Kings and Queens in Ancient Egypt – Rulers and Kingdoms

The ancient Egyptians considered the king and his office as the pinnacle of society and the principle of order. The main task of the king was to maintain order in the society, also known as the “country”. This included maintaining peace and political stability, performing all necessary religious rituals, meeting the economic needs of the nation, administering justice, and protecting the country from external and internal threats. It is sometimes said that the ancient Egyptians believed that their king was divine, but it was not the king himself who was divine, but the kingdom embodied by the king. The living king was identified with the god Horus and the dead king with the god Osiris, but the ancient Egyptians recognized that the king was mortal. One of their earliest rituals was the thirst, a festival of rejoicing in which the dying king affirmed his ability to remain king.

Royal power was usually passed from father to son, but the role of mothers and queens was equally important. Ideally, the successor would be the king’s son and his wife would be the king’s royal wife, who, as a close relative of the king, would give the successor dual legitimacy. Throughout Egyptian history, the queen’s role as the king’s mother, and thus as a symbol of the powers of creation and rebirth, has given royal women considerable status and influence. Sometimes queens assumed royal power for political or dynastic reasons, but with the exception of Hatshepsut, their reigns were generally short-lived.

Although few historical records of the succession have survived, an innate desire to preserve order seems to have prevented the usurpation of power and the irregular dynastic relationships seen in the Ptolemaic period. The first duty of the king at the time of the succession was to ensure the burial of his predecessor and thus to maintain order in this world and in the other. The office of king was also flexible enough to allow periods when two monarchs – the older king and his younger partner – ruled together.

The ancient Egyptians also called the king “pharaoh,” a name still used today. This is the Hebrew pronunciation of the ancient Egyptian term per-aa, which means “great house.” It originally referred to the royal residence, but eventually came to be used to refer to the king himself, just as we say “palace” or “White House”. Each king, when he became king, was recognized by the five names that made up his title. These were the name of Horus, the name of the two women, the name of the golden falcon, the name of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt (the name of the throne) and the name of his son Ra, his personal birth name. The name of the throne and his own name are included in the inscriptions of the cartouche or name ring. Although the Nile Valley and the delta region were unified by the first rulers of the first dynasty, the dual authority of the kings of Upper and Lower Egypt was preserved in many aspects of royal authority, including the two Egyptian crowns: the white crown of Upper Egypt and the red crown of Lower Egypt. The kings are represented with both crowns, as well as with a pair of combined crowns.

Our knowledge of the order of succession of Egyptian kings is based on the royal lists preserved by the Egyptians themselves. The best known of these are the Palermo Stone, which covers the period from the early dynasties to the middle of Dynasty 5; the List of the Kings of Abydos, carved by Sety I in his temple at Abydos; and the Turin Canon, a papyrus covering the period from the early dynasties to the reign of Ramesses II. All these elements are incomplete or fragmentary. We also have a history of Egypt written by Manetho in the third century B.C. Manetho was a priest of the temple of Heliopolis and had access to many original sources. It was he who divided the kings into the present thirty dynasties.

It is this structure of dynasties and counted kings that we are now trying to relate to the absolute chronology of dates in our own calendar system. This process is complicated by the fragmentary nature of the royal lists and the differences in the calendar years used at different times. Some astronomical observations of the ancient Egyptians have been preserved, which allows us to calculate absolute dates with a certain margin of error. Synchronizations with other civilizations of the ancient world do not work either.

List of Rulers of Nubia and Ancient Egypt

Old Kingdom
Around 2649–2150 BCE

Dynasty 3
Around 2649–2575 BCE
Around 2649–2630 BCE
Around 2630–2611 BCE
Around 2611–2605 BCE
Around 2605–2599 BCE
Around 2599–2575 BCE
Dynasty 4
Around 2575–2465 BCE
Around 2575–2551 BCE
Around 2551–2528 BCE
Around 2528–2520 BCE
Khafre (26.7.1392)
Around 2520–2494 BCE
Nebka II
Around 2494–2490 BCE
Menkaure (37.6.1)
Around 2490–2472 BCE
Around 2472–2467 BCE
Around 2467–2465 BCE
Dynasty 5
Around 2465–2323 BCE
Around 2465–2458 BCE
Sahure (18.2.4)
Around 2458–2446 BCE
Around 2446–2438 BCE
Around 2438–2431 BCE
Around 2431–2420 BCE
Around 2420–2389 BCE
Around 2389–2381 BCE
Around 2381–2353 BCE
Around 2353–2323 BCE
Dynasty 6
Around 2323–2150 BCE
Around 2323–2291 BCE
Around 2291–2289 BCE
Pepi I
Around 2289–2255 BCE
Merenre I
Around 2255–2246 BCE
Pepi II
Around 2246–2152 BCE
Merenre II
Around 2152–2152 BCE
Netjerkare Siptah
Around 2152–2150 BCE
First Intermediate Period
Around 2150–2030 BCE
Dynasty 8–Dynasty 10
Around 2150–2030 BCE
Dynasty 11 (first half)
Around 2124–2030 BCE
Mentuhotep I
Around 2124–2120 BCE
Intef I
Around 2120–2108 BCE
Intef II (13.182.3)
Around 2108–2059 BCE
Intef III
Around 2059–2051 BCE
Mentuhotep II (07.230.2)
Around 2051–2030 BCE

