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Pharaoh of Egypt: List of Pharoahs that Ruled Ancient Egypt

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Pharaoh of Egypt: In ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh served as both the nation’s political and spiritual head, holding the titles “Lord of the Two Lands” and “High Priest of Every Temple.”

Pharaoh is the Greek equivalent of the Egyptian term pero or per-a-a, which was used to refer to the royal palace and meaning “Great House.”

The name of the house began to be connected with the king and was eventually reserved only for the person in charge of the populace.

The early Egyptian kings were referred to as kings rather than as pharaohs. Only under the so-called New Kingdom did a king get the honorific title of “pharaoh” (c.1570-c.1069 BCE).

Foreign dignitaries and court officials referred to the dynasties’ monarchs as “your majesty” and “brother” before the New Kingdom; both customs would endure until the king of Egypt became recognized as a pharaoh.

The Monarchy “Pharaoh of Egypt” Established

With the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt by the pharaoh Menes (about 3150 BCE; currently thought to be Narmer), the First Dynasty first emerged in Egypt.

On inscriptions, Menes/Narmer is seen wearing the two crowns of Egypt, which stand for unity, and his rule was supposed to be in line with the desire of the gods; nonetheless, the office of the king itself was not identified with the divine until later.

King Raneb, also known as Nebra, associated his name with the divine and his rule with the desire of the gods during the Second Dynasty of Egypt (2890–2670 BCE).

The kings of the succeeding dynasties were compared to the gods and the responsibilities owed to them after Raneb.

The most important of these was the preservation of ma’at, or harmony and balance, which had been established by the gods and had to be followed in order for humans to live as optimally as possible.

Earthly kings worshiped Osiris, who was regarded as Egypt’s first “king,” by using the crook and flail to establish their own dominance.

The flail was connected with the fertility of the land, while the crook represented monarchy (rule over the people) (threshing wheat).

The crook and flail were symbols of the early, strong deity Andjety, who was eventually assimilated by Osiris.

After Osiris was recognized as the first monarch by legend, his son Horus also started to be connected with the rule of a pharaoh.

The Cylinders of Pharaoh and the Rods of Horus, which are often seen in the hands of sculptures of Egyptian kings and queens, are believed to have been used to focus one’s spiritual and intellectual energies, similar to how someone today may use Komboloi or Rosary Beads (worry beads).

The Pharaoh of Egypt Viewed as a God on Earth

The Pharaoh of Egypt was revered as the head of the nation and regarded as a divinity on earth who stood between the gods and the people.

The deity Horus, who had vanquished the forces of chaos and restored order, was immediately linked with the pharaoh when he ascended to the throne, and Osiris, the god of the dead, with him when he passed away.

Therefore, as the “High Priest of Every Temple,” it was the responsibility of the pharaoh to construct magnificent temples and monuments honoring his achievements and paying tribute to the local deities who bestowed upon him the authority to govern in this life and would direct him in the afterlife.

The Pharaoh of Egypt would also preside over religious rituals, select the locations for temples, and decide what tasks would be carried out (although he could not choose priests and very rarely took part in the design of a temple).

The Pharaoh of Egypt served as “Lord of the Two Lands,” making laws, controlling all of Egypt’s territory, collecting taxes, waging war, and defending the nation from invasion.

The Great Wife, who served as the Pharaoh of Egypt’s principal consort, or occasionally a lower-ranking wife whom the monarch preferred, gave birth to the majority of Egypt’s rulers, who were either sons or designated heirs of the previous pharaoh.

In an early attempt to demonstrate the legitimacy of their dynasty by connecting it to Memphis, which was then Egypt’s capital, the kings wed female aristocracy.

This custom could have started with Narmer, who made Memphis the capital of his empire and wed the princess Neithhotep of the more ancient city of Naqada to solidify his reign and build ties between his new city and Naqada and his native Thinis.

Many pharaohs wed their sisters or half-sisters to preserve the purity of the blood line, and Pharaoh Akhenaten wed his own daughters.

The Pharaoh of Egypt and Ma’at Law

THE PHARAOH HAD A SACRED DUTY TO DEFEND THE BORDERS OF THE LAND, BUT ALSO TO ATTACK NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES FOR NATURAL RESOURCES.

The Pharaoh of Egypt’s principal duty was to keep ma’at in effect all across the country. It was believed that the goddess Ma’at (pronounced “may-et” or “my-eht”) would bring peace via the pharaoh, but it was up to each king to correctly understand the goddess’ intent and to subsequently act on it.

