C.); its decline began under Amenenhet IV (1798-1790 B.
C.), who was the first confirmed female ruler of Egypt and the last ruler of the 12th dynasty.
The 13th dynasty marked the beginning of another unsettled period in Egyptian history, during which a rapid succession of kings failed to consolidate power.
The 12th dynasty kings ensured the smooth succession of their line by making each successor co-regent, a custom that began with Amenemhet I.
Middle-Kingdom Egypt pursued an aggressive foreign policy, colonizing Nubia (with its rich supply of gold, ebony, ivory and other resources) and repelling the Bedouins who had infiltrated Egypt during the First Intermediate Period.
The capital would grow into a great metropolis that dominated Egyptian society during the Old Kingdom period.
The Archaic Period saw the development of the foundations of Egyptian society, including the all-important ideology of kingship.
C.—ancient Egypt was the preeminent civilization in the Mediterranean world.
The main sources of information about ancient Egypt are the many monuments, objects and artifacts that have been recovered from archaeological sites, covered with hieroglyphs that have only recently been deciphered.
A new capital was established at It-towy, south of Memphis, while Thebes remained a great religious center.
During the Middle Kingdom, Egypt once again flourished, as it had during the Old Kingdom.
In the Archaic Period, as in all other periods, most ancient Egyptians were farmers living in small villages, and agriculture (largely wheat and barley) formed the economic base of the Egyptian state.