Third Intermediate Period of Egypt


Third Intermediate Period of Egypt

The Third Intermediate Period refers to the time in Ancient Egypt from the death of Pharaoh Ramesses XI in 1070 BC to the foundation of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty by Psamtik I in 664 BC, following the expulsion of the Nubian rulers of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty.

Political developments

This period is characterized by the country's fracturing kingship. Even in Ramesses' day, the Twentieth dynasty was losing its grip on power in the city of Thebes, whose priests were becoming increasingly powerful. After his death, his successor Smendes I ruled from the city of Tanis, and the High Priests of Amun at Thebes ruling the south of the country. In fact, this division was less significant than it seems, since both priests and pharaohs came from the same family.

The country was firmly reunited by the Twenty-Second Dynasty founded by Shoshenq I in 945 BC (or 943 BC), who descended from Meshwesh immigrants, originally from Ancient Libya. This brought stability to the country for well over a century, but after the reign of Osorkon II, particularly, the country had effectively splintered into two states with Shoshenq III of the Twenty-Second Dynasty controlling Lower Egypt by 818 BC while Takelot II and his son Osorkon B(the future Osorkon III) ruled Middle and Upper Egypt. In Thebes, a civil war engulfed the city between the forces of Pedubast, who had proclaimed himself Pharaoh versus the existing line of Takelot II/Osorkon B. These two factions squabbled consistently and the conflict was only resolved in Year 39 of Shoshenq III when Osorkon B comprehensively defeated his enemies. He proceeded to find the Upper Egyptian Libyan Dynasty of Osorkon III – Takelot III – Rudamun, but this kingdom quickly fragmented after Rudamun's death with the rise of local city states under kings such Peftjaubast of Herakleopolis, Nimlot of Hermopolis, and Ini at Thebes.

The Nubian kingdom to the south took full advantage of this division and political instability. Prior to Piye's Year 20 campaign into Egypt, the previous Nubian ruler – Kashta – had already extended his kingdom's influence over into Thebes when he compelled Shepenupet, the serving Divine Adoratice of Amun and Takelot III's sister, to adopt his own daughter Amenirdis, to be her successor. Then, 20 years later, around 732 BC his successor, Piye, marched North and defeated the combined might of several native Egyptian rulers butt Peftjaubast, Osorkon IV of Tanis, Iuput II of Leontopolis and Tefnakht of Sais. Piye established the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty and appointed the defeated rulers as his provincial governors. He was succeeded first by his brother, Shabaka, and then by his two sons Shebitku and Taharqa respectively.

The international prestige of Egypt had declined considerably by this time. The country's international allies had fallen firmly into the sphere of influence of Assyria and from about 700 BC the question became when, not if, there would be war between the two states. Despite Egypt's size and wealth, Assyria had a greater supply of timber, while Egypt had a chronic shortage, allowing Assyria to produce more charcoal needed for iron-smelting and thus giving Assyria a greater supply of iron weaponry. This disparity became critical during the Assyrian invasion of Egypt in 670 BC.cite book |last=Shillington |first=Kevin |title=History of Africa |year=2005 |publisher=Macmillan Education |location=Oxford |isbn=0-333-59957-8 |pages=p. 40]

Consequently, Pharaoh Taharqa's reign and that of his successor, (his cousin) Tanutamun, were filled with constant conflict with the Assyrians. Despite numerous victories against the Assyrians, Thebes was eventually occupied and Memphis was sacked. The dynasty ended with its rulers stuck in the relative backwater of the city of Napata.

Instead Egypt was ruled (from 664 BC, a full eight years prior to Tanutamun's death) by the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty, client kings established by the Assyrians. Psamtik I was the first to be recognised by them as the King of the whole of Egypt, and he brought increased stability to the country in a 54 year reign from the city of Sais. Four successive Saite kings continued guiding Egypt into another period of unparalleled peace and prosperity from 610-526 BC. Unfortunately for his dynasty, a new power was growing in the Near East – Persia. Pharaoh Psamtik III had succeeded his father Ahmose II for only 6 months before he had to face the Persian Empire at Pelusium. The Persians had already taken Babylon and Egypt was no match. Psamtik was defeated and briefly escaped to Memphis, before he was ultimately imprisoned and, later, executed at Susa, the capital of the Persian king Cambyses, who now assumed the formal title of Pharaoh.

