Twelfth dynasty of Egypt


Twelfth dynasty of Egypt

The Eleventh (all of Egypt), Twelfth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Dynasties of ancient Egypt are often combined under the group title, Middle Kingdom.

Rulers

Known rulers, in the History of Egypt, for the Twelfth Dynasty are as follows:

The chronology of the Twelfth Dynasty is the most stable of any period before the New Kingdom. Manetho stated that it was based in Thebes, but from contemporary records it is clear that the first king moved its capital to a new city named "Amenemhat-itj-tawy" ("Amenemhat the Siezer of the Two Lands"), more simply called Itjtawy. The location of Itjtaway has not been found, but is thought to be near the Fayyum, probably near the royal graveyards at el-Lisht. Egyptologists consider this dynasty to be the apex of the Middle Kingdom.

The order of its rulers is well known from several sources — two lists recorded at temples in Abydos and one at Saqqara, as well as Manetho's work. Because a recorded date during the reign of Senusret III can be correlated to the Sothic cycle, many events during this dynasty are frequently assigned to a year BC or BCE.

The pharaohs of the Twelfth Dynasty are credited with the earliest known construction of a canal running through the Wadi Tumilat; it would later be renewed under kings Necho II and Darius I; (see Darius the Great's Suez Inscriptions).

Amenemhat I and Senusret I

This dynasty was founded by Amenemhat I, who may had been vizier to the last pharaoh of the Eleventh Dynasty, Mentuhotep IV. His armies campaigned south as far as the Second Cataract of the Nile and into the Near East, and he reestablished diplomatic relations with Byblos and the rulers in the Aegean Sea. His son Senusret I followed his father's triumphs with an expedition south to the Third Cataract, but the next rulers were content to live in peace and enjoy the trade and tribute brought to them until the reign of Senusret III.

enusret II

Finding Nubia had grown restive under the previous rulers, Senusret sent punitive expeditions into that land; he also sent an expedition into the Levant. These military campaigns gave birth to a legend of a mighty warrior named Sesostris, a story retold by Manetho, Herodotus, and Diodorus Siculus. This conqueror not only subdued the lands as had Senusret III, but also conquered Asia and had crossed over into Europe to annex Thrace.

Amenemhat III

Senusret's successor Amenemhat III reaffirmed his predecessor's foreign policy. However, after Amenemhat, the energies of this dynasty were largely spent, and the growing troubles of government were left to the dynasty's last ruler, Queen Sobekneferu, to resolve. Amenemhat was remembered for the mortuary temple at Hawara that he built, known to Herodotus, Diodorus, and Strabo as the "Labyrinth". Also under his reign the marshy Fayyum was first exploited.

Ancient Egyptian literature

It is during the Twelfth dynasty that we find the Ancient Egyptian literature being refined. Perhaps best known from this period is "The Story of Sinuhe", of which several hundred papyrus copies have been recovered. Also written during this dynasty were a number of Didactic works, such as the "Instructions of Amenemhat" and "The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant".

Pharaohs of the Twelfth through Eighteenth Dynasty are also credited with preserving for us some of the most remarkable Egyptian papyri:

* 1800 BC – Berlin Papyrus
* 1800 BC – Moscow Mathematical Papyrus
* 1650 BC – Rhind Mathematical Papyrus
* 1600 BC – Edwin Smith papyrus
* 1550 BC – Ebers papyrus

ee also

* History of Ancient Egypt
* Twelfth dynasty of Egypt Family Tree


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