Middle Kingdom
Around 2030–1640 BCE

Dynasty 11 (second half)
Around 2030–1981 BCE
Mentuhotep II (cont.) (07.230.2)
Around 2030–2000 BCE
Mentuhotep III
Around 2000–1988 BCE
Qakare Intef
Around 1985 BCE
Around 1985 BCE
Around 1985 BCE
Mentuhotep IV
Around 1988–1981 BCE
Dynasty 12
Around 1981–1802 BCE
Amenemhat I (08.200.5)
Around 1981–1952 BCE
Senwosret I
Around 1961–1917 BCE
Amenemhat II (14.3.17)
Around 1919–1885 BCE
Senwosret II
Around 1887–1878 BCE
Senwosret III (26.7.1394)
Around 1878–1840 BCE
Amenemhat III (24.7.1)
Around 1859–1813 BCE
Amenemhat IV
Around 1814–1805 BCE
Around 1805–1802 BCE
Dynasty 13
Around 1802–1640 BCE
Second Intermediate Period
Around 1640–1540 BCE
Dynasty 14–Dynasty 16
Around 1640–1635 BCE
Dynasty 17
Around 1635–1550 BCE
Tao I
Around 1560 BCE
Tao II
Around 1560 BCE
Around 1552–1550 BCE

New Kingdom
Around 1550–1070 BCE

Dynasty 18
Around 1550–1295 BCE
Ahmose (2006.270)
Around 1550–1525 BCE
Amenhotep I (26.3.30a)
Around 1525–1504 BCE
Thutmose I (30.4.137)
Around 1504–1492 BCE
Thutmose II
Around 1492–1479 BCE
Thutmose III (1995.21)
Around 1479–1425 BCE
Hatshepsut (as regent)
Around 1479–1473 BCE
Hatshepsut (29.3.2)
Around 1473–1458 BCE
Amenhotep II (66.99.20)
Around 1427–1400 BCE
Thutmose IV (30.8.45a–c)
Around 1400–1390 BCE
Amenhotep III (56.138)
Around 1390–1352 BCE
Amenhotep IV
Around 1353–1349 BCE
Akhenaten (66.99.40)
Around 1349–1336 BCE
Around 1338–1336 BCE
Around 1336 BCE
Tutankhamun (50.6)
Around 1336–1327 BCE
Around 1327–1323 BCE
Haremhab (23.10.1)
Around 1323–1295 BCE
Dynasty 19
Around 1295–1186 BCE
Ramesses I (11.155.3a)
Around 1295–1294 BCE
Seti I (22.2.21)
Around 1294–1279 BCE
Ramesses II
Around 1279–1213 BCE
Merneptah (26.7.1451)
Around 1213–1203 BCE
Amenmesse (34.2.2)
Around 1203–1200 BCE
Seti II
Around 1200–1194 BCE
Siptah (14.6.179)
Around 1194–1188 BCE
Around 1188–1186 BCE
Dynasty 20
Around 1186–1070 BCE
Around 1186–1184 BCE
Ramesses III (33.8.7)
Around 1184–1153 BCE
Ramesses IV (30.8.234)
Around 1153–1147 BCE
Ramesses V
Around 1147–1143 BCE
Ramesses VI
Around 1143–1136 BCE
Ramesses VII
Around 1136–1129 BCE
Ramesses VIII
Around 1129–1126 BCE
Ramesses IX
Around 1126–1108 BCE
Ramesses X
Around 1108–1099 BCE
Ramesses XI
Around 1099–1070 BCE
Hight Priests (HP) of Amun
Around 1080–1070 BCE
HP Herihor
Around 1080–1074 BCE
HP Paiankh
Around 1074–1070 BCE

