Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt

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Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt
c. 1550 BCE–1292 BCE
Egypt NK edit.svg
The Egyptian Eighteenth Dynasty's empire at its greatest territorial extent under Thutmose III
Capital Thebes, Akhetaten
Common languages Middle Egyptian (to c. 1350 BCE)
Late Egyptian (from c. 1350 BCE)
Canaanite languages
Nubian languages
Akkadian (diplomatic and trade language)
Religion
Ancient Egyptian religion
Atenism
Government Absolute monarchy
Historical era Bronze Age
 Defeat of the Fifteenth Dynasty (expulsion of the Hyksos)
c. 1550 BCE
c. 1457 BCE
c. 1350–1330 BCE
 Death of Horemheb
1292 BCE
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Fifteenth Dynasty of Egypt
Blank.png Seventeenth Dynasty of Egypt
Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt Blank.png

The Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt (notated Dynasty XVIII, alternatively 18th Dynasty or Dynasty 18) is classified as the first dynasty of the New Kingdom of Egypt, the era in which ancient Egypt achieved the peak of its power. The Eighteenth Dynasty spanned the period from 1550/1549 to 1292 BC. This dynasty is also known as the Thutmosid Dynasty for the four pharaohs named Thutmose.

Contents

Several of Egypt's most famous pharaohs were from the Eighteenth Dynasty, including Tutankhamun, whose tomb was found by Howard Carter in 1922. Other famous pharaohs of the dynasty include Hatshepsut (c. 1479 BC–1458 BC), the longest-reigning woman pharaoh of an indigenous dynasty, and Akhenaten (c. 1353–1336 BC), the "heretic pharaoh", with his Great Royal Wife, Nefertiti. The Eighteenth Dynasty is unique among Egyptian dynasties in that it had two women who ruled as sole pharaoh: Hatshepsut, who is regarded as one of the most innovative rulers of ancient Egypt, and Neferneferuaten, usually identified as Nefertiti. [1]

History

Early Dynasty XVIII

Ahmose-Nefertari. Ahmose-Nefertari was the daughter of Seqenenre Tao II, a 17th dynasty king who rose up against the Hyksos. Her brother Ahmose, expelled the Hyksos, and she became queen of a united Egypt. She was deified after she died. Ahmes Nefertari Grab 10.JPG
Ahmose-Nefertari. Ahmose-Nefertari was the daughter of Seqenenre Tao II, a 17th dynasty king who rose up against the Hyksos. Her brother Ahmose, expelled the Hyksos, and she became queen of a united Egypt. She was deified after she died.
Head of an Early Eighteenth Dynasty King, c. 1539-1493 BC, 37.38E, Brooklyn Museum Head of an Early Eighteenth Dynasty King, ca. 1539-1493 B.C.E.,37.38E.jpg
Head of an Early Eighteenth Dynasty King, c. 1539–1493 BC, 37.38E, Brooklyn Museum

Dynasty XVIII was founded by Ahmose I, the brother or son of Kamose, the last ruler of the 17th Dynasty. Ahmose finished the campaign to expel the Hyksos rulers. His reign is seen as the end of the Second Intermediate Period and the start of the New Kingdom. Ahmose's consort, Queen Ahmose-Nefertari was "arguably the most venerated woman in Egyptian history, and the grandmother of the 18th Dynasty." [2] She was deified after she died. Ahmose was succeeded by his son, Amenhotep I, whose reign was relatively uneventful. [3]

Amenhotep I probably left no male heir and the next pharaoh, Thutmose I, seems to have been related to the royal family through marriage. During his reign, the borders of Egypt's empire reached their greatest expanse, extending in the north to Carchemish on the Euphrates and in the south up to Kurgus beyond the fourth cataract of the Nile. Thutmose I was succeeded by Thutmose II and his queen, Hatshepsut, who was the daughter of Thutmose I. After her husband's death and a period of regency for her minor stepson (who would later become pharaoh as Thutmose III) Hatshepsut became pharaoh in her own right and ruled for over twenty years.

