THE NEW KINGDOM - DYNASTY 18 (1540-1070)

Tuthmosis I (1494 - 1482)

Third King of Egypt's 18th Dynasty was a commoner by birth and a military man by training. We do not know his fathers name, but his mother was Semiseneb, a rather common name during the Second Intermediate Period and the early 18th Dynasty. He had married Ahmose, who may have been a sister of Amenhotep I and daughter of Ahmose I and Queen Ahmose Nefertary (who still held the title, 'God's Wife of Amun' during her grandson's rule) and thus legitimized his rule.

However, others have suggested that Ahmose was in fact Tuthmosis I's own sister. He may have also served as a co-regent under Amenhotep I, and was most certainly an important military commander under his predecessor.

His birth name we are told was Tuthmosis, meaning "Born of the god Thoth", though this is a Greek version.

His actual Egyptian name was Djehutymes I, but he is also sometimes referred to as Thutmose I, or Thutmosis I.

His thrown name was A-Kheper-ka-re (Aakheperkara).

He gained the thrown at a fairly late age, and may have ruled for about six years.

The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt gives his reign lasting from 1504-1492 BC, while Peter Clayton indicates 1524-1518 and Monarchs of the Nile as 1503-1491.

Nevertheless, he staged a series of brilliant military campaigns that were to establish Egypt's 18th Dynasty. So effective were these efforts that we believe he must have started preparations the the military operations during the last years of Amenhotep I's rule.

Ahmose son of Ebana, an admiral during Tuthmosis I's reign, tells us that a campaign into Nubia where he penetrated beyond the Third Cataract was highly successful. Tuthmosis may have defeated the Nubian chief in hand to hand combat and returned to Thebes with the body of the fallen chief hanging on the prow of his ship.

His greatest campaigns were in the Delta and his battles against the Syrians as he finally reached the Euphrates River. This expedition opened new horizons that led later to Egypt's important role in he trade and diplomacy of the Late Bronze Age Near East.

Tuthmosis I brought Egypt a sense of stability and his military campaigns healed the wounds of Thebians.

Tuthmosis I's Abydos Stele

We learn from his Abydosstele of his building works at Thebes. His architect, Ineni, built an extension to the temple of Amun atKarnak, adding pylons (the fourth and fifth), courts, statues and one of Egypt's largest standing Obelisks. To commemorate his victory he built a hypostyle hall made entirely of cedar wood columns..

He also expanded the Treasury begun by his predecessor at the northeast corner of the complex. The Abydos stele also tells us that Tuthmosis I he made contributions to the temple of Osiris, including cult objects and statues.

Further, he apparently did some substantial work at Giza.

His Obelisk at Karnak, with that of Hatshepsut behind

He was responsible for a number of building projects within Egypt proper, where he  left indications of structures at Elephantine, Armant, Ombos (near the late 17th to early 18th Dynasty palace center at Deir el-Ballas), el-Hiba, Memphis and probably at Edfu.

However, there are also a number of monuments in Upper and Lower Nubia left by Tuthmosis I and his viceroy, Turi. We believe that there are several structures that may date from his reign near Kenisa at the fourth cataract and at Napata. Traces of ruins also exist at Semna, Buhen, Aniba, Quban and Qasr Ibrim, though most of these were probably small, or additions to earlier buildings. We also find a few votive objects dedicated in his name in the Sinai at the temple of Serabit el-Khadim.

Ahmose bore him two sons named Wadjmose and Amenmose (though their parentage is a bit uncertain), but they apparently preceded their father to the grave. So it was by Mutnofret (Mutnefert), a minor queen who was the sister of his principle wife, Ahmose, that his heir, Tuthmosis II was born.

However, his more famous offspring was Queen Hatshepsut, a daughter by Ahmose who would rule after her husband and brother's death. After the death of Ahmose, he probably even took Hatshepsut as his own wife until his death. Ahmose may have also provided him with another daughter by the name of Nefrubity who is depicted with Tuthmosis I and Ahmose in the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri.

His mummy discovered in the Deir el Bahri Cache

We think that Tuthmosis I buried in two different tombs in the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes).

It appears that he may have originally been buried in KV 20, which may have been intended as a tomb for both him and his daughter, Hatshepsut. It contained two yellow quartzite sarcophagi, one inscribed for him and the other for his daughter, as well as a canopic chest for her.

