History of Ancient Egypt

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The Ancient Egypt
Tutankhamun's death mask
Prehistory : before 4000 BC Chr.
Predynastic time : approx. 4000-3032 BC BC
0. Dynasty
Early Dynastic Period : approx. 3032-2707 BC Chr.
1st-2nd Dynasty
Old Empire : approx. 2707-2216 BC Chr.
3rd to 6th Dynasty
First intermediate time : approx. 2216-2137 BC Chr.
7th to 11th Dynasty
Middle Kingdom : approx. 2137–1781 BC Chr.
11 to 12th Dynasty
Second split time : approx. 1648–1550 BC BC
13th to 17th Dynasty
New Kingdom : approx. 1550-1070 BC Chr.
18 to 20 Dynasty
Third intermediate time : approx. 1070–664 BC BC
21st to 25th Dynasty
Late period : approx. 664-332 BC Chr.
26 to 31 Dynasty
Greco-Roman time : 332 BC Chr. To 395 AD
Data based on Stan Hendrickx and Jürgen von Beckerath
History of Ancient Egypt
Further information
Portal Egyptology

The history of ancient Egypt extends from the pre-dynastic period of the fourth millennium BC. Until the year 395 AD, the end of the Greco-Roman period . Following the historian Manetho who wrote in Greek, Egyptian history is nowadays divided into 31 dynasties , where Manetho probably did not mean a coherent ruling family, but a phase that was defined by the choice of the capital or by cultural factors. Modern research divides the dynasties into three epochs of state unity: Old Kingdom (3rd to 6th dynasties), Middle Kingdom (11th and 12th dynasties) and New Kingdom (18th to 20th dynasties). The intervening epochs, when Egypt was not a united country, are known as the interim times. Egypt experienced a last epoch of great independence in the so-called late period . After that, the country came under the rule of the Persians , Greeks and Romans .

Absolute years for the third and second millennium BC Chr. Are sometimes highly controversial in research. Only a few annals and lists of kings have survived from ancient Egypt , so it is only possible to a limited extent to write a political history.

Pre-Dynastic Period

Negade culture vessel

From around 5000 BC BC there were Neolithic cultures on the soil of today's Egypt. The earliest are mainly known from the Fayyum Basin and the Nile Delta ( Fayum-A culture , Merimde culture ). There is evidence of agriculture and simple, undecorated pottery was produced, while tools were made of stone and bone. Small ceramic figurines were also produced in the Merimde culture. The dead were usually buried within the settlements without much additions. From around 4500 BC. There was the Badari culture in Upper Egypt . There was obviously the beginning of copper processing . The dead were buried in special cemeteries and some were richly furnished with additions. The Badari culture was replaced by the Negade culture in Upper Egypt . This is divided into three phases (Negade I – III). In its course there are indications for the development of urban centers and stronger social differentiations. The ceramic was partly painted figuratively and copper was processed. Stone vessels were produced. Some larger graves were found in cemeteries, apparently belonging to a ruling class. In the north, the Maadi culture prevailed at the same time , showing strong cultural ties to Palestine , but was replaced by the Negade culture over time. Around 3200 BC The Negade culture was found in all parts of the country, although it remains uncertain whether this cultural unification also reflects a political unification of the country. At the end of the Negade culture there is the first evidence of writing.

Early Dynastic Period

1st dynasty

The early Dynastic period begins with the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the mythological Pharaoh Menes . The assessment as the "first unifier" is contrary to the fact that his predecessors saw themselves as rulers of Upper and Lower Egypt during the Unification Festival . In addition, the first evidence of the name "Menes" comes from the time of Queen Hatshepsut in the 18th dynasty. A scarab seal shows the name "Meni" ( Mnj ) in the ring, including the names of the queen and king Thutmose III. He also introduced the list of kings as the first cartouche name in the list of kings of Abydos from the time of Seti I. In the Turin royal papyrus he appears as a deified ancestor and as the name of a deceased ruler. However , he does not appear in the list of kings of Saqqara .

The Narmer's palette

The first king of the 1st dynasty (perhaps also the last of the 0th dynasty ) was Narmer , the last ruler was Qaa . Part of Egyptology prefers King Ka , while the other part regards King Scorpio II as the predecessor. A total of eight rulers are assigned to the dynasty. They were buried in Abydos . Until the end of the 1st Dynasty, it was a tradition that close relatives and high-ranking servants followed the king to his death. They were buried in small, almost square side graves at the royal grave.

Vessel inscriptions and clay carvings from Girga , Tarchan and Abydos are among the earliest evidence of written documents from the ritual or barter trade, which could only function through a central administration. In the southwest of Israel ( Tel Arad , En Besor, Rafah , Tel Erani ) there were vessels with Narmer's name. The oldest known text fragments were written in hieratic script ; they are older than the oldest known hieroglyphics . The ancient hieratic, which has been documented since the 4th Dynasty, arose from this early cursive script, which was closely tied to the hieroglyphs. Later a chancellery font and a book font emerged from this.

The tomb of Narmer (B 17/18). The grave consists of two mud brick chambers with an area of ​​10 × 3 m each. There were unrolled seals of Narmer, ivory objects with his name and the oldest annual tablets of an Egyptian ruler.

The state was controlled by a god-king from the young founding of Memphis , whose sphere of influence extended to the island of Elephantine , where Nubian groups can previously be identified. Abydos remained an important cult center, as well as the tomb of the rulers, which was greatly expanded. Written form played an important role in conveying power from the beginning, for example through seals. A simple taxation system also already existed. The economic basis of the unusually spacious state was the grain industry based on village settlements. Unhindered by salinization, which prevented the annual floods of the Nile , the surpluses were so large that they provided the material basis for a well-equipped state. This was particularly evident through monumental architecture as symbols of the cosmic order, but also through boat burials, which possibly symbolized the passage into the world of the dead. In addition, the crown maintained numerous craftsmen who helped the cult of the dead to artistic and ritual expression. The highest officials also used these resources and symbolic forms to have tombs erected and boat burials carried out (especially in northern Saqqara , Elephantine). On the other hand, there are no monuments to the middle and lower civil servants. Their simplest graves corresponded to the traditional pits and got by without a sarcophagus or grave goods.

Titles like Hatia , Adj-mer and Iripat appear for the first time for high officials and members of the royal family. Each ruler of the first dynasty had his own residences built. Egypt repeatedly took military action against Libya in the west and against Nubia, as evidenced by inscriptions on ivory tablets from Abydos. This is what an annual tablet under Aha calls "the beating of the Nubians". He also sent several expeditions to Lebanon and Palestine. The ruins of a bastion were found near En Besor in southwest Israel, which, based on ceramic and ivory finds, can be dated to the early 1st dynasty. Vessel fragments with Palestinian decorations were found in Aha's grave.

The necropolis of Saqqara was founded under Aha . The first mastaba (41.6 m × 15.5 m) from there comes from his reign. In the north, enclosed by a brick wall, there was a cult area. It is a rectangular, fortress-like complex, where the funeral ceremonies presumably took place.

Djer founded the Semer-netjeru domain and the new residence Hor-sixentj-dju . He also ordered several expeditions to the Sinai . In his grave complex, measuring 70 by 40 m, there were pieces of jewelry made of turquoise from Sinai. He was also the Pharaoh, to whom most of the so-called secondary burials were brought with 338 “companions” for the afterlife .

Wadji ruled as successor to Djer, but his reign was apparently not very long. He is best known for his grave stele, which is considered one of the most important works of art of the 1st Dynasty.

At the beginning of the reign of King Hor-Den, Queen Meritneith took over the affairs of state for the king for a while, as he was probably still too young to take office. This interpretation is based on clay seals from her grave in Abydos, as well as on the exceptionally large grave complex with its own cult area and its own grave stele of royal format. The same is true of the queens Nofrusobek (12th dynasty) and Hatshepsut (18th dynasty).

MacGregor plaque made of ivory with King Den “ slaying the enemy ” (from his grave in Abydos).

He introduced the king's title Nisut-Biti . With this he legitimized himself as "Lord of Upper and Lower Egypt". The first rock relief with a king figure in Sinai, which also contains the oldest known depiction of the god Ash , dates from his reign . In addition, the first representation of a pharaoh with a double crown was found in his grave . 136 people followed him to their death. His successor Anedjib added the newly introduced throne name with the further epithet the two lords (Nebui). The additional title, which represented the two deities Horus and Seth, each with a falcon standard, symbolized the regions of the red and white crown , which later stood for Lower and Upper Egypt. With the Nebui title, Anedjib had divine legitimation from the two masters . Towards the end of his reign, Anedjib recorded the first run of the Apis bull . The escort of Horus in connection with a biennial tax collection can only be proven in the case of Anedjib's successors.

The victory over a foreign armed force was recorded on several ivory plaques, which is described in the inscriptions as the "First Suppression of the East". The so-called "MacGregor tablet" is particularly well known. The opponents were called Iuntiu ("arch people"). These were nomads from the Sinai Peninsula, who are mentioned in a relief inscription by King Sechemchet (3rd Dynasty).

Years 18–22 on the reverse of the Cairo stone fragment C5

The office of Tjati is attested for the first time under Qaa . But the interpretation of the signs is controversial. There are signs that the end of Qaa's reign was already marked by instability. The Abydos Royal Cemetery was a victim of looters and arsonists. In the grave of the official Merka in Saqqara the name of an otherwise little-attested ruler named Seneferka was found . The name of a certain king "Vogel" was found on other fragments of the vessel . It is possible that these rulers fought for the throne after Qaa's death, and Hetepsechemui , the first ruler of the 2nd Dynasty , used this to establish his own dynasty.

2nd dynasty

General knowledge about the 2nd dynasty is much less. The first regent was Hetepsechemui. According to clay seal inscriptions, the king founded a residence near Thinis and named it "Hor-chaj-seba", and also had a temple built for the deity Netjer-Akhti near Buto . The actual duration of his reign is not known, the Turin royal papyrus certifies the regent 95 years. Since no sed festival is documented for Hetepsechemui , he should not have ruled for more than about 30 years.

Hetepsechemui was followed by kings Nebre and Ninetjer . They were buried in gigantic gallery graves in Saqqara. The Palermostein is the most important source for Ninetjer's reign . The years of government 36 to 44 have been preserved on the Cairo stone . A possible reference to a campaign to Nubia was found near Abu Handal in Lower Nubia. Under Ninetjer, the escort of Horus was permanently supplemented by a cattle count , which indicates a new form of tax collection, while the escort of Horus was abandoned in the 3rd dynasty.

After the death of the third regent, there could have been another turmoil, possibly the division of the empire during the 2nd dynasty. Kings like Sened , Seth-Peribsen and Sechemib-Perenmaat probably only ruled in Upper Egypt, where they had their center of power in Abydos, while rulers like Sneferka , Neferkare / Aaka , Hudjefa and Neferkasokar resided in Lower Egypt and chose Memphis as their seat of government. The royal list of Saqqara and the Turin royal papyrus name more cartouches for the second dynasty than the royal list of Abydos. The reason for the split in Egypt could have been state-religious and / or economic-political conflicts. This assumption is nourished by Peribsen's decision to place the Seth beast over his Serech , but the name of King Nebre also gave rise to speculation, as he was the first ruler to integrate the solar disk of the (later) god Re into his name.

Other researchers reject the division of the empire thesis and rather assume that the immediate successors of Ninetjer merely changed the official titles of dignitaries and high functionaries in order to limit their influence of power, which had become alarmingly strong. Apparently the kings feared for their throne. In addition, many Ramessid royal names cannot be assigned to a contemporary king, which has led to the assumption that they are fictitious.

Clay seal inscription by Peribsen with the first complete movement in Egyptian history

Due to the archaeological finds, it is certain for some research that Peribsen only ruled in Upper Egypt. His realm extended up to Elephantine, where his seals were found. His new royal residence "Protection of Nubti" ( Nubti was the name for Naqada ) moved Peribsen to Kom Ombo , 150 km south of Luxor. Another frequently mentioned domain was called "Lord of the Bark" (Egypt. Iti-meshemtiu ), important cities were Afnut ("headscarf city"), Nebi ("support city") and Hui-setjet ("Asian city"). Inscriptions on stone vessels mention tribute payments by the inhabitants of Setjet (Sethroë), which could indicate that Peribsen founded a place of worship for Seth in the Nile Delta. However, this would presuppose that he either ruled over all of Egypt or at least was recognized as ruler by Lower Egypt. Further clay seals also attest to reforms of the civil service, which were now aligned with the half of the country ruled by Peribsen: Traditional titles such as “Administrator of the King” and “ Sealer of the King ” were explicitly renamed to “Administrator of Upper Egypt” and “ Sealer of Upper Egypt ”.

Peribsen again resorted to Abydos as a burial place. One of his successors, Chasechemui, was also buried there. The reason for the return may have been the Thinitic origins of Peribsen and his successors, as well as the limited power of rule in the south.

Chasechemui succeeded in reunifying Egypt

On one of the clay seals found in Peribsen's grave, the first known complete sentence is recorded in hieroglyphic writing. The inscription reads: “The golden one / The one of Ombos presents the two countries to his son, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Peribsen.” The salutation “The golden one” or “The one of Ombos” is the highest-ranking and most frequently used epithet of Seth.

Inscriptions report that at the time of Chasechemuis' seizure of power, there was civil war in the Nile Delta. Chasechemui defeated the lower Egyptian princes, whereupon he donated several victory monuments in the capital Nechen for their "sky and crown goddess" Nechbet . In these he referred to the tradition of the earlier kings Scorpio II and Narmer. According to the inscriptions of Chasechemui, the "unification of the empire" is said to have been accomplished by the goddess Nechbet, which is why he continued the old traditions and celebrated the festival of unification. In a note, Chasechemui gave the year of submission the name "Year of the fight and the defeat of Lower Egypt". In addition, he named "47,209 slain rebels" whom he had killed during his campaigns. The split in the country / state administration ended with Chasechemui, where it was combined and reunified under the new central administration "House of the King". Since Peribsen a clear administrative hierarchy has been documented, which was perfected under Chasechemui. The "supply department" was now subordinate to the "House of the King" and the "Treasury" was subordinate to it. Among them were manor complexes. In addition, various domains were subject to tax in the king's house.

Old empire

The main source for the Old Kingdom , i.e. the period of the 3rd to 6th dynasties, are the pyramids and their temples. Especially in the pyramid burial chambers of the 6th dynasty , texts were found that represent an extensive source of beliefs. There are also cemeteries of the highest officials, but necropolises in the provinces have received little attention in research so far, and settlements have hardly been excavated. The pyramid city of Giza is an exception . Only a few papyri have survived, the most important were found in Abusir and represent administrative documents for a pyramid temple.

First monumental tombs, Tjati as a dynastic family office, sun cult of Re

Djoser's step pyramid.

The grave structures that arose in the 2nd dynasty were further developed in the 3rd dynasty . Djoser was the first to be buried in a burial chamber below the building. The Djoser pyramid in Saqqara named after him , a step pyramid , is also the oldest. It covers an area of ​​140 by 118 m and rises 60 m. The area surrounded by a wall measured 545 by 277 m and contained a number of other buildings. According to tradition, Imhotep was the builder of the complex, high priest of Iunu ( Heliopolis , today part of Cairo on the east bank of the Nile).

Under Djoser, several officials achieved high esteem, especially Imhotep and Hesire . While Imhotep was even deified in later times, panels made of valuable cedar wood testify to the official Hesire . Wolfgang Helck suspected that the king's chief son initially occupied the post of "Tjet". Later the office broke away from the ruling family and concentrated enormous power.

The sun cult , which was connected with an increasing importance of the king, experienced a further boom. At least since the 1st dynasty, the connection between the king as a living Horus under the sun and the nickname Nebu was evident , but Djoser was the first to raise the king's status as a living Horus on earth on an equal footing with the sun.

In an inscription from the Wadi Maghara (Sinai) Djoser appears killing a prisoner . Next to him stands a goddess, behind this stands the administrator of the Ankhen-en-iti desert , who carried out this expedition , according to the inscription . There are turquoise mines nearby, which were probably the target.

The grave district of Djoser's successor Djosatali is in Saqqara near the Djoser complex. The planned 7-step Sechemchet pyramid with a side length of 120 m remained unfinished with a height of seven meters. The pyramid of his successor, who also reigned too briefly to be able to complete his tomb, remained unfinished.

Elephantine Island near Aswan

The last kings of the 3rd dynasty are hard to believe. The only monument that can be safely assigned to its last representative, Huni , is a gray granite block that was found on Elephantine. His cartouche name and the name of a palace are engraved in a rectangular window. In the mastaba of the high official Metjen a domain with the palace "Hut-nisut-hu" of the Huni is mentioned.

From the 4th dynasty , the sun god Re finally became the most important deity. Pharaoh Sneferu expanded the empire west and south. The red pyramid in Dahshur near Saqqara is attributed to him. The rulers Cheops , Chefren and Mykerinos built the pyramids of Giza . Together these represent three quarters of the total pyramid mass.

The only known wife of Snefru was Hetepheres I , who, however, did not have the title of consort of the king and should therefore only be regarded as a concubine. From this connection two sons emerged, on the one hand Snofru's heir to the throne Cheops and probably also Kawab , who was long regarded as the young deceased Crown Prince of Cheops.

Probably at the beginning of Snefru's reign, the construction of the first pyramid began in Meidum . The plan was for a seven-step pyramid, but after four or five steps the pyramid should be expanded to eight steps. One to two years after completion and immediately after the start of construction work on Snofru's second major project, the Bent Pyramid , a final renovation took place. The eight-tier structure was given a smooth cladding, making it a real pyramid, with a side length of 144 m and a height of almost 92 m. While in older pyramids the burial chambers were always very deep under the actual pyramid body, in Sneferu they were laid out on the level of the base. Only with the north-south orientation of its longitudinal axis, the burial chamber remained connected to the older building traditions, while the burial chambers of later pyramids were always oriented east-west.

The mortuary temple of the pyramid was first erected on the east side and not, as was previously the case, on the north side. It is considered to be the best preserved temple in the Old Kingdom. On the south side of the pyramid are the remains of a small cult pyramid , originally built in a stepped shape , which served as a symbolic tomb for the Pharaoh's Ka . It is the first known secondary pyramid. On the north side of the pyramid is a mastaba that may have served as a queen's tomb. All three structures are surrounded by an enclosure wall.

The kink pyramid in Dahshur
The cult pyramid in Dahshur

The buckling pyramid in Dahshur was probably planned as a real pyramid from the beginning. The plan provided for a very steep angle of inclination. When this turned out to be too steep, the pyramid base was widened and the inclination angle reduced from 60 ° to 54 °. When the structure had finally reached a height of 45 m, the plan was changed again: For all the higher stone layers, the angle of inclination was reduced to only 43 °, which gave the pyramid its characteristic shape. After its completion, it finally had a side length of 183 m and a height of almost 105 m. A cult pyramid was again erected on the south side, but this time no longer in a stepped construction. With a side length of 52.5 m, it is the largest cult pyramid. The entire pyramid district was enclosed by a limestone wall. The access was formed by an access path which, coming from the east, led into the north side of the surrounding wall. It connects the complex with the valley temple , which is the oldest known example of this type of building. The red pyramid, just a few kilometers north of the bent pyramid, finally reached a side length of 219 m and a height of 109.5 m. The building's top stone , the so-called pyramidion , has been preserved - the oldest find of its kind.

The only well-documented and largely preserved round plastic image of Sneferu is a two-meter-high limestone statue excavated in Dahshur. The king wears the white crown of Upper Egypt, a wide collar, a bracelet and a short apron .

Division into districts, increased cult of the dead, sons of God of the Pharaoh

Seated scribe, probably 4th dynasty, in the Louvre, Paris since 1850

Under Sneferu a reorganization of the administrative structure took place. While the administration had previously relied on individual estates, the whole country was now divided into Gaue . By the end of the Old Kingdom there were 38 Gaue, the number of which increased to 42 through division into Roman times.

