact that they derived their power from Amen. In the peculiar combination of royal titles and that of High Priest, it becomes clear that the rulers of Tanis and Thebes only represented an ideal kingship.
The reign of the Pharaohs mentioned below is debatable. The establishment of flawless genealogies has thus far proved a baffling task. This is based on the writings of Manetho.
The part played by women in ancient Egypt had always been great, but at this juncture it was greater than ever. The inscriptions are abnormally communicative in the use of such epithets as 'King's Daughter', 'King's Great Wife'.
A perplexing feature of the problem is that the same female name was often born by several individuals. The title 'God's Wife of Amun', of which the first component goes back far into the past, has won an ever increasing political importance, though its exact implications are mysterious. Under Pinudjem I the Ma'kare' who bears this title is depicted as a mere child, though she has often been credited with being his wife.
Very possibly she was the daughter of Psusennes I. She is certainly to be distinguished from a later Ma'kare' who was a daughter of the Tanite king Psusennes II and whose rights as an heiress were set forth on a long inscription in the temple of Karnak. This is but one example of the difficulties which cluster round the names of such princesses as Henutowe, Isimkheb, and others. Here it need only be added that some of these royal ladies enjoyed no inconsiderable wealth through their tenure of priestly offices.
For instance Neskhons, the well-known wife of Pinudjem II, is described on a coffin bearing her name as 'first chief of the concubines of Amen-Ra', King of the Gods; Major-domo of the house of Mut the great, lady of Ashru; prophetess of Anhur-Shu the son of Ra'; prophetess of Min, Horus, and Isis in Ipu; prophetess of Horus, lord of Djuef; god's mother of Chons the child, first one of Amen-Ra', King of the Gods; and chief of noble ladies' - to which an accompanying column of inscription adds four more local priesthoods.
Unhappily the name of Neskhons has been painted over that of Isimkheb to whom, therefore, these titles doubtless properly belong. If the localities mentioned in them are to be taken seriously, it would seem that the Theban influence extended far northwards into Middle Egypt, a fact confirmed at El-Hiba by bricks bearing the names of the high-priests Pinudjem I and Menkheperre. Of El-Hiba we shall hear again in connection with Dyn. XXII. These complications are typical of the difficulties which attended the unraveling of the problems of Dynasties XXI. Further attempts at elucidation must be left to the future. The material is abundant, but mostly ambiguous. Here we must content ourselves with giving some account of two great discoveries by which the views of the historians have been completely transformed.
Almost since the times of their actual burial the mighty kings of Dynasties. XVII to XX had been exposed to violation and theft on the part of the rapacious inhabitants of the Theban necropolis, and it was only as a last frantic effort to put an end to such sacrilege that the high-priests of Dynasties XXI intervened.
This they could do with greater confidence since the golden ornaments and other precious possessions had long ago disappeared, so that little more than the coffins and corpses remained to be salvaged.
However, for the modern world thus to recover the remains of many of the greatest Pharaohs was a sensation till then unequaled in the annals of archaeology. To be able to gaze upon the actual features of such famous warriors as Tuthmosis III and Sethos I was a privilege that could be legitimately allowed to the serious historian, though it was for a time denied to the merely curious. Besides the nine kings who were found there were a number of their queens, as well as some princes and lesser personages. Hieratic dockets on certain coffins or mummy wrappings disclosed the dates of the reburials and the authorities responsible for them.
More important from the purely historical point of view were the intact coffins of high-priests of Dynasties XXI and their womenfolk. The hieroglyphic inscriptions furnishing no small portion of the material for the discussions contained in Maspero's fundamental monograph on the find. Among the latest burials were those of Pinudjem II and his already-mentioned spouse Neskhons. After them the cache was sealed up in the tenth year of the Tanite king Siamun, but was reopened once more in the reign of King Shoshenk I in order to enter a priest of Amun named Djedptahef'onkh.
From the end of Dynasty XX onwards the outstanding feature of the Theban administration was its recourse to oracular decisions on all occasions. We have seen how under the high-priest Pay'onkh a temple appointment was effected by this method, the great god Amen-Ra' halting his processional bark to nod approval when the right name was presented to him.
Later when the inheritance of the princess Ma'kare' was in dispute, it was Amen-Ra', accompanied by the goddess Mut and the child-god Chons, the two other members of his triad, who decided the issue. Again, when Menkheperre' became high-priest his first act was to inquire from the supreme god whether certain persons who had been banished to the oasis could now be pardoned and allowed to return to Thebes.
To judge by the size of a great inscription engraved on a wall at Karnak the trial of an official for dishonesty which Pinudjem II was called upon to initiate must have been one of exceptional importance. In this trial a whole series of questions were addressed to the deity, who seems to have been unwilling to proceed to his yearly ceremonial visit to Luxor until the matter was settled.
The first step consisted in placing before him two tablets, the one affirming and the other denying that there was a case calling for investigation. In short, so far as our limited material goes, there was no subject demanding the high-priest's personal intervention which was not settled by an oracular response.
Smedes was an official during the reign of Ramesses XI of the 20th Dynasty. Smedes began his rule in Tanis. There he was the high priest of Amon and the viceroy of Lower Egypt. Hrihor was also a high priest of Amon and the viceroy of Upper Egypt. Together these two kept Ramesses XI in seclusion on his estates. Upon the death of Ramesses, Smedes and Hrihor divided Egypt among them, which started the Twenty-first Dynasty. As a native of Djede, Smedes could have no personal right to the throne. The only record of Smedes' reign is a damaged inscription on a pillar in a quarry at Gebelen. 1070-1044 B.C.
Amenemnisu was the second ruler of the Twenty-first Dynasty. He is thought to have ruled for four years possibly as the co-regent with Psusennes I.
At Tanis Psusennes I often uses the epithet 'high-priest of Amen-Ra'.
Once in a very full titulary describes himself as 'great of monuments in Ipet-eswe' at Karnak.
Psusennes I was the third king of the Twenty-first Dynasty and is probably the best known of all this dynasty's kings. This is because of the discovery of his intact tomb during the excavation of Tanis. His mummy was found in the tomb and was that of an old man. Also is the tomb was a second burial chamber was for his sister and wife, Queen Mutnodjme. At some time later, her mummy and funerary objects were removed. King Amunemope's mummy and funerary objects were placed there after he was moved from another tomb that was not too far away. There were also several other mummies found in this tomb as well. These mummies were thought to have been placed here to be protected from the destruction of the other tombs around. 1040-992 B.C.
Amenope was the fourth king of the Twenty-first Dynasty. It is possible that he wrote one of the most famous Egyptian books of wisdom, known as the Instruction of Amenope. In this book, advice is offered to his son on integrity, honesty, self-control and kindness. He teaches that it is reliance on god that this tranquillity and the freedom from overanxiety can be attained. 993-984 B.C.
Osochor 984-978 B.C.
Siamun is listed as the sixth king of the Twenty-first Dynasty. Very little is known about his reign except that he is the one who sealed up the great Der el-Bahri cache. He is believed to have reigned for seventeen years. 978-959 B.C.
Psusennes II was the seventh and final king of the Twenty-first Dynasty. He is believed to have ruled for 14 years. There are inscriptions on monuments which are the only information showing his reign 959 - 945 B.C.
