Ancient Egypt Wiki
Preceded by:
Pharaoh of Egypt
14th Dynasty
Succeeded by:
1745-1705 BC (ca. 40 years)[1]
or after 1650 BC[2]
Righteous Heart of Re
Consort(s) Tati (?)[1]
Issue Nehesy (=successor?),[1]
Ipqu (?)[1]
Burial Unknown

Maaibre Sheshi (transliteration: ššỉ) was an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh of the Fourteenth Dynasty during the Second Intermediate Period. He was of Canaanite origin and ruled from Avaris over the eastern Nile Delta in Lower Egypt.


There is no direct evidence that Sheshi's throne name was Maaibre as they don't appear together. Nonetheless, there is a consensus among Egyptologists regarding the connection between the names; the high number of scarab seals attributed to Sheshi is paralleled in number only by those of similar style bearing the prenomen Maaibre.[3]

Chronological Position[]

Egyptologist Jürgen von Beckerath views Sheshi as either a Hyksos king of the 15th Dynasty or as a vassal of the Hyksos, which he sees as the 16th Dynasty.[4] Kim Ryholt and Darrell Baker place Sheshi as the fifth ruler of the 14th Dynasty.[5][6] Ryholt bases this on his seriation of the different scarab-type groups, which inverts that of William Ayres Ward,[7] and by dating them using the high chronology of the Middle Bronze Age phases in Palestine. However, Daphna Ben-Tor points out that this chronology is "highly controversial" and "can no longer be accepted".[8] The stylistic features of the scarab seals are usually attributed to the Hyksos period,[7] and their archaeological context is currently dated to the 15th Dynasty of the Hyksos.[9][8] As a result, Sheshi was likely either a Hyksos king of the second half of the 15th Dynasty or one of their minor vassal rulers in the Nile Delta.[2] In case of the latter, he may still be considered a ruler of the 14th Dynasty, which would then have coexisted with the 15th Dynasty.

The scarab seals of Sheshi are grouped together with those of a "King's Wife Tati", "King's Son Nehesy", and "King's Son Ipqu",[7] which suggests they lived around the same time and might be related. Additionally, Ryholt suggests a chronological placement of Sheshi in the early 14th Dynasty as the father and direct predecessor of King Nehesy, who is listed as an early ruler of the 14th Dynasty in the Turin King List. He furthermore proposes that the "King's Son Nehesy" is identical to this namesake king.[10] However, in 2005 a stela was discovered at Tell Habua depicting prince Nehesy offering oil to the god Banebdjedet and bearing an inscription which mentions the "King's Sister Tani". A woman with this name and title is known from other sources around the time of the Hyksos pharaoh Apepi (ca. 1570 BC).[11] This suggests that the "King's Son Nehesy" of the stela lived ca. 1570 BC, over 100 years after King Nehesy's estimated lifetime. This could be confirmed by Ben-Tor's observation that the scarabs referring to the "King's Son Nehesy" are different in style from those referring to King Nehesy.


Sheshi does not appear in the Turin King List. Ryholt proposes that a lacuna in the list was attested as wsf ("lost"), indicating a lacuna in the document from which the list was copied, and attributes five kings to it, including Sheshi.[12]

Maaibre Sheshi is the best attested ruler of the Second Intermediate Period in terms of the number of artefacts attributed to him, with 396 seals and two seal impressions showing his nomen or prenomen.[13] This figure is three times higher than the 123 seals attributed to the next best attested king of the period, Sekhaenre Yakbim.[14] Based on the number of seals, Ryholt estimated a reign length of around 40 years for him.[15]

