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In most histories, Inyotef is considered the founder of the 11th Dynasty in Thebes. He took over a divided Egypt, ruling from Thebes and attempted to reunite Upper and Lower Egypt under his control. Of course, the Herakleopolitan kings in Northern Egypt retained power during his reign, which resulted in a century of civil war.
His father, called Mentuhotep I "The Elder" was a local leader. When Inyotef took control, he proclaimed himself king and began to use the trapping of kingship, including writing his name in a cartouche and assuming a Horus name like previous pharaohs. It was possible for him to oppose the larger and more powerful "kings" of Hierakleopolis simply because government of Egypt was so widely flung amongst the different contenders that no single opposition to his claim would be raised.
Inyotef I did conquer some cities to the north of Thebes ,including Coptos and Dendara, and to the south as far as Elkab. He subdued the towns of Hierakonpolis and el-Kab as well,with the intention to reunite them and make the Nile Valley once again prosperous. This was about as far as he managed to extend his kingdom during the 16 or so years he ruled.
Most contemporary references to Inyotef I refer to him as a "Prince" - he is mentioned in the hall of ancestors in the 18th Dynasty by Thutmoses III as "Count and Hereditary Prince"; a stela calls him "THe Hereditary Prince, Count of the Great Lord of the Theban Nome", and another inDendara calls him "The Great Prince of the South". It is possible that he was related to the old royal family and was attempting to regain the throne based on an ancient claim.
It is thought that Inyotef I died fairly young, probably not even middle aged, and he was buried in a narrow rock-cut tomb in Thebes. The design of his tomb is considered unique, and consisted of a large courtyard going into the mountain side with several tombs cut into the side. The additional tombs were probably for family members, consorts, etc. The tomb of the king himself was not noticeably bigger than any of the others. Smell pyramids in the courtyard may have been the final resting place for the kings, but this is not yet known.