Ancient Egypt Wiki
Preceded by:
Osorkon I
Pharaoh of Egypt
22nd Dynasty
Succeeded by:
Shoshenq IIb
Shoshenq IIa
Sheshonk, Shishak
Sheshonq II

Gold funerary mask of Shoshenq IIa in the Cairo Museum. (CC BY 2.0)

887-885 BC (2 years)
Ruling Manifestation of Re,
Chosen of Re
Shoshenq, Beloved of Amun
Father Osorkon I (?)[1]
Mother Maatkare (?)[1]
Consort(s) Nestanebetashru (?),[1] Ikhya (?),[1]
Nestawadjetakhet (?),[1]
Issue Horsaiset (?),[1] Osorkon (?),[1]
Shoshenq IIb (?)
Died 885 BC
Burial NRT III, Tanis
For other pages by this name, see Shoshenq.

Heqakheperre-Setepenre Shoshenq IIa (transliteration: ššnq), also known as Sheshonk, was the third Pharaoh of the Twenty-second Dynasty during the Third Intermediate Period. He was the only ruler of this dynasty whose tomb was not plundered by tomb robbers.

Chronological placement[]

Sextus Julius Africanus's copy of Manetho's Epitome explicitly states that "3 Kings" intervened for a total of "25 years" between Osorkon I and Takelot I. While Manetho's suggested position for these three kings cannot be presently verified due to the paucity of evidence for this period and the brevity of their reigns, the combined regnal years of these kings most certainly did not add up to such a long period of time. There are indeed three kings known who may be considered for this period; Shoshenq IIa, IIb and IIc.[2][3]


There exists a high degree of academic uncertainty regarding the parentage of Shoshenq IIa. Some scholars today contend that Shoshenq IIa was a younger son of Shoshenq I. The most straight forward option however, proposed by Kenneth Kitchen,[1] is an identification with the High Priest of Amun Shoshenq Q, since this would make him the eldest son and heir of his direct predecessor Osorkon I. Shoshenq Q's mother Maatkare also held the title "God's Mother of Horus, who Unites the Two Lands", which indicates that her son indeed rose to kingship. This interpretation is endorsed by Norbert Dautzenberg and Jürgen von Beckerath,[4][5] who believe Shoshenq IIa was indeed an elder half-brother of Takelot I. However, the absence of funerary goods from Shoshenq IIa's tomb mentioning Osorkon I raises doubts on their filial link. Another argument used against Shoshenq IIa's identification with Shoshenq Q is that the latter's descendents only refer to him as a prince and high priest, but never as king. However, given the advanced age of Shoshenq IIa's mummy, it could simply be the case that Shoshenq Q's sons predeceased their father's kingship. This is further supported by the observation that Shoshenq Q's son Horsaiset was never a high priest and therefore probably not identical to the later Pharaoh Horsaiset.[6]

Besides Shoshenq Q's known sons, Horsaiset and Osorkon, Shoshenq IIa's successor Shoshenq IIb may thus have been a third son who outlived and briefly succeeded their father. However, this remains speculation.


Shoshenq IIa's burial was discovered within an antechamber of Psusennes I's NRT III tomb at Tanis by Pierre Montet in 1939. He was the only ruler of this dynasty whose tomb was not plundered by tomb robbers. Montet removed the coffin lid of Shoshenq IIa on March 20, 1939, in the presence of king Farouk of Egypt himself. The final resting place of Shoshenq IIa was certainly a reburial. Scientists have found evidence of plant growth on the base of Shoshenq IIa's coffin, which suggests that Shoshenq II's original tomb had become waterlogged,[7] hence a need to rebury him and his funerary equipment in another tomb. As Aidan Dodson writes:

It is abundantly clear that the presence of Shoshenq II within NRT III (Psusennes I's tomb) was the result of a reburial. Apart from the presence of the [king's] coffinettes within an extremely mixed group of secondhand jars, the broken condition of the trough of the king's silver coffin showed that it had received rough handling in antiquity.[8]


Dr. Derry's medical examination of Shoshenq IIa's mummy reveals that the king died as a result of a massive septic infection from a head wound.[7] He is estimated to have died in his 50s.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Kitchen 1996, p. 117–119.
  2. Von Beckerath 1994, p. 84-87.
  3. Jansen-Winkeln 1995, p. 145-148.
  4. Dautzenberg 1995, p. 21-29.
  5. Von Beckerath 1997.
  6. Dodson 2019, p. 106.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Derry 1939, p. 549-551.
  8. Dodson 1994, p. 89.


  • Beckerath, J. von, 1994: Zur Rückeninschrift der Statuette Kairo CG 42192. Or 63.
  • Beckerath, J. von, 1997: Chronologie des Pharaonischen Ägypten. Philipp von Zabern, Mainz am Rhein.
  • Dautzenberg, N., 1995: Bemerkungen zu Schoschenq II., Takeloth II. und Pedubastis II. Göttinger Miszellen 144.
  • Derry, D.E., 1939: Note on the Remains of Shashanq. Annales du Service des Antiquités de l’Égypte, Vol. 39.
  • Dodson, A., 1994: The Canopic Equipment of the Kings of Egypt. Kegan Paul Intl, London.
  • Dodson, A., 2012 (Revised and Updated 2019 Edition): Afterglow of Empire: Egypt from the Fall of the New Kingdom to the Saite Renaissance. The American University in Cairo Press.
  • Jansen-Winkeln, K., 1995: Historiche Probleme der 3. Zwischenzeit. JEA 81.
  • Kitchen, K.A., 1996: The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (c.1100-650 BC). Aris & Phillips Ltd. third edition.
Osorkon I
Pharaoh of Egypt
Twenty-second Dynasty
Shoshenq IIb