Amenemhat III

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See Amenemhat, for other individuals with this name.

Amenemhat III, also spelled Amenemhet III, was a pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from c. 1860 BC to c. 1814 BC, the highest known date being found in a papyrus dated to Regnal Year 46, I Akhet 22 of his rule. [2] His reign is regarded as the golden age of the Middle Kingdom. [3] He may have had a long coregency (of 20 years) with his father, Senusret III. [4]

Pharaoh Ruler of Ancient Egypt

Pharaoh is the common title of the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the actual term "Pharaoh" was not used contemporaneously for a ruler until Merneptah, c. 1200 BCE. In the early dynasty, ancient Egyptian kings used to have up to three titles, the Horus, the Sedge and Bee (nswt-bjtj) name, and the Two Ladies (nbtj) name. The Golden Horus and nomen and prenomen titles were later added.

Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt

The Twelfth Dynasty of ancient Egypt, is often combined with the Eleventh, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Dynasties under the group title Middle Kingdom.

Ancient Egypt ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa

Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes. The history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age.


Statue from the Egyptian Collection of the Hermitage Museum Statuia faraona Amenemkheta III.jpg
Statue from the Egyptian Collection of the Hermitage Museum
Pectoral of Amenemhat III, tomb of Mereret Pectoral of Amenemhat III (cropped & rotated).jpg
Pectoral of Amenemhat III, tomb of Mereret
Pyramidion or Capstone of Amenemhat III's pyramid Pyramidion of the Pyramid of Amenemhet III at Dahshur.jpg
Pyramidion or Capstone of Amenemhat III's pyramid
Sphinx statue of Amenemhat III Agyptisches Museum Kairo 2016-03-29 Sphinx-Statue.jpg
Sphinx statue of Amenemhat III

Toward the end of his reign he instituted a coregency with his successor Amenemhet IV, as recorded in a now damaged rock inscription at Konosso in Nubia, which equates Year 1 of Amenemhet IV to either Year 46, 47, or 48 of his reign. [5] His daughter, Sobekneferu, later succeeded Amenemhat IV, as the last ruler of the twelfth dynasty. Amenemhat III's throne name, Nimaatre, means "Belonging to the Justice of Re."

Sobekneferu Egyptian queen regnant

Sobekneferu reigned as pharaoh of Egypt after the death of her brother Amenemhat IV. She was the last ruler of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt and governed Egypt for almost four years from 1806 to 1802 BC. Her name means "the beauty of Sobek."


He built his first pyramid at Dahshur (the so-called "Black Pyramid"), but there were construction problems and it was abandoned. [6] Around Year 15 of his reign the king decided to build a new pyramid at Hawara, near the Faiyum. [7] The pyramid at Dahshur was used as burial ground for several royal women.

Egyptian pyramids ancient pyramid-shaped masonry structures located in Egypt

The Egyptian pyramids are ancient pyramid-shaped masonry structures located in Egypt. As of November 2008, sources cite either 118 or 138 as the number of identified Egyptian pyramids. Most were built as tombs for the country's pharaohs and their consorts during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods.

Dahshur village in Giza Governorate, Egypt

Dahshur is a royal necropolis located in the desert on the west bank of the Nile approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) south of Cairo. It is known chiefly for several pyramids, two of which are among the oldest, largest and best preserved in Egypt, built from 2613–2589 BC.

Pyramid of Amenemhat III (Dahshur) smooth-sided pyramid

The Black Pyramid was built by King Amenemhat III during the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. It is one of the five remaining pyramids of the original eleven pyramids at Dahshur in Egypt. Originally named Amenemhet is Mighty, the pyramid earned the name "Black Pyramid" for its dark, decaying appearance as a rubble mound. The Black Pyramid was the first to house both the deceased pharaoh and his queens. Jacques de Morgan, on a French mission, began the excavation on the pyramids at Dahshur in 1892. The German Archaeological Institute of Cairo completed excavation in 1983.

The mortuary temple attached to the Hawara pyramid may have been known to Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus as the "Labyrinth". [8] Strabo praised it as a wonder of the world. The king's pyramid at Hawara contained some of the most complex security features of any found in Egypt. Nevertheless, the king's burial was robbed in antiquity. His daughter or sister, Neferuptah, was buried in a separate pyramid (discovered in 1956) 2 km southwest of the king's. [9] [10] The pyramidion of Amenemhet III's pyramid tomb was found toppled from the peak of its structure and preserved relatively intact; it is today in the Cairo Egyptian Museum. [11]

Mortuary temple a type of ancient Egyptian temple

Mortuary temples were temples that were erected adjacent to, or in the vicinity of, royal tombs in Ancient Egypt. The temples were designed to commemorate the reign of the Pharaoh under whom they were constructed, as well as for use by the king's cult after death.

