Thirteenth Dynasty of Egypt
Dynasties of Ancient Egypt
The Thirteenth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty XIII) is often combined with Dynasties XI, XII and XIV under the group title Middle Kingdom. Some writers separate it from these dynasties and join it to Dynasties XIV through XVII as part of the Second Intermediate Period. Dynasty XIII lasted from approximately 1803 BC until approximately 1649 BC, i.e. for 154 years.
The 13th dynasty was a direct continuation of the preceding 12th dynasty, with its first ruler believed to be a son of Amenemhat IV. K. Ryholt proposes that the demarcation between the two dynasties reflects the rise of the independent 14th dynasty in the eastern Delta, an event which, he proposes, occured during Sobekneferu's reign. As direct heirs to the kings of the 12th dynasty, pharaohs of the 13th dynasty reigned from Memphis over Middle and Upper Egypt, all the way to second cataract to the south. The power of the 13th dynasty waned progressively over its 150 years of existence and it finally came to an end with the conquest of Memphis by the Hyksos rulers of the 15th dynasty, c. 1650 BC.
There are many known rulers for Dynasty XIII. Some of the better known ones are listed below. The names and order in the table is based on Dodson and Hilton.
|Pharaoh||Also known as||Burial||Consort(s)||Comments|
|Khutawyre Wegaf||no agreement yet in Egyptology who was the first king of the Dynasty XIII, maybe instead Sobekhotep Sekhemre-Khutawy|
|Siharnedjheritef||Hotepibre||Son of Qemau?|
|Ameny Qemau||Pyramid in South Dashur||Perhaps identical to Sehotepibre|
|Hor||Awybre||Buried in Dahshur near the pyramid of Amenemhet III||Nubhotepi|
|Sobekhotep II||Sekhemre Khutawy|
|Khendjer||Userkare / Nikanimaetre||Pyramid, South Saqqara ||Seneb[henas?]|
|Sobekhotep III||Sekhemresewadjtawy||Senebhenas 
|Neferhotep I||Khasekhemre||Senebsen |
|Sobekhotep IV||Khaneferre||Tjin |
|Sobekhotep V||Merhotepre||Nubkhaes ? |
|Pharaoh||Also known as||Comments|
|Mersekhemre Ined||Possibly the same as Neferhotep II|
|Merkawre Sobekhotep VII|
|Mershepsesre Ini II|
|Mersekhemre Neferhotep II||Possibly the same as Mersekhemre Ined|
In later texts, this dynasty is usually described as an era of chaos and disorder. However, the period may have been more peaceful than was once thought since the central government in Itj-tawy near the Faiyum was sustained during most of the dynasty and the country remained relatively stable. Unfortunately, the true chronology of this dynasty is difficult to determine as there are few monuments dating from the period. Many of the kings' names are only known from an odd fragmentary inscription or from scarabs.
Sobekhotep I and II
Ryholt gives a ruler named "Sobkhotep I Sekhemre-khutawy" as the first king of this dynasty. Sobekhotep Sekhemre Khutawy is referred to as Sobekhotep II in this article. Ryholt places Sobkhotep Sekhemrekhutawy at the beginning of the dynasty at ca 1800 BC, and Sobekhotep Khaankhre ca 20 years later at 1780 BC. Dodson and Hilton similarly has Sobekhotep Sekhemrekhutawy predating Sobekhotep Khaankhre.
After allowing discipline at the southern forts to deteriorate, the government eventually withdrew its garrisons and, not long afterward, the forts were reoccupied by the rising Nubian state of Kush. In the north, Lower Egypt was overrun by the Hyksos, a Semitic people from across the Sinai. An independent line of kings created Dynasty XIV that arose in the western Delta during later Dynasty XIII. According to Manetho, into this unstable mix came invaders from the east called the Hyksos who seized Egypt "without striking a blow; and having overpowered the rulers of the land, they then burned our cities ruthlessly, razed to the ground the temples of gods..." Their regime, called Dynasty XV, was claimed to have replaced Dynasties XIII and XIV in most of the country.
However, recent archaeological finds at Edfu indicate that the Hyksos 15th dynasty was already in existence at least by the mid-13th dynasty reign of king Sobekhotep IV. In a recently published Egypt and the Levant Volume 21 (2011) paper by Nadine Moeller, Gregory Marouard and N. Ayers, these three scholars discuss the discovery of an important early 12th dynasty Middle Kingdom administrative building in the eastern Tell Edfu area of Upper Egypt which was in continual use into the early Second Intermediate Period until 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 also used in 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. The preserved contexts of these seals shows that Sobekhotep IV and Khyan were most likely contemporaries of one another. This means that the 13th dynasty did not control all of Egypt when Sobekhotep IV acceded to power and that there was a significant overlap between the 13th and 15th dynasties since Sobekhotep IV was only a mid-13th dynasty ruler; although one of its most powerful kings. Therefore, Manetho's statement that the Hyksos 15th dynasty violently replaced the 13th dynasty is likely a piece of later Egyptian propaganda. Rather, the 13th dynasty's authority must have been collapsing throughout Egypt in its final decades and the Hyksos state in the Delta region simply took over Memphis and ended the 13th dynasty's kingdom.
Merneferre Ay was the last Egyptian ruler of the 13th Dynasty who is attested by objects in both Lower and Upper Egypt. Henceforth, his successors, beginning from Merhotepre Ini on are only attested in Upper Egypt.
- Kim S. B. Ryholt, The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, c.1800-1550 B.C., Museum Tusculanum Press 1997, p.197
- Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. The American University in Cairo Press, London 2004
- K. S. B. Ryholt, Hotepibre, a Supposed Asiatic King in Egypt with Relations to Ebla, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 311 (Aug., 1998), pp. 1-6
- Verner, Miroslav. The Pyramids: The Mystery, Culture, and Science of Egypt's Great Monuments. Grove Press. 2001 (1997). ISBN 0-8021-3935-3
- Grajetzki, Ancient Egyptian Queens: A Hieroglyphic Dictionary, Golden House Publications, London, 2005, ISBN 978-0954721893
- K.S.B. Ryholt. The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period c. 1800-1550 B.C. Carsten Niebuhr Institute Publications 20. Copenhagen
- Dodson, Hilton, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, 2004
- 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
- Moeller, Marouard & Ayers, Egypt and the Levant 21, (2011), pp.87-108
- Thomas Schneider, "The Chronology of the Middle Kingdom and the Hyksos Period", in: E. Hornung/R. Krauss/D. Warburton (eds.), Ancient Egyptian Chronology (Handbook of Oriental Studies 1, 83), Leiden/ Boston 2006, p.180
- Schneider, p.180
- Clayton, Peter A. Chronicle of the Pharaohs: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 2006. ISBN 0500286280.