Ramesses XI


Ramesses XI
King 1113-1085 BC.
    Ramesses XI, the last king of the Twentieth Dynasty, managed to hold his kingdom together although it was during his reign that the country virtually divided into two parts.
    The king continued to rule in the north, but the High-priest of Amun, Amenhotep, had gained considerable power at Thebes. Perhaps at the king's behest, *Pinehas (the Viceroy of Nubia and King's Son of Kush) intervened against Amenhotep, taking Thebes and claiming for himself the resources of the district and supreme command of the army. *Pinehas now became the effective ruler, although still nominally under Ramesses XI, of Upper and Middle Egypt as well as *Nubia, but he fell into disgrace at Thebes where a new man of unknown origin, *Herihor, emerged as High-priest of Amun. He not only held this position but also claimed *Pinehas' titles as King's Son of Kush and Overseer of the Southern Lands, becoming the first man ever to combine great military power, the High-priesthood at Thebes and control over Nubia. *Pinehas held on to Nubia, where he had now become a rebel, and refused to submit to *Herihor, so that Nubia finally broke away from Egypt.
    In Year 19 of Ramesses XI's reign, 1080 BC, the 'Renaissance Era' was proclaimed. Such periods, known as a 'Repetition of Birth', had been announced in other reigns to mark the start of a great new era. On this occasion, the 'Renaissance' saw the emergence of three rulers—*Herihor ruled in the south, Smendes (the Nesbenebded in the Story of *Wenamun) ruled concurrently in the north, and both were nominally subject to the pharaoh, Ramesses XI. Smendes may have been *Herihor's son and possibly married a younger daughter of Ramesses XI; upon the king's death, Smendes became the king of all Egypt and the first ruler of the Twenty-first Dynasty.
*Herihor died before Ramesses XI and was succeeded in the south by his son Piankh. Despite his great power, *Herihor never assumed the kingship of Egypt but was always subordinate to Ramesses XI. In the Temple of Khonsu at Karnak, in those areas erected and decorated in the time of Ramesses XI and *Herihor, the latter is shown in the wall-scenes officiating with the king; he appears to hold an equal status to the king, and in some instances he even uses the royal titulary in the inscriptions, but this excessive bombast is only evident in Thebes, the centre of his own power and influence. Ramesses XI's reign marked the end of the New Kingdom. He was possibly the last king to be buried in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes, and it was during his reign that the royal necropolis workers' village at Deir el Medina was abandoned. By now, Egypt had no possessions in Syria/Palestine and under Ramesses XI, Nubia broke away from Egypt and continued on its own course for many years.
BIBL. Kitchen, K.A. 3rd Int. pp. 248-54.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David
* * *
(reigned c. 1099–1069 BC)
   Throne name Menmaatre setepenptah. Personal name Khaemwese. Epithet mereramun netjer heka iunu. Successor and possibly son of Ramesses X. His reign marked the end of Dynasty 20. Contemporary documents refer to civil war and tomb robberies in Thebes, which became increasingly independent under the high priest of Amun. The king’s tomb (KV4) in the Valley of the Kings was left unfinished. It is presumed that he spent most of his time in the north, but the circumstances of his death and the change of the dynasty are unknown. His body has not been recovered.
   See also Herihor; Piankh.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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