Middle Kingdom of Egypt

As the Middle Kingdom of about 2137-1781 BC existing state is referred to in ancient Egypt.


For the beginning of the dating of the Middle Kingdom, the reunification of the kingdom is given under Mentuhotep II in the middle of the 11th dynasty. Nevertheless, here is the complete 11th Dynasty is discussed.

Through the disintegration of a united Egypt at the beginning of the First Intermediate Period, the power was distributed to some petty kings. However, their supremacy was formed at the end of the 10th dynasty in Herakleopolis clear out. At the same time, the power grew in the south, as in Thebes established the 11th Dynasty.

The Middle Kingdom is often referred to as a feudal era. Indeed, there is hardly any other period in Egyptian history, in which one finds so many monuments in the most remote provinces.

The Middle Kingdom can be clearly divided into two sections:

  • The early Middle Kingdom ( to about Sesostris II ) is still strongly influenced by the traditions of the First Intermediate Period. The pyramids and parts of art are based on the Old Kingdom.
  • The late Middle Kingdom (from Sesostris III. Till the 13th dynasty ) is characterized by a centralization of the country. The ruler image no longer shows an idealized young king (Pharaoh), but have one, marked by life experience rulers. The language of the Middle Kingdom was for the following periods as a classic.

11th Dynasty

The Royal Canon of Turin calls for the 11th Dynasty seven kings and seven years dropped time at the end of the 11th Dynasty. The overall reign 143 years are given. As Wolfgang Helck the end of the 11th Dynasty ansetzte to 1994 BC, resulted in addition of the 143 years 2137 BC, the first year of the reign of the 11th dynasty.

The sequence of three or even four Theban kings who have reigned before Mentuhotep II in the Egyptologists is still controversial, as they exist on different information. To appear Mentuhotep I. on the King List of Karnak ancestor of I. Antef while Mentuhotep II does not name him as king, but only Antef I. (relief from the Shatt He - Rigal ).

Anyway, the first kings of the 11th Dynasty Egyptian helped the south to more and more importance and it was not rare that fights with the northern royal houses of the 9th and 10th dynasty were fought. Also known as Mentuhotep II, the son of Antef III. , 2061 BC, came to power in Thebes, these struggles continued. The unification will have to be located 39th regnal year, but the exact time of this event is not known.

His son Mentuhotep III. led an expedition with 3,000 men through the Wadi Hammamat to the Red Sea. From there he sent ships into the land of Punt. Mentuhotep IV appears to be a weak king to have been that may have been overthrown by his vizier Amenemhat, who is probably identical with Amenemhet I, around 1994 BC. This then became the founder of the 12th dynasty.

12th Dynasty

Amenemhet I, was probably a man of the Theban people. Mother's side he is to come from the area around Elephantine. Amenemhet I. strengthened the power of his newly established dynasty in the kingdom. He moved the capital north to Itj - taui. Amenemhet I. introduced the institution of the so-called co-regency. The old king appointed during the lifetime of a successor, which he ruled jointly.

His son Sesostris I is considered one of the greatest kings of the Middle Kingdom. Even as a co-regent with his father from about 1975 BC, he led campaigns in Nubia, which was backed by a series of forts. Under his rule, the art and literature in a flowering period could develop. Sesostris I built systematically to all major temples of the country, replacing small often built of mud brick buildings by such stone.

His son Amenemhet II is mainly known by a annals stone found in Memphis, are mentioned among other information campaigns to Palestine. Otherwise his reign, however, is not very well documented. His successor, Sesostris II, reigned probably only eight or nine years. He built his pyramid at El - Lahun, suggesting an increased interest of the king at the Faiyum. The king began to open up this river oasis systematically. Sesostris III. was in the minds of the Egyptians as well the most important king at all. Herodotus and Manetho report numerous campaigns, especially to Asia. These companies are poorly attested, during his campaigns are well documented by Nubia. The area was subjected to further systematically secured by fortresses. Sesostris III. may have been also been politically active inside. The power of local princes was significantly limited.

Also the following Pharaoh Amenemhat III. , Ruled the country with a strong hand. About his successor Amenemhet IV and Queen Nofrusobek is not very much known.

The end of the Middle Kingdom and thus the beginning of the Second Intermediate Period was caused by disputes about the succession, and fragmentation due to the penetration of the Hyksos.