Senwosret I (Sesostris I ) - Luxor Museum


Senwosret I (Sesostris I) was the second pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from 1971 BC to 1926 BC, and was one of the most powerful kings of the 12th Dynasty. He was the son of Amenemhat I and his wife Nefertitanen. His wife and sister was Neferu. She was also the mother of the successor Amenemhat II. Senwosret I was known by his prenomen (pharaonic throne name), Kheperkare, which means "the Ka of Re is created."

He continued his father's aggressive expansionist policies against Nubia by initiating two expeditions into this region in his 10th and 18th Years and established Egypt's formal southern border near the second cataract where he placed a garrison and a victory stele. He also organized an expedition to a Western Desert oasis in the Libyan desert. Senusret I established diplomatic relations with some rulers of towns in Syria and Canaan. He also tried to centralize the country's political structure by supporting nomarchs who were loyal to him. His pyramid was constructed at el-Lisht. Senusret I is mentioned in the Story of Sinuhe where he is reported to have rushed back to the royal palace in Memphis from a military campaign in Asia after hearing about the assassination of his father, Amenemhat I.

According to The Story of Sinuhe, the biographical writings of a court official, Senwosret I learned of his father’s assassination while on campaign in Libya. Leaving the army, he hurried to the capital to seize his inheritance. He undertook a political consolidation by disseminating his father’s testament, The Instructions of Amenemhet, a document that stressed his father’s good deeds and the conspirators’ baseness and reaffirmed Sesostris’s right to the throne.


Once securely in power, Senwosret I continued the conquest of Nubia. Establishing an operational base at Elephantine (opposite modern Aswān), in the year 18 of his reign, he thoroughly subjugated Nubia and established forts with garrisons at strategic points. The governor of Elephantine, the king’s own appointee, became responsible for the new territory. After the war the exploitation of Nubia’s resources began. Gold, copper, amethysts, and diorite were extracted at several sites, and inscriptions by the leaders of expeditions and inspectors attest much activity.


Within Egypt, Senwosret I worked the granite quarries at Aswān and gold mines and quarries in the Wadi Hammāmāt, east of Coptos (modern Qifṭ) in Upper Egypt, while pursuing an active building program. In the year three of his reign, he rebuilt a major sanctuary at Heliopolis, near Cairo. At Thebes he built in the temple complex of Karnak, where the cult and temple of Amon began to flourish. Senwosret I also brought several of the western oases under his jurisdiction, as is shown by messengers and police officials who traveled there.


Senwosret I maintained peaceful relations with Palestine and Syria. As shown by The Story of Sinuhe, the king did not profess a desire to acquire territory in Asia, although his emissaries traversed its lands and sought to exert diplomatic pressures. In reality he seems to have conducted campaigns there.


Senwosret I built his pyramid and funerary temple near his father’s, at Al-Lisht, near the capital, north of the Fayyūm. In its architecture the king fostered a revival of Old Kingdom traditions, imitating the pyramid complex of Pepi II, a 6th-dynasty king. About the 42nd year of his reign, Senwosret I associated his son Amenemhet II as coregent and passed some of the more strenuous duties to him. Two years later the king died, after a long and prosperous reign.


With that in mind this is a suggested list some of his accomplishments:

1. He used prisoners of war for extensive building projects throughout Egypt.


2. He was worshiped as a living god during the 12th Dynasty of Egypt.


3. Sen-Wos- Ret I began a series of victorious military expeditions against the Asiatics, Libyans, and various nomads ( Bedouins ) who threatened the people of Egypt. He became ruler of Egypt in 1971 B.C.E. and ruled until 1926 B.C.E.


4. He enforced loyalty and discipline in Egypt, giving the governors responsibility for the management of the nomes ( towns ).


5. He was the first Egyptian king to rule over Ethiopia, including lower Nubia, and use its gold mines to add to the empires wealth.


6. Strabo, XVII reports that Sen-Wos-Ret I had built a canal starting from the Nile River to the Red Sea.


7. He ordered the rebuilding of the Temple of Amen at Ipet-sut ( Karnak ) in stone.


8. He erected red granite obelisks to be placed at Heliopolis ( Northern Anu ).


9. He led a great expedition to Punt on the Somali Coast.


10. He had built the largest pyramid in the history of the Middle Kingdom Period of Egypt’s history. The pyramid was 352 ft. tall.


11. He protected Egypt’s borders by winning victories in a succession of military conquests to the South to gain the benefits of the economic mechanisms in Lower Nubia and to continue trading with the nations of West Asia.


12. The ancient Greeks called him “Heracles Kharops” ( Heracles the Flashing-Eyed ), “Kekrops”, and “Sistosichermes Valiant Hercules.” He founded and built Athens, Greece, considered to be the greatest center of culture, academics, art, and the sciences in ancient Greece. This city is credited to being the catalyst for European – based civilization ( the West ) and originated with the black king Sen-Wos- Ret I known as Heracles Kharops.


13. He was the second ruler of the 12th Dynasty, he ruled for 34 years, and built 13 fortresses from Egypt to the Second Cataract. He made use of the harvest from Wadi Hammamat for food supplies.


14. He completed the construction of the “Wall of Princes”. He founded colonies in the areas of the Danube River, the Black Sea, Strabo, Book III records that Senwosret I conquered Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Iberia, Colchis, and ancient Hindu writings record his invasion of India.

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