First Intermediate Period
In the First Intermediate Period as the age separating Dynasty VI and XII is called, Manetho, or rather the Manetho known to us from the chronicles of his exceptors, is seen at his worst. His Seventh Dynasty consists of seventy kings of Memphis, who reigned for seventy days. His Eight Dynasty, likewise Memphite, comprises twenty-seven kings and 146 years of reign. Dynasty IX and X are both Heracleopolitan, with nineteen kings apiece and a total duration of 594 years. Dynasty XI is of Diospolite or Theban origin, counting sixteen kings with the meager allowance of forty-three years. Such is the account given by Africanus. The figures offered by Eusebius are somewhat less fantastic, but inspire confidence just as little. For all this stretch of time only one king is mentioned, namely Achthoes, who is placed in Dynasty IX. Of him the authorities state that he was more cruel than all his predecessors, but in the end was smitten with madness and killed by a crocodile. This scrap of pseudo-history is obviously comparable to the already quoted legends concerning Cheops, Pepy II, and Notices, but the existence of Achthoes is not open to doubt. In spit of all defects, our Manetho does provide a framework into which the findings of research fit reasonably well, as will be seen from the enumeration of five overlapping stages hereafter to be discussed in some detail. These are:
- rapid disintegration of the old Memphite regime following upon the overlong reign of Pepy II;
- bloodshed and anarchy resulting from the collapse of the monarchy and the rivalries of the provincial feudal lords or ‘nomarchs’, also possibly fomented by the infiltration of Asiatics into the Delta;
- rise of a new line of Pharaohs with an Akhtoy (Manetho’s Achthoes) at the head and Heracleopolis as their capital;
- ever-growing importance of Thebes under a yet more energetic family of warrior princes of whom the first four bore the name of Inyotef (Antef in older histories of Egypt) and the remaining three the name of Menthotpe (Mentuhotep);
- civil war with the Heracleopolitans from which Menthotpe I emerged as victor, reuniting the Two lands and paving the way for the Middle Kingdom–this ushered in by Ammenemes I, one of the greatest of all Egyptian monarchs (Dynasty XII).
Our last chapter dealt with the eight by no less than eighteen kings prior to making its great leap to the last rulers of Dynasty XI. It is not easy to reconcile any of the Abydos names with the four which alone are preserved in the Canon, but it seems likely that the fourth cartouche from the end gave the Prenomen of that Ibi of the Turin fragments who’s significant pyramid was discovered by Jeguier at Saqqara. The recurrence of the name Neferkare’, which had been the Prenomen of Pepy II, as either whole or part in no less than six names of the Abydos series shows how great was still felt to be the solidarity of these petty rulers with the most venerable of the Pharaohs of Dynasty VI. But perhaps the most persuasive evidence of their short-lived domination is offered by some inscriptions discovered by Raymond Weill at Coptos in 1910-11. Under the ruins of a structure of Roman date were found carefully towed away a number of decrees carved in hieroglyphic on slabs of limestone, some dating from the reign of Pepy II, and most of them designed to protect the temple of Min and its priesthood from interference and the corvee. But among them as many as eight were apparently dispatched on the same day in the first year of a King Neferkare, the last king but one in the series of the Abydos list. The addressee was in each case the vizier Shemai and each royal command was concerned either with him or some member of his family. One of the decrees confirmed him in his vizierate in all the twenty-two nomes of Upper Egypt, while another recorded the appointment of his son Idi to the post of Governor of Upper Egypt in the seven southernmost nomes. A third decree grants precedence over all other women to Shemai’s wife Nebye, who is described as a ‘King’s eldest daughter’, and perhaps even more remarkable is a fourth making elaborate arrangements for the funerary cult of both husband and wife in all the temples of the land. There is no hint of unrest or political disturbance in any of these texts, though we may possibly read into them a desperate anxiety on the king’s part to conciliate one specially powerful Upper Egyptian magnate.
