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x The Eighteenth Dynasty

  • Pharaoh Amenhotep I                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Like his father, Amenhotep I may not have been an adult yet at his accession to the throne, and there may have been a brief co-regency with Ahmose to ensure peaceful transition and continuity of the recently established dynasty. His mother, Ahmose-Nefertari, certainly appeared prominently in his reign. Amenhotep I’s reign was generally a continuation of his father’s: building projects started by Ahmose were re-undertaken. In addition, military expeditions in the south, completing earlier campaigns, were carried out. Soon after the death of Amenhotep I, he and his mother were deified and worshipped at Thebes, especially at Deir el-Medineh. They were patron deities of the village throughout the New Kingdom and quite likely from the founding of the settlement. Not only were there cult centers of the two in the town, but most houses of the Ramesside Period contained in their front rooms a scene honoring the King and Queen. Around the 8th year of his reign, he undertook a military action against the Nubians south of the Second cataract. This may be the campaign described in the tombs of Ahmose, Son of Ibana, and Ahmose Pennekhbet at EI-Kab. By the end of Amenhotep I’s reign, the main characteristics of the Eighteenth Dynasty had already been established: its clear devotion to the cult of Amun of Karnak, its successful military conquests in Nubia aimed at extending Egypt southwards, and a developing administrative organization presumably drawn from powerful families and relations, primarily associated at this point with the regions of EI-Kab, Edfu, and Thebes. The activities during the 12 peaceful years of his reign were: the opening of the Sinai turquoise mines (and the consequent expansion of the Middle Kingdom Hathor Temple at Serabit el-Khadim mines), the quarrying of the Egyptian alabaster at Hatnub, and the opening of the work at the sandstone quarries of Gebel el-Silsilah. we have no reference to a certain wife of Amenhotep I, although it is often presumed that Ahmose Merytamun (who was the King’s daughter, the god’s wife, the great royal wife) was his consort. Her coffin was found in a tomb at Deir el-Bahari. However, the only clear connection between the two is the fact that her coffin dates stylistically to Amenhotep I’s reign.
    • The Building Program of Amenhotep I                                                Amenhotep I erected a chapel that commemorated Ahmose himself at Abydos and dedicating monuments on Sai Island in Nubia (including a statue similar to that of his father and perhaps some type of building). A large limestone gateway at Karnak, now reconstructed was decorated with Jubilee-Festival decoration. It may once have been the main south entrance that was later replaced by the 7th pylon. Amenhotep I also had a bark shrine built for the god Amun erected in the west front court of the temple. Across the river from Karnak, Amenhotep I left funerary monuments at the area of Deir el-Bahari, and only a few bricks bearing the names of Amenhotep I and Ahmose-Nefertari were found there in situ. Yet no tomb has been certainly identified for either.
  • Important Queens from the Beginning of the Eighteenth Dynasty :
  • Queen Ahhotep                                                                                                                     She was Ahmose’s mother, whose large outer coffin was found in the Deir el-Bahari royal cache. According to her titles on that coffin, she was a king’s daughter, a king’s sister, great royal wife, and a king’s mother. It is highly probable that Ahhotep was honored later by her son for pacifying Upper Egypt and expelling rebels. She continued to function as a king’s mother well into the reign of Amenhotep I.
  • Queen Ahmose-Nefertari                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Not long after 18 years of Ahmose’s reign, Ahmose-Nefertari appeared on the scene of historical events. She might have been the daughter of Queen Ahhotep. Her stela at Karnak is the first known monument on which Ahmose-Nefertari is figured. On the stela, she is described as a king’s daughter, a king’s sister, a king’s great wife, god’s wife of Amun, and a mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt. Both Ahmose and Ahmose-Nefertari are depicted together with their son, Prince Ahmose-ankh. Only a few years after this inscription was made, in the 22nd year, Ahmose-Nefertari claimed the title of a king’s mother, although it is not known whether this title refers to her being the mother of Ahmose-ankh or Amenhotep. In any case, the queen outlived her husband Ahmose and even her son Amenhotep I, and still held the position of god’s wife of Amun in the reign of Thutmosis I.
  • Pharaoh Thutmosis I                                                                                                                                                It is estimated that Thutmosis I reigned for 11 years. He pursued the policy of his predecessor in his interest in the military and economic exploitation of Nubia. He also opened new horizons with his expeditions to Syria. Thutmosis I’s father is unknown, but his mother was named Seniseneb. Seniseneb’s parentage is equally unknown, but she had no title during her son’s reign other than ‘King’s Mother’. Thutmosis’ principal wife, Ahmose, had the titles ‘King’s Sister, Great Royal Wife’. Her name may suggest that Ahmose was a member of Amenhotep I’s family, perhaps by Prince Ahmose-ankh. Thutmosis I was the father of the future Queen Hatshepsut from Ahmose. The ‘God’s Wife of Amun’, Ahmose Nefertari, died in the reign of Thutmosis I and was replaced by Hatshepsut. Thutmosis I married a non-royal woman (namely Mutnofret) and became the father of the future King (namely Thutmosis II). Thutmosis I was the father of two other sons, Amenmose and Wadjmose, but their mother is uncertainly known. However, Wadjmose appeared on a statue of Mutnofret dedicated by Thutmosis II in the chapel on the south side of the Ramesseum. It has been suggested that this chapel was a family funerary Temple or more specifically a family temple for Thutmosis I’s heirs from Mutnofret. Thutmosis I and his viceroy Turi left monuments and inscriptions at a number of sites in Upper and Lower Nubia. Several brick installations may date back to his reign at the Fourth Cataract and at Napata. Blocks from buildings have survived at Sai Island and traces remain at Semna, Buhen, Aniba, and Qasr Ibrim. He added some buildings at Elephantine, Edfu, Armant, Thebes, Ombos, Abydos, Memphis and Giza. Votive objects bearing his name have been found in the Sinai at the Temple of Serabit el-Khadim. At Abydos, Thutmosis I left a stela recording his contributions to the Temple of Osiris. According to the stela, priests then proclaimed him as the offspring of Osiris. So he wished to claim his kingship from the great gods themselves. At Karnak, he completed the alabaster chapel of Amenhotep I. As for his military achievements, he sent a campaign to Nubia. The tombs of three of his officials –namely Turi (the King’s viceroy of the South), Ahmose son of Ibana, and Ahmose Pennekhbet –contained descriptions of this campaign, which probably took place during the second and third years of his reign. Then, Thutmosis I led his army to Syria launching the first campaign into that region. Thutmosis I’s original place of burial remains controversial. His name was found on sarcophagi from two tombs in the Valley of the Kings (KV 20 and KV 38). The King’s body may be among those from the royal cache. Yet, this suggestion is also uncertain. Two coffins of Thutmosis I, usurped for Pinudjem I (one of the chief priests of Amun at Thebes in the Twenty-First Dynasty) contained an unidentified mummy, which may possibly be the body of the King himself. There is no known funerary temple for Thutmosis I. Bricks bearing his name are attested from several locations at Deir el-Bahari. A chapel honoring Thutmosis I was included by Hatshepsut in her temple, which indicates that she venerated her ancestral line within her temple.
