As a pharaoh of the 13th Dynasty, Merkare would have reigned either over Upper Egypt from Thebes or over Middle and Upper Egypt from Memphis. At the time, the Eastern Nile Delta was under the domination of the 14th Dynasty.
According to the egyptologist Kim Ryholt, no less than 17 kings of the 13th dynasty reigned in the short time period from 1663 BC until 1649 BC. Scholars, such as Manfred Bietak and Ryholt proposed that this instability is a consequence of a prolonged famine and perhaps a plague which struck at least the Delta region and lasted until the end of the 13th and 14th dynasty states c. 1650 BC. The weakened state of both kingdoms may explain, in part, why they fell rapidly to the emerging Hyksos power c. 1650 BC.
Merkare's only attestation is the Turin canon, a king list compiled in the early Ramesside period. According to the egyptologist Kim Ryholt, the canon gives his prenomen on the 8th column, 18th line (Gardiner entry 7.23 ). The Turin papyrus is damaged on the section covering the late 13th dynasty and Merkare's reign length is lost in a lacuna.
The exact chronological position of Merkare is not known for certain as the damaged state of the Turin canon only allows for conjectural reconstructions of the late 13th dynasty. According to Ryholt he was the forty-eighth ruler of the dynasty, while Baker and von Beckerath see him as the forty-seventh.
- K.S.B. Ryholt, The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, c.1800–1550 BC, Carsten Niebuhr Institute Publications, vol. 20. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 1997, excerpts available online here.
- Manfred Bietak, Egypt and Canaan During the Middle Bronze Age, BASOR 281 (1991), pp. 21-72 see in particular p. 38
- Darrell D. Baker: The Encyclopedia of the Pharaohs: Volume I - Predynastic to the Twentieth Dynasty 3300–1069 BC, Stacey International, ISBN 978-1-905299-37-9, 2008, p. 215
- Alan H. Gardiner: The Royal Canon of Turin, Oxford 1959, Vol. III, 6.14, Warminster 1987, ISBN 0-900416-48-3.
- Jürgen von Beckerath: Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen, (Münchner ägyptologische Studien), 1984, ISBN 978-3422008328
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