Sobekhotep IV

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Khaneferre Sobekhotep IV was one of the most powerful Egyptian kings of the 13th Dynasty. He was the son of the 'god's father' Haankhef and of the 'king's mother' Kemi. His brothers, Neferhotep I and Sihathor, were his predecessors on the throne, the latter having only ruled as coregent for a few months.

Sobekhotep states on a stela found in the Amun temple at Karnak that he was born in Thebes.The king is believed to have reigned for around 10 years. He is known by a relatively high number of monuments, including stelae, statues, many seals and other minor objects. There are attestations for building works at Abydos and Karnak.

Sobekhotep IV's wife was the 'king's wife' Tjan. Several children are known. The royal court is also well known. Vizier was Neferkare Iymeru. Treasurer was Senebi and high steward a certain Nebankh.

Sobekhotep IV's rule over a divided Egypt[edit]

Cartouche of Sobekhotep IV.

While Sobekhotep IV was one of the most powerful 13th dynasty rulers and his control over Memphis, Middle Egypt and Thebes is well attested by historical records, it is believed that he did not rule over a united Egypt. According to the egyptologist Kim Ryholt, the 14th Dynasty was already in control of the eastern Nile Delta at the time.[1]

Alternatively, N. Moeller and G. Marouard argue that the eastern Delta was ruled by the 15th Dynasty Hyksos king Khyan at the time of Sobekhotep IV. Their argument, exposed in a recently published article of Egypt and the Levant, Volume 21 (2011), Nadine Moeller, Gregory Marouard and N. Ayers,[2] relies on the discovery of an important early 12th dynasty (Middle Kingdom) administrative building in Tell Edfu, Upper Egypt, which was continuously in use from the early Second Intermediate Period until it fell out of use during the 17th dynasty, when its remains were sealed up by a large silo court. Fieldwork by Egyptologists in 2010 and 2011 into the remains of the former 12th dynasty building, which was still in use at the time of the 13th dynasty, led to the discovery of a large adjoining hall which proved to contain 41 sealings showing the cartouche of the Hyksos ruler Khyan together with 9 sealings naming the 13th dynasty king Sobekhotep IV.[3] As Moeller, Marouard and Ayers write: "These finds come from a secure and sealed archaeological context and open up new questions about the cultural and chronological evolution of the late Middle Kingdom and early Second Intermediate Period."[4] They conclude that 1. Khyan was actually one of the earlier Hyksos kings and may not have been succeeded by Apophis—who was the second last king of the Hyksos kingdom—2. the 15th Hyksos dynasty was already in existence by the mid-13th dynasty period since Khyan controlled a part of northern Egypt at the same time as Sobekhotep IV ruled the rest of Egypt as a pharaoh of the 13th dynasty. This analysis and the conclusions drawned from it are rejected by Robert Porter however, who argues that Khyan ruled much later than Sobekhotep IV. Porter notes that the seals of a pharaoh were used even long after his death.[5] In Ryholt's chronology of the second intermediate period, Khyan and Sobekhotep IV are separated by c. 100 years.[1] A similar figure is obtained by Nicolas Grimal.[6]

Regardless of which theory is true, either the 14th dynasty or the 15th dynasty already controlled the Delta by the time of Sobekhotep IV.[7]


  1. ^ a b K.S.B. Ryholt: The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, c.1800-1550 BC, Carsten Niebuhr Institute Publications, vol. 20. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 1997.
  2. ^ Nadine Moeller, Gregory Marouard & N. Ayers, Discussion of Late Middle Kingdom and Early Second Intermediate Period History and Chronology in Relation to the Khayan Sealings from Tell Edfu, in: Egypt and the Levant 21 (2011), pp.87-121 online PDF
  3. ^ Moeller, Marouard & Ayers, Egypt and the Levant 21, (2011), pp.87-108
  4. ^ Moeller, Marouard & Ayers, Egypt and the Levant 21, (2011), p.87
  5. ^ Robert M. Porter: The Second Intermediate Period according to Edfu, Goettinger Mizsellen 239 (2013), p. 75-80
  6. ^ N. Grimal: Histoire de l'Égypte ancienne, 1988
  7. ^ Thomas Schneider, Ausländer in Ägypten während des Mittleren Reiches und der Hyksoszeit I, 1998, pp.158-59
  • K.S.B. Ryholt, The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, c.1800-1550 BC, (Carsten Niebuhr Institute Publications, vol. 20. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 1997).

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Neferhotep I
Pharaoh of Egypt
Thirteenth Dynasty
Succeeded by
Sobekhotep V