The rulers of dynasty eleven started the process of reunification of Egypt.They brought the lifestyle and local gods of the south to the whole country. In some charts this dynasty belongs to the Middle Kingdom and most charts have six rulers starting with Antef I. Since the dynasty only ruled the united Egypt for around 40 years at the end, it's not correct to put it in the Middle Kingdom. The kings called Mentuhotep can be three or four in different lists (even those made by scholars of the trade) depending on which Mentuhotep is concidered to be the founder. Their throne names is the best way for a correct identification.
The earliest known leader from Thebes before this dynasty was formed was a curtain "Antef - son of Ikui". (Antef can also have the spellings Intef and Inyotef). He must have lived around 2130 B.C. and is mentioned as predecessor of Mentuhotep (I) from the "Hall of an- cestors" in the Karnak temple from the 18th dynasty built by Thotmes III. He is there given the unusual title: "Count and Hereditary Prince." A stela from Drab Abu Naga calls him: "the Hereditary Price, Count of the Great Lord of the Theban Nome - Antef." A stela from Dendera describes him in asimilar way as: "The Great Prince of the South - Antef". Possibly he was related to the old royal family as he was given a prince-title, but the origin of his parents are unknown and a remark- able fact is that just his father's name is mentioned (several times) and not his mother's from whom he (if so) had inherited his title. There are no records telling if the following pharaohs were descendents of his, but since three of them were called Antef it may be the case.
This leader called himself "Supreme chief of Upper Egypt" and is in some modern lists numbered as Mentuhotep I and as such the founder of the dynasty. It is not known who his father was, but it might be the Antef mentioned above. No con- temporary remains tell that he ever claimed to be pharaoh over Egypt and his name has not been found written within sereks or cartouches from his own time. His son and follower on the other hand (below) called himself "King over the Two Lands". The Canon of Turin has for this 11th dynasty a row (first of six) where the name is lacking and this might indicate that he was concidered a king and had a throne name of his own, which now is lost. Whether he was the first pharaoh named Mentuhotep is therefor just a question of taste. By the total years given for the whole dynasty (just six rulers in the canon) his reign is estimated to have been around seven years. The place of his tomb has not been located, but may have been in the Western Thebes the mountain side like the other rulers of dynasty 11.
Nomen : Intef
Horus name: Sehertawy
Inyotef I was the founder of the 11th Dynasty. He took Thebes as the Capitol of Egypt and ruled it from 2074 till 2064 BC. He was the son of Montuhotep I, the "elder". The king took over a divided Egypt and tried to reunite the north and the south under his power. Herakleopolitans ruled Northern Egypt during the period of the 9th and 10th Dynasties' kings. Inyotef was buried in Thebes in the mortuary complex that he built. His royal successors honored his mortuary complex and did not modify it.
The "Saff tomb" made by the Antefs I-III and the last kings of dynasty 11. A courtyard was cut into the hillside ending with several tombs for the royal family hewn in to the bedrock. The length varied from 75 to 150 metres. Remains indicate that a small pyramid might have been placed in the yard.
Inyotef II was the second king of the 11th Dynasty. The king ruled Egypt from 2064 till 2015 B.C. and took Thebes as the capitol during his reign. He was the younger brother of Inyotef I. The king led an army against his Herakloplitan allies in Assyout. His enemies ruined the city of Thinis and desecrated its tombs. Inyotef captured the entire nome but did not continue to fight the Heraklopolitans. He decided to trade with them and maintain the integrity of the Southern Kingdom without further wars. Inyotef II's wife was Queen Neferukayet. He was listed in the Westcar Papyrus and was inscribed on a mortuary stela.
Antef II, who was ruling the 7 provinces in the south of the country, struck back, and the front was moving many times from north to south before he finally manage to drive his opo- nents as far north as a good strech of valley north of Abydos up to the 13th province right at today's Asyut. By doing so half of Upper Egypt was in his hands, and the rest of his reign was peaceful. In the south he broke through to the first cataract at Aswan early in his reign. By this he regained Egypt's traditional southern border to the south and built a temple to the goddess Satet on the island Elephantine at the very same location.
