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Encyclopedia > First Intermediate Period

The First Intermediate Period is the name conventionally given by Egyptologists to that period in Ancient Egyptian history between the end of the Old Kingdom and the advent of the Middle Kingdom. As such, depending on when individual historians place the 'downfall' of the Old Kingdom - with the end of either the Sixth or the Eighth Dynasties - the First Intermediate period (sometimes abbreviated as 'FIP') can be considered to embrace the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and most of the Eleventh Dynasties.

The Old Kingdom was weakened by famine and weak leadership. One theory holds that a sudden, unanticipated, catastrophic reduction in the Nile floods over two or three decades, caused by a global climatic cooling which reduced the amount of rainfall in Egypt, Ethiopia and East Africa, contributed to the great famine and the subsequent downfall of the Old Kingdom.

The last Pharaoh of the 6th dynasty was Pepi II who probably reigned for 94 years, longer than any monarch in history. He was 6 when he ascended the throne and 100 years old when he died. The latter years of his reign were marked by inefficiency because of Pepy's advanced age. When he died the Old Kingdom collapsed.

A dark time marked by unrest followed. The Union of the Two Kingdoms fell apart and regional leaders had to cope with the famine.

Around 2160 BC a new line of Pharaohs tried to reunite Lower Egypt from their capital in Heracleopolis. In the meantime, however, a rival line based at Thebes was reuniting Upper Egypt and a clash between the two rival dynasties was inevitable.

The Pharaohs from Herakleopolis descended from a Pharaoh named Akhtoy and the first four Pharaohs from Thebes were named Inyotef or Antef.

Around 2055 BC a descendant of Inyotef defeated the Heracleopolitan Pharaohs, reunited the Two Lands, founded the 11th dynasty and ruled as Mentuhotep II thereby ending the First Intermediate Period.

  Results from FactBites:
First Intermediate Period (351 words)
The period was one of regional division, petty dynasties, rivalry, chaos and cultural decline.
This period begins with the fall of the Old Kingdom, and ends with the emergence of the Middle Kingdom.
The intermediate period comes to an end with the Theban king Mentuhotep 2 when he conquered Lower Egypt around 2055, thereby ending the Herakleopan dynasties.
Second Intermediate Period (317 words)
Period of Ancient Egypt, 1650-1550 BCE, 100 years, in which central authority was largely lost.
Though the period was one of regional division and increasing poverty, it was not one of chaos or dramatic cultural decline.
The conclusion of this period, bringing forth the New Kingdom, came with the attack by the Theban kings.
  More results at FactBites »



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