picture of Eighth Nome symbol hieroglyph of Abydos
  Eighth Nome Abydos

Abydos in the Middle Kingdom

The Middle Kingdom was the era when people realized how important Osiris was. Individuals realized that not just the king, but all people, could participate in eternal life. Abydos became a pilgrimage site. During the 12th dynasty, individuals from elsewhere were buried in Abydos. Late in the Middle Kingdom, the priests recognized Osiris' tomb among the oldest tombs in existance. Only infidels would say the tomb is actually Djer's. Would we make a mistake on something like that?

Abydos was honored by many kings building temples here. There is some confusion on the numbering of our Mentuhotep kings because of the First Intermediate Period. Mentuhotep I Nebkhetepre, ahem, put down the little revolt in our nome, but he wasn't too angry because he built in our town as well. Mentuhotep II S'ankhibtawy and Mentuhotep III S'ankhtawyef built at Abydos (Grimal).

Senusret I was the first to give each main cult center a monument, asserting royal authority over local power bases. He remodelled the Temple of Khentiamentiu-Osiris. Senusret's officials put up memorial stelae and shrines at Abydos, a practise that of course has been continued until now by any person with means. Some say we will have 2000 stelae in that area someday. Senusret III started the re-emphasis on Osiris, but all people in the Middle Kingdom emphasized Osiris. He had a second funerary complex at Abydos in the south. Senusret III was the first to have a royal monument made at Abydos (check). In the 13th dynasty, people were not allowed to build tombs along the processional way. Sobekhotep III erected stelae for his family. Neferhotep I made stelae to show he came to participate in the Osirieon mysteries.

We also had some contact with the Keftiu (Minoans) in Middle Kingdom times. We have their ceramics, and they had some of our wares as well.


Clayton, Peter A. (1994). Chronicle of the Pharaohs: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt. New York: Thames and Hudson.

Grimal, Nicolas. (1992, 1994). A History of Ancient Egypt. New York: Barnes and Noble.

Shaw, Ian. (Ed.) (2000). The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. NY: Oxford University Press.

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