All posts for the day May 10th, 2019

What Third Intermediate Period?

Published May 10, 2019 by amaic
Image result for the third intermediate period


Damien F. Mackey



Now, if these syncretisms work out, then the famous Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt must hold a very fat key to the notorious Third Intermediate Period (TIP) of Egyptian history.



With “Shishak” properly identified by Dr. I. Velikovsky … with Thutmose III,

the mighty pharaoh of Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty … then pharaoh Shoshenq I

must needs be lifted right out of the C10th BC and located some centuries later.



Shoshenq I considered a ‘new Smendes’


Conventional dates for Smendes, considered to have been the first ruler of the 21st Dynasty, are c. 1069-1043 BC.

Conventional dates for Shoshenq I, considered to have been the first ruler of the 22nd Dynasty, are c. 945-924 BC.


In terms of biblical chronology, Smendes would probably have been a younger contemporary of Samuel; whilst Shoshenq I has famously been identified (e.g. by Jean François Champollion) as the biblical “Shishak king of Egypt” at the time of King Rehoboam (I Kings 4:25-26).


However, I have – along with other revisionists – rejected Champollion’s view of Shoshenq I as “Shishak”:


Shoshenq I.

A (i): Who Shoshenq I was not

With “Shishak” properly identified by Dr. I. Velikovsky (as I believe) with Thutmose III, the mighty pharaoh of Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty:


Thutmose III best candidate for “Shishak”

then pharaoh Shoshenq I must needs be lifted right out of the C10th BC and located some centuries later.

So significant a chronological shift must also impact upon Smendes who would also need to be lowered down the time scale.

But then we start to get that awful crush of Third Intermediate Period (TIP) dynasties, 21-25, with which revisionists have to contend.


The Third Intermediate Period usually refers to the time in Ancient Egypt from the death of Pharaoh Ramesses XI (reign 1107–1078/77 BC) during the Twentieth Dynasty to the foundation of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty by Psamtik I in 664 BC, following the expulsion of the Nubian rulers of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty.


Smendes, apart from being considered as the founder of the 21st dynasty, is also thought to have been the first ruler of TIP.


A possible solution to early TIP would be to identify Smendes with Shoshenq I of supposedly a century later.

That there was a degree of similarity between Smendes and Shoshenq I is apparent from this quote from N. Grimal (A History of Ancient Egypt, Blackwell 1994, p. 332): “Shoshenq I immediately sought to prove that his claim to the throne went back to the preceding dynasty, and did so by adopting a set of titles based on those of Smendes I”.


Names shared: Meryre; Sekhempehti; Hedjkheperre-setpenre


Similarity can – but does not always – mean identity.


However, it is at least worth considering that Smendes and Shoshenq I were one and the same, with the possibility of aligning dynasty 21 with 22 to overcome at least some of the dynastic crushing of TIP.


“… Shoshenq was, so to speak, ‘another Smendes’ … a ‘new Smendes’.


Kenneth Kitchen



As I noted above: “Similarity can – but does not always – mean identity”.

And, just because someone is described as ‘a new’ someone else, or ‘a second’ someone else (e.g. ‘a new king David’; ‘another Solomon’, ‘a second Judith’) does not necessarily mean that the ‘second’ version is the same person as the original.


Hitler, for instance, is considered to have been a new Haman (of the Book of Esther).


But Hitler was not Haman, who was, though – like Hitler – an historical character.

See e.g. my article:

King Amon’s descent into Aman (Haman)

Previously, I quoted N. Grimal who had likened Shoshenq I to his supposed predecessor, Smendes.

  1. A. Kitchen is more expansive on the similarities. As I noted in my university thesis:


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background




(Volume One, p. 335), with reference to Kitchen’s text, The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt, 1100-650BC, pp. 287-288):


[Shsohenq I’s] very titulary exemplifies his qualities and policies. By taking the prenomen Hedjkheperre Setepenre, that of Smendes I, founder of the previous dynasty, Shoshenq proclaimed at one stroke both his continuity with the past – i.e. that he was, so to speak, ‘another Smendes’  – and a new beginning. Like Smendes, he now opened a new era. Nor is the concept of a ‘new Smendes’ limited to Shoshenq’s prenomen. He also adopted Horus, Nebty, and Golden Horus names reminiscent of those of Smendes I. Just as the latter had been Horus ‘Strong Bull, beloved of Re’ plus epithets (whose arm Amun strengthened to exalt Truth), so now Shoshenq I was Horus ‘Strong Bull, beloved of Re’ plus epithets (whom he (= Re) caused to appear as King to unite the Two Lands).


