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Osorkon the Elder
Pharaoh of Egypt
Reign 992 – 986 BC,  21st Dynasty
Predecessor Amenemope
Successor Siamun

Akheperre Setepenre Osorkon the Elder was the fifth king of the twenty-first dynasty of Egypt and was the first pharaoh of Libyan extraction in Egypt. He is also sometimes known as "Osochor," following Manetho's Aegyptiaca.

Osorkon the Elder was the son of Shoshenq, the Great Chief of the Ma by the latter's wife 'Mehtenweskhet who is given the prestigious title of 'King's Mother' in a document. Osochor was the brother of Nimlot A, the Great Chief of the Ma, and Tentshepeh A the daughter of the Great Chief of the Ma and, thus, an uncle of Shoshenq I, founder of the Twenty-second Dynasty. His existence was doubted by most scholars until Eric Young established in 1963 that the induction of a temple priest named Nespaneferhor in Year 2 I Shemu day 20 under a certain king named Akheperre Setepenre—in fragment 3B, line 1-3 of the Karnak Priest Annals —occurred one generation prior to the induction of Hori, Nespaneferhor's son in Year 17 of Siamun, which is also recorded in the same annals.[1] Young argued that this king Akheperre Setepenre was the unknown Osochor. This hypothesis was not fully accepted by all Egyptologists at that time, however.

But in a 1976-1977 paper, Jean Yoyotte noted that a Libyan king named Osorkon was the son of Shoshenq A by the Lady Mehtenweshkhet, with Mehtenweshkhet being explicitly titled the "King's Mother" in a certain genealogical document.[2] Since none of the other kings named Osorkon had a mother named Mehtenweshkhet, it was conclusively established that Akheperre Setepenre was indeed Manetho's Osochor, whose mother was Mehtenweshkhet. The Lady Mehtenweshet A was also the mother of Nimlot A, Great Chief of the Meshwesh and, thus, Shoshenq I's grandmother.

Osorkon's time-line

Based on a calculation of the aforementioned Year 2 lunar date of this king—which Rolf Krauss in an astronomical calculation has shown to correspond to 990 BC—Osochor must have become king 2 years before the induction of Nespaneferhor in 992 BC.[3]

Osorkon the Elder's reign is significant because it foreshadows the coming the Libyan Twenty-second dynasty. He is credited with a reign of six years in Manetho's Aegyptiaca and was succeeded in power by Siamun, who was either Osochor's son or an unrelated native Egyptian.


  1. ^ Eric Young, Some Notes on the Chronology and Genealogy of the Twenty-first Dynasty, Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, Volume 2 (1963), pp.99–112
  2. ^ Jean Yoyotte, Osorkon fils de Mehytouskhé: Un pharaon oublié?, Bulletin de la Société française d'égyptologie, Volume 77–78 (1976-1977), pp.39–54
  3. ^ Erik Hornung, Rolf Krauss & David Warburton (editors), Handbook of Ancient Egyptian Chronology (Handbook of Oriental Studies), Brill: 2006, p.474


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