HSC notes - Egypt Amenhotep III to Ramesses II (1 Viewer)

Eliza B

Oct 15, 2003
The Queens of the 18th Dynasty played very powerful and influential roles. These included; assisting the Pharaoh with his reign, acting in military campaigns and associating themselves with the gods. Women relatives of the Pharaoh also had a range of duties and enjoyed considerable status.

Amenhotep III mother. Thought to be a princess of the Mitanni, Yet Aldred Mutemwiya was Egyptian and came from Military background. She advised Amenhotep and a group of Administrators from her husbands reign.
Amenhotep III close association with his mother can be seen in reliefs depicting her wearing queens headdress as she stands behind him in a affectionate guiding power behind the throne position.

Tiy was from non royal background and married Amenhotep early in his reign. Scarabs commemorating their marriage, Tiy's non royal background and clearly proclaimed by the naming of her parents, Yuya and Thuya.
Tiy was a beautiful young woman. She held the status of "Great royal wife" "Mistress of upper and lower Egypt" "lady of the two lands". Her name often appears in a cartouche and in reliefs and sanctuary she is often shown beside Amenhotep as the same size. Tiy had six children, and although Amenhotep III had many other wives and consorts Tiy retained her status.
Amenhotep III undertook a massive building of a lake for Tiy which shows he took pride in her. He also built a palace for Tiy at Malkata. Some monuments indicate Tiy played an important part in Amenhotep's life.
Evidence from the Amarna letters also indicate Tiy played an active role in foreign affairs. Foreign rulers wrote directly to her. Even when Amenhotep died the Mitanni king still wrote to her to maintain good relations. Early in Akhenaten's reign, he's consult was his mother Tiy regarding matters relating to the Mitanni. It is not known what role Tiy played in Akhenaten's religious reform, but she was still held in high esteem after the Aten collapse.

Akhenaten married Nefertiti before he came to throne.
Aldred argues that Nefertiti was the daughter of Ay. An Egyptian women Mutnodjme, who later married Horemheb may have been her sister Akhenaten refers to Nefertiti as "the mistress of his happiness" and he describes her on his boundary stela at Amarna.
When They moved to worshipping the god Aten, her name was changed to Neferuaten
Two British historians argue that Nefertiti assumed the role of co-regent with Akhenaten, then later assumed the role of becoming pharaoh.
This is argued as;
There is no evidence to prove Smenkhare was male
Nefertiti played a major role in religious ceremonies to the Aten and appears in most family scenes, more so than other queens.
Redford is working on new evidence for the Karnak Temple which shows Nefertiti played an important political role.
Nefertiti is portrayed as an active ruler, driving her own chariot and worshipping the Aten.
She wears a distinctive crown sometimes the crown of a typical pharaoh.
The Aten always gave both Akhenaten and Nefertiti the sign of life.

Restoration of Amun


Tutankhamun is believed to be the son of Amenhotep and Tiye. This is because of his resemblance to Tiye, reference to Amenhotep as Tutankhamun's father and miniature statues of Amenhotep found in his mortuary temple.
He could also be the son of Akhenaten and Kiya.
Tutankhamun was exposed to both religion; Aten and Amun.
He married Ankhesenpaaten before he was crowned
Crowned at Thebes, therefore Amun gave him the right to rule.
Coronation was held in Thebes, indicates his return to orthodoxy. He said Amun gave him the right to rule. He returned to Akhetaten for another 3 years than moved the capital to Thebes then Memphis.

This young king's reign was time of reconstruction following the devastation of Akhenaten's latter years, and the period following the return to Thebes was marked by a significant increase in artistic and architectural activity.
Tutankhamun was guided by Ay, his regent and Vizier and Horemheb. These people directed his return to orthodoxy. The first step was Tutankhaten and Ankhesenpaaten to change their names and this was EVIDENCE of Amun's return. yet the worship of the Aten continued.
EVIDENCE - hymn to Amun, makes reference to the Aten "sun rays". Amun reopened temples and got more loyalty to the King.
EVIDENCE - Restoration Stela.
provides evidence of how Egypt would return to political and religious orthodoxy. This was found at the temple of Amun at Karnak
Details the state of the land due to Akhenaten's changes, and details Tutankhamun's plans to restore the temples, create statues, particular of Amun and restore the priesthood. Temple of Amun were decorated with scenes of Opet festival closely linked to Amun.
Most important piece of evidence it is said to be written by Tutankhamun when really Horemheb did it. According to the stela, everything had fallen into ruins. The armies had no successes and the god didn't answer the Egyptians prays. There was less control over foreign affairs. It discusses;
Building states to Amun
Restoring neglected temples
establishing new priesthood
possessions and wealth doubled
economy was strengthened and the gods happy
Later Ay and Horemheb took credit for these buildings.

The restoration stela shows;
Tutankhamun connected to the gods and return to polytheism. Amun was "father", he rebuilt temples and reinstated the priesthood. By doing this the gods were pleased. It depicts a clear link to Amun. Also Tutankhamun's adviser probably realized that action had to be taken to restore confidence of the people in their pharaoh, and they way to do this was by restoring the traditional religion.

Foreign Policy
Horemheb was in charge of the army, this strengthened Egypt's control in Palestine and they collected taxes.
Foreign policy saw the strengthening of Egypt's hold over Palestinian vassals under Horemheb's generalship. There may have been an attack on the Hittites that Egypt possibly lost/ Nubia seems to have been kept under control by Huy.
Growing power of the Hittites threatening Egyptian vassals
Redford and Aldred believe Egypt and Assyria joined forces against the Hittites. Egyptians retreated but they didn't record this loss because they had to keep the image of smiting Asiatic.

