Pharaoh And King Menkaura
Looking At Egypian History From An African-Centered Perspective
The XVIIIth Dynasty
To Understand Kemetic(Egyptian) or Sais, or Alkebulan's history, is to understand African history and the place of Waset in it, is important to keep two things clearly in mind. Also, for Africans to reclaim Egyptian History, Art and Architecture, Archeology and society, is to give credence to History of Africa and Africans in Africa and the Diaspora. First, the political control of dynastic Kemet was in the hands of Kemetic(Africans) people for nearly all of Kemetic history from,10,000-5000 BC to the Persian conquest in 525 BC.
During that time, Egyptologists have accepted a division that has three kingdoms and three periods (the time in-between the kingdoms). Kemetic scholars prefer to call them Golden Ages. The First Golden Age, the Old Kingdom (The Pyramid Age) was from the 1st to the sixth Dynasty 3,700 to 2160 BC.
It was followed by a period of disorder that is called the First Intermediate Period. The second Golden Age was the Middle Kingdom, the Age of Classical Literature. It included the 11th and 12th Periods 2040 to 1784 BC. It was followed by the Second Intermediate Period, a period of disorder within which occurred a short (150 year) foreign invasion of Asian Nomads. They left no significant contributions to Egyptian culture (Steindorf and Seele, 1957)
It should be noted that by now evidence has been brought forward linking the Ishango/Katndan horizons with those of the Nile Valley, Sahara, and Syrio-Palestine. In fact, the Natufians of 10,000 years ago in Palestine shared phenotypic affinities closer to the Badarians than they did the Merimdens, whose culture is said to have been more closely related to those of the Near East.
It has been customary to separate the Near East from Africa. Ethno-culturally , though, in the light of increasing Neolithic evidence, it is perhaps more nearly correct to consider the lands between Khartoum in the South and the Tigris-Euphrates in the North as constituting one broad horizon in the period between 10,000 and 5,000 BC This broad horizon was composed substantially of "Saharo-Nilotic" ethnocultural elements. Regional differences and variations were certainly evident in its larger complex, but ongoing techno-commercial relations lined the various groups of this horizon.
It is certainly true that what is known as the Near East is more properly thought of as Africa's "Northeast Extension," because geologically and geographically that is in fact what it is. It was the main corridor of human migration out of Africa into the rest of the world beginning 100,000 years ago and it makes sense to find that the earliest definable Near Eastern Neolithic populations, the Natufians, are indisputably Africoid. These seem to be of good reason more to believe that prior to 5,000 BC, this "Northeast Extension" participated in the various cultural horizons of Africa. Thus, when we look at the Neolithic Near East, we are looking culturally at a "promise" of Neolithic Africa.(Finch)
In the Egyptian Pharaonic civilization of historical times,t two main currents can be discovered. The first is the material legacy. The second, also descended from the most distant past, is the more abstract legacy. They are interrelated and together comprise the Egyptian cultural phenomenon. The material legacy includes crafts and science(geometry, astronomy,chemistry), applied mathematics, medicine, surgery and artistic production. The cultural side covers religion, literature and philosophic theories.
One of the earliest and most remarkable advances made by Egypt was in the field of economics. At the end of the Neolitihic period, around-5000, the Ancient Egyptians gradually transformed the Nile River, enabling its inhabitants to progress from a food gathering economy to a food-producing one, and this important transition in human development in the valley had great consequences, material as well as moral. for the growth of agriculture made it possible for the Ancient Egyptian to adopt a settled, integrated village life and this development affected his social and moral development not only in pre-historic times, but also during the Dynastic periods.
As long ago as the early dynastic period ( — 3000B.C.), the Egyptians knew, and employed in making their copper tools, all the basic techniques of metal-working such as forging, hammering, casting, stamping, soldering and riveting techniques, which they mastered very rapidly. As well as tolls, large Egyptian copper statues have been found which date from-2300. Texts of an earlier time, dating back to-2900 BC, note the existence of statues of the same type, and scenes from mastabas of the very earliest period depict workshops where gold and electrum, which is a blend of gold and silver, are being fashioned into jewelry.
