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For the prince of the 4th Dynasty, see Prince Rahotep.

Template:Infobox pharaoh

Sekhemrewahkhau Rahotep was an Egyptian pharaoh who reigned during the Second Intermediate Period, when Egypt was ruled by multiple kings. The egyptologists Kim Ryholt and Darell Baker believe that Rahotep was the first king of the 17th Dynasty.[1][2]


Rahotep is well known from a stele found at Coptos reporting the restoration of the temple of Min.[3] The stele, now in the Petrie Museum (UC 14327), reads[4][5]

Rahotep is also attested on a limestone stele, now in the British Museum (BM EA 833),[6] which shows him making an offering to Osiris for two deceased, an officer and a priest. Finally Rahotep is mentioned on a bow of a king's son dedicated to "the service of Min in all his feasts".[2][7]
In the late New Kingdom tale Khonsuemheb and the ghost, the protagonist encounter a ghost who claims to have been in life "Overseer of the treasuries of king Rahotep". However, the ghost also claims to have died in regnal Year 14 of a later king Mentuhotep. These statements seem to contradict each other since none of Rahotep's successors named Mentuhotep is known to have reigned for so long, thus making the identification of both these kings problematic.[8]


Two scarabs bearing the inscription "Rahotep", believed by Flinders Petrie to referring to this king.[9]

While Ryholt and Baker propose that Rahotep was the first king of the 17th Dynasty, Jürgen von Beckerath sees him as the second king of that dynasty.[10][11] Alternatively Claude Vandersleyen has tentatively dated Rahotep to the 13th Dynasty on the grounds that he believes Rahotep to be related to Sobekemsaf I, which Vandersleyen also date to the 13th Dynasty because of the quality and number of statues attributable to him.[12] Baker deems these arguments "slim and rejected by most scholars".[1]

If he was indeed a ruler of the early 17th Dynasty, Rahotep would have controlled Upper Egypt as far north as Abydos.[1] According to Ryholt's reconstruction of the Second Intermediate Period, Rahotep's reign would have taken place shortly after the collapse of the 16th Dynasty with the conquest of Thebes by the Hyksos and their subsequent withdrawal from the region. In the wake of the conflict the Hyksos would have looted and destroyed temples and palaces.[1] Rahotep consequently "boasts of restorations [he performed] in temples at Abydos and Coptos".[13] In Abydos he had the enclosure walls of the temple of Osiris renewed and in Coptos he restored the temple of Min of which "gates and doors [have] fallen into ruins".[1] This chronology of events is debated and some scholars contest that Thebes was ever conquered by the Hyksos. Rather, they believe the kings of Upper Egypt could have been vassals of the Hyksos.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named encyclo
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ryholt
  3. H.M. Stewart: Egyptian Stelae, Reliefs and Paintings from the Petrie Collection. Part Two: Archaic to Second Intermediate Period, Warminster 1979, 17-18, no. 78
  4. Image of the stele with translation
  5. Stele on the Petrie Museum catalogue
  6. Stele on the British Museum catalogue
  7. O. D. Berlev: Un don du roi Rahotep, OLP 6-7 (1975/1976), p. 31-41 pl II.
  8. Simpson, William K. (1973). The Literature of Ancient Egypt. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-01711-1. , pp. 139–40
  9. Flinders Petrie: Scarabs and cylinders with names (1917), available copyright-free here, pl. XXIII
  10. Jürgen von Beckerath: Untersuchungen zur politischen Geschichte der Zweiten Zwischenzeit in Ägypten, Glückstadt, 1964
  11. Jürgen von Beckerath: Chronologie des pharaonischen Ägyptens, Münchner Ägyptologische Studien 46. Mainz am Rhein, 1997
  12. Claude Vandersleyen: Rahotep, Sébekemsaf Ier et Djéhouty, rois de la 13e Dynastie, Revue d'Égyptologie
  13. Janine Bourriau, Ian Shaw (edit), The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt Oxford University Press, 2000. p.205 ISBN 978-0-19-280458-7
Preceded by
Pharaoh of Egypt
Seventeenth Dynasty
Succeeded by
Sobekemsaf I