22nd Dynasty (945-712 B.C.)
Shoshenq I 945-924
Osorkon I 924-909
Takelot I 909-894
Shoshenq II 894-883
Osorkon II 883-855
Takelot II 860-835
Shoshenq III 835-783
Shoshenq V 773-735
Osorkon IV 735-712
The 22nd Dynasty is often referred to as the Libyan Bubastite Dynasty. Manetho lists the kings of this Dynasty as being from Bubastis which is located in the eastern delta. The Libyan element is evident in the founder, Sheshonq I, who inaugurated the sequence of Libyan Chiefs which ruled Egypt for the next 200 years.
Sheshonq I, probably descended from long-settled Libyan mercenaries, the Meshwesh. Shoshenq I ruled for twenty-one years.
His name first appeared in a long inscription found at Abydos while he was the 'great chief of the Meshwesh, prince of princes.' His father was Nemrat, who was the son of the lady Mehetemwaskhe, died and Shoshenq asked the king at that time to allow a funerary cult to be built at Abydos in his honor. The king must have been the last Psusennes of the Twenty-first Dynasty. Shoshenq's son had married Psusennes' daughter, Makare.
Sheshonq I supported Jeroboam against King Solomon's son, Rehoboam and campaigned later in Palestine (ca.930) laying tribute upon the king of Judah. He instituted a decentralized system, with kings based in the north and their sons ruling key centers elsewhere. Rivalries and sporadic civil wars followed, and by the 8th century BCE Egypt had been divided into eleven autonomous states, whose inhabitants depended on congested, walled towns for security. Their increased anxiety found expression in their worship of local rather than national gods.
It is possible that the transition from the Twenty-first to the Twenty-second Dynasty was a peaceful one. Shoshenq's wife, Karoma, was the mother of Osorkon I who was Shoshenq's successor. Shoshenq did considerable building at home in Egypt. He added a new colonnaded forecourt with a triumphal gate that formed an extension of the hypostyle hall in the Amun temple. No work had been done at Karnak since the end of the Nineteenth Dynasty. He also had a successful campaign against the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel. His tomb is located at Tanis. 945-924 B.C.
Osorkon I is in the second king of the Twenty-second Dynasty. Between the reigns of Osorkon I and Takelot I, a Shoshenq II is often shown as a co-regent for a brief period of time.
Osokon I, who succeeded his father, continued to provide strong patronage for the various leading priesthoods, thereby consolidating his position as well as maintaining a continuous building program, especially at his native city of Bubastis. The chief priesthood of Amun at Karnak was taken from his brother Input and given to one of his sons, Sheshonq(II) whom he took as a co-regent in 890 B.C.E. Sheshonq, however, died a few months earlier than his father, and both were buried at Tanis. 924-909 B.C.
Takelot I was the third king of the Twenty-second Dynasty. He was the successor to Osorkon I, but is shown to have had a co-regent, Sheshonq II, for a brief period before his reign began.
This reign, although 15 years in length, has left no major monuments, but saw the beginning of the fragmentation of Egypt once more into two power bases. 909-894 B.C.
Shoshenq II is thought to have been the co-regent during the period between Osorkon I and Takelot I during the Twenty-second Dynasty. His mummy was found at Tanis in the tomb of Psusennes I. 894-883 B.C.
Osorkon II was the fifth king of the Twenty-second Dynasty. There are inscriptions in the hypostyle hall of the Luxor temple that indicate that there was a very high inundation of the Nile during the third year of his reign. The inscription says, "All the temples of Thebes were like marshes." During his twenty-second year, he celebrated the Sed Festival.
He built a granite gateway at the great temple at Bubastis and decorated the gateway with scenes of this festival. During his reign, there was weakness internally and there were threats from the Assyrians. Egypt's borders did not extend as far as they once had and tried to resist the increasing pressures from the east by joining the states of Palestine and Syria. It is possible that a co-regent ruled with Osorkon II named Harsiese, who was the high priest of Amun at Thebes. It is possible that Harsiese was the son of Osorkon. His tomb has been found at Tanis. It was constructed of large stones with several chambers inside. Several other bodies were found inside such as King Takelot II. 883-855 B.C.
Takelot II was the sixth king of the Twenty-second Dynasty. He was the father to the high priest of Amun, Osorkon. This Osorkon was responsible for the longest inscription on the Bubastite Gate. According to his inscription, during the fifteenth year of Takelot's reign, there was warfare in the North and South and a great convulsion broke out in the land.
Takelot II maintained stability in the South where his half brother Nimlot had consolidated his position by extending North to Herakleopolis and placing his son Ptahwedjankhef in charge there. Nimlot then married his daughter Karomama II to Takelot II, thereby cementing a bond between North and South and becoming the father-in-law of his half brother.
The remains of Takelot II were found in a usurped sarcophagus from the Middle Kingdom in Tanis. His Canopic jars and ushabti-figures were found with him as well. 860-835 B.C.
Shoshenq III was the seventh king of the Twenty-second Dynasty. He is thought to have ruled for fifty-two years. During the twenty-eighth year of his reign, an Apis bull was born. This is recorded on the Serapeum stela by a priest named Pediese. His tomb was found at Tanis and was similar in structure to those of Psusennes I and Osorkon II.
Pami was the eighth king of the Twenty-second Dynasty. He reigned for approximately six years following the fifty-two year reign of Shoshenq III. Pemay is translated to "The Cat". 783-773 B.C.
Shoshenq IV was the ninth king of the Twenty-second Dynasty. The Serapeum stela of Pasenhor is dated as the thirty-seventh year of Shoshenq IV. This shows that he reigned at least this long. In the year 732, toward the end of his reign, an Assyrian, Tiglath-pileser III took Damascus and killed Rezin. He then captured many cities of northern Israel and took the people to Assyria. The Egyptian troops had at one time joined forces with Damascus, Israel and some other states to resist Shalmaneser III at Qarqar. There is no indication that Shoshenq IV made any attempt to help the former allies. 773-735 B.C.
Osorkon IV was the tenth and final ruler of the Twenty-second Dynasty. During his reign, Hoshea, the king of Israel, sent messengers to Osorkon in Egypt. He was requesting help against Shalmaneser V. No help was sent. Samaria was captured and the Israelites were taken away to Assyria. There was also threats from Sargon II, who was the Assyrian king. To try to avoid an attack, Osorkon IV tried a rich gift and it apparently worked. The Assyrian king came no further. 735-712 B.C.
Petubastis I 828 - 803
Shoshenq IV 803 - 797
Osorkon III 797 - 769
Takelot III 774 - 767
Rudamun 767 - 764
Iuput 764 - 712
There is much debate surrounding this dynasty, which may have been situated at Herakleopolis Magna, Hermopolis Magna, and Thebes but monuments from their reign show that they controlled Upper Egypt in parallel with the Twenty-second dynasty of Egypt shortly before the death of Osorkon II.
Pedubaste I was the first king of the Twenty-third Dynasty. He is mentioned several times in the inscriptions at Karnak. Pedubaste is thought to have been the son of the high priest of Amun, Harsiese.
Iuput I co-regent
Shoshenq VI Succeeded Pedubast I at Thebes and ruled Upper Egypt for 6 years
Osorkon III Involved in a civil war against Pedubast I and Shoshenq VI.