Egypt provides us with a wealth of information on the techniques used by craftsmen. In the workshops depicted in painting or bas-reliefs on the tomb walls, both above and below ground, one sees, for example, carpenters and cabinet-makers at work making furniture and the tools they used, saws, drills, adzes, chisels and mallets, all faithfully represented and with infinite detail, as well as the manner in which they used them.
As a result, we know that the Egyptian saw was a pull-saw and not a push-saw, like the modern saw. In many fields, it is possible to point to the similarity between Ancient Egyptian techniques, practices of beliefs, and African ones of more or less recent or ancient origins. One of the most attractive examples at first sight is that of the doubles (known as Kas in Ancient Egypt) of the physical person to which the Egyptians and many present-day African societies attach importance. The after-life forms of these double among the Bantu, Ule or Akan for instance, make it very easy for us to see the similarities with Egyptian concepts in Pharaonic time
The Third Golden Age was called the New Kingdom (The Grand Golden Age), including the 18th. 19th and 20th Dynasties.(1554-1000). It is followed by a Late Period of declining conditions. Traditional Egyptology has designated as the last Golden Age, the Late Kingdom, (a Resurrection Kingdom) since that is how it saw itself.
That is how it behaved, drawing its cultural inspiration from its ancestors, acting to purify the deteriorated forms of Kemetic culture. The rulers of the 2nd Dynasty went back to the Middle Kingdom for its cultural models. Therefore, the last three Golden Ages, including the greatest of the Golden Ages were ruled from Waset either physically, as in the case of the Second and Third Golden Ages, or culturally, as in the case of the Fourth Golden Age.
The Basis of Egyptian chronology is the lost History of Egypt, by Manetho. Ptolemy Philadelhus, King of Egypt in the third century BC, commissioned Manetho, a learned Egyptian priest, of the Temple of Sebennytus, to write a history of Egypt from the earliest times up to his own day. But in this article, we'll try to reconstruct the Golden Age of Egypt without rewriting all of Manetho's historical timeline, we will sum up the rulers from the 18th Dynasty to the twentieth Dynasty and finally show how Egyptian history, art, archeology and architecture was inspired and is African in its historical manifestations.
Ahmose I (Nebpehtyre) 1570-1546 BC
The middle Kingdom was started after the Second Intermediate Period, a period that included the first meaningful invasion of Kemet(kmt or Egypt) by a group of Asian "Hyksos Kings." They established their capitol in the Delta region of the Nile River. It is important to note that they never established effective control over the southern provinces. A subdued but unconquered Waset maintained its cultural ad partial political leadership. The fight to repel the hated Hyksos began with Seqen-en-Re Ta'o.
The story is told of an argument between Seqen-en-Re and the Hyksos King Apopi (Apophis), who lived several hundred miles away down north in the delta region. Apopi is said to have sent a message to Seqen-en-Re complaining about the noises being made by hippopotamus at Waset, obviously a taunt. Seqen-en-Re's verbal reply to this thinly veiled challenge was not saved in the records.
With the expulsion of the Hyksos, the princes of Thebes now reigned supreme. The war against the Hyksos had not been without cost: Ahmose lost his father Seqenre II and his brother Khamose within about three years of each other, leaving him heir to the throne at a very young age.
His mother, Queen Ashotep, was a powerful force in the land and may have been co-regent with him in the early years of his reign. After Ahmose expelled the Hyksos, he consolidated the border; also, he devolved great of the responsibilities on to local governors in the nomes. He encouraged support for his regime with gifts of land — and initiated temple building projects. Ahmose I reigned for 26 years and after his death, he was buried in the Dra Abu-el-Naga, area of the necropolis, in front of the Theban hills.
Amehotep I (Djeserkare) 1551-1524
Amenhotep I ruled for 25 years and has left few records. He is said to have carried-out military campaigns against the Libyans. He also initiated building work at the temple of Karnak as attested n the autobiographical inscription of Ineni the architect, 'Chief of all Works at Karnak'(the Theban tomb 81). He was the son of Ahmose and Queen Ahmose Nefretiri and he was the second king of the 18th Dynasty.
