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date: 30 September 2023

The Third Intermediate Period in Egyptlocked

The Third Intermediate Period in Egyptlocked

  • Aidan DodsonAidan DodsonDepartment of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Bristol


The Egyptian Third Intermediate Period (TIP) is usually defined as embracing the 11th, 10th, 9th, 8th, and first part of the 7th centuries bce (21st through 25th Egyptian Dynasties), although features characteristic of it appear during the later 12th century (late 20th Dynasty). The TIP is characterized by a fragmentation of the Egyptian state, sometimes with a number of fully fledged kings ruling in different parts of the country, at other times with a single nationally recognized king, but with some areas under de facto local rule. The latter was particularly the case regarding Upper (southern) Egypt, which formed an administrative unit under the dual religious-military rule of the high priests of the god Amun at Thebes. The period also featured increasing influence by individuals of Libyan background, who assumed the kingship early in the 10th century; from the following century there would be an increasing fragmentation of authority in the north as well.

The first part of the TIP was characterized by significant economic problems, probably deriving from the fallout of the Bronze Age Collapse in the eastern Mediterranean early in the 12th century. From the middle of the 10th century there was a recovery under reunified central rule, with renewed Egyptian engagement with Syria-Palestine, including military intervention. However, this is followed from the middle of the 9th century by fragmentations of the state, accompanied on occasion by civil war. This situation only ended in the middle of the 8th century by a progressive takeover of Egypt by the kings of Nubia, who created a united Egyptian-Nubian kingdom (the 25th Dynasty), which oversaw economic and political recovery. This, however, was ended in 663 bce by Assyrian invasions, resulting in the installation of a new northern Egyptian dynasty (the 26th), marking the end of the Third Intermediate Period.


  • North Africa and the Gulf

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