  • Pharaoh Thutmosis II                                                                                           It has been suggested that his reign lasted for no more than 3 years. Hatshepsut, Thutmosis II’s half-sister, served as his ‘Great Royal Wife’ and was also ‘God’s Wife of Amun’. Hatshepsut was frequently depicted on the reliefs decorating the Theban monuments of her husband, the tomb and funerary Temple of whom are not identified. There are indications that the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari was originally begun in the reign of Thutmosis II, perhaps under the Queen’s directions. A small temple near Madinet Habu was erected for him by Thutmosis III, perhaps carrying out a plan already thought of by Thutmosis II. Thutmosis II’s only major monuments are found at Karnak: a pylon-shaped limestone gateway was erected at the front of the 4th pylon forecourt. Both the gate and another limestone structure of unknown type were later dismantled and the blocks were placed in the 3rd pylon foundations. The gateway has been reconstructed in the Karnak ‘Open Air Museum’. This building was completed in the first years of Thumosis II Reign (during Hatshepsut’s regency). This monument may have been created after Thumosis II had died, but it is undeniable that Hatshepsut had already had an important influence on the monarchy before her brother’s death. Other constructions in the name of Thutmosis II are known from Napata, where Thutmosis I may already have left building remains. At Semna and Kerma, as well as at Elephantine, there are surviving blocks from buildings of Thutmosis II. In addition, recent excavations at Elephantine have revealed a statue that was dedicated by another ruler (presumably Hatshepsut) in the name of her brother. The only known military expedition of Thumosis II’s reign is recorded on a rock-cut stela at Sehel, south of Aswan. It dates to the first year of his reign and describes a local usurping in Kush that was punished with the death of all involved, except for one son of the ruler of Kush, who was brought back as a hostage, evidently resulting in the restoration of peace. Ahmose Pennekhbet notes in his funerary inscriptions that numerous Shasu were brought away as prisoners for Thutmosis II during an unattested campaign. The term ‘Shasu’ could refer to either Palestinian or Nubian people. It is important to note that these autobiographies were carved on the wall several decades after the events they describe had taken place. Thutmosis II’s mother, Mutnofret, was alive in his reign, as deduced from the statue dedicated for her in the Wadjmose chapel at Thebes mentioned above. The King’s age at both accession and death is unknown; it is quite possible that he was younger than his sister and wife Hatshepsut.
  • Queen Hatshepsut                                                                          She was the daughter of Thutmosis I and Queen Ahmose-Nefertari. It has been argued that Hatshepsut had seen herself as Thutmosis I’s heir even before her father died. It is possible that she benefited from the role of ‘God’s Wife of Amun’, its economic holdings, and its connection to the family of Ahmose-Nefertari in order to support her regency in a manner similar to her female predecessors (Ahhotep and Ahmose-Nefertari). She also appears to have been preparing Neferure for a similar role. Hatshepsut did not attempt to legitimize her reign by claiming to have ruled with or for her husband Thutmosis II. Instead, she emphasized her bloodline, and in the period before she had taken a throne name, the royal steward Senenmut left an inscription at Aswan (commemorating the quarrying of her first obelisk) naming her as ‘ the King’s Daughter, the King’s Sister, the God’s Wife, the Great Royal Wife Hatshepsut’. At Deir El-Bahari, scenes and texts of Hatshepsut claim that Thutmosis I had proclaimed her as heir before his death, and that Ahmose had been chosen by Amun to bear the next divine ruler. Her only known daughter from Thutmosis II was Neferure, who was frequently described as ‘King’s Daughter’ and ‘God’s Wife’ and also more than once ‘Mistress of the Two Lands’ and ‘Lady of Upper and Lower Egypt’. It is argued whether she was Thutmosis Ill’s wife during the co-regency period, but she did appear as ‘God’s Wife’ with him as late as the 22nd or 23rd year of his reign. At some time, Thutmosis III replaced her name with that of Satiah, whom he married after his sole rule began. If Neferure was ever ‘King’s Great Wife’ to Thutmosis III, the king must have ended the formal relationship soon after Hatshepsut’s disappearance in the 20th or 21st year of his reign. Hatshepsut was able to exploit Egypt’s natural resources, such as gold from the Eastern Desert, precious stone quarries. Gebel El-Silsilah began to be worked for sandstone. Cedar was imported from the Levant, and ebony came from Africa. Hatshepsut had a tomb excavated in the Valley of the Kings for her as ruler. Tomb KV 20 appears to be the earliest tomb in the Valley, and Hatshepsut had it enlarged to house both her own sarcophagus and a second one initially carved for her but then re-carved for her father Thutmosis I. Both Hatshepsut and Thutmosis I may have initially been laid to rest there, but Thutmosis III later removed Thutmosis I’s body to KV 38, which he had built for a similar purpose.