On the one hand, the external contacts were of a peaceful nature. The Palermostein reports on the construction of ships and the arrival of 40 shiploads of cedar wood from Lebanon. On the other hand, Sneferu led campaigns against Nubia and Libya. In Nubia, 7,000 prisoners and 200,000 head of cattle are said to have been captured. Additional information about this campaign is provided by two rock inscriptions near Khor el-Aquiba north of the second Nile cataract. The inscription from the beginning of the campaign puts the strength of the army at 20,000 men, the second inscription was added after the return and reports 7000 captured Nubians. The consequences of these campaigns, which resulted in complete depopulation, can be measured archaeologically in the fact that the A group , a local Nubian culture, disappears between the 1st and 2nd cataracts.

The second campaign was directed against Libya and took place towards the end of Snofru's reign. 1,100 Libyans and 13,100 head of cattle were captured. It is possible that the Sinai Peninsula with its copper and turquoise deposits was secured by military means under Sneferu. The only source for this is a rock inscription in Wadi Maghara on which Sneferu kills a Bedouin .

Above all, Sneferu entrusted the most important offices to his sons. His son Rahotep was raised to general and high priest in Heliopolis and at the same time "first of the greats of the hall", "chief of the porters" and as "magazine elder" the head of the great royal food store. Nefermaat held the highest office as Tjati . Both were buried in great mastabas in Meidum.

Sneferu enjoyed an extensive cult of the dead . Up to the end of the 6th dynasty, eighteen funeral priests and officials connected with the cult of the dead are recorded. Apparently, Dahshur was the center of his worship. For his successors Cheops and Chephren as many as 73 and for Chephren 32 death priests and officials are attested. The cult of the dead was of great economic importance, as domains were set up for the supply of offerings, of which 16 can be proven for Sneferu.

Khufu or Khnum-Khufu (the god Khnum protects me ', Khnum was the local god of Elephantine), known in Greek form of the name Khufu , succeeded his father or stepfather Snefru to the throne. He was married to Meritites I , a daughter of Snofru, as well as Henutsen and other women not known by name. The only more precisely datable events from his reign are two expeditions that he sent to the Dachla oasis in the Libyan desert and that served to procure pigment . It is documented by graffiti in Elkab and on Elephantine, as well as in the quarries of Hatnub and Wadi Hammamat . Even outside the borders, his name is documented in the diorite quarries west of Abu Simbel and in Wadi Maghara on Sinai - there as the protector of the mines. Trade relations with the city of Byblos in Lebanon can also be proven.

Plan of the Giza Necropolis

It is noticeable that even during the reign of Cheops the highest offices were again held by members of the royal family. Several officials are buried to the west of the Cheops pyramid , the most important being Hemiunu , probably a nephew of Cheops.

Cheops' particular fame is mainly due to its pyramid in Giza, the highest pyramid. Its side length is 230 m and it was originally 147 m high. A total of 2.5 million stone blocks were used. Locally occurring limestone was the main building material. The cladding of the pyramid was originally made of white Tura limestone.

On the east side of the pyramid is the mortuary temple, of which only the foundations are preserved today. The valley temple could not be located so far, as a village extends over its assumed location today. To the east and west of the pyramid, two large cemeteries were built under Cheops. There are three queen pyramids for the wives of Cheops in the east cemetery. A fourth, smaller pyramid served as a cult pyramid for the king. Several large mastabas were also built in the east in which the close relatives of Cheops, mainly his sons and their wives, were buried. The western cemetery complex consists of smaller mastabas, the owners of which were mainly high officials. The Tjati Hemiunu, whose father had already been Tjati under Sneferu, was the “head of all construction work for the king”.

Model of the salvaged Cheops barque. A total of seven boat pits were created in the pyramid district. The two pits on the south side still contained two complete, dismantled boats . One of these ships, which is 43.4 m long and made of cedar wood, has been restored.
Granite block with the name of Horus of Cheops from Bubastis

Inscriptions testify that Radjedef sent an expedition to Dachla, as his father Cheops had done before him. The aim of these expeditions was the extraction of pigments. The inscribed evidence for this comes from a camp site in the desert, about 60 km from Dachla. This was apparently referred to as the "water mountain of Radjedef".

Under Radjedef, the cult of the sun god Re became the highest state religion. With a few exceptions, the royal proper names now bore the name of Re as a component until the end of the 5th dynasty. In keeping with this, Radjedef introduced the epithet “Son of Re” ( Sa-Re ), which became the permanent title of the royal personal name from the Middle Kingdom onwards. The Pharaoh is considered to be the author of the oldest surviving Sebayt , a teaching on right living. If the Pharaoh was previously considered to be the embodiment of Horus and thus himself as the highest world god, the concept of the sonship of God now came to the fore, which reduced the king's own divinity and placed him in a stronger position of responsibility towards the gods.

After Radjedef, it was not one of his sons who initially succeeded him, but his brother Chaefre, better known as Chephren , to the throne. Radjedef built his pyramid in Abu Roasch , north of Giza. With a side length of 106.2 m and a height of 67.4 m, it was significantly smaller than the tombs of its two ancestors Sneferu and Cheops. As with the pyramids of the 3rd Dynasty, the burial chamber was again laid out underground and no longer in the actual pyramid body.

Reconstruction of the southern part of the workshops, Djedefre pyramid, Abu Rawasch

The largest and most famous find is a sandstone head of a Sphinx from Radjedef (Louvre E 12626). It is 33.5 cm high, 28.8 cm wide and 26.5 cm long. The king is shown wearing a Nemes headscarf . The remains of a black painting can still be seen on the eyes, which represented the iris . The Louvre also houses the lower part of a seated statue of Radjedef (E 12627). It measures 28 × 19.5 × 23 cm and gives the king's real name and Horus name. To the left of the ruler, a kneeling queen is shown much smaller.

Chephren succeeded his brother Radjedef to the throne. The royal papyrus Turin, which was created in the New Kingdom and is an important document on Egyptian chronology , is damaged at the relevant point, so that only the indication 20 + x years can be read out. Herodotus mentions 56 years of reign, which began in the 3rd century BC. Living Egyptian priests Manetho 66. The highest contemporary documented date is a “13. Times the count ”. The problem with this is that these counts originally took place every two years, but later also annually.

An expedition to the quarries of Wadi Hammamat is attested by a graffito, another inscription was found in Bir Menih in the eastern desert. Trade relations with the Syrian region are evidenced by a bowl from Ebla and a seal cylinder from Byblos, both of which bear Chephren's name.

During the 4th Dynasty, the office of Tjati was held exclusively by members of the royal family.

Chephren also had his pyramid built at Giza. It has a side length of 215 m and is only three meters lower than that of Cheops with a height of 143.5 m. The bottom row of the cladding is made of rose granite, all others of Tura limestone. The pyramid was originally planned to be larger and should be further north. The burial chamber is centrally located at the bottom of the pyramid.

A quarry extends south of the mortuary temple, from which both Cheops and Chephren obtained building material for their pyramids and in which the latter had rock graves for his wives and sons. To the east of the royal cemetery, the Central Field was built , on which numerous official graves were built and which was massively expanded in the following dynasties.

Menkaure or Mykerinos succeeded his cousin Bicheris to the throne, who had only ruled for a short time. The change of government in the Egyptian calendar is documented in an inscription ; at the same time proof of a 365-day calendar already in use. The duration of the reign of Mykerinus is unknown. Manetho gives him 63 years. The highest contemporary documented date is “11. Times of the count ”, possibly also a“ year after the 11th time of the count ”, whereby the problem of the one or two year cycle arises. The name of the ruler appears on an object from Byblos and numerous unrolled seals from Buhen are attested by him .

Mykerinos was the builder of the third and last of the three pyramids at Giza. With a base size of 102.2 × 104.6 m and an original height of 65.55 m, it is significantly smaller. Only his successor Schepseskaf completed both temples and the access path, but used the time and cost-saving brick construction instead of stone. Boat pits, such as those found at the tombs of Cheops and Chephren, could not be found in the vicinity of the Mykerinos pyramid .

The seventh and last known contemporary king of the 4th dynasty was Sheepseskaf. The only known events from his short reign are the hasty completion of the temple complex of the Mykerinos pyramid and the construction of his own tomb in Saqqara South, the base of which was 100 by 72 m. He was the only pharaoh of the Old Kingdom who refrained from building pyramids.

The transition to the 5th dynasty is still largely unclear. Between him and Userkaf a king seems to have ruled for only two years, whom Manetho calls Thamphthis , but who is otherwise not documented. Also Chentkaus I. is partly considered as a temporary ruler or regent into consideration.

Pyramids at Abusir, rise of the nobility and civil servants, Tjati no longer in dynasty hands

Statue of Ptah priest Ka-nefer and his family; 5th dynasty, probably Saqqara; Height: 35.6 cm, limestone with paint residue, Kimbell Art Museum , Fort Worth, Texas, USA

The rulers of the 5th dynasty are better recorded than those of the previous dynasties. Their time is marked by smaller pyramids, often located at Abusir , and temples of the sun god Re. The pharaohs had to share their absolute power with the rising nobility and a growing bureaucracy. We owe much of the surviving texts to the latter.

Userkaf is considered the first ruler of the 5th dynasty. The relationship to the royal family of the 4th dynasty and his successors is unclear. A story from the Westcar papyrus , in which Userkaf and his two successors Sahure and Neferirkare are referred to as brothers and sons of a Rudj-Djedet, is the only source. Rudj-Djedet is mostly identified with Chentkaus I, who is considered the " ancestral mother " of the 5th dynasty and the unique title of "mother of two kings of Upper and Lower Egypt". Relief blocks at the pyramid of Sahure mean that the wife of Userkaf was a queen named Neferhetepes . She is also the mother of Sahure, the successor to Userkaf.

Head of a statue of Userkaf from his solar sanctuary, Egyptian Museum, Cairo

Under Userkaf the re-cult finally prevailed. He is considered to be the builder of a solar sanctuary near Abusir , making him the first pharaoh to build such a sanctuary. It is certain that expeditions to Lebanon and Punt , which was probably on the Horn of Africa , were already carried out in his time .

In the Unas pyramid (side length 73.3 m, original height 49.4 m), the so-called pyramid texts , the oldest religious texts of mankind, were found for the first time . The tradition of affixing otherworldly literature in royal graves was continued in the Middle Kingdom with the coffin texts and in the New Kingdom with the various underworld books such as Amduat , the cave book or the gate book . Papyri with the Book of the Dead were found in non-royal graves of the New Kingdom .

Under Sahure , the head of the administration was headed by at least two Tjati, namely Sechemkare and Werbauba. With Werbauba, Sahure continued the policy pursued since the beginning of his dynasty of increasingly filling high state offices with men who do not belong to the family. Their remuneration was in the form of domains, which, however, had to exhaust the royal resources in the long run. In addition, the pyramids, where an extensive cult was maintained, received rich donations.

The only campaign that is considered certain was directed against Bedouins on Sinai, which the king reported on a large relief. Reliefs in the mortuary temple of the Sahure pyramid tell of a campaign against Libya . However, since an almost identical image was also found in the pyramid complex of Pepi II , it is unclear whether an event is really represented or rather a symbolic beating of the enemies of Egypt, which had to be repeated by every new king.

The Palermostein calls the arrival of trade goods from the country Punt for the last year of Sahure's reign. Further trade relations are attested with the Near East. So a vessel was found in Byblos . The trade relations in this region are also underlined by a relief in the mortuary temple of the Sahure pyramid, on which ships are depicted whose crews are Syrians. In addition, seal impressions from Buhen document relationships with Nubia. Two expeditions have been handed down by inscriptions, one led to the diorite quarries near Abu Simbel, and another to the gold mines of Wadi al-Gidami in the eastern desert.

The Neferirkare pyramid in Abusir

The annal stone of the 5th dynasty , one of the most important documents for the Egyptian chronology , was created under Sahure's successor Neferirkare . As the mother of the brothers, Sahure's only known wife and biological sister Meretnebty can be considered. Neferirkares Great Royal Wife was Chentkaus II. She gave birth to the eldest son of the king, who ascended the throne under the name of Raneferef , and another son named Niuserre , who also became king after the untimely death of his brother.

The Palermostein , the largest fragment of the 5th Dynasty Annal Stone. With Neferirkare's reign, the records of the Annal Stone end , so it appears to have been commissioned under his reign. However, the information is limited to the date of enthronement, donations to his solar sanctuary or the issuance of a decree for the temple of Chontamenti in Abydos.

The ritualized manners between the pharaoh and the heads of the administration appear occasionally in inscriptions found in buildings of high officials. Ptahshepses , the high priest of Ptah of Memphis, saw it as a great honor to be able to kiss the king's feet instead of just the ground. The most important official of Neferirkares was Waschptah, who held the office of Tjati and was also chief judge and builder.

The seal and ostraka from the Buhen fortress on the second cataract of the Nile are known by his name. An alabaster bowl with the name Neferirkares was found in Byblos.

Growing power of Tjati, cult of Osiris

His successors ruled only briefly, little is known about their reign. Under Djedkare , the 8th king of the dynasty, who, as can be determined from a mummy, lived to be around 50 to 60 years old and who ruled for perhaps 30 years, there were significant reforms in the administration, but also in the religious area.

Mastaba of the Tjati Senedjemib Inti , a type of tomb that was in use until the 12th Dynasty

Djedkar's goal was to bundle many competencies in one office, namely that of Tjati. Thus the offices of “ Head of the Two Treasure Houses ”, “Head of the Two Barns” and “Head of the scribes of the royal documents” were held exclusively by them, and the office of “Head of all the king's work” was closely related to that of scribe - Head linked. At the same time, the Tjatiamt was no longer occupied by one but by two dignitaries, one of whom was responsible for the residence and the other for the provincial administration. The number of middle administrative offices, however, has been reduced. Under Djedkare, Senedjemib was Inti Tjati and chief builder.

The worship of the sun god Ra declined, instead the god of the dead Osiris took on an important role, which is occupied for the first time during Djedkar's reign. Therefore Djedkare did not build a solar sanctuary . Osiris was originally worshiped in the eastern Nile Delta and was associated with the cycles of nature and tillage. It symbolized the resurrection after the annual Nile floods but also death. Those who were “honored” by him (imachu) fulfilled moral obligations at the same time, which were supposed to balance out the meanwhile extreme social differences. This included the obligation to look after the poorer members of society like a father.

A gold-plated seal of an official from the time of Djedkares indicates trade relations with the Aegean . Several rock inscriptions tell of the usual expeditions to the turquoise mines in Wadi Maghara, and an alabaster vessel found in Byblos with the mention of a sed festival by the king proves trade contacts there. A war campaign to the Middle East is evidenced by a picture in the grave of Inti in Deschascha .

Expeditions to Nubia are documented by seal impressions from Buhen, a stele in the diorite quarries of Toschqa and inscriptions on the caravan route between the oases of Dachla and Dungul. There is also an autobiographical inscription by the expedition leader Harchuf from the 6th dynasty , in which a copied letter from King Pepi II mentions an expedition that took place during Djedkare's reign. The destination of this expedition was the country of Punt.

Rise of regional centers, decline of central rule

Unas is considered the last king of the 5th dynasty , although he did not come from a royal family and he resided in Heliopolis. But there were family ties to the subsequent dynasty. It should be noted that the division into dynasties depends on the royal seat and less on the question of ancestry.

Statue of Tjati Mereruka , active under Teti II, in his mastaba , which was built next to the pyramid of the Pharaoh in Saqqara .
Relief depicting fishermen (Mastaba des Mereruka)

Teti II , the founder of the 6th dynasty, did not come from a royal family. He came to power through his marriage to Iput I , a daughter of Pharaoh Unas. The later Pharaoh Pepi I emerged from the marriage with Iput . Teti's pyramid in Saqqara was 78.8 meters long and 52 meters high. The mummy of Queen Iput was found in one of the three heavily dilapidated side pyramids.

The 6th dynasty culturally continued the previous dynasty. A decentralization of the administrative structures with administrators spread across the country created regional centers, which gained in importance. The central government lost influence after campaigns against Libya, Nubia and Palestine. Between the 3rd and 4th cataracts, the C group , the Nubian culture around Kerma, appears . Nubian groups were first used as a kind of border police , the highest dignitaries were responsible for carrying out the caravans that transported luxury goods. Such caravan routes connected the Nile valley from Abydos with the oases of Kharga and Selima. From Kharga a route went west to Dachla.

Climate changes with the absence of the Nile floods contributed to the decline of the empire. The simultaneous upheavals in Sumer and the Indus culture also speak for such a connection.

According to Manetho, Teti was murdered by his bodyguards. This could be the reason why his successor was the otherwise unknown Userkare . Teti's son and successor Pepi I came to the throne only after him. Weni, a high official and military leader under the pharaohs Teti II., Pepi I, Userkare and Merenre I, was "Governor of the South" under Merenre. Under his direction, five canals were cut through the first cataract of the Nile to make the rapids navigable. A relief in the rocks of Aswan shows Merenre receiving homage from the chiefs of the Nubian tribes. Weni's successor undertook three expeditions to the country of Jam in Sudan.

Pepi II came to the throne in Manetho at the age of 6 and ruled, following the Turin royal papyrus, for 94 years. The year of the 31st cattle count is documented, which indicates a reign of over 60 years, as the cattle census took place every two years. At first he was under the reign of his mother and uncle Djau . The Tjati in Mennefer (Memphis) were held by different men, in Abydos and Mair there are other incumbents. This decentralization is considered to be one of the causes of the decline of the empire. Pepi's son and successor Nemtiemsaef II only survived his father a few years.

First interim period, fragmentation, supremacy of Thebes and Herakleopolis

After the 6th Dynasty, Egypt was divided into several domains for over a century. Among the newly established centers of power, two cities gained particular influence, namely Thebes and Herakleopolis . The Theban Mentuhotep II finally reunited Lower and Upper Egypt, and Nubia was recaptured as far as Wawat .

According to Manetho, 70 kings ruled in 70 days in the 7th Dynasty , but no traces have been found that can be assigned to this dynasty. Memphis was ruled by the 8th Dynasty , and its first king may have been a Netericare . The other rulers assigned to the dynasty are often only known from the list of kings in the temple of Seti I in Abydos. The order of rulers is completely uncertain.

Grave caves in Deir el-Bahari ("Northern Monastery") in Thebes-West (Luxor)

In addition to the existence of several states on the soil of Egypt, it is characteristic that the all-dominant cult of the dead found no expression in the corresponding buildings of the pharaohs until Mentuhotep II had his temple built in Deir el-Bahri in Thebes. The social development found its expression above all outside the court culture and its monumental buildings in the provincial towns and in the middle and lower classes.

Administrative offices in the provinces had become increasingly hereditary as early as the 5th, but especially since the 6th dynasty. This means that goods were no longer initially centralized at the pharaoh's court in order to be distributed from there to society, but rather local rulers dominated. At the same time, the new courts emulated the Pharaoh's court, as countless tombs attest. Rural Egypt became not only more influential, but also culturally more complex. The power of disposal over local resources led to urbanization , which in turn strengthened the local dynasty. The sense of more productive techniques, such as the potter's wheel now used everywhere and known since the 5th dynasty, also sharpened . Everyday objects were no longer given to the graves of common people, but objects specially made for burials. It seems as if the barrier between the court culture and the provinces has fallen. The objects were often simple, which led earlier Egyptologists to assume a general cultural decline. In doing so, the adoption of courtly elements and the general distribution, a kind of mass consumption, was overlooked, as was the frequently encountered originality, for example in painting.

Statue of the nomarch Metjen, 4th Dynasty, Neues Museum Berlin

New ways of religiousness, such as the texts in the sarcophagi that later characterize the Middle Kingdom, were tried out. In addition, there was a pronounced regionalization of culture, which was also reflected in very different forms of grave, the local styles followed. Local rulers, often called nomarchs , dominated, including overseers of the priests. One of these nomarchs was Anchtifi of Hierakonpolis. His autobiography, found on the pillars of his tomb about 30 km south of Thebes, testifies to the enormous self-confidence of these men, despite apparently little political success. He led the religious and secular administration in Edfu and Hierakonpolis. Apparently, when the crowds began to look for food, he succeeded in stopping the exodus and providing adequate supplies for his territory. Reports of such famines often appear in the sources, but the Neolithic humid phase had already ended in the Old Kingdom, so that climate change was probably not responsible for the difficult supply situation. In any case, the solution to the problem was no longer brought by the pharaoh, but by a local deity who now served as legitimation for local rulers.


