For this weeks blog I want to examine the differences that emerge in the pharaohs power between the Old Kingdom and the New Kingdom. While both of these periods were ruled over by pharaohs the Middle Kingdom pharaohs had experienced a great reduction in their power. One of the major pieces of evidence for these weaker pharaohs is the lack of great monuments being constructed, like the pyramids. There were a few pharaohs still attempting to build pyramids, however, they nothing compared to the pyramids of the Old Kingdom.
This overall lack of immense monumental public construction projects can provide some clues to the decline in the pharaohs political influence. The first thing this shows is that Egypt’s economy was not able to keep up with the expenses and this could result in a smaller national treasury. With less resources the pharaohs might not have been able to afford the workers labor costs.
A second area were the pharaohs appeared to have weakened is that of being able to supply the necessary workers. With the reduction of construction projects this could show that the pharaohs were no longer able to marshal the necessary manpower to create these super structures. Given the high pressures that these projected placed on Egypt’s citizenry and economy, it does seem that the construction of the pyramids would not be constructed continuously throughout all of Egyptian history.
Another important factor that helped contribute to the reduced power of the pharaohs is the competition Egypt was experiencing from its neighbors. During the later part of the Middle Kingdom Egypt was put in a tough position when Lower Egypt was taken over by the Hyksos people and this group was allied with Nubia. When put into this position Egypt would have had to focus on their defenses so they would not be taken over. If the pharaohs lost more land they would become unpopular and in turn this could lead to even weaker pharaohs taking the throne.