Dynasty 243rd Intermediate Period - Egypt Through Time - What is Ancient Egypt?
The reign of Pharaoh Takelot III during Dynasty 23 further diluted the power of the Royal family based in Heracleopolis. He gave his own role as High Priest of Amun to his sister, Princess Shepenwepet I, and eventually gave up his rule of the Capital City to his nephew in law, Peftjauawybast. By the time of Pharaoh Rudamon, Pharaoh Shoshenq VII and Pharaoh Ini, the previous Rulers of all Middle and Upper Egypt only controlled Thebes.
Other members of the Royal Family were the new powers in the Middle Kingdom whilst the Nubians were slowly easing power towards themselves in Upper Egypt as they had already placed their daughter in Karnak Temple as the Divine Adoratrice of Amun. This signalled the end of this 23rd Theban and Heracleopolis Era. Lower Egypt remained in the rule of the now power lacking Tanite Pharaohs.
The Nubian Ruler, Piye, conquered Thebes and retook the Middle Kingdom from the Prince who was to become the founder of Egypt’s 24th Dynasty. Not wanting to subject their peoples to further unrest, all the regional Rulers of Lower Egypt gave their loyalty to Nubian Piye. Thinking his rule of the north secure, Piye went back to Nubia, in Egypt’s far south, and tried to rule from here.
Tefnakht saw the power vacuum, especially with the demise of the Tanite Pharaohs, and established himself as the first Pharaoh of Egypt’s 24th Dynasty. He based their Capital City in Sais for the relatively short period from 732 – 720 BC, with only 2 Pharaohs holding the Throne.
The Capital City of the 24th Dynasty
Sais: 732 – 720 BC
Pharaoh Tefnakht I
Tefnakht was the son of Gemnefsutkapu and grandson of Basa, Priest of Amun near Sais, but his own career took him to rule as Great Chief of the West and a Prince of Sais alongside the weakened rule of Tanite Pharaoh 22nd Dynasty Shoshenq V. His ancestry is formed mainly of Priests of Amun and was not due to rule before he was made the Great Chief of Ma and it may be that he usurped the role from a weaker predecessor who made him Crown Prince, perhaps because his predecessor had no heir although this cannot be substantiated.
Tefnakht’s power and strength originated in the Western Delta Area of Lower Egypt and on the death of the weakened Tanite Pharaoh Shoshenq V, Tefnakht fashioned a union with some more minor rulers in the Delta region and together they captured most of the Delta area and the cities of Memphis and Heracleopolis. Their ideal had been to recapture Middle and Upper Egypt and unite the country once more, but this plan failed in Heracleopolis.
There he convinced the Ruler of Heracleopolis, Nimlot, to defect to the Delta’s side which he did. This brought Heracleopolis out from the influence of the Nubian Ruler, 25th Dynasty Pharaoh Piye who had previously had Nimlot’s loyalty. Pharaoh Piye retaliated and soon the Delta Union was haltered and repelled. Pharaoh Piye retook Memphis, all the Middle Egypt territories, and all Tefnakht’s allies surrendered to Pharaoh Piye. Tefnakht himself submitted to Pharaoh Piye by letter, the only one to undertake this method of less agreeable loyalty.
After a few moths Pharaoh Piye was satisfied and returned to Nubia leaving Tefnakht freer to rule at Sais, re-establishing his power base. Not long after Pharaoh Piye was safely in Nubia, Tefnakht declared himself Pharaoh and proclaimed that his Capital was at Sais.
It is believed that Bakenranef was the son of former ruler, Pharaoh Tefnakht, and he is remembered in part for a Land Reform which allowed justice to be issued even when there was a lack of any written documentation.
There are stories that abound that he is the Pharaoh that expelled Moses and his peoples from Egypt but again, there is little to no evidence remaining that can ascertain this, merely conjecture. The tale says that Pharaoh consulted an Oracle after a disfiguring disease had beset Egypt, the Oracle told him to clean the land of anyone who was not Egyptian to rid themselves of this disease. These collected peoples were expelled from Egypt and into the desert where Moses took them to a new land where they founded a City and a Temple.
From many reports, Pharaoh Bakenranef came to a fiery end when the second Pharaoh of the 25th Dynasty, the Nubian Pharaoh Shebitqo, invaded and seized Sais, burning the captured Pharaoh Bakenranef to death.