Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt

The Eighteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties of Ancient Egypt collectively mark the New Kingdom. The latter two dynasties constitute an era known as the Ramesside period. The Twentieth Dynasty is considered to be the last one of the New Kingdom of Egypt, and was followed by the Third Intermediate Period.

Pharaohs of the 20th Dynasty

The Pharaohs of the 20th dynasty ruled for approximately 120 years: from ca. 1187 to 1064 BC. The dates and names in the table are mostly taken from "Chronological Table for the Dynastic Period" in Erik Hornung, Rolf Krauss & David Warburton (editors), Ancient Egyptian Chronology (Handbook of Oriental Studies), Brill, 2006. Many of the pharaohs were buried in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes (designated KV). More information can be found on the Theban Mapping Project website.[1]

Twentieth Dynasty Pharaohs of Egypt
name of King Throne Name date Burial Queen(s)
Setnakhte Userkhaure 1189 – 1186 BC KV14 Tiy-merenese
Ramesses III Usermaatre-Meryamun 1186 – 1155 BC KV11 Iset Ta-Hemdjert
Ramesses IV Usermaatre (later Heqamaatre) Setepenamun 1155 – 1149 BC KV2 Duatentopet
Ramesses V Amenhirkhepeshef I Usermaatre Sekheperenre 1149 – 1145 BC KV9 Henutwati
Ramesses VI Amenhirkhepeshef II Nebmaatre Meryamun 1145 – 1137 BC KV9 Nubkhesbed
Ramesses VII Itamun Usermaatre Setepenre Meryamun 1136 – 1129 BC KV1
Ramesses VIII Sethhirkhepeshef Usermaatre Akhenamun 1130 – 1129 BC
Ramesses IX Khaemwaset I Neferkare Setepenre 1129 – 1111 BC KV6 Baketwernel
Ramesses X Amenhirkhepeshef III Khepermaatre Setepenre 1111 – 1107 BC KV18 Tyti
Ramesses XI Khaemwaset II Menmaatre Setpenptah 1107 – 1077 BC KV4 Tentamun


Pharaoh Setnakhte was likely already middle aged when he took the throne after Queen Twosret. He ruled for only around 4 years when he was succeeded by his son Ramesses III. Egypt was threatened by the Sea Peoples during this time period, but Ramesses III was able to defeat this confederacy from the Near East. The king is also known for a harem conspiracy in which Queen Tiye attempted to assassinate the king and put her son Pentawere on the throne. The coup was not successful in the end. The king may have died from the attempt on his life, but it was his legitimate heir Ramesses IV who succeeded him to the throne. After this a succession of kings named Ramesses take the throne, but none would truly achieve greatness.[2]

Tomb robberies

The period of these rulers is notable for the beginning of the systematic robbing of the royal tombs. Many surviving administrative documents from this period are records of investigations and punishment for these crimes, especially in the reigns of Ramses IX and Ramses XI.[3]


As happened under the earlier Nineteenth Dynasty, this group struggled under the effects of the bickering between the heirs of Ramesses III. For instance, three different sons of Ramesses III are known to have assumed power as Ramesses IV, Ramesses VI and Ramesses VIII respectively. However, at this time Egypt was also increasingly beset by a series of droughts, below-normal flooding levels of the Nile, famine, civil unrest and official corruption all of which would limit the managerial abilities of any king. The power of the last king, Ramesses XI, grew so weak that in the south the High Priests of Amun at Thebes became the de facto rulers of Upper Egypt, while Smendes controlled Lower Egypt even before Ramesses XI's death. Smendes would eventually found the Twenty-First dynasty at Tanis.[4]

Twentieth Dynasty timeline

Family tree

The Twentieth dynasty of Egypt was the last of the New Kingdom of Egypt. The familial relationships are unclear, especially towards the end of the dynasty.

Ramesses III
Ramesses VI
Ramesses IV
Khaemwaset E
Ramesses VIII
Mentuhirkopshef B
Takhat B
Ramesses VII
Ramesses V
Ramesses IX
Ramesses X
Ramesses XI

See also

Pharaoh is a historical novel by Bolesław Prus, set in Egypt at the end of the Twentieth Dynasty, which adds two fictional rulers: Ramesses XII and Ramesses XIII. It has been adapted into a film of the same title.


  1. Sites in the Valley of the Kings
  2. Dodson and Hilton, pg 184
  3. Dodson and Hilton, pg 184-185
  4. Dodson and Hilton, pg 185-186

Preceded by
Nineteenth dynasty
Dynasty of Egypt
1189−1077 BCE
Succeeded by
Twenty-first dynasty
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