14 Facts About Tefnakht


Shepsesre Tefnakht was a prince of Sais and founder of the relatively short Twenty-fourth Dynasty of Egypt; he rose to become a Chief of the Ma in his home city.

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Tefnakht is thought to have reigned roughly 732 BCE to 725 BCE, or seven years.

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Tefnakht I first began his career as the "Great Chief of the West" and Prince of Sais and was a late contemporary of the last ruler of the 22nd Dynasty: Shoshenq V Tefnakht I was actually the second ruler of Sais; he was preceded by Osorkon C, who is attested by several documents mentioning him as this city's Chief of the Ma and Army Leader, according to Kenneth Kitchen, while his predecessor as Great Chief of the West was a man named Ankhhor.

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The statue's text states that Tefnakht was the son of a certain Gemnefsutkapu and the grandson of Basa, a priest of Amun near Sais.

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Consequently, Tefnakht was not actually descended from either lines of Chiefs of the Ma and of the Libu as traditionally believed but rather came from a family of priests, and his ancestors being more likely Egyptians rather than Libyans.

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Tefnakht is absent from the Manethonian tradition, perhaps because of the abbreviated form in which the Aegyptiaca is known, perhaps because Tefnakht was considered a usurper.

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Tefnakht erected two donation stelas in Years 36 and 38 of Shoshenq V as a Prince at Sais.

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The 22nd Dynasty was politically fragmenting even prior to the death of Shoshenq V Tefnakht established his capital at Sais, and formed an alliance with other minor kings of the Delta region in order to conquer Middle and Upper Egypt, which was under the sway of the Nubian king Piye.

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Tefnakht was able to capture and unify many of the cities of the Delta region, thus making Tefnakht considerably more powerful than any of his predecessors in either the 22nd or 23rd dynasties.

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Tefnakht was not a member of the Tanite-based 22nd Dynasty of Egypt since Tanis is located in the Eastern Delta whereas his local city of Sais was situated in the Western Delta closer to Libya.

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Tefnakht finally dispatched a letter formally submitting his loyalty and swearing his loyalty to Piye.

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Tefnakht was the only Lower Egyptian prince to avoid seeing Piye face to face.

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Tefnakht managed, over time, to soon reestablish his kingdom's control in the Delta region from the political vacuum which resulted after Piye's departure from this region.

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Kahn has stressed at an Egyptological Conference at Leiden that Perdu's epigraphic criteria here in the famed Athens stela—such as the use of the tripartite wig, the method through which the falcon-headed god keeps his head upright in the same stela and on temple wall reliefs contemporary with Tefnakht I's time, the decoration of the stela scene: Heaven supported by wAs scepters—appear already in use in the 24th or early 25th Nubian dynasty during Piye, Shabaka or Bakenranef's reign.

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