Sixteenth Dynasty of Egypt

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The Sixteenth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty XVI)[1] was a dynasty of pharaohs that ruled the Theban region in Upper Egypt[2] for 70 years.[3]

This dynasty, together with Dynasties XV and XVII, was often combined under the group title, Second Intermediate Period (c. 1650-1580 BC), a period that saw the division of Upper and Lower Egypt between the pharaohs at Thebes and the Hyksos kings of the 15th dynasty based at Avaris.


Of the two chief versions of Manetho's Aegyptiaca, Dynasty XVI is described by the more reliable[4] Africanus (supported by Syncellus)[5] as "shepherd [hyksos] kings", but by Eusebius as Theban.[4]

Ryholt (1997), followed by Bourriau (2003), in reconstructing the Turin canon, interpreted a list of Thebes-based kings to constitute Manetho's Dynasty XVI, although this is one of Ryholt's "most debatable and far-reaching" conclusions.[4] For this reason other scholars do not follow Ryholt and see only insufficient evidence for the interpretation of the Sixteenth Dynasty as Theban.[6]


The continuing war against Dynasty XV dominated the short-lived 16th dynasty. The armies of the 15th dynasty, winning town after town from their southern enemies, continually encroached on the 16th dynasty territory, eventually threatening and then conquering Thebes itself. In his study of the second intermediate period, the egyptologist Kim Ryholt has suggested that Dedumose I sued for a truce in the latter years of the dynasty,[3] but one of his predecessors, Nebiryraw I, may have been more successful and seems to have enjoyed a period of peace in his reign.[3]

Famine, which had plagued Upper Egypt during late 13th dynasty and the 14th dynasty, also blighted the 16th dynasty, most evidently during and after the reign of Neferhotep III.[3]


Thebes (Luxor Temple pictured) was the capital of many of the Dynasty XVI pharaohs.

From Ryholt's reconstruction of the Turin canon, 15 kings of the dynasty can now be named, five of whom appear in contemporary sources.[2] While most likely rulers based in Thebes itself, some may have been local rulers from other important Upper Egyptian towns, including Abydos, El Kab and Edfu.[2] By the reign of Nebiriau I, the realm controlled by the 16th dynasty extended at least as far north as Hu and south to Edfu.[3][7] Not listed in the Turin canon (after Ryholt) is Wepwawetemsaf, who left a stele at Abydos and was likely a local kinglet of the Abydos Dynasty.[2]

Ryholt gives the list of kings of the 16th dynasty as shown in the table below.[8] Others, such as Helck, Vandersleyen, Bennett combine some of these rulers with the Seventeenth dynasty of Egypt. The estimated dates come from Bennett's publication.[9]

Dynasty XVI (Ryholt)
Name Horus name Reign Consort
Name lost
Djehuti Sekhemre-sementawi ca 1649 BC Queen Mentuhotep
Sobekhotep VIII Sekhemre-seusertawi ca 1645 BC
Neferhotep III Sekhemre-seankhtawi ca 1629 BC
Mentuhotepi Seankhenre ca 1628 BC
Nebiryraw I Sewadjenre ca 1627 BC
Nebiriau II Neferkare ? ca 1601 BC
Semenre ca 1601 BC
Bebi-Ankh Seuserenre ca 1600 BC
Shedwast Sekhemre ca 1588 BC
Five kings lost in a lacuna of the Turin canon
Kings whose position is uncertain:[10]
Dedumose I Djedhetepre
Dedumose II Djedneferre
Montemsaf Djedankhre
Mentuhotep VI Merankhre Sitmut ?
Senusret IV Seneferibre

Wolfgang Helck however gives a different list of rulers for the 16th dynasty:[11]

Dynasty XVI (Helck)
Name Horus name Comments Consort
Bebi-Ankh Seuserenre
Pepi III Sneferankh-re

The following pharaoh may also belong to this dynasty: Seneb Kay.


  1. ^ Kuhrt 1995: 118
  2. ^ a b c d Bourriau 2003: 191
  3. ^ a b c d e Ryholt 1997: 305
  4. ^ a b c Bourriau 2003: 179
  5. ^ Cory 1876
  6. ^ see for example, Quirke, in Maree: The Second Intemediate Period (Thirteenth - Seventeenth Dynasties, Current Research, Future Prospects, Leuven 2011, Paris — Walpole, MA. ISBN 978-9042922280, p. 56, n. 6
  7. ^ Darrell D. Baker: The Encyclopedia of the Pharaohs: Volume I - Predynastic to the Twentieth Dynasty 3300–1069 BC, Stacey International, ISBN 978-1-905299-37-9, 2008, pp. 256-257
  8. ^ Kings of the Second Intermediate Period 16th dynasty (after Ryholt 1997)
  9. ^ Chris Bennet, A Genealogical Chronology of the Seventeenth Dynasty, Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, Vol. 39 (2002), pp. 123-155
  10. ^ Kim Ryholt's 16th dynasty on Digital Egypt for Universities
  11. ^ Wolfgang Helck, Eberhard Otto, Wolfhart Westendorf, Stele - Zypresse: Volume 6 of Lexikon der Ägyptologie, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 1986, Page 1383