Egypt in the First Intermediate Period c. 2150–2080 BCE

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Map Code: Ax00035

The death of Pepi II after a reign of over 70 years ushered in a prolonged period of instability. A succession of weak and ephemeral rulers resulted in a steady leakage of real power to the nomarchs or regional governors. The first of these to have pretensions of pre-eminence was the founder of the 9th Dynasty, Kheti I. Beginning his career as governor of Herakleopolis, he was noted for his brutality. He extended his effective control southward to the borders of the nome of Thinis. Meanwhile, further south, fluctuating control of Upper Egypt eventually resolved with Thebes becoming dominant during the long reign of Inyotef I. Inyotef then turned his attention to wresting control of the strategically critical Western Desert trade routes and Qena bend of the Nile, near Dendera. As the First Intermediate period concluded these objectives were achieved and Abydos lay in Inyotef’s sights.

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