Egyptian Dates in History – the Ancient Egypt Conundrum – Regnal Years, Egyptologists and Solar Eclipses

Egyptian Dates in History – the Ancient Egypt Conundrum – Regnal Years, Egyptologists and Solar Eclipses


As far as Egyptologists are concerned, the dates of any ruler in ancient Egypt are fairly solid – until the next scholar tells the world otherwise.

Some dates/years can be firmly fixed to a specific (and relatively accurate) time period but there is always doubt. That is the way of history in ancient Egypt and we have to accept that some dates are not to be relied upon – they are often best viewed as a guide only, in my opinion.


Regnal years, in some cases, are ‘fixed’ by an event that can be proved – solar eclipses being a good example. There is always doubt about any date or year stated by scholars and Egyptologists and we must live with that fact.


Shabaka (Amenirdis’ brother) is a good example of this:

Shabaka’s reign was initially dated from 716 BC to 702 BCE by Kenneth Kitchen. However, new evidence indicates that Shabaka died around 707 or 706 BCE because Sargon II (722-705 BC) of Assyria states in an official inscription at Tang-i Var (in Northwest Iran) – which is datable to 706 BCE – that it was Shebitku, Shabaka’s successor, who extradited Iamanni of Ashdod to him as king of Egypt. This view has been accepted by many Egyptologists today such as Aidan Dodson, Rolf Krauss, David Aston, and Karl Jansen-Winkeln among others because there is no concrete evidence for co-regencies or internal political/regional divisions in the Nubian kingdom during the Twenty-fifth Dynasty.


Amenirdis ruled during the Third Intermediate Period, XXV Dynasty – 736-690 BCE though some sources state her dates as being 740-720 BCE. There is still doubt regarding the dates that Amenirdis I lived and ruled. However, there are references to Amenirdis I ruling as ‘God’s Wife of Amun’ and ‘Divine Adoratrice’ for approximately forty years.

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