The 9th and 10th dynasties , whose kings resided in Herakleopolis, today's Ihnasya el-Medina, controlled the Nile valley only as far as Assiut . Twelve to 19 kings belonged to them, the order and date are unknown. These kings are missing from the royal tables of Abydos and Saqqara. Kings 2 and 10 to 18 are lost on the Turin papyrus. The dynasty ruled for maybe 185 years. The founder was probably a Cheti, also called Manetho, but neither his origin nor the course of his ascent is known. One of the last members of the dynasty was buried in Saqqara, which is probably to be interpreted as a continuation of the tradition of the Old Kingdom.

The tombs of the dynasty are almost entirely unknown. The doctrine of King Merikare and the story of the eloquent peasant , which have recently been ascribed to the Middle Kingdom, but whose action is scheduled for the First Intermediate Period, are considered language monuments of the time . Material culture, especially ceramics, was based on the Old Kingdom, at least much more so than in the south.


While the princes in Herakleopolis saw themselves as the rightful successors of the kings of the Old Kingdom, an independent (11th) dynasty emerged in Thebes . Their first kings belong to the First Intermediate Period, for example Mentuhotep I Thebes, initially of little importance, was led by overseers of the priests, like other cities. A number of these rulers were followed by the nomarch Antef , who soon became lord of Upper Egypt. He had a tomb of 300 by 54 m dug into the rock ( Saff Dawaba ) and thus continued a local tradition, albeit in monumental form.

Antef II ruled for almost half a century. At the beginning of his reign he dominated the Upper Egyptian Gaue 1 to 6 and the city of Abydos. He conquered Thinis twice, until the capital of the 8th Upper Egyptian Gau finally belonged to his sphere of influence. He succeeded in expanding his rule to Qaw el-Kebir , about 100 km north of Abydos, which, however, led to permanent conflicts with Herakleopolis. At times, Herakleopolis even succeeded in recapturing Abydos, which is possibly related to the "Thinis rebellion", which is named Mentuhoteps II on a column. The rulers probably drew the conclusion from their own rise that they no longer tolerated the establishment of local nomarchs. The ruling systems were not characterized by a loose alliance of local magnates, as the Old Reich had last shown, but by close ties and tight control, as was the nationwide architectural representation of the ruler.

Mentuhotep II succeeded in reuniting the empire and at the same time building a new central burial site at Deir el-Bahri. Possibly the total destruction of the temples of Herakleopolis is related to the conquest by the Thebans. The extremely bad picture that science has long drawn of this intermediate period can be traced back to texts from the Middle Kingdom, which contained an epoch of chaos, reversal of the social order, hunger, unrest, wars and disintegration, the destruction of the Holy Scriptures and saw the moral.

Koptos, Kom Dara

Protective decree Pepis II for the Temple of Min in Koptos .

The Koptos decrees reflect the importance of the city of Koptos as well as the family of the official Shemai. They include twenty copies of royal decrees from the late 6th and 8th Dynasties. The documents recorded in stone include administrative and recognition decrees as well as royal letters and are considered to be one of the most important sources of diplomacy and administration of the time.

A huge temple complex from the first half of the first interim period is Kom Dara, about 27 km downstream from Assiut. The complex was surrounded by walls 138 by 144 m long and once up to 20 m high. A steadily falling corridor breaking through the monument on the north side reached a single underground burial chamber. Despite this construction, it turned out that a pyramid was never planned here. Also, the building could not be assigned to a specific king, even if it embodied the client's royal ambitions simply because of its size.

Middle realm

The reunification of the empire under Mentuhotep II in the middle of the 11th dynasty marks the beginning of the Middle Kingdom . The early Middle Kingdom extends to around Sesostris II and is architecturally and artistically still strongly influenced by the traditions of the First Intermediate Period. The late Middle Kingdom (from Sesostris III up to the 13th dynasty), on the other hand, is characterized by a renewed centralization of the country. The ideal of rulers was no longer a young idealized pharaoh, but a wise, experienced ruler. The language of the Middle Kingdom was considered classical for the following epochs.

Unification of the empire

Statue of Mentuhoteps II from Bab el-Hosan

The order of the three or even four Theban kings who ruled before Mentuhotep II is unclear. Mentuhotep I appears on the list of kings of Karnak as the ancestor of Antef I, while Mentuhotep II does not name him as king, but first Antef I (relief from Shatt Er-Rigal). Also as Mentuhotep II around 2055 BC. BC came to power in Thebes, these struggles continued. The grave of the 60 warriors killed in action at Deir el-Bahri, in which the men dried up unmummified so quickly that they are the best-preserved corpses of the Middle Kingdom, may be related to these final fighting. The unification of the empire will have been accomplished around Mentuhotep's 39th year of reign. He left some of the gentlemen in various districts in their positions, but delegates who traveled around regularly checked their official conduct. It was also possible to regain some influence outside of Egypt, as in Lebanon. While his reign was marked by a certain prosperity and soon inner peace, and he idolized himself ("son of Hathor"), like the pharaohs of the New Kingdom, the rule of his dynasty collapsed around 19 years after his death. His son Mentuhotep III. led an expedition with 3000 men through the Wadi Hammamat to the Red Sea . From there he sent ships to the land of Punt.

Mentuhotep IV. , Who perhaps did not belong to the royal family, may have been from his Tjati Amenemhet overthrown, probably the same as Amenemhet is. He became the founder of the 12th dynasty , which had its center of gravity in the el-Lisht region about 60 km south of Cairo. The first half of the 13th dynasty , which did not change residence, also belonged to the Middle Kingdom.

Rise of Tjati to Pharaoh, new capital, co-reign, centralization

Amenemhet I, probably a Theban, moved the capital north to El-Lisht to a previously undiscovered place (Itjtawy). In addition, he introduced the institution of co-regency , i.e. the raising of a co-king and successor while still alive. He had walls built on the eastern edge of the delta to protect against Asian invasions, and fortresses such as Semna and Quban were built similar to those in Nubia . In the last year of his reign, his son Senusret (Sesostris) went against the Libyans. When this son returned, the father was already dead, probably murdered.

Sesostris I is considered one of the most important kings of the Middle Kingdom; he ruled for 44 or 45 years. Early on he led campaigns to Lower Nubia. Sesostris systematically built all the important temples in the country and replaced small buildings, often made of adobe bricks, with stone ones. By distributing such temples across the country, he undermined local priestly power. He also promoted the priesthood of Osiris. In his 18th year in reign, he sent an army to the 2nd cataract. Booing became the southern border. The Hekanakht papyri, letters from an old farmer, shed light on the situation in rural areas for the first time. Initially attributed to the reign of Mentuhotep II, they seem to come from the early time of Sesostris I. A woman's letter to her mother suggests that literacy among women may have been more widespread than long believed.

Pyramid of Lahun, Sesostris II.

Sesostris' son Amenemhet II is best known for an annal stone found in Memphis, a kind of diary, among them the most important one found in Memphis, gives information about gifts of the Pharaoh, lists of statues and buildings, war and trade expeditions, but also everyday acts such as royal hunts. But it also shows that there were often conflicts and contracts with "Asians" (Aamu), as Herodotus noted. Asian places appear as trading partners, other cities as opponents of war, from which allegedly 1554 were taken away as prisoners. These high numbers could explain why so many Asian slaves lived in Egyptian houses in later times. His successor Sesostris II probably only ruled for eight or nine years. He built his pyramid at El-Lahun , which could indicate an increased interest of the king in the Fayyum .

Senuseret or in Greek Sesostris III. in the consciousness of the Egyptians was probably the most important king of all; around four decades of reign are ascribed to him. Herodotus and Manetho report numerous campaigns, especially to Asia. These undertakings are only poorly documented, in contrast to his campaigns in Lower Nubia. They were particularly brutal, the men were killed, children and women enslaved, their fields burned, their wells poisoned. The letters from Semna, one of the border fortresses, to Thebes give an impression of the uncertain conditions on the southern border. A single campaign to Asia appears in the sources, instead he is considered to be the initiator of the irrigation system in Fayyum. The area was irrigated from Bahr Yusuf by means of canals and dykes .

"Nilometer" in the temple of Amun in Tanis (San el-Hagar)
Statue of Amenemhet III in the Egyptian Museum, Berlin

Amenemhet III. seems to be with his father Sesostris III. to have ruled together for about twenty years. While the father strengthened the borders of the empire through campaigns, the son was mainly active in domestic politics. Under his rule, the regulation of the water supply in the " Moeris Lake ", ie in the Fayyum, was completed, which further expanded the agricultural areas. In Nubia he had the water level of the Nile measured. In accordance with the usual procedure, Amenemhet III, whose reign was comparatively peaceful, even if he fortified the Nubian border works, appointed his son Amenemhet IV as co-regent three years before his death .

Queen Neferuptah's neck collar

Amenemhet III. had two pyramids built, the first of which was built near Dahshur and is now called “ The Black One ” because its limestone cladding was lost early on. It was about 105 meters on a side and was maybe 60 or 75 meters high. The pharaoh was not buried there, but in Hawara in the Fayyum. The same applies to Princess Neferuptah , who is possibly typical of the growing prestige of the ruling women. Because of the structural defects on his pyramid, the pharaoh had a second pyramid built in Hawara. This pyramid was made of the usual mud bricks, but was built over a rock core about 12 m high and was clad with limestone. Its base was - as in Dahshur - about 105 × 105 m and its height probably 58 m. In front of the pyramid of Hawara was the so-called labyrinth , which the Greek geographer Strabo described and praised as a wonder of the world. This was the mortuary temple of Amenemhet III, which is said to have had more than 1500 rooms.

Little is known about his successor Amenemhet IV and Queen Nofrusobek or Sobekneferu, the pharaoh was either the son or grandson of his predecessor and ruled for only nine years. His wife was the last pharaoh to take over the reign. An inscription in the Nubian fortress Kumma indicates a Nile height of 1.83 m for their third year of rule. Her name and title are found on a seal; Manetho names her in his list of kings.

Fiscal system, administration, everyday life

Although the rulers oriented themselves towards the Old Kingdom, their economic basis was based on a different fiscal system. Harvests and waterways decided the amount of the taxes that were paid in kind. Forced labor was controlled by listing, including military service. This civil service-like system was controlled by city officials. Those who evaded this work obligation were severely punished, as was their family. So he could be sent to the border fortresses, or to the mines. However, a substitute could be provided for a fee and the Nubians seem to have been free from this. Foreign trade was a royal monopoly.

The Westcar Papyrus ( Altes Museum , Berlin)

The administration obviously grew, because the titles differentiated more and more according to the tasks to be mastered. From the 11th dynasty onwards, the Tjati lost some of its tasks and its importance, while the royal seal holder was entrusted with various tasks. Overall, the provinces were much more closely aligned with the headquarters, and many tasks were assigned to the mayors of the villages and towns. The pharaohs fought against local heredity in the high offices and insisted until the beginning of the 12th dynasty that the offices should be assigned personally. Nevertheless, some of them came to be held at court. In return for royal benevolence, they had to protect the borders, wage campaigns, and possibly receive guests. The sons of the nomarchs were brought to court and from there installed as officials in the empire, so that perhaps for this reason the number of nomarchs decreased more and more. At the latest at the time of Amenemhet II, the decline of this function began. The officials who were now deployed carried out their work from the capital. A kind of office was set up for Upper and Lower Egypt, with a number of hierarchically organized officials. A treasury, a tax office, a labor office were set up, even an office for the Tjati and an official body for the palace. In contrast to the Old Kingdom, the use of writing was widespread, which in turn increased the spread of administration. But it also allowed literary works that allow deep insights into the world of thought of contemporaries, such as the Westcar papyrus, which also illuminates the judiciary. Neither the story of Sinuhe (approx. 1900 BC) nor the shipwrecked sailor could have become literary figures in the Old Kingdom.

The temples represented their own administrative units, which were entitled to an annual delivery of 5 liters of grain from the first harvest. If the temples were not exempt from paying taxes, they also had to pay taxes. The construction of new temples accordingly not only reduced the power of the existing ones, but also brought new resources to the pharaoh.

There are texts from the Middle Kingdom that reveal the conditions at court, but the most important for this is the Papyrus Boulaq 18 , which shows the spatial and organizational subdivision of the court as well as the supply. The kap was the domain of the royal family, their staff and certain children who were trained at the king's expense, then the wahy or the audience area of ​​the hypostyle hall, where banquets were also held, and finally khenty , the outer area of ​​the palace where the Court transactions were made. Only the cape overseer acted in both the inner and outer areas of the palace. The royal craftsmen lived in their own town, such as Hetep-Senusret . Based on the memory, one could estimate its population at 5000.

Decline in power, fragmentation, Asians

The end of the Middle Kingdom and with it the beginning of the Second Intermediate Period was brought about by quarrels for the throne, fragmentation and the invasion of the Hyksos .

Manetho assigns more than fifty kings to the 13th Dynasty, whose center was still Itj-taui . The dynasty possibly circulated the royal office within the leading families, which could explain the high number of names. Although the country probably remained politically united, a significant number of only brief kings followed. The order in which the rulers ruled is known for the beginning of the period through the Turin royal papyrus. However, according to the entry about King Merkaure Sobekhotep , it is poorly preserved. The ranking of the subsequent rulers is therefore unclear. Although no cultural break can be seen, the tombs have become considerably more modest.

Wegaf was probably the first king of the 13th dynasty . The tomb of King Hor I was in Dahshur near the pyramid of Amenemhets III. found. Chendjer had a pyramid built at Saqqara, which is the only known pyramid of this dynasty that was completed. Under Sobekhotep III. there was apparently a stabilization, because he left pillars between Bubastis in the north and Elephantine in the south. His successors Neferhotep I and Sobekhotep IV ruled together for about two decades, but shortly after Aja I the unity of the country seems to have disintegrated. Sobekhotep IV even left a column south of the 3rd cataract. Apparently there were independent rulers in the Nile Delta, the dynasty ended around 1723 BC. The last king could Neferhotep III. have been. Nubia made itself independent and the central part of the country soon fell apart.

Second split

The second intermediate period is the epoch from the Middle to the New Kingdom, in which, in addition to the Hyksos from West Asia, the Nubians ruled part of northern and southern Egypt. In addition, there were small kingdoms of which little is known. This intermediate period extends from the late 13th to the end of the 17th dynasty ; 105 names of kings have survived. 15 we only know of scarabs; they could have been local magnates who claimed royal power. The 14th and 15th dynasties had their main dominance in Auaris in the eastern Nile Delta, even if the 15th dynasty controlled areas as far south of Memphis at the same time. The 16th and 17th dynasties, however, had their main focus in Thebes.

Very little is known of the 14th dynasty, which has very few sources and to which some small kingdoms in the Nile Delta belonged. According to Manetho, this oldest dynasty, independent of the government in el-Lisht, had its seat in Xois in the western Nile delta. It was created parallel to the 13th dynasty. Only the kings Nehesy and Merdjefare are documented by building activity.

The great Hyksos dynasty around Avaris

The deputy treasurer Aamu ("the Asian"), who may have made himself independent , proves that West Asians had already immigrated earlier and gained considerable influence . The funeral customs also point to Asian immigration, because in contrast to the Egyptians, who were buried in a recumbent position , the immigrants' dead were buried in a crouched position . They also brought their own weapons and ceramics, which they gave to the dead. In addition, donkeys appear in their graves for the first time. Apparently shepherds, farmers and craftsmen, but also traders, migrated to Egypt, but prisoners of war were also deported to Egypt. A naval expedition led by Amenemhet II brought 1,554 prisoners into the country from Lebanon. In the Middle Kingdom, fortresses such as Tell el-Habua, which was to the east of the later Hyksos capital of Auaris, were set up against possible attacks from the east. Asians were caught in Avaris or Auaris as early as the 12th dynasty. This city was founded as a fortress in the First Intermediate Period, but it was not until the end of the 12th Dynasty that the city grew rapidly. At the transition to the 13th Dynasty, Syrian houses, graves within the settlement, buried donkeys, Syrian seals can be cited as evidence of the immigration of Asian groups, but Minoan , i.e. Cretan Kamares pottery was also found . In the early days of the city, most of the residents came from Lebanon and Syria, but later they came more from Palestine and Cyprus . This time corresponds to the Middle Bronze Age II AC in Syria-Palestine, whereby nine layers can be distinguished, ranging from Amenemhet IV to Ahmose I , i.e. spanning well over 200 years.

The first phase was one of expansion, but it was also marked by severe epidemics, which can be seen from the disordered mass graves. Society was probably comparatively egalitarian. This changed in the following period (from shift F).

The Asian mercenary leader Schalik , who may have been lord of a principality in the eastern delta before that, occupied around 1650 BC. The residence of the 13th dynasty near Itj-taui and was crowned king. The Egyptians referred to him as Heka-chasut ( ruler of foreign countries , actually mountainous countries , Greek Hyksos ), a title that these kings sometimes even got themselves. So “Hyksos” is a ruler title and not - as the Greek tradition understood it - an ethnic name.

Auaris extended over an area of ​​up to 400 hectares, with which the city had doubled its area since the time of the 13th Dynasty. A city wall of 6.2 later even 8.5 m thick secured the huge city. The capital experienced its zenith under King Apopi I around 1555 BC. During this time the use of scripts apparently increased strongly, which in Egypt means the hieroglyphic script.

The rulers of the 15th dynasty, like the mass of their followers, could have been Canaanites (Amorites) from Palestine; In any case, their names can be explained from Semitic origins. The immigration is probably the result of two centuries of immigration, which led to extensive settlements in the eastern delta in particular. Archaeological evidence for the Hurrites in Palestine can only be found for the middle of the 16th century BC. As can be seen from a plate for Apopis' daughter Herit, which was edited in highly developed hieroglyphic script and found in the grave of Amenhoteps I , who belonged to the 18th dynasty. These strong mixtures of Egyptian and West Asian cultural elements can also be documented in other settlements.

Avaris became wealthy through middlemen, first between Egypt and Palestine, then through trade with Cyprus. The Hyksos introduced chariots and horses, ships and wood, gold, silver and lapis lazuli , turquoise and bronze, then oil, fragrances, fats and honey, as listed on a Kamose stele . The king of Avaris claimed to rule Upper and Lower Egypt, but the southern border was (after about 1650 BC) at Cusae , about 40 km south of Hermopolis (el-Asmunain). The trade had to pass this tax office, otherwise Lower Egypt maintained contact via the oasis route to Nubia and its capital Kerma , and thus to the Nubian gold. Even in the former border fortress Buhen, trade does not seem to have been interrupted. The most important center of power next to the residence was Memphis, but the cultural influence of the Hyksos was apparently little here. While Palestinian ceramics make up 20 to 40% of the finds in Avaris, their share in Memphis is 2%.

The view that the Hyksos had seized Egypt with the help of a hitherto unknown weapon, the horse-drawn two-wheeled chariot, is questionable. The knowledge of the horse domesticated in Inner Asia and the two-wheeled chariot with spoked wheels spread throughout the whole of the Near East during this time . The horse and carriage were probably only introduced into Egypt during the Hyksos reign.

Regional petty kings

Head of an Asian dignitary, Avaris

Large sections of the 13th dynasty in Itj-taui, the 14th dynasty in the Delta, the 16th dynasty in Memphis and the 17th dynasty in Thebes overlap with the rule of Hyksos.

The 16th dynasty existed almost simultaneously with the 15th dynasty. This assumption goes back to Sextus Iulius Africanus , who in turn was based on Manetho. In it small kings are summarized who were tribute to the Hyksos, but retained a certain independence. Therefore, it is also referred to as the Little Hyksos Dynasty . Kim Ryholt redefined the 16th dynasty. He refers to Eusebius of Caesarea , who called this dynasty after Manetho "Theban". In this dynasty he sees the rulers who appear at the end of column 10 and in column 11 (up to line 15) of the Turin Royal Papyrus. Most of the rulers appearing here have so far been assigned to the 13th or 17th dynasty.

Although the Hyksos advanced as far as Thebes, they were unable to permanently control areas that far south. The first rulers of the Upper Egyptian 17th dynasty, the Hyksos, had to pay tribute, but the southern empire grew stronger. The order of the kings is not only very uncertain in the first half of the dynasty. The rediscovery of the grave of Nub-cheper-Re Anjotef in 2000, always set as Anjotef V at the beginning of the dynasty, required an extensive reorganization of the chronology. Daniel Polz now dates this king to the end of the 17th dynasty near the Senachtenre .

