the defeat of Panehsy by General Piankh, the Egyptians did
not re-take control of Nubia. Due to this Egypt lost access
to the gold mines and reduced its ability to trade. This seriously affected
the revenue received from these areas. The Twenty First Dynasty
was a combination of northern kings and Theban based army commanders who
were also high priests of Amun.
of the Ancient Egyptian dynasties in the third Intermediate period
first king of this dynasty was Smendes. He was based in Tanis,
located in the Egyptian Delta area. During this phase of history
the God Amun was seen as the Supreme God and the "True King of
Egypt". The pharaohs were now viewed as appointees of Amun.
Tanis was created as a Northern cult centre of Amun. Temples to
the Theban Triad were erected here and the kings of the Twenty First
Dynasty were buried inside the area of the temples. Memphis remained
the administrative centre.
Egypt power was held by the family of General Piankh, who combined
the roles of Commander of the Army and High Priest ofAmun. Their
power originated from oracles proclaimed by Amun,
of the Theban Triad. The kings based in Tanis were recognized as
Kings of Egypt, but the control of Upper and
belonged to the Theban based commanders. During this time the Valley of
the Kings was no longer used for Royal burials, leading to the village
of Deir El-Medina being broken up. Many of the tombs were raided,
their riches stolen and the mummies re buried in secret caches.
jars from the third intermediate period
the deaths of Smendes and his successor, Amenemnisu, Psusennes
I became king. He was the son of Pinudjem I, a Theban commander.
brother, took control of Upper Egypt. The same family therefore
controlled the whole of Egypt for a while. In 984 BC, another
family took control of the Delta area. A Libyan,
Elder, then became king. The Twenty First Dynasty ended however
with a Theban commander as king. This was
large number of Libyans had settled in Egypt as immigrants, or as
captives of war and a large proportion of the Egyptian army comprised of
Libyan mercenaries by the end of the New Kingdom. At the start of
the Twenty Second Dynasty, the Chief of Meshwesh, a Libyan
Tribe, became ruler of Egypt. He was King Sheshonq I, who
was the nephew of King Osorkon the Elder and Father-in-Law
to Psusennes II`s daughter.
reign New Kingdom models of Pharaonic rule were reinstated. Prince
Iuput, one of Sheshonq`s sons became High Priest of Amun,
along with army commander. This was an attempt to curb the independence
of Thebes. Sheshonq I led military expeditions in the Levant region
for the first time in over a century. Inscriptions at Karnak talk
of one such expedition against Israel and
Judah, along with
the Palestinian towns of Gaza and Megiddo.
campaign is also recorded in the Bible (1KGS. 14:25-6). The
campaign was in support of an Egyptian exile, Jeroboam, who had
taken the throne in Judah. Soon after Sheshonq returned to
he died. Sheshonq I had planned to build a great court at Karnak.
The only part to be completed was the "Bubastite Portal" which records
his Palestinian victories.
rulers continued to regain power lessening the strength of the King and
leading to Egypt`s fragmentation. The position of High Priest of
Amun once again became hereditary. Despite the attempt to position
royal relations in key posts in major cities, e.g. Memphis and Thebes,
these provincial areas continued to become more independent of the state.
a statue of Osorkon II found in Tanis, Osorkon II asks
to appoint his children to important civil and religious positions and
to ensure that "no brother should be jealous of brother". The decentralization
of Egypt continued during the late Eighth Century BC.
The provinces being ruled by princes and Libyan rulers. In an attempt to
regain authority in Thebes violence resulted. An inscription can be seen
on the Bubastite Portal at Karnak describing the conflicts
that arose as Prince Osorkon, Takelot II's son, tried to
take over as High Priest of Amun.
local rulers took on the titles of kingship having gained much autonomy
during the reign of Sheshonq III. Pedubastis I was the first
such ruler. His rule was acknowledged by Thebes instead of Sheshonq
II`s. This continued for many of his successors. Some of these local
kings are known as rulers of the Twenty Third Dynasty.
were two kings based in the Delta in 730 BC, at Bubastis and
Leontopolis, another at Hermopolis and one at Herakleopolis
(in Upper Egypt). There was also a "Prince of the West" based
in Sais, a Prince Regent and four Great chiefs of Ma. The
Prince of the West, Tefnakht, controlled the Western Delta
Kushite rulers became stronger in the latter half of the 8th century
BC. The Nubian ruler, Piy, led his troops into Egypt to counteract
push further south. Thebes soon became controlled by Piy,
along with many towns and cities in northern Upper Egypt.
gained control of Memphis using his military might. Piy then
returned to Nubia. Tefnakht then became the acknowledged
successor, Bakenrenef, was from the 24th Dynasty. He was
based at Sais, but was acknowledged as the king as far south as
BC, the Nubian king, Shabaqo, again invaded Egypt.Shabaqo
and his successors were known as the 25th Dynasty. Despite the previous
Egyptian ruler, Bakenrenef being executed the new dynasty did not
succeed in Returning Egypt to a centralized state. These Kushite
rulers were seen as overlords while local dynasts continued to control
their own areas. The Kushite Kings wished to be accepted as traditional
pharaohs. In an attempt to achieve this they associated themselves with
various traditional religious beliefs. They made Memphis their base
and encouraged the revival of styles of art, literature and religion from
the previous "Glory days" of Egypt. Thebes again became an
important religious center. The power and status of the High Priest
of Amun was much reduced. The role of "God`s Wife of Amun"
became more important. The position was usually held by a celibate Priestess
who was often a royal Princess.
kings of the 25th dynasty were not satisfied to retain the rule
of Egypt but wished to expand her empire again. In doing this they
encountered the forces of Assyria who were also trying to take control
of the Levant. Throughout the reign of Taharqo, Egypt had
to attempt to defend her borders from Assyrian attacks. Eventually Thebes
to the Assyrian, Ashurbanipal and the Kushite ruler was banished
coffin of Henettawy. C 1040 - 331 BC. 3rd Intermediate Period Egyptian.
Thebes. During the 21st dynasty the tombs no longer contained elaborate
texts and images. these were now located on the surfaces of the coffin
itself and on papyri.
a soul from a tomb casket. C 1000 BC. Now in Paris, Louvre.
of the book of the dead of Nany, C 1040 - 945 BC. Dynasty 21, reigns
of Psusennes I-II, third intermediate period.
from the 21st Dynasty.
Osorkon I C 924 - 889 BC. 3rd Intermediate Period sculpture. From Lebanon,