Episode 26: The Fire Rises

First Intermediate Period (Part III): Khety versus Intef. After years of intermittent conflict and sparring, the time has come for a final showdown between the competing royal families of the North and South. In one corner, the House of Khety holds the North, supported by their vassals at Asyut. In the other corner, the House of Intef flexes its…

Episode 25: A Fire in the South

The First Intermediate (Part II): A Kingdom Divided The House of Khety still rules the North, but now its authority is challenged by a family of newcomers. In the city of Waset (Thebes), the new House of Intef has arisen to prominence, and they are willing to fight for prestige, wealth and power. King Merykare of…

Episode 24: Lamentations

First Intermediate Period (Part I): Collapse? We jump head slightly in time.  By 2100 BCE Pepy II is gone, and with him the last securely-documented reign of the Old Kingdom. A succession of short-reigning kings (and a ruling queen?) see out the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Dynasties. Egypt becomes disunited, ruled by provincial governors. A nominally…

Episode 23: Children of Pepy

 Pepy II (Part III): The End of the Old Kingdom Pepy II reaches his twilight years, and Egypt is in trouble. Drought strikes the Near East, increasing desertification and reducing Nile flood levels. A century after the “starving bedouin” of Unas, the situation is now reaching its head. To make matters worse, and independent kingdom…

Episode 22: Pepy Lives

Pepy II (Part II): Authority Abroad. Twenty-five ears into his reign, Pepy II is established in power. But can this monarch rule effectively on his own, without the guidance he received as a child? To project his authority, Pepy commissions royal agents to represent him in foreign lands. Four men are drawn from two families. From…

Episode 21: The Excited Child

Pepy II (Part I): the Child King At just six-years old, the new King of Upper and Lower Egypt Pepy II cannot possibly exercise power on his own. Enter his mother, Ankh-enes-Pepy, who oversees the kingdom on his behalf. In a short sojourn to the countryside, we meet Qar, a noble who handles agriculture and cattle-rearing in Upper…

Episode 20: Expeditions and Explorers

Weni the Elder (Part II): Service in the South Following his admirable service to Pepy I thus far, Weni the Elder is then dispatched south to Upper Egypt, to serve as the royal Overseer. Soon after, a new king Merenre keeps Weni on-staff, and sends him to Nubia on a very special mission… Direct Download (Save As mp3)…

Episode 19: The Beloved of Re, Pepy

Pepy I & Weni the Elder (Part I) After Teti’s assassination(?), Pepy I finds it difficult to assert his authority. He must battle a usurper, Userkare and a conspiracy against his life. Court proceedings are taken, involving even a royal wife. Egyptian kings, it seems, are no longer inviolable. There is blood in the water, and…

Episode 18: The Guards Themselves

Teti (Part II): The Murder of a King? All is not well within the court. Although Teti has ensconced himself on the throne, conspiracies may have formed against him. The Greek Manetho (c.280 BCE) writes that Teti was murdered, the first king of whom such an account exists. Was Teti really assassinated? Some Egyptologists think so. We go…

Episode 17: A New Era

Teti and Kagemni: Dynasty VI Unas has passed to the afterlife with gusto. His daughter marries an outsider, Teti, who becomes the new King of Upper and Lower Egypt. For historians, this kind of shift in lineage is a good point to mark the beginning of the Sixth Dynasty. A new literary genre also reaches maturation: Didactic Literature conveys…