Eleventh Dynasty of Egypt

The Eleventh Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty XI) is a well-attested group of rulers. Its earlier members before Pharaoh Mentuhotep II are grouped with the four preceding dynasties to form the First Intermediate Period, whereas the later members are considered part of the Middle Kingdom. They all ruled from Thebes in Upper Egypt.

ca. 2130 BC–ca. 1991 BC
Common languagesEgyptian language
ancient Egyptian religion
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy
Historical eraBronze Age
ca. 2130 BC
ca. 1991 BC
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Tenth Dynasty of Egypt
Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt

The relative chronology of the 11th Dynasty is well established by contemporary attestations and, except for count Intef and Mentuhotep IV, by the Turin canon.[1]

Pharaohs of Dynasty XI
PharaohHorus nameReignBurialConsort(s)Comments
Intef the ElderIry-pat, "the Count", probably the same person as "Intef, son of Iku".[1] Theban nomarch serving an unnamed king.
Mentuhotep ITepya2134 BC ?Neferu ITepy-a, "the ancestor"
Intef ISehertawy?–2118 BCEl-Tarif, ThebesSon of Mentuhotep I
Intef IIWahankh2118–2069 BCEl-Tarif, ThebesNeferukayet?Brother of Intef I
Intef IIINakhtnebtepnefer2069–2061 BCEl-Tarif, ThebesIahSon of Intef II
Nebhepetre Mentuhotep IISeankhibtawy;
2061–2010 BCDeir el-BahariTem
Neferu II
Son of Intef III and Iah. Reunifies Egypt starting the Middle Kingdom.
Sankhkare Mentuhotep IIISankhtawyef2010–1998 BCDeir el-Bahari[2]Son of Mentuhotep II and Tem
Nebtawyre Mentuhotep IVNebtawy1998–1991 BCSon of Queen Imi

Manetho's statement that Dynasty XI consisted of 16 kings, who reigned for 43 years is contradicted by contemporary inscriptions and the evidence of the Turin King List, whose combined testimony establishes that this kingdom consisted of seven kings who ruled for a total of 143 years.[3] However, his testimony that this dynasty was based at Thebes is verified by the contemporary evidence. It was during this dynasty that all of ancient Egypt was united under the Middle Kingdom.

This dynasty traces its origins to a nomarch of Thebes, "Intef the Great, son of Iku", who is mentioned in a number of contemporary inscriptions. However, his immediate successor Mentuhotep I is considered the first king of this dynasty.

An inscription carved during the reign of Wahankh Intef II shows that he was the first of this dynasty to claim to rule over the whole of Egypt, a claim which brought the Thebans into conflict with the rulers of Herakleopolis Magna, Dynasty X. Intef undertook several campaigns northwards, and captured the important nome of Abydos.

Warfare continued intermittently between the Thebean and Heracleapolitan dynasts until the 14th regnal year of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II, when the Herakleopolitans were defeated, and this dynasty could begin to consolidate their rule. The rulers of Dynasty XI reasserted Egypt's influence over her neighbors in Africa and the Near East. Mentuhotep II sent renewed expeditions to Phoenicia to obtain cedar. Sankhkara Mentuhotep III sent an expedition from Coptos south to the land of Punt.

The reign of its last king, and thus the end of this dynasty, is something of a mystery. Contemporary records refer to "seven empty years" following the death of Mentuhotep III, which correspond to the reign of Nebtawyra Mentuhotep IV. Modern scholars identify his vizier Amenemhat with Amenemhat I, the first king of Dynasty XII, as part of a theory that Amenemhat became king as part of a palace coup. The only certain details of Mentuhotep's reign was that two remarkable omens were witnessed at the quarry of Wadi Hammamat by the vizier Amenemhat.

See also


  1. Schneider, Thomas (2006-12-30). Hornung, Erik; Krauss, Rolf; Warburton, David A. (eds.). Ancient Egyptian Chronology. p. 160–161. ISBN 9789047404002. (mirror)
  2. Wilkinson, Richard H. (2000). The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt. p. 37, 172, 173, 181. ISBN 9780500051009.
  3. Beckerath, J. V. (1962). "The Date of the End of the Old Kingdom of Egypt". Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 21 (2): 140–147. doi:10.1086/371680.
Preceded by
Tenth Dynasty
Dynasty of Egypt
2134 − 1991 BC
Succeeded by
Twelfth Dynasty
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