10) The 13th dynasty, the kings who knew not Joseph
What exactely was the 13th dynasty? According to Manetho (all
"The 13th dynasty consisted of 60 kings of [Thebes], who reigned for 453 years."
No names are given in any of the epitomes, but, Josephus, a Jewish historian from the 1st century AD quotes from Manetho's book (that he really had access to the original is debabted, but his version was a book, not just a list, as Africanus and Eusebius sources). One of these quotes concerns the invasion of Egypt by the Hyksos, an event now dated to the mid to late13th dynasty. Unfortunately, the name of the concerned king is not certain, but a possible and very plausible reading is Toutimaios. As for the lenght, 453 years is far too long. In my opinion, the easiest solution here is to substract 2 centuries. So, the 13th dynasty lasted 253 years, hypothetically. Most authors who keep with Manetho, thought, substract as much as 3 centuries. This is very unprobable given the few remaining reign lengths given on the Turin Papyrus. (See C. Vanderslayen, L'Égypte et la Vallée du nil)
The monumental lists of Abydos and Saqqarah are completely mute on these kings, and only the Turin papyrus lists them, a number of kings probably closer to 50 than 60 (in the present reconstruction and understanding). I won't mention here, individually, all of these kings (this we'll be left for a side page) but only the most important ones in attempting an approximate chronology (precise dates will remain impossible here).
Directly after the 12th dynasty's last entry on the papyrus, one can
read the following, badly damagd yet revealing, line (#VI.4): "[...] Kings
[...] who came after [...] the King of [Upper and] Lower Egypt [Sehet]epibre,
may he live, prosper and be healthy". Sehetepibre,
as we have seen, was Amenemhat I's throne
name, the 12th dynasty's founder. Most Egyptologists place the 13th
dynasty after the 12th, assuming there were only one senior king of Egypt
during the Middle Kingdom. Yet, in the previous page, I told you
of a difficult to place line of kings, very 11th dynasty like. These
are usally assumed to have been a short-lived adversary to the 12th dynasty.
But I've shown you how, within our revised chronology, this group fitted
pretty well with Manetho's 8th dynasty (Eusebius). We have seen that,
if there were no co-regencies, that dynasty finished it's rule in 1632
± (23+X). Had there been co-regencies like in the 12th dynasty
( roughly 20%), probably the worst scenario, the dynasty could have ended
as much as 20 years earlier, so the correct statement would be 1642 ±
This date, 1632, in our new chronology, brings us to the reign of Amenemhat II, while the earlier estimate, 1642 to the close of Senousert I's, Sehetepibre's direct successor! To this syncronism, add the fact that most (but not all) known monuments of KhouaouyreOugaf, the dynasty's first king (pTurin #VI.5) were found down south, as those of "my" 8th dynasty. Taken together, these 3 elements (document, new chronology & archeology) points to a 13th dynasty that directly followed in role and position the finished 8th, early in the 12th dynasty, not at it's close.
So, if this new dynasty began it's rule as a symbolic side-kick to the 12th dynasty kings, sometimes in the reigns of Senousert I or Amenemhat II, shouldn't we find more clues? In fact, we do, but much later in time: during the reign of Amenemhat III. Indeed, the 13th dynasty's 12th king, Aouibre Hor I (pTurin #VI.17) had his tomb built very close to the pyramid of A. III at Dashour. That could be, indeed, only a coincidence. Again, these two kings were named side by side on a single document, still, given to the nature of this document, one could only want to associate his name to his predessor. But, more troubling, is an inscription on Hor's canopic chest: it was sealed by a king Nimaatre! That throne name, of course, is that of A. III. Those who insist on placing the 13th dynasty after the 12th have found multiple explanations for this staggering anomaly. But in the light of all the clues here given, and those to follow, isn't the easiest solution accepting the fact A. III and Hor I were contemporaries?
