Sheshonk I in Wikipedia
Hedjkheperre Setepenre Shoshenq I (Egyptian ššnq), also known as Sheshonk or Sheshonq I (for discussion of the
spelling, see Shoshenq), was a Meshwesh Berber king of Egypt-of Libyan ancestry-and the founder of the Twenty-
second Dynasty. Shoshenq I was the son of Nimlot A, Great Chief of the Ma, and his wife Tentshepeh A, a daughter of
a Great Chief of the Ma herself. He is perhaps mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as Shishaq.
The conventional dates for his reign as established by Kenneth Kitchen are 945 – 924 BC but his time-line has
recently been revised downwards by a few years to 943–922 BC since he may well have lived for up to 2 to 3 years
after his successful campaign in Canaan, conventionally dated to 925 BC. As Edward Wente of the University of
Chicago noted on page 276 of his JNES 35(1976) Book Review of Kitchen's study of the Third Intermediate Period,
there is "no certainty" that Shoshenq's 925 BC campaign terminated just prior to this king's death a year later in
924 BC. The English Egyptologist, Morris Bierbrier also dated Shoshenq I's accession "between 945-940 BC" in his
seminal 1975 book concerning the genealogies of Egyptian officials who served during the late New Kingdom and Third
Intermediate Period. Bierbrier based his opinion on Biblical evidence collated by W. Albright in a BASOR 130
paper. This development would also account for the mostly unfinished state of decorations of Shoshenq's building
projects at the Great Temple of Karnak where only scenes of the king's Palestinian military campaign are fully
carved. Building materials would first have had to be extracted and architectural planning performed for his great
monumental projects here. Such activities usually took up to a year to complete before work was even begun. This
would imply that Shoshenq I likely lived for a period in excess of one year after his 925 BC campaign. On the other
hand, if the Karnak inscription was concurrent with Shoshenq's campaign into Canaan, the fact that it was left
unfinished would suggest this campaign occurred in the last year of Shoshenq's reign. This possibility would also
permit his 945 BC accession date to be slightly lowered to 943 BC.
The most recent and comprehensive study of Ancient Egyptian chronology affirms the theory that Sheshonq I came to
power in 943 BC rather than 945 BC as is conventionally assumed based on epigraphic evidence from the Great Dakhla
stela, which dates to Year 5 of his reign. The editors of the 2006 book 'Ancient Egyptian Chronology' write:
"The chronology of early Dyn. 22 depends on dead reckoning. The sum of the highest attested regnal dates for Osorkon
II, Takelot I, Osorkon I, and Shoshenq I, added to 841 BC as year 1 of Shoshenq III, yields 938 BC at the latest for
year 1 of Shoshenq I...[However] The large Dakhla stela provides a lunar date in the form of a wrš feast in year 5
of Shoshenq [I], yielding 943 BC as his year 1."
Sheshonk I is frequently identified, at least in popular works, with the Egyptian king "Shishaq" (שׁישׁק Šîšaq,
transliterated), who, according to the Book of Kings, invaded Judah in the time of king Jeroboam. While the names
are similar, the campaigns of the historical Sheshonk in Canaan do not match the outline of events in the Book of
Origins and family -
Shoshenq I was the son of Nimlot A and Tentsepeh A. His paternal grandparents were the Chief of the MA Shoshenk (A)
and his wife Mehytenweskhet A. Prior to his reign, Shoshenq I had been the Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Army,
and chief advisor to his predecessor Psusennes II, as well as the father-in-law of Psusennes' daughter Maatkare. He
also held his father's title of Great Chief of the Ma or Meshwesh, which is an Egyptian word for Berbers of Libya.
His ancestors were Libyans who had settled in Egypt during the late New Kingdom, probably at Herakleopolis Magna,
though Manetho claims Shoshenq himself came from Bubastis, a claim for which no supporting physical evidence has yet
been discovered. Significantly, his Libyan uncle Osorkon the Elder had already served on the throne for at least six
years in the preceding 21st Dynasty; hence, Shoshenq I's rise to power was not wholly unexpected. As king, Shoshenq
chose his eldest son, Osorkon I, as his successor and consolidated his authority over Egypt through marriage
alliances and appointments. He assigned his second son, Iuput A, the prominent position of High Priest of Amun at
Thebes as well as the title of Governor of Upper Egypt and Commander of the Army to consolidate his authority over
the Thebaid. Finally, Shoshenq I designated his third son, Nimlot B, as the "Leader of the Army" at Herakleopolis
in Middle Egypt.