Thutmose III, who became known as the greatest military pharaoh ever, also had a lengthy reign after becoming pharaoh. He had a second co-regency in his old age with his son Amenhotep II. Amenhotep II was succeeded by Thutmose IV, who in his turn was followed by his son Amenhotep III, whose reign is seen as a high point in this dynasty.

Amenhotep III's reign was a period of unprecedented prosperity, artistic splendor, and international power, as attested by over 250 statues (more than any other pharaoh) and 200 large stone scarabs discovered from Syria to Nubia. [4] Amenhotep III undertook large scale building programmes, the extent of which can only be compared with those of the much longer reign of Ramesses II during Dynasty XIX. [5] Amenhotep III's consort was the Great Royal wife Tiye, for whom he built an artificial lake, as described on eleven scarabs. [6]

Akhenaten, the Amarna Period, and Tutankhamun

The Aten, Aten.svg
The Aten,
Eighteenth Dynasty of EgyptEighteenth Dynasty of Egypt
Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt
Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt
Akhenaten and his family adoring the Aten. Second from the left is Meritaten, daughter of Akhenaten. La salle dAkhenaton (1356-1340 av J.C.) (Musee du Caire) (2076972086).jpg
Akhenaten and his family adoring the Aten. Second from the left is Meritaten, daughter of Akhenaten.

Amenhotep III may have shared the throne for up to twelve years with his son Amenhotep IV. There is much debate about this proposed co-regency, with different experts considering that there was a lengthy co-regency, a short one, or none at all.

In the fifth year of his reign, Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten ( ꜣḫ-n-jtn , "Effective for the Aten") and moved his capital to Amarna, which he named Akhetaten. During the reign of Akhenaten, the Aten (jtn, the sun disk) became, first, the most prominent deity, and eventually came to be considered the only god. [7] Whether this amounted to true monotheism continues to be the subject of debate within the academic community. Some state that Akhenaten created a monotheism, while others point out that he merely suppressed a dominant solar cult by the assertion of another, while he never completely abandoned several other traditional deities.

Later Egyptians considered this "Amarna Period" an unfortunate aberration. After his death, Akhenaten was succeeded by two short-lived pharaohs, Smenkhkare and Neferneferuaten, of which little is known. In 1334 Akhenaten's son, Tutankhaten, ascended to the throne: shortly after, he restored Egyptian polytheist cult and subsequently changed his name in Tutankhamun, in honor to the Egyptian god Amun. [8] His infant daughters, 317a and 317b mummies, represent the final genetically-related generation of the Eighteenth Dynasty.

Ay and Horemheb

Block Statue of Ay, c. 1336-1327 BC, 66.174.1, Brooklyn Museum Block Statue of Ay, ca. 1336-1327 B.C.E. 66.174.1.jpg
Block Statue of Ay, c. 1336–1327 BC, 66.174.1, Brooklyn Museum

The last two members of the Eighteenth Dynasty—Ay and Horemheb—became rulers from the ranks of officials in the royal court, although Ay might also have been the maternal uncle of Akhenaten as a fellow descendant of Yuya and Tjuyu.

Ay may have married the widowed Great Royal Wife and young half-sister of Tutankhamun, Ankhesenamun, in order to obtain power; she did not live long afterward. Ay then married Tey, who was originally Nefertiti's wet-nurse.

Ay's reign was short. His successor was Horemheb, a general during Tutankhamun's reign whom the pharaoh may have intended as his successor in case he had no surviving children, which is what came to pass. [9] Horemheb may have taken the throne away from Ay in a coup d'état. Although Ay's son or stepson Nakhtmin was named as his father/stepfather's Crown Prince, Nakhtmin seems to have died during the reign of Ay, leaving the opportunity for Horemheb to claim the throne next.

Horemheb also died without surviving children, having appointed his vizier, Pa-ra-mes-su, as his heir. This vizier ascended the throne in 1292 BC as Ramesses I, and was the first pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty.