[End of quote]


Whilst similarity does not necessarily mean identity, there are reasons to think that, in this case, it might.

For one, the obviously significant pharaoh Smendes is, yet, so poorly attested, is crying out for an alter ego.


And, in the context of the revision at least, a crunching of Smendes with Shoshenq I would provide far more room for chronological manoeuvring.


More room is needed.


Smendes so poorly attested


“… most of what we know of Smendes predates his rise to the throne”.

“… we can only guess at Smendes’ origins”.

“… there is a great deal of confusion concerning the origin of Smendes”.

 Jimmy Dunn

Statements like the above from Jimmy Dunn (Tour Egypt) would suggest that pharaoh Smendes, said to have reigned for as many as 26 years, may be sorely in need of an alter ego – with Shoshenq I being my suggestion for another face of Smendes.

Jimmy Dunn has written:

Smendes, the First King of the 21st Dynasty

and the Third Intermediate Period


Smendes (Smedes), who we believe founded the 21st Dynasty, ending the New Kingdom at the beginning of the Third Intermediate Period, is a very difficult individual with almost intractable origins and affiliations. His reign, which Manetho assigns 26 years, produced only a tiny handful of monuments and we have never discovered either his tomb or his mummy (though many believe his tomb to be NRT-I at Tanis, this structure offers up no clues concerning Smendes).

Smendes is a Greek rendering of this king’s name. His birth name and epithet were Nes-ba-neb-djed (mery-amun), meaning “He of the Ram, Lord of Mendes, Beloved of Amun”. His throne name was Hedj-kheper-re Setep-en-re, meaning “Bright is the Manifestation of Re, Chosen of Re”.

In fact, most of what we know of Smendes predates his rise to the throne. From the Report of Wenamun, dating to Year 5 of the “Renaissance Era” during the last decade of the reign of Ramesses XI, we learn much of what we know of this future king. While on the way to Lebanon to obtain wood for the renewal of the divine barque of Amun-Re, Wenamun stopped at Tanis, which he describes as “the place where Smendes and Tentamun are”. Smendes is specifically described as being the one to whom Wenamun gave his letters of credence from Herihor, the High-Priest of Amun and a powerful general in the south. Wenamun was then sent in a ship by Smendes to Syria. Smendes, along with Herihor and others, was cited as having contributed money to this expedition.

Smendes, together with Tentamun, are therefore shown to be of great importance in Egypt’s Delta, equals at least of the High-Priest of Amun in the south. Consider the fact that Ramesses XI at this time presumably lived at Piramesses, only about 20 kilometers to the southwest of Tanis, and yet Wenamun came to Smendes for assistance rather than to the king. In fact, Herihor assumed some royal titles even while Ramesses XI was still alive, and the implication would seem to be that Smendes had a similar standing in the north.

Nevertheless, we can only guess at Smendes’ origins. It has been suggested that he was a brother of Nodjmet, the wife of Herihor, but it has also been suggested that Nodjmet could have been a sister of Ramesses XI. However, Tentamun, who was presumably Smendes’ wife, may have been a member of the royal family. She could have been a daughter of another woman named Tentamun, who may have been the wife of Ramesses XI (or possibly another Ramesside king).

The older Tentamun was certainly the mother of Henttawy, who later became the wife of the High-Priest of AmunPinedjem I, who also acquired kingly status in the south. As a royal son-in-law, Smendes’ status is more easily understood, though perhaps not his total eclipse of the king.

Obviously there is a great deal of confusion concerning the origin of Smendes. Nevertheless, it is very probable that the families of Smendes and Herihor, or at least their descendants, were linked.

