Middle Kingdom PeriodEgypt Through Time - What is Ancient Egypt?
The Middle Kingdom Period 2055 BC to 1650 BC
The 11th and 12th Pharaonic Dynasties
Middle Bronze Age
Pharaoh Mentuhotep II’s work to unify the country was not completed after he announced his achievement. He then had to set to the role of stabilising the country and bringing it back to bring a whole. He commenced this by reforming the Government, centralising the power back in the Royal Court in the Capital City at Thebes, stripping the hereditary appointed Nomarchs of their previous unwieldy powers, and ensuring that new Nomarchs only inherited a post if they were loyal to the Throne and up to the job.
To keep control of this he appointed Theban men to be the Governor of Upper Egypt and his ‘Royally appointed Court Officials’, and the Governor of Lower Egypt and his ‘Royally appointed Court Officials’. These men were loyal only to him and were instructed to travel regularly across the country to keep the regional Nomarchs under the ultimate control of the King. One of these was his Chancellor and High Steward called Meketre who is buried near Pharaoh’s Mortuary Temple at Deir el Bahri.
He was succeeded by his son, Pharaoh Mentuhotep III who continued with his father’s governmental policies: sending an expedition to Punt and fortifying his north-eastern borders in the Delta area. In turn he was succeeded by his own son and namesake, Pharaoh Mentuhotep IV who employed the Vizier Amenemhat and again continued the same governmental policies.
The Vizier rose to become Pharaoh Amenemhat I and commenced Dynasty 12 which would rule continually for approximately 200 years. His reign instigated an era of successful art and architecture that is still seen as unique today. To guarantee he was seen as being a successful ruler in his own right, he moved the Capital City to Itjtawy, just south of Memphis.
Although historians cannot be certain, it appears as though Pharaoh took on his son and heir as co-regent, the future Pharaoh Senusret I, around Regnal Year 20, probably to ensure a smooth onward reach of power considering this being a new dynasty. They ruled together for approximately 10 years during which they looked to expand Egypt’s southern borders down towards the Second Cataract of the Nile.
On her death the 12th Dynasty ended as she had no heir and so the Throne passed to Pharaoh Sobekhotep I who began the 13th Dynasty and the beginning of what we now term the Third Intermediate Period.
During this 12th Dynasty many of the populace became scared about losing what their powerful lines of Pharaohs had allowed them to gain. This led to the huge rise in popularity of the God Osiris, his Cult at Abydos, and the enthronement of the new chief deity, God Amun who combined the creator God Amun with the Sun God Ra, who was also known as Amun Ra with his Precinct of Amun at Karnak Temple.