Sesostris I


1971 - 1926 

  12th Dynasty


Orginally came to power when he his father, Amenemhet I, took him as co-regent in Year 20 of his reign. Sesostris I took major campaigns in Syria, Nubia and Libya. it was while he was away from Egypt campaigning in Libya that news reached him that his father had been assassinated (these events are related in the 'Story of Sinuhe' and 'The Instruction of King Amenemhet I for his Sesostris').

Sesostris I then continued as sole king of Egypt, he increased the power of the monarchy and increased Egypt's influence abroad using diplomacy when dealing with Palestine and Syria - (although he did send some military expeditions against the Libyans) . In Year 18 Sesostris I started a campaign against the Nubians in an effort to conquer and occupy lower Nubia - upto and including the Third Cataract (and so were able to receive more gold, copper, diorite, granite and amethyst).

 Domestic life in Egypt was helped by Sesostris' firm government which gave stability to the country - Egypt was prosperous.

Builldings of Sesostris I

Sesostris was a prolific builder - although very little remains survive to present day. In Year 3 he rebuilt the temple to Re-Atum at Heliopolis (where he also appears to have performed some of the re-foundation ceremonies). In Year 30 he again built at Heliopolis, this time he erected two 66ft red granite obelisks to celebrate his sed-festival - unfortunately all that remains from the entire temple site is a single obelisk.


Sesostris I continued the policy first started by his father of naming his heir as co-regent: he took his son, Amenemhet II, as co-ruler at least 3 years before his death.

Even in the 12th Dynasty, Sesostris I had a divine cult - later legends would refer to him as 'Pharaoh Sesostris' who would do amazing deeds (however this 'Sesostris' was a combination of Sesostris I, Sesostris III and Ramesses II).

When he died, Sesostris I was buried in his pyramid at Lisht (a mile south from his father's pyramid) - this pyramid is the best preserved from the 12th Dynasty, and it revived the layout of the Old kingdom pyramid complexes.

 The Pyramid of Sesostris I

Original Height - 61m

Length of Side 105m

Also known as the 'South Lisht Pyramid'. It was first discovered in 1882 by Gaston Maspero and excavated by J.E. Galtier and Gustave Jequier in 1894. The pyramid was built by using great blocks of limestone based on a central nucleus, spaces were filled with unfired bricks - the whole structure was then covered with slabs of Tura limestone.

Inside the enclosure wall of the pyramid were a further ten satellite pyramids which were found to have belonged to members of the royal family (these included Queen Nefru - slightly larger than the others - , and the princesses: Itekuyet , Nefru-sobek, Nefru-Ptah, Nenseddjedet) and dignitaries. Several Mastabas were also found close to the pyramid - one of the most important being that of Senusretankh (a High Priest of Ptah) whose funerary chamber was decorated with Pyramid Texts.

A - Pyramid E - Satellite Pyramid I - Secondary pyramids (used for female members of the royal family)
 B - Entrance F - Inner enclosure wall J - Outer enclosure wall
C - Burial Chamber G - Courtyard K - Pyramid of Nefru (wife of Sesostris I)
D - Funerary Temple H - Processional Ramp