Amenhotep had a relatively peace reign. When he was facing the Libyans in his first year as king, he successfully overcame the ancient enemies and prevented an invasion in the Delta area, and after his victory in Kush(Nubia) in the eighth year of rule, and after his victory, brought back captives from Thebes. He worked very hard to restore many ancient temples along the Nile.
He also erected a chapel commemorating his father Ahmose I. He is well known for being responsible for a large, limestone gateway at Karnak, and his most famous architectural feat was by building the Temple of Karnak in Thebes where he utilized different types of stone including many relief carvings on the limestone monument monuments at Karnak. Amehotep I had a bark shrine built for God Amun[Amon/Amen - see my Hub called: Hub on: "Egyptian God, Amon(Amen) The Invisible Creative Power - Hidden From View: Akhanton, Moses and the Origins of Monotheism."
He had the rare hone bestowed upon him the title of 'titular god' upon his death by the priests. He was regarded as a patron god of the Theban Necropolis, alongside his mother, Ahmose Nefretiri, who's posthumous renown probably exceeded that of her son. During the renovation he undertook in Egypt, he restored the mines at Serabit el-Khadim in the Sinai where he also expanded the middle Kingdom temple of Hathor.
By the end of his reign. Amenhotep I had established the main characteristics of the 18th Dynasty, this also included the worship of Amun(Amen/Amon) at Karnak. The Temple of Karnak still overshadows many of the wonders of the modern world. It is the largest of all religious buildings, the largest ever made and a place of pilgrimage for nearly 4,000 years. Although today's pilgrims are mainly tourists. It covers about 200 acres, 1,5 kilometers by 0,08 kilometers.
The area of the sacred enclosure of Amon alone is 61 acres and would hold ten average European cathedrals. The great Temple at he heart, is so gig. St. Peter's, Milan and Notre Dame Cathedrals could be lost within its was. The Hypostyle hall at 54,000 square feet with its 134 columns is still the largest room of any religious building in the world. In addition to the main sanctuary there are several smaller temples and a vast Sacred Lake.
All the Egyptian Temples had a sacred Lake, Karnak's is the largest. It was used during festivals when images of the Gods would sail it on golden barges. Karnak was also the home of a flock of geese dedicated to Amun/Amen/Amon.
He is the first King to take the radical decision to site his mortuary temple away from his burial place. The Location of his burial location is uncertain, for although an uninscribed tomb at the Dra Abu-el-Naga has been assigned to him, some speculate that he is buried in a grave that was robbed in the Valley of the Kings (KV 39). Like his father, Ahmose, Amenhotep I's mummy was found in excellent condition in the 1881 royal mummy cache.
Thutmosis I (Akheperkare) 1524-1518
Amenhotep I was succeeded not by his son (a break with tradition that would usually indicate a change in dynasty), but by a military man, Tuthmosis, already in middle-age when he achieved supreme power. He may have partly legitimized his rule by acting as co-regent with Amenhotep in the last years of the Old King's rule. His main claim to the throne, however, was through his wife, the Princess Ahmose, who was the daughter of Ahmose I and Queen Ahmose Nefertary.
Since ancient Egypt was a matrilineal society, he had thus married into the royal blood. Robert Briffault informs us that: "The functions of royalty in ancient Egypt were regarded as being transmitted in the female line. While every Egyptian princess of the royal house was born a queen and bore the titles and dignities of the office from the day of her birth, a man only acquired them at his coronation, and could do so only by becoming the consort of a royal princess...
"Those features of the constitution of Egyptian royalty are not singular. They are substantially identical with those obtaining in all other African Kingdoms."
As a soldier, he was very popular with the army and increased its size considerably during his rule. With its backing, he was able to unsure that his men were placed in key positions within the civil and religious hierarchy of the state.