This example to the right depicts a man named Ay who achieved the exalted religious positions of Second Prophet of Amun and High Priest of Mut at Thebes. His career flourished during the reign of Tutankhamun, when the statue was made. The cartouches of King Ay, Tutankhamun's successor appearing on the statue, were an attempt by an artisan to "update" the sculpture. [10]

Relations with Nubia

The Eighteenth Dynasty empire conquered all of Lower Nubia under Thutmose I. [11] By the reign of Thutmose III, the Egyptians directly controlled Nubia to the Nile river, 4th cataract, With Egyptian influence / tributaries extending beyond this point. [12] [13] The Egyptians referred to the area as Kush and it was administered by the Viceroy of Kush. The 18th dynasty obtained Nubian gold, animal skins, ivory, ebony, cattle, and horses, which were of exceptional quality. [11] The Egyptians built temples throughout Nubia. One of the largest and most important temples was dedicated to amun at Jebel Barkal in the city of Napata. This Temple of Amun was enlarged by later Egyptian and Nubian Pharaohs, such as Taharqa.

Relations with the Near-East

After the end of the Hyksos period of foreign rule, the Eighteenth Dynasty engaged in a vigorous phase of expansionism, conquering vast areas of the Near-East, with especially Pharaoh Thutmose III submitting the "Shasu" Bedouins of northern Canaan, and the land of Retjenu, as far as Syria and Mittani in numerous military campaigns circa 1450 BC. [14] [15]

Dating

Radiocarbon dating suggests that Dynasty XVIII may have started a few years earlier than the conventional date of 1550 BC. The radiocarbon date range for its beginning is 1570–1544 BC, the mean point of which is 1557 BC. [17]

Pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty

The pharaohs of Dynasty XVIII ruled for approximately 250 years (c. 1550–1298 BC). The dates and names in the table are taken from Dodson and Hilton. [18] Many of the pharaohs were buried in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes (designated KV). More information can be found on the Theban Mapping Project website. [19] Several diplomatic marriages are known for the New Kingdom. These daughters of foreign kings are often only mentioned in cuneiform texts and are not known from other sources. The marriages were likely to have been a way to confirm good relations between these states. [20]

PharaohImage Throne name / PrenomenReignBurialConsort(s)Comments
Ahmose I / Ahmosis I Pharaoh Ahmose I slaying a Hyksos (axe of Ahmose I, from the Treasure of Queen Aahhotep II) Colorized per source.jpg Nebpehtire1549–1524 BC Ahmose-Nefertari
Ahmose-Henuttamehu
Ahmose-Sitkamose
Amenhotep I 58 I Amenhotep I.jpg Djeserkare1524–1503 BC KV39? or Tomb ANB? Ahmose-Meritamon
Thutmose I ColossalSandstoneHeadOfThutmoseI-BritishMuseum-August19-08.jpg Aakheperkare1503–1493 BC KV20, KV38 Ahmose
Mutnofret
Thutmose II Stone block with relief at Karnak Temple Thutmosis II.jpg Aakheperenre1493–1479 BC KV42? Hatshepsut
Iset
Hatshepsut Hatshepsut.jpg Maatkare1479–1458 BC KV20 Thutmose II
Thutmose III TuthmosisIII-2.JPG Menkheper(en)re1479–1425 BC KV34 Satiah
Merytre-Hatshepsut
Nebtu
Menhet, Menwi and Merti
Amenhotep II Amenophis II-E 10896-IMG 0085-gradient.jpg Aakheperure1427–1397 BC KV35 Tiaa
Thutmose IV Thumtmoses IV-E 13889-Louvre Museum (7465530452).jpg Menkheperure1397–1388 BC KV43 Nefertari
Iaret
Mutemwiya
Daughter of Artatama I of Mitanni
Amenhotep III Amenhotep iii british museum.jpg Nebmaatre1388–1351 BC KV22 Tiye
Gilukhipa of Mitanni
Tadukhipa of Mitanni
Sitamun
Iset
Daughter of Kurigalzu I of Babylon [20]
Daughter of Kadashman-Enlil of Babylon [20]
Daughter of Tarhundaradu of Arzawa [20]
Daughter of the ruler of Ammia [20]
Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten GD-EG-Caire-Musee061.JPG Neferkepherure-Waenre1351–1334 BC Royal Tomb of Akhenaten Nefertiti
Kiya
Tadukhipa of Mitanni
Daughter of Šatiya, ruler of Enišasi [20]
Meritaten?
Meketaten?
Ankhesenamun
Daughter of Burna-Buriash II, King of Babylon [20]
Smenkhkare Spaziergang im Garten Amarna Berlin.jpg Ankhkheperure1335–1334 BC Meritaten
Neferneferuaten NefertitiRelief SmitingSceneOnBoat-CloseUp.png Ankhkheperure-Akhet-en-hyes1334–1332 BC Akhenaten?
Smenkhkare?
Usually identified as Queen Nefertiti
Tutankhamun CairoEgMuseumTaaMaskMostlyPhotographed.jpg Nebkheperure1332–1323 BC KV62 Ankhesenamun
Ay Opening of the Mouth - Tutankhamun and Aja-2.jpg Kheperkheperure1323–1319 BC KV23 Ankhesenamun?
Tey
Horemheb StatueOfHoremhebAndTheGodHorus-DetailOfHoremheb01 KunsthistorischesMuseum Nov13-10.jpg Djeserkheperure-Setepenre1319–1292 BC KV57 Mutnedjmet
Amenia

