Egypt c. 2064–1986 BCE

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Map Code: Ax00034

After several short-lived successors to the founder of the 9th Dynasty, Kheti I, the balance of power began to shift from Herakleopolis to Thebes. Inyotef united all the southern nomes as far as the first cataract under Theban rule and wrested the burial site of kings at Abydos from his northern rival. The Herakleapolitan ruler of the time, Itbi, counterattacked and recaptured the sacred site. This caused widespread destruction, enabling his rival to cast him as a desecrator. Inyotef concluded his reign by recapturing Abydos and seizing control of Thinis. As a succession of rebellions and defections sapped the power of Herakleapolis, the final ruler of the 11th Dynasty, Montjuhotep II, settled matters by capturing and sacking Herakleopolis. Montjuhotep cemented his control with a comprehensive programme of building works and self-promotion, adopting for the first time amongst the pharaohs the epithet of ‘living god’.

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