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Ancient Egypt
1. Introduction
2. People
3. Life styles
4. Culture
5. Education and Science
6. Society
7. Economy
8. Government
9. Cities and Villages
10. Language
11. Religion
12. Kings / periods
13. History
14. Map

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2181-2055 BCE

Open map of Ancient EgyptAncient Egypt /
First Intermediate Period

Ibi's pyramid at South Saqqara, Egypt.
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8th Dynasty ruler Ibi's pyramid at South Saqqara, Egypt.

Egyptian lancers. Early 11th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, around 2100 BCE. National Museum, Cairo, Egypt.
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Egyptian lancers. Early 11th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, around 2100 BCE. National Museum, Cairo, Egypt.

Years BCE; third row shows length in years
7th Dynasty
8th Dynasty

Either one dynasty erroneously divided in two, or two succeeding within a total 21 years.
9th Dynasty
10th Dynasty

Two dynasties, of Henen-nesw (Herakleopolis), lasting 105 years 2160-2055.
11th Dynasty
This dynasty of Thebes is the one that will bring unification back for Egypt, with the defeat of the 10th Dyasty in the 21st century BCE.

Period of Ancient Egypt, 2181-2055 BCE, 126 years, in which central authority was largely lost. The period was one of regional division, petty dynasties, rivalry, chaos and cultural decline. It spans 7th through the 10th Dynasties and most of the 11th Dynasty. There have been counted as many as 70 rulers.
Despite all its problems, this era had areas of stability and periods of peace and progress. Although no impressive structures have survived, artefacts show that there was a class of skilled artisans.
This period begins with the fall of the Old Kingdom, and ends with the emergence of the Middle Kingdom.
Most scholars agree that the 8th Dynasty never existed, its kings were in the same line as the 7th Dynasty kings.
The 21 years of the 7th and 8th Dynasties had kings ruling from Memphis, but central control of Egypt was either about to be lost or already lost. This period was very unstable, shifting between regional wars and the establishment of small kingdoms. Nothing is known of its kings, but their names. The only exception is Ibi, who built a small, and poorly made pyramid at South Saqqara.
In addition to the loss of a central power that could secure trade and peace, there were also problems with famine due to less water carried by the Nile.
Around 2160 most of Lower Egypt came under control of one dynasty, and its king, Meryibre Khey, ruling from Henen-nesw (Herakleopolis). Unrest would still persist in Upper Egypt, and this region came under the control of one dynasty first around 2125, ruling from Thebes. A former political centre, at Edfu, was with this defeated.
The intermediate period comes to an end with the Theban king Mentuhotep 2 when he conquered Lower Egypt around 2055, thereby ending the Herakleopan dynasties. But already Intef 2 made a claim to control all of Egypt, a claim which was more propagandistic, and which may have provoked the conflict with the rulers of Herakleopolis. Intef himself made advances into Lower Egypt, conquering Abydos, but it would still be about a decade before the unification by Mentuhotep 2.

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By Tore Kjeilen