Ancient Egypt’s Middle Kingdom: An era when the ancient Egyptian language & literature flourished



Tue, 04 Jan 2022 - 11:10 GMT


Tue, 04 Jan 2022 - 11:10 GMT

FILE - The Great Pyramids in Giza

FILE - The Great Pyramids in Giza

CAIRO – 4 January 2022: Ancient Egypt’s Middle Kingdom witnessed a period of great prosperity. The Middle Kingdom comprises the 11th,12th, and 13th Dynasties.





Although the Eleventh Dynasty had its origins from the First Intermediate Period, the last kings of this era, most importantly king Nebhepetre 2055 - 2004 BC, succeeded in uniting Egypt, thus began the Middle Kingdom.





The Middle Kingdom represented an important shift in the history of ancient Egyptian culture, as it provided great contributions to the ancient Egyptian language and literature.





New language combinations emerged and many new literary texts were written, many of which remained popular for more than a thousand years. 





The language used to write these texts with its grammatical rules is called Middle Egyptian, which would be the language of official texts until the Ptolemaic period (332-30 BC) and the Roman era 30 BC - 395 AD.





The Eleventh Dynasty came from Thebes (now Luxor), which was not an important city during that period, but it will become one of the most prominent and important cities in Egypt during the rest of ancient Egyptian history.





Because of his Theban origins, Nebhepetre was buried on the western mainland in Thebes in the Deir el-Bahari region. His tomb included a temple for his funeral rites. The tomb was partially cut into a cliff, while part of it was built in the form of a balcony that includes a middle ascending slope, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. 





This temple apparently served as a partial inspiration for the adjacent and more famous temple of Queen Hatshepsut to its immediate left.





Little is known about Mentuhotep III and IV, who were the last rulers of the Eleventh Dynasty. Amenemhat I (1985-1955 BC) was the first king of the Twelfth Dynasty (1985-1795 BC), who was probably the vizier of Mentuhotep IV.





The kings of this hugely successful dynasty consolidated the power of the central government all over Egypt. During this period, the powerful provincial governors were restrained. They also carried out construction projects all over the country, strengthened its borders, sent mining expeditions, and encouraged trade expeditions. 





The chain of forts served not only as defensive forts, but also for the movement of incoming Nubian merchants, as well as bases for mining and military operations. 





The reign of Kings Senusret III (1874-1855 BC) and Amenemhat III (1850-1808 BC) were particularly prosperous. Huge agricultural projects were implemented during that period, especially in the Fayoum region in Central Egypt, where canals were dug, part of the lake was dredged and the resulting lands were reclaimed for agriculture.





The kings of the Twelfth Dynasty were buried in this area in huge pyramids near the new capital founded by Amenemhat I. Its exact location is still unknown.





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