His wars proved to be highly profitable and an unprecedented wealth of tribute was at his disposal. Although Tuthmosis I had a short reign of only about six years, it was marked by a series of brilliant military campaigns that were to set the seal on most of the test of the 18th Dynasty (the Amarna period apart)
Preparation were made in the last years of Amenhotep I for Tuthmosis I to have been able inaugurate his military movements so rapidly and effectively under Tuthmosis the grip of Amun at Karnak began to take hold, as the king extensively remodeled and restored the great temple to the chief of the gods under his architect, Ineni
Apparently, Amenhotep I had no surviving offspring, at least none that can be identified with any certainty, and so the throne passed to a commoner by the name of Tuthmosis. All we know about his family is that his father was an unnamed army officer and his mother was named Seniseneb. He was a soldier himself and had obviously distinguished himself in earlier campaigns before he was chosen as the next Pharaoh. He was given princes of the royal blood to be his wife — descent through the female line was very important during this period — and was apparently made co-regent sometime before Amnhotep died.
Thutmosis I died in about 1518 BC, living behind a complicated situation, namely, is successor to the throne. His tow elder sons — the princess Wadimose and Amenmose - predeceased their father, so the young third son became the heir. Also called Tuthmosis, the new king was son of a minor royal wife, the princess Mutnefert(sister of Tuthmosis I's queen, Ahmose). In order to strengthen the youngster's position. Therefore, he was married to his half-sister, Hatshepsut, elder daughter of Tuthmosis I and Queen Ahmose. Together Tuthmosis II and Hatshepsut reigned for about 14 years until he died in his early thirties.
Despite his apparent poor health, the King prosecuted successful campaigns in both Syria and Nubia, attested by a short inscription in the temple at Deir el-Bahari and a rock inscription at Aswan. Old retainers such as Ineni the architect were still serving the court: "I was a favorite of the King in he every place ... I attained old age of the revered, I possessed the favor of His Majesty every day. I was supplied from the table of the King with bread."
Thutmosis II had one son, likewise Tuthmosis, by Iris, a harem-girl. He may also have had a daughter, Neferure, by Hatshepsut. The King realized the overweening ambition of his wife and half-sister and endeavored to curtail it by declaring his son his successor before he died.
In the even, Tuthmosis III was still a young child when he succeeded to the throne and his stepmother and aunt, Hatshepsut initially acted as regent for the young King. Ineni, in his autobiography put it forth as follows: "His son [Tuthmosis III] stood in his [Tuthmosis II's] place as King of the Two Lands, having become ruler upon the throne of the one who begat him.
"His sister the Divine Consort, Hatshepsut, settled the affairs of the Two Lands by reason of her plans. Egypt was made to labor with bowed head for her, the excellent seed of the god, which came forth from him." Ineni, however, remained in the queen's favor: "Her Majesty praised me, she loved me, she recognized my worth at court, she presented with things, she magnified me ... I increased beyond everything." By regnal Year 2 of the young Tuthmosis III, Hatshepsut had her propaganda machine in place and working, and usurped her stepson's position.
Queen[Pharaoh] Hatshepsut (Maatkare) 1504-1450 B.C.
Queen Hatshepsut was in the 15 century Before Christ, daughter of Thutmose I and Ahmose, both of Royal Family, was the favorite of the their three children. She was married to her half brother Thutmose. As Thutmosis had realized early on, Hatshepsut was a strong-willed woman who would not let anyone or anything stand in her way. By Year 2 or her co-regency with the child king Thutmosis III she had begun her policy to subvert his position.
Initially, she had been content to be represented in reliefs standing behind Thutmosis III and to be identified simply by her titles as queen and 'great king's wife' of Thutmosis II. This changed as she gathered support from the highly placed officials, and it was not long before she began to build her splendid mortuary temple in the bay of the cliffs at Deir el-bahari.
In statuary, architecture, and the minor arts the first reigns of Dynasty XVIII illustrate both a development from and a harking back to the forms of the Middle Kingdom. These features are seen in the obvious parallel between the terraced structure of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari and its Dynasty XI antecedent just to its south, the cloaked statures of Hatshepsut's officials and their Middle Kingdom prototypes, and even in the scenes from the tomb of Ineni.
A freedom to the experiment is evidenced after the reign of Thutmosis III, and it is particularly observable in the work of the tomb painters, for they frequently led the way to change. The mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahari was constructed under the supervision of the queen's steward Senenmut - who was to rise to the highest offices during her reign.
