People > Shoshenq I

Shoshenq I

Egypt History - Egyptian Chapter Decoration


Shoshenq I, also known as Sheshonq I or Shishak (biblical), was the founder of the 22nd Dynasty of ancient Egypt and ruled from approximately 943 to 922 BCE. He was a prominent pharaoh during the Third Intermediate Period, known for his military campaigns, political strategies, and efforts to stabilize and expand Egyptian influence. Here is an overview of Shoshenq I and his reign:


  1. Libyan Descent:

    • Shoshenq I was of Libyan descent, hailing from the Meshwesh tribe. He is the first ruler of the 22nd Dynasty, often referred to as the Libyan or Bubastite Dynasty.
    • Before becoming pharaoh, Shoshenq held significant military and administrative positions under the last rulers of the 21st Dynasty.
  2. Ascension to Power:

    • Shoshenq I ascended to the throne through a combination of political maneuvering and military strength, establishing a new dynasty that aimed to restore Egypt’s power and prestige.

Reign of Shoshenq I

  1. Military Campaigns:

    • Shoshenq I is perhaps best known for his military campaigns, particularly his invasion of the Levant.
    • He conducted a major campaign against the Kingdom of Israel and Judah, recorded in biblical texts (1 Kings 14:25-26) and confirmed by Egyptian inscriptions.
    • Shoshenq’s campaign reached as far as Jerusalem, where he is said to have plundered the treasures of the temple and the royal palace. This event is corroborated by a relief at the Karnak Temple complex, depicting the cities he conquered.
  2. Political Strategy:

    • Shoshenq I sought to consolidate power within Egypt and extend his influence abroad. He reasserted control over Nubia, the Western Desert oases, and important trade routes.
    • He strengthened alliances through marriage and diplomacy, integrating the Libyan military elite into Egyptian society and administration.
  3. Administrative Reforms:

    • To manage the expanded territory and resources, Shoshenq I implemented administrative reforms. He reorganized the provincial administration and appointed loyal officials to key positions.
    • His administration aimed to improve tax collection, maintain order, and ensure the efficient functioning of the state.
  4. Religious and Cultural Contributions:

    • Shoshenq I invested in significant building projects, particularly at the Karnak Temple complex, where he added a large court and a monumental gate.
    • His reign saw the continuation and revitalization of traditional religious practices and support for the priesthood, particularly the powerful priests of Amun.


  1. Historical Impact:

    • Shoshenq I’s military successes and administrative reforms restored a degree of stability and power to Egypt during the Third Intermediate Period.
    • His campaigns in the Levant had lasting impacts on the region's political landscape, influencing the balance of power among the neighboring states.
  2. Biblical Connection:

    • Shoshenq I is one of the few pharaohs mentioned in the Bible, where he is known as Shishak. His invasion of Israel and Judah is a significant event in biblical history, linking Egyptian and Israelite narratives.
  3. Archaeological Evidence:

    • Inscriptions and reliefs, particularly at Karnak, provide valuable evidence of Shoshenq I’s reign, military campaigns, and building projects.
    • His tomb, discovered in Tanis, also offers insights into the burial practices and material culture of the 22nd Dynasty.


Shoshenq I was a pivotal pharaoh of the 22nd Dynasty, known for his military prowess, political acumen, and efforts to restore Egypt’s stability and influence during the Third Intermediate Period. His campaigns in the Levant, administrative reforms, and building projects left a lasting legacy on both Egyptian and Near Eastern history. Shoshenq I’s reign marked a significant period of resurgence for Egypt, demonstrating the continued vitality and adaptability of its civilization.

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