Takelot III Osorkon III's eldest son, junior coregent and successor.
Rudamun The younger brother and successor of Takelot III. A poorly attested king.
not much else is available for this period.
24th Dynasty (724 - 712 B.C)
Tefnakht 724 - 717
Bakare 717 - 712
Tefnakht I was the first king of the 24th Dynasty, also known as the Sais Dynasty.
In the Piankhy stela, he is called the "chief of the West," "chief of Me," and "chief of Sais." He also gives himself titles as prophets and royal titles.
He attempted to put a stop to an invasion by organizing other Northern Kings with him against the invaders from the south. This southern force was comprised of Piankhi¹s Nubian forces that wanted to gain control of all of Egypt. The four northern armies under Tefnakht, Osorkon IV of Tanis, Peftjauabastet of Hernopolis, and Nimlot, Input of Leontopolis all enjoyed a relatively easy time in their conquering of the people down to the south, but Piankhi was actually drawing them down. When Tefnakht's forces finally reached Memphis they were massacred and Tefnakht conceded to Piankhi. Tefnakht and the four other leaders were allowed to remain governors of their territories under the new Pharaoh Piankhi.
Bakare was the second king of the Twenty-fourth Dynasty. His name was found on a vase that was found in an Etruscan tomb at Tarquinia which is located 100 kilometers northwest of Rome. Papyrus plants on the vase suggest the area of the Delta.
25th Dynasty (712 - 657 BC)
Kashta 770 - 750
Piyi 750 - 712
Shabaka 712 - 698
Shebitku 698 - 690
Taharqa 690 - 664
Tanutamun 664 - 657
Certain levels of confusion continue as to the Kings list.
King Kashta (770-750), one of three Nubian kings seized control of the entire country beginning to re-unifying it, starting under his rule. he even shifted the capital from Napata in the Sudan to Memphis. The Nubian kings claimed that they were restorers, whose intention was to return Egypt to its ancient traditions and former greatness. The art and architecture of the period was consequently characterized by the use of archaic forms and patterns. Moreover, additions were made to many of the most important temple complexes in Egypt.
Most references point to Piye as being the first ruler of the 25th Dynasty. Different references refer to him under different names. He supposedly ruled Kush (Nubia) from about 750 to 719 BC.
Piankhi was his birth name. But in various references, we see his birth name referred to as Piankhy, Piye, Piy and Piyi. However, some references point out that his true name was Piye, and that this was wrongly read as Piankhi.
His Throne Name was Men-kheper-re, meaning "The Manifestation of Ra Abides". This name too will vary, being also spelled Menkheperra. Of course, this king, as most others, had several other names which are not generally provided. Piye ascended the Nubian (Kushite) thrown (or at least its northern half) as the successor of Kashta, which explains why at least one reference refers to Kashta as the founder of the 25th Dynasty. Kashta apparently had made some earlier advances into Egypt. But it was Piye who, for the first time, consolidated the rulership of Nubia and Egypt.
From the earliest dynastic periods, Nubia was always a matter of conquest for the Egyptian pharaohs, and as such, much of Nubia was often under the control of Egypt. At times, it was very much a part of Egypt, and the customs of Nubia were a reflection of those in at least Upper Egypt. This perhaps explains Piye's seemingly strong emotional ties with Egypt, what he considered to be part of his motherland, even though he was not from Egypt proper.
So at least towards the end of the Third Intermediate Period, when Egypt seems to have surrendered to chaos with four kings claiming rule within Egypt, as well as a number of local chieftains exercising control, particularly in the Delta, Piye decided to step in and fix Egypt's problems. Kashta had a stele erected at the Elephantine Temple of Khnum (current day Aswan), but in the early ears of Piye's reign, he extended his rule to Thebes itself.
There, he had his sister, Amenirdis I, named as the successor of Shepenwepet I, who had the title, God's Wife of Amun. Shepenwepet I was the sister of Rudamun of the Theban 23rd Dynasty, and apparently both Rudamun and Piye were recognized at Thebes at the same time. After the death of Rudamun, the Theban royal line seems to have abandoned Thebes in favor of Hierakleopolis , where Peftjauawy-bast, the last king of his dynasty remained an ally of Piye.
Soon, Piye was given a reason to intervene further north.Tefnakhte (a Lybian), the Prince of Western Egypt based in the Delta city of Sais extended his control south by taking the city of Memphis, as well as the old Middle Kingdom of Itj-tawy (Lisht).
At first, Piye merely checked Tefnakhte's movement south with a pair of naval battles in Middle Egypt, though he left the Saite rulers in control of the North. However, after spending New Years in Nubia, Piye returned to Thebes in time for the great Opet Festival, and subsequently set about taking the remainder of Egypt under his control. His troops moved north, capturing three towns, and killing one of Tefnakhte's sons in the process.
Soon, Piye attacked the city of Ashmunein which was ruled by Nimlot, once an ally of Piye. Using wooden siege towers, the city fell after five months.
Further North, Hierakleopolis, ruled by Piye's loyal ally, King Peftjauawybast, had been threatened by Tefnakhte, but the capture of Nimlot relieved the pressure on Hierakleopolis, and soon Piye had control of every major center south of Memphis, as well as capturing another of Tefnakhte's sons.
The only real obstacle left for Piye was Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt. While the city was heavily fortified and defended, as well as the water of the Nile protecting its walls, Piye was able to use the masts of boats and ships in the Memphite harbor to assault the city and scale the walls. In very short order, Memphis too was bought under his control. It is said that his first act was to protect the temple of Ptah, and then to go there himself to be anointed and to worship.
With the capture of Memphis, most of the Delta rulers soon yielded to the Kushite king. One notable exception was Tefnakhte, who even went so far as to mount another, but unsuccessful campaign against Piye. Finally, he to submitted to Piye's rule of Egypt, taking an oath of loyalty.
After conquering Egypt, Piye simply went home to Nubia, and to our knowledge, never again returned to Egypt. He is portrayed as a ruler who did not glory in the smiting of his adversaries, as did other kings, but rather preferred treaties and alliances. He left the rule of the country largely in the hands of his vassals, but recorded his victories on a stela (called the Victory Stela, now in the Egyptian Museum) at Napata. He left few monuments in Egypt, other than an expansion of theTemple of Amun at Thebes (current day Luxor). Later, Tefnakhte would again claim kingdom and as the founder of the 24th Dynasty, rule at least the western Delta. However, later successors to Piye would consolidate their control over Egypt, at least for a time.