Hatshepsut's temple took its basic inspiration from the 12 Dynast temple of Mentuhotep, adjacent to the site on the South. The final plan of the temple made it unique in Egyptian architecture: built largely of limestone,it rose in three broad, colonnade-fronted terraces to a central rock-cut sanctuary on the upper terrace.
The primary dedication was to Amun(Amen)(See my Hub on The Egyptian God, Amen(Amun), but there were also smaller shrines to Hathor(who earlier had a small cave shrine on the site and Nubis, respectively located on the South and north sides of the second terrace. A feature of the temple was its alignment to the east directly with the great temple of Amun across the Nile at Karnak.(Clayton)
While Hatshepsut is not known for her military prowess, her reign is noted for its trading expeditions, particularly to the land of Punt(either northern Somalia or Djibouti) — a record of which id carved on the walls of her temple. It shows the envoys sailing off down the Red Sea(with fish accurately depicted in the water) and later their arrival in Punt, where they exchanged goods and acquired the fragrant incense tees. Other trading and explorative excursions were mounted to the turquoise mines of Sinai, especially to the area of Serabit el-Khadim, where Hatshepsut's name has been recorded.
Hatshepsut died in about 1483 BC. Some suggest that Thutmosis III, kept so long in waiting may have had a hand in her death. He hated her enough to destroy many of the queen's monuments and those of her closest adherents. Hatshepsut had her tomb dug in the Valley of the Kings by her Vizier and High Priest of Amun, Hapuseneb. The tom had never been used ad still held the sandstone sarcophagus inscribed for the queen.
Hatshepsut's second tomb was located at the foot of the cliffs in the eastern corner of the Valley of the Kings. The original intention seems to have been for a passage to be driven through the rock to locate the burial chamber under the sanctuary of the queen's temple on the other side of the cliffs. Perhaps the greatest posthumous humiliation she was to suffer, however, was to be omitted from the carved king lists: her reign was too disgraceful an episode to be recorded.
Carter wrote: "As a king, it was clearly necessary for her to have her tomb in The Valley like all other kings — as a matter of fact, I found it there myself in 1903 - and the present tomb was abandoned. She would have been better advised to hold to her original plan. In this secret spot her mummy would have had a reasonable chance of avoiding disturbance: in The Valley it had none. A king she would be, and a king's fate she shared." The queen's mummy has never been found nor identified, although it has been suggested that a female mummy rediscovered in 1991 in KV 21 (the tomb of Hatshepsut's nurse) might have been her body.
The Golden Age of the XVIII Dynasty and its Rulers
After the expulsion from Egypt of the Hyksos in 1580 BC, the power of the new XVIIIth Dynasty increased progressively and reached its peak under the reign of Thutmosis III(1501- 1447) This pharaoh has been considered the greatest conquerer of Ancient times. A reasonably trustworthy account of the battles was inscribed on the inside walls surrounding the granite sanctuary at Karnak.
The author of these so-called Annals was the archivist, royal scribe and army commander, Thanuny; he left an inscription in his tomb on the West Bank at Thebes saying, "I recorded the victories he [the king] won in every land, putting them into writing according to the facts." Thanuny must be one of the earliest official war correspondents. By recording details of the war in the great temple of Karnak, Thutmosis III was not only glorifying his won name, but also promoting the God Amun - under whose banner he literally marched and whose estates were to reap such rich rewards from the spoils of war.
His empire extended from Babylon, on to the Euphrates, to the Upper Nile. The same expansionist policy was maintained by his successors, who succeeded in preserving the power of the empire until the Nubian campaign of Amenhophis III, from 1407 to 1406. Around 1406 BC, the political strategy of Amenenhophis III changed, and there suddenly began an era in international relations hitherto unknown in history, according to James Breasted(1951).
Relations between the Pharaoh and both the vassal princes and the neighboring kings became fraternal, instead of being based on force as was the case in preceding periods. They started calling each other "brothers [tablets of Tel al-Amarna, Mercer, 1939'. The Pharaoh appeared in public for the first time in history and the affairs of the divine royal house were dealt with in public. A period of literature began to flourish with its own art, architecture, and music… Amenophis III favored the religion of the Sun god Aton,in the polytheistic Egypt of the time.