At the end of the 17th dynasty under the rule of the Ahmosids , the policy against the Hyksos intensified. This prompted the Hyksos king Apophis to seek an alliance with the kingdom of Kerma in Nubia. But the alliance failed because of the desert posts of the Egyptians, who intercepted every messenger in the direction of Nubia.

About 50 km south of the Cusae border post, there were cemeteries of the region's Nubians, known as pan-diggers . They were semi-nomadic cattle herders who lived on the edge of the desert. Their graves can be found north to Memphis. In the border region there apparently lived a kind of mercenary army who had closer contact with Kerma in the late phase of the Hyksos. The culture of Kerma reached back to the early Old Kingdom. Its classical culture corresponds roughly in time to the Second Intermediate Period. The warriors fought mostly with their bows. Large buildings for religious and administrative purposes arose in the city that did not accept the use of script. While kerma stands out, not all Nubians need to have recognized her authority. Trade with both Upper and Lower Egypt probably passed through the forts on the cataracts.

War between Thebes and Avaris

Ultimately, the Theban dynasty prevailed against the Hyksos and the Nubians. Stele inscriptions show that some of the kings only ruled local rulers, for example in Abydos or Edfu. Rahotep , the first king of the 17th dynasty, reports that he had temples restored in Abydos and Koptos. Sobekemsaf II resumed the expeditions to Wadi Hammamat, albeit with only 130 men. In the 12th Dynasty such expeditions had consisted of thousands. Corresponding trains from the time of Nub-cheper-Re Anjotef are also occupied.

Thebes was cut off from the center of learning in Memphis and so you had to develop your own texts for the funeral rituals there without being able to use the archives there. Gradually, however, the use of the script returned to its original level. In addition to cultural independence and the recourse to central Egyptian forms, the political will to conquer Avaris came under Kamose at the latest . At first he succeeded in occupying Buhen, so that the gold route to the south was open again. In addition, a navy was created and the Nubians were driven south. The war against the Hyksos probably dragged on for three decades. Seqenenre fought the Hyksos; an examination of his mummy revealed that he died in battle. His son Kamose fought before Avaris in his third year of reign at the latest. With an army and a navy he moved north and destroyed Neferusi , which was north of Cusae, the border town. On the way north, one of the messengers from Avaris got into his hands, whereupon he had the borders controlled more closely to prevent an alliance between Avaris and Kerma. Arrived in front of Avaris, his fleet controlled the waterways around the city, his army tried to prevent a counterattack on land. Despite successful looting, which Kamose lists on a stele, there was no siege. It was not until at least eleven years later that a Theban army reached the eastern Nile Delta again. Meanwhile in Thebes the still very young Ahmose or for him his mother Ahhotep II ruled .

Avaris was not conquered until the 18th or 22nd year of Ahmose. Then, after a three-year siege, he captured Sharuhe in the Negev desert south of Gaza . First he had bypassed Memphis and conquered Heliopolis. With the conquest of Tell el-Habua, he probably cut off the Hyksos from supplies and support from the east. After a battle, the king began the siege of Avaris. According to Josephus, the Theban brought 480,000 men outside the walls of the city, but, he continues, he was unable to conquer them. So he had to let the inhabitants leave Egypt. In fact, no massacre can be proven archaeologically, but there is a sharp cultural break. The same applies to Memphis, where all traces of the previous mixed culture suddenly disappeared. On the other hand, part of the immaterial culture persisted, such as the worship of Seth, which goes back in part to a West Asian weather god.

Reconstruction of a Minoan fresco from Avaris

After defeating the Hyksos, the Thebans attacked the Nubians of Kerma, which was destroyed. The last five years of Ahmose's rule were the implementation of a huge building program, especially in Abydos, but also in Memphis, Karnak and Heliopolis, as well as in the border areas, especially in Avaris and Buhen. In Avaris, the king had palaces and defenses destroyed and new ones built. The walls were painted in a Minoan style, apparently with no connection to the earlier Minoan inhabitants of Egypt. Besides the paintings there is nothing to be found about their culture.

How this relates to the Thera volcanic explosion is also influenced by when it is to be dated. If one follows the "late dating" and accordingly the "short chronology", one arrives at the time around 1530–1520 BC. If you follow the “early dating” and the “long chronology”, the point in time is around 1628–1620 BC. The later dating would fit the "storm stele" of Ahmose . This description of a natural catastrophe tells of tremendous roar and days of darkness all over Egypt, but this can also be interpreted as a metaphor for the state of Egypt. Dated finds of tephra layers in Egypt could provide clarity here.

New kingdom

The great empires of the Hittites, Assyrians and Egyptians around 1300 BC Chr.

The New Kingdom is characterized by a much stronger involvement in external conflicts, first in Syria against the Hittites and Mitanni , but also against the city-states there , later against the Sea Peoples , then against Libyans and Nubians. But the intensified trade in peacetime and the productivity of the country itself brought about a visible prosperity in wider circles than before, which was reflected in buildings all over the country. The great temples to which those came for the deified pharaohs became mighty landlords. Finally there were religious disputes ( Aton ) and the increasing dominance of the Amun priesthood.

Expansion to Asia, conquest of Nubia, Queen Hatshepsut

Ahmose I is considered to be the founder of the 18th dynasty . With the conquest of Avaris in 1532 or 1528 BC The New Kingdom began, which immediately expanded towards Palestine and Nubia in the northeast and south. His successor Amenhotep I continued this policy .

The temporary Aegean cultural influence gave way to recourse to Egyptian traditions, in which the gods Ptah , Amun , Month and Osiris , but also the moon god Iah , whose name appears in Ahmose ("son of the moon god Iah"), were the focus; at the same time Avaris and Memphis were expanded into metropolises of the empire, and the temples of the gods mentioned were richly furnished.

The workers' settlement Deir el-Medina

The royal tombs continued to be erected in the necropolis of Dra Abu el-Naga , where Nub-cheper-Re Anjotef from the 17th dynasty was buried. Now, however, in Thebes-West , opposite Karnak, on the edge of the desert, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens came into being . With Deir el-Medina, a craft town was established there, whose patrons and gods were Ahmose and his sister consort Ahmose Nefertari .

Amenophis I was also idolized there, who received enormous amounts of gold and goods through the final conquest of Nubia. Probably in his eighth year of rule he began his campaigns against the southern neighbor; whether he or his father killed the "king of the bowmen" is unclear. The dynasty concentrated on the worship of Amun in Karnak to emphasize the exceptional position of the rulers, the expansion of the sphere of influence to the south in order to gain access to the riches there, and the establishment of family-based administrative centers around Elkab, Edfu and Thebes.

In addition, she strictly limited access to the dynasty by stating that princesses were only allowed to marry kings. Only Ramses II broke this rule, which never applied to the male members of the ruling house. At the same time, some ruling women gained considerable influence. On a stele, Ahmose grants his wife and sister equal rights. It has therefore subdued rebels and pacified Upper Egypt. Similar titles to the king's sister , king's daughter , and God's wife of Amun were worn by Satamun , daughter of Ahmose I and sister of Amenophis I.

The kings Amenophis I and Thutmose I advanced to the Euphrates , where they came into conflict with the Mitanni empire . In the south they pushed the borders far up the Nile. Thutmose was not, as usual, the son of his predecessor Amenhotep. His father is unknown, his mother was Seniseneb , his wife (and possibly sister) was named Ahmose. The name could be an indication of her belonging to the Amenhotep family. In any case, their daughter was Hatshepsut . Under her rule, which took power after the death of her half-brother and husband Thutmose II , the warlike phase of the 18th dynasty temporarily ended.

After Thutmose I's victory over Kerma, the Nubian king was apparently hung upside down on the bow of the boat with which the pharaoh returned to Karnak. After this success Thutmose moved to Syria, as later documents from the time of Thutmose III. report, but there was probably only a few contacts with the vassal states of the regional great power Mitanni, especially with the Kingdom of Niya.

The brief reign of Thutmose II , the brother and husband of Hatshepsut, saw only one campaign that ended in the final subjugation of Kush in his first year of rule, as reported by a stele in Sehel south of Aswan. Hardly, however, did Thutmose III. after the death of his aunt and stepmother Hatshepsut in 1479 BC. In the 20th or 21st year of his reign he succeeded him, new campaigns began.

Expedition to Punt in the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut

This aggressive foreign policy stood in sharp contrast to Hatshepsut's policy, which carried out a huge building program, especially in Karnak. This work was led by various men, including Djehuti, nomarch of the Central Egyptian Herwer and treasury manager and overseer of the Thoth temple at Hermopolis, then Hapuseneb , high priest of Amun and Senenmut , their chief builder, chief asset manager and thus also their closest confidante. Although punitive expeditions were carried out to both Syria and Nubia, the only conquest, Gaza, came towards the end of their reign. One of her greatest endeavors was in her 9th year in office. The expedition to Punt takes up a lot of space when decorating its mortuary temple. The main goods imported from Punt were incense and ebony . Since the images show the transport of frankincense plants planted in pots, this is considered the first botanical collecting trip.

Thutmose III. as sole ruler, Amenhotep II, peace with Mitanni

Wall of the Annals Hall in the Karnak Temple , where the description of the Battle of Megiddo and the campaigns of Thutmose III. finds.

Under the pretext of having to interfere in local disputes at Scharuhe, Thutmose III. to Gaza. It was more likely that Mitanni's supremacy threatened Egypt's access to Lebanese cedar wood, copper and tin. The wars that followed lasted for two decades and spread across Palestine and Syria. In the battle of Megiddo and the seven-month siege of the city, the pharaoh captured 894 chariots, 200 pieces of armor, more than 2,000 horses and 25,000 animals. The children of the subjugated rulers were brought to Egypt to be educated there. If one of their fathers died, Egypt arranged for one of these children to follow suit. Despite several victories over vassals Mitannis, such as the little known Nahrin, the enemy was not defeated.

At first loot came, then more Syrian trade goods to Egypt. Finally, an increasing cultural influence asserted itself in the adoption of Syrian deities such as Reschef and Astarte , a cult that has spread especially since Amenhotep II . The three wives of Thutmose III. had Asian names and may have come from Syria. In the 51st year of rule, Thutmose made his son co-ruler. The ideological fight against the legacy of Hatshepsut had already begun a few years earlier. Their temples were systematically rebuilt, often the name of the pharaoh replaced that of the ruler. This policy of erasure from memory was also pursued by his son Amenophis.

The militias were ousted in favor of professional soldiers , and their influence grew compared to the class of civil servants who had been influential up until then. Under Amenophis II there were clashes with the great empire Mitanni on the upper Euphrates, Thutmose IV made peace. This was stabilized with the means of marriage policy.

Thutmose's son Amenophis II led a campaign as far as Qatna in northern Syria during his almost thirty-year reign , and the Prince of Kadesh swore an oath of allegiance, but the balance of power there remained uncertain. He brought with him as booty: 6,800 deben gold and 500,000 deben copper, which, assuming that one deben was equivalent to 91 g at that time, meant almost 700 kg gold or 55 t copper. In addition there were 550 prisoners, 210 horses and 300 chariots. In later campaigns the pharaoh came to Nubia and in his second Syria campaign to Megiddo, whose prince was imprisoned. Amenophis brought back as booty from this campaign: 127 princes from Retjenu, 179 brothers of the princes, 3600 Aper ( Apiru ?), 15020 Shasu- Bedouins, 36300 Hurrians and 15020 people from Nuḫašše . After this second Syrian campaign, Egypt and Mitanni made peace.

Thutmose IV married a daughter of the Mitanni king Artatama I named Mutemwia . The son from this marriage became the later Pharaoh Amenophis III. In doing so, he broke with the tradition that the king could only be the son of a royal Egyptian woman. He also identified with the sun god, so he was occasionally depicted as a falcon, the god's symbol.

Amenhotep III was comparatively peaceful for 38 years. The country prospered, but it is unknown whether this wealth also reached the poor in society. Relations with the Aegean were intensified, and names like Mycenae or Knossos appeared in hieroglyphics for the first time . To Babylon , Arzawan and Mitanni were regular diplomatic contacts in writing, the court of Amenhotep III. became a center of diplomacy. Above all , close relationships existed with the Mitanni king Tušratta , but the initially good relations with Babylon under Burna-buriaš II deteriorated . Due to the increased exchange, Egypt opened up to a previously unknown extent to the influences of the neighboring cultures, accepted some of their gods and them Pharaohs accepted them into the group of peoples for whom they were responsible instead of continuing to regard them as enemies. They became part of the creation of the sun god Re, while the other gods increasingly became aspects of the god. Overall, there was a tendency towards monotheism . While Memphis became the capital of most of the pharaohs of the 18th dynasty, their ancestral seat Thebes developed into a religious center.

The Pharaoh had a temple built for his personal worship in Nubia, and he was probably worshiped as a god in Egypt as well. At least from his 30th / 31st Year he was portrayed as the god Re in a royal boat. Amenhotep's wife Teje , who outlived him by a few years, was also deified. The Mitanni princess Taduhepa reached Egypt, but she was a widow when she arrived, so she married Amenhotep IV .

Overall, the administration, which, due to the numerous military campaigns, had long been dominated by the military, was increasingly led by bureaucrats under Thutmose IV . So fewer generals appeared in the administrative and court hierarchy, but increasingly “royal scribes”. In the Old and Middle Kingdom there was only one Tjati, while in the New Kingdom there was one of these highest officials each for the parts of the kingdom of Upper and Lower Egypt, who are also documented for the later period . He was the middleman between the Pharaoh and the officials and at the same time the supreme judicial authority and coordinator of the provinces run by Gaufürsten .

Religious Conflicts: Amun and Aton

Akhenaten and his family in worship of the sun god Aten

A religious conflict loomed in Egypt which fundamentally changed the country, even if the rule of a monotheistic god Aton lasted barely two decades.

Since the Amun priesthood in Thebes had already become too powerful, began under Amenophis III. a clear demarcation from the exclusive Amun cult. The king withdrew to the former royal seat of Memphis even more than his predecessors and emphasized other gods, such as B. the goddesses Hathor and Mut and the gods Sobek and Aton.

But his son and successor Amenhotep IV went much tougher from his fifth year of reign. What is certain is that he moved to today's Amarna in his newly founded capital Achet-Aton ("Horizon of Aton"), which was dedicated solely to his main god Aton. At first, however, he developed intensive construction activity in Karnak, the main center of the Amuncult, but the worship there was for the heavily modified sun god, the "living solar disk", Aten. Even his father appears in his later years on a statue as "dazzling Aten". But the son replaced the falcon-headed pharaoh, above whom the solar disk hovers through a solar disk from which rays emanate.

Bust of Nefertiti (“The beauty has come”).

His wife Nefertiti also played a prominent role: she was allowed to perform rituals that were previously reserved for the pharaohs. The couple slipped into the role of the mythical twin pair Schu and Tefnut, brought about by Atum , the original god . Shu was the ruler of the air, brother consort of Tefnut and father of Nut - goddess of heaven - and Geb - god of earth.

In the early 5th year of his reign, the couple broke with tradition. Amenhotep IV began to build a new capital for Aton and his children on undeveloped land, to which he moved three years later at the latest. He now called himself Akhenaten , "who acts for Aten" or the "creative manifestation of Aten". All construction work in Thebes was stopped, which in itself amounted to enormous economic damage. In founding the city, he followed the example of his father, who had also founded a new residence in Malkatta . In the end, however, he chose another location, 400 km north of the former capital Thebes, on a sandy area on the east bank of the Nile surrounded by rock formations. Between Memphis in the north and Thebes in the south, Akhenaten believed he recognized the hieroglyphic symbol for "horizon" (= Achet) with the mythological meaning of "beginning and end" in one of the rock formations there, when he was traveling downriver in a chariot. In the 9th year of his reign Akhenaten began to fight the other gods, he had their symbols removed. The state temples were closed.

Akhenaten was long considered peaceful, but to implement his program he had to fall back on the army, without which the abrupt changes would not have been implemented. In addition, in the 12th year he sent an army to Nubia to put down an uprising. But in that year the Hittites defeated the King of Mitanni, so that the balance of power, which had been stable for decades, fell apart, even if the Egyptian army tried to prevent the local rulers from changing sides through smaller undertakings. The Hittite king Šuppiluliuma I had greeted Akhenaten by letter on his accession to the throne. For the inauguration of the new capital Achet-Aton a Hittite delegation with presents had appeared, but a little later the Hittite king asked why his letters were not answered.

The situation in Syria became complicated with the Mitannis case. Abdi-Ashirta and his son and successor Aziru ruled over the kingdom of the Amurites on the upper Orontes for a long time . She and the Syrian prince Itakama von Kadesch changed sides, Aziru conquered Nij together with the Hittites and advanced against the city of Tunip . The city elders called Pharaoh for help. Also Rib-Hadda of Byblos asked Akhenaten repeatedly for help against the troops Azirus during its attack on Simyra but equally futile. More than 60 letters from the Rib-Addi asking for help have been found in Amarna.

Resistance rose in Palestine among the Apiru , who threatened Megiddo , Askalon and Gezer and ultimately brought them under their control. The calls for help from this region led to unsuccessful measures by the Pharaoh. During this time the rise of the officer Haremhab to later Pharaoh took place.

Family scene in the tomb of Huja with the four oldest daughters of Nefertiti

Nefertiti as the main wife of the Pharaoh became a kind of co-regent and at least endowed with the pharaonic symbols of power. Later she was even depicted in the rock tombs of Amarna together with Akhenaten several times in a way that researchers even assume a dominant co-reign of Nefertiti in the later reign of Akhenaten. She gave birth to six daughters, but not the later heir to the throne Tutankhamun . Akhenaten died in the 17th year of his reign; his wife may have died a few years earlier.

It is likely that the power elites and the temples were mainly affected by the religious struggles, and less the rest of the people. Even in Amarna there were votive offerings, stelae and wall paintings that name gods and goddesses who had specific tasks, such as Bes , who was responsible for childbirth, but also Thoth or local deities, yes, even Amun. The same applied to the administration. One of the two Tjati went to Amarna, but the second stayed in Memphis, the city that retained its importance up to the Ptolemies.

Tutankhamun's death mask

After the king's death, the new rulers tried to return to the old conditions and restore the power of the old gods. In fact, under Tutankhamun, who became Pharaoh four years after Akhenaten's death, and Eje II , some of the new influences, such as: B. in art, but the hatred of Akhenaten's sharp break with tradition was so strong that attempts were made to erase the memory of that time. The Pharaoh changed his maiden name from Tutanch aton ( living image of Aton ) to Tutanch amun ( living image of Amun or in honor of Amun ). In the second year of reign he gave up Akhenaten's capital and the court moved to Memphis.

However, the transition was slow. In Tutankhamun's tomb there are numerous objects on which the motif of the Amarna period , aton as a life-giving solar disk, can be seen. The throne chair that Tutankhamun used in his early reign points in the same direction. Tutankhamun died young. The computed tomography of 2005 showed a death aged 18 to 20 years.

After the Amarna period, Osiris was especially revered as the nocturnal manifestation of Re. The tombs were now designed like temples, the résumés on the walls largely gave way to depictions of the deceased worshiping Osiris or Re, scenes in which the deceased presented gifts to the Pharaoh disappear completely. The Pharaoh's position between the dead and the gods disappeared. Two centuries later Amun himself ruled over the country, he intervened through oracles. The treasurer Maya organized the destruction of the Aton temples and the restoration of ownership in favor of the Amun temples as well as the reconstruction of the workers' settlement of Deir el-Medina.

Conflict with Hittites, restoration of the rule of Amun

Amenhotep III established contacts with King Tarḫundaradu of Arzawa in Western Anatolia, who apparently began to conquer the Hittite Empire. But Šuppiluliuma I , the son of the Hittite king, prevailed against this coalition. The clashes between the great empires in Syria, in which Egypt under Thutmose III. and Mitanni played important roles. Šuppiluliuma I. took up the fight against Mitanni, which was allied with Egypt. He signed a treaty with Hajaša between Hatti and Mitanni , as well as with Ugarit , and he offered Babylon an alliance of marriage.