As a result, battle was a crucial component of the pharaoh’s administration, particularly when it was believed that it was required to restore harmony and balance to the kingdom.

Rameses II, the Great’s (r. 1279–1213 BCE) scribes wrote The Poem of Pentaur, which describes his triumph over the Hittites in the Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BCE, as an example of this notion of battle.

According to Ramesses II, the Hittites needed to be dealt with harshly since they had upset Egypt’s balance.

The Pharaoh of Egypt had a sacred obligation to protect the nation’s boundaries, but he also had the authority to invade nearby nations in order to take their natural riches if he believed it would promote peace.

Also Read: The 42 Laws of Maat in Kemet’ (The Original 10 Commandments of the Bible)

The 42 Laws of Maat in Kemet’ (The Original 10 Commandments of the Bible)

The Pharaoh of Egypt and the Pyramids

King Djoser of the 3rd dynasty (reigned around 2670 BCE) has sufficient power, riches, and resources to order the construction of the Step Pyramid as his forever residence.

The Step Pyramid, which was built by the vizier Imhotep (c. 2667–2600 BCE) and is still a highly well-liked tourist destination today, was the highest building of its day.

The pyramid was built primarily to serve as Djoser’s ultimate resting place, but the beauty of the surrounding complex and the pyramid’s enormous height were also meant to commemorate Egypt and the prosperity of the country under his rule as well as Djoser.

Despite the fact that many other cultures—most notably the Maya, who had no contact at all with ancient Egypt—used the pyramid structure, other 3rd Dynasty kings like Sekhemkhet and Khaba built the Buried Pyramid and Layer Pyramid, two pyramids that were built in accordance with Imhotep’s design.

These monuments became known as the “Egyptian Pyramids” and became associated with Egypt.

Following suit were the kings of the Old Kingdom (c. 2613–2181 BCE), culminating in the construction of the Great Pyramid at Giza, which immortalized Khufu (r. 2589–2566 BCE) and made clear the pharaoh’s authority and divine reign in Egypt.

Also Read: Pyramids of Egypt Mysteries

Pyramids of Egypt Mysteries – Africa Fact Zones

The Egyptian Empire and the 18th Dynasty

Egypt was controlled by the enigmatic Semitic nation known as the Hyksos after the Middle Kingdom’s fall in 1782 BCE.

However, the Hyksos imitated all the adornments of the Egyptian pharaohs and preserved the traditions until their kingdom was toppled by the royal line of the Egyptian 18th Dynasty, which later gave rise to some of the most well-known pharaohs like Rameses the Great and Amenhotep III (r. 1386-1353 BCE).

The Pharaoh of Egypt’s reputation was at its height during this time of Egypt’s empire. From Mesopotamia through the Levant, across to Libya, and farther south into the Nubian Kingdom of Kush, Egypt possessed control over those regions’ natural resources.

After driving the Hyksos out of Egypt, Ahmose I (r. c. 1570–1544 BCE) created buffer zones along the borders to prevent any other invading people from settling there.

Later, these areas were fortified and governed by Egyptian officials who answered to the Pharaoh of Egypt.

Although the majority of these pharaohs were male, Egypt prospered under Queen Hatshepsut of the 18th Dynasty (r. 1479–1458 BCE), who successfully ruled as a female monarch for more than twenty years.

She encouraged trade expeditions abroad and reestablished trade with the Land of Punt, which helped the economy flourish.

Other than Rameses II, Hatshepsut was the pharaoh who oversaw the most public construction projects, and her reign is remembered for its widespread prosperity and tranquility.

It is believed that Tuthmose III (r. 1458–1425 BCE), who succeeded her, tried to bring order back to the country by ordering the removal of her image from all of her temples and monuments.

Tradition holds that a woman should never have assumed the position of pharaoh since Osiris was the first ruler of Egypt and his sister Isis was his consort rather than the current monarch.

Thutmose III is said to have been concerned that Hatshepsut’s example may lead other women to “forget their position” in the holy hierarchy and aspire to the authority the gods had reserved for men.

Also Read: Ancient Egytian Gods and Goddess

Ancient Egytian Gods and Goddess

Decline of the Pharaoh of Egypt

Egypt saw its greatest success during the New Kingdom, but it could not continue. Following the invasion by the Sea Peoples under Ramesses III (r. 1186–1155 BCE), the pharaoh’s power started to wane.

