Third Intermediate Period of Egypt

The Third Intermediate Period of ancient Egypt began with the death of PharaohRamesses XI in 1070 BC, which ended the New Kingdom, and was eventually followed by the Late Period. Various points are offered as the beginning for the latter era, though it is most often regarded as dating from the foundation of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty by Psamtik I in 664 BC, following the departure of the NubianKushite rulers of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty by the Assyrians under King Ashurbanipal. The concept of a “Third Intermediate Period” was coined in 1978 by British Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen.[1]

Period of Ancient Egypt (1069-664 BCE)
Third Intermediate Period of Egypt
c. 1069 BC  c. 664 BC

Political factions fractured ancient Egypt during the Third Intermediate Period. The boundaries above show the political situation during the mid-8th century BC.
Common languages Ancient Egyptian

Ancient Egyptian religion
Government Monarchy
c. 1069 BC 
 c. 664 BC

Preceded by

Succeeded by
New Kingdom of Egypt
Late Period of ancient Egypt
Today part of Egypt
Periods and dynasties of ancient Egypt
All years are BC
Pre-dynastic period
First Dynasty I c. 3150–2890
Second Dynasty II 2890–2686
Third Dynasty III 2686–2613
Fourth Dynasty IV 2613–2498
Fifth Dynasty V 2498–2345
Sixth Dynasty VI 2345–2181
Seventh Dynasty VII spurious
Eighth Dynasty VIII 2181–2160
Ninth Dynasty IX 2160–2130
Tenth Dynasty X 2130–2040
Early Eleventh Dynasty XI 2134–2061
Late Eleventh Dynasty XI 2061–1991
Twelfth Dynasty XII 1991–1803
Thirteenth Dynasty XIII 1803–1649
Fourteenth Dynasty XIV 1705–1690
Fifteenth Dynasty XV 1674–1535
Sixteenth Dynasty XVI 1660–1600
Abydos Dynasty 1650–1600
Seventeenth Dynasty XVII 1580–1549
Eighteenth Dynasty XVIII 1549–1292
Nineteenth Dynasty XIX 1292–1189
Twentieth Dynasty XX 1189–1077
Twenty-first Dynasty XXI 1069–945
Twenty-second Dynasty XXII 945–720
Twenty-third Dynasty XXIII 837–728
Twenty-fourth Dynasty XXIV 732–720
Twenty-fifth Dynasty XXV 732–653

The period was one of decline and political instability, coinciding with the Late Bronze Age collapse of civilizations in the ancient Near East and Eastern Mediterranean (including the Greek Dark Ages). It was marked by division of the state for much of the period and conquest and rule by non-native Egyptians.

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The period of the Twenty-first Dynasty is characterized by the country’s fracturing kingship. Already during Ramesses XI‘s reign, the Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt was losing its grip on the city of Thebes, whose priests were becoming increasingly powerful. After his death, his successor, Smendes I, ruled from the city of Tanis, but was mostly active only in Lower Egypt, which he controlled. Meanwhile, the High Priests of Amun at Thebes ruled Middle and Upper Egypt in all but name.[2] However, this division was less significant than it seems, since both the priests and pharaohs came from the same family.

The country was firmly reunited by the Twenty-second Dynasty founded by Shoshenq I in 945 BC (or 943 BC), who descended from Meshwesh immigrants, originally from ancient Libya. This brought stability to the country for well over a century, but after the reign of Osorkon II, particularly, the country had effectively split into two states, with Shoshenq III of the Twenty-second Dynasty controlling Lower Egypt by 818 BC while Takelot II and his son Osorkon (the future Osorkon III) ruled Middle and Upper Egypt. In Thebes, a civil war engulfed the city, pitting the forces of Pedubast I, who had proclaimed himself pharaoh, against the existing line of Takelot II/Osorkon B. The two factions squabbled continuously and the conflict was only resolved in Year 39 of Shoshenq III when Osorkon B comprehensively defeated his enemies. He proceeded to found the Upper Egyptian Libyan Twenty-third Dynasty of Osorkon IIITakelot IIIRudamun, but this kingdom quickly fragmented after Rudamun’s death, with the rise of local city states under kings such as Peftjaubast of Herakleopolis, Nimlot of Hermopolis, and Ini at Thebes.

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