Middle realm

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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 territorial conditions around the year 2000 BC In the Middle East.

As the Middle Kingdom , from about 2137 to 1781 BC. Called existing state in ancient Egypt .


The reunification of the empire under Mentuhotep II in the middle of the 11th dynasty is given as the beginning of the dating of the Middle Kingdom . Nevertheless, the entire 11th dynasty is discussed here.

With the disintegration of unified Egypt at the beginning of the First Intermediate Period , power was distributed among a few petty kings . However, at the end of the 10th dynasty their dominance in Herakleopolis clearly emerged. At the same time, power grew in the south when the 11th dynasty established itself in Thebes .

The Middle Kingdom is often referred to as the feudal era. In fact, there is hardly any other period in Egyptian history when so many monuments are found in even the most remote provinces.

The Middle Kingdom can be clearly divided into two sections:

  • The early Middle Kingdom (up to around Sesostris II ) is still strongly influenced by the traditions of the First Intermediate Period. The pyramids and parts of the art are based on the Old Kingdom.
  • The late Middle Kingdom (from Sesostris III up to the 13th Dynasty) is characterized by a centralization of the country. The image of the ruler no longer shows a young idealized king ( pharaoh ), but a wise ruler who is characterized by life experience. The language of the Middle Kingdom was considered classical for the following epochs.

11th dynasty

The royal papyrus Turin names seven kings for the 11th dynasty and a seven-year time left out at the end of the 11th dynasty. The total period of government is given as 143 years. Since Wolfgang Helck the end of the 11th dynasty on 1994 BC. After adding the 143 years to 2137 BC, the result was The first year of reign of the 11th dynasty.

The order of the three or even four Theban kings who ruled before Mentuhotep II is still controversial among Egyptologists, as various information exist about them. 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 ).

The first kings of the 11th dynasty made the Egyptian south ever more important and it was not uncommon for battles to be fought with the northern royal houses of the 9th and 10th dynasties. Also as Mentuhotep II, the son of Antef III. , 2061 BC BC came to power in Thebes, these struggles continued. The unification of the empire will have been around his 39th year of reign, but the exact time of this event is not known.

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 seems to have been a weak king who was possibly supported by his vizier Amenemhet, who is probably identical with Amenemhet I , around 1994 BC. Was overthrown. This then became the founder of the 12th dynasty.

12th dynasty

Expansion of the Egyptian Empire

Amenemhet I was probably a man of the Theban people. On his mother's side he is said to come from the area around Elephantine . Amenemhet I strengthened the power of his newly established dynasty throughout the empire. He moved the capital north to Itj-taui . Amenemhet I introduced the so-called co-regency institution. The old king appointed a successor with whom he reigned while he was still alive.

His son Sesostris I is considered one of the greatest kings of the Middle Kingdom. As co-regent of his father from around 1975 BC. He led campaigns to Lower Nubia, which was secured by a series of fortresses. Under his rule, art and literature flourished. Sesostris I systematically built all important temples in the country and replaced small buildings, often made of adobe bricks, with stone ones.

His son Amenemhet II is best known for an annals stone found in Memphis on which campaigns to Palestine are mentioned, among other things . Otherwise, however, his reign is not very well documented. His successor Sesostris II probably only ruled for eight or nine years. He built his pyramid at El-Lahun , which indicates the king's interest in Fajum . The king began to systematically develop this river oasis. Sesostris III. was in the consciousness of the Egyptians probably the most important king of all. Herodotus and Manetho report numerous campaigns, especially to Asia. These undertakings are poorly documented, while his campaigns to Lower Nubia are well documented. The subject area was systematically secured by fortresses. Sesostris III. had possibly also been active in domestic politics. The power of the local princes was significantly restricted.

Also the following pharaoh, Amenemhet III. , ruled the country with a strong hand. Not much is known about his successor Amenemhet IV and Queen Nofrusobek .

The end of the Middle Kingdom and with it the beginning of the Second Intermediate Period was caused by disputes over the throne, division and the invasion of the Hyksos .

See also


  • Hans Gerhard Evers : State made of stone. Monuments, history, and importance of Egyptian sculpture during the Middle Kingdom. 2 volumes, Bruckmann, Munich 1929. Vol. I: p. 117, plate 148; Vol. II: p. 132 m. Fig., Plate 16.
  • 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, ISBN 0-19-815034-2 , pp. 137-171.
  • Wolfram Grajetzki: The Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. History, Archeology and Society. Duckworth, London 2006, ISBN 0-7156-3435-6 .
  • Hans-Werner Fischer-Elfert , Richard B. Parkinson (Ed.): Studies on the Middle Kingdom. In memory of Detlef Franke. (= Philippika, Classical Studies Vol. 41), Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2013, ISBN 978-3-447-06396-8 .

Web links

Commons : Middle Kingdom  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Bader (2015) compares the Early Period and the Old Kingdom (around 3000–2200 BC) corresponding to the Early Bronze Age in the Near Eastern cultures , the Middle Kingdom (around 2000–1650 BC) as the Middle Bronze Age and the Designate the New Kingdom (around 1550–1070 BC) as the Late Bronze Age . See also Bettina Bader: Egypt and the Mediterranean in the Bronze Age: The Archaeological Evidence. Egyptian Archeology, August 2015, DOI: 10.1093 / oxfordhb / 9780199935413.013.35 , p. 11.
  2. ^ JV Beckerath : The Date of the End of the Old Kingdom of Egypt . In: Journal of Near Eastern Studies . tape 21 , no. 2 , 1962, pp. 140-147; here p. 146 .