Sesostris IIISesostris III - As the fifth pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty, Sesostris III is considered one of the greatest pharaohs of the Middle Kingdom (as is his great-grandfather, Sesostris I). He had a long and prosperous reign, ca. 1878-1839 BC, and expanded the borders of Egypt, which he did at the expense of Nubia as he pushed south to the third cataract and reclaimed land lost by his predecessors. To strengthen his position he built several fortresses on the southern border; the most famous being the one at Buhen (see Buhen below). He may have also built a canal around the first cataract which would have made the Nile navigable further south. An important accomplishment in light of his newly fortified southern border which would have needed to be supplied from the north. However, this is disputed. Some say the evidence shows he simply repaired an existing canal that was built during the Old Kingdom. And finally, there is a legend related by Herodotus that an Egyptian pharaoh named Sesostris led an expedition all the way into Europe. Highly unlikely, but the legend may have been based on the life of Sesostris III.