Timeline of the 18th Dynasty

HoremhebAy (pharaoh)TutankhamunNeferneferuatenSmenkhkareAkhenatenAmenhotep IIIThutmose IVAmenhotep IIThutmose IIIHatshepsutThutmose IIThutmose IAmenhotep IAhmose IEighteenth Dynasty of Egypt

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tutankhamun</span> 14th-century BCE Egyptian pharaoh

Tutankhamun, Egyptological pronunciation Tutankhamen, commonly referred to as King Tut, was an Egyptian pharaoh who was the last of his royal family to rule during the end of the 18th Dynasty during the New Kingdom of Egyptian history. His father is believed to be the pharaoh Akhenaten, identified as the mummy found in the tomb KV55. His mother is his father's sister, identified through DNA testing as an unknown mummy referred to as "The Younger Lady" who was found in KV35.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ahmose I</span> Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt

Ahmose I was a pharaoh and founder of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, classified as the first dynasty of the New Kingdom of Egypt, the era in which ancient Egypt achieved the peak of its power. He was a member of the Theban royal house, the son of pharaoh Seqenenre Tao and brother of the last pharaoh of the Seventeenth dynasty, Kamose. During the reign of his father or grandfather, Thebes rebelled against the Hyksos, the rulers of Lower Egypt. When he was seven years old, his father was killed, and he was about ten when his brother died of unknown causes after reigning only three years. Ahmose I assumed the throne after the death of his brother, and upon coronation became known as nb-pḥtj-rꜥ "The Lord of Strength is Ra".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Akhenaten</span> 18th Dynasty pharaoh

Akhenaten, also spelled Echnaton, Akhenaton,, was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh reigning c. 1353–1336 or 1351–1334 BC, the tenth ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Before the fifth year of his reign, he was known as Amenhotep IV.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nefertiti</span> Wife of Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten

Neferneferuaten Nefertiti was a queen of the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, the great royal wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten. Nefertiti and her husband were known for a religious revolution, in which they worshipped solely the sun disc, Aten, as the only god. With her husband, she reigned at what was arguably the wealthiest period of ancient Egyptian history. Some scholars believe that Nefertiti ruled briefly as Neferneferuaten after her husband's death and before the ascension of Tutankhamun, although this identification is a matter of ongoing debate. If Nefertiti did rule as Pharaoh, her reign was marked by the fall of Amarna and relocation of the capital back to the traditional city of Thebes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tiye</span> Queen consort of Egypt

Tiye was the daughter of Yuya and Thuya. She became the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III. She was the mother of Akhenaten and grandmother of Tutankhamun. In 2010, DNA analysis confirmed her as the mummy known as "The Elder Lady" found in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV35) in 1898.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Smenkhkare</span> Egyptian pharaoh

