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Osorkon IV

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Title: Osorkon IV  
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Subject: Assyria, 8th century BC, Ancient Libya, Pharaohs, Pharaohs in the Bible
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Osorkon IV

Osorkon IV was a ruler of Lower Egypt who, while not always listed as a member of the Twenty-second Dynasty of Egypt, he is attested as the ruler of Tanis, and thereby one of Shoshenq V's successors. Therefore he is sometimes listed as part of the dynasty, whether for convenience or in fact.


His parentage is uncertain: he could be a son of Shoshenq V.[2] His mother, named on a bronze aegis of Sekhmet in the Louvre, is Tadibast III.[3]

Kenneth Kitchen gives Osorkon IV's reign dates as 732/30 – 716 BC. Osorkon's reign was never recognized at Memphis, where documents were dated to the reign of 24th Saite dynasty king Bakenranef. During his time, Egypt was ruled concurrently by four dynasties – the 22nd, 23rd, 24th and the 25th. Shortly after Osorkon had ascended the throne, Upper Egypt was conquered by the Kushite king, Piye, and Osorkon IV ended up ruling only the East Nile Delta region.

His throne name was thought to be Aakheperre, from a few monuments naming an Aakheperre Osorkon--such as a faience seal and a block. But this attribution has been criticized by Frederic Payraudeau in 2000. These documents could be assigned to the first Aakheperre Osorkon i.e. the distant, namesake predecessor Osorkon the Elder of the 21st Dynasty.[4] In 2010/11 a French expedition discovered at Tanis few blocks bearing a relief of a king Usermaatre Osorkonu, here depicted in a quite archaizing style, which at first were attributed to Osorkon III. In 2014, on the basis of the style of both the relief and the royal name, Aidan Dodson rejected the identification of this king with Osorkon III as well as any other Osorkon and stated that he was rather Osorkon IV--the king whom Piye identified as ruler of Tanis and Bubastis in his Year 21 Victory stela.[5]

Relationship with Assyria

He is perhaps mentioned in the bible as the Pharaoh "So" to whom Hoshea, King of Israel appealed for help. However, So dispatched no aid or troops. The Israelite capital Samaria was captured by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser V in 722 BC and its inhabitants were imprisoned and taken to exile in Assyria and Media. To avoid military conflict with the Assyrians or even invasion, Osorkon sent presents, including several horses, to placate the new Assyrian king Sargon II, who rose to power later in 722. Osorkon's tactic apparently worked, since Sargon accepted his gifts and did not take action against him.


  1. ^ "Aakheperre" is now disputed: see text.
  2. ^ Grimal, Nicolas, A History of Ancient Egypt (1992), p330
  3. ^ Dodson, Aidan and Hilton, Dyan, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt (2004), p222
  4. ^ Payraudeau, F., "L'identite du premier et du dernier Osorkon", in Göttinger Misszellen 178, 2000, pp. 75-80.
  5. ^ Dodson, A., "The Coming of the Kushites and the Identity of Osorkon IV", in Pischikova et al. (eds.), Thebes in the First Millennium BC, Cambridge Scholars publishing, 2014, pp. 6−12 online PDF.
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