Herodotus Ancient Greek historian

Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire. He is known for having written the book The Histories, a detailed record of his "inquiry" on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars. He is widely considered to have been the first writer to have treated historical subjects using a method of systematic investigation—specifically, by collecting his materials and then critically arranging them into a historiographic narrative. On account of this, he is often referred to as "The Father of History", a title first conferred on him by the first-century BC Roman orator Cicero.

Diodorus Siculus Greek historiographer

Diodorus Siculus or Diodorus of Sicily was a Greek historian. He is known for writing the monumental universal history Bibliotheca historica, much of which survives, between 60 and 30 BC. It is arranged in three parts. The first covers mythic history up to the destruction of Troy, arranged geographically, describing regions around the world from Egypt, India and Arabia to Greece and Europe. The second covers the Trojan War to the death of Alexander the Great. The third covers the period to about 60 BC. Bibliotheca, meaning 'library', acknowledges that he was drawing on the work of many other authors.

Military enterprises and expeditions

There is very little evidence for military expeditions in the reign of the king. There is one record for a small mission in year nine of the king. The evidence for that was found in a rock inscription in Nubia, near the fortress of Kumma. The short text reports that a military mission was guided by the mouth of Nekhen Zamonth who reports that he went north with a small troop and that nobody died when going back south. [12]

Kumma (Nubia)

Kumma or Semna East is an archaeological site in Sudan. Established in the mid-12th Dynasty of Egypt, it served as a fortress of ancient Egypt in Nubia. Along with Semna, Kumma was built by the Pharaoh Sesostris III. The forts protected the border between ancient Egypt and the southern areas.

Zamonth Ancient Egyptian vizier

Zamonth or Samont was an Ancient Egyptian vizier who was in office at the end of the Twelfth Dynasty, around 1800 BC.

Many expeditions to mining areas are recorded under the king. There are two expeditions known to the Wadi el-Hudi at the southern border of Egypt, where Amethyst was collected. One of the enterprises dates to year 11, of the king. [13] Two further to year 20 and to year 28. [14] There were further mining expeditions to the Wadi Hammamat. These are dated to year 2, 3, 19, 20 and 33 of the king's reign. [15] The inscriptions of year 19 and 20 might be related to the building start of the pyramid complex at Hawara. They report the breaking of stone for statues.

The Wadi el-Hudi is a wadi in Southern Egypt, in the Eastern Desert. Here were ancient quarries for amethyst. The Wadi el-Hudi is important in archaeology for its high number of rock inscriptions and stelae, mainly dating to the Middle Kingdom, as amethyst was especially popular in this period. The Wadi el-Hudi ends in the Nile valley a few kilometers north of Aswan and is coming there from the South-East. The ancient amethyst quarries are about 20 kilometres south-east from Aswan.

Amethyst Mineral, quartz variety

Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz.

Wadi Hammamat river in Egypt

Wadi Hammamat is a dry river bed in Egypt's Eastern Desert, about halfway between Al-Qusayr and Qena. It was a major mining region and trade route east from the Nile Valley in ancient times, and three thousand years of rock carvings and graffiti make it a major scientific and tourist site today.

At the Red Sea coast, at Mersa was discovered a stela mentioning an expedition to Punt under Amenemhat III. [16] The highest official involved in the expedition was the high steward Senebef. Other people in charge were a certain Amenhotep and the chamberlain Nebesu. [17]

The Great Canal (Mer-Wer)

During his long rule Amenemhat continued the work probably started by his father to link the Fayum Depression with the Nile. The area had been a mere swamp previously. A canal 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) long and 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) wide was dug, known as Mer-Wer (the Great Canal); it is now known as Bahr Yussef. The banks for the central deep side were at a slope of 1:10, to allow use of non-cohesive soil and rock fill. A dam called Ha-Uar ran east-west and the canal was inclined towards the Fayum depression at the slope of 0.01 degrees. The resultant Lake Moeris could store 13 billion cubic meters [18] of flood water each year. This immense work of civil engineering was eventually finished by his son Amenemhat IV and brought prosperity to Fayum. The area became a breadbasket for the country and continued to be used until 230 BC when the Lahun branch of the Nile silted up.

The vizier Kheti held this office around year 29 of king Amenemhat III's reign. The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus is thought to have been originally composed during Amenemhat's time. [19] The monuments of Amenemhat III are fairly numerous and of excellent quality. They include a small but well decorated temple at Medinet Madi in the Faiyum, which he and his father dedicated to the harvest goddess Renenutet.


