Shoshenk I

Shoshenk I
King c.945-924 BC.
    When the last ruler of the Twenty-first Dynasty, *Psusennes II, died with no male heir, the kingdom passed to Shoshenk, the powerful chief and army commander whose son was married to *Psusennes II's daughter. As Shoshenk I, the new ruler inaugurated the Twenty-second Dynasty, known also as the *Libyan or Bubastite Dynasty. Shoshenk I and his descendants came from the line of *Libyan chiefs who had once fought against the Egyptians; Bubastis was Shoshenk's family seat.
    As the ablest ruler since early Ramesside times, he attempted to restore unity and stability in Egypt, although his success was short-lived. Previously, he had been closely associated with the kings of the royal line at Tanis and the high-priests of Ptah at Memphis, and his rulership was readily accepted by them. His accession was more reluctantly acknowledged at Thebes, but unification of the north and south was gradually brought about by royal appointments and marriage alliances. His second son, luput, was appointed as High-priest of Amun at Karnak, and thus Thebes was brought under the king's control. He established his capital at Tanis where he made additions to the great temple, and it is possible that he was buried there; certainly his descendants had their tombs at Tanis.
    Once the unity of the realm had been established, Shoshenk turned his attention to foreign affairs. He renewed links with the city of *Byblos and again opened up *Nubia to Egyptian influence and trade. He also gave asylum to Jeroboam who fled from the wrath of King Solomon, thus laying the foundations for any future action in Palestine that might be useful to Egypt. This opportunity came when Solomon died in c.931/2 BC, and Jeroboam was recalled to Palestine by his supporters to challenge Rehoboam, Solomon's son and heir.When the realm was consequently divided into the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel in 930 BC, Egypt used the excuse of a border skirmish to launch a campaign in Palestine. Although the course of this campaign is unclear, the Biblical account recalls that King 'Shishak' removed a large amount of tribute from the temple and palace at Jerusalem; he did not attempt to extend his attack into Syria but returned to Egypt in triumph.
    At home, work commenced on Shoshenk I's greatest building achievement— a forecourt and gateway (the so-called 'Bubastite Portal') at the front of the Temple of Amun at Karnak. Here, next to the Bubastite Gate, there was a triumphal scene with inscriptions, commemorating the king's Palestine campaign and showing him in the act of smiting his enemies. A partially destroyed list is given of the names of towns in Edom, Judah and Israel.
    Shoshenk's monuments had not been completed when he died in the following year and was succeeded by his son, Osorkon I. In general, his reign had been a brief attempt to restore Egypt's internal stability and her prestige abroad.
BIBL. The Bible I Kings, 14:25-6; II Chronicles, 12:2-9; Kitchen, K.A. 3rd Int. pp 72-6, 287-302.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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