Yasser Metwally

My life…and the world

First Intermediate Period in Ancient Egyptian life (2450 BC-2040 BC)

The author: Professor Yasser Metwally

http://yassermetwally.com


After Egypt’s central government collapsed at the end of the Old Kingdom, the administration could no longer support or stabilize the country’s economy. Regional governors could not rely on the king for help in times of crisis, and the ensuing food shortages and political disputes escalated into famines and small-scale civil wars. Yet despite difficult problems, local leaders, owing no tribute to the pharaoh, used their newfound independence to establish a thriving culture in the provinces. Once in control of their own resources, the provinces became economically richer — a fact demonstrated by larger and better burials among all social classes. In bursts of creativity, provincial artisans adopted and adapted cultural motifs formerly restricted to the royalty of the Old Kingdom, and scribes developed literary styles that expressed the optimism and originality of the period.

With the decline of the royal ateliers at Memphis, the art that was produced during the 1st Intermediate Period was crude, as shown by this funerary relief from Dendara...Click to enlarge

Figure 1. With the decline of the royal ateliers at Memphis, the art that was produced during the 1st Intermediate Period was crude, as shown by this funerary relief from Dendara

Free from their loyalties to the pharaoh, local rulers began competing with each other for territorial control and political power. By 2160 BC, rulers in Herakleopolis controlled Lower Egypt, while a rival clan based in Thebes, the Intef family, took control of Upper Egypt. As the Intefs grew in power and expanded their control northward, a clash between the two rival dynasties became inevitable. Around 2055 BC the Theban forces under Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II finally defeated the Herakleopolitan rulers, reuniting the Two Lands and inaugurating a period of economic and cultural renaissance known as the Middle Kingdom.


References

  1. The Egyptian dynasties [Full text]
  2. Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt [Full text]
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November 28, 2009 - Posted by | Ancient Egyptian panorama

3 Comments »

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