However, when KV 38 was investigated by Victor Loret in 1899, he found a sarcophagus for the king in that tomb as well.

It is possible that his grandson, Tuthmosis III had his grandfather's body removed from the tomb of his despised stepmother's burial and relocated it to KV 38. However, his remains were found in the cache, with others, at Deir el Bahri.

Tuthmosis II, Pharaoh - 1482-1479 B.C.

Tuthmosis II might never have ruled Egypt but for the early death of Wadjmose and Amenmose, the eldest sons of Tuthmosis I, leaving him as the only heir. He became the fourth ruler of Egypt's 18th Dynasty.

He was apparently the oldest son of Mutnefert, a minor royal queen of Tuthmosis I, who was herself the sister of Tuthmosis I's principal queen, Ahmose.

In order to strengthen his position and legitimize his rule, he was married to Hatshepsut, the oldest daughter of Tuthmosis I and Queen Ahmose. She was very possibly older then Tuthmosis II. During this period, Hatshepsut also carried the title, "God's Wife of Amun", a position she may have had even before the death of Tuthmosis I. Hatshepsut would have been both Tuthmosis II's half sister and cousin. In the light of history she became a much better known pharaoh then her husband.

It is believed that Tuthmosis II had only one son by a harem girl named Isis (or Iset). However, Tuthmosis III would have to wait to rule Egypt until after Hatshepsut death.

Tuthmosis II must have realized the ambitions of his wife, because he attempted to foster the ascent of his son to the throne by naming his son as his successor before he died. But upon Tuthmosis II's death, his son was still very young, so Hatshepsut took advantage of the situation by at first naming herself as regent, and then taking on the full regalia of the pharaoh.  He may have also had as many as two daughters by Hatshepsut. We are fairly sure one of them was named Neferure and another possible daughter named Neferubity.

The mummy of Tuthmosis II

We know that Tuthmosis II was a physically week person, and many Egyptologists speculate that even during his rule, Hatshepsut may have been the real power behind the throne.

It is believe that Tuthmosis II (Born of the God Thoth) which was his birth name (called by the Greeks), ruled for about fourteen years before dying in his early thirties. However, recent scholars wish to have his rule shortened to three years. He is also sometimes called Thutmose II, or Thutmosis II and his throne name was A-kheper-en-re., which means "Great is the Form of Re"

The Oxford History of Egypt places his reign from 1492-1479, while the Chronicle of the Pharaohs provides dates of 1518 to 1504. Aidan Dodson's Monarchs of the Nile gives his reign as 1491-1479 BC.

We know that he sent campaigns to Palestine and Nubia, attested to by a short inscription in the temple at Deir el-Bahari and a rock-cut stele at Sehel south of Aswan. We are told that he had to crush a revolt in Nubia in his first year and that this bought about the demise of the kingdom of Kush at Kerma. Apparently, to punish the Kushites for their rebelion, he had everyone put to death with the exception of a royal son, who was bought back to Egypt as a hostage. We are told that the Palestine campaign was against the Shosu Bedouin in the region of Nahrin.  However, the term Shosu may also refer to Nubians, and some Egyptologists believe that this reference really relates to the campaign in Nubia.

We also have evidence of Tuthmosis II's building projects.  Traces of a temple built by him have been found just north of the temple of Medinet Habu on the West Bankat Luxor (ancient Thebes).

This small temple, known as Shespet-ankh (Chapel of Life), was finished by his son, Tuthmosis III. He also had built a pylon shaped limestone gateway in front of the Fourth Pylons forecourt at Karnak which also had to be completed by Tuthmosis III. The material from this gate and another limestone structure were later reused in the building of Karnak's Third Pylon foundation.

However, the gate has since been rebuilt in Karnak's Open Air Museum. Scenes on the gate sometimes depict Tuthmosis II with Hatshepsut, and sometimes Hatshepsut alone. On one side of the gate, Tuthmosis II is shown receiving crowns, while other scenes depict his daughter, Nefrure and Hatshepsut receiving life from the gods. We also know of a building project in Nubia at Semna and Kumma, and surviving blocks from his buildings at Elephantine.

A statue of Tuthmosis II was found at Elephantine that was probably commissioned by Hatshepsut.

We have not really identified either a tomb or a completed mortuary complex for Tuthmosis, though his mummy was found in a royal cache of mummies located at Deir el-Bahari.