Whatever his original status, after the death of Ramesses XI, Smendes became a king of Egypt, and is recorded as such in most reference material. However, only two sources specifically name him as pharaoh, consisting of a stela in a quarry at Dibabia near Gebelein (Jebelein), and a small depiction in the temple of Montu at Karnak. Interestingly, while there are no known unambiguously dated documents from his reign, the contemporary High-Priests of Amun used year numbers without a king’s name, and it is generally believed that, at least through year 25, these refer to Smendes’ reign.

In fact, Smendes probably never ruled over a united Egypt as such, a condition which probably also existed at the end of the reign of Ramesses XI. During much of what we refer to as the 21st Dynasty, there was also a dynasty of High-Priests of Amun at Thebes who effectively ruled Upper Egypt, while the kings at Tanis ruled the north. However, there appears to have been a rather delicate balance of powers, and perhaps even a formal arrangement for this division of Egypt. The Priests at Thebes seem to have held sway over a region which stretched from the north of el-Hiba (south of the entrance to the Fayoum) to the southern frontier of Egypt, and their aspirations became apparent around year 16 of Smendes’ reign, when Pinedjem I apparently began to take on full pharaonic titles, yet at all times he continued to defer to Smendes as at least a senior king.



Might Psusennes I and II be the same person?




“On the Dakhleh Stela of the Twenty-second Dynasty reference is made to

the 19th year of ‘Pharaoh Psusennes’. …. As Gardiner observes, one cannot determine

from this statement whether Psusennes I or II is intended”.


Beatrice L. Goff



If our suspicion in this series that Smendes of the 21st Egyptian dynasty was the same pharaoh as Shoshenq I of the 22nd (Libyan) dynasty, then this is going to assist in the necessary curtailing of the troublesome Third Intermediate Period (TIP), so-called, of Egyptian history.


It will the open the door for further shrinkage, enabling, for instance, for the Psusennes I at the time of Smendes to have been the same as the Psusennses II at the time of Shoshenq I – as some have already suspected.


Conventionally, the 21st dynasty is set out something like this:



Years BCE
Smendes 1069-1043
Amenemnisu 1043-1039
Psusennes 1 1039-991
Amenemope 993-984
Osorkon the Elder 984-978
Siamun 978-959
Psusennes 2 959-945

About three decades separate Psusennes I from Psusennes II.


Then follows the 22nd dynasty, commencing with Shoshenq I, a known younger contemporary of Psusennes (so-called II).


According to the following site:

some have been suggesting an identification of Psusennes I and II:


While some authors, including New Chronology followers claim that Psusennes I may actually be identical with Psusennes II, this is impossible because Psusennes II is clearly distinguished from Psusennes I by Manetho and is given an independent reign of 15 years in the author’s Epitome. Moreover, Psusenness II’s royal name has been found associated with his successor, Shoshenq I in a graffito from tomb TT18, and in an ostracon from Umm el-Qa’ab. This shows that Shoshenq I was Psusennes II’s successor. In contrast, Psusennes I died almost 40-45 years before Shoshenq I’s appearance as Chief of the Ma, let alone King of Egypt.

[End of quote]


“Psusennes I died almost 40-45 years before Shoshenq I …” according to the conventional calculations.

But that would no longer apply if Smendes were Shoshenq I, and Psusennes I and II were also the same person.



Psusennes I and Ramses XI



“Like his successors, Psusennes himself was a chief priest of Amun of Tanis, but he also

traced his succession back to Rameses XI by renaming himself ‘Rameses Psusennes’.”


Nicolas Grimal


The plot may have thickened startlingly, because I have already tentatively linked Ramses XI, of the so-called Twentieth Dynasty, with Horemheb:


Horemheb and Ramses XI

and so possibly with Seti I:


Seti I’s Kom Ombo inscription mentions pharaoh Horemheb

Now, if these syncretisms work out, then the famous Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt must hold a very fat key to the notorious Third Intermediate Period (TIP) of Egyptian history.


