Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II, King of Egypt (2055-2004 BC)

When Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II ascended the throne, the kings of Thebes controlled the southern part of Egypt, from just south of Asyut to the First Cataract of the Nile. The northern part of the country was under the control of the Tenth-Dynasty kings at Heracleopolis. By the thirty-ninth year of his reign (around 2016 BC) he had extended his control to cover the entire country. Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II re-established the foreign policies of the Old Kingdom (about 2613-2160 BC), sending military expeditions against the Libyan tribes to the west, and the bedouin to the east in Sinai. He began the process of bringing Nubia back under Egyptian control, for the purposes of mining and trade.

Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II undertook many building projects. At Elephantine he continued the work of his predecessor, while at Gebelein, el-Kab, Dendera and other sites he started new temples. His most important project was his own mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahari, which combined elements of the contemporary saff tombs (tombs cut into the hillside) and Old Kingdom mastaba tombs. Behind the temple were the tombs of his six queens.

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