Thus the chances are that all the reigns corresponding to Manetho’s Dynasty VII and VIII were compressed into a relatively short space of time, perhaps no more than a quarter of a century. At what precise moment serious disorders broke out it is impossible to say, but their reality is beyond a doubt, and there is no reason to think that they persisted, whether continuously or intermittently, until well on into Dynasty XI. It is the picture of a rill revolution that is painted in one of the most curious and important pieces of Egyptian literature that have survived the hazards of time. This extremely tattered papyrus in the Leyden collection dates from no earlier than Dynasty XIX, but the condition of the country which it discloses is one which cannot be ascribed to the imagination of a romancer, nor does it fit into any place of Egyptian history except that following the end of the Old Kingdom. The beginning is unfortunately lost, and with it the circumstances in which the speaker made his lengthy harangue. A long series of brief paragraphs first portrays the havoc into which the land has been thrown by the machinations of low-born adventurers and Asiatics pushing their way into the Delta. A few examples will suffice to illustrate the tone and substance of the narration:
The bowman is ready. The wrongdoer is everywhere. There is no man of yesterday. A man goes out to plow with his shield. A man smites his brother, his mother’s son. Men sit in the bushes until the benighted traveler comes, in order to plunder his load. The robber is a possessor of riches. Boxes of ebony are broken up. Precious acacia-wood is left asunder.
The general upheaval has reversed the status of rich and poor:
He who possessed no property is now a man of wealth. The poor man is full of joy. Every town says: let us suppress the powerful among us. He who had no yoke of oxen is now the possessor of a herd. The possessors of robes are now in rags. Gold and lapis lazuli, silver and turquoise are fastened on the necks of female slaves. All female slaves are free with their tongues. When their mistress speaks it is irksome to the servants. The children of princes are dashed against the walls.
These quotations, chosen at random, might, it is true, reflect the distorted vision of a die-hard aristocrat, but there are others describing the political confusion of the times, the dissolution of the laws, and the destruction of public offices and records which cannot well be so constructed. Even the person of the king seems to have been subjected to violence, though the sentence where this appears to be stated is of not quite certain interpretation. Still more important are a few passages which affirm the part played by foreigners in the restriction of true Egyptian territory to Upper Egypt, Elephantine and Thinis being towns specifically mentioned. The many pages of nostalgic lamentations are followed by adjurations to piety and religious observance, and it is these which justify the title ‘Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage’ by which the entire composition is known. Opinions have differed as to the way in which the remaining portions of the book are to be understood. Some have thought to find a reference to Pepy II dying in extreme old age and succeeded by a child too young to have any sense. But these events, if really alluded to, must have lain in the author’s past and that king upon whom the wise Ipuwer heaped reproaches for his weakness and indolence may well have been among the last of the Memphite line. However that may be, the trustworthiness of the Leyden papyrus as a depiction of Egypt in the First Intermediate Period is indisputable. And here for the first time Egyptian literature sounds that note of despairing pessimism which became a commonplace with the writers of the succeeding centuries even when no longer justified by prevailing conditions.
We have thus to picture to ourselves the Memphite kingdom as growing weaker and weaker until it failed any longer to command the allegiance of the nomarchs farther upstream. Direct information from the Delta now ceases entirely. Expeditions in quest of the turquoise of Sinai are at an end, not to be resumed until the approach of Dynasty XII. If a barbarous-looking cylinder with the cartouche of Khendy and a scarab with the name of Tereru really belong to the kings so named in the Abydos list, this would be an indication that they had to look to Syrian skill for even such trumpery objects. It was perhaps in the extreme south that conditions became most gravely unsettled. The casual mention of a King Neferkare’ in a rock-tomb at Mo’alla, some 20 miles south of Luxor, places the inscriptions of its owner ‘Ankhtify among the earliest records of the age. This ‘Ankhtify was the ‘great chieftain (or ‘nomarch’) of the nome of Nekhen’, the third nome of Upper Egypt, that of which Hieraconpolis opposite El-Kab was the capital. He tells how Horus of Edfu, the god of the next nome to the south, had bidden him set it in order, with the result that he took over the chieftaincy, and tranquilized the region so thoroughly that a man would even embrace the slayer of his father or of his brother. Many are the incidents of ‘Ankhtify’s prowess which he describes in laconic sentences interposed between this force and Thebes and Coptos, whose combined soldiery had attacked the fortress of Armant. ‘Ankhtify’s references to his marital successes are of great obscurity, but if his account can be trusted he managed to cow the inhabitants to both the east and the west of Thebes, so that at all events we are here dealing with a time before the dynasty of the Inyotefs had established for themselves an invincible supremacy. More significant than all these allusions to deeds of valor are the repeated mentions of years of famine in which ‘Ankhtify claims to have supplied other towns besides his own with gifts or loans of corn. This beneficent activity of his extending even as far north as Dendera. We need not take too seriously the statement that ‘the entire south died of hunger , every man devouring his own children’, but the inscriptions of other more or less contemporary princes constantly harp upon the lack of grain, a lack which we may surmise was due to the impossibility of undisturbed agriculture as to a succession of low Niles. It may here be noted that the deplorable state of Upper Egypt is clearly reflected in the clumsiness of its artistic efforts. Evidently Egyptian civilization was at its lowest ebb.