Tablet with the Treaty of Kadesh between Hittites and Egyptians

The throne of the pharaohs has now been taken over by a former general; at the same time the Egyptian rule in Syria was crushed by the Hittites. At that time, Egypt was busy with the Amarna Revolution under Akhenaten and therefore hardly intervened. The Hittites destroyed Qatna , whereupon Egyptian chariots advanced against Kadesh, while forces of the Mitanni Empire attacked the Hittites in northern Syria. Around the same time, the king of Mitanni was overthrown, his son fled to Šuppiluliuma and married one of his daughters. Now one Hittite army moved to Mitanni, another against the Egyptians. The Dahamunzu affair symbolized the equivalence of the Hittite empire with that of the Egyptians. The Pharaoh's widow wanted to marry one of the sons of Šuppiluliuma so that the two kingdoms would be united. However, this conquered Karkemiš and set his son Sarri-Kušuh as viceroy. After another Egyptian embassy in the following year, Šuppiluliuma sent his son Zannanza to Egypt, who died, however, whereupon the Hittites attacked Egyptian Syria. King Eje II, who was Pharaoh for about three years as the successor of Tutankhamun, protested his innocence, but it was only when epidemics weakened the Hittite Empire that their attacks subsided.

King Muwattalli II also came into conflict with Egypt and its pharaoh Ramses II. The battle of Kadesh in 1274 BC. Chr. Brought no decision in the permanent conflict. Muwattalli's brother Ḫattušili III. concluded a peace treaty in 1259 .

Haremhab, who already held a high office under Tutankhamun, was the last pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. He had many remnants of the Amarna culture destroyed. He may have signed a treaty with the Hittites, but his attempt to recapture Kadesh probably failed.

Internally, he legitimized his usurpation by the fact that the god Horus had chosen him. Amun chose him during the Opet festival by means of an oracle in order to crown him later. Such a recourse to an amunoracle had already legitimized Hatshepsut. Haremhab personally chose his successor with Paramessu, who comes from Avaris, raised him to Tjati and gave him military rank. Paramessu succeeded Haremhab on the throne after his death and took the name Ramses.

Migration of the sea, end of the Hittite empire, the Amun priesthood became independent

Relief of King Set I in front of the god Amun-Re in the Pharaoh's mortuary temple in Abydos

When Ramses I came to power , the 19th dynasty was founded, even if he ruled for barely a year and the kings probably viewed Haremhab as the founder of the new dynasty. Ramses' son Seti I led a campaign to Syria and later also to Libya in his first year of reign. From his term of office Sethos left buildings almost everywhere in the country, restored the depictions of Amun that Akhenaten had destroyed and had works from the pre-Amarna period restored. In Abydos, archaeologists found the Osireion , which was used to store his corpse until his burial in 1279 BC. Had served. A list of kings was found there that shows that the Amarna period should be erased from memory: on Amenhotep III. follows Haremhab, whose reign the now missing years were simply added.

The necessary gold and workers were obtained as usual through war campaigns in Nubia, the raw materials came from there and from the Sinai Peninsula. In his first year, Seti led a small campaign against the Shasu in southern Palestine, but he soon pushed further north and occupied Kadesh. Amurru sided with the Egyptians, which led the Hittites to subdue the two vassal states again. Seti also deployed the army against the Libyans, who for the first time were penetrating the Nile Delta from the west, probably because of hunger.

Bust of Ramses II, granite, Egyptian Museum, Cairo

His son Ramses II ruled together with his father for some time. In order to document that the dynastic succession had to take place again via the biological children, he had his very young sons depicted in images as warriors who stood by their father. The potential heirs received the title of army leader from then on.

In the 4th year of his long reign he had to deal with the threat posed by the Hittites. Amurru again submitted to Egypt, but the following year Ramses crossed the border again. There it came to the battle of Kadesh . It is depicted on the walls of the temple complexes of Karnak, Luxor , the Ramesseum and other temples and was presented as a tremendous victory for propaganda purposes. But the clashes continued for years, and Kadesch and Amurru were finally lost. Nonetheless, the Pharaoh was deified by the 8th year of his rule at the latest, as evidenced by a colossal statue called "Ramses the God".

When the Hittite king Muršili III. was overthrown and banished, whereupon his opponent as Hattušili III. When Mursili became king, he tried to forge a plot with Babylonia, at whose court his sister lived. The plan failed and he was exiled to Alašija (Cyprus). From there he fled to the Egyptian part of Syria. Hattušili asked for his extradition, but this was refused. While the Hittite king was preparing for war against Egypt, his vassals were attacked by the growing Assyrians. So he had to negotiate with Ramses. A contract stipulated that Mursili would henceforth stay in Egypt, where he stayed for 20 years after his deposition. Although Ramses had to do without northern Syria, i.e. Amurru and Kadesh, trade across the Euphrates to the Black Sea, with Cyprus and the Aegean region flourished as it had since the days of Amenhotep III. no more. In the 34th year of his reign, the Pharaoh married a Hittite princess named Maathorneferure . She was his third main wife. Ramses probably had over 40 sons and an unknown number of daughters, for whom he had burial places set up in the Valley of the Kings. Like his father, he implemented an enormous building program - such as in Abu Simbel - but in contrast to the latter, he had a lot more time, because he ruled for 67 years. He made Avaris his great capital, which was named Piramesse , house of Ramses. This gave Ramses the means to secure the western border against the Libyans through a chain of fortresses.

The building activity of Ramses II reached its climax with the construction of the Ramesseum and the temple of Abu Simbel , which he built in honor of himself and not least for his wife Nefertari , to which a smaller temple is dedicated. Ramses died at the old age of 92 and was buried in the Valley of the Kings in grave KV7 .

Under Merenptah , the 13th son of Ramses II, revolts broke out in Palestine, which he put down. The stele of Merenptah mentions the conquest of Ashkelon , Gaza, Gezer and Yeno'am, towns that once the Hurrians were ( "Hurru"), but now part of Egypt were. The stele also mentions Israel for the first time not only as a country, but as a people. There is also a tradition of wheat being delivered to the Hittite people when a famine broke out in their country. In a second attack by the Libyans, which led to destruction in the western oases and Nubia, the intervention of the Merenptah was also successful.

The leader of the invaders was the Libyan king Mereye, who also led "peoples from the north", namely Hardana, Teresh, Lukka , Shekelesh and Ekwesh, who belong to the so-called sea ​​peoples who changed the political and ethnic situation in the entire eastern Mediterranean area considerably. They went ashore for the first time in Egypt, more precisely between the Kyrenaika and Mersa Matruh , and allied themselves with the Libyans, so that an army of 16,000 men was formed. Since they had brought their women and children, but also their property and cattle, they probably planned to settle in Egypt. Merenptah saw himself on behalf of Amun, who had given him the sword, with which he waged a kind of "holy war". Though thousands were killed in the battle that Pharaoh won, many were captured and resettled in the delta. Your offspring should become an important political factor.

After his death in the 9th year, Amenmesse ascended the throne. Amenmesse ruled the south of the country for just under three years, and with Seti II the son of Merenptah ascended the throne (at the same time). After the death of his rival, he had his cartouches filled with his own; the deceased was referred to in later texts only as "the enemy". But Sethos' reign only lasted six years, as did that of his son Siptah , who died in the sixth year of office and who was the son of a Syrian lover named Sutailja. For a time, the Syrian Bay was the real Gray Eminence in the country as Chancellor. Bay was executed in the fifth year of the Spitah's reign.

Tausret , wife of Seti and stepmother Spitah, now assumed the full title of pharaoh and ruled the country for two years until about 1186 BC. Chr.

The takeover of power by the new ruler Sethnacht (1186–1184 BC) is largely unclear ( 20th Dynasty ). Its origin is also unknown. The transition to the new dynasty must have taken place in the confusion of the throne after Queen Tausret. The only sources are a stele Sethnacht and the Harris I papyrus, written three decades later , which describe that massive pressure from outside led to a lawless time and the seizure of power by a Syrian. Similar to Haremhab, the Pharaoh saw himself called by the gods to drive out the enemies and restore order.

Ramses III. (1184–1153 BC) succeeded his father on the throne a little later. He was probably the last pharaoh to bring the Egyptian supremacy to bear. In his second and fifth years in office he was confronted with incursions by the Libyans as far as the central Nile Delta, who had allied themselves with the Mešweš and Seped. However, they were beaten.

Description of the victory over the sea ​​peoples in the mortuary temple of Ramses III.

The great migration in the eastern Mediterranean was far more dangerous. It set groups known as Sea Peoples in motion today. The attackers, who appear in the sources as Šikalayau, “live in ships”. A little later these sea peoples from Sicily , Sardinia , Etruria , but also men from Adana and Philistines found themselves in Mukiš , north of Ugarit and in numerous other places as far as Egypt. In contrast to the Hittite Empire, Egypt survived the migration of these peoples. In a sea battle in which they were lured into a trap in the Nile Delta, the Egyptians were victorious. Ramses was able to intercept the overland attack near Djahi in Palestine, which was perhaps in the Gaza Strip. A few years later, Libyans attacked the Nile Delta, but Ramses also repulsed them.

As Tjati during the reign of Ramses III. are Hori and Ta known Viceroy of Kush (ie, administrator of the Nubian provinces during the New Kingdom and in the first half of the Third Intermediate Period) was Hori III. Thebes was able to expand its special position in many ways. Their mayor was Paser.

Apart from the extensive donations in favor of the gods, domestic policy is only fragmentarily documented. His generosity secured Ramses the support of a powerful priesthood. Above all the temple districts in Karnak and Medinet Habu , in Heliopolis and Memphis were given consideration. According to the Harris I papyrus, which contains a list of royal gifts, the Temple of Amun in Karnak alone owned 86,486 people, 433 gardens , 83 transport ships, 46 shipyards, 65 towns and villages, nine of them in Palestine, 421,362 cattle, and at the end of his reign a land ownership of 864,168 Aruras , which with around 2500 km² corresponded to a tenth of the total arable land. Under the successors, the property of Amun-Re increased considerably through further grants, immunities and special foundations, so that towards the end of the 21st dynasty the god's domain was almost congruent with Upper Egypt. Already at the end of the reign of Ramses III. One third of the farmland of all Egypt belonged to the numerous temples, three quarters of which belonged to the Temple of Amun at Thebes. At that time, the high priest of Amun-Re was in fact ruler of Thebes, while the Pharaoh, who resided in Tanis or Memphis, was only nominally considered the king of Upper and Lower Egypt. Under these circumstances, regulated “state financing” was impossible. The monthly amounts of grain to which the workers in Deir el-Medina were entitled were delayed, and strikes broke out in the 29th year of the reign .

Conflicts over the throne, supply crisis, secession of the Amun priesthood

Head of the mummy of Ramses III.

Investigations on the body of Ramses III. found a 7 cm wide wound on the neck. The esophagus, windpipe and all blood vessels up to the seventh cervical vertebra were severed. During the embalming, a Horus amulet with a diameter of 15 mm was placed in the wound, which was supposed to help heal wounds.

Ramses IV had the conspirators punished. The Harris I papyrus mentions that at the end of the reign of his predecessor, nine cities from Canaan still belonged to the Theban Temple of Amun and that the construction of a temple in Gaza was planned. The mines in Sinai continued to be searched and the delivery routes in southern Canaan were continuously monitored. There is no evidence of military operations, but hieratic fragments of stelae have been found in Amara-West , which indicate possible military operations in the third year of Ramses IV's reign.

Under Ramses V. which was created Wilbour Papyrus . The two-part papyrus lists on the one hand over 2,800 parcels of land between today's al-Minya and Madinat al-Fayyum , mainly belonging to temples, and on the other hand the crown land. Each section is divided into five subsections, with the first three assigned to the Theban, Heliopolitical and Memphite temples, the fourth smaller temples and the fifth secular, mostly royal owners. Ramses VI. installed his daughter Isis in Thebes in the presence of his mother Isis-Tahabasillat and Tjati Nehi as the consort of Amun. He was the last pharaoh to be mentioned in Palestine.

Under Ramses VII , grain prices rose dramatically, as documents from the workers' settlement of Deir el-Medina show. As a result of the rise in prices, the necropolis was looted with the help of local authorities. Already under Ramses III. organized workers' strikes took place for the first time. This crisis intensified under Ramses IX. Incursions from Libyans to Thebes, the corruption of the civil servants, at their head the mayor of Westteben Pawera, as well as the plundering of royal and private graves by organized gangs are all signs of crisis. Several papyri, including the Papyrus Abbott, report on the work of the investigative commission and the grave robbery trials . The perpetrators were impaled, but there was further looting.

A foreign policy was hardly possible any more, the unity of the country finally collapsed. Ramses XI. ruled the north from his capital Pi-Ramesse, in the south the high priest of Amun Amenhotep dominated (he represented himself on two reliefs as large as Pharaoh Ramses IX.) At the end of the 20th dynasty, conditions similar to civil war prevailed in Upper Egypt

Panehsi , the viceroy of Nubia, took possession of the granaries of Thebes, which brought him into open conflict with the high priest of Amun. He called the Pharaoh for help, which caused Panehsi to move north. However, he was from an army of Ramses XI. defeated. Probably the victor of this battle, General Pianch , took over the office of high priest. Already Ramsesnacht had built up an empire through family relationships and the office, which gradually eluded the Pharaoh, was bequeathed to his sons. From the 19th year of the rule of Ramses XI. (1099-1069 BC) Pianch's son-in-law Herihor took over the government in Thebes. Herihor ruled over southern Egypt independently of the Pharaoh, as high priest of Amun and as viceroy of Kush. As Ramses XI. died, he claimed the title of ruler. It is unclear whether Smendes I , who also went into business for himself in Lower Egypt (21st Dynasty), was Herihor's son. Since the forces were no longer sufficient for the usual raids of looting, robbery and trade to Nubia, an era of around a century began, in which gold was used from the ancestors in the Valley of the Kings. With a few exceptions, including the graves of the Amarna kings Akhenaten and Tutankhamun, almost all of the graves were plundered.

Third intermediate time

Approximate spheres of power of the partial kingdoms

Once again, different royal houses emerged, residing in the cities of Memphis, Tanis, Bubastis, Herakleopolis, Hermopolis and Leontopolis . In addition, there was the spread of Nubian rule from the south, where the kingdom of Cush was established alongside the Theban priesthood . The interim period ended with the beginning of Nubian rule. But this time the changes were more fundamental, both organizationally and socially and culturally. Nevertheless, the phase was by no means, as the name might suggest, the exceptional situation for peaceful pharaonic rule. It was even comparatively peaceful, the changes it brought about were often long-lasting. At the same time, the source situation is much less favorable. No list of kings includes the kings of the 21st to 25th dynasties. Manetho, whose sources belong more to the delta region, provides a highly incomplete picture, the chronology can only be secured to some extent from scattered finds and a comparison with Middle Eastern sources; It looks even worse for economic history, since the corresponding papyri from the administration are extremely rare.

The Theban priesthood

His son-in-law Herihor succeeded Pianch, who did not succeed in retaking Nubia, which also meant that access to the funds there was lost. This appeared between the 12th and 19th year of Ramses' XI. in inscriptions. He not only rose to the position of Viceroy of Nubia, but also held the office of Tjati. His position of power is shown in the fact that he had his name written in a cartouche, such as on the temple walls of the Chons Temple in Karnak, which he had built himself. It is possible that his wife Nodjmet was a sister of Ramses XI, which could explain his rise to the ruling family through marriage.

His successor Pinudjem I , Amun priest under Smendes I, made a name for himself by restoring royal mummies on which his name appears. His greatest forgery, however, is his signature on the colossal seated statue of Ramses II in the forecourt of the Temple of Karnak. Pinodjem was with Henuttaui , a daughter of Ramses XI. married. Psusennes I , the third king of the 21st Dynasty, was one of his sons, with which the family temporarily dominated Upper and Lower Egypt. Mencheperre and Masaharta, two other sons, succeeded him in the priesthood.

Libyan rule

The 21st dynasty is considered the Libyan dynasty. Although only the 22nd dynasty is referred to as the "Libyan" in the older literature , sources testify that as early as the 21st dynasty, both the lower Egyptian royal house and the high priests and military leaders in Thebes must be (at least partially) of Libyan descent.

In contrast to the Cushites, the Libyan rulers did not adapt to the Egyptian culture, which is why they are referred to as "foreign rulers" in Egyptology. Their ethnic basis was the Meshvesh or Ma as well as the Libu, which probably had their focus in Cyrenaica. As shepherds, they had already threatened the New Kingdom, but there are also indications of permanent settlements in their homeland. Their leaders wore a feather in their hair; long lines of ancestors, which can be interpreted as symbols of illiterate peoples, were of great importance to them. The contrast to the rural, literary, peasant Egyptians could not be greater. Egyptian centralism also did not fit in with their family-oriented form of rule, stabilized by marriage alliances, in which one of them was recognized as the overlord but faced a number of more or less independent local rulers. The Meshwesch, who probably infiltrated earlier, held the better land around Mendes , Bubastis and Tanis, the Libu, who came later, around Imau on the western edge of their core settlement area in the western Nile Delta. The Mahasun, who were also Libyan, lived south of them. The opposition of the Egyptians in Thebes to the Libyans was so strong that they continued to date after them even after the expulsion of the Kushite monarchs. They held out until the time of Psammetich I (664-610).

Mask of the Libyan general Wendjebauendjed

Nevertheless, the Libyans found the stately recourse to ancient Egyptian traditions at least useful. But their notion that several kings could coexist contradicted these traditions. In addition, non-royal persons now performed actions that were previously reserved for the Pharaoh. A Libyan chief turns his gifts directly to a god. Even temple donations, until then only made by the Pharaoh, could now be handed over by any wealthy person. The king was a kind of feudal overlord, in whose tomb complex even people who did not belong to the dynasty could get a burial chamber, such as a general named Wendjebauendjed in the tomb complex Psusennes I.

The accession of Smendes I to the throne around 1069 BC BC can be seen as the beginning of the 21st dynasty. It is possible that he also gained his legitimacy by marrying one of the daughters of Ramses XI. attained. He moved his residence to Tanis. But the king resided (also) in Memphis. At its core, a theocracy had arisen by now at the latest , Amun issued instructions to the pharaohs via oracles.

Under Smendes, who ruled in Tanis, Upper Egypt was politically and economically almost independent and was administered by the high priests of Amun. However, the pharaoh was recognized as the ruler, as evidenced by the inscription on a stele in the quarries of Dibabieh.

Pinudjem I became high priest of Amun in Thebes around the time of Semendes' accession to the throne and was perhaps his nephew. The relations between Tanis and Thebes remained friendly and were closely related in terms of family ties and were further strengthened by marriages. The most famous king of this dynasty is Psusennes I (1039–991 BC), whose gold mask is in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

It was not until Siamun (978–959 BC) that the title “Pharaoh” was adopted as the title of king. The Palestine campaign noted in the Old Testament , which was associated with Siamun, could now be assigned to Scheschonq I. The place Gezer, which he destroyed, also appeared in his list of place names. The Old Testament text on this destruction does not contain the name of a pharaoh and is therefore classified as a "post-processed folk tradition". This also includes the mention of “Solomon's rebuilding of Gezer”, a later addition, and the report that “Siamun's daughter became Solomon's wife”. Certainly a pharaoh destroyed Gezer and married his daughter to King Solomon. A possible connection, however, can only be drawn to Scheschonq I, the 926 BC. BC as the first pharaoh again carried out a Palestine campaign. Against the rule of the Amun priests in Thebes, a formal border was established at Teudjoi (el-Hiba), south of the entrance to the Fayyum.

The 22nd dynasty that Sheschonq I (945–924 BC) founded is often referred to as the Bubastid dynasty . Manetho gives the royal lineage with the city of Bubastis in the eastern Nile Delta. Its founder was a Libyan. Although these had been defeated again and again by the pharaohs, more and more Libyans came to the Nile Delta. They may even make up the majority of the army. He himself was a nephew of the Tanite Osorkon the Elder; he married his son Osorkon (I) to Maatkara, a daughter of the last pharaoh of the 21st dynasty, Psusennes II. Through clever family policy, he managed to unite the empire under his power. He put family members such as his sons and his brother in high offices, etc. a. to the priesthood in Thebes. He conquered in a campaign around 925 BC. Parts of the Kingdom of Judah that paid him tribute, but that ended his offensive. After all, traditional trade contacts with Byblos were resumed.

