Amenemhet I (äˌmĕnĕmˈhĕt, āˌ–) [key], d. 1970 B.C., king of ancient Egypt, founder of the XII dynasty. The son of a powerful Theban family, he seized the kingship c.2000 B.C. The XII dynasty ushered in the Middle Kingdom of Egypt; the subsequent dynasty of pharaohs named Amenemhet or Sesostris maintained peace throughout their hegemony, thus enabling the arts and sciences to flourish as they never would again in Egypt. Amenemhet I centralized the government and subjected the long-powerful nobles to a virtually feudal state. His son and successor, Sesostris I was coregent from 1980 B.C.
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