Concerning the rise of the ‘House of Akhtoy’ we are left almost completely in the dark. Heracleopolis is the modern Ihnasya el-Medina, a town to the west of the river opposite Beni Suef 55 miles south of Memphis. Not a shred of local evidence has survived to indicate its early importance, but Manetho’s description of his Ninth and Tenth Dynasties as Heracleopolitan is amply confirmed by testimony from elsewhere. As regards his Achthoes it turns out that no less than three distinct kings chose to retain the name for their second cartouche. The king who without proof, but not without probability, is assumed to have been the first, adopted Meryibtowe (‘Beloved of the heart of the Two Lands’) as his Horus name. By way of emphasizing his claim he did not hesitate to equip himself with a full Pharaonic titualry. To have raised himself to such a height he must have possessed an exceptionally forceful character, but all that remains directly to authenticate his existence is a copper brazier in the Louvre, an ebony walking-stick from Mer, and a few other equally insignificant objects. A second Akh-toy whose Prenomen was Wahkare’ is known only from a finely decorated coffin from El-Bersha, where his cartouches seem to have been inadvertently written in place of those of the real owner, the steward Nefri. Yet a third king of the name Akhtoy Nebkaure’ is attested only by a weight from Petrie’s excavations at Er-Retaba and by a mention of him in one of the few Egyptian works of fiction that have survived in their entirety. This tells the story of a peasant from the outlying oasis of the Wady Natrun who was robbed of his donkey and his merchandise on the way to Heracleopolis, but poured out his complaints to the thief’s liege-lord with such eloquence that he was detained in order that his supplications, reproaches, and invective might be written down for the sovereign’s delectation. In the Turin Canon no less than eighteen kings belonging to the same royal line were originally recorded, and the name Akhtoy occurs twice, each time unexpectedly preceded by a Neferkare’, while all the adjoining names are damaged, unidentifiable, or lost. It is from some tombs at Asyut that we obtain our most trustworthy glimpse of the Heracleopolitan era. The inscriptions in these three tombs are marred by the twin defects which are the bane of so much of our hieroglyphic evidence, namely extensive lacunae in the text and our still inadequate knowledge of the Egyptian language. Nevertheless the information that they afford is illuminating. The earliest of the three tomb-owners would hardly have retained his name Akhtoy had he not been a partisan of the Heracleopolitan faction. Indeed, his youth seems to have been passed in a time of comparative calm. He tells how he was taught to swim together with the royal children, and was made a nomarch while still a babe of a cubit in height. Though he mentions that he recruited a regiment of soldiers, the achievements upon which he most prided himself were irrigation works and the encouragement of farming. He ends his main narrative with the words ‘Heracleopolis praised God for me’, the Egyptian way of expressing gratitude. In the next oldest tomb Prince Tefibi plumes himself upon his impartial beneficence and the sense of security which his soldiers inspired:
When night came, he who slept upon the road praised me. He was like a man in his own house.
None the less the nomes of the south were on the move, probably under the command of one of the early Inyotefs. Tefibi relates that he came into conflict with them, and we cannot doubt of his success, though the half-lines that told the sequel are among the obscurest of a narrative where everything is obscure. It is in the tomb of his son, again an Akhtoy, that the most explicit account of the civil war is to be found. A Heracleopolitan king Merykare’, of whom we shall hear more later, is named twice. Prince akhtoy, for some unexplained reason addressed in the second person, is credited with having induced the sovereign himself to sail upstream:
….he cleared the sky, the entire land with him, the princes of Upper Egypt and the magnates of Heracleopolis, the region of the Mistress of the Land being come to repel fighting, the earth trembling….all people darting about, the towns….ing, fear falling upon their limbs. The magistrates of the Great House are under the fear of, and the favorites under respect for, Heracleopolis.
It appears that the king’s fleet reached Shashotp, a town a little to the south of Asyut, before returning amid rejoicing to his capital. Doubtless out of thankfulness for a signal a success, King Merykare’ ordered extensive repairs to be made to the temple of Wepwawe, the jackal god of Asyut.
