Friday, 2 September 2016

Twentieth Egyptian Dynasty 1187 - 1064 B.C.E., Sethnakht, Ramesses III

The Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of ancient Egypt are often combined under the group title, New Kingdom. This dynasty is considered to be the last one of the New Kingdom of Egypt, and was followed by the Third Intermediate Period. The Pharaohs of the 20th dynasty ruled for approximately one hundred and twenty years: from ca 1187 to 1064 BC.
 The dates and names in the table are taken from Dodson and Hilton. Many of the pharaohs were buried in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes (designated KV). More information can be found on the Theban Mapping Project website.

XX Egyptian Dynasty 1187 - 1064 B.C.E.
Sethnakht/Userkhaure 1187 - 1185 B.C.E.
Ramesses III/Usermaatre-Meryamun 1185 - 1153 B.C.E.
Ramesses IV/User/Heqamaatre-Setepenamun 1153 - 1146 B.C.E.
Ramesses V Amenhirkhepeshef I/Usermaatre-Sekhepenrenre 1146 - 1141 B.C.E.
Ramesses VI Amenhirkhepeshef II/Nebmaatre-Meryamun 1141 - 1133 B.C.E.
Ramesses VII Itamun/Usermaatre-Setepenre-Meryamun 1133 - 1125 B.C.E.
Ramesses VIII Sethhirkhepeshef/Usermaatre-Akhernamun 1125 - 1123 B.C.E.
Ramesses IX Khaemwaset I/Neferkare-Setepenre 1123 - 1104 B.C.E.
Ramesses X Amenhirkhepeshef III/Khepermaatre-Setepenre 1104 - 1094 B.C.E.
Ramesses XI Khaemwaset II/Menmaatre-Setpenptah 1094 - 1064 B.C.E.

Userkhaure-setepenre Setnakhte (or Setnakht) was the first Pharaoh (1190 BC - 1186 BC) of the Twentieth Dynasty of the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt and the father of Ramesses III.
Setnakhte was not the son, brother or a direct descendant of the previous 2 pharaohs: either Twosret or Merneptah Siptah, nor that of Siptah's predecessor Seti II, whom Setnakht formally considered the last legitimate ruler. It is possible that he was an usurper who seized the throne during a time of crisis and political unrest, or he could have been a member of a minor line of the Ramesside royal family who emerged as Pharaoh.

He married Queen Tiy-merenese, perhaps a daughter of Merenptah. A connection between Setnakhte's successors and the preceding 19th dynasty is suggested by the fact that one of Ramesses II's children also bore this name and that similar names are shared by Setnakhte's descendants such as Ramesses, Amun-her-khepshef, Seth-her-khepshef and Monthu-her-khepshef. Setnakhte was originally believed to have enjoyed a reign of only two years based upon his Year 2 Elephantine stela but his third regnal year is now attested in Inscription No.271 on Mount Sinai.
Ramesses III/Usermaatre-Meryamun

If his theoretical accession date is assumed to be II Shemu 10, based on the date of his Elephantine stela, Setnakhte would have ruled Egypt for at least two years and 11 months before he died, or nearly three full years. This date is only three months removed from Twosret's highest known date of Year 8, III Peret 5, and is based upon a calculation of Ramesses III's known accession date of I Shemu 26. Peter Clayton also assigned Setnakhte a reign of three years in his 1994 book on the Egyptian Pharaohs.

Usimare Ramesses III (also written Ramses and Rameses) was the second Pharaoh of the Twentieth Dynasty and is considered to be the last great New Kingdom king to wield any substantial authority over Egypt. He was the son of Setnakhte and Queen Tiy-Merenese. Ramesses III is believed to have reigned from March 1186 to April 1155 BCE. This is based on his known accession date of I Shemu day 26 and his death on Year 32 III Shemu day 15, for a reign of 31 years, 1 month and 19 days. (Alternate dates for this king are 1187 to 1156 BCE). During his long tenure in the midst of the surrounding political chaos of the Greek Dark Ages, Egypt was beset by foreign invaders (including the so-called Sea Peoples and the Libyans) and experienced the beginnings of increasing economic difficulties and internal strife which would eventually lead to the collapse of the Twentieth Dynasty.

The Sea Peoples were a confederacy of seafaring raiders of the second millennium BC who sailed into the eastern Mediterranean, caused political unrest, and attempted to enter or control Egyptian territory during the late 19th dynasty and especially during year 8 of Ramesses III of the 20th Dynasty. The Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah explicitly refers to them by the term "the foreign-countries (or 'peoples') of the sea" in his Great Karnak Inscription.
Ramesses III/Usermaatre

In Year 8 of his reign, the Sea Peoples, including Peleset, Denyen, Shardana, Meshwesh of the sea, and Tjekker, invaded Egypt by land and sea. Ramesses III defeated them in two great land and sea battles. Although the Egyptians had a reputation as poor seamen they fought tenaciously. Rameses lined the shores with ranks of archers who kept up a continuous volley of arrows into the enemy ships when they attempted to land on the banks of the Nile. Then the Egyptian navy attacked using grappling hooks to haul in the enemy ships. In the brutal hand to hand fighting which ensued, the Sea People were utterly defeated.

Ramesses III claims that he incorporated the Sea Peoples as subject peoples and settled them in Southern Canaan. Their presence in Canaan may have contributed to the formation of new states in this region such as Philistia after the collapse of the Egyptian Empire in Asia. Ramesses III was also compelled to fight invading Libyan tribesmen in two major campaigns in Egypt's Western Delta in his Year 6 and Year 11 respectively. 

Although it was long believed that Ramesses III's body showed no obvious wounds, a recent examination of the mummy by a German forensic team, televised in the documentary Rameses on the Science Channel in 2011, showed excess bandages around the neck. A subsequent CT Scan revealed that beneath the bandages was a deep knife wound across the throat, a wound deep enough to reach the vertebrae. According to the documentary narrator, "It was a wound no one could have survived."

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