Upon Piye's death, he was buried at El-Kurru, where he erected a small pyramid resembling the tall, narrow structures that had been built above many private tombs of Egypt's New Kingdom. 747-716 BC
Shebaka is consdiered by some to be the first king of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. During his reign, he undertook some building projects. The Fourth Pylon at Karnak has an inscription that tells of Shebaka's restoration of the gate. He also started work on the second pylon in front of the temple of Thutmose III at Medinet Habu. Shebaka's sister, Amunirdis I held a position that was very important politically as well as religiously. She was called "god's wife of Amun" at Thebes. Her funerary temple was at Medinet Habu and was in front of the temple of Ramesses III. 712-698 BC
Shebitku was the second king of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. He was the nephew and successor of Shebaka. During Shebaka's reign, there was a policy of conciliation and cooperation with the Assyrians. This kept the Assyrians from coming further into Egypt. Shebitku had a different policy; resistance. A stela from Kawa tells of Shebitku asking his brothers, including Taharqa, to come to him at Thebes from Nubia. The army went with Taharqa. On another stela that is the story told that when Jerusalem was under attack by the Assyrians, that the king of Ethiopia (Kush) came against Sennacherib (of Assyria). Shebitku joined in the resistance against Sennacherib and an Egyptian army was sent to Palestine, led by Shebitku's brother, Taharqa. 698-690 BC
Taharqa was the brother of Shebitku and was the third king of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. Shebitku died and Taharqa was crowned. Taharqa is responsible for building done both in Nubia as well as Egypt. He built the colonnade in the first court of the temple of Amun at Karnak. There is one column that stands twenty-one meters high and is still standing. During his reign, the Assyrians threatened Egypt once again. The Assyrians were successful in one invasion in which they captured Memphis, wounded Taharqa and stole his family and property. Taharqa survived the attack. It is thought that Taharqa died in 664 BC and was buried in his pyramid at Nuri near Napata. 690-664 BC
Tanwetamani (Assyrian Tandamane or Tantamani, Greek Tementhes, also known as Tanutamun) was Egypt's last ruler of the 25th Dynasty as well as the last Nubain (Kushite) Ruler, ruling from about 664 to 657 BC. We are told his throne name was Ba-ka-re, meaning "Glorious is the Soul of Re". He succeeded Taharqa, though he was probably the son of that king's sister, queen Qalhata. His succession to the throne is recorded in a record known as the Dream Stela, not to be confused with that of Tuthmosis IV. It was discovered along with the Victory Stela of Piye at Gebel Barkal in 1862, and now resides in the Nubian Museum in Aswan.
Tanwetamani may have served as a co-regent with Taharqa, but his parentage and family relationships are difficult. From his stela we find depicted two women, one of whom is referred to as "the royal sister, the Mistress of Egypt, Qalhata", while the other is "the royal sister, the Mistress of Ta-Seti, Pi-(ankh)-Arty". An analysis of the text associated with the stela would seem to indicate that Qalhata was Tanwetamani's mother, while the second woman was his wife. The fact that Qalhata was his mother is also supported by her tomb at Nuri in the modern Sudan, where she is given the title of "King's Mother". Foundation deposits also show that the tomb was build during the reign of Tanwetamani.
Most recent histories which discuss the 25th dynasty identify Tanwetamani (Urdamani) as a son of Shabataka, Taharqa's brother, not of his uncle Shabaka as the Rassam cylinder annalist appears to suggest.. The errant orthography can be explained by the fact that the name Shabaka is more properly vocalized as Shebitku. If so then the "t" in the doubled consonant "tk" in the name of Shebitku would easily be lost to a foreign ear. The annalist wrote what he heard and recorded Shabataku instead of Shabitku.
In the narrative of his stela, the king is referred to as "lord of valor like Montu, great of strength like a fierce-eyed lion". It goes on to explain that in the first year of his reign, Tanwetamani had a dream of two serpents, one on his right hand and one on his left. After waking, the king's advisors interpreted the dream, saying that, "the southland is already thin, seize the northland". Hence, he should bring Egypt back under control of the Kushite empire. After this passage, another states that Tanwetamani then "rose on the throne of Horus", a term which may be interpreted as his having ascended the throne. This is the primary evidence we have for his co-regency with Taharqa, but we are also told that Assyrian text provides that he did not do so until after Taharqa's death.
We assume that at the time of his accession, Tanwetamani was most likely inside Egypt proper, for the text on the stela states that "he went from where he was to Napata (Nubia), and there was none who stood up to oppose him". Hence, he went to the Temple of Amun and was acknowledged as god and king.
Other text within the stela confirms that he was at this time in control of southern, or Upper Egypt, but at the very least was not in control of parts of the north. After ascending the throne, he went north from Nubia, first stopping at Elephantine where he participated in a festival procession of the God Khnum. From there he sailed further north to Waset (Thebes) where he once again participated in the festival.
Nekau of Sais may have been killed in this battle, but his son, Psamtek, who was loyal to the Assyrians fled to Asia. After this victory, Tanwetamani honored the God, Ptah-Sokar and his wife Sakhmet in the great temple of Memphis, and afterwards ordered the building of a chapel dedicated to Amun at Napata in Nubia. The temple, we know, was to be built of stone overlaid with gold, sections of cedar wood and the leaves of the door plated with electrum. This temple may be associated with parts of the great temple of Amun at Gebel Barkal.
Tanwetamani apparently spared the lives of the Delta princes, sending them home, but this victory was short lived.
The "door posts of the temple" may refer to the great gate of electrum erected by Tuthmosis IV and renewed by Shabaka. This attack on Thebes was one of the great tragedies of the ancient world, and was remembered by a Jewish prophet fifty years later.
Interestingly, Tanwetamani seems to have continued to be acknowledged as pharaoh in Thebes until his eighth year. There are inscriptions at Luxor that date the installation of priests by his name and the Kushites still maintained a large official presence in the city. Piye's daughter, Shepenwepet II we know as God's Wife of Amun, with Taharqa's daughter, Amenirdis II as her designated successor. Even in year none of Tanwetamani's reign, his cousin remained the High Priest of Amun, and we have other evidence of the Kushite's continued power within the region.
It is possible that Tanwetamani one again tried to assert control over Egypt, though the evidence is slight. In a brief passage in the work of Polyaenus from a 2nd Century (AD) text, we hear of a later battle near the temple of Isis at Memphis that may have involved Tanwetamani. He states that Psamtik, aided by Carian mercenary troops, defeated "Tementhes". A few Egyptologist believe, based on a hellenistic Jewish source, that Tanwetamani may have even retaken Memphis, but much of this is conjecture.
In any case, Tanwetamani probably continued to rule in Nubia for at least a few more years, and was buried in the necropolis at Nuri.
26th Dynasty (657 - 525 BC)
Psamtek I 664-610 BC
Nekau II 610-595 BC
Psamtek II 595-589 BC
Apriës 589-570 BC
Ahmose I 570-526 BC
Psamtek III 526-525 BC
Psammetichus I (Psam-tik) was the first ruler of the 26th Dynasty, though his reign overlaps that of the 25th Dynasty. We believe he ruled from about 664 through 610 BC. This is often referred to as the Saite period in Egyptian history, named for the power center of the Delta. It was not until Psammetikhos' ninth regnal year that he completely control Egypt. His birth name was Psamtik I, but he was known as Psammetichus I by the Greeks. His thrown name was Wah-ib-re, meaning "Constant is the Heart of Re" (Horus Name: Aib, Nebty Name: Neba, Bik-nub Name: Qenu).
Some Egyptologists place the 26th Dynasty in to Third Intermediate Period of Egypt's history, while others place it in the Late Period. Certainly, when Psammetikhos began his rule of Egypt, things were still chaotic, with various rulers claiming power. But Psammetikhos would consolidate his rule over Egypt, and reign for about a half a century, returning Egypt to stability.