The invasion of the Hittites (it might perhaps be more correct to say: the revolt) in the North marked the beginning of the collapse of the empire. Amenophis III did nothing in its defense. His successor, Amenophis IV, or Akhenaton (1375-1358 BC), continued the peaceful politics of his father (tablets of Tel al-Amarna) while the Hittites invaded the northern part of the empire. Akhenaton was interested only in religious reform. He ordered the destruction of all polytheistic symbols, closed the ancient temples, and introduced the worship of a universal God, Aton. He is considered the first monotheist in history.
Amenhotep II was an athletic youngster. Several representations of the king show him engaging in successful sporting pursuits, and he was keen to establish an equally good reputation in the military field An opportunity to do just this presented itself early in his reign when, on receiving the news of the death of Thutmosis III, the Asiatic cities rose up in revolt. Amenhotep II was not slow in showing the rebels that he was not to be taken as a weakling. He also attacked Palestine which was in full revolt.
In his third year in power he moved south and completed the temples begun by his father at Aswan on Elephantine land and at Amada. From the stele left by the king at both temples, we learn the fate of the seven captive princess: the king sacrificed all seven to Amun in the age-old manner, smiting them with his mace and then hanging them face downwards on the prow of his ship. In the 9th year of his rule he attacked Palestine again, but this time went as far as the sea of Galilee. The rest of his 34-year rule, he made his mark and peace reigned.
He has bee credit with reviving the Sphinx after he received instructions to do so by Re-Harakhte, the sun god embodied in the Sphinx. Little of a military nature appears to have occurred during Thutmosis IV's reign. It was only in his eighth year, a campaign to Nubia has been recorded; There were some Syrian campaigns, and had to conquer it twice, but these were low-key policing excursions rather than full-blown military campaigns.
Some of the best known decorative private tombs survive in the Theban necropolis. His grave/tomb was robbed and damaged and funerary furniture destroyed, Ushabtis, food provisions and a chariot were found in it. The destruction seemed to have happened during the rule of Horemheb (1321-1293), when two graffiti record the restoration of the tomb by the official Maya and his assistant Djehutymose. The King's mummy, however, was not present in the splendidly decorated granite sarcophagus: it had been found five years earlier, as one of those hidden in the tomb of Amenhotep II.
Amenhotep III has the distinction of having the most surviving statues of any Egyptian Pharaoh. Over 250 statues of the king have been discovered. Since these statues cover his entire life, they provide the most complete portraiture over time of any ancient Egyptian ruler. He was crowned while still a child,the Son of Thutmosis IV, perhaps between the ages 6 and 12. His lengthy reign was a period of great peace, prosperity and artistic splendor, when Egypt reached the very heights of artistic and international power.
He celebrated three Jubilee festivals in his year 30, Year 34 and Year 37. Amenhotep III built extensively at the temple of Karnak, including at least two pylons, a colonnade behind the new entrance, and a new temple to the goddess Maat. He oversaw construction of another temple to her at Luxor and virtually covered Nubia with numerous monuments including a small temple with a colonnade (dedicated to Thutmose III) at elephantine, a rock temple dedicated to Amun 'Lord of the Ways' at Wadi es-Sebuam, and the temple of Horus of Miam at Aniba.
Amenhotep III's long reign of almost 40 years was one of the most prosperous and stable in Egyptian history. His grandfather, Thutmosis III had laid the foundations of the Egyptian empire by his campaigns into Syria, Nubia and Libya. Hardly any military activity was called for under Amenhotep, and such little as there was, in Nubia, was directed by his son and viceroy of Kush, Merymose. A rebellion at Ibhet is reported as having been heavily crushed by the Viceroy of Nubia. 'King's Son of Kush', Meryose.
Although the king, 'mighty bull, strong in might ... the fierce-eyed lion' is noted as having made great slaughter within the space of a single hour, he was probably not present; nevertheless, 150 Nubian men, 250 women, 175 children, 110 archers, and 55 servants — a total of 740 - were said to have been captured, to which was added the 312 right hand of the slain.