If any part of Egypt was relatively peaceful in these troubled times, it was assuredly the portion midway between Memphis and Thebes. Many cemeteries of the central provinces, like those at Beni Hasan and Akhmim, have yielded fairly rich funerary equipment. No finer sarcophagi of the period have been unearthed than those from El-Bersha, at this time the burial-place of the ‘great chieftains of the Hare Nome’, whose seat of administration was Khmun, the later Hermopolis and the modern El-Ashmunen. A new family of princes had come into power, replacing the Old Kingdom nomarchs who’s tombs had been situated at Sheikh Sa’id a little farther to the south. These places were well within the domain of the Heracleopolite kingdom, but curious evidence has come to light showing that their rulers’ loyalty to the northern cause was considerably less than whole-hearted. The walls of the tombs are free from any compromising indications, but such abound at the alabaster quarries of Hatnub, a little way out in the eastern desert. Here the lucky find of a large number of ink-written graffiti not only heaps flattering epithets upon the local nomarchs, but accompanies their names with wish-formulate such as ‘may he liver for ever’ or ‘the protection of life be around him like re’eternally’, formulate both earlier and later elsewhere reserved exclusively for the Pharaoh. Still more strange, these graffiti are dated in the regneal years, not of the contemporary king, but of the provincial princes themselves. Two of the earliest are credited with thirty and twenty years of rule respectively, a sure sign that they were less plagued by disturbances than the nomarchs farther to the south where the rival kingdoms were finally to meet in battle. Very incongruously manner these inscriptions express fidelity to ‘the king’s house’, though the king’s name is carefully suppressed, except once when an otherwise unknown Meryhathor is mentioned. It must be imagined, however, that the laudatory phrases are completed without reference to rebellion and bloodshed. One prince even seems to allude to a fight with his own fellow-citizens, though as usual the expressions are so vague that we cannot be quite certain of their importance. Also there are apparent contradictions which we are utterly at a loss to resolve, as when a ship’s captain who lived under Prince Neheri tells us that in the king’s business he traveled as far south as Elephantine and as far north as the papyrus marshes of the Delta, a feat surely impossible in the political conditions of the times.
It remains to characterize a literary composition which, had it been preserved in a less ragged and corrupt condition, might well have thrown more light on a particular phase of the Heracleopolitan domination than all our other evidence put together. The text is contained in three papyri, one in Leningrad, another in Moscow, and the third in Copenhagen, all of them written no earlier than the end of Dynasty XVIII, and all riddled with lacunae and obscurities of every kind. It is a book of wise counsels addressed to the king Merykare’ with whom we became acquainted in the tombs of Asyut. The name of the father is lose, but he may well have been an Akhtoy, though not the first of the name. Perhaps the earliest portion, had it been better preserved, might have been the most interesting of all, since it offers advice as to how unruly but popular vassals can best be dealt with. Stress is laid on ability to speak well and persuasively, and imitation of the ancient models is strongly recommended. Yet it is desirable to look to the future, a trait of character upon which nobles of the period particularly plumed themselves. It is wise to favor the rich, since they are less open to corruption that the poor. Justice and kindness to the oppressed are all the more essential since after death there comes a Day of Judgment when a man’s deeds, however far back in the past they lie, will be requited as they deserve. The recruiting of young troops and the endowment of them with fields and cattle are obviously wise precautions. Yet nothing is more important than reverent service to the gods and the building of monuments in their honor. It is exasperating that just those sections which deal with concrete events are the most obscure of all, and the scholars who have used them with the greatest confidence have sometimes exceeded what is philological permissible. Nevertheless, the claim of the royal counsel-giver to have taken Thinis ‘like a cloud-burst’ is unmistakably worded. In the same passage he seems, however, to have expressed regret for the devastation which he had caused in what was always the most sacred region in all Egypt. Still, this incursion of the Hercleopolitans so far south seems to have brought about a temporary lull in the hostilities between the belligerents, since now.
‘thous standest well with the South; the bearers of loads come to thee with gifts…the red granite (of Aswan) comes to thee unhindered’.
Far more perplexing are the paragraphs dealing with Merykare’s relations with the Delta and with the Asiatic barbarians to the east. There is a reference to Djed-eswe, the area around the pyramid of Teti at Saqqara, and the actual mention on that site of many priests devoted to the funerary cult of this very Heracleopolitan monarch proves that he must have been buried there, though his pyramid has never been found. A passage describing the nature of the Asiatics has been translated above, and reveals at least that Merykare’ was in close contact with them. The book ends with exhortations to be industrious, with earnest emphasis upon the responsibilities of kingship, and with the warning that God, even if His power be hidden, nevertheless sways the fortunes of men, for He is the creator and arbiter of all. Last of all come the words:
‘Behold I have spoken to thee the best of my inner thoughts; set them steadfastly before thy face’.