This Karnak temple wall depicts a list of city states conquered by Shoshenq I in his Near Eastern military
He pursued an aggressive foreign policy in the adjacent territories of the Middle East, towards the end of his
reign. This is attested, in part, by the discovery of a statue base bearing his name from the Lebanese city of
Byblos, part of a monumental stela from Megiddo bearing his name, and a list of cities in the region comprising
Syria, Philistia, Phoenicia, the Negev and the Kingdom of Israel, among various topographical lists inscribed on the
walls of temples of Amun at al-Hibah and Karnak. Unfortunately there is no mention of either an attack nor tribute
from Jerusalem, which has led some to suggest that Sheshonk was not the Biblical Shishak. The fragment of a stela
bearing his cartouche from Megiddo has been interpreted as a monument Shoshenq erected there to commemorate his
victory. Some of these conquered cities include Ancient Israelite fortresses such as Megiddo, Taanach and
He was succeeded by his son Osorkon I after a reign of 21 Years. According to the British Egyptologist Aidan Dodson,
no trace has yet been found of the tomb of Shoshenq I; the sole funerary object linked to Shoshenq I is a canopic
chest of unknown provenance that was donated to the Ägyptisches Museum Berlin (ÄMB 11000) by Julius Isaac in
1891. This may indicate his tomb was looted in antiquity, but this hypothesis is unproven. Egyptologists differ
over the location of Sheshonq I's burial and speculate that he may have been buried somewhere in Tanis-perhaps in
one of the Anonymous royal tombs here-or in Bubastis. However, Troy Sagrillo in a GM 205 (2005) paper observes that
"there are only a bare handful of inscribed blocks from Tanis that might name the king (i.e., Shoshenq I) and none
of these come from an in situ building complex contemporary with his reign." Hence, it is more probable that
Shoshenq was buried in another city in the Egyptian Delta. Sagrillo offers a specific location for Shoshenq's burial
-the Ptah temple enclosure of Memphis-and notes that this king built:
"fairly widely in the area, undoubtedly including a pylon and forecourt at the Ptah temple (Kitchen, TIPE 1996,
pp.149-150)...It is, therefore, not completely improbable that he (ie: Shoshenq I) built his tomb in the region. The
funerary cult surrounding his 'House of Millions of Years of Shoshenq, Beloved of Amun' was functioning several
generations after its establishment at the temple (Ibrahem Aly Sayed 1996, p.14). The 'House of Millions of Years of
Shoshenq, Beloved of Amun' was probably the forecourt and pylon of the Ptah temple, which, if the royal necropoleis
at Tanis, Saïs, and Mendes are taken as models, could very well have contained a royal burial within it or the
Sagrillo concludes by observing that if Shoshenq I's burial place was located at Memphis, "it would go far in
explaining why this king's funerary cult lasted for some time at the site after his death."
While Shoshenq's tomb is currently unknown, the burial of one of his prominent state officials at Thebes, the Third
Prophet of Amun Djedptahiufankh, was discovered intact in Tomb DB320 in the 19th Century. Inscriptions on
Djedptahiufankh's Mummy bandages show that he died in or after Year 11 of this king. His Mummy was discovered to
contain various gold bracellets, amulets and precious carnelian objects and give a small hint of the vast treasures
that would have adorned Shoshenq I's tomb.
Modern Culture -
Raiders of the Lost Ark, a 1981 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, Written by George Lucas
and Philip Kaufman. It is the first film in the Indiana Jones franchise, and pits Indiana Jones against the Nazis,
who search for the Ark of the Covenant, in an attempt to make their army invincible.
'Sheshonk' was mentioned as 'Shishak' in the dialogue near 00:17:28 :
Indiana: "The Hebrews put the broken pieces in the Ark. When they settled in Canaan, they put it in the Temple of
Colonel Musgrove: "ln Jerusalem."
Indiana: "Where it stayed for many years, until, whoosh, it's gone."
Major Eaton: "Where?"
Indiana: "Nobody knows where or when. An Egyptian Pharaoh, Shishak,invaded Jerusalem about 980 BC, and may have
taken the Ark to the city of Tanis and hidden it in a secret chamber called the Well of Souls. About a year after
the Pharaoh returned to Egypt, the city of Tanis was consumed by the desert in a year-long sandstorm. Wiped clean by
the wrath of God."