The rulers of the Tenth Dynasty were ruling from Ihnasya, from which they descended. Egypt was under the same conitions as during the Ninth Dynasty: rulers in the capitals were still weak and the nome governors were still enjoying complete authority and independence in their provinces. Thus, the country was in a complete chaos, and lost its central authority. Since the beginning of the Tenth Dynasty, a powerful family appeared and ran concurrently in Thebes. They thought of themselves as having the right to the throne rather than the rulers of Ihnasya. So, the beginning of the Eleventh Dynasty (whose city of origin is Thebes) was contemporary with the late Tenth Dynasty. However, the rulers at Ihnasya still enjoyed the loyalty and faithfulness of the princes of Asyut and those of Armant, which means that the task was not easy for the rulers of Thebes.

The first name known to us in the Tenth Dynasty is Nefer-ka-Re who was the second ruler at Ihnasya, and is known from the wall inscriptions in the tomb of Ankhtifi to be the governor of the first three southern nomes: Elephantine, Edfu and Armant. He recorded in his tomb a famine in Upper Egypt. By backing his people up and by distributing corn, he found a way to save them. The successor of Nefer-ka-Re at Ihnasya, Wag-ka-Re, who is known as Akhtoy the Fourth, left his famous instructions to his son. During his time, he started to clear the Delta from the Bedouins, and then turned to Upper Egypt to deal with the Thebans.

At Thinis, near Abydos, he engaged in a war with them. At the beginning, supported by the princes of Asyut, the rulers of Ihnasya (Hierakleopolis) achieved victory. Then, the Thebans regained control under the leadership of Inyotef (Wahankh) who restored the fortress of Thinis under his control, and moved northwards until he captured the city of Kom Ishkau, Aphroditopolis, in the Tenth nome of Upper Egypt, thus reaching the borders of Asyut. Following is Mery-ka-Re, the son of Akhtoy IV, during the time of whom, a powerful governor appeared at Thebes. This governor was Mentuhotep II who resumed war against the Hierakleopolitans and captured Asyut, then moved northwards and took El-Asbmunein. Thus, the Hierakleopolitans only had power over some of Middle Egypt and the Delta.

After Mery-ka-Re's death, Akhtoy V succeeded to the throne. During his time, the Thebans continued their war until they achieved complete victory over the Hierakleopolitans achieving success in bestowing control over the whole country. By this, the Eleventh Dynasty started to take over the throne. Thus, the Middle Kingdom became under the control of one king. It is in the time of Akhtoy V that the Story of the Eloquent Peasant might have occurred.