Pharaoh Maatkare Hatshepsut

The Queen Who Would Be King - 1473-1458 B.C.

Hatshepsut was an 18th-dynasty pharaoh who was one of the handful of female rulers in Ancient Egypt. Her reign was the longest of all the female pharaohs. Her funerary temple still stands as a tribute to her incredible rise to power.

Hatshepsut was the daughter of the Pharaoh Tuthmosis I and Queen Ahmose, both of royal lineage.

Hatshepsut was married to her own half-brother, Tuthmosis II, with whom she reigned for some 14 years. Realizing his sister-wife's ambitious nature, Tuthmosis II declared his son by the harem girl Isis to be his heir, but when the young Tuthmosis III came to the throne, Hatshepsut became regent and promptly usurped his position as ruler.

To support her cause she claimed the God Amon-Ra spoke, saying "Welcome my sweet daughter, my favorite, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare,Hatshepsut. Thou art the King, taking possession of the Two Lands."

She dressed as a king, even wearing a false beard and the Egyptian people seem to have accepted this unprecedented behavior.

Hatshepsut had herself portrayed in the royal headdress, sometimes as a woman with prominent breasts but more often as male in body as well as costume. Her self-promotion, which extended to a miraculous conception and fictitious coronation in childhood, involved deliberately obscuring the rightful ruler, Tuthmosis III, who was a man by the time he succeeded to unfettered rulership in 1483 BC.

Hatshepsut accomplished what no woman had before her. She ruled the most powerful, advanced civilization in the world. Her consort and true love was her advisor, Senmut.

She remained in power for twenty years during which time the Egyptian economy flourished. She expanded trade relations.

The Egyptians sent trading missions to Punt, a region of East Africa that was rich in gold, resins, ebony, blackwood, ivory and wild animals, including monkeys and baboons. They also went in search of slaves. The best-documented mission was sent during the reign of Hatshepsut. Scenes from these expeditions are illustrated on her funerary temple at Deir el-Bahari, near the Valley of the Kings.

She built magnificent temples as well as restoring many of the old ones, most notably the great mortuary temple at Deir al-Bahari.

The Red Chapel was built between 1498 and 1483 BC.

Hidden for more than three millennia, it was
found in 1999 on the banks of the Nile River.

The mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut is one of the most dramatically situated in the world. The queen's architect, Senmut, designed it and set it at the head of a valley overshadowed by the Peak of the Thebes, the "Lover of Silence," where lived the goddess who presided over the necropolis. A tree lined avenue of sphinxes led up to the temple, and ramps led from terrace to terrace. The porticoes on the lowest terrace are out of proportion and coloring with the rest of the building. They were restored in 1906 to protect the celebrated reliefs depicting the transport of obelisks by barge to Karnak and the miraculous birth of Queen Hatshepsut. Reliefs on the south side of the middle terrace show the queen's expedition by way of the Red Sea to Punt, the land of incense. Along the front of the upper terrace, a line of large, gently smiling Osirid statues of the queen looked out over the valley. In the shade of the colonnade behind, brightly painted reliefs decorated the walls.

Throughout the temple, statues and sphinxes of the queen proliferate.

Hatshepsut disappeared in 1458 B.C. when Thutmose III, wishing to reclaim the throne, led a revolt. Thutmose had her shrines, statues and reliefs mutilated.

Tuthmosis III - Born of Thoth - 1504-1450 B.C.

Men-kheper-re - Lasting is the Manifestation of Re

During the rule of hatshepsut he stayed well in the background, and perhaps even demonstrated some amount of cunning in order to simply keep his life.  Because of the prowess he would later demonstrate on the battlefield, we assume he probably spent much of Hatshepsut's rule in a military position. To an extent, they did rule together, he in a foreign military position, and her taking care of the homeland. When Hatshepsut finally died, outliving her powerful ministers, Tuthmosis III was at last able to truly inherit the thrown of Egypt, and in doing so, proved to be a very able ruler.

It was not until the last years of his reign that he demonstrated what must have been some anger with his stepmother by destroying as much of her memory as possible. Her images were expunged from monuments throughout Egypt.

This is obvious to most visitors of Egypt because one of the most effected monuments was her temple at Deir el-Bahari. There, Tuthmosis III destroyed her reliefs and smashed numerous statues into a quarry just in front of the temple. He even went so far as to attack the tombs of her courtiers.