The Egyptian triumph against the Sea Peoples came at a high price, both financially and in terms of human lives sacrificed, and Egypt’s economy started to deteriorate.

Ramesses III was also the Pharaoh of Egypt during the first labor strike in history, which raised questions about this ruler’s capacity to uphold ma’at and the degree to which the aristocracy genuinely cared for the common people.

The Third Intermediate Period (c. 1069-525 BCE), which was brought to an end by the Persian invasion, began with the collapse of the New Kingdom, which was caused by a variety of additional circumstances.

After the Persians defeated the Egyptians in the Battle of Pelusium in 525 BCE, and later after Alexander the Great’s conquests, the pharaoh’s status significantly declined.

By the time of the last pharaoh, the well-known Cleopatra VII Philopator of the Ptolemaic Dynasty (r. c. 69–30 BCE), the position of pharaoh no longer had the same authority it once did.

Fewer monuments were built, and after her death in 30 BCE, Egypt was annexed by Rome. The power and glory of the previous pharaohs were only a distant memory

List of Pharaohs that Ruled Ancient Egypt

Kinglists preserved by the ancient Egyptians themselves serve as the foundation for our understanding of the succession of Egyptian rulers.

The most well-known are the Turin Canon, a papyrus that spans from the earliest dynasties to the time of Ramesses II, the Abydos Kinglist, which Seti I had engraved on his temple at Abydos, and the Palermo Stone, which spans from the earliest dynasties to the middle of Dynasty 5.

Also Read: The Ancient Egytian Culture, History & Religion

The Ancient Egytian Culture, History & Religion

Old Kingdom

ca. 2649–2150 B.C.
Dynasty 3
ca. 2649–2575 B.C.
Zanakht
ca. 2649–2630 B.C.
Djoser
ca. 2630–2611 B.C.
Sekhemkhet
ca. 2611–2605 B.C.
Khaba
ca. 2605–2599 B.C.
Huni
ca. 2599–2575 B.C.

Dynasty 4

ca. 2575–2465 B.C.
Snefru
ca. 2575–2551 B.C.
Khufu
ca. 2551–2528 B.C.
Djedefre
ca. 2528–2520 B.C.
Khafre (

)

ca. 2520–2494 B.C.
Nebka II
ca. 2494–2490 B.C.
Menkaure (

)

ca. 2490–2472 B.C.
Shepseskaf
ca. 2472–2467 B.C.
Thamphthis
ca. 2467–2465 B.C.

Dynasty 5

ca. 2465–2323 B.C.
Userkaf
ca. 2465–2458 B.C.
Sahure (

)

ca. 2458–2446 B.C.
Neferirkare
ca. 2446–2438 B.C.
Shepseskare
ca. 2438–2431 B.C.
Neferefre
ca. 2431–2420 B.C.
Niuserre
ca. 2420–2389 B.C.
Menkauhor
ca. 2389–2381 B.C.
Isesi
ca. 2381–2353 B.C.
Unis
ca. 2353–2323 B.C.

Dynasty 6

ca. 2323–2150 B.C.
Teti
ca. 2323–2291 B.C.
Userkare
ca. 2291–2289 B.C.
Pepi I
ca. 2289–2255 B.C.
Merenre I
ca. 2255–2246 B.C.
Pepi II
ca. 2246–2152 B.C.
Merenre II
ca. 2152–2152 B.C.
Netjerkare Siptah
ca. 2152–2150 B.C.
First Intermediate Period
ca. 2150–2030 B.C.

Dynasty 8–Dynasty 10

ca. 2150–2030 B.C.

Dynasty 11 (first half)

ca. 2124–2030 B.C.
Mentuhotep I
ca. 2124–2120 B.C.
Intef I
ca. 2120–2108 B.C.
Intef II (

)

ca. 2108–2059 B.C.
Intef III
ca. 2059–2051 B.C.
Mentuhotep II (

)

ca. 2051–2030 B.C.
ca. 2030–1640 B.C.

Dynasty 11 (second half)

ca. 2030–1981 B.C.
Mentuhotep II (cont.) (

)

ca. 2030–2000 B.C.
Mentuhotep III
ca. 2000–1988 B.C.
Qakare Intef
ca. 1985 B.C.
Sekhentibre
ca. 1985 B.C.
Menekhkare
ca. 1985 B.C.
Mentuhotep IV
ca. 1988–1981 B.C.