In the Old Kingdom, Thebes, later to become the southern capital and second in importance among the cities of Egypt only to Memphis, was no more than an insignificant village stretching along the eastern bank of the Nile. Indeed, at that time it was perhaps the humblest of four small townships which lay within the confines of the fourth Upper Egyptian nome, the others being 20 miles to the south-east, Hermonthis (Armant) opposite across the river, and Medamud to the north of Thebes near the eastern desert. All four observed the cult of the warlike falcon-headed god Montju (Mont), ultimately raising stately temples in his honor. It is unknown how Thebes or Wise, to give the town its Egyptian name, came to outstrip its companions so vastly, but the beauty of its situation may have been the decisive factor, for the entire land might be searched in vain for equal magnificence of scenery. The western desert, at no great distance beyond the fields, is dominated by the massive bluff of the Kurn, beneath whose lofty eminence smaller hills offer unrivaled opportunity for rock-tombs. To the north, almost facing the Temple of Mont at Karnak, there winds into the mountain the long and narrow gorge of Biblan el-Moluk ‘the Tomb of the Nobles’, at the end of which the monarchs of the New Kingdom caused their mysterious sepulchers to be hewn. About a mile to the south and separating Kurna and Dra’Abu’n-Naga the shorter and wider recess called Der el-Bahri after the Coptic monastery which came to be placed there leads to a sheer cliff of indescribable grandeur. On the east bank a large area of radiant fields discloses far away a line of hills behind which the sun rises in all its glory. For the modern tourists the attraction of Thebes is enhanced by the accessibility and good preservation of its many monuments, advantages which apart from the pyramids and their surrounding mastabas are sadly lacking in the neighborhood of Memphis.
Among the multitude of tombs interspersed among the houses of the modern village of Kurna only three belong to the Old Kingdom, and of these only one belongs to a ‘Great Chieftain of the nome’, a small and mean affair suggesting that its owner was a personage of little consequence. The ease with which, as we have seen , ‘Ankhtify of Mo’alla overran the region around and beyond Armant prompts the belief that it was not until a good deal later that the Theban territory began to take the lead among the provinces of the south. The initiative was undoubtedly due to a nobleman subsequently remembered as Inyotef the great, born of Iku, and on another stele described as ‘hereditary prince Inyotef. He is included in the disorderly enumeration of kings of that name in the already mentioned Table of Karnak. There are three stele which may fairly claim to be contemporary records of this prince, on two of which he or his homonym is described as ‘Great Chieftain of Upper Egypt’, while on the third he is ‘Great Chieftain of the Theban nome’. It seems simpler to presuppose only a single ancestor of the name, and at all events we are justified in picturing to ourselves an Inyotef-’o (‘Inyoref the great’) who subjugated parts of the south far beyond the territory of his won metropolis, yet did not dare to assume the predicates of royalty.
The first Inyotef to have his name enclosed in a cartouche has left no contemporary monument, and apart from the rather doubtful mention in the Table of Karnak, is known only from an all-important relief of the reign of Nebhepetre’ Menthotpe discovered in the temple of Tod. Here that monarch is shown giving an offering to Mont, while behind him stands the local goddess Tjenenti. She is followed by three kings who must surely be Menthotpe’s immediate predecessors in retrograde order. Each of them bears within a cartouche the title and name ‘Son of Re’Inyotef’, but they are differentiated on a block above the separate Horus names (3) lost, (2) Wah-’ankh, and (1) Seher-towe. Thus Seher-towe ‘Pacifier of the Two Lands’ was the first royal Inyotef and either a son or a descendant of the hereditary prince of the same name. Winlock conjectured, perhaps correctly, that he was the owner of the northernmost of three great tombs of a peculiar type excavated in the plain in a line between the temple of Mont at Karnak and the opening into the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings. These tombs are called saff or ‘row’ because they have doorways which give them the appearance of being surrounded by porticoes on three sides. It seems probable that they were the burial-places of the first three Inyotefs, since it is definitely known that one of them, perhaps that in the center, belonged to the Horus Wah-’ankh Inyotef II. By a curious chance there is a reference to this in the papyrus of the reign of Ramesses IX (c. 1115 BC) describing the official tour of inspection to examine the royal tombs which it was feared had been tampered with by the tomb-robbers.
