Mentuhotep II

Mentuhotep II

Overview
Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II (2046 BC – 1995 BC) was a Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 of the 11th dynasty
Eleventh dynasty of Egypt
The eleventh dynasty of ancient Egypt was one group of rulers, whose earlier members are grouped with the four preceding dynasties to form the First Intermediate Period, while the later members are considered part of the Middle Kingdom...

, the son of Intef III
Intef III
Intef III was a Pharaohin Egypt of the Eleventh Dynasty during the First Intermediate Period. His Horus name was Nakjtnebtepnefer, which translates to "Horus, the victorious one, Lord of the good beginning". He was buried in a saff-tomb at el-Tarif , and little is known about his deeds...

 of Egypt and a minor queen called Iah. His own wife was the 'king's mother' Tem. Other wives were Neferu (his sister) and several secondary wives, one or more who it has been suggested were possibly Nubian, buried in his funerary complex. His only known son was Mentuhotep III
Mentuhotep III
Sankhkare Mentuhotep III of the Eleventh dynasty was Pharaoh of Egypt during the Middle Kingdom. He was assigned a reign of 12 years in the Turin Canon.-Family:Mentuhotep III was the son and successor of Mentuhotep II...

.

The king changed his name several times during his reign, perhaps reflecting important political events.
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Encyclopedia
Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II (2046 BC – 1995 BC) was a Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 of the 11th dynasty
Eleventh dynasty of Egypt
The eleventh dynasty of ancient Egypt was one group of rulers, whose earlier members are grouped with the four preceding dynasties to form the First Intermediate Period, while the later members are considered part of the Middle Kingdom...

, the son of Intef III
Intef III
Intef III was a Pharaohin Egypt of the Eleventh Dynasty during the First Intermediate Period. His Horus name was Nakjtnebtepnefer, which translates to "Horus, the victorious one, Lord of the good beginning". He was buried in a saff-tomb at el-Tarif , and little is known about his deeds...

 of Egypt and a minor queen called Iah. His own wife was the 'king's mother' Tem. Other wives were Neferu (his sister) and several secondary wives, one or more who it has been suggested were possibly Nubian, buried in his funerary complex. His only known son was Mentuhotep III
Mentuhotep III
Sankhkare Mentuhotep III of the Eleventh dynasty was Pharaoh of Egypt during the Middle Kingdom. He was assigned a reign of 12 years in the Turin Canon.-Family:Mentuhotep III was the son and successor of Mentuhotep II...

.

The king changed his name several times during his reign, perhaps reflecting important political events. His throne name was Nebhepetre, and he was the first ruler of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt
Middle Kingdom of Egypt
The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is the period in the history of ancient Egypt stretching from the establishment of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Fourteenth Dynasty, between 2055 BC and 1650 BC, although some writers include the Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties in the Second Intermediate...

. The Turin Canon credits him with a reign of 51 years.

In the 14th year of his reign, an uprising occurred. This was probably connected with the conflict between Mentuhotep II based in Thebes
Thebes, Egypt
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

 and the rival 10th dynasty
Tenth dynasty of Egypt
The tenth dynasty of ancient Egypt is often combined with Dynasties VII, VIII, IX and XI under the group title First Intermediate Period...

 based at Herakleopolis Magna
Herakleopolis Magna
Heracleopolis or Herakleopolis Magna is the Greek name of the capital of the Twentieth nome of ancient Egypt. It was called Henen-nesut, Nen-nesu, or Hwt-nen-nesu in ancient Egyptian, meaning 'house of the royal child.' Later, it was called Hnas in Coptic, and Ahnas in medieval Arabic writings...

.

During his reign, Mentuhotep was able to reunite ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 for the first time since the 6th dynasty
Sixth dynasty of Egypt
The sixth dynasty of ancient Egypt is often combined with Dynasties III, IV and V under the group title the Old Kingdom.-Pharaohs:...

. The exact date when reunification was achieved is not known, but it is assumed to have happened shortly before year 39 of his reign.

Mentuhotep II led military campaigns south into Nubia
Nubia
Nubia is a region along the Nile river, which is located in northern Sudan and southern Egypt.There were a number of small Nubian kingdoms throughout the Middle Ages, the last of which collapsed in 1504, when Nubia became divided between Egypt and the Sennar sultanate resulting in the Arabization...

, which had gained its independence during the First Intermediate Period. There is also evidence of military actions against Canaan. The king reorganized the country and placed a vizier at the head of the administration. The vizier
Vizier (Ancient Egypt)
The vizier was the highest official in Ancient Egypt to serve the king, or pharaoh during the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. Vizier is the generally accepted rendering of ancient Egyptian tjati, tjaty etc, among Egyptologists...

s of his reign were Bebi
Bebi (vizier)
Bebi was an Egyptian vizier under king Mentuhotep II in the Eleventh Dynasty. He is known only from a relief fragment found in the mortuary temple of the king at Deir el-Bahari. The fragment is now in the British Museum. Bebi might have been the first Middle Kingdom official with that title. His...

 and Dagi
Dagi
Dagi was an Ancient Egyptian vizier of the Eleventh Dynasty. He was in office under Mentuhotep II in the Eleventh Dynasty, around 2000 BC. The vizier was the most important official at Egyptian royal court....

. His treasurer was Khety who was involved in organising the sed festival
Sed festival
The Sed festival was an ancient Egyptian ceremony that celebrated the continued rule of a pharaoh...

 for the king. Other important officials were the treasurer Meketre
Meketre
The Ancient Egyptian noble Meketre was chancellor and chief steward during the reign of Mentuhotep II and Mentuhotep III, during the Middle Kingdom...

 and the overseer of sealers Meru
Meru (overseer of sealers)
Meru was an Ancient Egyptian official under king Mentuhotep II in the Eleventh Dynasty, around 2000 BC. Meru was overseer of sealers at the royal court and therefore one of the highest state officials....

. His general was Intef
Intef (general)
Intef was an Ancient Egyptian general of the 11th Dynasty, around 2000 BC, under king Mentuhotep II. His main title was overseer of troops often translated as general. Other titles include royal sealer and sole friend ....



Mentuhotep II was buried in a large tomb he had constructed at Deir el-Bahri
Deir el-Bahri
Deir el-Bahari or Deir el-Bahri is a complex of mortuary temples and tombs located on the west bank of the Nile, opposite the city of Luxor, Egypt....

. Mentuhotep II built temples and chapels at several places in Upper Egypt. These places include Denderah, Abydos, Armant and Gebelein
Gebelein
Gebelein is a town in Egypt. It is located on the Nile, about 40 km south of Thebes, in Qena Governorate.The modern geographic area is known as Naga el-Gherira.-Archaeology:...

.

Mentuhotep II was considered by his subjects to be half divine, half mortal. This tradition continued under his successors.

Further reading

  • W. Grajetzki, The Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt: History,Archaeology and Society, Duckworth, London 2006 ISBN 0-7156-3435-6, 18-23
  • Labib Habachi: King Nebhepetre Menthuhotep: his monuments, place in history, deification and unusual representations in form of gods. Annales du Service des Antiquités de l'Égypte 19 (1963), p. 16-52

External links