Seventh Dynasty of Egypt


The Seventh and Eighth Dynasties of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasties VII and VIII) are often combined with Dynasties IX, X and XI (Thebes only) under the group title First Intermediate Period. The Dynasties VII and VIII date approximately from 2181 to 2160 BC.

The First Intermediate Period is the name conventionally given by Egyptologists to that period in Ancient Egyptian history between the end of the Old Kingdom and the advent of the Middle Kingdom. As such, depending on when individual historians place the 'downfall' of the Old Kingdom - with the end of either the Sixth or the Eighth Dynasties - the First Intermediate Period (sometimes abbreviated as "FIP") can be considered to embrace the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and most of the Eleventh Dynasties.

The Old Kingdom was weakened by famine and weak leadership. One theory holds that a sudden, unanticipated, catastrophic reduction in the Nile floods over two or three decades, caused by a global climatic cooling, reduced the amount of rainfall in Egypt, Ethiopia, and East Africa, contributing to the great famine and subsequent downfall of the Old Kingdom.

The last pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty was Pepi II (or possibly Nitocris). He was 6 when he ascended the throne and believed to have been 100 years old when he died, for a reign of 94 years, longer than any monarch in history. The latter years of his reign were marked by inefficiency because of Pepi's advanced age. A dark time marked by unrest followed.

The Union of the Two Kingdoms fell apart and regional leaders had to cope with the famine.Around 2160 BC a new line of pharaohs (the Ninth and Tenth Dynasties) consolidated Lower Egypt from their capital in Herakleopolis Magna, descended from a pharaoh named Akhtoy.

In the meantime, however, a rival line (the Eleventh Dynasty) based at Thebes reunited Upper Egypt and a clash between the two rival dynasties was inevitable.Around 2055 BC a descendant of Inyotef defeated the Heracleopolitan Pharaohs, reunited the Two Lands, and ruled as Mentuhotep II thereby ending the First Intermediate Period.

There are various accounts of what happened in Egypt after Pepi II died. People sought stability, but things continued in turmoil. Pepi ll's long reign had weakened central government, as the nomarchs (local governors) increasingly began to assert their independence from Pharaoh. Any nominal authority exerted by central government disappeared, as the nomarchs jostled for position, attempting to found their own dynasties.

There was a downside to the technological progress made during the Old Kingdom. Feats of engineering like the Sphinx and the pyramids at Giza had made the Egyptians complacent. This feeling of invincibility was exacerbated by the position of their country, hidden as it was in the fertile Nile Valley.

A word encapsulated how Egyptians felt about their civilization - 'Ma'at' meaning 'Stability' or 'Balance'.

Papyri dating from the Middle Kingdom show this breakdown very clearly. Due to the unstable nature of this period, no firm historical records survive from the First Intermediate Period.

There are some sources that mention a seventh dynasty which had 70 kings and which reigned for a total of 70 days. These are apocryphal, but nevertheless show how much the system had broken down.

We can place an eighth dynasty, which was possibly descended in some way from Pepi II and which ruled from Memphis, but we must assume that any influence they exerted was confined to the area immediately around Memphis, as the Nile Delta has been invaded by "asiatics" (the name given by Egyptians to people from what we now call the Middle East).

The kings of the eighth dynasty are somewhat ephemeral, but we know of 2 possible ones - Wajdkare and Qakare Iby.

After perhaps between 20 and 30 years, the eighth dynasty fell and the nomarchs once again jostled for supreme power. We now see the emergence of a ninth dynasty, ruling from Herakleopolis, perhaps founded by one Meryibre Khety.

Both this dynasty and its Herakleopolitain successor, the tenth dynasty, seem to have been highly unstable, with frequent changes of ruler.

Both this dynasty and its Herakleopolitain successor, the tenth dynasty, seem to have been highly unstable, with frequent changes of ruler.

Running concurrent to the tenth dynasty, another dynasty was being established in Thebes (the eleventh dynasty). Founded by Intef I in c. 2134 BC, the first 3 kings of DXI (all called Intef and buried in an area called Dra Abu el-Naga, near to what would later become the Valley of the Kings) fought an ongoing conflict with the Herakleopolitain DX monarchs, with requent clashes in the area around Abydos, where their two spheres of influence met.




Pharaohs

Known pharaohs of the Sixth Dynasty are as follows (the absolute dates given are suggestions rather than facts, as the error margin amounts to tens of years). The pharaohs of this dynasty ruled for approximately 164 years. The Horus names and names of the Queens are taken from Dodson and Hilton. Dynasties VII and VIII are a little-known line of kings (pharaohs) during a confusing time in the history of Egypt. Known rulers for these dynasties are as follows:




Netjerkare

Netjerkare may have been a king during the First Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt. His existence is only clearly attested on the Abydos King List, where he occupies the 40th registry, as the successor to Merenre Nemtyemsaf II, skipping over the female king Nitocris. Possibly Nitocris was removed from the list, since neither Sobeknefru or Hatshepsut are on it either, however another possibility which is growing in popularity is that Nitocris never existed, and her name in hieroglyphics, Nitekreti, is a corrupted version of Netjerkare. This is suggested because it appears that Nitekreti was part of the praenomen of a male king named Siptah on the Turin Canon, who Netjerkare probably is.




Netjerkare

Menkare may have been a king of the First Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt. He is entirely unattested outside of the Abydos King List.




Neferkare II

Neferkare II may have been a seventh dynasty king of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is only attested on the Abydos King List, however J. von Beckerath believes he may have been the king with the praenomen Wadjkare, which is attested in a graffito contemporary with First Intermediate Period.




Neferkare Neby

Neferkare Neby may have been a king of the Seventh Dynasty of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is clearly attested on the Abydos King List, and unlike other kings of this period, is attested in two other sources. His mother was apparently Queen Ankhesenpepi II, which would presumably make his father Pepi II Neferkare. Neferkare Neby appears on the false door at Ankhensenpepi II's tomb, and is also inscribed on her sarcophagous. Neferkare Neby also appears to have begun planning the construction of a pyramid at Saqqara, but never significantly entered the building stage.




Djedkare Shemai

Djedkare Shemai may have been a seventh dynasty king of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is only attested on the Abydos King List.




Neferkare Khendu

Neferkare Khendu may have been a seventh dynasty king of Ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is only attested on the Abydos King List.




Merenhor

Merenhor may have been a Seventh dynasty king of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is only attested on the Abydos King List.




Neferkamin

Neferkamin may have been a seventh dynasty king of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His throne name Sneferka is attested on the Abydos King List, however he also appears on a tablet in the British Museum with the name "Neferkamin".




Nikare

Nikare may have been a seventh dynasty king of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is only attested on the Abydos King List.




Neferkare Tereru

Neferkare Tereru may have been a seventh dynasty king of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is only attested on the Abydos King List.




Neferkahor

Neferkahor may have been a seventh dynasty king of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is only attested on the Abydos King List and on a cylinder seal.



EIGHTH DYNASTY





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