Head of Amenemhat (Ammenemes) III. Mottled diorite, half life-size. 12th Dynasty. From Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London Head of Amenemhat (Ammenemes) III. Mottled diorite, half life-size. 12th Dynasty. From Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London.jpg
Head of Amenemhat (Ammenemes) III. Mottled diorite, half life-size. 12th Dynasty. From Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London

Amenemhat III is, together with Senusret III, the best-attested Middle Kingdom king by number of statues. About 80 statues or fragments of statues can be assigned to him. The sculpture of Amenemhat III continued the tradition of Senusret III. Many of his works no longer represent a young idealized king, but instead an expressive physiognomy, showing signs of age. There is an amazingly wide range of stones used for the sculpture of the king, not attested for any king before. Furthermore, the king introduced several new types of sculptures, many of these types inspired by older prototypes, dating back to the early Dynastic Period. There are two facial types that can be assigned to Amenemhat III.

Realistic style portrait of Amenemhat III. Amenemhat III.jpg
Realistic style portrait of Amenemhat III.
"Idealized style" portrait of Amenemhat III. Amenemhet III 1800 BC Munich.jpg
"Idealized style" portrait of Amenemhat III.

Other names

Related Research Articles

Middle Kingdom of Egypt period in the history of ancient Egypt between about 2000 BC and 1700 BC

The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is the period in the history of ancient Egypt following a period of political division known as the First Intermediate Period. The Middle Kingdom lasted from around 2050 BC to around 1710 BC, stretching from the reunification of Egypt under the reign of Mentuhotep II of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Twelfth Dynasty. The Eleventh Dynasty ruled from Thebes and the Twelfth Dynasty ruled from el-Lisht. Some scholars also include the Thirteenth Dynasty of Egypt wholly into this period as well, in which case the Middle Kingdom would finish around 1650, while others only include it until Merneferre Ay around 1700 BC, last king of this dynasty to be attested in both Upper and Lower Egypt. During the Middle Kingdom period, Osiris became the most important deity in popular religion. The Middle Kingdom was followed by the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt, another period of division that involved foreign invasions of the country by the Hyksos of West Asia.

History of ancient Egypt aspect of history

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Amenemhat IV Pharaoh of Egypt

Amenemhat IV was the seventh and penultimate pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty of Egypt during the late Middle Kingdom period, ruling for over nine years in the late 19th century BC or the early 18th century BC.

Amenemhat I ruler of Egypt

Amenemhat I, also Amenemhet I and the hellenized form Ammenemes, was the first ruler of the Twelfth Dynasty, the dynasty considered to be the golden-age of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. He ruled from 1991 BC to 1962 BC.

Amenemhat II pharaoh of Egypt

Nubkaure Amenemhat II was the third pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. Although he ruled for at least 35 years, his reign is rather obscure, as well as his family relationships.

Senusret I pharaoh of Egypt

Senusret I, also anglicized as Sesostris I and Senwosret I, was the second pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from 1971 BC to 1926 BC, and was one of the most powerful kings of this Dynasty. He was the son of Amenemhat I. Senusret I was known by his prenomen, Kheperkare, which means "the Ka of Re is created."

Senusret II pharaoh of Egypt

Khakheperre Senusret II was the fourth pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from 1897 BC to 1878 BC. His pyramid was constructed at El-Lahun. Senusret II took a great deal of interest in the Faiyum oasis region and began work on an extensive irrigation system from Bahr Yussef through to Lake Moeris through the construction of a dike at El-Lahun and the addition of a network of drainage canals. The purpose of his project was to increase the amount of cultivable land in that area. The importance of this project is emphasized by Senusret II's decision to move the royal necropolis from Dahshur to El-Lahun where he built his pyramid. This location would remain the political capital for the 12th and 13th Dynasties of Egypt. The king also established the first known workers' quarter in the nearby town of Senusrethotep (Kahun).

Senusret III Pharaoh of Egypt

Khakaure Senusret III was a pharaoh of Egypt. He ruled from 1878 BC to 1839 BC during a time of great power and prosperity, and was the fifth king of the Twelfth Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom. He was a great pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty and is considered to be, perhaps, the most powerful Egyptian ruler of the dynasty. Consequently, he is regarded as one of the sources for the legend about Sesostris. His military campaigns gave rise to an era of peace and economic prosperity that reduced the power of regional rulers and led to a revival in craftwork, trade, and urban development. Senusret III was among the few Egyptian kings who were deified and honored with a cult during their own lifetime.

Lisht Place in Giza Governorate, Egypt

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Amenemhat or Amenemhet is an Ancient Egyptian name meaning "Amun is in front". Amenemhat was the name of a number of kings, princes and administration officials throughout ancient Egyptian history.

Meketre Ancient Egyptian official

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Senusret was an Ancient Egyptian official who was a vizier during the last years of king Senusret I's rule and in the first years of Amenemhet II. Senusret is known from a stela found in Abydos, which is dated to year 8 of Amenemhet II. He also appears in biographical inscriptions in the tomb of the governor Amenemhat at Beni Hasan, where it is reported that he was on a mission to Koptos. The inscription reports events under Senusret I.

