Twelfth dynasty of Egypt

Dynasties of Pharaohs
in Ancient Egypt
Protodynastic Period
Early Dynastic Period
1st 2nd
Old Kingdom
3rd 4th 5th 6th
First Intermediate Period
7th 8th 9th 10th
11th (Thebes only)
Middle Kingdom
11th (All Egypt)
12th 13th 14th
Second Intermediate Period
15th 16th 17th
New Kingdom
18th 19th 20th
Third Intermediate Period
21st 22nd 23rd 24th 25th
Late Period
26th 27th 28th
29th 30th 31st
Graeco-Roman Period
Ptolemaic Roman Empire
Pharaoh Name Dates
Amenemhat I 1991-1962
Senusret I(Sesostris I) 1971-1926
Amenemhat II 1929-1895
Senusret II(Sesostris II) 1897-1878
Senusret III(Sesostris III) 1878-1841
Amenemhat III 1842-1797
Amenemhat IV 1798-1786
Sobeknefru 1785-1782

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 Itjtaway. 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.

This dynasty was founded by Amenemhat I, who 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.

Finding Nubia had grown restive under the previous rulers, Senusret sent punitve expeditions into that land; he also sent an expedition into Palestine and Syria. 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!

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 handle. Amenemhat was remembered for the mortuary temple at Hawara he built known to Herodotus, Diodorus, and Strabo as the "Labyrinth". Also under his reign the marshy Fayyum was first exploited.

The pharaohs of the Twelfth dynasty are credited with the earliest known construction of canal running through the Wadi Tumilat; it would later be renewed under kings Necho II and Darius I. It is during the Twelfth dynasty that we find the 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 Instruction of Amenemhat I and the Protests of the Eloquent Peasant.

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

pt:Décima segunda dinastia (Egipto)


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