Egyptian Timeline:

The Middle Kingdom (2040 B.C.1782 B.C.)


Prehistoric and Predynastic Periods First Intermediate Period The Middle Kingdom Second Intermediate Period New Kingdom Third Intermediate Period Late Period Graeco-Roman Period Byzantine Period Early Dynastic Period Old Kingdom
The Middle Kingdom, Dynasties 11 to 13, began with the reunification of Egypt by the Dynasty 11 Theban king, Mentuhetep II. Many of its features were drawn from Old Kingdom models. The kings of Dynasty 11 made Thebes their capital city and they were buried there, in saff (meaning "row" in Arabic) tombs, at the northern end of the Theban Necropolis. The most impressive monument of the dynasty is the temple-tomb at Dayr al Bahri built by Mentuhetep II [13262]. 13262
Middle Kingdom rulers such as Senusret III returned significant power to the king, expanded agriculture in the Fayyum, established tighter military and economic control over Nubia, increased foreign trade, and devoted considerable resources to art and architecture. Temples were established or enlarged, most notably that of Amen at Karnak [14214]. The White Chapel, the bark shrine of Senusret I, at Karnak is a premier example of the period's outstanding workmanship [14227]. 14214 14227
Dynasty 12 began with Mentuhetep IV's former vizier, Amenemhat I, who, for unknown reasons, moved his capital from Thebes to a new (as yet, unidentified) location south of Memphis called Itjtawy. During this period, royal cemeteries were located at Lisht, Lahun, Dahshur, and Hawwarat al Maqta', and royal tombs again took the form of pyramids.
A new religious literature appeared in the First Intermediate Period when the so-called Coffin Texts replaced Pyramid Texts and, as their name implies, were painted on coffins rather than pyramid walls. They were non-royal texts used by many classes of society, and are sometimes said to reflect the increasing democratization of Egyptian funerary beliefs.
The Middle Kingdom came to an end in Dynasty 13 when Egypt's central government became increasingly fragmented and localized, Itjtawy was abandoned, and parts of Lower Egypt fell under the control of the Hyksos.
Published or last modified on: August 23, 2002
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