3rd Intermediate Period

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The period after the collapse of the New Kingdom. The 3rd Intermediate Period consists of the 21st to 24th Dynasties. During the 21st Dynasty, various kings ruled Lower Egypt from Tanis, while the High Priests of Amun in Thebes became more and more powerful and in fact were autonomous rulers over the God's State of Amun. During this period, the mummies of several kings were reburied in a hidden rock tomb near Deir el-Bahari to protect them against further pillaging. A local ruler of Libyan extraction, Shoshenq, became the founder of the 22nd Dynasty, which also ruled from Tanis. The period which followed was one of confusion, with other Libyan princes in the western Delta gradually gaining power. The office of High Priest also changed hands frequently at this time. In the 22nd Dynasty, a separate line broke away (23rd Dynasty) and control over Egypt was divided between the two royal houses. The Libyans of Saïs, the 24th Dynasty, wrested power from the 22nd Dynasty, but eventually both ruling houses had to relinquish control to the princes of Kush advancing from the south, the later 25th Dynasty.