Ancient Egypt Wiki
Preceded by:
Mentuhotep IV
Pharaoh of Egypt
12th Dynasty
Succeeded by:
Senusret I
Amenemhat I

Relief of Amenemhat I from his mortuary complex at el-Lisht.©

1991-1962 BC (29 years)
Praenomen Sehotepibre
He who Pleases the
Heart of Re
Nomen Amenemhat
Amun is in Front
Horus name Wehemmesut
Repeating of Births
Nebty name Wehemmesut
Repeating of Births
Golden Horus Wehemmesut
Repeating of Births
Father Senusret
Mother Neferet
Consort(s) Neferitatjenen
Issue Senusret I, Neferu III,
Neferusherit, Kayet
Died 1962 BC
Burial Pyramid of Amenemhat I
Monuments Itjtawy, Avaris
For other pages by this name, see Amenemhat.

Sehotepibre Amenemhat I (transliteration: ỉmn-m-ḥt, meaning: "Amun is in Front") was the first ruler of the Twelfth Dynasty (the dynasty debated to be the beginning of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt). He ruled from 1991 BC to 1962 BC, which is roughly 30 years.

Amenemhat I was not of royal lineage, and hence took measures to assure the authority of his kingship, such as including literary works (the Prophecy of Neferti, Instructions of Amenemhat) and the revertion to the pyramid-style complexes of the 6th Dynasty rulers. Amenemhet was vizier for Mentuhotep IV, and was the best one suited to take his position as pharaoh. Amenemhet I also moved the capital from Thebes to Itjtawy and was buried in el-Lisht.

Amenemhat I was born on the island of Elephantine located in the Nile River. He lived from 1976-1947 BC. His parents were Nofret and Senusret, a priest. 

His son Senusret I, followed a similar path as Amenemhat did, by building his pyramid at Lisht, although his son, the next ruler of Egypt, Amenemhat II, did not follow this tradition. Senusret's pyramid is a closer reflection of the 6th dynasty pyramids than that of Amenemhat I. Amenemhat I and Senusret I are thought to have shared a joint reign (coregency) of at least 10 years, with Amenemhat I celebrating his jubilee (Sed Festival) one year after they began their joint reign.

He is thought to have been assassinated. Nobody knows for sure, but it is written in "his own hand" that it was an attack by his bodyguard.


The pyramid ruin of Amenemhet I at Lisht.

Amenemhat I's name is associated with one of only two sebayt or ethical "teachings" attributed to Egyptian monarchs. The document is entitled the Instructions of Amenemhat I. The only other royal sebayt was the Instruction for King Merikara set in the First Intermediate Period, but probably a Middle Kingdom composition. As Merikara was a king during the unstable periods of the Seventh through Ninth Dynasties, however, almost nothing is known of him or of his father who presumably wrote the instructions.

Naguib Mahfouz, the Nobel Prize for Literature – winning Egyptian writer includes Amenemhat I in one of his stories published in 1941 entitled "Awdat Sinuhi". The story appeared in an English translation by Raymond Stock in 2003 as "The Return of Sinuhe" in the collection of Mahfouz's short stories entitled Voices from the Other World. The story is based directly on the "The Story of Sinuhe", although adding details of a lovers' triangle romance involving Amenemhat I and Sinuhe that does not appear in the original.


Amenemhat I was the first king of Egypt who definitivly had a coregency with his son, Senusret I. A double dated stele dates to the thirtieth year of Amenemhat I and to the tenth year of Senusret I, which establishes that Senusret would have been made coregent in Amenemhat's 20th regnal year.[1]


  1. Murnane 1977, p. 2.


  • Grajetzki, W., 2006: The Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt: History,Archaeology and Society. Duckworth, London.
  • Mahfouz, N., 2003: The Return of Sinuhe. In: Voices from the Other World (translated by Robert Stock), Random House.
  • Murnane, W.J., 1977: Ancient Egyptian Coregencies. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization. No. 40. The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.
Mentuhotep IV
Pharaoh of Egypt
12th Dynasty
Senusret I