Smenkhkare was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of unknown background who lived and ruled during the Amarna Period of the 18th Dynasty. Smenkhkare was husband to Meritaten, the daughter of his likely co-regent, Akhenaten. Very little is known of Smenkhkare for certain because later kings sought to erase the Amarna Period from history. Because of this, perhaps no one from the Amarna Interlude has been the subject of so much speculation as Smenkhkare.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Horemheb</span> Final Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt

Horemheb, also spelled Horemhab or Haremhab was the last pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled for at least 14 years between 1319 BC and 1292 BC. He had no relation to the preceding royal family other than by marriage to Mutnedjmet, who is thought to have been the daughter of his predecessor Ay; he is believed to have been of common birth.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ay (pharaoh)</span> Egyptian pharaoh of the late 18th Dynasty (14th century BCE)

Ay was the penultimate pharaoh of ancient Egypt's 18th Dynasty. He held the throne of Egypt for a brief four-year period in the late 14th century BC. Prior to his rule, he was a close advisor to two, and perhaps three, other pharaohs of the dynasty. It is theorized that he was the power behind the throne during Tutankhamun's reign. His prenomenKheperkheperure means "Everlasting are the Manifestations of Ra," while his nomenAy it-netjer reads as "Ay, Father of the God." Records and monuments that can be clearly attributed to Ay are rare, both because his reign was short and because his successor, Horemheb, instigated a campaign of damnatio memoriae against him and the other pharaohs associated with the unpopular Amarna Period.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Meritaten</span> Great Royal Wife, Kings Daughter

Meritaten, also spelled Merytaten, Meritaton or Meryetaten, was an ancient Egyptian royal woman of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Her name means "She who is beloved of Aten"; Aten being the sun-deity whom her father, Pharaoh Akhenaten, worshipped. She held several titles, performing official roles for her father and becoming the Great Royal Wife to Pharaoh Smenkhkare, who may have been a brother or son of Akhenaten. Meritaten also may have served as pharaoh in her own right under the name Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thutmose I</span> Egyptian pharaoh

Thutmose I was the third pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. He received the throne after the death of the previous king, Amenhotep I. During his reign, he campaigned deep into the Levant and Nubia, pushing the borders of Egypt farther than ever before in each region. He also built many temples in Egypt, and a tomb for himself in the Valley of the Kings; he is the first king confirmed to have done this.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Amenhotep I</span> Second Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt

Amenhotep I, Amenôthes I, or Amenophis I, (,) from Ancient Greek Ἀμένωφις, additionally King Djeserkare, was the second Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. His reign is generally dated from 1526 to 1506 BC. He was a son of Ahmose I and Ahmose-Nefertari, but had at least two elder brothers, Ahmose-ankh and Ahmose Sapair, and was not expected to inherit the throne. However, sometime in the eight years between Ahmose I's 17th regnal year and his death, his heir apparent died and Amenhotep became crown prince. He then acceded to the throne and ruled for about 21 years. Although his reign is poorly documented, it is possible to piece together a basic history from available evidence. He inherited the kingdom formed by his father's military conquests and maintained dominance over Nubia and the Nile Delta but probably did not attempt to maintain Egyptian power in the Levant. He continued the rebuilding of temples in Upper Egypt and revolutionized mortuary complex design by separating his tomb from his mortuary temple, setting a trend in royal funerary monuments which would persist throughout the New Kingdom. After his death, he was deified as a patron god of Deir el-Medina.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tey</span> Egyptian queen and Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Kheperkheprure Ay

Tey was the Great Royal Wife of Kheperkheprure Ay, who was the penultimate pharaoh of Ancient Egypt's Eighteenth Dynasty. She also had been the wet nurse of Nefertiti.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New Kingdom of Egypt</span> Period in ancient Egyptian history (c. 1550 BCE–1077 BCE)

The New Kingdom, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire, is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the sixteenth century BC and the eleventh century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth dynasties of Egypt. Radiocarbon dating places the beginning of the New Kingdom between 1570 BC and 1544 BC. The New Kingdom followed the Second Intermediate Period and was succeeded by the Third Intermediate Period. It was Egypt's most prosperous time and marked the peak of its power.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ankhesenamun</span> Royal Wife of Tutankhamun

