First Intermediate Period

The First Intermediate Period was the time in Ancient Egypt that was called the “Dark Age.”

This was a period of time from 2181 B.C. to 2055 B.C.  This period of time took place after the Old Kingdom ended.


The dynasties that are part of the First Intermediate Period are the Seventh Dynasty, the Eighth Dynasty, the Ninth Dynasty, the Tenth Dynasty and the Eleventh Dynasty.

The Seventh Dynasty and the Eighth Dynasty are sometimes not talked about because many people and historians do not know much about them.

It was during this time though, that a historian wrote about there being 70 kings that ruled for 70 days.

No one is really sure what this meant but some believe that this means that there were a lot of people that were ruling this time and that there was not just one king or one ruler.

During the Eight Dynasty, some believe that the people that ruled were sons and grandsons of the people from the Seventh Dynasty, but no one is really sure.

The only real proof that they have are scarabs, which are Egyptians seals and a jasper cylinder that is thought to be from the Eighth Dynasty.

There was also a small pyramid that some historian’s thinks is from King Ibi who was a king during the Eighth Dynasty.

How the First Intermediate Period Formed

When the Old Kingdom fell, it was a time when there was a lot of fighting and bad things that were happening.

Pepi II was the pharaoh during this time and he ruled until he was very old.

He lived so long that he did not have a son that lived long enough to become the next pharaoh.

Since there was no one to take over the rule, this caused the Old Kingdom to start to fall.

During this time, the people that had government jobs and their families tried to keep in power because they did not want to lose their places.

This caused them to become too powerful and they were able to rule without a king.

Many of these government figures became so mighty that they built tombs for themselves and they also thought it was best to build up armies and to fight the neighboring lands.

When the people started building armies, this caused there to be war between them.  Eventually, a drought came, and it caused there to be little food and water.

Having little water is called a drought and having little food is called a famine.

When the famine and drought came, it finished tearing down the Old Kingdom and this is when the First Intermediate Period came along.


There is not a lot of information during this time period, but it was a time when Egypt was divided.

There were two areas, the Hierakonpolis that was located in Lower Egypt and the Thebes that was located in Upper Egypt that were majorly divided.

During this time, there were things that were happening like artwork was being destroyed, statues of kings were being torn down and broken and houses and temples were being robbed.

There was a lot of violence during this time because the area was so divided.

End of Division

Eventually, there was so much chaos that something had to be done.  During the Eleventh Dynasty, Mentuhotep II took over these areas and became the single ruler of the areas.

This stopped much of the violence that was happening.

Heracleopolis Kings

There were some rulers during this priod that ruled during the Ninth Dynasty and Tenth Dynasty and this included 19 different rulers.

Here are a few of them that ruled during this time.

  • Akhtoy-evil and violent ruler.
  • Wahkare Khety I-Killed by a crocodile.
  • Kheti II-known as Meryibre.
  • Khetti III
  • Kiut

Theban Kings

There were also kings from the Eleventh Dynasty and the Twelfth Dynasty that ruled during this time.  Here is a list of some of them:

  • Inteff II-attacked Heracleopolis kings.
  • Mantuhotep
  • Mantuhotep II

Facts About the First Intermediate Period:

  • Literature became a powerful thing during this time period.
  • Ipuwer Papyrus is a book that was written during this time.
  • Even though Egypt was divided during this time, people that loved art would paint paintings and would draw. This art style was called “Pre-Unification Theban Style.”
  • There is little known about the art during this time.
  • Many statues were found that give historians an idea of what kind of art the people built.

What Did You Learn?

  1. What was the period of time between 2181 B.C. to 2055 B.C. called?  This period of time was called the First Intermediate Period.
  2. Was Egypt one land during this time? No, Egypt was split into two different areas.
  3. What was the problem with those areas? The people were always at war from the different areas at this time.
  4. What dynasties are part of the First Intermediate Period? The dynasties that were part of this period are the Seventh Dynasty, the Eighth Dynasty, the Ninth Dynasty, the Tenth Dynasty and the Eleventh Dynasty.
  5. What was the number of kings and days that one historian said took place during this period? One historian said that there were 70 kings for 70 days during this time period.