Already, my revision has seen this Nineteenth Dynasty ‘swallow up’, like Nebuchednezzar (Jeremiah 51:34), the significant Twentieth Dynasty, with (Seti I as Setinakhte, Setnakhte, and) Ramses II as Ramses III:


Ramses II, Ramses III. Part One: Some ‘ramifying’ similarities

Now the Nineteenth Dynasty may be set to ‘gorge’, as well, the Twenty-First, Twenty-Second and (at least) Twenty-Fifth (TIP) dynasties, the latter, if, as I asked at the end of my article:


Can Sargon II’s Si’be be tied up with the biblical pharaoh ‘So’? Part One: Tying up, all together, So, Si’be and Shabaka

“Now, what if we could tie up, all together, So and Si’be with pharaonic names from two supposed TIP dynasties: Psibkhenno/Psusennes and Shabaka?”


In the course of our Egyptian revision we have found, as is thought, Ramses III harkening back to Ramses II; Psusennes I harkening back to Ramses XI, who seems to have copied Seti I; Shoshenq I harkening back to Smendes.

All of this harkening back! But no one, it will be found, harkens back like the Twenty-Fifth dynasts! Piankhy, for instance, adopted the names of Thutmose III and Ramses II (see below).


From N. Grimal’s A History of Ancient Egypt (Blackwell 1994), we read of some fascinating aspects – {in our new context, using the Nineteenth Dynasty as a reference point} – pertaining to ‘harkener back’ Psusennes (so-called I):


  1. 315:


“… Psusennes I. …. He clearly emphasized his Theban heritage: his Horus name was ‘Powerful bull crowned at Thebes’ and his Two Ladies name was ’Great builder in Karnak’.”


Mackey’s comment: That sounds suspiciously like Horemheb, because, according to Grimal:


  1. 243: “Horemheb was certainly a prolific builder: … it was at Karnak that he devoted his energies, as his choice of Two Ladies name suggests ….”.

Grimal had given that name as: ‘With countless miracles in Karnak’.

“His Horus name is ‘Powerful bull with wise decisions’.”


Mackey’s comment: This program seems to be encompassed largely in the titulature of Seti I. Grimal again:


  1. 246: “Sethos [Seti] I … his Horus name was ‘Powerful bull who gives life to the Two Lands after having been crowned at Thebes’.”


  1. 315: “It is known that in the fortieth year of Psusennes I’s reign the chief priest Menkheperre inspected the temples at Karnak”.


Mackey’s comment: “Menkheperre” was a name taken by Piankhy of the Twenty-Fifth dynasty so-called:


“[Piankhy] identified himself with the two great rulers who were most represented in the Nubian monuments, Tuthmosis III and Ramesses II, and adopted each of their coronation names: Menkheperre and Usermaatra respectively”. In other words, Piye was an eclectic in regard to early Egyptian history; and this fact may provide us with a certain opportunity for manoeuvring, alter ego wise.


as I noted in my article (also quoting N. Grimal):


Piankhi same as Bible’s Tirhakah?


Grimal continues (p. 315):


“Like his successors, Psusennes himself was a chief priest of Amun at Tanis, but he also traced his succession back to Rameses XI by renaming himself ‘Rameses Psusennes’.”

At Tanis, Psusennes I built a new enclosure around the temple dedicated to the triad of Amun, Mut and Khonsu. If the few traces of reuse of earlier monuments are to be believed, he made many other contributions for the temple, but because of the current condition of the site little is known concerning this work”.


Mackey’s comment: In fact there is a whole archaeology missing for the Twenty-First dynasty. I wrote about this parlous situation in my university thesis


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background




following Peter James (and without then perceiving any 21st dynasty correlation with the 19th) (Volume One, beginning on p. 328):


Dearth of 21st Dynasty Artefacts


The 21st dynasty, to which at least two pharaohs Psusennes are assigned, is extremely problematical, as we saw in the previous chapter. So much of it seems to be missing, archaeologically speaking. Ways have to be invented to ‘explain’ this dearth of information. Rohl for instance, according to de Meester,[1] “thinks that the 21st and 22nd Dynasties coexisted in the same period, but in a different way. …. He … thinks [for example] that Siamun was not a king but a Theban high-priest”. De Meester though, regards this as being “unlikely because Siamun left buildings in Memphis and Tanis and did not bear the title of High Priest of Amun”. “Velikovsky”, de Meester adds, “thought that all kings of the 21st Dynasty were only High Priests in the western oases”.

