|Pharaoh of Egypt|
|Reign||c. 2135 BC, 11th dynasty|
|Predecessor||Intef the elder, son of Iku ?|
|Consort(s)||Queen Neferu I|
|Children||Intef I ? Intef II ?|
Mentuhotep I was a Theban nomarch and independent ruler of Upper Egypt during the early First Intermediate Period and later considered to be the founding father of the Eleventh dynasty, which rose to prominence under Intef II and Mentuhotep II.
Mentuhotep may have been a local Egyptian nomarch at Thebes during the early first intermediate period, ca. 2135 BC. Even thought he never was a king, and is named as a nomarch in Thutmose III's royal list of the 'Hall of Ancestors' monument at Karnak, he was given a royal titulary by his successors. This, together with the fact that Mentuhotep I is not securely attested on any contemporary monument led some egyptologists to propose that he is a fictional ancestor and founder of the Eleventh dynasty, invented for that purpose during the later part of the dynasty.
On the base of a statue from the sanctuary of Hequaib on Elephantine, Mentuhotep I is referred to as "Father of the gods". This title probably refers to Mentuhotep's immediate successors, Intef I and Intef II who reigned as kings over Upper Egypt. Some egyptologists take the title as evidence that Mentuhotep was the father of Intef I and II. Finally, this could indicate that Mentuhotep did not himself reign as king, as such title was usually reserved to the non-royal ancestors of pharaohs.
The epithet Merysatetnebetabu, "Beloved of Satet mistress of Elephantine", is only know from the statue of the Hequaib sanctuary and refers to Satet, a goddess worshipped in Elephantine. The throne name of Mentuhotep is unknown and given that he may not have been a king, as well as the fact that no subsequent 11th Dynasty king bore any throne name until Mentuhotep II, it is probable that he never had one. His Horus name Tepia, "The ancestor" was certainly given to him posthumously.
Mentuhotep's wife may have been Neferu I and the statue from Hequaib may show that he was the father of Intef I and II. A non-royal predecessor of Mentuhotep, named Intef, is mentionned on the 'Hall of Ancestors' at Karnak. This could refer to Intef the elder, son of Iku, a Theban nomarch of the early first intermediate period. However the kings on the inscription are not listed in chronological order, so this cannot be considered certain.
As Theban nomarch, Mentuhotep's dominion extended south to the first cataract. Mentuhotep might have formed an alliance with the nomarch of Coptos, which brought his successor Intef I to war with the Herakleopolitan kings of the 10th dynasty ruling over Lower Egypt and their powerful nomarch allies in Middle Egypt, in particular Ankhtifi.
- Annales du Service des Antiquités de l´Egypt Le Caire. Nr. 55, 1900, p. 178.
- Clayton, Peter A. Chronicle of the Pharaohs: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. p72. 2006. ISBN 0-500-28628-0
- Grimal, p.143
- Labib Habachi: The Sanctuary of Hequaib, Mainz 1985, photos of the statue: vol. II, pp.187-189.
- Louise Gestermann: Kontinuität und Wandel in Politik und Verwaltung des frühen Mittleren Reiches in Ägypten, Wiesbaden 1987, p. 26.
- Labib Habachi: God's fathers and the role they played in the history of the First Intermediate Period, ASAE 55, p. 167
- The name is preserved only on an old drawing of Émile Prisse d'Avennes, see Habachi, Figure 4.
|Pharaoh of Egypt