Amenhotep had a large and ever-increasing Harem, and some were foreign princesses, the result of diplomatic marriages, but his chief wife was a woman on non-royal rank whom he had married before he came to the throne. This was Tiy, the daughter of a noble called Yuya and his wife, Tuya. This was an important family, because it had land in the Delta and Yuya was a powerful military leader.
Tiy's brother, Anen, was also to rise to high office under Amenhotep III as Chancellor of the King of Lower Egypt, Second Prophet of Amun, sem-priest of Heliopolis, and Divine Father. Tiy gave birth to six or more children, at least two sons, and then four daughters. The oldest boy died without reigning, leaving his younger brother(the future Amenhotep IV, later called Akhenaten) heir to the throne. Amenhotep III also married two of his daughters, first Isis and then, in Year 30, Sitamun Evidence for this comes from a series of kohl eyeliner tubes inscribed for the King together with a cartouche of each royal lady.
The Years of Opulence and Wealth
The Wealth of Egypt at this period came not from the spoils of war, as it had under Thutmosis III, but from international trade and an abundant and vast supply of gold (from the mines in the Wadi Hammamat and from panning gold dust as far south into the land of Kush). It was this great wealth and booming economy that led to such an outpouring of artistic talent in all aspects of the arts.
The last 25 years of Amenhotep's reign seem to have been a period of great building works and luxury at court and in the arts. Since the houses or palaces of the living were regarded as ephemeral, we unfortunately have little evidence of the magnificence of a palace such as Amenhotep's Malkata palace. Fragments of the building, however,indicate that the walls were once plastered and painted with lively scenes from nature.
Many of the temples he built had been destroyed too. At Karnak, he embellished the already large temple to Amun and at Luxor he built a new one to the same God, of which the still standing colonnaded court is a masterpiece of elegance and design… Particular credit is owed to his master architect: Amenhotep son of Hapu.
A Peak of XVIIIth DynastyArtistic Zenith
For his temple he built two outstanding couchant rose granite set before the temple at Soleb, Nubia (but was subsequently removed to the temple at Gebel Barkal; further south of Sudan) There is also a proliferation of private statues like that of Amenhotep the son of Hapu, and those of other nobles and other dignitaries.
The largest of the statues was the Colossi of Memmnon, a huge limestone statue of King and Queen with three small standing princesses from Medinett Hau. There was also a superb 6ft(1.83), high pink quartzite statue of the kKing standing on a sledge wearing the Double Crown.
The two most widely known portraits of Queen Tiy(Tiye) are the small ebony head(in the picture gallery), identified as the queen by her cartouche on the front of her crown. Inscribed clay dockets from the Malkata palace carry dates into at least Year 38 of Amenhotep's reign, implying that he may have died in his 39th regnal year when he would have been about 45 years old.
Akhenaten(Amenhotep IV) and Smenkare(ankhkheperure)
Amenhotep IV - better known as Akhenaten, the new name he took on his reign — ushered in a revolutionary period in Egyptian history. The Amarna interlude, as it has often been called, was the removal of the seat of government to short-lived new capital city, Akhenaten (modern el-Amarna), the introduction of a new art style, and the elevation of the cult of the sun disc, the Aten to the highest status in Egyptian religion. This last heresy brought Akhenaten down. As noted above, he was the second son of Amenhotep III and his mother was Tiye(Tiy)
The beginning of Akhenaten's reign marked no great discontinuity with that of his predecessors. Not only was he crowned at Karnak(temple of the god Amun) but, like his father, he married a lady of non-royal blood,Nefertiti, the daughter of the vizier Ay. Ay was Queen Tiy's brother, as noted above, and Tiy and Anen were the son and daughter of Yuya and Tuya, but Nefertiti was brought p by another wife of Ay, named TaGey, who was Nefertitit's stepmother.
Amenhotep has recognized the power of the priests of Amun and he sought to curb it… Akhenaten took the matter further and introduced monotheism religion of sun-worship This was not a new idea, and it was a minor aspect of the sun god Re-Harakhte, and the Aten had been venerated in the Old Kingdom and a large scarab of Akhenaten's grandfather, Thutmosis IV has a text that mentions the Aten. Akhenaten worshipped the Aten in its own right.
