Ancient Egypt Wiki
Preceded by:
Amenemhat II
Pharaoh of Egypt
12th Dynasty
Succeeded by:
Senusret III
Senusret II
Hellenized: Sesostris

Pyramid of Senusret II at el-Lahun.©

1897-1878 BC (19 years)
Praenomen Khakheperre
The Form of Re has Appeared
Nomen Senusret
Man of the Strong One
Horus name Seshemtawy
Who leads the Two Lands
Nebty name Sekhamaat
Who causes Ma'at to Appear
Golden Horus Hotepnetjeru
With whom the Gods are Pleased
Father Amenemhat II
Consort(s) Khnemetneferhedjet I, Nofret II,
Itaweret (?), Khenmet (?)
Issue Senusret III, Senusret-Sonbe,
Itakayet, Nofret, Sithathoriunet
Died 1878 BC
Burial Pyramid of Senusret II
For other pages by this name, see Senusret.

Khakheperre Senusret II (transliteration: zn-wsr.t, meaning: "Man of Usret") was the fourth Pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from 1897 BC to 1878 BC. His pyramid was constructed at el-Lahun. Senusret II took a great deal of interest in the Faiyum oasis region and began work on an extensive irrigation system from the Bahr Yusuf through to Lake Moeris by means the construction of a dyke at el-Lahun here and the addition of a network of drainage canals. The purpose of his project was to increase the amount of cultivable land here. The importance of this project is emphasized by Senusret II's decision to move the royal necropolis from Dahshur to El-Lahun where he built his pyramid. This location would remain the political capital of the 12th and 13th Dynasties of Egypt. The king also established the first known worker's village in the town of nearby town of Kahun whose New Kingdom prototype would be Deir el-Medina.

Unlike his successor, Senusret II maintained good relations with the various local and influential nomarchs or provincial governors of Egypt who were almost as wealthy as Pharaoh. His Year 6 is attested in a Wall painting from the tomb of a local nomarch at Beni Hasan.

Reign Length[]

Of the rulers of this Dynasty, Senusret II's reign length is the most debated amongst scholars. The Turin Canon gives an unknown king of the Dynasty a reign of 19 Years (which is usually attributed to him) but Senusret's II's Highest known date is currently only a Year 8 red sandstone stela found in June 1932 at Toshka. Some Egyptologists prefer to ascribe him a reign of only 10 Years and assign the 19 Year reign to Senusret III instead. Other Egyptologists, however, such as J. Von Beckerath and the late Frank Yurco have maintained the traditional view of a longer 19 Year reign for Senusret II given the amount of work which the king performed in his reign. Yurco noted that limiting Senusret II's reign to only 6 or 10 years poses major difficulties because this king "built a complete pyramid at Kahun, with a solid granite funerary temple and complex of buildings. Such projects optimally took fifteen to twenty years to complete, even with the mudbrick cores used in Middle Kingdom pyramids." (Black Athena: p.69)



Pyramid of Senusret II at el-Lahun.

Senusret II may have not shared a coregency with his son, Senusret III, unlike most other Middle Kingdom rulers. Some support the idea that he did, noting a scarab with both king's names on it, a dedication inscription celebrating the resumption of rituals begun by Senusret II and III, and a papyrus with dates from Senusret II's 19th year and Senusret III's first year on it.[1] None of these three things necesitate a coregency, however the last one proves that even if there were one, it was no more than a few months long.[2]


  1. Murnane, Willaim J. Ancient Egyptian Coregencies, Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization. No. 40. p.9. The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1977.
  2. Murnane, Willaim J. Ancient Egyptian Coregencies, Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization. No. 40. p.9. The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1977.


  • Mark Stone, Reading the Highest Attested Date for Senwosret II: Stela Cairo JE 59485, GM 159(1997), pp.91-100
  • Frank Yurco, "Black Athena: An Egyptological Review" in Black Athena Revisited,(editor: M. Lefkowitz), University of North Carolina Press: 1996, 544 pages (ISBN 0-8078-4555-8)
  • Grajetzki, W., 2006: The Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt: History,Archaeology and Society. Duckworth, London.

External links[]

Amenemhat II
Pharaoh of Egypt
12th Dynasty
Senusret III