Ankhesenamun was a queen who lived during the 18th Dynasty of Egypt as the pharaoh Akhenaten's daughter and subsequently became the Great Royal Wife of pharaoh Tutankhamun. Born Ankhesenpaaten, she was the third of six known daughters of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and his Great Royal Wife Nefertiti. She became the Great Royal Wife of Tutankhamun. The change in her name reflects the changes in ancient Egyptian religion during her lifetime after her father's death. Her youth is well documented in the ancient reliefs and paintings of the reign of her parents. The mummy of Tutankhamun's mother has been identified through DNA analysis as a full sister to his father, the unidentified mummy found in tomb KV55, and as a daughter of his grandfather, Amenhotep III. So far his mother's name is uncertain, but her mummy is known informally to scientists as the Younger Lady.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Atenism</span> Monotheistic religion founded by the pharaoh Akhenaten in ancient Egypt

Atenism, the Aten religion, the Amarna religion, or the "Amarna heresy" was a religion and the religious changes associated with the ancient Egyptian Eighteenth Dynasty pharaoh Akhenaten. The religion centered on the cult of the god Aten, depicted as the disc of the Sun and originally an aspect of the traditional solar deity Ra. In the 14th century BC, Atenism was Egypt's state religion for about 20 years, before subsequent rulers returned to the traditional polytheistic religion and the pharaohs associated with Atenism were erased from Egyptian records.

The Amarna Period was an era of Egyptian history during the later half of the Eighteenth Dynasty when the royal residence of the pharaoh and his queen was shifted to Akhetaten in what is now Amarna. It was marked by the reign of Amenhotep IV, who changed his name to Akhenaten in order to reflect the dramatic change of Egypt's polytheistic religion into one where the sun disc Aten was worshipped over all other gods. The Egyptian pantheon was restored under Akhenaten's successor, Tutankhamun.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">God's Wife of Amun</span> Highest-ranking priestess of the Amun cult

God's Wife of Amun was the highest-ranking priestess of the Amun cult, an important religious institution in ancient Egypt. The cult was centered in Thebes in Upper Egypt during the Twenty-fifth and Twenty-sixth dynasties. The office had political importance as well as religious, since the two were closely related in ancient Egypt.

Ankhkheperure-Merit-Neferkheperure/Waenre/Aten Neferneferuaten was a name used to refer to a female pharaoh who reigned toward the end of the Amarna Period during the Eighteenth Dynasty. Her gender is confirmed by feminine traces occasionally found in the name and by the epithet Akhet-en-hyes, incorporated into one version of her nomen cartouche. She is distinguished from the king Smenkhkare who used the same throne name, Ankhkheperure, by the presence of epithets in both cartouches. She is suggested to have been either Meritaten or, more likely, Nefertiti. If this person is Nefertiti ruling as sole pharaoh, it has been theorized by Egyptologist and archaeologist Dr. Zahi Hawass that her reign was marked by the fall of Amarna and relocation of the capital back to the traditional city of Thebes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">High Priest of Amun</span> Priestly title in ancient Egypt

The High Priest of Amun or First Prophet of Amun was the highest-ranking priest in the priesthood of the ancient Egyptian god Amun. The first high priests of Amun appear in the New Kingdom of Egypt, at the beginning of the Eighteenth Dynasty.

The Amarna Era includes the reigns of Akhenaten, Smenkhkare, Tutankhamun and Ay. The period is named after the capital city established by Akhenaten, son of Amenhotep III. Akhenaten started his reign as Amenhotep IV, but changed his name when he discarded all other religions and declared the Aten or sun disc as the only god. He closed all the temples of the other Gods and removed their names from the monuments. Smenkhkare, then Tutankhamun, succeeded Akhenaten. Discarding Akhenten's religious beliefs, Tutankhamun returned to the traditional gods. He died young and was succeeded by Ay. Many kings did their best to remove all traces of the period from the records. The Amarna art is very distinctive: the royal family was portrayed with extended heads, long necks and narrow chests. They had skinny limbs, but heavy hips and thighs, with a marked stomach.

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