Amenemhet VI Egyptian pharaoh

Seankhibre Ameny Antef Amenemhet VI was an Egyptian pharaoh of the early Thirteenth Dynasty ruling in the first half of the 18th century BC during a time referred to as the late Middle Kingdom or early Second Intermediate Period, depending on the scholar. Amenemhat VI certainly enjoyed a short reign, estimated at 3 years or shorter. He is attested by a few contemporary artefacts and is listed on two different king lists. He may belong to a larger family of pharaohs including Amenemhat V, Ameny Qemau, Hotepibre Qemau Siharnedjheritef and Iufni.

Amenemhat (nomarch, 16th nome) Egyptian nomarch

Amenemhat, often reported with his short form Ameny (Jmnjj), was an ancient Egyptian "Overlord of the Oryx nome" and chief priest during the reign of pharaoh Senusret I of the 12th Dynasty.

Annals of Amenemhat II

Several fragments belonging to Annals of Amenemhat II are known from Memphis in Egypt. They are an important historical document for the reign of the Ancient Egyptian king Amenemhat II, but also for the history of Ancient Egypt and understanding kingship in general.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Amenemhat (III) Nimaatre (1807/06-1798/97 BC) accessed 4 January 2014
  2. Francis Llewellyn Griffith, The Petrie Papyri, London 1898, T. XIV (Pap. Kahun VI, 19)
  3. Callender, Gae (2003). "The Middle Kingdom Renaissance". In Shaw, Ian. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. p. 156.
  4. Kim S. B. Ryholt, The Political Situation in Egypt During the Second Intermediate Period, C. 1800-1550 B.C., Museum Tusculanum Press 1997, pp.211f.
  5. Kim S. B. Ryholt, The Political Situation in Egypt During the Second Intermediate Period, C. 1800-1550 B.C., Museum Tusculanum Press 1997, p. 212.
  6. Miroslav Verner, The Pyramids: The Mystery, Culture, and Science of Egypt's Great Monuments, Grove Press, 2002, p. 427.
  7. Lehner, Mark (2001). The Complete Pyramids: Solving the Ancient Mysteries. London: Thames & Hudson. p. 182. ISBN   0-500-05084-8.
  8. Miroslav Verner, The Pyramids: The Mystery, Culture, and Science of Egypt's Great Monuments, Grove Press, 2002, p. 428.
  9. Nagib Farag, Zaky Iskander, The Discovery of Neferwptaḥ, 1971, p. 103.
  10. Callender, Gae (2003). "The Middle Kingdom Renaissance". In Shaw, Ian. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. p. 158.
  11. Callender, Gae (2003). "The Middle Kingdom Renaissance". In Shaw, Ian. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. p. 157.
  12. F. Hintze, W. F. Reineke: Felsinschriften aus dem sudanesichen Nubien I, Berlin 1989, ISBN   3-05-000370-7, 145-147, n. 488
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  14. Ashraf I. Sadek: The Amethyst Mining Inscriptions of Wadi el-Hudi, Part I; Text, Warminster 1980 ISBN   0-85668-162-8, 41-43
  15. Karl-Joachim Seyfried: Beiträge zu den Expeditionen des Mittleren Reiches in die Ost-Wüste, Hildesheim 1981, ISBN   3806780560, 254-256
  16. El-sayed Mahfouz (2010). Amenemhat IV au ouadi Gaouasis Archived 2016-09-18 at the Wayback Machine .. BIFAO. 2010:110 pp. 165–173.
  17. Kathryn A Bard, Rodolfo Fattovich, Andrea Manzo: The ancient harbor at Mersa/WadiGawasis and how to get there: New evidence of Pharaonic seafaring expeditions in the Red Sea, in Frank Förster and Heiko Riemer (editors): Desert Road Archaeology in Ancient Egypt and Beyond, Cologne 2013, ISBN   9783927688414, p. 539
  18. Chanson, Hubert (1999). Hydraulics of Open Channel Flow. Edward Arnold/Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN   9780750659789.
  19. Marshall Clagett, Ancient Egyptian Science: A Source Book, 1989, p.113
  20. Simon Connor: The statue of the steward Nemtyhotep (Berlin ÄM 15700) and some considerations about Royal and Private Portrait under Amenemhat III, In: G. Miniaci, W. Grajetzki (editors): The World of Middle Kingdom Egypt (2000–1550 BC) Contributrions on Archaeology, Art, Religion, and Written Sources. Band 1, Golden House Publications, London 2015, ISBN   978-1-906137-43-4, 58-64.

Further reading