After his earthly deeds he was put to rest in a rock cut tomb next to his predecessor's in the Theban necropolis. In his mortuary chapel was retrieved a magni- ficent limestone stela with high reliefs of the king's favourite dogs (picture left), standing by their master.
Curiously this fine work of art was known to Egyptologist before it was found, because it had been written about in other records from the twentieth dynasty a thousand years after it was made.
A necropolis inspector had come across it and considered it s very re- markable old work of art worth reporting to his chief about, and so he did which was a lucky strike for egyptology.
Two of the dogs can be identified by the hieroglyphs beside them telling their Libyan names with the Egyptian translation at the side. The one in the middle probably had a name common for the two languages. From the top they are:
1) BEHEKAY (Egyptian: Mahedj) meaning "gazelle".
2) ABAQER (no translation) meaning "greyhound", probably in both languages.
3) PEHETEZ (Egyptian: Kemu) meaning "Blackie".
The last name has the same word root for "black" (kem) as Kemet (the black land) which was the Egyptians' name for their country.
These three dogs (slightly adjusted in the picture) are probably the oldest in human history known by their names. Notable is the artist’s practical aim to get a straight vertical right end to his work, and this was achieved by ordering Blackie to sit down on his master's foot!
Son of : Inyotef II Wahankh
Wife : Iah
Son : Mentuhotep II
Daughter: Neferu II
This king does not appear in any of the other sources for as far as I known.
Inyotef was the third king of the 11th Dynasty. He ruled Ancient Egypt from 2015 till 2007 BC. As any 11th Dynasty king, he took Thebes as the capitol for his throne. Inyotef kept all the regions that his Theban predecessors left for him to rule. He defended the city of Abydos from many Herakleopolitan assaults. Inyotef's name is inscribed in the mountains of Silsileh. Queen Aoh was his main wife and the mother of his heir Montuhotep II. Inyotef's daughter Neferu married his heir. The king had a second queen in his reign called Henite.
This period is marked with foreign trade and enormous building projects. There is a refinement in the making of jewelry. Prosperity and renaissance existed for a long period of time, but eventually, internal problems become apparent.
Son of Inyotef III and Iah : Winlock has Nebhepetre as the son of a king named Se’ankh-ib-tawy Mentuhotep.
Amunet : Buried in the temple precinct of the temple at Deir el-Bahari.
As : A concubine mentioned in the inscriptions of the temple at Deir el-Bahari
Ashayet : Buried in tomb DBXI.17 within the mortuary temple of her husband. Her sarcophagus and mummy are in the Cairo museum.
Henhenet: Buried in tomb DBXI.15 within the mortuary temple of her husband. Died in child-birth.
Kawit : Buried in tomb DBXI.9 within the mortuary temple of her husband.
Kemsit : Buried in TT308. Title given as "sole adornment of the king"
Ment: Royal Lady mentioned on bandages of Amunet
Neferu II: Daughter of Inyotef III and Iah, sister-wife of Mentuhotep II. Buried in TT319 at Deir-el-Bahari.
Ten-net: Royal Lady mentioned on bandages of Amunet
Sadhe: Buried in tomb DBXI.7 within the mortuary temple of her husband.
Tem : Mother of Mentuhotep III. Buried in tomb DBXI.15 within the mortuary temple of her husband.
This king does not appear in any of the other sources for as far as I known.
For everyone who studies Egyptian history, we like to point out occasionally the fallacy of accepting a single reference about many different ancient topics. One problem with experts is they have their own opinions, which they often state unequivocally, even though others disagree. References on the first ruler of the Middle Kingdom are a perfect example of this.
His throne name was most certainly Neb-hetep-re, meaning "Pleased is the Lord Re", though we also find it spelled Nebhepetra. But this is not his common, or birth name, and here we run into problems. "Chronicle of the Pharaohs" by Peter A. Clayton refers to him as Mentuhotep I, and gives his reign as 2060-2010. However, the "Oxford History of Ancient Egypt" edited by Ian Shaw gives his name as Mentuhotep II, with a reign from 2055-2004 while Aidan Dodson in his book, "Monarchs of the Nile" refers to him as Montjuhotpe II, with a reign from 2066-2014. "A History of Ancient Egypt" by Nicolas Grimal calls him Mentuhotpe II, with a reign from 2040-2009, while "Who Were the Pharaohs" by Stephen Quirke simple calls him, as well as the following two kings Mentuhotep, without elaboration or dates.
