• Hella Radwan

Mentuhotep Nebheptre


Mentuhotep II reigned for 51 years. He belonged to the Theban 11th dynasty of Upper Egypt that was contemporary to the Herakleopolitan-led 9th and 10th dynasties which ruled Middle- and Lower-Egypt. He is known for being the king who reunited Egypt after decades of civil disturbances and brought an end to the First Intermediate Period.


In the 14th year of his reign Thinis rose in rebellion against the Theban rule. Losing control over Thinis would have meant losing control over the sacred site of Abdju (Abydos); and that could have meant the Herakleopolitan dynasty getting the upper hand in the struggle for power.


The rebellion was swiftly crushed by Mentuhotep II and building on the momentum he marched on north, capturing the Herakleopolitan stronghold of Sawty (Asyut), before eventually capturing the fortified enemy capital of Hnes (Herakleopolis).


This magnificent statue of king Mentuhotep II is displayed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. He is depicted wearing the Red Crown and the tight fitting costume of the Sed festival, a jubilee celebrated after 30 years of a king's reign. His black skin and the position of his crossed arms associate him with the god Osiris, god of death, fertility, and resurrection.


The statue was discovered by Howard Carter in 1898 when he uncovered a cache in the front court of Mentuhotep II's mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri.





©2020 by Irish Egyptology Society.