Third Intermediate Period
Around 1070–713 BCE

Dynasty 21
Around 1070–945 BCE
Around 1070–1044 BCE
HP Painedjem I
Around 1070–1032 BCE
HP Masaharta
Around 1054–1046 BCE
HP Djedkhonsefankh
Around 1046–1045 BCE
HP Menkheperre
Around 1045–992 BCE
Around 1044–1040 BCE
Psusennes I
Around 1040–992 BCE
Around 993–984 BCE
HP Smendes
Around 992–990 BCE
HP Painedjem II
Around 990–969 BCE
Around 984–978 BCE
Around 978–959 BCE
HP Psusennes
Around 969–959 BCE
Psusennes II
Around 959–945 BCE
Dynasty 22 (Libyan)
Around 945–712 BCE
Sheshonq I
Around 945–924 BCE
Osorkon I
Around 924–889 BCE
Sheshonq II
Around 890 BCE
Takelot I
Around 889–874 BCE
Osorkon II
Around 874–850 BCE
Around 865 BCE
Takelot II
Around 850–825 BCE
Sheshonq III
Around 825–773 BCE
Around 773–767 BCE
Sheshonq V
Around 767–730 BCE
Osorkon IV
Around 730–712 BCE
Dynasty 23
Around 818–713 BCE
Pedubaste I
Around 818–793 BCE
Iuput I
Around 800 BCE
Sheshonq IV
Around 793–787 BCE
Osorkon III
Around 787–759 BCE
Takelot III
Around 764–757 BCE
Around 757–754 BCE
Iuput II
Around 754–712 BCE
Around 740–725 BCE
Around 740 BCE
Around 720 BCE
Dynasty 24
Around 724–712 BCE
Around 724–717 BCE
Around 717–712 BCE

Late Period
Around 712–332 BCE

Dynasty 25 (Nubian)
Around 712–664 BCE
Piye (establishes Nubian Dynasty in Egypt)
Around 743–712 BCE
Shabaqo (55.144.6)
Around 712–698 BCE
Shebitqo (65.45)
Around 698–690 BCE
Taharqo (loses control of Lower Egypt) (41.160.104)
Around 690–664 BCE
Tanutamani (loses control of Upper Egypt)
Around 664–653 BCE
Dynasty 26 (Saite)
688–525 BCE
688–672 BCE
Necho I
672–664 BCE
Psamtik I (X.358)
664–610 BCE
Necho II
610–595 BCE
Psamtik II
595–589 BCE
Apries (09.183.1a)
589–570 BCE
Amasis (35.9.3)
570–526 BCE
Psamtik III
526–525 BCE
Dynasty 27 (Persian)
525–404 BCE
525–522 BCE
Darius I
521–486 BCE
Xerxes I
486–466 BCE
Artaxerxes I
465–424 BCE
Darius II
424–404 BCE
Dynasty 28
522–399 BCE
Pedubaste III
522–520 BCE
Psamtik IV
Around 470 BCE
Around 460 BCE
Amyrtaios I
Around 460 BCE
Around 445 BCE
Around 445 BCE
Psamtik V
Around 445 BCE
Psamtik VI
Around 400 BCE
Amyrtaios II
404–399 BCE
Dynasty 29
399–380 BCE
Nepherites I
399–393 BCE
393 BCE
393–380 BCE
Nepherites II
380 BCE
Dynasty 30
380–343 BCE
Nectanebo I
380–362 BCE
365–360 BCE
Nectanebo II (34.2.1)
360–343 BCE
343–332 BCE
343–332 BCE
Artaxerxes III Ochus
343–338 BCE
338–336 BCE
Darius III Codoman
335–332 BCE

Macedonian Period
332–304 BCE

Alexander the Great (52.127.4)
332–323 BCE
Philip Arrhidaeus
323–316 BCE
Alexander IV
316–304 BCE

Ptolemaic Period
304–30 BCE

Ptolemy I Soter I
304–284 BCE
Ptolemy II Philadelphos (12.187.31)
285–246 BCE
Arsinoe II (20.2.21)
278–270 BCE
Ptolemy III Euergetes I (66.99.134)
246–221 BCE
Berenike II
246–221 BCE
Ptolemy IV Philopator (66.99.166)
222–205 BCE
Ptolemy V Epiphanes
205–180 BCE
205–199 BCE
199–186 BCE
Cleopatra I
194–176 BCE
Ptolemy VI Philometor
180–145 BCE
Cleopatra II
175–115 BCE
Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II
170–116 BCE
Around 130 BCE
Ptolemy VII Neos Philopator
145–144 BCE
Ptolemy IX Soter II
116–80 BCE

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Ancient Egypt