  • Building Program of Hatshepsut                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     As a ruler, Hatshepsut inaugurated building projects that far exceeded those of her predecessors. Both Hatshepsut and Thutmosis III left numerous remains in Nubia: at Qasr Ibrim, Sai, Semna, Faras, Quban, and especially Buhen, where the queen built a temple for Horus of Buhen. The scenes on the walls of the temple originally included figures of both Hatshepsut and Thutmosis III, but he later replaced her name with his own and that of his father and grandfather. The Buhen Temple (now entirely moved to the Khartoum Museum) contains scenes of Hatshepsut’s coronation and veneration of her father. Memphis may have received attention from Hatshepsut as a ruler. An alabaster jar fragment from the region of the Ptah Temple has been identified, but more significantly the colossal Egyptian alabaster sphinx that sits within the south wall of the Ramesside Temple precinct may have formed part of an earlier approach to the temple and was very likely accompanied by a second sphinx. The Hatnub quarries were located in Middle Egypt, not very far from another monument in her name, namely, the rock-cut shrine at Beni Hassan that is now called Speos Artemidos. Apart from the evidence of quarrying at Hatnub, there is no record of the Eighteenth Dynasty Kings building in Middle Egypt before Hatshepsut, and her lengthy inscription at Speos Artemidos documented that she was the first to restore temples in the area since the destructive days of the wars against the Hyksos. Hatshepsut claimed in her inscription to have rebuilt temples at Hebenu (the capital of the Oryx Nome), at Hennopolis, and at Cusae, and to have acted for the lioness-goddess Bakhet sacred in the region around the Speos itself. This work carried out there “was under the supervision of Djehuty, Nomarch in Middle Egypt and Overseer of the Treasury. Thebes received more attention from Hatshepsut than any other site did in Egypt. The Temple of Karnak grew once more under her supervision, with the construction being directed by a number of officials, including Hapusenb (her High Priest of Amun), Djehuty (the Overseer of Treasury), and Senenmut (the Royal Steward). At Karnak, Hatshepsut added the 8th pylon, a new southern gateway to the temple precinct. The new sandstone pylon was the first stone-built pylon on the north-south route that connected Karnak central to the Mut precinct. However, the face of this pylon was erased and redecorated in the first years of the reign of Amenhotep II, son of Thutmosis III. She also built a temple in the north-south valley dedicated to Amun-Re-Kamutef, a creator form of the god. Elsewhere in Karnak central, Hatshepsut had a palace built for her ritual activities, and she constructed a series of rooms around the central bark shrine where she had depicted her purification and acceptance by the gods. She also had a quartzite bark shrine, which is now being reconstructed in the Open Air Museum at Karnak. The queen also built a temple to Amun at Madinet Habu at the southern end of Thebes. Completed by Thutmosis III, this chapel housed an important cult of the god on the West, becoming part of the regular festival processional cycle which included Deir El-Bahari and Karnak, and later also involved Osiris.
  • Pharaoh Thutmosis III                                                                 In the 20th or 21st year of Hatshepsut’s reign, Thutmosis III took over the throne for himself solely. At the end of about 17 years of military campaigns, Thutmosis III had successfully established Egyptian dominance over Palestine, and had made strong inroads into Southern Syria. His own reputation was assured. The face of Thutmosis III on his statues continued the ‘Thutmoside’ profile seen already with Thutmosis I. He did not dishonor the name and monuments of Hatshepsut until the last years of his reign. Thutmosis III used his 32 years of sole rule to make his name prominent throughout Egypt and Nubia. He was active at Gebel Barkal at the farthest southern point in Nubia, at Sai, at the Third Cataract, Semna, Kumma, Uronarti, Buhen, Quban, Amada, Faras, as well as several other locations where blocks are known in his name. Further North, his monuments are well attested at Elephantine, where he built a temple honoring Goddess Satet of the First Cataract Region, at Kom Ombo, Edfu, EI-Kab, Tod, Armant, Thebes, Akhmim, Hermopolis, and Heliopolis. A statue of the Overseer of Works, Minmose, active in the later reign of Thutmosis III, listed cult sites at which he worked. He named, in addition to the places already mentioned, Medamud, Asyut, Atfih, and a number of localities in the Delta, including Buto and Busiris. It is not certain that the three wives of Thutmosis III buried in Wadi Gubbanet el-Qirud (in Western Thebes) were Syrian, but their names were certainly Asiatic. Thutmosis III’s wives included one woman called Sitiah, daughter of a royal nurse. If she in fact replaced Neferure in the priestess’ position, it was only until Thutmosis III’s daughter Merytamun was old enough to take up the role. Sitiah is not definitely known to have had any children, while the mother of Amenhotep II, Merytre, appears to have produced several children. Merytre (daughter of Huy) apparently gave birth to Amenhotep, Princess Merytamun, Prince Menkheperre, Princesses Isis and another Merytamun, and a small princess Nebetiunet. Merytre as queen appeared in the temple of Medinet Habu and in the Tomb of Thutmosis III. A third wife, Nebtta, and a princess Nefertiry are depicted in the royal tomb. The Tomb of Thutmosis III in the Valley of the Kings (KV 34) was cut high in a cliff. The walls of the burial chamber are covered with hieratic form of the Netherworld texts: the Litany of Re, which calls upon the names of the Sun-god to aid the king in his afterlife journeys, and the Book of what is in the Netherworld (Amduat), which provided the king with a map of the underworld and spells to help him achieve eternal justification.
  • Building Program of Thutmosis III                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   At Karnak, Thutmosis III restructured the central areas of the temple, removing Amenhotep I’s cult chapels of limestone and replacing them in sandstone. Soon after beginning his period of sole rule, he inaugurated the construction of the 3h-mnw, where the overall theme of the relief scenes depicts the renewal of Thutmosis III’s kingship, primarily through the Sed-Festival. Later in his reign, Thutmosis III had the entire central area redecorated with scenes and particularly inscriptions detailing his campaigns in Asia. These annals, inscribed in the 42nd year of his reign, have become the primary historical record of the king’s conquests. The 6th and 7th pylons at the Amun Temple were added by King Thutmosis III, and later covered with scenes and inscriptions naming the places over which he claimed control. A temple to the god Ptah was built on the north side of the precinct, and a granite bark shrine was made for the centre of the temple, as well as an Egyptian alabaster one later joined to a shrine of Thutmosis IV and set near the 4th pylon. Transformations to the works of Hatshepsut also took place in the reign of Thutmosis III and were completed by his son Amenhotep II. At Medinet Habu, Thutmosis III completed the small temple to Amun, and also built a memorial temple for his father just to the north. Late in his reign, Thutmosis III converted and elevated shrine at Deir El-Bahari into his own chapel that is called ‘Dsr-3ht’, a name that means ‘Sacred Horizon’.                                                                                                                                                                        * The campaigns of Thutmosis III Almost immediately after his sole rule began, Thutmosis III sent an expedition to the Levant, where he wanted to gain control of a number of cities and towns from northeastern Syria. The King went to Gaza from the Egyptian border fortress at Tjaru. Gaza had been under Egyptian rule at least since Ahmose’s time and we presume that Sharuhen’s loyalty had been expected since the same reign. The annals record that in the first campaign of his twenty-third year as a ruler Thutmosis III left Gaza and planned his attack on Megiddo from the city of Yehem. It was also protected by a group of chiefs representing regions of the Levant as far as Nahrin. Thutmosis’ inscription indicated that these chiefs should have been loyal to Egypt. Thutmosis III continued to campaign until the 42nd year of his reign, in the regions of Northern Palestine, Lebanon and parts of Syria. The spoils taken from the Battle of Megiddo, together with the peace offerings that ended the seven-month siege of the town, were considerable and included 894 chariots, 200 suits of armor and two of bronze belonging to the chiefs of Megiddo and Kadesh, as well as over 2000 horses and 25000 animals. Following the siege of Megiddo, Thutmosis III replaced the defeated local chiefs and continued northward in the direction of the Litani River. The Egyptian proceeds included a range of materials from precious metals (gold, silver, copper, and lead) to wood, oils and even foodstuffs. The king sent the children of the city rulers back to Egypt to be Egyptianized. The participation in the conquest of Syria, including Nahrin, by newly formed Egyptian military elite is commemorated in at least eleven Theban tombs from the reign of Thutmosis III and early in that of Amenhotep II, in addition to numerous private statue and stelae inscriptions.