Both Psammetikhos I and his father, Necho I of Sais were originally involved with an intrigue associated with the Kushite ruler, Taharqo against Assyria, but were then captured, held and indoctrinated by the Assyrians. Psammetikhos I was even given the Assyrian name, Nabu-shezibanni, before finally being returned to Egypt where his father assumed power in the Delta.
Upon the death of Necho in 664, Psammetikhos was recognized by his Assyrian overlords as King of Egypt, but this was a title at first without substance. He had rule over Memphis and Sais, but mostly the country was controlled by the old advisories of the Nubian Kings, who had been driven back to their own land. His was tasked with the responsibilities of controlling not only the unruly princes and petty kings of the Delta, but also to reconcile with the power center at Thebes.
Working with Thebes turned out to be easier then one might imagine, because he was able to align himself with the daughter of a great Theaban nobleman named Mentuemhet. At that time, she held the title, "Adoratice of Amun" (God's Wife of Amun). He was able to insert his own daughter, Nitokris, as her successor He was therefor able to effect both secular and religious ties that were to hold his growing presence in Egypt together, while he went after his Delta opponents. In order to do this, he raised a conscript army, as well as employing the services of mercenaries, many of whom were Greek, including Carians. This involvement with foreign mercenaries apparently caused some concern about their control within Egypt, and archaeological evidence suggests that sites such as Naukratis, among others, were established to facilitate this, along with offering Egypt an increased commercial presence within the Mediterranean world.
Psammetikhos also took as his principle wife Mehtemweskhet who was the daughter of Harsiese S, High Priest at Heliopolis, further cementing his rule.
To all appearances, Psammetikhos I had been a loyal subject of his Assyrian overlords, but as that empire's glories waned, Psammetikhos took his opportunity to break their hold, and in so doing became the absolute ruler of Egypt.
During the remaining four decades of Psammetikhos I's rule, he continued to consolidate his power and bring the country under complete unity, something Egypt had really not seen in a number of years. He undertook a number of building projects, including fortresses in the Delta at Naukratis and Daphnae, as well as at Elephantine. He also greatly expanded the Serapeum at Saqqara.
After consolidating Egypt, militarily, Psammetikhos I was mostly concerned with keeping Egypt's sovereignty strong. There were expeditions into northern Nubia probably to discourage any further ambitions of the Kushite kings. In the north east, Babylon had become such an important power that the king actually formed an alliance with his old masters in Assyria in order to combat Babylon's growing menace. This enabled Egypt to obtain control of the Palestinian coast. There were also actions required on the Libyan frontier in order to combat the threat posed by the fugitive Delta princes.
Psammetikhos I, as well as other kings of this dynasty, followed the archaistic tendencies of the previous dynasty in art, as well as in many customs, such as the formulation of their names. The renaissance in art is such that it is sometimes difficult to tell whether an artifact came from this period of time, or from the Old or Middle Kingdoms.
Psammetikhos I was succeeded by his son, Necho (Nekau) II, who continued to build on his father's accomplishments in Egypt.
Nekau (II), who we know better as Necho, was either the 2nd or 3rd king of Egypt's 26th Dynasty, depending on whether we allow the rule of a nominal king Nekau I at the beginning of the Dynasty. Nekau was his Birth name, and Necho is actually his Greek name. His Throne name was Wah-em-ib-re, which means "Carrying out the Wish of Re Forever".
He came to the throne, succeeding his father, Psammetichus I in about 610 BC., and probably ruled Egypt until about 595 BC. He continued the foreign involvement of his father, and Palestine once more became an Egyptian possession. In fact, much of Egypt's involvement in that area is found in the Biblical account of the Book of Kings. Initially things went well for Nekau II and we find the Egyptian forces campaigning east of the Euphrates river against the Chaldaeans, defeating Josiah of Judah in 609 BC. at Harran. This allowed the Egyptians to establish themselves on the Euphrates for a short while, though apparently the Egyptians did not end up controlling that city. He then intervened in the kingdom of Israel and deposed Josiah's son Jehoahaz, replacing him with his brother Eliakim (Jehoiakim (II Kings 23: 29-35). Afterwards, we are told that Jerusalem paid tribute to Egypt. He also ruled Syria at least as for as Carchemish.
But this position was also soon lost, when in 605 BC, the king suffered a catastrophic loss. The son of the Babylonian king, Nabopolassar was sent to deal with Syria. This was Nebuchadrezzar, and he captured Carchemish from the Egyptians, and then pursued the fleeing army as far as Hamath, where he apparently overwhelmed them. Hence, this was followed by a retreat to by the Egyptians to their eastern frontier at Gaza.
Necho is known to have been responsible for monuments honoring the Apris Bull in Memphis. We also find inscriptional evidence of the king in the quarries of the Mokattam Hills.
But in many ways, Necho was a very foresighted individual who's vision included a "Suez Canal" almost 2,500 years prior to the modern construct. He had a navigable canal dug, using some 12,000 workers, through the Wadi Tumilat between the Pelusiac branch of the Nile (where the great frontier fortress of Pelusium was located) and the Red Sea. He caused a great port city, Per-Temu-Tjeku ("the House of Atum of Tjeku", modern Tell el-Mashkuta) west of modern Ismailia to be built on the canal, and like Suez later, its fortunes were inevitably linked with this new waterway. Tradition held that this was the Biblical city of Pithom, but recent excavations have shown this to be incorrect.
At this time, Greece was expanding her trading contacts and Necho took the opportunity to recruit displaced Ionian Greeks to form an Egyptian Navy. This was, militarily, revolutionary, for the Egyptians had an inherent distaste for and fear of the sea. While this new navy was probably not much threat to his rivals, it did lead to other benefits, such as the creation of a new African trade route. He also encouraged some Greek settlement in the Delta.
Psammetichus II (Psamtek II) When Nacho II died in 595 BC., he left behind a son and three daughters. His son, Psammetichus II, only ruled for a brief period
The King commonly referred to as Apries (his Greek name), who's birth name was Wah-ib-re, meaning "Constant is the Heart of Re" and who's Throne name was Haa-ib-re, meaning "Jubilant is the Heart of Re Forever", succeeded his father, Psamtik II in February of 589 BC., of Egypt's 26th Dynasty. We believe he ruled Egypt until his defeat at the hands of Amasis in 570 BC. Some sources provide that Apries was the Biblical Hophra.
Herodutus claimed that the wife of Apries was called Nitetis, but there appears to be no contemporary souses evidencing her name. We are also told that in the fourth year of his reign, he managed to have Ankhnesneferibre, apparently the daughter of Psammetichus II, adopted as the successor of Nitigret for the title, God's Wife of Amun.
He did build, as all Egyptian kings felt was their duty, in locations such as the temples at Athribis (Tell Atrib), in the Bahariya Oasis, at Memphis and Sais.
He continued a foreign policy of his father of intervention in Palestinian affairs, but was plagued with a number of military problems at home and abroad. He addressed himself vigorously to a Chaldaean problem that had plagued his predecessors, initially operating on a large scale basis against them in conjunction with the Phoenician cities and Zedekiah of Judah. However, this ended up being a disaster and possibly caused an invasion of Egypt in the late 580s BC. However, he also conducted some well conceived campaigns against Cyprus and Phonenicia between 574 and 570 BC.
