II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > B. Kingdoms of Western Asia and Africa, to 323 B.C.E. > 3. Egypt, c. 3500–332 B.C.E. > d. The Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Period (11th–17th Dynasties)
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
CONTENTS · SUBJECT INDEX · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
d. The Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Period (11th–17th Dynasties)
2040–1786
 
THE MIDDLE KINGDOM.  1
 
c. 2133–1991
 
11th Dynasty. The fifth ruler of the 11th Dynasty, Mentuhotep II (2060–2010), defeated Heracleopolis around 2040 and reunited Upper and Lower Egypt. A powerful ruler, Mentuhotep suppressed the power of the nobles; reinstituted a strong central government; campaigned in Libya, Nubia, and western Asia; and extended Egypt's boundaries. Under Mentuhotep III (2009–1998), trade with the Red Sea via the Wadi Hammamat was resumed. Mentuhotep IV (1997–1991) was a weak ruler, and on his death his vizier, Amenemhet, took the throne.  2
 
1991–1786
 
12th Dynasty. Amenemhet I (1991–1962) was a commoner who attributed his rise to the god Amun. This deity rose in national prominence. Amenemhet built a new royal capital, Itj-towy (site unidentified), near the border of Upper and Lower Egypt. He also conquered Lower Nubia and undertook a punitive campaign against the Asiatic nomads. Amenemhet made his eldest son, Sesostris (Senusret) his coregent, a practice which persisted through the dynasty. Sesostris I (1971–1928) extended Egyptian rule to the Second Cataract, and it is during his reign that the quasi-historical Story of Sinuhue is set. Sesostris II (1897–1878) began irrigation and land reclamation operations in the Fayum Depression west of the Nile. Sesostris III (1878–1843) marched into central Palestine, but made no attempt to establish permanent control (See c. 2100–1800). Amenemhet III (1842–1797) completed the Fayum irrigation project and expanded turquoise mining in the Sinai. Amenemhet built the enormous palace and mortuary temple later called the Labyrinth. In addition to the Story of Sinuhe, Middle Kingdom literature includes the Instructions of King Amenemhet, the Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor, and the Coffin Texts, giving instructions for obtaining eternal life.  3
 
1786–1552
 
SECOND INTERMEDIATE PERIOD. The 13th Dynasty (1786–1633) was a period of declining power for Egypt, and increasing pressure by invaders from western Asia. The sixty kings of this dynasty ruled a disintegrating kingdom from Memphis and Itj-towy. Already in the beginning of the period, the kings of the 14th Dynasty (1786–c. 1603) ruled an independent state from Xois (Sakha) in the western Delta. Some of these Xoian rulers had Semitic names and may have been Amorites or Canaanites. Under Dudimose I (Tutimaios, c. 1674) of the 13th Dynasty, most of Egypt fell to the Hyksos (from Egyptian Heqa-Khoswe, “chiefs of the foreign lands”) who invaded from Syria-Palestine. The Hyksos were probably Amorites or Canaanites from Syria-Palestine (See c. 1900–1759). They introduced the horse, chariot, and compound bow into Egypt and are said to have worshipped Seth, who apparently represented the god Baal. The 15th Dynasty (1674–1552) was made up of Hyksos who established control over Lower Egypt, with their capital at Avaris in the eastern Delta. The remaining kings of the 13th Dynasty were their vassals. Hyksos rule reached its height under Apophis I, who ruled more than 40 years. The 16th Dynasty (c. 1684–1552), contemporary to the 14th and 15th, was made up of independent Hyksos chieftains who had established themselves somewhere in the Delta. The 17th Dynasty (c. 1650–1552) was originally the Egyptian vassal kings in Thebes, who gradually won their independence from the Hyksos. One of these Theban kings, Seqenenre Tao II, is the hero of a folk tale, “The Contending of Apophis and Seqenenre.” His successor, Kamose, left a stele (an upright slab with an inscribed surface) describing wars with the Hyksos king Apophis II.  4
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

CONTENTS · SUBJECT INDEX · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUS NEXT