  • Pharaoh Amenhotep II                                                                The ageing King Thutmosis III did take his son Amenhotep as a co-regent in the 51st year of his reign, and then shared the monarchy with him for a little more than two years. Amenhotep II himself completed the desecration of Hatshepsut’s monuments. In order to eliminate the claims of Hatshepsut, and her family line, her monuments were systematically adjusted: some were obscured by new work; some were damaged to remove any evidence of her name; and many were altered (by replacing the names of Hatshepsut by those of Thutmosis III or Thutmosis II). His reign lasted for nearly 30 years, during which Amenhotep II achieved military successes in the Levant, brought peace to Egypt together with its economic rewards and expanded the building of monuments honoring the gods. The majority of Amenhotep II’s reign was peaceful, providing a lengthy period of stability. A well-developed bureaucracy was in practice, and Amenhotep II appears to have made good use of the services of administrators. He encouraged men who had served his father to stay on. Several Middle Kingdom literary compositions were recopied at this time, suggesting a growing interest in cultural refinement rather than military courage. Amenhotep II carried out two campaigns in Syria: one in the seventh year of his reign and the other in the ninth. Both campaigns are described on stelae left at Amada, Memphis, and Karnak. The first campaign concentrated on the defeat of chiefs and rebellions among recently acquired vassals. The seven defeated chiefs of the region of Takhsy, mentioned in the TT 85 of Amenemhep, were taken back to Thebes, head-down on the royal barge, where six were hung on the temple wall. One was carried all the way to Napata, in the Sudan, where his body was hung. In the ninth year of his reign, the second campaign was largely carried out in Palestine. The importance of Amenhotep II’s new alliance with Nahrin was underlined by its exposition in a column inscription from the Thutmoside columned hall, between the 4th and 5th pylons at Karnak. This location was significant, because the hall was venerated as the place where Thutmosis III received a divine oracle proclaiming his future kingship. In addition, the association of the hall with the Thutmoside line going back to Thutmosis I, the first king to venture to Syria, made it a logical place to boast of the Mitanni relationship. At Nubia, Amenhotep II wanted to look after the inheritance of Thutmosis III, so he appointed Usersatet to the post of Viceroy of Nubia. Usersatet pursued building programs at Qasr Ibrim and Semna.
  • Amenhotep II as a Sportsman                                                       Amenhotep II was known to have practiced many sports. As a young man, the king lived in the Memphite Region and trained horses in his father’s stables. The importance of the lion hunt – which Amenhotep II undertook on foot – and the hunting of wild animals went back to the dawn of the history of Egypt. This taste for strength is apparent in Amenhotep’s tutelary: his Horus name was ‘Powerful Bull with Great Strength’, or ‘with Sharp Horns’, and his Golden Horus name was ‘He who Seizes all the Lands by Strength’.
  • The Building Program of Amenhotep IIAmenhotep II left buildings or additions to standing monuments at nearly all the major sites where his father had worked. In the first three years of his reign, constructions in the name of the two kings were erected, most notably at Amada in Lower Nubia, where a temple was built to honor Amun and Rehorakhty, and at Karnak where both kings participated in eliminating the vestiges of Hatshepsut’s monuments by covering them with their own. In the court between the fourth and fifth pylons, the columns added and the masonry placed around the queen’s obelisks carried sometimes the name of one ruler and sometimes the name of the other. Amenhotep II left monuments in Lower Nubia, at Sai, Uronarti, Kumma, Buhen, Qasr Ibrim, Amada, Sehel, Elephantine, Gebel el-Silsilah, EI-Kab, Tod, Armant, Karnak, Thebes (including his tomb KV 35 in the Valley of the Kings, and a now-destroyed funerary temple), Medamud, Dendera, Giza, and Heliopolis. At Giza, the king’s work was not particularly ambitious, but he built a temple to the god Horemakhet, the sun-god identified with the Great Sphinx. Just as Thutmosis III had constructed the festival temple known as ‘Effective of Monuments’ in the precinct of Amun at Kamak, so Amenhotep II erected a building for his Sed-Festival. His pavilion was a court of relief-carved square pillars with decorated walls on the sides. Dated to the later part of his reign both by its artistic style and its inscriptions, it fronted the temple’s south entrance at the 8th pylon, effectively creating a new main gateway to the complex. Amenhotep II’s festival building included scenes of his mother, Merytre, who served as his queen and more importantly ‘God’s Wife of Amun’. The building was dismantled at the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty, and it was later rebuilt in a different architectural form by Seti I at the beginning of the Ninth Dynasty. Amenhotep II also built a temple honoring Amun in North Karnak, a precinct later dedicated to Montu of Thebes. However, the blocks of this building now form part of the foundations of a temple constructed under Amenhotep III and later adapted in the Ptolemaic Period. Its original function remains unknown. Other gateways and blocks from North Karnak indicate that the King was interested in developing this sector, perhaps because of its position in terms of extending the north-south axis of the central part of Karnak. The King’s interest in Montu’s temple at Medamud (some 8 km to the north of Luxor) is perhaps also notable, since later there was certainly a processional way between North Karnak and Medamud.