Tuthmosis III became a great pharaoh in his own right, and has been referred to as the Napoleon of ancient Egypt (by the Egyptologists, James Henry Breasted).  But perhaps is reputation is due to the fact that his battles were recorded in great detail by the archivist, royal scribe and army commander, Thanuny. The battles were recorded on the inside walls surrounding the granite sanctuary at Karnak, and inscriptions on Thanuny's tomb on the west bank state that, "I recorded the victories he won in every land, putting them into writing according to the facts". Referred to as the Annals, the inscriptions were done during Tuthmosis' 42nd year as pharaoh, and describe both the battles and the booty that was taken. These events were recorded at Karnak because Tuthmosis's army marched under the banner of the god, Amun, and Amun's temples and estates would largely be the beneficiary of the spoils of Tuthmosis' wars.

Having close ties with his military, Tuthmosis undoubtedly received sage advice from his commanders.  It was probably decided that the Levant offered the greatest potential for glory and wealth if the trade routes dominated by Syrian, Cypriot, Palestinian and Aegean rulers could be taken.

Tuthmosis III fought with considerable nerve and cunning.  On one campaign, he marched to Gaza in ten days and from Yehem, planned the battle to take take Megiddo which was held by a rebellious prince named Kadesh. There were three possible approaches to Megiddo, two of which were fairly open, straightforward routes while the third was through a narrow pass that soldiers would only be able to march through in single file.

Though he was advised against this dangerous pass by his commanders, Tuthmosis not only took this dangerous route, but actually led the troops through.  Whether by luck, or gifted intuition this gamble paid off, for when he emerged from the tight canyon, he saw that his enemies had arranged their armies to defend the easier routes

He emerged between the north and south wings of the enemy's armies, and the next day decisively beat them in battle. It apparently took a long siege (seven months) to take the city of Megiddo, but the rewards were great.  The spoils were considerable, and included 894 chariots, including two covered with gold, 200 suites of armor including two of bronze, as well as over 2,000 horses and 25,000 other animals.

Tuthmosis III had marched from Thebes up the Syrian coast fighting decisive battles, capturing three cities, and then returned back to Thebes.  Over the next 18 years, his armies would march against Syria every summer and by the end of that period, he established Egyptian dominance over Palestine. At Karnak he records the capture of 350 cities, and in the 42nd year of his rule, Kadesh itself was finally taken.

He also made campaigns into Nubia where he built temples at Amada and Semna and restored Senusret III's old canal in his 50th year of rule so that his armies could easily pass on their return to Egypt.

Queens and Vassals

Tuthmosis' main queen was Hatshepsut-Merytre, who survived him and lived as Queen Mother into the reign of her son. However, he also had several minor queens, some of whom had been acquired due to diplomatic exchanges. We know the names of three such minor queens, Menhet, Menwi and Merti from the discovery of their tomb west of Deir el-Bahri. He also took a number of foreign prices hostage, who then received training and indoctrination in Egyptian ways. They would later be returned to their homeland as obedient vassals of Egypt.

Building Projects

Tuthmosis is well attested in many parts of Egypt and outside of Egypt. We find blocks deep within Nubia at Gebel Barkal, and also at Sai, Pnubs at the third cataract, Uronarti, Buhen, Quban, Faras and Ellesiya, as well as his temples at Amada and Semna.  He also built a temple dedicated to the goddess Satet at Elephantine, as well as projects at Kom Ombo, Edfu, ElKab, Tod, Armant, Akhmim, Hermopolis and Heliopolis.  From a list of one of Tuthmosis' overseers, we also know of projects at Asyut, Atfish and various locations in the delta.

Tuthmosis III built his own temple near Hatshepsut's on a ledge between her temple and that of Mentuhotep.  His small temple was excavated recently by a polish mission.  The excavation revealed stunningly fresh reliefs, perhaps because a rock fall from the cliffs above covered the temple shortly after its completion.  Close by, Tuthmosis built a rock cut sanctuary to the goddess Hathor. This monument was accidentally discovered by a Swiss team when a rock fall exposed its opening.Apparently, the shrine was in use up to the Ramesside period, when it was destroyed by an earthquake.

