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The Twenty-first Dynasty in Ancient Egypt

  • 05 16, 2023

The Twenty-First Dynasty in Ancient Egypt

Manetho leads his 21st dynasty of the seven rulers of Tanis, Smendes, a pronunciation of Nesbanebded that hits the mark. Smendes, as a native of Djed, could not have had any personal right to the throne, and it seems obvious that he owed the royal title not only to his strong character but also to his wife Tentaman; evidently, this woman was the link between Thebes and Tanis. It is strange, however, that Thebes has so meekly accepted Tanis' supremacy.

The only remaining document from the kingdom of Smendes is a very damaged inscription on a pillar in the quarry of Gebelen, which tells how this pharaoh, while he was in his palace in Memphis, decided to honor himself with some act of piety. Having been told that a colonnade built by Tuthmosis III in Luxor was subject to dangerous floods that rose to the roof, the king sent three thousand workers to cut the stones necessary for the restoration.

Psusennes was the second king of the 21st dynasty. His name means " The Star that rose in Thebes ", rather unusual for a pharaoh who reigned only in the north of Egypt. How curious it is also the fact that in Tanis Psusennes I, he often bears the epithet of " High Priest of Amun-Ra ", and that among all his titles the expression "great of monuments in Ipet-eswe" also appears once (i.e. in Karnak).

According to Manetho, Psusennes reigned for 26 years, but his reign was likely to be longer. Like all rulers of the 21st dynasty, he was not buried in Biban el-Muluk; his grave was unearthed in Tanis. This sepulcher is a miserable and modest construction when compared to the large underground tombs west of Thebes, not to mention the imposing pyramids of ancient times.

Twenty-first dynasty: from 1085 to 950 BC. M
- Nesubandah (Sundus)
- Herihor
- Basib Khenou I
- Bai Nzm first
- Amnem Opt
- Sia Moon
- Bseib Khenou II


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The Twenty-First Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, also known as the Tanite Dynasty, marked a time of division and political turmoil in Egypt. It followed the decline of the New Kingdom and saw multiple pharaohs ruling simultaneously in different regions. Notable figures include Psusennes I and Osorkon II. This dynasty contributed to the fragmentation of Egypt's central authority and the weakening of its influence.


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