For the first four years, Scheschonq was only recognized as a pharaoh in Lower Egypt. In Upper Egypt he still carried the title "Prince of Meshvesh" at this time, before he is mentioned as Pharaoh in Thebes in the fifth year. The main focuses of his government were the internal consolidation of Egypt, the campaign to Palestine, Gaza and Megiddo, and construction, especially in Karnak. His son Iuput became high priest in Thebes, magnates were bound to the ruling house through marriages with princesses. Sheschonq strengthened his power by handing over the office of high priest to his second son Jupet , and the offices of 2nd, 3rd and 4th high priests were also filled with confidants. The elder son Namilt (I.) became governor in Herakleopolis.

Scheschonq's successors could not prevent the high priestly offices and those of the administration from becoming hereditary again, so that power was again subject to strong fragmentation. The system of donations to the temples continued. An inscription on the temple of Bubastis testifies to the rich donations by Osorkon I, amounting to 27,000 kg of gold and 180,000 kg of silver to the temples. Osorkon II also occupied high positions with his sons to consolidate his power, but with the appointment of Harsiese , whether by Osorkon himself or by his father Takelot I , the rule was broken that no one should become high priest, including his father was already high priest. Harsiese actually seized power in the south. After his death, Takelot appointed his son Namilt (II) , high priest and general in Herakleopolis, as his successor.

853 BC The Assyrians threatened under Shalmaneser III. the northeast, so that King Osorkon II felt compelled to enter into a brotherhood in arms with Byblos in order to repel the Assyrian army. This was achieved by the allies in the Battle of Quarqar on the Orontes .

Revolt of the Theban priesthood, kingdoms of Bubastis, Leontopolis, Sais

Under Takelot II it came in 839 BC. To a revolt of the Theban priesthood, which was suppressed by him. But a few years later the uprising flared up again, and it lasted around ten years. After his death, the sons fought for the throne. The younger declared himself king. Scheschonq III. (825–773 BC) ruled for more than half a century. His older brother Osorkon IV was mentioned 20 years later as the high priest of Thebes.

During the reign of Scheschonq III. Prince Petubastis I (818–793 BC) founded the 23rd dynasty in the middle Nile Delta , which resided in Leontopolis . The legitimation of the new dynasty can be seen in the fact that the Amun priests in Thebes accepted two sons of this dynasty into their service. In addition, the 23rd dynasty was probably closely related to the 22nd dynasty. Around 730 BC There were two kings in the Delta, in Bubastis and Leontopolis, one in Hermopolis, then others in Herakleopolis in Upper Egypt, plus a "Prince Regent" and other local rulers, as well as the ruler of Sais , Tefnachte .

The 24th Tefnachtes dynasty (727–720 BC) also ruled the Nile Delta at the same time as the 22nd and 23rd dynasties. He ruled the western delta and Memphis. He succeeded in making an alliance with the other dynasties against the Nubians advancing in the south. However, he lost around 727 BC. At Herakleopolis of the armed forces of the Nubians under Pianchi .

Nubian rule, subjugation of the other dynasties, Assyrians

The cult of Amun had also established itself in Nubia during the New Kingdom and produced a powerful priesthood. Just like their counterpart in Thebes, the priests began to write their names in cartouches. Thus a kingdom called Napata came into being under the 25th Dynasty . The center of the Amun cult in Nubia was the "pure mountain", the Jabal Barkal . Downstream from the 4th cataract a center of power developed, the first rulers of which were buried in el-Kurru . Remains of a defensive wall were also found, so that the place may also have been the residence. While the early graves were strongly Nubian, the older ones are characterized by Egyptian influences. At the end of the 8th century, however, the focus shifted to Napata, which became the capital of the Empire of Kush in the middle of the century. This city was already the center of the Amuncult in Nubia in the New Kingdom. The dominant group in this empire was therefore strongly oriented towards Egypt, to which from 750 BC. Direct contacts existed again.

Situla with the names of King Kashta and his daughter Amenirdis

The Nubian Amun priest Pije or Pianchi, son of Kashta , swung himself by marrying the daughter of the 7th king of Napata around 748 BC. BC himself to become ruler and thus founded the 25th dynasty. In view of the troubled conditions in Upper and Lower Egypt, he and his armed forces moved north in his 21st year of reign to restore the power of Amun. When he arrived in Thebes, he drew the local priesthood on his side by having the Divine Worshiper of Amun Schepenupet I adopt his sister Amenirdis as his successor. Finally he defeated the alliance of the other dynasties at Herakleopolis. Although Memphis had resisted, they were allowed to continue to administer their previous territories as governors. The Pharaoh of Egypt and Nubia moved south again, where he was buried in el-Kurru. Despite the orientation towards Egypt, Nubian traditions also remained strong. Near his grave pyramid, the king's favorite horses were standing in their own shaft graves with their heads facing south.

The seal impressions of Shabaka and the Assyrian King Sennacherib , found in Niniveh on a clay bull

The 25th Dynasty ruled the empire (mainly Upper Egypt) from Napata. Schabaka , Pianchi's brother, ruled for 14 years after his death. In his second year (716 BC) he conquered Egypt.

Tanotamun's burial chamber in el-Kurru

The new rulers tied increasingly to older traditions, especially those of the Old Kingdom. This was particularly true of Memphis, but also of the burial place in Nubia, where pyramids were built and where painters took their bearings from the works of the Old Kingdom, especially Saqqara and Abusir. In addition, they named themselves after earlier pharaohs and the inscription language was similar to the Egyptian of the Old Kingdom. The Apis cult was also continued in Memphis under all the changing rulers.

In Thebes, the office of the wife of God of Amun was occupied by the princesses of the dynasty, who practically became rulers of Upper Egypt. The successor was chosen from the dynasty, so that there could not be any local heredity. Although the office of Tjati was retained, it lost considerable parts of its power. Amun's high priest again became one of the ruler's sons. But most of these officials were replaced by other family members after a few years.

The sons Pijes Schebitko and Taharqa (690–664 BC) followed Schabaka . During his reign there were repeated conflicts with Assyria , who expanded its supremacy in the Middle East and subjugated Babylon. Apparently he recaptured Memphis and the Delta, killing Necho I, loyal to the Assyrian Empire . The other princes submitted to 674 BC. Chr.

Now the Assyrian king Asarhaddon invaded Egypt, conquered Memphis and took almost the entire royal family prisoner. Taharqa himself managed to escape south, though his wife and son were captured by the Assyrians. The Assyrians conquered Thebes. Until the reconquest by Psammetich I. 655 BC The delta remained under their rule, the princes there had to swear to prevent the conquest of the north. The son of Nechos, the same Psammetich, was brought to the Assyrian capital, Nineveh . There he was supposed to learn Assyrian customs before returning as lord of Athribis . In the meantime there were new Kushitic plans of conquest, so that Asarhaddon's son Ashurbanipal 667 BC. Chr. Invaded again. Nekau von Sais, the later Necho I, who had stayed away from the uprising, now benefited from it and became governor of Memphis. Taharqa died in 664 BC In Nubia.

Upper Egypt was in fact ruled by the still incumbent mayor of Thebes Montuemhat and the wife of God Schepenupet II , while Taharqa's successor Tanotamun continued until 656 BC. Was formally recognized. Although he succeeded in retaking Egypt as far as Memphis, the Assyrians struck back shortly afterwards under Assurbanipal. They penetrated as far as the Nubian border and devastated during this campaign in 652 BC. Thebes heavy.

Late period

The transition from Nubian to Saïtic rule is generally seen as the beginning of the Late Period . The later period also includes the periods of Achaemenid foreign rule and ends with the Macedonian occupation of the country under Alexander the Great .

Assyrians and strings

Expansion of the Assyrian Empire in the 9th and 7th centuries BC Chr.

The 26th Dynasty is sometimes referred to as the "Egyptian Restoration" period. The new dynasty is also known as the Saïtendynasty after the name of its capital, Sais . Its founder Psammetich I , who from 664 to 610 BC Ruled, was installed as king by the Assyrians. To fulfill his task of maintaining peace, he raised an army made up not only of Egyptians, but also of mercenaries from the eastern Mediterranean. Most of them were Greeks and Carians from Asia Minor.

When the Assyrian Empire was weakened by rebellions in Babylon, Psammetich used 653 BC. The opportunity to restore independence. In 627 he was able to fend off an attempt by the growing New Babylonian Empire to bring Egypt under its control.

During his long reign, Egypt benefited from an economic opening to the outside world. Culture and art experienced a renewed upswing. Psammetich received support from Gyges of Lydia , Carian and Ionic mercenaries supported him. Around 660 he ruled the delta, around 656 BC. The Assyrian rule ended. In Thebes he succeeded in raising his daughter Nitokris I to be the wife of God of Amun , with which he also placed Middle Egypt under the rule of his dynasty. He had Greek, Carian but also Jewish, Phoenician and perhaps Shasu troops. The Greeks became so numerous that there was even animosity that forced Psammetich's son and successor Necho II to withdraw them temporarily. Under his successor Apries (589-570 BC) there was even a revolt of the Greek mercenaries on Elephantine.

Assyria, who went on the defensive against Babylon from 626, now allied itself with Egypt, whose troops 616 BC. As a result, fought in regions in which soldiers from this country had never stood before. When Assyria and Nineveh were destroyed, from 605 Egypt stood alone against an expansive enemy, the New Babylonian Empire.

Relief with Necho II (right) and the cow goddess Hathor, who wears horns and the sun disk as headdress, 14.5 × 27.2 × 3.5 cm, Walters Art Museum , Baltimore

Necho II (610-595 BC) was the first pharaoh to build a naval force. Since the Egyptians had comparatively little nautical experience, he recruited the crews mainly from Greeks and Carians. He also began the project of a canal between the Red Sea and the Pelusian arm of the Nile, indicating a resurgence of the Red Sea trade. Excavations at Tell Defenna on the northeastern edge of the delta showed that the Greeks, who called the port city of Daphnae , lived in a citadel and also played an important role in naval warfare. In this respect, the canal could also have served to bring light warships from the Red to the Mediterranean, and vice versa.

Attempts Nechos to expand his territory to include the Syrian provinces of the New Babylonian Empire failed, although he was in 609 BC. BC subjugated the king of Judah . The army also moved as far as the Euphrates. There she suffered a catastrophic defeat at Karkemiš in 605 . She had to withdraw to the Egyptian border.

Victory stele of Psammetich II from about 592 BC In Kalabsha . It tells of the conquest of the Cushite Napata and the victory over King Aspelta .

Psammetich II. (594–589 BC) further armed the army and fleet. 592 BC He led a campaign against Nubia, where he penetrated at least up to the 3rd cataract. His army consisted for the most part of Greek mercenaries who were led by a general. The local soldiers were commanded by Amasis . The aim of this campaign was to weaken Nubia so much that it would no longer be able to attack Egypt. Psammetich II achieved this goal by looting and destroying Nubian cities. At the same time he had all the names of pharaohs of the Nubian 25th dynasty, as well as the name of his father Necho II, erased in his sphere of influence. The southern border of the empire was set under him on the 1st cataract. In the 4th year of his reign, the Pharaoh also moved east, where he tried to stir up an uprising against the Babylonian king.

Apries (589-570 BC), the grandson of Nechos II, led border battles in Palestine against Babylon, the Phoenicians and against the Greek Cyrene in Libya. Although he was able to interrupt the siege of Jerusalem with his army - the Babylonians withdrew temporarily - but ultimately the Babylonians stormed the city and took King Zedekiah and his people into captivity for decades .

After a heavy defeat against Cyrene, local soldiers rebelled, who were to be put down by the general Amasis. After the return of Pharaoh Apries to the Nile Delta, the revolt escalated into an uprising against Greek supremacy. The uprising was now directed by Amasis himself and ended with Apries' fall and his escape. The victorious general ascended the throne. Apries was killed three years later trying to regain power.

Under Pharaoh Amasis (570-526 BC) or Ahmose II, the Greek influence increased further. But at first he was able to repel an attack by the Babylonians, and Apries was killed the next year. The city of Naukratis , founded around 630 BC. By Greek immigrants from Miletus , received a special status as a kind of free trade area in which all trade between Greece and Egypt had to take place. Amasis also allowed the Greeks to build sanctuaries.

Despite adhering to Egyptian tradition, the country was also subject to great changes. So Thebes lost its importance as a cultural and administrative center to Saïs . Furthermore, all rulers of the 26th dynasty are strongly influenced by the Greek city-states, even if Pharaoh Apries tried to break away from the Greeks, who dominated the army. Amasis conquered Cyprus in the first decade of his rule and formed an alliance with Cyrene that his predecessor had fought. In addition, he married a Cyrenian princess. This alliance was still intact when 525 BC. The Persians attacked Egypt.

In addition, his reign was remembered as a period of growing prosperity. Herodotus said that it was narrated that never before had such wealth been in Egypt and that there were 20,000 cities in the kingdom. In many cases the traders were again Greeks. The best-documented case is Naukratis not far from the capital of Sais. Founded by miles in the middle or end of the 7th century, settlers from other Greek cities soon came there as well. From 570 B.C. All Greek trade was concentrated here.

First Persian rule, uprisings

Expansion of the Persian Empire before 490 BC Chr.

For the first time the great powers of the Eastern Mediterranean, Egypt, Babylon and Lydia , plus Sparta , came together in a coalition against a common enemy. This enemy, the Persians, came into possession of the capital of the Medes in 550/549 . In 547 their king Kūruš ( Cyrus II ) conquered eastern Asia Minor, then he defeated the Lydian king Kroisos, who was allied with Egypt, in western Asia Minor, and in 541 he annexed his capital Sardis and his empire, which reached as far as the Greek cities on the Aegean coast. In 539 Babylon fell together with Palestine and Syria.

Half a year after Psammetich III ascended the throne . it came 525 BC Against the Persian attackers at the battle of Pelusion . Psammetich's army was defeated. The Pharaoh was initially treated with honor by the Persian King Cambyses II , but executed after an attempted rebellion. The 26th dynasty ended with him.

According to Herodotus, Cambyses, the son and successor of Cyrus, conquered Egypt and, according to the context, also Cyprus. At least some of the Cypriots had already supported Cyrus in the fight against Lydia, then against Babylon and finally against Egypt. After conquering Lower Egypt, Cambyses and his army moved further west. He stayed until 522 BC. In Egypt.

Statue of the Udjahorresnet in the Museo Gregoriano Egizio, Rome

The image of the ruler is downright negative in the Greek sources, while the only Egyptian source shows that he tried to behave like a pharaoh. This source is the statue of Udjahorresnet , who was buried in Abusir, where his huge shaft grave was found. Udjahorresnet's statue bears his curriculum vitae. He presents himself as a loyal subordinate of the Persian kings Cambyses II., And Darius I recognize. Cambyses assumed the role of pharaoh, then worked with and promoted local administrators, and finally he showed his deep respect for the Egyptian religion .

Statue of Darius I made in Egypt , which was initially placed in Pithom and at an unknown time came to Susa , where it was discovered in 1972

Under Darius I, riots broke out in Egypt, sparked by a man named Petubastis. The satrap Aryandes put down the uprising until 519/18. He too kept the laws of the Pharaonic era and the cultural and religious traditions. According to Herodotus, Aryandes launched a campaign against Cyrene. It is unclear whether it was a question of the suppression of an insurrection or a conquest. According to Herodotus, Aryandes is said to have fallen out of favor with the Great King when he had his own silver coins minted based on his model.

Dareios apparently had lists of the priests presented for approval, as can be seen from letters that the satrap Pherendates I († 465 BC) left on Elephantine. Under him, the canal begun under Necho II between about 510 and 497 BC became. Completed, temples restored and new ones built, such as the temple of Amun by Hibis in the Kharga oasis. Overall, the Persians left the country as much as possible in the state they had found and only changed what was necessary to integrate it into their vast empire that reached as far as India. This included the appointment of a satrap , who was a member of the highest nobility and who brought inspectors and informers. Administration was carried out by a law firm. Since their administrative language was Aramaic , it required a host of translators. Hardly any changes were made below these top positions, so that the Egyptian administrators easily fitted into the Persian system, which was only at the top. In addition, the legal system remained Egyptian. On the other hand, there were Persian troops in the country, officials were exchanged if the administration felt it necessary, and Egypt had to assume the same role as the other satrapies of the empire. The Egyptians helped in the attack on the Greek Miletus, with the 494 BC. The Greek uprising in western Asia Minor collapsed.

When the Persians suffered a heavy defeat against the Athenians in the Battle of Marathon 490 , the Egyptians rose. Xerxes I , who after the death of Darius in 486 BC Chr. Became the new Persian king, appointed his brother Achaimenes as satrap of Egypt . This suppressed the uprising and ruled the country with great severity.

When during the Persian throne turmoil in 465 BC Xerxes I was murdered, there was another uprising under the Libyan prince Inaros II of Heliopolis, a son of Psammetich IV, and Amyrtaios of Sais. Achaimenes, satrap and prince of the Persian Achaemenid house, arrived with his entire army in Papremis near today's Port Said during a battle in 463 BC. Chr. Killed. Inaros was born in 454 BC. Executed after the suppression of the rebellion.

Renewed independence

Under Artaxerxes I , Egypt was relatively calm. But during the reign of the succeeding King Dareios II , the fighting flared up again, supported by Greek mercenary armies. The starting point was again the city of Sais. Egypt said after Darius' death in 404 BC. From the Persian empire. Artaxerxes II was nevertheless recognized as the Egyptian ruler in Upper Egypt for two years.

The only king of the 28th dynasty was probably the grandson of the insurgent Amyrtaios of Sais of the same name. Amyrtaios said in 404 BC From the Persian empire and initially only ruled in Lower Egypt. In Upper Egypt it was not recognized until four years later. He may have died in 399 BC. A violent death. Tamos, an insurgent Persian admiral of Egyptian origin, sat down in 400 BC. With his fleet to Egypt, but he was murdered by an Egyptian ruler, probably Amyrtaios.

Nepherites I came to power through the disempowerment and execution of Amyrtaios ( 29th Dynasty ). Under him the capital was moved from Sais to Mendes. King Hakor (393-380 BC) managed to conclude an alliance treaty with the Greeks against the Persians, who tried again to penetrate into Egypt. He was able to secure the borders with his sea and land forces. When he died, Nepherites II followed for four months as the last pharaoh of the 29th dynasty.

Nectanebo I (380–362 BC) from Sebennytos came from a military family. He replaced Nepherites II and seized power ( 30th Dynasty ). During his reign, the army was rearmed to keep the Persians out of Egypt. His son Tachos (Teos), who was raised to co-regent , moved after the death of his father in 359 BC. BC to Phenicia to attack the Persian King Artaxerxes II in an alliance with the Greeks . Agesilaos led the Greek mercenaries, the Athenian Chabrias the fleet. Teos took over the command.

His brother, whom he had installed as governor in Egypt, used the time of Tacho's absence and usurped the throne for his son Nectanebos II with the support of the priesthood. The Spartan decided after a letter from his homeland to change the fronts with the mercenaries, although the Athenian had still tried to keep him on the side of the previous pharaoh, as Plutarch (Life of Agesilaos, 36-39) reports.

Head of Nektqanebo II, Grauwacke, Musée des Beaux-Arts , Lyon

The last pharaohs leaned ideologically to the last Golden Age, to that of the 26th Dynasty, as can be seen from the names of Horus and Nebtin . They also continued work on the temples, such as in Mendes, Karnak or Sakkara. Above all, Nectanebo II played a role in the cult of Apis, but also built in Sais, Philae , Karnak and Hermopolis. He attributed his successes to Neith , goddess of Sais. According to this, wealth was a gift from the goddess and it was his job to preserve what had been created by his predecessors.

It was not until 374/373 BC. The Persians made a first attempt to conquer Egypt. Artaxerxes III. made no fewer than three attempts to conquer the country, because it played a dangerous role for Persia in the uprisings in the empire and in the fight with the Greeks. In these battles, Greek mercenaries, who Egypt used for themselves, played an increasingly important role. 361/360 there were 10,000 mercenaries on the Egyptian side when Artaxerxes III. attacked the country in 343/342, Nektanebo's 20,000 men were available, while the militias repeatedly faced heavy fighting, such as against Artaxerxes 374/373 and in the civil war in 360 BC. BC, even if they were defeated here against the Greeks. Both groups tended to take on the role of kingmaker. Spartans and Phoenicians also played an important role, as did Libyans, of whom Nectanebos could muster 20,000. In addition, each of the seven mouths of the Nile was secured by a massively fortified city. The weak point of the defense was therefore not the army or the fleet, not the fortress garrisons, but the head of the army, the pharaoh and his generals.

