21st Dynasty

21st Dynasty.jpg

As a result of the weak rule of Ramesses XI, the last king of the 20th Dynasty, control of Lower Egypt passed into the hands of Smendes. He founded a new residence in the Delta, called Tanis. The High Priests of Amun, ruling in Thebes, were very powerful, but recognized the kings in the Delta. High Priest Pianch was succeeded by his son-in-law Herihor, who after the death of Ramesses XI assumed royal titles and ruled in the South together with Smendes in the North. During his pontificate, the God's State of Amun covered an area from the 1st cataract to just south of the Faiyum. Two of Herihor's successors, Pinudjem I and Menkheperre, also had themselves depicted as kings. The successors of King Smendes in the Delta were Psusennes, Amenemope and Siamun. A daughter of the latter perhaps married King Solomon of Israel. One of the last High Priests of this dynasty, Pinudjem II, reburied several of the royal mummies (including Tuthmosis III and Ramesses II) in a hidden rock tomb near Deir el-Bahari, to protect them against further robberies. He was succeeded as High Priest by his son Psusennes, who became King Psusennes II after the death of Siamun. A high official of Libyan extraction, Shoshenq, gained a lot of influence over the government and later became the first king of the 22nd Dynasty.