However, during his reign, a strategically important military garrison of native Egyptian troops at Elephantine (modern Aswan) mutinied, though that was contained.
His worse nightmare transpired after he sent his Egyptian native army to help Libya against the Dorian Greek invaders (against the Greek city of Cyrene), they were badly beaten, and upon the survivor's return, civil war broke out. Apris was blamed for this disaster, resulting in a confrontation between the regular Egyptian army (the machimoi) and foreign mercenaries (Greek) under his command.
Actually, the defeat at Cyrene probably only provided an excuse for the revolt. For sometime, the mercenaries under his command had been treated considerably better than the native Egyptian army. When Apris sent his general, Amasis (Ahmose II) to put down the revolt, instead he was implored by the Egyptians instead to be their leader, a plead which he accepted.
The history of what followed this is somewhat difficult. Various sources actually give considerably different accounts. However, it appears that a messenger arrived to tell Apries of Amasis' treason, and was abruptly killed for his bad news. Now according to almost all accounts, the Greek mercenary troops of Apries under his command advanced on the native Egyptian army. They may have met in the northwest Egyptian Delta in around January or February of 570 BC at a location called Momemphis. Afterwards, many sources provide conflictive information, but it appears Apries probably survived this first battle, though his army was defeated and he was forced to retreat. He may have fled the country, but most sources indicate that he returned to his palace at Memphis, where he may have continued to control a part of Egypt. However, for a somewhat different account of these events, see our section on Amasis (Ahmose II).
Regardless, most sources provide that his body was treated with respect by Amasis. The new king allowed the remains of Apries to be transported to Sais, where he was buried with full royal honors.
Only one definite statue of the king survives, though there are several others, including one that might also be attributable to Amasis, that may be of that of Apries.
Amasis who was probably the 5th ruler of Egypt during the 26th Dynasty, has been called the last great Egyptian Pharaoh. This is because the rule of his son, Psammetichus III, was very short lived, and in fact even in the last days of Amasis' life the Persians were already advancing on Egypt. They were the overwhelming power of the region, and would control Egypt up until Alexander the Great's conquest of Egypt, and the ensuing Greek rulers. After his son, never again would an Egyptian rule ancient Egypt.
Amasis was actually the king's Greek name. His birth name was Ahmose II, which means "The Moon is Born, Son of Neith". His throne name was Khnem-ib-re, meaning "He who embraces the Heart of Re". We believe he ruled Egypt between 570 and 526 BC. We believe that Amasis was the son of a Lady Takheredeneset, and married two women by the names of Tentheta and Nakhtsebastetru. He may have had a third wife named Khedebneithireretbeneret, who was actually a daughter of his great nemesis, Apris. He had a number of children by the first two wives, including his successor, Psammetichus III. Another child we specifically know of was General Ahmose, who, along with his mother Nakhtsebastetru, were buried in tomb LG 83 at Giza. A daughter, Nitokris II, may have come to Thebes for adoption as prospective God's Wife. If so, she was probably the daughter of Khedebneithirerebeneret, because the current God's Wife, Ankhesenneferibre, was a sister of Apries.
From Herodutus, we learn that he was a likeable, popular ruler who is said to have had such a strong inclination for drink that he sometimes delayed state matters in order to indulge in a drinking bout.
However, he did not ascend the throne easily, nor was he in line to do so. We first know of Amasis as a general in Nubia under Psammetikhos I. It would seem that his predecessor, Apries, undertook several military campaigns, but his last against the Greek city of Cyrene ended in disaster. Apries was blamed for the failure, and so a revolt broke out.
In reality, the defeat at Cyrene was really only an excuse for this revolt by Egyptian troops. For some time, the Greek mercenaries within the Egyptian army, who were probably treated better then the Egyptians themselves, were apparently the subject of jealously and contempt by the native Egyptian elements.
Actually, Amasis, as a general in the Egyptian army, was sent to put down the revolt of the machimoi (the native Egyptian soldiers), but instead the soldiers proclaimed him as Pharaoh.
When word reached Apries of Amasis' treason, he slaughtered the messenger and proceeded to advance on the forces of Amasis. By this late date in Pharaonic history, Apries' army was mostly made up of of Aegean mercenaries. The two armies met somewhere in the north-west Egyptian Delta in about January or February of 570 BC, and Apries was forced to retreat.
However, this did not give Amasis complete control of Egypt. Apries's apparent retreat was only as far south as Memphis and he continued to control southern Egypt, while Amasis established himself at Sais in Northern Egypt. Yet Apries was not content with this, and aided by his Greek troops, once again marched on Amasis in October of 570 BC, where he was once again defeated by his former general. With this defeat, Apries could only find safety abroad, and he eventually turned up in the court of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Now, Amasis took control of a united Egypt. This was complete when sometime between October 19th and December 9th of 570 BC, Thebes submitted to his reign.
Yet poor Apries was not yet finished. In March of 567, he again marched on Egypt at the head of a Babylonian army, but once again, Amasis defeated him, this time capturing the former king. It seem that Amasis allowed Apries to live for a short time, however.
Apparently, Amasis still held some respect for his former ruler, because he buried Apries with kingly honors in the royal necropolis at Sais. This may very well be explained if indeed Amasis was married to Apries' daughter. However, various sources differ somewhat on these events. For an alternative version, see our section on Apries.
Now as the ruler of all Egypt, Amasis took on the traditional role of builder, and is attested to by quarry inscriptions at Tura and Elephantine, and with building projects at Memphis, including two granite colossi and a temple of Isis, Philae, Elephantine, Edfu, Sohag, Abydos, Koptos, Karnak and any number of Delta sites, including his tomb at Sais. While we have never discovered this tomb, again Herodotus steps in to describe it for us:
(It is) a great cloistered building of stone, decorated with pillars carved in the imitation of palm-trees, and other costly ornaments. Within the cloister is a chamber with double doors, and behind the doors stands the sepulchre."
This was really a very prosperous time for Egypt. We are told that agriculture, always the backbone of Egypt, met a spectacular level of success, and Herodotus again tells us that the number of inhabited cities in Egypt reached as high as 20,000.
After consolidating his power, Amasis was apparently somewhat weary of the Greeks, who had been around since the beginning of the Dynasty, and of course, fought against him on the side of Apries. Psammetikhos I had encouraged the Greek merchants in the city of Naukratis, and Amasis consolidated them in that area only. This made for easier control of these merchants, and created a lucrative income for the crown in the form of taxes.
Prior to Apries' defeat, the Greek mercenaries were established in camps between Babastis and the sea on the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, where Herodotus tells us they had remained for over a century. Apparently, he first moved them to Memphis, where he could keep an eye on things.
But, Amasis was not willing to push the Greeks too far because he needed their alliance against the expanding threat of the Persians, as well as an attempted invasion by the Chaldaeans. Apparently after this unsuccessful invasion, he formed an alliance with the Chaldaeans, Croesus of Lydia and Sparta.
Unfortunately, the Persians destroyed the alliance by first capturing Lydia in 546 and then the Chaldaeans. So instead, he cultivated his relationship with the Aegean world, extending his foreign relationships to include Cyprus. He is said to have even financed the rebuilding of the temple of Apollo at Delphi after its destruction in 548 BC. According to archaeological records, he probably even allowed the Greek soldiers to return their old mercenary camps. Regrettably, for all his efforts, the Persians would eventually prove too ambitious to stop.
