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22nd Egyptian Dynasty

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The Twenty-Second Egyptian Dynasty lasted from the mid 10th century BC to about 745 BC.

During a feeble and industrially and economically declining 21st Dynasty, the ancestors of the chief priest to the Egyptian god and mercenary leader named Sheshonk assumed hereditary offices in Heracleopolis in Libya, which increased as a principality over time until Sheshonk seized the royal power and became Pharaoh in Egypt, ruling over the territories centered in Heracleopolis, Memphis and Thebes as Sheshonk I. He gave King Solomon the city of Gezer, but under the Judean kingship of Rehoboam plundered Judah and Israel and at Thebes commissioned the completion of the largest temple court in existence that previous dynasties had begun, containing a relief of captured Judean and Israeli prisoners.

Sheshonk I was succeeded by Osorkon I about 920 BC. He placed a son named Sheshonk at Thebes as high priest and left another son near Memphis as pharaoh who ruled as Takelot I. Takelot I lost control of Thebes, but his heir Orsorkon II regained it. A statue at Tanis in Egypt records a prayer of Osorkon II which might refer to the conflict of his father and uncle. Egyptologist J. H. Breasted notes that the Libyan pharaohs were Egyptianized in religion and royal titles.

Osorkon II made a son Sheshonk II co-regent, but this son died, and Osorkon II left Takelot II his heir about 860 BC. There is a brief mention of civil war shortly afterwards recorded at the Theban temple between Thebes and the Memphis region, but the Libyans' home palace near Memphis was destroyed, and further records of their control of Thebes and elsewhere are scanty.

Thebes also disputed with Heracleopolis which probably drew Egypt's attention away from Israel and Judah. However, Egypt contributed one thousand men to fight in a coalition against Assyria and was defeated by Shalmaneser III about 854 BC.

Takelot II was followed by Sheshonk III, Pemou and Sheshonk IV, the death of the last of whom in about 745 BC ended the 22nd Dynasty.


Breasted, J. H. (1905). A History of Egypt from the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest (New York and London: Charles Scribner's Sons), pp. 522–35.