Second Persian rule

The second Persian era ( 31st Dynasty ) lasted only from 341 to 332 BC. Artaxerxes III. should have ruled with a hard hand. The great wave of destruction that is attributed to him, with the destruction of entire cities and temples as well as the looting of many sanctuaries, but probably never took place. The killing of the Apis bull cannot be proven either. Artaxerxes was born in 338 BC. Poisoned. His successor Arses also succumbed in 336 BC. A poison attack.

There was an uprising against the Persians under Chabbash . He probably ruled from 338 to 336 BC. BC as Pharaoh and at times dominated considerable parts of the country.

The Persians were only able to restore their rule for a few years. Dareios III. had to be 333 BC In the battle of Issus defeated the advancing Macedonian army under Alexander the great. Since the satrap of Egypt, Sabakes , had died in the battle and had brought almost the entire Persian occupation troops with him from Egypt, Alexander was able to succeed in 332 BC. Take the country without a fight. But before that, the Macedonian mercenary Amyntas had arrived in Egypt and claimed governorship in the name of the great Persian king. His army plundered up the Nile from Pelusium . At Memphis, the satrap Mazakes put him to fight and killed him and most of his mercenaries. Mazakes handed over the land and the state treasure to Alexander without a fight. He himself switched to the following of the Macedonians, who appointed Cleomenes of Naukratis to be his administrator in Egypt.

Alexander Empire, reign of the Ptolemies (332–30 BC)

Alexander the Great (332/331 BC), succession plan

The Diadochian Empire around 300 BC Chr.

After Alexander the Great at Issus (333 BC) the Persian King Dareios III. defeated, he turned south. After a two-month siege, he captured Gaza and then moved on to Egypt to take Pelusium without a fight. From there he moved on towards Heliopolis and Memphis. The population received the Macedonians in a friendly manner, presumably believing that the Persians would be driven out, but not that the Macedonians would take their place. The Persian satrap Mazakes handed over the rule of Egypt before Memphis, with 8000 talents and the inventory of the royal residence. A short time later Alexander was probably crowned Pharaoh by the high priests of Ptah in Memphis according to the Egyptian rite and took the name "the beloved of Re, the chosen of Amun". He expressed his Egyptian-friendly sentiment through a “splendid sacrifice” for Apis, the sacred bull of Memphis, in order to stand out from Cambyses, who is said to have rebelled against Apis, and from the Persians as a whole.

The founding of the port city of Alexandria in the western Nile Delta “at the beginning of 331 BC. Chr. “Took place partially according to plans of the king and Pharaoh. He had designed Alexandria as a Greek city with a democratic design. At his instigation, the temples, destroyed by the Persians, were rebuilt and restored. The inhabitants of Alexandria probably established a cult of the founder-hero ( héros ktístes ), yes of the founder-god ( théos ktístes ), while the king was still alive . Since Alexander withdrew with his army relatively quickly, he appointed a satrap like the Persians. The banker Cleomenes of Naukratis was the first in this office, he was responsible for collecting the taxes, and above all enriching himself. Alexander made Peukestas , his bodyguard, together with Balakros the commander (strategos) of the troops left behind in Egypt. It is said to have been subordinate to 4,000 men.

Empire of Alexander the Great when he died in 323 BC. Chr.

Alexander, who died on June 10, 323 BC. Chr. Died in Babylon, had given his signet ring to Perdiccas before his death and thus given him "certain regulatory functions" "in the time immediately after the death of the king". Some, like Perdiccas, advocated an entire empire under a governor as guardian for the heirs, others, like Ptolemy , for appointing the deceased's leading comrades-in-arms to a body in which all important decisions should be made.

Perdiccas could not decide which general got control of which satrapy. He had to consult with the Macedonian nobles. In the " Imperial Order of Babylon " in 323 the satrapies were given to the individual generals, with Ptolemy receiving Egypt. Philippos Arrhidaios, who later became King Philip III. of Macedonia and Alexander's half-brother, and the expected son of Alexander's pregnant Bactrian wife, Roxane , were elected kings. Perdiccas received custody of them. But all three were murdered.

The satrap Ptolemaios seized Alexander's body and dragged him to the sanctuary in Siwa to have him buried there. But the completion of the tomb took too long, so the burial took place in Alexandria.

Division of the empire of Alexander

Perdiccas advanced with a large force in 321 BC. Before Egypt. However, Ptolemy was able to repel him at Memphis. Shortly afterwards he went to war with his two allies Lysimachus and Kassander against Antigonus I Monophthalmos , the successor of the murdered Perdiccas. At Gaza he could 312 BC. Defeated the army of the son of Antigonus and was confirmed as an Egyptian satrap in a peace treaty. After the victory of 306 over the second who tried to conquer Egypt, over Antigonus I Monophthalmos himself, who still championed the cause of the unified kingdom, and who died in 301 in the battle of Ipsos, the empires of the Diadochi established themselves. A last attempt at unification failed in 281 BC. The most powerful empires remained Macedonia and the empires of the Seleucids and the Ptolemies.

Ptolemy I ruled from 305 BC. BC with the nickname Soter ("the savior") as an independent monarch, no longer as a satrap. When he learned of the machinations of his predecessor Cleomenes, that the temple had been looted and the army salary had not been paid, he had him arrested and sentenced to death. In Asia Minor the smaller Hellenistic kingdoms of Pergamon , Bithynia , Pontus and Cappadocia fought for their autonomy, while the Ptolemies were able to establish themselves in most of the coastal areas, initially in Phaselis and Xanthos . The Greek states hoped for Egyptian help against the Macedonian superiority, which in turn allied with the Seleucids.

By the end of the 3rd century, however, Egypt lost most of its bases in Greece, and only on Thera remained until 145 BC. A garrison. In the fifth Syrian war , Egypt lost after the defeat at Panion (200 BC) in 195 BC. BC also its influence in Syria to the Seleucids.

Soon the proportion of the Egyptians and Libyans in the cavalry increased sharply, but soon they made up every second man in the infantry, the rest increasingly made up mercenaries. The proportion of the Macedonians fell sharply. The veterans were resettled in numerous locations where they received land grants. These military farmers or clergy were occasionally used in wars, from the Battle of Raphia (217 BC) also the Egyptian militias. The Ptolemies were less successful with regard to the fleet, which had around 140 ships in 306 BC. Before the Cypriot Salamis suffered a catastrophic defeat. The fighting technique shifted to a kind of land war at sea, so that the ships got bigger and bigger. Ptolemy IV claimed that his largest ship had carried no fewer than 2,850 sailors. To enlarge the deck, a kind of catamaran was built . Signal systems were developed, the Macedonian tactics were transferred to the sea and catapults were brought along. But three heavy defeats ended Ptolemaic naval rule. 258 BC BC it was defeated by the fleet of a Rhodian admiral, a second defeat occurred before Kos by the Macedonian king, and 245 BC. BC the Egyptians were defeated before Andros .

Nevertheless, the island of Cyprus remained Ptolemaic for more than a quarter of a millennium. While there was still resistance to be found under the first Ptolemaic on Cyprus, there were no more major uprisings under his successors. 321 BC Four kings of Cyprus allied themselves with Ptolemy I and held the island against Antigonus . Ptolemy lost the island to Demetrios Poliorketes in 306 and 294 , after which it remained until 58 BC. In the Ptolemaic Empire. There were initially close trade relations with Athens and Cyprus, but the Ptolemies increasingly concentrated on Egypt. The closed currency system applied not only to Egypt, but also to Cyrene and Cyprus. However, such a system could hardly be maintained without a powerful fleet.

Internal conflicts, economic decline

But not only the Greek opponents bothered the Ptolemies. When it was 246 BC When the first uprising in Egypt came about in BC, Cyprus supplied grain that was used to settle it. From 217 to 197 there was an uprising among soldiers in Lower Egypt.

In the struggle of the Hellenistic rulers, in which prestige and fame were paramount, the splendor of the capital played an enormous role. Therefore, the rulers built Alexandria into an impressive metropolis. The construction of the library of Alexandria, begun under Ptolemy, and the construction of the lighthouse , which was one of the seven wonders of the world , were completed under Ptolemy II . At least a quarter of the city was occupied by palaces, the sema, the burial place where Alexander lay in a gold, later glass coffin, was one of the showpieces. This corpse alone was of the greatest propagandistic value. The Mouseion, which was founded by the first king of the dynasty and to which the famous library with over 700,000 volumes belonged, was to make Alexandria the center of Greek culture. Ptolemy 'son donated in his honor probably 279/278 BC The Penteterian Festival (Ptolemaieia) and raised him to the "saving god" (Theos Soter). The dynasty was increasingly associated with Zeus , Dionysus and Apollo . All Ptolemies belonged to a family of gods who had their own cult with extensive sacrificial rituals. This fit into the Hellenistic as well as the Egyptian imagination, as well as the frequent sibling marriages. These began with Ptolemy II, who married his sister Arsinoe II . Isis and Osiris, but also Zeus and Hera, offered possible models here. It is true that Ptolemy V was surely crowned in the ritual forms of a pharaoh, but this tradition probably began with Alexander. Celebrations offered an opportunity to demonstrate wealth, sophistication, but also military superiority. On one occasion, no less than 57,600 infantrymen and 23,200 cavalrymen marched. At the same time, ancient Egyptian buildings were moved to Alexandria and the Ptolemies put up statues that represented them in Egyptian style.

The Hellenistic Empires around 200 BC Chr.

The greatest expansion among the Ptolemies was Egypt under Ptolemy III. who lived from 246 to 221 BC. Ruled. After the violent death of Ptolemy IV , his underage son Ptolemy V became his successor. Egypt paid for the resulting internal weakness with the loss of Syria and bases in Asia Minor. Yet the rule of the dynasty spanned three centuries of comparatively intense rule. It achieved a previously impossible integration with a view to the administration and the economy in the empire. The temples also continued to play a role, as the temple at Edfu shows. This enormous economic power in turn flowed to a large extent into the equipment of Alexandria and the financing of the wars.

The Ptolemaic Temple of Edfu , which was built between 237 and 57 BC. Was built again and again. There they emphasized the connection to the last pharaoh dynasty, especially to Nectanebos II. The most important priests, however, were now the high priests of Memphis

But in addition to the external struggles, internal struggles dragged on among the Ptolemies' relatives through all the following generations, in which the population also interfered. So were 203 BC. The beloved Ptolemy IV, Agathocles and his followers and relatives lynched by an angry crowd (Polybius, 15.33). Also in the dispute between Ptolemy VI. and Ptolemy VIII. the crowd interfered in Alexandria, 80 BC. BC she murdered Ptolemy X. Cleopatra VII. Was the last Ptolemaic woman on the pharaonic throne. She too was not spared from the internal struggles. When she took over the affairs of state at the age of seventeen in 51 BC. By her father Ptolemy XII. took over, she did so on the condition that her younger brother Ptolemy XIII. to have to take to man. The power of the Alexandrians was first broken by the legions of Caesar in 48/47 BC. Chr.

Above all outside of Alexandria, many Egyptians achieved social advancement, they even appear as provincial governors (strategos). Often the conflicts were interpreted as "nationalist" motivated, but on the one hand the weakness of the government, cultural differences (Cleopatra VII was apparently the only Ptolemaic king who spoke Egyptian), but also regionalisms contributed to the disputes, which resulted in rivalries between the Down cities. In the Thebais even between 205 and 186 there was an independent state under King Haronophris, who was 197 BC. Chr. Chaonnophris followed. Perhaps this also showed the political ambition of the Amun priesthood in connection with religious xenophobia. In addition, there was brigantism and gangs, temple robberies and the search for asylum in the temples, which only hint at the severity of the conflicts. On the other hand, there was incomprehensible, often corrupt, repressive violence that did too little to combat hunger or unsafe conditions. The latter in turn harmed the economy and intensified the struggle of the marginalized against the holders of power who no longer protected them.

Interference from Rome

Rome interfered more and more in the conditions in the eastern Mediterranean. With the victory over Pyrrhus , the Hellenistic king of Epirus in 275 BC. BC Rome began to break the purely Italian framework and to expand its power. It defeated Carthage and waged wars against the Hellenistic empires (200 to 146 BC), 167 BC. The Kingdom of Macedonia disappeared in the 2nd century BC, followed by expansion into Asia Minor (from 133 BC) and at the end there was the annexation of the remaining Seleucid Empire (64 BC).

This long process began between Rome and Alexandria with an embassy in 273 BC. Who exchanged gifts and courtesies among equals. This led to an informal declaration of friendship (amicitia), which amounted to a declaration of goodwill. But soon Rome became the guarantor for the continued existence of the Ptolemaic Empire. After the Roman victory over Macedonia, Gaius Popillius Laenas went to Alexandria to deliver an ultimatum to the Seleucid Antiochus IV that demanded the immediate withdrawal from occupied Egypt. When he hesitated, Laenas drew a circle in the sand with his stick and asked them to make a decision before leaving the circle. With his harsh manner, he induced the Seleucid king to accept the Roman demand (Polybios 29:27; day of Eleusis ). 96 BC BC Rome acquired the Cyrenaica, 58 BC. BC Cyprus. From there it was only a short way to get involved in the intra-dynastic disputes, Ptolemy XI. owed 80 BC BC Rome his throne, even if he was lynched a little later.

During the Roman civil wars , Egypt once again played an important role, when first the defeated general Gnaeus Pompeius was murdered while fleeing on landing in Alexandria and then his victorious rival Julius Caesar intervened in the Egyptian dispute to win him over against her brothers in favor of Cleopatra Ptolemy XIII and XIV. to decide. Around 50 BC There was serious unrest. Many villages were depopulated because taxes could no longer be paid. So left 51/50 BC All inhabitants of the central Egyptian place Hiera Nesos - except for the priests of the associated temple. All non-locals also left Tinteris in 50/49 BC. In the same year there was only a weak flood of the Nile, in the Herakleopolitschen Gau riots broke out, but these were put down. Finally, on October 27, 50 BC. BC issued a royal order in which all grain buyers in Middle Egypt were obliged to bring their goods only to the capital, apparently to prevent a famine in Alexandria. Cleopatra initially dominated the government and acted as sole ruler for about 18 months. Around the autumn of 49 BC Cleopatra was expelled from Alexandria. She recruited mercenaries in Palestine and marched with her private army against the border fortress of Pelusion. With his advisors and the army, Ptolemy XIII. to meet his sister, but before the fight broke out, Pompey appeared on the coast, where he had fled after his defeat at Pharsalus . The Roman general, who because of his friendship with Ptolemy XII. as guardian of his son Ptolemy XIII. could occur, asked the Ptolemaic government for support and acceptance. The Roman was murdered, however, and Caesar landed in Egypt two days later.

48/47 BC In the 2nd century BC, Marcus Antonius gave Cleopatra and her younger sister Arsinoë IV control of Cyprus, but this was reversed after his death. When Cleopatra, now Caesar's lover, in the summer of 46 BC BC was invited to Rome, she took Ptolemy XIV and a large retinue. After Caesar's death, Cleopatra fled to Egypt and soon had her brother eliminated. There the queen also won the heart of Mark Antony, who gave her 36 BC. The earlier Ptolemaic territories in Syria and Asia Minor. After the fleets of Antony and Cleopatra in 31 BC BC in the battle of Actium by Octavian, the later Emperor Augustus , Egypt fell to the Roman Empire the following year .

See also


(sorted chronologically)

