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Twentieth dynasty of Egypt
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Twentieth dynasty of Egypt

History of Ancient Egypt, Twentieth Dynasty

Name Dates
Setnakhte 1188-1186
Rameses III 1186-1154
Rameses IV 1154-1148
Rameses V 1148-1144
Rameses VI 1144-1136
Rameses VII 1136-1129
Rameses VIII 1129
Rameses IX 1129-1111
Rameses X 1111-1101
Rameses XI 1101-1073

The Twentieth Dynasty was founded by Setnakhte, but its only important member was Rameses III, who modelled his career after Rameses II the Great.

This dynasty is also notable for the beginning of systematic robbing of the Royal Tombs. Many surviving documents from this period are records of investigations and punishment for these crimes, especially in the reigns of Rameses IX and Rameses XI.

Like the Nineteenth Dynasty, this dynasty struggled under the effects of the bickering between the heirs of Rameses III, whom Diodorus Siculus described as "confirmed sluggards devoted only to indulgence and luxury," without "any deed worthy of historical note." However, at this time Egypt was increasingly beset by a series of droughts, below-normal flooding levels of the Nile, famine, civil unrest and official corruption -- all of which would limit the abilities of any king. The power of the last king, Rameses XI, grew so weak that in the south the High Priests of Amun became the effective rulers of Upper Egypt, while Smerdes gained power over Lower Egypt and founded the Twenty-first dynasty in Tanis.

This dynasty is considered the last one of the New Kingdom of Egypt, and is followed by the Third Intermediate Period.