Known also as the Period of Reunification the Middle Kingdom encompasses the XIth and XIIth dynasties and was dominant in Egypt between 2000-1700BC (contemporary to Hammurabi). Its two greatest monarch were the Pharaohs Menuhotep II and Senusret III (also known as Sesostris). The former was the founder of the kingdom who reigned for 51 years and consolidated the power of the city of Thebes that would serve as his capital. Senusret III was a military pharaoh who waged war with the Nubian territories south of Egypt and set up a strong administrative system that centralized control of the outlying regions as well as the military.
Block art was popular during the Middle Kingdom and the deity Osiris (god of the Nile) grew to prominence as an added indication of the importance of the annual flooding so critical to the civilization.
Like the Old Kingdom the Middle Kingdom gave way to a period of decline, most likely caused by internal strife and revolt by the noble families. Historians have called this the Second Intermediate Period.