So much for Egyptology being consistent, but never fear, they are all talking about the same king, and they all place his rule as the first of the Middle Kingdom and within the 11th Dynasty. However one names him, his birth name, Mentuhotep, means "The God Montu is Content". It should be noted that Montu was a Theban god of war. Mentuhotep ruled Egypt from Thebes, which until then, had not been as prominent as it later became.
We believe he was the son or heir of Intef III, for a number of reasons. First, there is a relief located at Wadi Shatt el-Rigal, near Gebel es-Silsila, that incorporates a colossal figure of Mentuhotep II dwarfing three other figures believed to be he mother, Intef III and Khety his chancellor. There is also a masonry block found at Tod with reliefs portraying Mentuhotep II towing over three kings, named Inhtef, lined up behind him. However, Mentuhotep worked so diligently to enhance his reputation with his contemporaries with self-deification that some Egyptologists believe he may not have been a legitimate heir to the throne, though this might also be explained by his efforts to reunite Egypt.
Part of the Jubilee celebration scene of Mentuhotep II from Armant.
Montuhotep's principle wife was Tem, but he had a number of lesser consorts. A second major wife was Neferu, who mothered his heir to the throne, and we also know of a wife named Henhenet who died in childbirth.
Though he reunited Egypt after the First Intermediate Period, he did not do this immediately, and we find him with a number of Horus names that follow a progression. First, he was "He who gives heart to the Two Lands", followed by "Lord of the White Crown" (Upper Egypt) and finally Sematuawy, "Uniter of the Two Lands", as he apparently unified Egypt. Indeed, in later inscriptions, the king was set alongside Menes as being the second founder of the Egyptian State.
At first, his reign was probably peaceful, but latter became most certainly a bloody one, and with a highly militaristic focus. Near his temple at Thebes, American archaeologist Herbert Winlock found a mass tomb in the 1920s with the bodies of 60 of his soldiers who were lain in battle. There place of burial near the King suggests that the battle they fought was an important one, but sources disagree on where they might have fought. In the tomb of a local prince or general named Mesehti at Asyut, we also find models of marching Egyptian soldiers and even in the tombs of common people, we find an increase in the inclusion of weapons among grave goods.
In year 14 of his rule, we know that a revolt took place in the Abydos area by the Hierakleopolitan forces, and that he quickly crushed it. Afterwards, his armies slowly drove the Hierakleopolitan
Reconstruction of the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep at Deir el Bahari in West Thebes. His tomb was cut deep into the bedrock behind and underneath the building. Right: a life size sandstone statue of the king.
forces north eventually leading to his overall rule of Egypt, but even by year 39 of his rule, when the country was wellunder his control, he continued his military campaigns into Nubia. It would appear that there might have even been an Egyptian based local kingdom established in the area around Abu Simbel, and so he apparently crushed these upstarts, as well as initiating other policing actions in Lower Nubia. One such expedition was led by his Chancellor, Khety, illustrating the importance Mentuhotep II placed on reopening Egypt's access to Nubia, and beyond.
However, he did have a long reign, perhaps as long as 50 years, and peace did finally return to Egypt proper, along with prosperity. Mentuhotep II initiated a number of building projects, including in the areas of el-Kab, Gebelein, Tod, Deir el-Ballas, Dendera, Karnak, Abydos, Aswan and Armant. His greatest building work, however, was his temple and tomb on the west bank at Thebes (Modern Luxor). It is located in the cliffs at Deir el-Bhari, next to the later and today more famous temple of Queen Hatshepsut. Many of his high officials are buried near him including his chancellor Akhtoy, his viziers Dagi and Ipi, and his chief steward Henenu.
Nebty name: Seankhtawyef
Son of: Mentuhotep Nebhepetre
Mentuhotep III (actually, the second Mentuhotep of the Middle Kingdom and sometimes referred to as Mentuhotep II), benefited from a strong and flourishing country upon the death of his father, Mentuhotep II. He used this to good advantage, though by the time he took the throne of Egypt in about 2010 BC he was relatively old and only ruled for about twelve years. Though an 11th Dynasty ruler, his order in this dynasty, perhaps as its fifty king, differs according to any number of chronicles of the period, due to the inclusion or exclusion of previous kings.
