Manetho wrote the “Aegyptiaca” (History of Egypt) in which he divided the rulers into dynasties (or ruling houses) which forms the basis of the modern system of dating Ancient Egypt. We do not know his full Egyptian name but it is often suggested that the name Manetho derives from the titles “beloved of Thoth” “Truth of Thoth” or “Gift of Thoth” (although “Beloved of Neith” or “Lover of Neith” are also suggested along with the terms of “groom/horseherd” and the phrase “I have witnessed Thoth”). The earliest reference to his name is in the works of Josephus Flavius in which he is named Manethon.
It is generally agreed that was born in Sebennytos (in the Delta) during the Third Century B.C. and was a Graeco-Egyptian priest in the Temple of Ra Heliopolis durting the resign of Ptolemy I Soter and/or Ptolemy II Philadelphus. He had access to many sources which no longer exist (such as temple records), but also included legends and fanciful stories. As a result, you have to take some of his stories with a pinch of salt.
No full copies of Manetho’s text remain, we only have short sections of text and a few references in the writings of Josephus Flavius (first century A.D.), Sextus Julius Africanus (third century A.D.), Eusebius of Cesarea (third/fourth century A.D) and George Syncellos (a Byzantine historian from the eighth century A.D). None of these texts are contemporaneous, and his writings were used and abused by scholars in a long running rivalry between proponents of Egyptian, Jewish and Greek histories raging over which civilisation was the greatest and the oldest. As a result, our knowledge of his original text is limited, and coloured by the opinions of the authors who referred to him.
Manetho: kings list
Names of rulers listed by Manetho along with the duration of reign in years as given in Julius Africanus (A), Eusebius (E) or Flavius Josephus (J).
Athothis; Reigned for 57 (A) or 27 (E) years. Thought to be Hor-aha
Kenkenes; Reigned for 31 (A) or 39 (E) years probably Djer
Wenefes/Ouenphes; Reigned for 23 (A) or 42 (E) years. Thought to be Djet
Usaphaidos/Ousaphaidos; Reigned for 20 (A and E) years. He is generally agreed to be Den
Miebis/Miebidos; Reigned for 26 (A and E) years. He is generally agreed to be Anedjib
Semempses; Reigned for 18 (A and E) years. He is generally agreed to be Semerkhet
Bieneches; Reigned for 26 (A and E) years. He is generally agreed to be Qa’a
Boethos; Reigned for 38 (A) years. He is generally agreed to be Hotepsekhemwy
Kaiechos; Reigned for 39 (A) years. He is generally agreed to be Raneb
Binothris; Reigned for 47 (A) years. He is generally agreed to be Nynetjer
Thias; Reigned for 17 (A) years. He is generally agreed to be Sekhemib (also known as Seth-peribsen)
Sethenes; Reigned for 41 (A) years. Thought to be Sendji
Chaires; Reigned for 17 (A) years. Some scholars believe him to be Nubnefer
Neferkheres; Reigned for 25 (A) years. Thought to be Neferkare
Sesochris; Reigned for 48 (A and E) years. Thought to be Neferkasokar
Kheneres (or Cheneris); Reigned for 30 (A and E) years. Generally agreed to be Khasekhemwy
Necherophes; Reigned for 28 (A) years. Generally agreed to be Sanakhte
Tosorthios; Reigned for 29 (A) years. Generally agreed to be Djoser
Tyreis; Reigned for 7 (A) years. Generally agreed to be Sekhemkhet
Mesochris; Reigned for 17 (A) years. Unclear, but may be Khaba
Suphis; Reigned for 16 (A) years. Unclear
Toserfasis; Reigned for 19 (A) years. Unclear
Aches; Reigned for 42 (A) years. May be Huni
Sephouris; Reigned for 30 (A) or 48 (E) years . Unclear
Kerferes; Reigned for 26 (A) years . Unclear
Soris; Reigned for 28 years (A). He is generally agreed to be Sneferu.
Suphis I; Reigned for 63 years (A). He is generally agreed to be Khufu.
Suphis II; Reigned for 66 years (A). He is generally agreed to be Khafre.
Mencheres; Reigned for 63 years (A). He is generally agreed to be Menkaure.
Ratoises; Reigned for 25 years (A), Djedefre
Bicheris; Reigned for 22 years (A), possibly Baka
Mencheres; Reigned for 63 years (A), Menkaure
Sebercheres; Reigned for 7 years (A), Shepseskaf
Tamphtis; Reigned for 9 (A) or 48 (E) years possibly Djedefptah/Thamphthis
Usercheres; Reigned for 28 years (A). Probably Userkaf
Sephres; Reigned for 13 years (A). Probably Sahure
Nepherchres; Reigned for 20 years (A). Possibly Neferirkare
Sisires; Reigned for 7 years (A). Generally thought to be Shepseskare
Cheres; Reigned for 20 years (A). Generally thought to be Neferefre
Rathures; Reigned for 44 years (A). Generally held to be Niuserre
Mencheres; Reigned for 9 years (A). Generally held to be Menkauhor
Tencheres; Reigned for 44 years (A). Generally thought to be Djedkare
Onnos; Reigned for 33 years (A). Generally thought to be Unas
Othoes;Reigned for 30 years (A). Generally thought to be Teti
Phios;Reigned for 53 years (A). He is generally agreed to be Pepi I
Methusuphis;Reigned for 7 years (A). He is generally agreed to be Merenre I
Phiops;Reigned for an unlikely 94 years (A). He is generally agreed to be Pepi II
Menthesupis;Reigned for almost a year. He is generally agreed to be Merenre II
Nitocris;Reigned for 12 years (A). She is generally agreed to be Nitocris
Africanus refers to 70 kings reigning 70 days. Eusebius records 5 rulers reigning for 75 days. No names are confirmed.