Tuthmosis III's Temple of Hathor

Of the many monuments associated with Tuthmosis III, none faired better then the temple of Karnak. Wall reliefs near the sanctuary record the many gifts of gold jewelry, furniture, rich oils and other gifts offered to the temple,. mostly from the spoils of war, by Tuthmosis III. He was responsible for the Sixth and Seventh Pylons at Karnak, as well as considerable reconstruction within the central areas of the temple. He erected two obelisks at the temple, one of which survives at the Hippodrom at Istanbul.  There is also a great, black granite Victory Stele embellishing his military victories.

He also built a new and very unique temple at Karnak that is today referred to as his Festival Hall.  The columns are believed to represent the poles of the king's campaign tent.

The tomb of Tuthmosis III (KV 34) is said to be one of the most sophisticated tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

Discovered by Victor Loret's workmen in 1898 during this famous Egyptologist's absence, work did not begin on clearing the rubble form the entrance until his return. He then excavated the site meticulously, using 24 square grids and recording the placement of even the smallest of objects.

The tomb itself can be found in a narrow gorge at the bottom of the Valley of the Kings. The entrance is 30 meters above ground level, but of course this did not stop ancient tomb robbers, though Loret did find some funerary furniture that had been left behind.

The orientation of the tomb is such that the entrance lies in the north, while the burial chamber deviates to the east, a tradition originating with the Middle Kingdom Pyramid of Sesostris II.

This complex path symbolized the region of the netherworld. Typically for this period, but a first for the Valley of the King's proper, the tomb begins with a stairway, a corridor, a second stairway and a second corridor before reaching the ritual shaft. The ceiling of the ritual shaft is painted with a blue sky and yellow stars. After the ritual shaft, like most tombs of this period, there is a 90 degree turn into the Vestibule, which is then followed by the burial chamber with its four lateral annexes. While the passages are not decorated, other areas were plastered and painted for the first time.

The vestibule has two pillars, and is decorated with the 741 divinities of the Amduat that generate the daily sun. A flight of stairs leads directly from there to the burial chamber, which is oval and also has two pillars. The oval burial chamber is common also to the tombs of Thutmosis I and Thutmosis II.

The burial chamber is large, and holds a beautiful red quartzite sarcophagus. However, Tuthmosis III's mummy was not found here, bur rather in tomb DB 320 at Deir el-Bahri (in 1881).

The walls of the burial chamber are designed like a huge ornamental scroll, with the complete text of the Book of Amduat.

The ancient Egyptians called this book the "Book of the Secret Room". Amduat meant "that which there is in the afterlife", and the book is divided into twelve parts, representing the hours of the night.

On the two square pillars of the burial chamber, and for the first time, we find passages from the Litanies of Re on seven of the surfaces, and on the eighth a unique scene in which the king is shown being nursed by a divine tree goddess labeled". It is likely, however, that these pillar decorations were added hastily, after the king's death.

This tomb had been brutally plundered by reckless robbers.  They took no care whatsoever to prevent damage, and in some instances demonstrated almost a violent hatred, throwing objects forcefully against the walls, where traces of gold foil may still be seen. The principal item of funerary equipment found in the tomb was the sarcophagus.

Other items included a number of wooden statues of the king and various deities, pieces of wooden model boats, pottery and bones from a baboon and a bull.

However, a foundation deposit was also discovered that contained model tools, plaques and vessels. A number of other items from the tomb were also discovered by Daressy, Carter and John Romer in other areas of the Valley of the Kings. In the rear is a a small room with representations of animals and plants bought back from Syria during the 25th year of his reign. For obvious reasons, this room is referred to as the Botanical Garden.

The opulence of his reign is also reflected in the quality tombs built by his high officials. The tome of his vizier, Rekhmire is notable, with many scenes of daily life, crafts as well as a long inscription concerning the office of vizier. However, the presence of a military elite is also attested by no less then eleven Theban tombs from the reign of Tuthmosis.

He was buried in tomb KV 34 in the Valley of the kings. The tomb was halfway up a cliff face, and after his burial, masons destroyed the stone stairway leading up to it and concealed the tomb's entrance.

However, it would seem that no matter what initiatives pharaohs took to protect their tombs, robbers were sure to find them. Indeed, in 1898 when his tomb was discovered by Victor Loret, all he found was the carved sarcophagus and some remains of smashed furniture and wooden statues. Tuthmosis III, mummy likewise was not in the tomb, for it had been found in 1881 in the great royal cache at Deir el-Bahari. However, the tomb is covered with black and red painted hieratic renditions of the netherworld texts.