Mentuhotep, which means "The god Montu is Content" was this king's throne name. His throne name was Sankhkare, which means "Giving Life to the Soul of Re". We know little about his family. His father was presumably Mentuhotep II, and his mother is believed to have been Queen Tem.
Mentuhotep III evidently continued with many of the policies of his predecessors, which included maintaining a defensive attitude towards his neighbors on the northern frontiers, and he was eager to extend trade beyond the First Cataract of the Nile to the south. In the north, he built a series of fortresses along the border of the eastern Delta, where a cult was later dedicated to himself and the Herakleopolitan ruler, Khety III at the site of el-Khatana.
This king initiated a number of expeditions to gather raw material for his many building works, which included a number of temples and shrines. In Year 8 of his reign, we specifically learn, from a long inscription in the Wadi Hammamat, of an expedition led by his steward, Henenu, from Koptos to Wadi Gasus. The road they used had to be cleared of rebels prior to their departure, and with him, Henenu took some 3,000 soldiers. Wood was carried by his soldiers in order to build ships once they reached the Red Sea, and along their journey, they sank twelve wells to support future expeditions. After having built their ships, they departed for the land of East Africa land of Punt, the first such expedition we know of during the Middle Kingdom to do so. They acquired a number of products while in Punt, including perfume and gum. Upon their return, they apparently stopped in Wadi Hammamat in order to query stone.
It is also interesting to note the care with which Henenu treated his men. Each soldier was provided with a leather bottle, a carrying pole, two jars of water and 20 loaves a day. In addition, "the asses were laden with sandals" to provide for the troops in this harsh terrain.
Mentuhotep III's building work is characterized by a certain amount of architectural innovation. For example, at Medinet Habu he built a triple sanctuary that foreshadowed the 18th Dynasty temple built for "family" triads of gods. He was also responsible for the temple atop Thoth Hill, the highest peak overlooking the Valley of the Kings, not only had a triple sanctuary, but also incorporated the earliest extant temple pylons. Not far away lies the remains of another of his temples. He also apparently finished much of his father's building activities at Abydos, Elkab, Armant, Tod and Elephantine.
The artwork commissioned during the reign of Mentuhotep III was also innovative, and the relief work during this period is arguably the beast of the Middle Kingdom. Most of the stone carving is very fine, with raised relief conveying tremendous spatial depth with a differentiation of no more than a few millimeters of thickness within the stone. The subtlety of the portraiture and the details within the clothing on the reliefs from Tod are far better than the works commissioned by his father.
Though overall, Mentuhotep III reign seems to have been very positive, we do learn from some correspondence from a man named Hekanakht, who was the funerary priest under the vizier Ipy at Thebes, that towards the end of the king's reign, there was apparently the onset of famine in the Theban region.
We believe that, upon his death in about 1998 (according to some sources, a few years earlier) BC, Mentuhotep III was probably buried in a bay in the cliffs to the south of his fathers monument at Deir el-Bahari. Little remains of his mortuary temple beyond a causeway that apparently ends at a sloping passage going into the rock at Deir el-Bahari. His mortuary temple may have been intended to be similar to that of his fathers, but it was unfinished and uninscribed. In 1997, a Hungarian team led by Gyoro Voros found an early Middle Kingdom tomb below the peak of Thoth Hill on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes), that very likely belonged to this king. Its architecture may have been the inspiration of the bab-tombs of the early 18th Dynasty.
One wonders why Mentuhotep III's mortuary temple was unfinished, given his other monumental building activities. His successor, Mentuhotep IV could have usurped the throne, since he is missing from some king lists. His mother was apparently a commoner with no royal titles other than King's mother, so he may not have even been a member of the royal family.
Mentuhotep IV Nebtawyre
Nebty name: Nebtawy
Golden Falcon name: Netjeruneb
Nomen: MentuhotepSon of Mentuhotep III and the King’s Mother Imi.