Portrayed as a solar disc worse protective rays terminate in hands holding the Ankh hieroglyphic for life, and the Aten was only accessible to Akhenaten, therefore obviating the need for an intermediate priesthood.
In Year ^ of his rule he moved to a new capital in Middle Egypt, half-way between MemAkhenatenphis and Thebes. It was a virgin site, not previously dedicated to any other god and goddess, and he name named it Akhenaten - The Horizon of the Aten. Today the site is known as el-Armana.
According to present evidence, however, it appears that it was only the upper echelons of society which embraced the new religion with any fervor (and perhaps that was only skin deep). Akhenaton dismantled the priesthood and closed their temples. The local population had little to do with the religion except on the high days and holidays when the god's statue would be carried in procession from the sanctuary outside the walls of the great temple.
It is evident from the art of the Amarna period that the court officially emulated the king's unusual physical characteristics. Thus individuals such as the young princesses are endowed with elongated skulls and excessive adiposity, while Bek - the chief sculptor and Master of Works - portrays himself in the likeness of his king with pendulous breasts and protruding stomach.
On the stele in Berlin, Bek states that he was taught by his majesty and that the court sculptors were instructed to represent what they saw. The result was a realism that broke away from the rigid formality of the earlier official depictions. although naturalism is very evident in earlier , unofficial art.
Akhenaten died in 1334 BC in his 16th regnal year. It is certain that his body did not remain at Armana. A burnt mummy was seen outside the royal tomb in the 1880s, although it was soon found out it belonged to the coptic believers. It is also speculated that his remains were buried in the old royal burial ground at Thebes, where it was believed that his enemies would have never dreamt of looking.
He was the nominal successor of Akhenaten, and was probably the younger brother of the King. But appears that they may have died within months of each other. Smenkhkare's two year reign was in reality a co-regency during the last years of Akhanaten's life. A graffito in the tomb of Pairi at Thebes, records a third regnal year, and there are indications that Smenkhkare was preparing ground for a return the old orthodoxy and had left Akhenaten.
He was married to Merytaten. Together with his wife he returned to Thebes to try and placate the army and the Priests of Amun after Akhenaten's reign and the worship of Aten. After just one year, Smenkhkare was dead, and Meritaten disappeared.
Tutankhamen (Hequaiunushema - Nebkheperure
Tutankamun was a teenager when he died, and he was the last heir of a powerful family that had ruled Egypt and its empire for centuries, he was laid to rest laden with gold and eventually forgotten. Tutankamun's name was known in the early years of this century from a few references, but his exact place in the sequence of the 'Amarna Kings' was uncertain. Like Akhenaten and Ay, his name had been omitted from the classic King lists of Abydos and Karnak, which simply jump from Amenhotep III to Horemheb.
Toward the end of Akhenaten's reign, the senior members of the court,especially Ay and Horemheb, realized that things could not go on as they were. Smenkhkare, Akhenaten's younger brother(or son)? and co-regent, must have come to the same conclusion since he had left Akhenaten and moved back tote old secular capital,Memphis, where he my have been in contact with the proscribed members of the Priesthood of Amun, before his death and burial at Thebes.
Soon after Akhenaten's death, Tutankhamen(as he was then called), was crowned at Memphis. At age nine and having lost his mother, Kiya, his step mother Nefertiti, and his elder step-sisters dead, he was under the direct influence of Ay, the senior civil servant, and Horemheb, the military man… Akhenaten married Ankhesenpaaten, who was older then him, and had a daughter by her father, Akhenaten.
Soon after the new King was installed, a move was made back to the old religion. In year 2 both king and Queen changed their name from -aten to ending their names in -amun. His advisors held the reigns for the boy king. A great restoration stele records this re-installation of the old religion of Amun and the reopening and rebuilding of the temples. King Tut was not really involved in any military forays, but Horemheb was the one who attacked Nubia since he was a military man.
It is postulated that Tutankhanum died at age 17. He seems to have passed away in Year 9 of while he reigned. Modern X-Rays show a small sliver of bone within the upper cranial cavity. It may have arrived there as the result of a blow, but whether deliberately struck, to indicate murder, or the result of an accident, such as a fall from a chariot, it is still not possible to say. His burial tomb, it is suspected, was not