Dynasty 12

ca. 1981–1802 B.C.
Amenemhat I (

)

ca. 1981–1952 B.C.
Senwosret I
ca. 1961–1917 B.C.
Amenemhat II (

)

ca. 1919–1885 B.C.
Senwosret II
ca. 1887–1878 B.C.
Senwosret III (

)

ca. 1878–1840 B.C.
Amenemhat III (

)

ca. 1859–1813 B.C.
Amenemhat IV
ca. 1814–1805 B.C.
Nefrusobek
ca. 1805–1802 B.C.
Dynasty 13
ca. 1802–1640 B.C.
Second Intermediate Period
ca. 1640–1540 B.C.

Dynasty 14–Dynasty 16

ca. 1640–1635 B.C.

Dynasty 17

ca. 1635–1550 B.C.
Tao I
ca. 1560 B.C.
Tao II
ca. 1560 B.C.
Kamose
ca. 1552–1550 B.C.
ca. 1550–1070 B.C.

Dynasty 18

ca. 1550–1295 B.C.
Ahmose (

)

ca. 1550–1525 B.C.
Amenhotep I (

)

ca. 1525–1504 B.C.
Thutmose I (

)

ca. 1504–1492 B.C.
Thutmose II
ca. 1492–1479 B.C.
Thutmose III (

)

ca. 1479–1425 B.C.
Hatshepsut (as regent)
ca. 1479–1473 B.C.
Hatshepsut (

)

ca. 1473–1458 B.C.
Amenhotep II (

)

ca. 1427–1400 B.C.
Thutmose IV (

)

ca. 1400–1390 B.C.
Amenhotep III (

)

ca. 1390–1352 B.C.
Amenhotep IV
ca. 1353–1349 B.C.
Akhenaten (

)

ca. 1349–1336 B.C.
Neferneferuaton
ca. 1338–1336 B.C.
Smenkhkare
ca. 1336 B.C.
Tutankhamun (

)

ca. 1336–1327 B.C.
Aya
ca. 1327–1323 B.C.
Haremhab (

)

ca. 1323–1295 B.C.
Dynasty 19
ca. 1295–1186 B.C.
Ramesses I (

)

ca. 1295–1294 B.C.
Seti I (

)

ca. 1294–1279 B.C.
Ramesses II
ca. 1279–1213 B.C.
Merneptah (

)

ca. 1213–1203 B.C.
Amenmesse (

)

ca. 1203–1200 B.C.
Seti II
ca. 1200–1194 B.C.
Siptah (

)

ca. 1194–1188 B.C.
Tawosret
ca. 1188–1186 B.C.
Dynasty 20
ca. 1186–1070 B.C.
Sethnakht
ca. 1186–1184 B.C.
Ramesses III (

)

ca. 1184–1153 B.C.
Ramesses IV (

)

ca. 1153–1147 B.C.
Ramesses V
ca. 1147–1143 B.C.
Ramesses VI
ca. 1143–1136 B.C.
Ramesses VII
ca. 1136–1129 B.C.
Ramesses VIII
ca. 1129–1126 B.C.
Ramesses IX
ca. 1126–1108 B.C.
Ramesses X
ca. 1108–1099 B.C.
Ramesses XI
ca. 1099–1070 B.C.
Hight Priests (HP) of Amun
ca. 1080–1070 B.C.
HP Herihor
ca. 1080–1074 B.C.
HP Paiankh
ca. 1074–1070 B.C.
ca. 1070–713 B.C.