Important finds include seals from Lachish, Gezer, Jericho, Tel Michal,[16] Amman and Tell el-Ajjul[17] in southern Canaan. In Lower Egypt, three seals have been unearthed in Tell el-Yahudiya and Tell el-Maskhuta and a further eight are from the wider Delta region.[18] Four seals originate from the Memphite necropolis at Saqqara[19] and a further five from the Middle Egyptian sites of Abusir el-Melek, Medinet el-Ghurob, Kom el-Ahmar and Deir Rifa. To the south, in Upper Egypt, a total of twenty seals are known from Abydos, Hu, Thebes, Elephantine, Esna and Edfu.[20] In Nubia, seals of Sheshi have been found in the Egyptian fortresses of Uronarti and Mirgissa and otherwise in el-Dakka, Kerma, Sayala, Aniba, Masmas, Faras, Ukma, Akasha and Saï.[21] Finally, two seal impressions of Sheshi have been found in Carthage,[22] in a context dated archeologically to the 2nd-century BC.[23]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Ryholt 1997.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ben-Tor et al. 1999, p. 47-73.
  3. Ben-Tor 2010, p. 97.
  4. Von Beckerath 1999.
  5. Ryholt 1997, p. 200.
  6. Baker 2008, p. 303.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Ward 1984.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ben-Tor et al. 1999, p. 58.
  9. Bietak 1991, p. 52-53.
  10. Ryholt 1997, p. 253.
  11. 'Abd El-Maksoud & Valbelle 2005.
  12. Ryholt 1997, p. 10–11.
  13. Ryholt 1997, pp. 252–254, 366–376.
  14. Ryholt 1997, p. 199, table 38.
  15. Ryholt 1997, p. 409.
  16. Bryce 2009.
  17. Ryholt 1997, p. 367.
  18. Ryholt 1997, pp. 367–368.
  19. Ryholt 1997, p. 368.
  20. Ryholt 1997, p. 368–369.
  21. Ryholt 1997, p. 369.
  22. Ryholt 1997, p. 366.
  23. Ryholt 2010, p. 122.


  • 'Abd El-Maksoud, M./Valbelle, D., 2005: Tell Héboua-Tjarou. L'apport de l'épigraphie. Revue d'Égyptologie (in French). Vol. 56.
  • Baker, D.D., 2008: The Encyclopedia of the Pharaohs: Volume I - Predynastic to the Twentieth Dynasty 3300–1069 BC. Stacey International.
  • Beckerath, J. von, 1999: Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen. Münchner ägyptologische Studien, Heft 49. Philipp von Zabern, Mainz.
  • Ben-Tor, D./Allen S.J./Allen J.P., 1999: Seals and Kings. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (BASOR) 315.
  • Ben-Tor, D., 2010: Sequences and chronology of Second Intermediate Period royal-name scarabs, based on excavated series from Egypt and the Levant. In: Marcel Marée (ed.). The Second Intermediate Period (Thirteenth–Seventeenth Dynasties): Current Research, Future Prospects. Orientalia Lovaniensa Analecta. Vol. 192. Peeters, Leuven.
  • Bietak, M., 1991: Egypt and Canaan During the Middle Bronze Age. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (BASOR) 281.
  • Bryce, T., 2009: The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia: From the Early Bronze Age to the Fall of the Persian Empire. Routledge.
  • Flinders Petrie, W.M., 1933: Ancient Gaza Chapter III: Scarabs Tell El Ajjul. London.
  • Ryholt, K., 1997: The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period c.1800-1550 B.C. Museum Tuscalanum Press.
  • Ryholt, K., 2010: The date of kings Sheshi and Yaqubhar and the rise of the fourteenth dynasty. In: Marée, Marcel (ed.). The Second Intermediate Period (Thirteenth-Seventeenth Dynasties). Current Research, Future Prospects. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 192. Leuven; Walpole, MA: Peeters.
  • Schneider, T., 2002: Lexikon der Pharaonen. Albatros, Düsseldorf.
  • Ward, W.A. 1984: Royal-Name Scarabs. In: O. Tufnell, Scarab Seals and their Contribution to History in the Early Second Millennium B.C. Studies on Scarab Seals, Vol. 2. Aris & Phillips, Warminster.
Pharaoh of Egypt
14th Dynasty