Historiography

The historiography of this period is disputed for a variety of reasons. Firstly there is a dispute about the utility of a very artificial term that covers an extremely long and complicated period of Egyptian history. The Third Intermediate period includes long periods of stability as well as chronic instability and civil conflict: its very name rather clouds this fact. Secondly there are significant problems of chronology stemming from several areas: first, there are the difficulties in dating common to all of Egyptian chronology but these are compounded due to synchronsyms with Biblical Archaeology that also contain heavily disputed dates. Finally, some Egyptologists and biblical scholars, such as Kenneth Kitchen, or David Rohl have novel or controversial theories about the family relationships of the dynasties comprising the period.

References

Bibliography

* Dodson, Aidan Mark. 2001. “Third Intermediate Period.” In "The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt", edited by Donald Bruce Redford. Vol. 3 of 3 vols. Oxford, New York, and Cairo: Oxford University Press and The American University in Cairo Press. 388–394.
* Kitchen, Kenneth Anderson. [1996] . "The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100–650 BC)". 3rd ed. Warminster: Aris & Phillips Limited.
* Myśliwiec, Karol. 2000. "The Twighlight of Ancient Egypt: First Millennium B.C.E." Translated by David Lorton. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
* Taylor, John H. 2000. “The Third Intermediate Period (1069–664 BC).” In "The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt", edited by Ian Shaw. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 330–368.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Third Intermediate Period — (c. 1069–716 BC)    The term used by some Egyptologists for the period between the end of Dynasty 20 and the beginning of Dynasty 26, although some end it with the inception of Dynasty 25. During this time, Egypt was again divided, with the south …   Ancient Egypt

  • Egypt, ancient — Introduction  civilization in northeastern Africa dating from the 3rd millennium BC. Its many achievements, preserved in its art and monuments, hold a fascination that continues to grow as archaeological finds expose its secrets. This article… …   Universalium

  • Egypt Eyalet — ايالة مصر (Arabic) Eyalet i Mısır (Turkish) Egypt Eyalet Province of the Ottoman Empire …   Wikipedia

  • EGYPT —    The Egyptian civilization arose in the Nile valley at about the same time as that of Mesopotamia, and their development followed a similar trajectory. It is possible that indirect links existed between the two regions since prehistoric times,… …   Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia

  • EGYPT — EGYPT, country in N.E. Africa, centering along the banks of the River Nile from the Mediterranean coast southward beyond the first cataract at Aswan. The ancient Egyptians named their land Kemi, the Black Land, while the neighboring Asiatic… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Third gender — The terms third gender and third sex describe individuals who are considered to be neither women nor men, as well as the social category present in those societies who recognize three or more genders.The state of being neither male nor female may …   Wikipedia

  • History of ancient Egypt — The History of ancient Egypt spans the period from the early predynastic settlements of the northern Nile Valley to the Roman conquest in 30 BC. The Pharaonic Period is dated from around 3150 BC, when Lower and Upper Egypt became a unified state …   Wikipedia

  • List of Egypt-related articles — Articles (arranged alphabetically) related to Egypt include:0 9First dynasty of Egypt 1st through 31st Thirty first dynasty of EgyptAAaru Ababda Abbas I of Egypt Abbas II of Egypt Abbasid Fifi Abdou Pope Abraham of Alexandria Abu Gorab Abu Hafs… …   Wikipedia

  • Twenty-third dynasty of Egypt — The Twenty third Dynasty of ancient Egypt was a separate regime of Meshwesh Libyan kings, who ruled ancient Egypt. This dynasty is often considered part of the Third Intermediate Period.RulersThere is much debate surrounding this dynasty, which… …   Wikipedia

  • Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt — The Twenty First, Twenty Second, Twenty Third, Twenty Fourth and Twenty Fifth Dynasties of ancient Egypt are often combined under the group title, Third Intermediate Period.RulersThe known rulers, in the History of Egypt, for the Twenty First… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.