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Ancient Egypt - The First Intermediate Period


The First Intermediate Period lasted 250 years which is amazing to consider since it was a dark age that we know very little about. No list of pharaohs exist for this period. Manetho describes the 7th Dynasty as '70 kings who ruled in 70 days'. This was a poetic form of symbolizing a demise of the central government.

Excavations at Memphis are difficult because of the high water table and extensive cultivation, and thus its a 'lost city'. Because the capital is gone, the First Intermediate Period is hard to study.

From what we do have of the sources we can surmise the following:

The 8th Dynasty comprised of 17 or so kings, possibly descended from Pepi II that claimed to govern from Memphis. Their authority was mostly limited to around the city.

By this point, the Delta had been invaded by so called 'Asiatics' from the East. Specific information about this invasion is lacking.

The City of Herakleopolis had taken control of Middle Egypt, and had founded the 9th Dynasty, which could have controlled the entire country for a while. Manetho mentions the cruelty of a 9th Dynasty king, named Achtoes, whom the gods of Egypt take care of.

The records are still vague, but by the 10th Dynasty, almost 30 years later, dual sovereignty had been established: The 10th Dynasty from Herakleopolis ruling the North, while a new rival family, establishing the 11th Dynasty, ruled the South from Thebes.

This was a war torn period of time. These two hostile powers continued to grow in strength which resulted in frequent clashes along the border (mostly north of Abydos).


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