By the time of Amasis' death after a long reign of some 44 years, the Persians had long ago conquered Babylon, and were already at the frontiers of Egypt. His son was eventually captured by the Persians, and Herodotus tells us that the Persian ruler Cambyses had Amasis's mummy exhumed, and:
"subjected to every indignity, such as lashing with whips and the plucking of its hairs, until the executioners were weary. At last, as the corpse had been embalmed and would not fall to pieces under the blows, Cambyses ordered it burnt.""
Psammetichus III (Psamtek III) 526-525 - No information is available.
Will continue the Dynasties tomorrow or day after.
here is some additional information on the Bahariya Oasis
by Jimmy Dunn
by Jimmy Dunn
Over time, the Bahariya Oasis has had a number of different names. It has been called the Northern Oasis, the Little Oasis, Zeszes, Oassis Parva and the especially during the Christian era, the Oasis of al-Bahnasa, along with various other names. At one time, the Bahariya Oasis, as well as most of the rest of what is today referred to as the Western (or Libyan) Desert, was the floor of an immense ocean. Yet from about 3000 BC until the present, almost no rainfall graces this part of the world, so groundwater is its life blood.
Remains of stone tools found in the Bahariya oasis evidence the existence of settlements in the area as early as the Paleolithic Period. In fact, we are told that anyone with a trained eye, walking about the oasis, can spot prehistoric stone knives and and axes simply lying upon the surface of the sand.
However, little real excavation has been carried out in the Oasis, at least until the last several years, and so we know little of the history of the Bahariya Oasis prior to Egypt's Middle Kingdom. What we do know comes mostly from the work of Ahmed Fakhry, and 20th century Egyptologist, who worked in the Oasis. Otherwise, most of the archaeological investigation has been carried out by the local antiquity authorities, and some recently by Zahi Hawass.
It is possible that during the Old Kingdom there may have been a governor appointed to the Bahariya Oasis, as there was in Dakhla, but so far we have no hard evidence that might support such an argument. In fact, we hear of a people known as the Tjehenu, who inhabited the Western Desert and were fair skinned with blond hair and blue eyes, and with whom the early Egyptian's fought. However, its seems that the Bahariya Oasis was originally inhabited by a mix of people from the Nile Valley and Bedouins from Libya. At that time, evidence suggests that the Oasis was much larger than it is now, but no settlements dating to the Predynastic, Early Dynastic or Old Kingdom have thus far been unearthed.
Above: Mountainous landscape Below: On the path of the agricultural gardens
By the Middle Kingdom, Bahariya was known as Zeszes, and definitely fell under the control of the Egyptian kings, though only a single scarab (inscribed with the name of Senusret) from that period has been found in Bahariya. Yet, documentary evidence provides that both Amenemhet and Senusret II began to pay considerable attention to the Oasis, probably to deflect regular attacks from the Libyans. At that time, there must have been large agricultural estates, large houses for the landowners, and even military garrisons to keep marauders at bay. Agriculture was, as it is now, of major importance to this community, and wine, as well as other goods of the Oasis, made their way from here to the Nile Valley by donkey caravans along two different routes.
However, during the 15th Dynasty, when Egypt was under the rule of the Hyksos kings from Palestine, there was a lapse in trade with the Oasis, presumably because the trade routes were unsafe. At that time, we find only one text that refers to the Oasis, when King Kamose refers to it as DjesDjes, the word for the region's famous wine.
According to Fakhry, under Tuthmosis III, many improvements were made in the Oasis, including new water wells. His reign marked an increase in the local population. At this time, the Oasis was under the control of Thinis (Abydos), to which they paid tribute. We find visual evidence of this in the private tomb of Rekhmire, who was Tuthmosis III's vizier. One scene portrays the people of the Oasis, wearing striped kilts, presenting gifts of mats, hides and wine. However, the Oasis apparently had at least a governor who was a native of Bahariya, for the oldest tomb so far discovered in the Oasis is that of Amenhotep Huy, where his title is given as "Governor of the Northern Oasis". The tomb is dated to the end of the 18th Dynasty or the beginning of the 19th. By the 19th Dynasty of Egypt's New Kingdom, the Bahariya Oasis became even more important because of its mineral abundance. Even today, the mining of iron ore continues to be a vital industry. Even Ramesses II, in the Temple of Amun at Luxor, refers to the Bahariya as a place of mining. Of course agricultural products continued to be important in the Oasis, including dates, grapes, figs, livestock and pigeons (for food).
By the time of Merenptah, Ramesses II's son, Egypt was suffering from Libyan attacks, and the Bahariya, as well as the other Western Oasis, must have suffered considerably during this time. Ramesses III defeated the Libyans, and bought back some order to the desert region. However, it was not until the Third Intermediate Period and particularly the Late Period that Bahariya emerged as a major Egyptian center.
Shoshenq I, who founded the 22nd Dynasty under Libyan rule, along with Shoshenq IV, seemed particularly interested in the Oasis. In fact, Fakhry believed that the Libyans first captured the Farafra and Bahariya Oasis to use as a base for their conquest of Egypt. They developed the region, and ordered that government officials live in the community. We hear of an official during this period named Weshet-het, holding the title "Superior Libyan Chief", who was probably a governor, as well as another named Arcawa who became governor and priest at the end of the 22nd Dynasty. Many of its known antiquities date from this period.
Yet it was not until the 25th and 26th Dynasties that the Bahariya Oasis florished as an important agricultural and trade center. Specifically, by the 26th Dynasty, Bahariya prospered with its own governors who were natives of the oasis. They apparently continued to report to Abydos, where there apparently remained a governor over all of the Oasis. By the time of Ahmose II (570-526 BC), the importance of the Bahariya Oasis was fully understood. He sent troops into the Western Desert to defend Egyptian interests against the Greeks and Libyans, and acted vigilantly to protect this Oasis. To honor him, two temples were erected, along with a number of chapels near Ain el-Muftella (near El Bawiti). These temples were embellished even into Egypt's Persian period.
During the Persian period that followed a series of takeovers by the Nubians and Assyrians, a strong military presence and garrison were established in the Bahariya Oasis. They may have been responsible for some of the antiquities that have been attributed to the Romans. However, they could not stop the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great, once he decided to make Egypt his own.
It is very possible that Alexandria the Great traveled through the Bahariya Oasis on his way to the Oracle of Amun at Siwa. At first, Egypt was a organized under a centrally controlled government headed by Alexander's commander, Ptolemy, and the Bahariya Oasis immediately began to prosper. Not only were trade routes reestablished, but the Greeks used the Oasis to establish control over the rest of the Western Desert. In fact, they set up an extensive, permanent military garrison to protect the trade routes. During the Roman and Greek Periods, we seem to know more about the Bahariya Oasis than from any other period of time, though, as more archaeology is investigated, we stand to know much more. It was during the Greek period that the cemetery known as the Valley of the Golden Mummies came into existence.
