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19th Dynasty

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Dynasties of Ancient Egypt
Predynastic Period
Protodynastic Period
Early Dynastic Period
1st 2nd
Old Kingdom
3rd 4th 5th 6th
First Intermediate Period
7th 8th 9th 10th
11th (Thebes only)
Middle Kingdom
11th (All Egypt)
12th 13th 14th
Second Intermediate Period
15th 16th 17th
New Kingdom
18th 19th 20th
Third Intermediate Period
21st 22nd 23rd 24th 25th
Late Period
26th 27th 28th
29th 30th 31st
Graeco-Roman Period
Alexander the Great
Ptolemaic Dynasty


The Nineteenth Dynasty of ancient Egypt was one of the periods of the Egyptian New Kingdom. Founded by Vizier Ramesses I, whom Pharaoh Horemheb chose as his successor to the throne, this dynasty is best known for its military conquests in modern Israel, Lebanon, and Syria.

New Kingdom Egypt reached the zenith of its power under Seti I and Ramesses II ("The Great"), who campaigned vigorously against the Libyans and the Hittites. The famous city of Kadesh was first captured by Seti I before this king decided to concede it to Muwatalli of Hatti in an informal peace treaty between Egypt and Hatti. Ramesses II later attempted unsuccessfully to alter this situation in his fifth regnal year by launching an attack on Kadesh in his Second Syrian campaign in 1274 B.C.E. which nearly ended with his death on the battlefield. Ramesses II later profited from the Hittites' internal difficulties during his eighth and ninth regnal years, when he campaigned against their Syrian possessions, capturing Kadesh and portions of Southern Syria, and advancing as far north as Tunip where no Egyptian soldier had been seen for 120 years. He ultimately accepted that a campaign against the Hittites was an unsupportable drain on Egypt's treasury and military.[1] In his 21st regnal year, Ramesses signed the first recorded peace treaty with Urhi-Teshub's successor, Hattusili III and with that act Egypt-Hittite relations improved significantly. Ramesses II even married two Hittite princesses, the first after his second Sed Festival. At least as early as Josephus, it was believed that Moses lived during the reign of Ramesses II (though the time of the Eighteenth Dynasty has also been suggested).

This dynasty declined as internal fighting between the heirs of Merneptah for the throne increased. Amenmesse apparently usurped the throne from Merneptah's son and successor, Seti II, but he ruled Egypt for only 4 years. After his death, Seti regained power and destroyed most of Amenmesse's monuments. Seti was served at Court by Chancellor Bay, who was originally just a 'royal scribe' but quickly became one of the most powerful men in Egypt gaining the unprecedented privilege of constructing his own tomb in the Valley of the Kings (KV17). Both Bay and Seti's chief wife Twosret reportedly had a sinister reputation in Ancient Egyptian folklore.[2] After Siptah's death Twosret ruled Egypt for two more years, but she proved unable to maintain her hold on power amid the conspiracies and powerplays being hatched at the royal court. She was likely ousted in a revolt led by Setnakhte, founder of the Twentieth Dynasty.

Nineteenth dynasty timelineEdit

TwosretSiptahSeti IIAmenmesseMerneptahRamesses IISeti IRamesses I

ReferencesEdit

  1. N. Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992), pp. 256f.
  2. Grimal, p. 270

See alsoEdit

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