Dynasty 21

ca. 1070–945 B.C.
Smendes
ca. 1070–1044 B.C.
HP Painedjem I
ca. 1070–1032 B.C.
HP Masaharta
ca. 1054–1046 B.C.
HP Djedkhonsefankh
ca. 1046–1045 B.C.
HP Menkheperre
ca. 1045–992 B.C.
Amenemnisu
ca. 1044–1040 B.C.
Psusennes I
ca. 1040–992 B.C.
Amenemope
ca. 993–984 B.C.
HP Smendes
ca. 992–990 B.C.
HP Painedjem II
ca. 990–969 B.C.
Osochor
ca. 984–978 B.C.
Siamun
ca. 978–959 B.C.
HP Psusennes
ca. 969–959 B.C.
Psusennes II
ca. 959–945 B.C.
Dynasty 22 (Libyan)
ca. 945–712 B.C.
Sheshonq I
ca. 945–924 B.C.
Osorkon I
ca. 924–889 B.C.
Sheshonq II
ca. 890 B.C.
Takelot I
ca. 889–874 B.C.
Osorkon II
ca. 874–850 B.C.
Harsiese
ca. 865 B.C.
Takelot II
ca. 850–825 B.C.
Sheshonq III
ca. 825–773 B.C.
Pami
ca. 773–767 B.C.
Sheshonq V
ca. 767–730 B.C.
Osorkon IV
ca. 730–712 B.C.
Dynasty 23
ca. 818–713 B.C.
Pedubaste I
ca. 818–793 B.C.
Iuput I
ca. 800 B.C.
Sheshonq IV
ca. 793–787 B.C.
Osorkon III
ca. 787–759 B.C.
Takelot III
ca. 764–757 B.C.
Rudamun
ca. 757–754 B.C.
Iuput II
ca. 754–712 B.C.
Peftjaubast
ca. 740–725 B.C.
Namlot
ca. 740 B.C.
Thutemhat
ca. 720 B.C.
Dynasty 24
ca. 724–712 B.C.
Tefnakht
ca. 724–717 B.C.
Bakenrenef
ca. 717–712 B.C.
ca. 712–332 B.C.
Dynasty 25 (Nubian)
ca. 712–664 B.C.
Piye (establishes Nubian Dynasty in Egypt)
ca. 743–712 B.C.
Shabaqo (

)

ca. 712–698 B.C.
Shebitqo (

)

ca. 698–690 B.C.
Taharqo (loses control of Lower Egypt) (

)

ca. 690–664 B.C.
Tanutamani (loses control of Upper Egypt)
ca. 664–653 B.C.
Dynasty 26 (Saite)
688–525 B.C.
Nikauba
688–672 B.C.
Necho I
672–664 B.C.
Psamtik I (

)

664–610 B.C.
Necho II
610–595 B.C.
Psamtik II
595–589 B.C.
Apries (

)

589–570 B.C.
Amasis (

)

570–526 B.C.
Psamtik III
526–525 B.C.
525–404 B.C.
Cambyses
525–522 B.C.
Darius I
521–486 B.C.
Xerxes I
486–466 B.C.
Artaxerxes I
465–424 B.C.
Darius II
424–404 B.C.
Dynasty 28
522–399 B.C.
Pedubaste III
522–520 B.C.
Psamtik IV
ca. 470 B.C.
Inaros
ca. 460 B.C.
Amyrtaios I
ca. 460 B.C.
Thannyros
ca. 445 B.C.
Pausiris
ca. 445 B.C.
Psamtik V
ca. 445 B.C.
Psamtik VI
ca. 400 B.C.
Amyrtaios II
404–399 B.C.
Dynasty 29
399–380 B.C.
Nepherites I
399–393 B.C.
Psammuthis
393 B.C.
Achoris
393–380 B.C.
Nepherites II
380 B.C.
Dynasty 30
380–343 B.C.
Nectanebo I
380–362 B.C.
Teos
365–360 B.C.
Nectanebo II (

)

360–343 B.C.
Persians
343–332 B.C.
Khabebesh
343–332 B.C.
Artaxerxes III Ochus
343–338 B.C.
Arses
338–336 B.C.
Darius III Codoman
335–332 B.C.
Macedonian Period
332–304 B.C.

(

)

332–323 B.C.
Philip Arrhidaeus
323–316 B.C.
Alexander IV
316–304 B.C.
304–30 B.C.
Ptolemy I Soter I
304–284 B.C.
Ptolemy II Philadelphos (

)

285–246 B.C.
Arsinoe II (

)

278–270 B.C.
Ptolemy III Euergetes I (

)

246–221 B.C.
Berenike II
246–221 B.C.
Ptolemy IV Philopator (

)

222–205 B.C.
Ptolemy V Epiphanes
205–180 B.C.
Harwennefer
205–199 B.C.
Ankhwennefer
199–186 B.C.
Cleopatra I
194–176 B.C.
Ptolemy VI Philometor
180–145 B.C.
Cleopatra II
175–115 B.C.
Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II
170–116 B.C.
Harsiese
ca. 130 B.C.
Ptolemy VII Neos Philopator
145–144 B.C.
Ptolemy IX Soter II
116–80 B.C.
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