Manetho wrote the “Aegyptiaca” (History of Egypt) in which he divided the rulers into dynasties (or ruling houses). This work 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 he 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 during the reign 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.

Although he was a native Egyptian, he wrote in Greek for a Greek speaking audience. He was not a fan of Herodotus, writing the (now lost) treatise “Against Herodotus”. He also wrote works entitled “The Sacred Book”, “On Antiquity and Religion”, “On Festivals”, “On the Preparation of Kyphi“, and “the Digest of Physics”.  However, it the “Aegyptiaca” (“History of Egypt”) which was his most important work.

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).

Dynasty One

Menes; Reigned for 62 (A) or 30 (E) years. He was probably Hor-aha, but some argue that he was Narmer, or a hybrid of several pre-dynastic kings.

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

Dynasty Two

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

Dynasty Three

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

Dynasty Four

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

Dynasty Five

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

Dynasty Six

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

Dynasty Seven

Africanus refers to 70 kings reigning 70 days. Eusebius records five rulers reigning for 75 days. No names are confirmed.

Dynasty Eight

Africanus records 27 rulers over 146 years while Eusebius records five rulers over 100 years. No names are confirmed.

Dynasty Ten

19 rulers based in Heracleopolis are recorded in all three sources. No names are confirmed.

Dynasty Eleven

16 rulers in Thebes ruling over 43 years are recorded in all three sources.

Dynasty Twelve

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

Dynasty Thirteen

60 rulers ruling over 453 years mentioned in all three sources, but no names confirmed.

Dynasty Fourteen

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.

Dynasty Fifteen

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

Dynasty Sixteen

Africanus refers to 32 kings reigning 518 years. Eusebius refers to dynasty Fifteen and Sixteen ruling out of Thebes for 190 years. No names are confirmed.

Dynasty Seventeen

Africanus records 43 “Shepherd Kings” (referring to the Hyksos) reigning over 151 years but this is considered by some to be a mistake actually referring to the 43 kings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth dynasties and then five 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.

Dynasty Eighteen

The names given to the eighteenth 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; Reigned for 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; Reigned for 12/3 months, 12 or 15 months

Harmais/Amesis/Amais; Reigned for 3 ; 5; or 5 months

Ramesses; Reigned for3 months ; 1 year ; unclear

Harmesses Miamen/Ramesses; Reigned for 66 months ; 68

Amenopthis/Amenophath/Amenophis; Reigned for 19 months; 19 ; or 40 months

Sethos; Reigned for 59 months ;51 ;or 55

Rampses/Rapsaces/Rampses; Reigned for 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