First Intermediate Period

2181 BC
2055 BC

The weakness of the rulers of the Sixth Dynasty resulted in the loss of order and control over the country in addition to the provinces’ rulers increased power and the decline in royal power. Each ruler established forces for each province, which resulted in civil wars and deterioration of the political and economic conditions. Weakness racked havoc in the capital Memphis where theft, murder, tomb and temple robbing became a common thing. The kings’ pyramids, treasures and statues were also robbed.

In the light of Middle Kingdom written sources, the First Intermediate Period is described as a time of chaos and turmoil. The lack of royal rule supposedly led to poverty, the loss of moral values and instability. Scholars were eager to buy into this opaque piece of ancient Egyptian propaganda and called the First Intermediate Period a “dark age”. Archaeological evidence, however, holds a very different picture: new forms and shapes of pottery were invented, religious texts, especially funerary texts were developed by skilled scribes and individuals became successful entrepreneurs and businessmen. In years of low Nile and fame, neighbors helped out and places like Elephantine in the South were sent food. It seems that the people of Egypt fared well without kings, but local potentates were about to change this soon, a new dynasty was to rise which had its center in Thebes and was powerful enough to challenge the North. The country sunk in an overwhelming condition of chaos.  This period that lasted about 125 years was named the Dark Age and with it came the end of the Old Kingdom.

This period included dynasties seven to ten. We don’t know many details about this period due to the weakness of the kings. It was said that 70 kings ruled in 70 days. Very few objects were found such as some scarabs for a king named NeferKara II in addition to a small pyramid for a king named Ibibi.

The kings of dynasties nine and ten came from Ihnasia (current Beni Swif), which gained power during that period. We don’t know much about those kings except some such as Khety I and Khety II. ( or Khety III and his son Merykara (referring to the famous instructions of khety to his son )We can learn about the extent of the condition the country was in from the Ibwir papyrus, which describe the wide spread of poverty, corruption and murders compared to the flourished times of the Old Kingdom.

First Intermediate Period