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Amenemhat I

A statue of Amenemhat I, currently one of the many exhibits at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Amenemhat I was the son of a priest named Senuseret (Sesostris) and a woman called Nefret and as such, was not related at all to the members of the royal family of the 11th Dynasty. His name shows alle iance to the od Amun, a hitherto unimportant od of un!nown ori in who appears to ha"e established himself in the #heban area somewhere durin the 11th Dynasty. A "i$ier of the same name durin the rei n of %entuhotep I&, the last !in of the 11th Dynasty, may ha"e been the same person as the later !in Amenemhat I. If this is indeed the case, then it mi ht, in part, e'plain how a man of non(royal ori in became the founder of a new dynasty. #he circumstances that allowed Amenemhat, whether he had ser"ed as "i$ier or not, to ta!e the throne are not fully !nown. A stone plate found at )isht, bearin both the names of %entuhotep I& and of !in Amenemhat I may perhaps indicate that Amenemhat I was a co(re ent durin the later years of %entuhotep*s rei n. #his in turn could perhaps indicate that %entuhotep I& had intended Amenemhat for the throne. #hat Amenemhat was aware of his humble ori ins is shown by se"eral literary sources, amon them the so(called +,rophecy of Neferti+, which claims to ha"e been written durin the -ld .in dom and which predicts the rise to power of Amenemhat I.

Amenemhat*s policy was one to re(enforce royal authority throu hout the country. He established control o"er /lephantine, / ypt*s traditional southern border, but it would ta!e until "ery late in his rei n before his relationship with Nubia became one of con0uest. %ost of Amenemhat*s military attention was focussed on / ypt*s northeastern border, a ainst the Asiatics. He dro"e away Asian 1edouin from the Delta and constructed a fortress called +2alls of the 3uler+ to control the traffic between / ypt and Asia. #he e'act location and nature of these +2alls of the 3uler+ are not !nown, but they are mentioned both in the +,rophecy of Neferti+ and the +Story of Sinuhe+, showin that later enerations would consider them as one of the most important features of Amenemhat*s rei n. A military campai n a ainst the )ibyans, to the northwest of / ypt, is reported to ha"e occurred at the end of Amenemhat*s rei n and was headed by his son and successor, Sesostris I. In order to reestablish royal authority, Amenemhat also had a firm interior policy, which was aimed at brea!in the power of the local rulers who, since the 1st Intermediate ,eriod, had ruled of their own territories with seemin ly absolute power. #o this effect, and probably also to be closer to the Asian borders, he abandoned #hebes as capital to found a new capital, called Amenemhat(It4(#awi (+Amenemhat has seized the Two Lands+) somewhere near the 5ayum oasis, to the southwest of the old capital of %emphis. #he e'act location of this new power center is not !nown, but it is not unli!ely that it must ha"e been in the "icinity of el()isht, where Amenemhat built his funerary monument. #he fact that he did not simply mo"e bac! to %emphis and deliberately chose a new site for his capital, shows that he wanted to distance himself from pre"iously established power centers, forcin the nobility and rulin elite to abandon their territories, without fa"orin any one of them before the other. Despite his alle iance to the od Amun, Amenemhat I does not appear to ha"e left many monuments in the #heban area. Amenemhat I appears to ha"e fallen "ictim to treachery, when a plot ended his life and 67(year rei n. #his is both hinted at in the +Story of Sinuhe+ and the +#eachin s of Amenemhat I+. A te't from the rei n of Sesostris I also lets Amenemhat himself tell how he was brutally attac!ed while he was sleepin , how he defended himself a ainst his attac!ers and how he was finally slain by his body uards. #he +Story of Sinuhe+ also hint at the fact that Sesostris I was away on a campai n a ainst the )ibyans when Amenemhat was murdered. If this does indeed correspond to the facts, then it is possible that the conspiracy that too! the old !in *s life was also an attempt to sei$e the power and end the 18th Dynasty. Amenemhat I was buried in his pyramid at el()isht, near the 5ayum oasis.

1. 5irst part of the rei n


Hr sHtp ib tA.w4 Horus, who satisfies the heart of the #wo )ands.

nb.t4 sHtp ib tA.w4 #he #wo )adies, the one who satisfies the #wo )ands.
Golden name

bi! nbw smA #he 9olden 5alcon that unites.


sHtp ib ra Sehetepibre (+#he one who satisfies the heart of 3e+).


imn m HA(.t) Amenemhat (+Amun is the foremost+).

8. Second part of the rei n


Hr wHm ms.wt Horus, repeated of births.


nb.t4 wHm ms.wt #he #wo )adies, the one who repeats births.
Golden name

bi! nbw ms #he 9olden 5alcon that is born.

or: bi! nbw wHm ms.(w)t #he 9olden 5alcon that repeats births.

sHtp ib ra Sehetepibre.

or: nsw bi.t4 sHtp ib ra #he !in of ;pper and )ower / ypt Sehetepibre.

imn m HA.t

Amenemhat (+Amun is the foremost+).

or: imn m HA.t4(a Amenemhatia (+Amun is the hereditary noble+). #his "ariant is li!ely to be a deliberate mis(spellin of the name Amenemhat, intended to promote the importance and power of the od Amun.

or: sA ra imn m HA.t #he son of 3e, Amenemhat


Africanus: Ammanem<s Eusebius: Ammenem<s

Alternative names in modern-day literature