  • Pharaoh Thutmosis IV                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Thutmosis IV was the son of Amenhotep II and Tiaa. He had a stela set up between the paws of the Great Sphinx at Giza to commemorate an unusual act of piety on his part. The Sphinx was then regularly covered in sand from the desert, which the wind blew up against its body day after day. It happened that the young prince loved to go hunting on the Giza Plateau and one day he was sleeping in the shadow of the Sphinx, and god Rehorakhty appeared to him in a dream asking him to clear up the sand around the Sphinx, and if he did so, he would be rewarded by the Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. Thutmosis cleared the sand away from the god, and in return, the Sphinx granted him the throne. His reign lasted for only 8 or 9 years. He died at the age of about 30. He undertook the construction at most of Egypt’s major temple sites and at four sites in Nubia. He also added to the existing temples. He continued the construction of a temple dedicated by Amenhotep II in the vicinity of the Sphinx. Monuments of his reign have been found at the following places: in the Delta at Alexandria, and probably at Heliopolis, in the Memphite Region at Giza, Abusir, Saqqara, the city of Memphis itself, in the Faiyum at Crocodilopolis, in Middle Egypt at Hermopolis and Amarna, in Upper Egypt at Abydos, Dendera, Medamud, Kamak, Luxor, western Thebes (where he built a mortuary temple and a tomb KV 43 in the Valley of the Kings), Armant, el-Tod, El-Kab, Edfu, and Elephantine. In Nubia, he left blocks at Faras and Buhen. He decorated the peristyle court at Amada, and left a foundation deposit at Gebel Barkal, and left another foundation deposit containing his cartouche in the Temple of Ptah at Memphis. In addition, some decoration was carried out in the Hathor Temple at the Serabit el-Khadim. At Karnak, the King shifted the main axis back to east-west. He made some alterations to the fourth pylon. The King also erected a single obelisk at the eastern end of the precinct at Karnak. It had been produced for Thutmosis III but left in the workshop for 35 years until Thutmosis IV ordered it to be set up. It became a focus of the Solar Cult place designed by Thutmosis III, and it was placed directly on the temple axis. As for the King’s foreign policy in the East, his contacts with Mitanni are best considered in the context of the pre-existing peace with that power. Thutmosis IV took a daughter of the Mitanni ruler, Artatama, as wife, in order to seal a diplomatic relationship with the King. The best-known inscription noting military activity for Thutmosis IV is a text on a statue at Karnak that gives the name of a site (partly missing), the site is either Sidon or Qatna in the Northern Levant. In the southern regions of Palestine, Thutmosis can only be said to have taken punitive actions against Gezer, actual war can not be proven, but some of the population of this town were transported to Thebes. As for the areas south of Egypt, there is no clear attestation of Thutmosis IV’s military activity in Nubia. A stela carved on the rock south of Aswan gives a record of a journey by Thutmosis IV over the gold mine routes east of Edfu. It is very likely that the Nubians were interfering with gold transports, attacking from hiding places in the high desert where the mines were located. Thutmosis IV increasingly emphasized divine associations of royal females. He placed his mother in the role of ‘God’s Wife of Amun’. This was her primary role, although Tiaa also held the titles of ‘King’s Mother’ and ‘Great Royal Wife’ during most of Thutmosis IV’s reign. Tiaa appears in the Karnak jubilee court of her son, where she holds a mace while witnessing the monument’s foundation ceremony. [In Amenhotep II’s jubilee pavilion, Merytre (name later changed to Tiaa) was shown likewise holding a mace and a sistrum in her other hand]. The mace became a standard iconographic element of the ‘god’s wives’ later on. A non-royal wife, Nefertiry, attested in Giza and the Luxor Temple, was ‘Great Royal Wife’ alongside Tiaa during the earlier years of rule. Later, after Nefertiry had apparently either died or been set aside, Thutmosis IV followed the trend of his family and married a sister, whose name may be read as Iaret. Amenhotep III’s mother, Mutemwiya, was never acknowledged by Thutmosis IV either as major or minor queen, but a statue of Amenhotep’s Court Counselor, the Treasurer Sobekhotep shows the prince Amenhotep in a favored position before his father’s death. The tomb of Amenhotep’s royal nurse, Hekameheh (TT 64) also shows the young heir, but since the tomb was completed in Thutmosis IV’s reign, Mutemwiya does not appear. Several other princes are mentioned in texts in Hekarneheh’s tomb, but it is not clear whether these are sons of Amenhotep II or Thutmosis IV.
  • Pharaoh Amenhotep III                                                                                                                                                                                               Primarily, the 38-year-reign of Amenhotep III was a period of peace and affluence. It is probable that Amenhotep III was a child at his accession. It is estimated that his age at accession could have been anywhere between 2 and 12. A regency by Mutemwiya appears unlikely, but an alternative possibility might be that members of Queen Tiye’s family assisted the King in his early rule. A scarab dating back to the second year of Amenhotep III’s reign established the early date of his marriage to Tiye, and the identification on another scarab of the Queen’s parents, Yuya and Tuya, refers to their prominence. Recent discussions of the reign of Amenhotep III have suggested that he was deified during his lifetime, not only in Nubia, where he built a cult temple for himself, but in Egypt as well. It is arguable that Amenhotep III intended to be identified with the Sun-god from the time of his first jubilee in the 30th or 31st year, since scenes representing that festival show him taking the specific role of Re riding in his solar boat. It is noteworthy that Arnenhotep III named his own palace complex ‘the Gleaming Aten’ and used stamp seals for commodities that may be read ‘Nebmaatre is the Gleaming Aten’. It is now certain that the association of the Aten with Amenhotep III was well established in his own documentation prior to the reign of Amenhotep IV (better known as Akhenaten). One stela from Amarna shows Amenhotep and Tiye receiving food offerings under the sun-rays of the Aten. While this might be seen to contradict the thesis that Amenhotep III was the Aten, it is perhaps significant that it is made in the late years of Akhenaten’s reign. It therefore raises the question as to whether the King and Queen were still alive, or whether the stela, from a private house owner’s shrine, venerated the deceased royal couple to invite their intercession. However, there are no stelae or statues that were with certainty dedicated to Amenhotep III as a major deity within Egypt in his lifetime. The deification of Ramses II later on was accompanied by significant number of monuments that identified the god Ramses in a number of cult locations within Egypt. These monuments date from the reign of Ramses himself and do not refer to the King as ‘beloved of a certain deity’ (as the monuments of Amenhotep III do). They name Ramses himself as the god and show him being offered to, usually as a statue. Nothing of this type exists for Amenhotep III in Egypt, and the examples that somehow resemble monuments offered to gods can not be safely assigned to the King’s lifetime. It is also difficult to ascertain whether Amenhotep III and his son Akhenaten ruled as co-regents for some time. Tiye was the most influential woman of the King’s reign and she survived her husband by at least a few years. She was so important to him that she not only appears with him on temple walls at Soleb and West Thebes, accompanying him at the jubilee festivals, but she was deified in her own temple at Sedeinga in Upper Nubia and became part of the royal solar programme. After her husband’s death, the king of Mitanni, Tushratta, wrote to Tiye asking her to remind her son Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) of the close relationship between him and Amenhotep III. Perhaps upon her own death, she was first buried at Amarna, and then moved to either KV 22 or 55. Tiye gave birth to Satamun, Henuttaneb, Nebetiah, and Isis, all of whom appear on statues and smaller objects, associated with the royal couple. Satamun was the most favored of Tiye’s daughters. King Amenhotep III asked for and received a Babylonian princess as wife and he married two Mitannian princesses (one of Taduhepa, having reached Egypt only just in time to become a widow and then married Amenhotep IV). Amenhotep III had several wives, he also had foreign wives, but whether he had offspring from his foreign ones is unknown. However, there are a number of court women, princes and princesses known by name from funerary objects discovered near Malkata. Some of these may have been royal family members, others were minor wives. Amenhotep III had two sons: one is the son of Queen Tiye who is certainly Amenhotep IV. The other son was the Sem-priest Thutmosis, who may have been older than Amenhotep, but his mother is unknown. The body of a royal woman was found in the cache of mummies in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV 35). She has been identified as Queen Tiye on the basis of hair samples matched to strands of the Queen’s hair carefully boxed in Tutankhamun’s tomb. The certainty of this identification is in question, given that objects in the name of Tiye were found both in KV 22 and in KV 55. The expedition at KV 22 found elements of a coffin that could belong to a queen, but whether that would be Tiye or Satamun, the daughter whom Amenhotep II took as ‘Great Royal Wife’ during his reign is unknown.

