16th Dynasty (1640-1580)

The collapse of the 13th Dynasty after the Hyksos invasion of Memphis, left a power vacuum in Middle and South Egypt, which was quickly filled by two local dynasties.

The northernmost of these dynasties was located in Abydos or Thinis, and lasted only for about 20 years. It is now more generally accepted that this was indeed a separate ruling house, known as the Abydos Dynasty.

The southernmost local dynasty that arose as a result of the end of the 13th Dynasty, had its basis of power located at Thebes. Although most of this dynasty's kings are attested mainly in Thebes, its influence seems to have stretched to Hu in the North and to Edfu or beyond in the South. This dynasty, the 16th, groups about 15 kings that ruled for between 60 and 70 years.

Almost half of this dynasty was covered by the 26 year reign of Nebiriraw I whose seals have been found at Lisht in the north and at Gennari, Farras and Mirgissa in Nubia, in the south. The find of two seals of Nebiriraw I at Lisht, well in Hyksos territory, is quite intriguing, for it could indicate a temporary relaxation in the otherwise tense relationships between the two houses that ruled over parts of Egypt. It is, of course also possible that Nebiriraw’s seals ended up in Lisht as part of the loot that was carried of by the Hyksos during one of their attempts to overthrow this Theban dynasty.
The Thebans, however, were not able to withstand the pressure forever and somewhere after 1580 BC, the Hyksos king Khiyan finally succeeded in conquering Thebes, thus ending the 16th Dynasty.

The list below shows the list of kings of the 16th Dynasty:

  • name lost (1639-1638)
  • Dhehuti (1638-1635)
  • Sebekhotep VIII (1635-1619)
  • Neferhotep III (1619-1618)
  • Mentuhotepi (1618-1617)
  • Nebiriraw I (1617-1591)
  • Nebiriraw II (1591)
  • Semenre (1591- 1590)
  • Bebiankh (1590-1578)
  • Sekhemre Shedwaset (1578)

The following kings also belonged to the 16th Dynasty, but cannot be placed with certainty:

  • Dedumes I  
  • Dedumes II  
  • Mentumsaf  
  • Mentuhotep VI  
  • Sesostris IV

© Jacques Kinnaer 1997 - 2015