But this is not all: Hor's first and second
successors, Sedjefakare Kay
Amenemhat VII (if identical to the otherwise unknown "Djefakare")
and Sekhemre Khoutaouy Sobekhotep
II (pTurin #VI.18/19) both recorded nile levels, exactely has A.
III had done. I have shown you already how the nile-levels records
of co-regent Amenemhat IV filled in some of the holes in his fathers records.
Now, we can fill in 5 other holes. A. VII
recorded the level once, in his 1st year, while Sobekhotep
II did it at least 3 times, in his 2nd, 3rd and 4th years.
The usual model requires these records to have been made decades after
Amenemhat III's endeavour. Isn't it simpler to suppose that they
were all taken in a relatively short time span? (I must admit an
earlier record by Amenemhat V is harder, but
not impossible, to explain in the model here proposed, see next pages.)
So, while none of these clues are, by themselves, definite proofs that
the early 13th dynasty ruled simultaneously than the 12th, as a group,
they do make this possibility credible. In this model, therefore,
we get, here again assuming no co-regencies:
Dynasty 13: 1642 ± (33+X) to 1389 ± (34+X).
[had there been co-regencies during this dynasty, it could finish as much as 50 years earlier (20% of 253), but knowing the nature of this dynasty, that number of years with co-regencies is probably very small, a decade at the most, say an end in 1394 ± (39+X).]
Chronologically speaking, this leaves us with a period of roughly 105 years (1642 BC to 1537 BC) of contemporaneity with the 12th dynasty, up to at least the 13th dynasty's 14th king, Sobekhotep II, and probably a couple more ruling against Amenemhat IV and and Neferousobek. Except for Sobekhotep II, these 16 early kings are not known very well: some by their name only, others from a few monuments, but none left any remains comparable to the Senouserts and Amenemhats of dynasty 12 fame.
The remainings 148 years of the dynasty thus happened after it's powerful conterpart (the 12th) had come to an end. Interestly, from the 13th dynasty's 19th ruler comes a period of relatively well knowned rulers, with enough power to undertake conquest wars in Nubia... This is the beauty of this revised chronological scheme: the succession of well known kings knew no important breaks, as only a very short period occured between Neferousobek's death and Sekhemre Seouadjtaouy Sobekhotep III's [from pTurin line #6.24] accession. A period of 148 years for this dynasty is also much closer to what the Second intermediate period (SIP) archeology suggests. Under this scheme, we can reconcile that to the pTruin reing lenght data that suggest more than what the archeology allows.
It is here, under Sobekhotep III, that we tie in again with Biblical history. Indeed, a very important papyrus (p. Brooklyn 35.1446) from this reign records the name of many slaves. If one remembers our previous conclusions that Joseph worked for a 12th dynasty pharaoh, and that this very dynasty had recently seen its conclusion, one certainly won't be supprised by the fact that most of the slaves on papyrus Brooklin 35 are said to be of asiatic origins and to bear very hebrew-like names... In other words, we here have a document corroborating the Exodus account about the Israelite being forced into slavery. Yet another interesting discovery was made in Avaris, a city which was later renamed Pi-Ramses (i.e. the very town mentioned in the beginning of the Exodus account: 1;11) of the settlement of a very Egyptianised group of Asiatics. This population abandoned the site (to be soon reused by the Hyksos invaders) after some catastrophy, identifiable by the mass graves found on the site... Could these be the tombs of the local Egyptians first born?