Building program of Amenhotep III 

Amenhotep III built temples or shrines in Nubia at Quban, Wadi es-Sebua, Sedeinga and Soleb. There are building elements or stelae in his name at Amada, Aniba, Buhen, and Gebel Barkal, as well as statues and scarabs at various sites, including Gebel Barkal and Kawa. In Egypt, the king built a shrine at Elephantine (now destroyed) and completed a chapel at EI-Kab, probably partially erected by his father. Some 20 km south of Thebes, Amenhotep III built a temple at Sumenu, a site of a cult to the Crocodile Sobek. Although the temple itself remains obscure, numerous objects found inside it and the cemetery associated with its town have come to light since the 1960s. In Thebes, Amenhotep III had his funerary temple built on the west bank. The colossi of Memnon were the towering quartzite images of him that protected the first pylon of this funerary temple. Buildings on the east bank of the Nile at Thebes included a series of constructions at Karnak, as well as Luxor Temple. His tomb KV 22 was excavated in a western valley, away from the locations of earlier royal tombs. The mummy of Amenhotep III himself was found in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV 35). On the west bank of Thebes, south of the King’s enormous funerary temple, was located his enormous palace of ‘the Gleaming Aten’, now termed as Malkata. Still further south, at Kom El-Samak, the king built a jubilee pavilion of painted mud-brick. Next to the Malkata Complex is the Great Harbour that Amenhotep created for use during his constructions and habitation at the palace. It was called ‘Birket Habu Harbour’. In Middle Egypt, the King was particularly active, although little remains of his temple works were found at Hebenu and Hermopolis. To the north, blocks of brown quartzite with relief decoration remain from the King’s great temple in Memphis ‘Nebmaatre United with Ptah’. Colossal quartzite statues of Ptah, reworked by Ramses II, now stand in the Egyptian Museum, but probably came from the Memphite Temple of Amenhotep III. The King’s interest in Memphis is further attested by his association with the first known Apis-Bull burial in the Serapeum. Building elements at Bubastis, Athribis, Letopolis, and Heliopolis attest to the King’s interest in the Eastern Delta. At Athribis, a temple was constructed under the supervision of the King’s confidant, Amenhotep Son of Hapu. At Karnak, at some point in his reign, Amenhotep III’s workers dismantled the peristyle court in front of the fourth pylon and the shrines associated with it, using them as fill for a new pylon, the third on the east-west axis. This created a new entrance way to the temple, and two rows of columns with open papyrus capitals erected down the centre of the newly formed forecourt. He also began the construction of the tenth pylon, at the south end of Karnak, changing its orientation slightly from that of the 7th and 8th in order that it led to a new entrance for the precinct of the goddess Mut, for whom he may also have built or begun a temple. He also added a new building to the north of central Kamak, which was a shrine to the goddess Maat, the daughter of the Sun-god. The construction of Luxor Temple by Amenhotep III may have been carried out through several stages. He added to the temple a birth room, wherein he was born of the union of Amun-Re and his real mother, Mutemwiya, and completed the temple with a new cult place for Amun of Ipet-resy, or Luxor.

Amenhotep III’s Foreign policy

A Nubian campaign launched in the fifth year of Amenhotep III’s reign and was commemorated on the island of Sai, and along the road south of Aswan. The viceroy of Kush may have supervised the military action, but whether this was Merymose or the earlier Office-holder Amenhotep is unknown. The campaign launched in the fifth year headed to Kush, perhaps even to the south of the Fifth Cataract. The building of the fortress of Khaemmaat at Soleb, where the King also constructed a temple, may have been intended to prevent further disruptions from Upper Nubia. The earlier Upper Nubian capital at Kerma was almost directly across the river from Soleb, so the site may have been chosen to emphasize the Kushite subjection to Egypt. International relations with the rest of the ancient world were conducted through diplomatic missions. Egyptian material was found increasingly on the Greek mainland, and the names of Aegean cities, including Mycenae and Phaistos appeared for the first time in hieroglyphic writings on statue bases from the King’s funerary temple. Letters between Amenhotep III and several rulers in Babylon and Mitanni are preserved in cuneiform writing on clay tablets. These letters, many found in the archive of Akhenaten’s capital of Amarna, demonstrate the powerful position enjoyed by Amenhotep III as he negotiated to marry the daughters of other rulers.

  • Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     When Amenhotep III died, he left behind a country that was wealthier and more powerful than it had ever been before. The treaty with Mitanni concluded by his father had brought peace and stability, which resulted in a culture of extraordinary luxury. A large percentage of the income generated by Egypt’s own resources and by foreign trade went into building projects of an unprecedented scale. Inscriptions enumerate the enormous quantities of gold, silver, bronze, and precious stones used in the construction and decoration of the temples. There can be little doubt that Amenhotep IV was officially crowned by Amun of Thebes, for he is described as ‘the One whom Amun has Chosen to Appear in Glory for Millions of Years’ on some scarabs from the beginning of his reign, but this reference to Amun can not conceal the fact that the new king was clearly determined right from his accession to go his own way. Amenhotep IV is mentioned as ‘Real King’s Son’ on one of the many jar sealings found in his father’s palace at Malkata, most of which are associated with the three sed-festivals celebrated by Amenhotep III during the last seven years of his reign. Opinions are divided over the issue of a possible co-regency between Amenhotep III and IV. some scholars think of a period of joint rule lasting for some 12 years, others have at best admitted the possibility of a short overlap of one or two years, whereas the majority of scholars reject it entirely. Akhenaten sent his army abroad to put down a rebellion in Nubia in the 12th year. It was also in the 12th year that a great ceremony took place, during which the King received the tribute from ‘all foreign countries gathered together as one’, an event that may well be connected with the Nubian campaign of the same year. It has been suggested that the King may have been involved in a confrontation with the Hittites. A person named Smenkhkare (with virtually the same throne name as Nefertiti / Neferneferuaten) appears in some inscriptions from the end of the Amarna Period. In one or two rare representations, he is accompanied by his Queen Meritaten. The identity of the Smenkhkare is uncertain. But some scholars see him as Nefertiti’s male successor, perhaps a younger brother or even another son of Akhenaten. Akhenaten’s successor probably did not survive him for very long, and when he/she died, the very young Tutankhaten, the only remaining male member of the royal family, ascended the throne.
  • The art of Amarna                      The earliest representations of Amenhotep IV show him in a traditional style closely resembling the one used to portray Thutmosis IV and Amenhotep III, but not long after his accession Amenhotep IV had himself depicted with a thin, long face with pointed chin and thick lips, an elongated neck, a round protruding belly, wide hips, fat thighs and thin legs. During the early years at Amarna, the king’s features were depicted in such an exaggerated way. Later during his reign, a more balanced style developed. It was not only Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and their daughters who were depicted in this style, but all other courtiers who existed at that time. This is not surprising, since representations of private individuals had always followed the artistic model of the king of their time. The extraordinary manner in which Akhenaten portrayed himself and his family on his monuments somehow reflects the King’s actual physical appearance, although in an exaggerated style, according to one opinion. Scenes of the royal family display an intimacy that had never been shown before in Egyptian art even among private individuals. Another characteristic feature of the Amarna style is its extraordinary sense of movement and speed, and its freedom of expression that was to have a lasting influence on Egyptian art for centuries after the Amarna Period had come to an end. Speed is also the determining factor of a new building technique. Again, the earliest structures of Amenhotep IV employed the traditional large sandstone blocks commonly used for temple walls, but these were soon replaced (in both Thebes and Amarna) by very much smaller blocks, the so-called ‘talatat’, typically measuring about 60 x 25 cm and therefore small enough for a single man to lift and carry. This made it much easier to erect a large building in a relatively short span of time. The new method was abandoned again after the Amarna Period, perhaps because it had by then become apparent that the reliefs carved on the walls constructed of such small blocks did not stand time like the traditionally built walls. Certainly Akhenaton’s successors soon found that it also took far less time and effort to demolish buildings constructed of talatat.Aten, a New GodAmenhotep IV began his reign with a major building programme at Karnak, the very centre of the cult of Amun. The temples that he started to build there at Karnak, perhaps situated to the east of the Amun precinct and orientated towards the East, were not dedicated to Amun but to a new form of the Sun-god whose name was ‘the Living One, Re-Horus of the Horizon who Rejoices in the Horizon on his Identity of Light which is in the Sun-disc’, a long formula that was soon enclosed in two cartouches just like the names of a king, and that was often preceded in royal inscriptions by the words ‘My Father Lives’ . The name of the god could be shortened to ‘the Living Sun-disc’ or simply ‘the Sun-disc’ (in Egyptian the ‘Aten’). The word itself was not new; it had previously been used to refer to the visible celestial body of the Sun. During the reign of Amenhotep III, this aspect of the Sun-god had become increasingly important, especially in the later years of his reign. During the King’s Sed-festivals, his deified self had been identified with the Sun-disc and in several inscriptions, most clearly in one of them on the back pillar of a recently discovered statue, the King calls himself ‘the Dazzling Aten’. Originally this new form of the Sun-god was depicted in the traditional manner: as a man with a falcon’s head surmounted by a sun-disc, but early in the reign of Amenhotep IV this form was abandoned in favor of a radically new way of depicting a god – as a disc with rays ending in hands that touch the king and his family, extending symbols of life and power towards them and receiving their offerings.Akhetaten, a New City

    Early in the 5th year of his reign, Amenhotep IV decided to cut all links with the traditional religious capital of Egypt and its god Amun, and to build an entirely new city on virgin soil that would be devoted solely to the cult of Aten. At the same time, he changed his name to Akhenaten, probably meaning ‘Creative Manifestation of the Aten’. The new city, nowadays known as Amarna, was called Akhetaten ‘Horizon of the Aten’, that is the place where the Aten manifests himself and where he acts through his son, the King. The King set up some boundary stelae defining the territory of Akhenaten. We do not know when exactly the King took up residence in Akhetaten, but presumably it was within a year or two of its foundation. As soon as the decision to move had been made, all building activities at Thebes ceased. And the king’s original name was removed from the inscriptions and replaced by the new one. Once Akhenaten was firmly settled in his new residence, a further radicalization of his religious reforms took place. In the 9th year, the official name formula of Aten was changed to ‘the Living One, Re, Ruler of the Horizon who Rejoices in the Horizon in his Identity of Re the Father who has Returned as the Sun-disc’. Probably at the same time as this name’s change took place, the traditional gods were banned completely and a campaign was launched to remove their names and effigies (particularly those of Amun) from the monuments. The traditional state temples were closed down and the cults of their gods came to a standstill: the religious festivals with their processions and public holidays were no longer celebrated either.

    Queen Nefertiti                                                                                                                                                                              Nefertiti was the main royal wife of Akhenaten, she had produced six daughters, but no son, and although she never lost her prime position as ‘great royal wife’, a second wife of Akhenaten had appeared on the scene at Akhetaten. It has often been speculated that she was a Mitannian princess, but her name Kiya is a perfectly normal Egyptian one and it does not indicate that she was of a foreign origin. She was given the title ‘Greatly Beloved Wife of the King’, which distinguishes her from any other ladies in the royal harem. Shortly before the 12th year of the King’s reign, she suddenly disappears from the monuments, and her name was erased from the inscriptions and replaced by those of Akhenaten’s daughters, most frequently that of Meritaten. Since even the funerary equipment prepared for her, including a magnificent coffin, was adapted for a different royal person, it is most likely that Kiya at some point fell from grace, perhaps because she had become too much of a rival to Nefertiti after she had given birth perhaps to a male heir. There is no hard evidence to support this opinion, but a single inscription from about this time reads ‘the King’s bodily son, his beloved, Tutankhaten’, who is the future Tutankhamun, who was almost certainly a son of Akhenaten but not of Nefertiti. Nefertiti’s influence increased even further during the later part of the reign, when she became the official co-regent of her husband as Neferneferuaten with the throne name ‘Ankh (et) kheperure’. Her role as queen consort was taken over by her eldest daughter, Merutaten. Whether or not Nefertiti survived Akhenaten, who died aging 17, is uncertain.