Though Mentuhotep III Sankhkare (Mentuhotep II in a number of texts) is said by both the Saqqara and Abydos king lists as being the last of the 11th Dynasty rulers, followed immediately by Amenemhet I who founded the 12th Dynasty, the fragmentary papyrus known as the Royal Canon of Turin says there was a period of seven years without a king after Mentuhotep III. Egyptologists believe that it was Nebtawyre Mentuhotep IV who fit within this slot for a short reign of about six years. Mentuhotep was this king's birth name, meaning "The God Montu is Content". His Throne name, Nebtawyre, means "Lord of the Two Lands is Re". Unfortunately, no images of this king are known to us from reliefs or statuary.
Because his name is missing from all of these kings lists, many presume that he may have usurped the throne. His mother was a commoner with no royal titles other than "king's mother', so it is possible that he may not even have been a member of the royal family. We know virtually nothing about any other of his family members. It should also be noted that inscriptions from the Hatnub travertine quarry suggest that some of the nomarchs (provinces) in Middle Egypt might have been troublesome at about this time.
We should also note that the temple on the West Bank at Thebes cupped in a spectacular amphitheater of cliffs just a short walk from the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut, which has traditionally been ascribed to Amenemhet I, is now believed by some scholars to be attributable to Mentuhotep IV. If so, this would be about the only building established by this king.
This is a shadowy king and records regarding his reign are rare. From the reign of Amenemhet I, we find a fragment of a slate bowl discovered at Lisht in the first nome with both the name of Nebtawyre Mentuhotep and Amenemhet I. However, we do know that a vizier under Mentuhotep IV was one Amenemhet, who is well attested from a long inscription that he left in the Wadi Hammamat, He acted as Governor of the South under Mentuhotep IV, and most Egyptologists seem to believe that he is one and the same as King Amenemhet.
As vizier to Mentuhotep IV, he records that he went with an army of 10,000 (some sources say 1,000) men into the Wadi to seek and retrieve a fine flock of stone suitable for the lid of the king's sarcophagus. The text says that they were led to the block by a pregnant gazelle which, having dropped its young on to the stone to mark it, was immediately sacrificed on the block. A second miraculous event was also recorded when, after a ferocious rainstorm at Wadi Hammamat, a well 10 cubits square was revealed that was full of water to the brim. In such barren terrain, this would certainly have been a spectacular discovery.
Apparently, the block was successfully detached from the surrounding rock and safely taken to Thebes. However, during their expedition, they were also charged with finding a more favorable port on the Red Sea. Apparently, the port they found was Mersa Gawasis (Kuser), which was not established until the reign of Amenemhet II as the embarkation point for expeditions to Punt.
Regrettably, one of the reasons this king remains so obscure is that his tomb, and the sarcophagus made from the block as well as his mummy, has never been found. Perhaps Mentuhotep IV was never able to use the stone since it appears that Amenemhet, with the backing of his 10,000 (or 1,000) men, overthrew his master and proclaimed himself king, founding the 12th Dynasty. It has been suggested by Richard Tidyman tht the name of the new capital, Lisht, was a direct reference to this event, and that the literary texts known as the Prophecy of Neferti and the Instruction of Amenemhat I should be considered in the light of evidence for a civil war accompanying the takeover. However, there is really no direct evidence of such revolt and it is also possible that Mentuhotep IV simply died without an heir.
Antef, Ibkhenetre, Segerseni
At the very end of the eleventh dynasty the central power of Thebes seems to have declined for a while, at least where the authority over the province of Nubia was concerned. In nine cities an otherwise unknown "king" made his presence known by recording his name on rocks. He had both a throne name - Kakare, and a personal nomen - Antef. Maybe he was heading for the throne in Thebes but he obviously did not reach that far.
Another ruler manifesting himself in Nubia was probably called Ibkhenetre and he only showed himself with a fancy cartouche (below).
A third chief is known during the same period and he was called Segerseni with the throne name Menkhkare. He is attested for only in rock inscriptions near the town of Umbarakab in Lower Nubia.
We don't know if these local chiefs ruled simultaneously or if they succeeded each other. Egyptologist von Beckerath advocates that their reigns were at the same time ruling different parts of Nubia.
When the eleventh dynasty was coming to an endEgypt had been at peace for 40 years.