Africanus records 27 rulers over 146 years while Eusbius records 5 rulers over 100 years. No names are confirmed.
19 rulers based in Heracleopolis are recorded in all three sources. No names are confirmed.
16 rulers in Thebes ruling over 43 years are recorded in all three sources.
Amemenes; Reigned for 16 years (A and E), Amenemhat I.
Sesonchosis;Reigned for 46 years(A and E), Senusret I.
Ammanemes;Reigned for 38 years (A and E), Amenemhat II.
Sesostris;Reigned for 48 years (A and E), Senusret II.
Lachares/Lamares;Reigned for 8 years(A and E), Senusret III.
Ameres;Reigned for 8 years (A and E), Amenemhat III.
Ammenemes;Reigned for 8 years (A), Amenemhat IV.
Skemiophris;Reigned for 4 years (A) Sobekneferu
60 rulers ruling over 453 years mentioned in all three sources, but no names confirmed.
Africanus records 76 rulers ruling over 184 years, Eusebius mentions 76 rulers over 184 years in one version and over 484 years in another version. No names are confirmed.
Saites/Silites; Reigned for 19 years (A, E and J), Salatis
Bnon/Baion; Reigned for 44 years (A, E and J), Sheshi
Pacnan/Apachnas; Reigned for 36 (E) or 37 years (A and J), Yakhob-Har
Staan/SethosIannas; Reigned for 50 years (A, E and J), Khyan
Aphophis/Aiofis/Apofis; Reigned for 61 years (A, E and J), Apopi
Archles/Assis; Reigned for 30 (E) or 49 years (A and J), Khamoudy
Africanus refers to 32 kings reigning 518 years. Eusebius refers to dynasty Fifteen and Sixteen rulering out of Thebes for 190 years. No names are confirmed.
Africanus records 43 “Shepherd Kings” (refering to the Hyksos) reigning over 151 years but this is considered by some to be a mistake actually refering to the 43 kings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth dynasties and then 5 kings ruling from Thebes.
The rulers mentioned in this period are Antef I, Rahotep, Sobekemsaf, Djehuty, Montuhotep VII, Nebiryaou I (or II) Sobekemsaf I, Intef VI and VII, Senakhtenre Tao I, Seqenenre Tao II and Kamose.
The names given to the eighteen dynasty kings vary depending on the source. The names below are from Josephus then Africanus and then Eusebius.
Iahmes/Amos/Amoses; reigned for 24-25 years and agreed to be Ahmose I
Amenhotep/Amenophthis/Amophis;Reigned for 20.7 (J), 24 (A) or 21 (E) years, Amenhotep I.
Mephres/Misaphris/Misaphris;Reigned for 12.9 (J), 13 (A) or 12 (E) years, Thuthmosis I.
Chebron/Chebros/Chebros;Reigned for 13 years (J, A and E) Thuthmosis II
Amessis/Amensis; Reigned for 21.9 (J) or 22 (A), Hatshepsut
Mephramuthosis/Misphragnuthosis/Misphamuthosis; Reigned for 25 or 10 years (J) or 26 years (A and E), Thuthmosis III and / or Amenhotep II
Thmosis/Tuthmosis/Tuthmosis; reigned for 9.8 years (J) or 9 (A and E), Tuthmosis IV
Amenophis/Amenophis/Amenopthis; Reigned for 30 or 10 years (J) or 31 years (A and E), Amenhotep III
Orus; Reigned for 36.5 (J) 37 (A) or 28 (E) years, Akhenaten
Acencheres/Acherres/Achencheres; 12.1 years (J) 32 years (A) or 16 years (E), Smenkhare
Rathotis/Rathos; Reigned for 9 years (J) or 6 years (A) Tutankhamun
Acencheres/Chebris/Acherres; Reigned 12.3 years (J) 12 years (A) or 8 years (E), Ay
Acencheres II/Acherres/Cherres 12/3 months, 12 or 15 months
Harmais/Amesis/Amais 3 ; 5; or 5 months
Ramesses 3 months ; 1 year ; unclear
Harmesses Miamen/Ramesses 66 months ; 68
Amenopthis/Amenophath/Amenophis 19 months; 19 ; or 40 months
Sethos 59 months ;51 ;or 55
Rampses/Rapsaces/Rampses 66 months; 61 ; 66
- Bard, Kathryn (2008) An introduction to the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt
- Clayton, Peter A (1994) Chronicle of the Pharaohs
- Kemp, Barry J (1991) Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation
- Van De Mieroop, Marc (1999) A History of Ancient Egypt
- Various chapters in The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt (2000) Ed I. Shaw
copyright J Hill 2008