The TIP is thought, as we read, to have begun with a Smendes. This Smendes, according to Gardiner, “can have had no personal right to the throne”.[2] And James, who, firstly having noted that the 22nd dynasty pharaoh “Osorkon I is attributed thirty-five years (924-889 BC) on the most equivocal evidence”, then adds:[3] “Equally suspect is the twenty-six years of sole rule accorded to Smendes (1069-1043 BC), whose reign is thought to have bridged the transition between the 20th and 21st Dynasties”.

Just as Smendes may be lacking substance, so, too, is the dynasty to which he belongs, the 21st, lacking in archaeological information.


Bierbrier has written about the dearth of 21st dynasty material:[4]


With the advent of Dynasty XXI the copious sources of information which were available in the previous two dynasties vanish. Administrative papyri and ostraca prove practically non-existent. Votive statuary would seem to disappear almost totally. Graffiti and inscriptions decline to a few badly preserved examples.

Most important of all, tombs which have provided the basic material for the study of the families of Dynasty XIX and Dynasty XX are for the most part no longer built but are replaced by small intrusive burials in older tombs or by large caches of coffins secreted in obscure tombs in the rock cliffs of Thebes. … Because of this dearth of material, it is not possible as in Dynasty XIX and Dynasty XX to present a coherent outline of the descent of various families and their interrelations”.


Bierbrier thought that:[5] “This paucity of information is partly due to the shift of political power to the northern cities which have been less well preserved and excavated than those of the south and partly due to the less prosperous and more unsettled times”.  James refers to the lack of stone statues at the time as described by Bierbrier as “a bizarre absence not encountered in other periods of Egyptian history”.[6] And he adds here: “Yet with the advent of the 22nd Dynasty, ‘a wealth of data on the priests and officials of Thebes’ is known …”.





– Apis Bulls


James again, in his discussion of Apis bull burials at Saqqara – which burials he considers to be “potentially one of the most important sources of chronological information for the TIP” – gives this yet further example of the lack of 21st dynasty evidence:[7]  


The most striking gap in this sequence [of Apis burials] is for the 21st and early 22nd Dynasties, so far totally unattested. On the conventional dating this period was some 210 years, during which time there should have been about 12 Apis burials, based on the average life expectancy of eighteen years, as calculated by Jean Vercoutter. An ‘embalming table’ with the name of Shoshenq 1 suggests that there may have been one 22nd Dynasty burial which has not been recovered, but the complete lack of records for the 21st Dynasty is still extraordinary.


Tanis Royal Tomb Complex


A further clear indication that something is seriously wrong with the usual reconstruction of this early TIP phase is provided by the tomb evidence at Tanis. Thus James again:[8]


Striking evidence that something is amiss with the conventional placement of the 21st and 22nd Dynasties comes from the royal tomb complex at Tanis, discovered by Pierre Montet. In the south-western corner of the main temple enclosure he uncovered the underground burials of Psusennes I and Amenemope of the 21st Dynasty, Osorkon II and Shoshenq III of the 22nd Dynasty, as well as three unattributed tombs. Montet and his architect Lézine were clearly puzzled by the relationship between Tomb I, belonging to Osorkon II, and Tomb III, containing the burials of Psusennes I, Amenemope and others.

[End of quotes]


Grimal continues in a similar vein:


  1. 317: “… Tanis. Nothing remains of the actual buildings of Psusennes I – only a few blocks of additions made by Shoshenq V. Also lost is the temple of Mut, established in the south of the site probably at the time of Psusennes”.



A whole “lost … temple of Mut”!




[1] ‘The relief of Sheshonk in Karnak’, section: “The end of the 22nd Dynasty”, (un-numbered pages).

[2] Op. cit, p. 316.

[3] Centuries of Darkness, p. 232.

[4] Op. cit, p. 45.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Op. cit, p. 235.

[7] Ibid, pp. 236, 238. Emphasis added.

[8] Ibid, p. 243.