  • Paraoh Tutankhamun                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Still a child, Tutankhamun ascended the throne at Amarna. But soon afterwards – perhaps as early as his first year of regency or shortly afterwards – he abandoned the city founded by Akhenaten. People continued to live in Akhetaten for some time, but the court moved back to Memphis, the traditional seat of government. The old cults were restored and Thebes once more became the religious centre of the country. The King’s name was changed to Tutankhamun and the epithet ‘Ruler of Southern Heliopolis’ was added to it, as a deliberate reference to Karnak as the centre of the cult of the Sun-god Amun-Re. The name of his great royal wife, Ankhesenpaaten, was likewise altered to Ankhesenamun. As the King ascended the throne as a child, a senior military official with no blood links with the royal family, the Commander-in-Chief of the army, Horemheb, played the role of regent. The titles of Horemheb as regent indicate that he gained the right to succeed Tutankhamun if he were to die. Horemheb would in fact become the king himself, and in his Coronation text (which gives an account of his rise to power, a text carved on the back of a statue of him now in the Museum of Turin) it seems that it was he who advised the King to abandon Amarna ‘when chaos had broken out in the palace’. The most important document of Tutankhamun’s reign is the so-called Restoration Stela, which presents an extremely negative description of the state in which Akhenaten’s reforms had left the country. The temples of the gods had become ruins, their cults abolished. The gods therefore abandoned Egypt, and no longer answered any prayers. There is a possibility that early in Tutankhamun’s reign, Horemheb must have been engaged in military confrontations with the Hittites. In Egypt itself, a major campaign was launched to restore the traditional temples and to reorganize the administration of the country. This was led by the chief of Tutankhamun’s treasury, Maya, who was sent on a major mission to temples from the Delta to Elephantine in order to impose taxes on their revenues, which had previously been diverted to the Aten temples. Maya was also responsible for the gradual demolishing of the temples and palaces of Akhenaten, first at Thebes, but later at Amarna as well. Most of the talatat found their way into the foundations and pylons of new construction works in Luxor and Karnak. As overseer of works in the Valley of the Kings, Maya must have organized the transfer of Akhenaten’s mortal remains to a small undecorated tomb in the valley (assuming that the body found in KV 55 is indeed Akhenaten’s body). Later, he was responsible for the burials of Tutankhamun and his successor Ay and for the reorganization of the Workmen’s Village at Deir el-Medineh when work began on the Tomb of Horemheb.
  • Pharaoh Ay                                                                                                                                                                                                                It is not clear the reasons behind the death of Tutankhamun. The King died unexpectedly in his tenth year of regency. Horemheb does not appear to have been involved in the burial arrangements for Tutankhamun, despite his role as regent and heir, a fact that suggests that Horemheb was probably leading the Egyptian troops into a battle against the Hittites. The news of the Egyptians’ defeat in this battle reached Egypt at the time of Tutankhamun’s death. Ay who was a senior court adviser and had been one of Akhenaten’s most trusted officials was in the arrangements of the King’s death and shortly afterwards he ascended the throne. On the death, the widow Ankhesenamun was trying to negotiate a peace with the Hittites by writing to the Hittite King asking him for a son who could marry her and become King of Egypt, in order that the two kingdoms could become ‘one country’. This request was met at the beginning with suspicion in the Hittite capital, until their king was finally convinced of the Egyptian Queen’s honorable intentions and sent his son to Egypt. The prince was murdered on his way to Egypt, resulting in a prolonged war with the Hittites. King Ay was fairly aged when he ascended the throne, and ruled for 3 years. He made effort to amend the relations with the Hittites, denying every responsibility for the death of the Prince. He also made efforts to prevent Horemheb from any rights to the throne after his death, for he appointed an army commander called Nakhtmin as his heir. Despite this, Horemheb succeeded in ascending the throne after Ay and soon set out to deface the monuments of his predecessor and to destroy those of his rival Nakhtmin.
  •  Pharaoh Horemheb                                                                                                                           The span of his reign seems to be devoid of any events, and even its length is still uncertain. His highest attested date is the 13th year of regency, but on the basis of some texts, many claim that he reigned for nearly twice as long as this, but this does not correspond with the unfinished state of his royal tomb in the Valley of the Kings (KV 57), even if it was not begun before his 7th year of regency. There is some reference that around the 10th year of his regency, the Egyptians made an unsuccessful attempt to re-conquer Qadesh, and Amurru. However, it is typical of the reign that our sources are Hittite and not Egyptian texts. It is possible that Horemheb finally came to an agreement with the Hittites, for there is reference to a treaty that had been in force. Horemheb was of non-royal blooded, and his queen (a songstress of Amun called Mutnedjmet) may be identified with a sister of Nefertiti of that name, but this is not very likely as she appears to have become his wife well before his accession. In his Coronation Text, Horemheb does not hide his non-royal background. Instead, he puts much emphasis on the fact that, as a young man, he was chosen by the god Horus of Hutnesu (presumably his hometown), to be King of Egypt. Then, he goes on to describe how he was carefully prepared for his future task by being the king’s deputy and prince regent. It is Horus of Hutnesu who finally presents him to Amun during the Opet Festival procession, and who then proceeds to crown him as king. Horemheb thus owes his kingship to the will of his personal god and to divine election during a public appearance of Amun (that is by means of oracle. Horemheb appointed a non-royal heir to the throne as Prince Regent during his lifetime with much the same titles as he himself had held under Tutankhamun. Holding a number of military titles, this man (Paremessu) acted as Horemheb’s vizier.
  • Building Program of Horemheb                                                                                                                                                                                                  He undertook a number of major building projects, including the Great Hypostyle Hall in Karnak. He may also have begun the systematic demolition of the city of Amarna, still inhabited at this time, since two stone fragments including a statue base bearing his cartouches were found there. He set up a stela in the Temple of Karnak, on which he enumerates a large number of legal measures enacted in order to stamp out abuses, such as the theft of cattle, and the illegal taxation of private farmland. Other parts deal with the regulation of the local courts of justice, the personnel of the royal harem, and other state employees as well as the protocol at court.
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