Let's jump to the 22nd king: Khaneferre Sobekhotep IV, undoubtedly the dynasty's most powerful monarch, the very one who lead a compaign into Nubia. A pair of statues, if indeed in their original setting, may even indicate that, under his rule, Egypt controlled a territory larger than during the time of Senousert III, the Middle kingdom's warrior king par excellence! This Nubian connection once again refers to Hebrew history. According to Josephus and various Jewish traditions, Moses, while still at the Egyptian court, did lead a campaign into the South territories, where he even found his first wife (refered to in Numbers: 12;1). Another Jewish historian, Arthapanus, goes one step further: he gives us the name of the pharaoh for whom Moses worked: Khenephres, quite obviously the Greek equivalent to Khaneferre!! It should be stated here that Sobekhotep IV is the only king to ever use this throne name, and that he wasn't included in many king lists... So Arthapanus sources were indeed precise (even though his complete story includes some anachronisms). So, Moses worked for the fourth Sobekhotep, arguably when he was still a young man (around 20-30 years old). [Note: this Greek name might also refer the to a very similar name: Neferkare, which was bore by multiple kings, but all earlier (Old Kingdom/FIP) or later (late New Kingdom/TIP), both times when the Jewish presence is highly unlikely].
Kings of dynasty 13 generally ruled for very short durations... We can therefore expect that, from Moses banishement, most probably late in Sobekhotep's reign, to his return at the old age of 80 years, many kings may have sit on the throne. This leads us to our next question: under which king did the Exodus occur? Sobekhotep IV's direct successors were also relatively powerful, so they make for poor candidates, which was expected from the above considerations. Yet, the pharaoh portrayed in the Exodus account wasn't a very weak king either, so the few barely known kings following the powerful 13th dynasty rulers still aren't good candidates. Unfortunately, after them, comes a lacuna of 4 kings on the Turin Papyrus. The exodus most probably occured during one of these 4 reigns... A clue to Pharaoh's identity comes from Eusebius: he identifies the Exodus king with a certain Acencheres of the 18th dynasty... This seems a mistake, as he himself testifies that all his historian collegues place the Exodus earlier... Yet, the name he gave as that of a 18th dynasty king is written slightly differently in these other versions of Manetho's 18th dynasty... Could have Eusebius identified the right king, but with the wrong means? The Greek name Acen-che-res can be given in Egyptian as Ankh-Kha-Ra. This could very well refer to a 13th dynasty king whose exact position in the dynasty is unknown, namely Khaankhra Sobekhotep!
As the Hebrews travel into the Sinai, they battle with another Asiatic tribe, the Amalecites (Ex: 15; 8-16). At some point, also, some Hebrews as well as people from the mixed multitude decided to return in Egypt. Interestingly, right after the gap in the Turin papyrus, the next king (the 13th dynasty's 35th, pTurin #VII.13), appears to be Djedneferre Dedoumes, the king most probably refered to as "Toutimaios" in Josephus, i.e the king under whom the Hyksos invasion occured! That these mysterious invaders, the exact origin of which has been a very controversial topic in Egyptology, were the Amalecites and some of the "returning slaves" wouldn't supprise me. Morevover, the Bible mentions, up to the victory against the Amalecites, a person named Hur, who thereafter dissapears from the Biblical account. What happened of him? This is of course pure speculation, but here is my (and Mike Sanders') model: Hur took control of this huge group in order to "punish" Egypt for there deed, rapidly conquered the country under Dedoumes (whose army had been mostly destroyed during the sea of Reeds events), most probably tolerated his heir, Ibi II (?), then, himself seized the throne, ruling as the 13th dynasty's 37th king (pTurin #VII.15): [...]oubenre Hor II. Thus, if this intuition's right, the last rulers of the 13th dynasty were of Hebrew (?) origins... This may account for the later confusion in Josephus records, as he identifies the Hyksos invasion with the Hebrews comming into Egypt (even though the Bible states it was a peaceful immigration, not an invasion) and their expulsion as the 18th dynasty king's victory over the last Hyksos king (even though the Hyksos were kings, not slaves!). In short, I think Josephus confused two very different stories, and that an Hyksos leader had connections with Moses may very well explain how this confusion came to be.
The chronology of that other story, that of the hyksos domination, along
with the date of the Exodus, will therefore be the subject of the next
I hope you'll follow we into the problems of the Second Intermediate Period.
(link to my complete 13th dynasty model and king list)
previous page | next
send me an e-mail!