During the Greek period, we know that Thoth was worshiped in the Oasis, particularly in his Ibis form, while Hathor is referred to as the "Lady of Bahariya Oasis". Khonsu, the moon god and Amun were both called "Lords of the Bahariya Oasis", though Amun was dominant. Attesting to Thoth's popularity is Qarat al-Farargi (Hill of the Chicken Merchant) which in actuality is the burial gallery of the Sacred Ibis, and one of the most extensive antiquities in the Bahariya Oasis. Its name comes from the fact that the local inhabitants once believe the mummies were those of chickens.
We now know that at the end of the Greek Period, perhaps when the Greeks and Romans were battling for control of the Oasis, the irrigation systems fell into somewhat of a state of decline. Even after the Romans establishing their rule over Egypt, life in the Oasis was a harsh period, when marauders often roamed about terrorizing villages, and life was very dangerous. However, the Romans were also hard on those residing in the Nile Valley, and recent evidence suggests that people in the Bahariya Oasis may have suffered their rule more comfortably than other Egyptians. The Romans made many improvements within the Oasis, building an impressive series of aqueducts (possibly) and wells, several of which are still used in Bawiti and Izza today. This oasis was important to the Romans as a breadbasket, and we find many tombs dug into the sides of the Bahariya mountains during Roman times. There were public works projects, new agricultural communities were formed, roads were cut, and thousands of mud-brick buildings were constructed. Roman soldiers often moved between Oxyrhynchus in the Nile Valley and Bahariya, where there was a major occupation in the northern part of the Oasis east of Bawiti
During the Christian period, when Egypt continued under Roman rule, Bahariya was known as the Oasis of al-Bahnasa. This was apparently not particularly a safe time for the Oasis. We know that a Roman commander by the name of Hadrian oversaw the military forces at Bahariya around 213 AD, but we also hear of a Libyan invasion by the Nobatai people who destroyed many of the Oasis villages. By 399, additional Roman and now Byzantine military camps bordered the Oasis.
It has been suggested that the Oasis was never fully Christianized, as was much of the rest of Egypt. However, though the pagan gods may have lived on, perhaps even into the Islamic era, there was enough of a Christian community that the oasis had its own Bishop. Notably, Coptic tradition holds that St. Bartholomew, one of Jesus Christ's original twelve Apostles, was sent to the oasis in order to convert the local population. However, Abu Salih tells us that Bartholomew was martyred in the oasis, though others say he died on the sea coast. Regardless, Abu Salih tells us of many churches in the area, including a church named after Saint Bartholomew.
As late as 1931, Dugald Campbell tells us of a monastery that still stood in Bawiti, the Oasis' capital. He refers to it as Dar al-Abras, the Lepers' Refuge, and says that it had engraved crosses on the walls, paintings, and contained many old writings. At that time he says the Christians called Bahariya Mari Girgis (St. George). He further records the discovery of "old baked-earth coffins of the kind made in Carthage during the Punic period", each with the figure of a Libyan man on the lid. Apparently he took some of these, discovered in the Bahariya rock tombs, back to the Cairo Antiquities Museum.
Bahariya was known as the Northern Oasis, or sometimes as Waha al-Khas during the early Islamic period. How exactly the religious pecking order of the Bahariya was made up during the Christian and Islamic periods is unclear, but it is evident that the Oasis had a considerable Christian community until the 16th or 17th century. Amir Ibn el-As, the commander of the Arab army that conquered Egypt, sent troops under Uqba Ibn-Nafea to insure political stability within the Western Desert, but apparently the more remote areas did not immediately adopt Islam. Islam migrated into the Oasis from two different directions, both from Libya and the Nile Valley. It has been theorized that, at least during its earliest phase, those converted to Islam were not Christians, but left over pagans from the old religions. During this period, the oasis suffered considerably, as did most places in the Western Oasis. We here of sand dunes covering cultivated land, and gone was the trade in wine due to the edicts of Islam. Taxes were now levied against dates and olive oil. Much of this period is relatively unknown to us, but the Fatimids, who had affiliations in Libya, may have crossed the desert in the conquest of Egypt at Bahariya.
Muhammad Ali, often sited as the founder of modern Egypt, made claim to the Bahariya Oasis, including Farafra and Hayz, as early as 1813, before bothering with any of the other oasis. He executed a tribute of 2,000 Spanish piasters annually, and Wilkinson says he later raised this to 20,000 reals. Apparently, this created problems, because unlike Kharga, Bahariya required a large force of between 400 and 500 men to maintain peace within the oasis.
However, once Muhammad Ali applied his rule to the Oasis, travelers began to visit the area. The first documented modern westerner to visit was the adventuring strongman, Belzoni. He called the Oasis Wah al-Bahnasa, or Wah al-Mendeesheh, and traveled there from the Fayoum in May of 1819, about the time Muhammad Ali was beginning his conquest of the other Western oasis. However, Belzoni actually thought he was in Siwa. Thereafter, a number of explorers visited the Oasis, including Gailliud in 1820, who recorded a number of monuments that no longer exist, including the Roman victory arch at El Haiz. The Roman arch, as well as other monuments may have suffered from an earthquake that was recorded as a level eight disturbance in the Fayoum Oasis in 1847. Hyde visited the Oasis in February of 1820, Pacho and Muller between 1823 and 1824 followed by Wilkinson in 1825, the Rohlfs expedition which arrived in 1874 and Captain H. G. Lyons in 1894. In 1897, John Ball and Hugh Beadnell produced maps of the territory.
However, at this time the Sanusi, a power force within the Libyan desert made up of a religious order established by Al-Sayyid Muhammad bin Ali al-Sanusi Khatibi al-Idrisi al-Hasani, was on the rise. They were opposed to contact with the west, and were viewed as a threat by Europeans. During World War I, they sided with the Turks. In 1916, the Sanusi sent an army to the Bahariya Oasis, where they already had a strong presence. It stayed there for ten months, but the British, aided by Sudanese soldiers, were determined to drive the Sanusi out. A confrontation in the pass above Hara took place, where the majority of the Sanusi army was encamped. One local tradition holds that the British bomb a heard of cattle, thinking them to be the Sanusi, but it is evident that the Sanusi were forced out of Bahariya, as well as the rest of the Western Desert. It was during this period that Captain Williams kept a lonely vigil atop the mountain that bears his name, where part of his outpost is still visible. After the campaign against the Sanusi, the British established martial law and a new set of rules to govern the people of the oasis.
Today, Bahariya's history continues, more detailed than before. Besides archaeologists who seem to have an ever increasing interest in the Oasis, a genealogical history is also kept by several Sheikhs. They not only record births, and deaths, but also surprising events, such as an encounter with a jinn or other supernatural creatures. Three books are kept, including one in Bawiti, another in Mandisha and a third in the area of El Haiz.
Owing to a marked drop in agricultural land bought about by the declining water table under Bahariya, the Oasis suffered a sharp decline in population during the 1950s. It reached a level of no more than about 6,000 residents, but by 1986, the population increased to 20,000 and today there are about 27,000 people living in Bahariya. This is mostly due to a new paved road system established in 1973 over the old caravan routes, allowing a better lifestyle as well as an increase in tourism. Yet the Bahariya Oasis, though the closest to Cairo in kilometers, remains the most distant in time. It has been slow to move into the modern world, a facet that is changing, but for at least the moment, this Oasis offers the visitor a step back in time into medieval streets and a rare, ancient culture.
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