Individual evidence

  1. There are different views on empire formation, see: W. Christiana Köhler: Theories of State Formation. In: W. Wendrich: Egyptian Archeology. Wiley-Blackwell, Malden (MA) 2010, ISBN 978-1-4051-4987-7 , pp. 36-54.
  2. Erik Hornung , Elisabeth Staehelin: Scarabs and other seal amulets from Basel collections. von Zabern, Mainz 1976, p. 44 f.
  3. Barry J. Kemp: Ancient Egypt - Anatomy of a Civilization. Routledge, London 2006, ISBN 0-415-23549-9 , p. 91.
  4. ^ Toby AH Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt: Strategy, Society and Security. Routledge, London 1999, ISBN 0-415-18633-1 , pp. 53, 66.
  5. ^ Toby AH Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt: Strategy, Society and Security. London 1999, pp. 57-59.
  6. Jochem Kahl: The system of the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing in the 0. – 3. Dynasty. (= Göttinger Orientforschungen. IV. Series: Egypt. Volume 29) Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1994, ISBN 3-447-03499-8 , pp. 79–86.
  7. ^ William Matthew Flinders Petrie , Francis Llewellyn Griffith : The royal tombs of the First Dynasty. 1901: Part II. (= Memoir of the Egypt Exploration Fund. Volume 21, ZDB -ID 988141-4 ). Offices of The Egypt Exploration Fund, London 1901, Plate XIII, pp. 91-93.
  8. Flinders Petrie, Francis L. Griffith: The royal tombs of the First Dynasty. 1901: Part II. London 1901, Plate II 4–5.
  9. Flinders Petrie, Francis L. Griffith: The royal tombs of the First Dynasty. 1901: Part II. London 1901, plate XI, 1.
  10. ^ Toby AH Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt: Strategy, Society and Security. London 1999, p. 71.
  11. ^ Francesco Raffaele: Early Dynastic Funerary Boats at Abydos North. On: xoomer.virgilio.it , last accessed on September 13, 2013.
  12. ^ Dieter Arnold : The encyclopaedia of Ancient Egyptian architecture. Tauris, London 2003, ISBN 1-86064-465-1 , p. 71.
  13. Dilwyn Jones : An index of ancient Egyptian titles, epithets and phrases of the old kingdom. Volume 2, Archaeopress, Oxford 2000, ISBN 1-84171-070-9 , no.2209.
  14. ^ Toby AH Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt: Strategy, Security and Society. London 1999, pp. 73-74.
  15. ^ Pierre Tallet: Zone Miniere Pharaonique du Sud Sinai, I, Catalog complémentaire des inscriptions du Sinaï. Institut français d'archéologie orientale, Le Caire 2012, ISBN 978-2-7247-0629-1 , pp. 16–18, No. 1–3.
  16. ^ Toby AH Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt: Strategy, Society and Security. London 1999, p. 75.
  17. Francesco Raffaele: Den-labels, No. 1 + 9. On: xoomer.virgilio.it , last accessed on September 13, 2013.
  18. ^ IES Edwards, CJ Gadd, NGL Hammond (Ed.): The Cambridge Ancient History Volume I. Part 2: Early History of the Middle East. 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1971, ISBN 0-521-85073-8 , p. 27; Nicolas-Christophe Grimal: A History of Ancient Egypt. Blackwell, Oxford 1994, ISBN 0-631-17472-9 , p. 53 (Original title: Histoire de l'Égypte ancienne. Librairie générale française, Paris 1994, ISBN 2-253-06547-1 .).
  19. ^ Siegfried Schott : Ancient Egyptian festival dates. Verlag der Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz / Wiesbaden 1950, p. 57.
  20. ^ Siegfried Schott: Ancient Egyptian festival dates. Mainz / Wiesbaden 1950, p. 58.
  21. Wolfgang Helck : Investigations on the Thinite Age (= Ägyptologische Abhandlungen. Volume 45). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1987, ISBN 3-447-02677-4 , pp. 157, 161 & 187, investigations on thinite time. P. 157 in Google Book search.
  22. Wolfgang Helck: Investigations on Thinitenzeit Wiesbaden 1987, p. 157, Investigations on Thinitenzeit. P. 157 in Google Book search.
  23. It is mentioned on a seal imprint of the Qaa from Saqqara grave S3504 (WB Emery: Great Tombs of the First Dynasty II. Egypt exploration Society, London 1954, p. 127, Fig. 200).
  24. Wolfgang Helck: Investigations on the thinite age. Wiesbaden 1987, pp. 194–195, Investigations on Thinite Time. P. 194 in Google book search.
  25. Turin kinglist ( Memento of the original from June 13, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.ancient-egypt.org
  26. ^ Nabil Swelim : Some Problems on the History of the Third Dynasty (= Archaeological and historical Studies. 7, ZDB -ID 800015-3 ). Archaeological Society of Alexandria, Alexandria 1983, pp. 67-77 (also Diss., Budapest 1982).
  27. Toby AH Wilkinson: Royal Annals of Ancient Egypt. The Palermo Stone and its Associated Fragments. Routledge, London 2012, ISBN 978-1-136-60247-4 , pp. 119-129.
  28. Zbynek Zaba: The Rock Inscriptions of Lower Nubia. (Czechoslovak Concession). Czechoslovak Institute of Egyptology in Prague and in Cairo, Prague 1974, p. 30 f.
  29. Petra Andrassy: Studies on the Egyptian state of the Old Kingdom and its institutions. Berlin, London 2008, p. 16, online .
  30. Toby AH Wilkinson: Royal Annals of Ancient Egypt. The Palermo Stone and its Associated Fragments. London 2012, pp. 200-206.
  31. Jean-Pierre Pätznik: The unrolling and cylinder seals of the city of Elephantine in the 3rd millennium BC. Archaeopress, Oxford (GB) 2005, pp. 64-66.
  32. Eva-Maria Engel: New finds from old excavations. Vessel closures from tomb P in Umm el-Qa'ab in the Cairo Egyptian Museum. In: Gerald Moers , Heike Behlmer, Katja Demuß, Kai Widmaier (eds.): Festschrift for Friedrich Junge . Volume 1, Lingua Aegyptia - Seminar for Egyptology and Coptology, Göttingen 2006, ISBN 3-00-018329-9 , pp. 179-188, here pp. 181, 183 f.
  33. ^ Toby AH Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt: Strategy, Society and Security. London 1999, pp. 75 f., 89-91.
  34. Jean-Pierre Pätznick: The seal impressions and cylinder seals of the city of Elephantine in the 3rd millennium BC. Chr. Archaeopress, Oxford (GB) 2005, ISBN 1-84171-685-5 , pp. 211-213.
  35. ^ Toby AH Wilkinson: The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt. London 2010, paperback 2011, p. 64 f.
  36. Susanne Bickel: The combination of worldview and state image. Aspects of Politics and Religion in Egypt. In: Reinhard Gregor Kratz, Hermann Spieckermann (Ed.): Images of Gods, Images of God, Images of the World. Polytheism and Monotheism in the Ancient World. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2006, ISBN 3-16-148673-0 , pp. 79–100, here: p. 89.
  37. ^ Jochem Kahl , Nicole Kloth, Ursula Zimmermann: The inscriptions of the 3rd dynasty. An inventory. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1995, ISBN 3-447-03733-4 , p. 368.
  38. James-Edward Quibell: Hierakonpolis, Part 1: Plates of discoveries in 1898 . LTR-Verlag, Starnberg 1988 (reprint of the 1900 edition), plates 39 and 41.
  39. ^ Siegfried Schott: Ancient Egyptian festival dates. Mainz / Wiesbaden 1950, p. 51.
  40. Peter Kaplony: The inscriptions of the early Egyptian period 3 (= Egyptological treatises. Volume 8.3). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1963, pp. 406-411.
  41. When dating I follow, as in the following sections Ian Shaw (Ed.): The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. New edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford et al. 2003, ISBN 0-19-280458-8 .
  42. ^ Siegfried Schott: Ancient Egyptian festival dates. Mainz / Wiesbaden 1950, p. 54.
  43. Wolfgang Helck : Investigations into the official titles of the Egyptian Old Kingdom. Augustin, Glückstadt et al. 1954, p. 16 f.
  44. Wolfgang Helck: History of ancient Egypt. Cologne 1981, p. 47.
  45. ^ Alan Henderson Gardiner , Thomas Eric Peet, Jaroslav Černý : The Inscriptions of Sinai Volume 1: Introduction and plates (= Memoir of the Egypt Exploration Fund. Volume 45, ISSN  0307-5109 ). 2nd edition, revised and augmented by Jaroslav Černý, Egypt Exploration Society, London 1955, p. 54, no. 1, plate 1.
  46. Mark Lehner: The first wonder of the world. The secrets of the Egyptian pyramids. Econ, Düsseldorf / Munich 1997, ISBN 3-430-15963-6 , p. 94 f.
  47. Winfried Barta: On the ancient Egyptian name of King Aches. In: Communications from the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo Department. (MDAIK) No. 29, Mainz 1973, pp. 1-14.
  48. ^ Roman Gundacker: A contribution to the genealogy of the 4th dynasty. In: Sokar. No. 16, 2008, pp. 22-51.
  49. Roman Gundacker: Notes on the construction of the pyramids of Snefru. In: Sokar. No. 11, 2005, p. 12.
  50. Hourig Sourouzian: Royal and private sculpture of the Old and Middle Kingdom. In: Zahi A. Hawass (ed.): The treasures of the pyramids. Weltbild, Augsburg 2004, ISBN 3-8289-0809-8 , p. 368.
  51. ^ Wolfgang Helck: Gaue. In: Lexicon of Egyptology. Volume 2, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1977, Sp. 385-408.
  52. ^ Roman Gundacker: Two rock inscriptions from the time of Snofru. In: Sokar. No. 13, 2006, pp. 70-73.
  53. On the trade between Naqada and the A group cf. Mitchell David Running: Nubian a-group and Egyptian Naqada trade relations in the predynastic. (= Archaeological Studies Program, Undergraduate Thesis Collection. ). 2012; also Dissertation: Thesis (B. S.) - University of Wisconsin - La Crosse (online)
  54. Dietrich Wildung : The role of Egyptian kings in the consciousness of their posterity. Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich, Berlin 1969, pp. 105–152, here: pp. 105 f.
  55. Dietrich Wildung: The role of Egyptian kings in the consciousness of their posterity. Munich, Berlin 1969, pp. 105–152, here: p. 107 f.
  56. Wilkinson's second zerzura, carlo-bergmann.de.
  57. Klaus Peter Kuhlmann: The "water mountain of Djedefre" (Chufu 01/1): A storage place with expedition inscriptions of the 4th dynasty in the area of ​​the oasis Dachla. In: Communications from the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo Department. (MDAIK) No. 61, 2005, pp. 243–289 (online)
  58. Reinhard Grieshammer: Son of God. In: Lexicon of Egyptology. Volume 2, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1977, column 820 f.
  59. Christiane Ziegler (Ed.): Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1999, p. 248 f.
  60. Fig.
  61. ^ Thomas Schneider : Lexicon of the Pharaohs. Albatros, Düsseldorf 2002, ISBN 3-491-96053-3 , p. 102.
  62. Eckhard Eichler: Investigations into the expeditionary nature of the Egyptian Old Kingdom. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1993, p. 138.
  63. Anna Maria Donadoni Roveri: I sarcofagi egizi dalle origini alla fine dell'Antico Regno . Rome 1969, p. 104f. ( PDF; 46.5 MB ).
  64. ^ Siegfried Schott: Ancient Egyptian festival dates. Mainz / Wiesbaden 1950, p. 54.
  65. ^ Thomas Schneider: Lexicon of the Pharaohs. Düsseldorf 2002, p. 164.
  66. ^ Maurice Dunand: Fouilles de Byblos I. 1926-1932 . Paris 1931, p. 169.
  67. Peter Kaplony : The cylinder seals of the Old Kingdom. Catalog (= Monumenta Aegytiaca. Volume 3). Brussels 1981, pp. 116-127.
  68. ^ Miroslav Verner : Further Thoughts on the Khentkaus Problem. In: Discussions in Egyptology. No. 38, 1997, pp. 109–117 ( full text as PDF file )
  69. Tarek El Awady: The royal family of Sahure. New evidence. In: Miroslav Bárta, Filip Coppens, Jaromír Krejčí (eds.): Abusir and Saqqara in the Year 2005. Czech Institute of Egyptology, Prague 2006, pp. 192–198.
  70. Susanne Voss: Investigations into the sun sanctuaries of the 5th dynasty. Significance and function of a singular temple type in the Old Kingdom. Hamburg 2004 (also: dissertation, University of Hamburg 2000) ( PDF; 2.5 MB ).
  71. Kathryn A. Bard, Rodolfo Fattovich (ed.): Harbor of the Pharaohs to the Land of Punt. Archaeological investigations at Mersa / Wadi Gawasis, Egypt, 2001-2005. Università degli Studi di Napoli "L'Orientale", Napoli 2007, ISBN 978-88-95044-11-8 .
  72. ^ Thomas Schneider: Lexicon of the Pharaohs. Düsseldorf 2002, p. 244.
  73. ^ Thomas Schneider: Lexicon of the Pharaohs. Düsseldorf 2002, p. 243.
  74. Wolfgang Helck: History of ancient Egypt (= Handbuch des Orients. Volume I 1/3) Brill, Leiden 1981, p. 65.
  75. ^ Thomas Schneider: Lexicon of the Pharaohs. Düsseldorf 2002, p. 243 f.
  76. Tarek El Awady: The royal family of Sahure. New evidence. In: Miroslav Bárta, Filip Coppens, Jaromír Krejčí (eds.): Abusir and Saqqara in the Year 2005. Prague 2006, pp. 191–218, here: pp. 198–203.
  77. ^ Aidan Dodson , Dyan Hilton: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London 2004, ISBN 0-500-05128-3 , pp. 62-69, here: p. 64–66 ( PDF file; 67.9 MB ); retrieved from the Internet Archive .
  78. James Henry Breasted : Ancient Records of Egypt. Historical documents. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1906, p. 118 ( online (PDF, 11.9 MB)).
  79. Darrell D. Baker: The Encyclopedia of the Egyptian Pharaohs. Volume 1: Predynastic to the Twentieth Dynasty (3300-1069 BC). Bannerstone Press, Oakville (Connecticut) 2008, p. 260.
  80. Miroslav Verner, Vivienne G. Callender: Abusir VI. Djedkare's Family Cemetery. In: Excavations of the Czech Institute of Egyptology. Volume 6, Prague 2002, p. 130.
  81. Edward Brovarski, Peter Der Manuelian, William Kelly Simpson: The Senedjemib Complex. The Mastabas of Senedjemib Inti (G 2370), Khnumenti (G 2374), and Senedjemib Mehi (G 2378). Boston 2002.
  82. Petra Andrassy: Investigations into the Egyptian state of the Old Kingdom and its institutions (= Internet contributions to Egyptology and Sudan archeology. Volume XI). Berlin / London 2008 ( PDF; 1.51 MB ), pp. 38–41.
  83. Wolfgang Helck (Ed.): Lexicon of Egyptology. Volume I, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1975, column 69.
  84. William Matthew Flinder Petrie: Deshasheh . The Egypt Exploration Fund, London 1898, panel IV.
  85. ^ Thomas Schneider: Lexicon of the Pharaohs. Düsseldorf 2002, p. 114.
  86. Unas , digital Egypt.
  87. Russell Drysdale et al .: Late Holocene drought responsible for the collapse of Old World civilizations is recorded in an Italian cave flowstone. In: Geology. No. 34, 2006, pp. 101-104, doi : 10.1130 / G22103.1 .
  88. Joyce Tyldesley, Birgit Lamerz-Beckschäfer: The Pharaohs. Egypt's most important ruler in 30 dynasties (= National Geographic history. ). National Geographic Germany, Hamburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-86690-114-8 , pp. 55f.
  89. Farouk Gomaa: Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. Reichert, Wiesbaden 1980.
  90. Kurt Sethe, Georg Steindorff (Ed.): Documents of the Old Kingdom. Hinrichs, Leipzig 1933, p. 214, 280–307 ( full text ( memento of November 7, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), as PDF, 10.6 MB).
  91. Herodotus , Histories 2,106.
  92. Gae Callender: The Middle Kingdom Renaissance (c. 2055-1650 BC). In: Ian Shaw (Ed.): The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press, Oxford et al. 2000, pp. 137-171 and Wolfram Grajetzki: The Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. History, Archeology and Society. Duckworth, London 2006.
  93. Jürgen von Beckerath : Investigations into the political history of the Second Intermediate Period in Egypt. Habilitation thesis 1962, Augustin, Glückstadt et al. 1964 (fundamental study on the Second Intermediate Period; it provides lists of all pharaohs with hieroglyphics) and Kim Ryholt : The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, c. 1800–1550 BC The Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near Eastern Studies, Copenhagen 1997.
  94. ^ Kim SB Ryholt: The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period. Copenhagen 1997, p. 151.
  95. Peter Warren, Vronwy Hankey: Aegean bronze age chronology. Bristol Classical Press, Bristol 1989.
  96. ^ Sturt W. Manning: The absolute chronology of the Aegean early Bronze Age. Archeology, radiocarbon and history. Sheffield Academic Press, Sheffield 1995.
  97. Karen Polinger Foster, Robert K. Ritner: text, storms and the Thera eruption. In: Journal of Near Eastern Studies No. 55, 1996, pp. 1-14.
  98. Malcolm H. Wiener, James P. Allen: Separate Lives: The Ahmose Tempest Stela and the Theran Eruption. In: Journal of Near Eastern Studies. No. 57, 1998, pp. 1-28.
  99. ^ Kurt Galling (Ed.): Text book on the history of Israel. Mohr, Tübingen 1979, p. 35.
  100. On the Tjati office in the early New Kingdom cf. GPF Van Den Boorn: The Duties of the Vizier: Civil Administration in the Early New Kingdom. Paul Kegan, London 1988.
  101. Pierre Grandet: L 'Execution du Chancelier Bay o. Ifao 1864 , Bulletin de l'Institut français d'archéologie orientale 100 (2000), pp. 339-345
  102. ^ Carlo D'Adamo: Sardi, Etruschi e Italici nella guerra di Troia. Edizioni Pendragon, Bologna 2011.
  103. ^ Translation in JH Breasted: Ancient Records of Egypt. Volume IV. New York, Reissued 1964, pp. 110-206.
  104. One Arura corresponds to 2,735 m².
  105. ^ G. Lefebvre: Histoire des grands prêtres d'Amon de Karnak jusqu'à la XXIe dynastie. Geuthner, Paris 1929, p. 167.
  106. ^ Donald B. Redford: Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times. Princeton University Press, Princeton 1992, p. 288.
  107. King Ramesses III's throat was slit, analysis reveals , BBC News , December 18, 2012.
  108. Revisiting the harem conspiracy and death of Ramesses III: anthropological, forensic, radiological, and genetic study , in: British Medical Journal , December 17, 2012.
  109. ^ AJ Peden: The Reign of Ramesses IV. Aris & Phillips, Warminster 1994, pp. 18-23.
  110. See Bernadette Menu: Le régime juridique des terres et du personnel attaché à la terre dans le Papyrus Wilbour. Dissertation, Lille 1970.
  111. ^ KA Kitchen : The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt. 1100-650 B.C. 4th edition. Aris & Phillips, Warminster 2009, p. 256 and RK Ritner: Inscriptions from Egypt's Third Intermediate Period. P. 101.
  112. ^ RK Ritner: Inscriptions from Egypt's Third Intermediate Period. P. 101 ff.
  113. ^ KA Kitchen: The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt. 1100-650 B.C. 4th edition. Aris & Phillips, Warminster 2009, p. 256.
  114. Bernd Ulrich Schipper: Israel and Egypt in the time of the kings. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1999; Universitätsverlag, Freiburg CH 1999, p. 23.
  115. ^ Robert Kriech Ritner: The Libyan Anarchy. Inscriptions From Egypt's Third Intermediate Period (= Writings from the ancient world. Volume 21). Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta 2009.
  116. ^ KA Kitchen: The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt. 1100-650 BC 4th edition. Aris & Phillips, Warminster 2009; Karl Jansen-Winkeln: The end of the New Kingdom. In: Journal of Egyptian Language and Antiquity. No. 119, 1992, pp. 22-37 and Karl Jansen-Winkeln: The 22.-24. Dynasty. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2007.
  117. ^ Alan B. Lloyd: A Companion to Ancient Egypt. Volume 1 (= Blackwell companions to the ancient world. ). Wiley-Blackwell, Malden MA 2010, ISBN 978-1-4051-5598-4 , pp. 345f.
  118. Herodotus, Historien 2,177,1.
  119. If one follows the Nabonidus Chronicle, Cyrus killed 547 BC. After a campaign a king whose country is now read as "Urartu", no longer "Lydia". The Chronicle of Eusebius of Caesarea sees the conquest in 547 BC. Chr.
  120. Herodotus, Histories 22, 182, 2 – III, 1–1. Cf. Reinhold Bichler: Herodots Welt. The structure of history based on the image of foreign countries and peoples, their civilization and their history (= antiquity in modernity. ). Akademie Verlag, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-05-003429-7 .
  121. Hilmar Klinkott : The Satrap. An Achaemenid minister and his room for maneuver. (= Oikumene (Frankfurt am Main, Germany). Volume 1). Verlag Antike, Frankfurt 2005, ISBN 3-938032-02-2 .
  122. Joachim Friedrich Quack : Inaros, hero of Athribis . In: Robert Rollinger : Antiquity and the Mediterranean: The ancient world on this side and beyond the Levant (Festschrift for Peter W. Haider on his 60th birthday) . Steiner, Stuttgart 2006, pp. 499-506.
  123. Herodotus: Histories. German complete edition, translated by A. Horneffer , re-edited and explained by HW Haussig . Kröner, Stuttgart 1971, p. 672 f. and p. 743; Herodotus, Histories 3:12 and 7,7.
  124. Werner Huss : The enigmatic Pharaoh Chababasch. In: Studi epigraphici e linguistici sul Vicino Oriente antico. No. 11, 1994, pp. 97-112.
  125. Werner Huss: Egypt in the Hellenistic Period, 332–30 BC. Chr. Munich 2001, p. 57 f.
  126. Werner Huss: Egypt in the Hellenistic Period, 332–30 BC. Chr. Munich 2001, p. 58 f.
  127. Werner Huss: Egypt in the Hellenistic Period, 332–30 BC. Chr. Munich 2001, p. 65.
  128. Werner Huss: Egypt in the Hellenistic Period, 332–30 BC. Chr. Munich 2001, p. 63.
  129. Werner Huss: Egypt in the Hellenistic Period, 332–30 BC. Chr. München 2001, p. 65. - Huß 2001, 67: […] an organization of citizenship in five phylaí, 60 démoi and 720 phrátai. Besides the Greek citizens, Greek non-citizens also lived in the city […].
  130. Werner Huss: Egypt in the Hellenistic Period, 332–30 BC. Chr. Munich 2001, p. 69.
  131. Arrian , Anabasis 3, 5, 5.
  132. ^ Curtius Rufus , Historiae Alexandri Magni Macedonis 4, 8, 4.
  133. Werner Huss: Egypt in the Hellenistic Period, 332–30 BC. Chr. Munich 2001, p. 81.
  134. Werner Huss: Egypt in the Hellenistic Period, 332–30 BC. Chr. Munich 2001, p. 82; - similar to Günther Hölbl: History of the Ptolemaic Empire. Politics, ideology and religious culture from Alexander the great to the Roman conquest . Revised reprint of the 1st edition from 1994, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2004, p. 13: According to Hölbl, Ptolemy's proposal was "to divide the empire into loosely connected satrapic states".
  135. Werner Huss: Egypt in the Hellenistic Period, 332–30 BC. Chr. Munich 2001, p. 86 ff .; Werner Huss lists all satrapies there with the respective satraps.
  136. ^ Sitta von Reden: Cultural encounter and economic transformation in the first generations of Ptolemaic rule. In: Gregor Weber (Ed.): Alexandreia and Ptolemaic Egypt. Cultural encounters in the Hellenistic period. Verlag Antike, 2010, pp. 30–54, here: p. 34.
  137. Helmut Kyrieleis: Ptolemaic portraits on seal impressions from Nea Paphos (Cyprus). In: Marie-Françoise Boussac, Antonio Invernizzi (ed.): Archives et sceaux du monde hellénistique = Archivi e sigilli nel mondo ellenistico. Congress Volume 1993, Turin 1996, pp. 315-320.
  138. ^ Arthur M. Eckstein: Rome Enters the Greek East. From Anarchy to Hierarchy in the Hellenistic Mediterranean, 230-170 BC. John Wiley & Sons 2012, section The First Illyrian War (no page number, as e-book)
  139. ^ Günther Hölbl : History of the Ptolemaic Empire. Darmstadt 1994, p. 205 f.
  140. Caesar , De bello civili III 103, 2; Plutarch , Caesar 48 et al
  141. Strabon , Geographika 14, 6.6.