Here we read:
The pyramid-tomb of King Si-re’ In-’o which is north of the House of Amenhotpe of the Forecourt and whose pyramid is crushed down upon it; and its stele is set up in front of it and the image of the king stands upon this stele with his hound named Behka between his feet. Examined this day; it was found intact.
Mariette found the lower part of this very stele in 1860, and depicted upon it were not merely one dog but five. Unfortunately it was left to be broken up by natives, but what remains of its inscriptions is of great interest. After telling how he built or restored a number of temples, Wah-’ankh narrates that he established his northern boundary in the tenth or Aphroditopolite nome of Upper Egypt. Then he goes on to say that he captured the whole of the Abydos territory and opened up all its prisons. These extensions of his dominion are confirmed on the monuments of several of his officers of state, the finest of which belonged to a chancellor named Tjetji, whose main pride, expressed in certainly exaggerated terms, was that he was put in control of the vast treasure brought to his lord not only from Upper and Lower Egypt, but also as tribute from the chieftains of the desert countries. Form Wah-’ankh’s own sepulchral stele we learn that it was set up in his fiftieth year, this length of reign proving, like the similar indications in the inscriptions of the princes of the hare nome at Hatnub, that at least in the tract of land under his sway tranquil conditions prevailed. This would naturally be favorable to good craftsmanship, and it is interesting to see that the sculptors of reliefs at Thebes had by now developed a highly individual and not unpleasant style of their own, particularly in the forms of their hieroglyphs. This artistic skill, however, goes hand in hand with a great crudity on other stele, showing that the reviving culture was not yet at all sure of itself.
Neither Wah-’ankh himself nor his successors hesitate any longer to employ the proud title ‘King of Upper and Lower Egypt’, though a number of years had to elapse before it corresponded to the truth. The next king was another Si-Re’ Inyotef, who adopted as his Horus name on which meant ‘Strong, lord of a Good Start’ (Nakht-neb-tep-nufe). It deserved to be mentioned here that such deliberately invented names often have a greater significance that is apt to be attributed to them. If they do not register historical facts, at least they may embody aspirations, and examples of both possibilities will come to our notice before the end of this discussion. Inyotef III was the last of his name for several centuries, and all that is known of his doings is that he restored the ruined tomb at Aswan of a god prince named Hekayeb
Inyotef III was followed by the first of several Pharaohs who exchanged the family name of Inyotef for Menthotpe, a name which signifies ‘Mont is content’. And contented the local god had good reason to be, for Menthotpe I’s long reign of fifty-one years witnessed, after many years of conflict, the reunion of all Egypt under a single ruler. It is only comparatively recently that the personality of this great king has begun to emerge from the obscurity which previously surrounded him. We owe it to H. Stock to have recognized that three separate titularies, previously attributed to three distinct Pharaohs all bearing the name Menthotpe, really belonged to one and the same sovereign, each titulary reflecting a different stage in his career. Such a radical change of titularyis almost unique in the Pharaonic annals but is justified by the momentous events which it reflects. At the beginning of his reign Menthotpe I, like the earlier rulers of his house, dispensed with a Prenomen, and was satisfied to be called the Horus S’ankh-ib-towe ‘He who makes to live the heart of the Two Lands’, i.e. possibly who revives their hopes. A British Museum stele which is among the few monuments recording this phase notes that in his fourteenth year Thinis revolted, perhaps thereby giving the signal for the king’s northward advance. In the next phase Methotpe often prefixed the Prenomen Nebhepetre’ to his surname, at the same time using the Horus name Nebhedje, which means ‘Lord of the White Crown’. Presumably this was intended to signify his now well-established sovereignty over Upper Egypt. Nothing dated has survived from this period, but the Horus name in question tells its own tale. From the thirty-ninth year onward, and probably a good deal earlier, the Horus name is metamorphosed into Sam-towe ‘Unifyer of the Two Lands’, while the Prenomen, still to be read as Nebhepetre’, is strangely written with an oar instead of with the indeterminate object. This latter fact led to the ultimate Prenomen being wrongly read a Nebherure’ and being attributed to a Menthotpe different from the two bearers of the Nomen already mentioned. Discarding this mistake, instead of the five distinct Menthotpes or Metuhoteps counted by most historians in Dynasty XI, we shall here acknowledge only three.