Death of Tutankhamun
He died suddenly at 18 or 19, it could have been for many reason; hunting military skirmish, murdered by Ay or due to illness.
Death caused a serious problem, no successor Ay convinced Tutankhamun to let him have the throne.
He was a pawn of others
EVIDENCE - Elderly Ay shown "King's eldest son"
Ankhesenamun sent for a son from the Hittites to marry, yet he was murdered on the border because the Egyptians didn't want a foreign king in power.

It has been suggested that he was responsible for Tutankhamun's death. He was certainly the successor though.
Ay took the throne in his 60s and shared it with Ankhesenamun who was 21
EVIDENCE- for this is scarab rings for both of them
Ay was an official during Akhenaten's reign.
Ay's reign was short, 4-5 years.
He continued the restoration of Amunism and Abandoned the most extreme aspects of Atenism. Ay replaces Tutankhamun's name with his own.
He took Horemheb as his co-regent to overcome instability.
Ay's brief reign appears to gave continued the polices of Tutankhamun.

Horemheb's career in the army, he was promoted to Royal lieutenant. he was chief overseer of the army during Ay's reign. Succeeded Ay and there may have been a power struggle between him and Ay.
His accession to the throne can after he claimed he had been vice regency for many years and Amun sanctioned his right to the throne.
He married Mutrodjmet (Nefertiti's sister) it strengthened his claims
After Ay's death he was crowned at Karnak during Opet Festival showing a clear link to Amun.
Gardiner -the Amarna age was defiantly over

Restored law and order and got rid of corruption
Disassociated himself with Atenism, and promoted the view that he was the successor of Amenhotep II (rewriting history)

Edit of reform
EVIDENCE- inscribed on a stela at Karnak
This details bureaucratic corruption and outlines Horemheb's means of overcoming this, including harsh penalties and tours of inspection.
Horemheb toured the country and recorded; corruption in the bureaucracy, exploitation of taxes and abuse of peasantry by soldiers. He promised to fix this;
New men had to uphold the laws
No taxes
Forced soldiers to return stolen property
Introduced penalties
Made regular tours to make sure everything was followed
Because of this Egypt's government ran smoothly again, maat was restored

Destruction of Atenism
Horemheb destroyed everything associated with the Aten cult. He blamed his predecessor for Egypt's bad condition. He started this destruction after his wife's dead. His actions were;
attribute recent buildings to himself
dismantle Amarna builds and Akhenaten's tomb
Dismantle the sun temples
He attacked Ay's tomb and the tombs of officials
Tutankhamun's tomb was left untouched because Tutankhamun brought back the traditional religion, and perhaps Horemheb thought it would be an insult to Amun to destroy Tutankhamun's tomb.
Horemheb ruled for 30 years, his successor was Pramesse, who became heir. He was a top military person. He became Ramesses I and started the 19th Dynasty.
He was so successful in his destruction that the Ramesside King list records Horemheb as the successor of Amenhotep III, attributing him 59 years or reign.

The post Amarna pharaohs recognized the need to return to orthodoxy if Egypt's position of power was to be restored. This restoration was gradual under Tutankhamun and became more extreme under Horemheb.

Horemheb chose Pramese as his successor because he was able , loyal and had a long line of heirs. By the time Prameses came to the throne as Ramese I he was already elderly with grandchildren.
From the beginning of his reign he shared the throne with Seti I
Rameses I only ruled for 16 months and therefore his reign contained no great events.
He initialed a building program at Karnak, beginning to convert the area between the pylons of Amenhotep II and Horemheb into a huge columned hall
He adopted a policy of worshipping many gods, so prevent any one cult gaining precedence, Amun was worshiped as an official god.
He sent Seti I to the north in a show of force, but he didn't at this stage regain lost territory.

Kitchin argues - Seti's aim was to combine examples set by Thutmose II as a conqueror and Amenhotep III as a builder. Also that Seti's name is a combination of the throne names of Thutmose III and Amenhotep III.
Seti embarked on a ambitious building program and military campaigns to demonstrate his legitimacy through his deeds. Seti tried to emulate Thutmose III in the battle field.
Seti needed to legitimize his family to the throne and he did this by a spectacular building program
He also restored names, titles and figures of gods that had been hacked out by Akhenaten
EVIDENCE- reliefs restored by Seti show underlying traces of the earlier figures hacked out by Akhenaten.

Military campaigns
Seti's objective was to conquer Kadesh and Amurru by;
gaining a firm hold of Palestine
gaining control of the seaports on the Phoenician coast
attacking central and northern Syria from the coast.
He undertook this in the first six years of his reign
He put down a Bedouion rebellion and erected a victory stela at Beth-Shan
He also established control over the Phoenician coast. The next three years he extended control, and was ready to attach Amurru, Kadesh and face the Hittites.
At home in Egypt, they were being threatened by the Libyans. Seti dealt with this and was able to return to the north.
Year 5 of 6 he attacked Amurru and Kadesh, gaining control.
Hittite king was not prepared and he signed a treaty, giving Egypt control over Palestine and the coast, to stop Egypt from attacking Hittites.
At Nubia rock inscription show Seti ordered an attack on the nomadic Irem people who were planning raids in Year 8.
Overall the results of Seti's military action were
He showed his military ability
He revived the warrior pharaoh image
He secured Egypt's borders and regained much lost territory
He made Egypt a powerful country once more]

Building Program
Buildings were extensive and high quality, dedicated to different gods.
He attempted to legitimize the rule of the new Ramesside dynasty
He attempted to get his name "recognized" through use of "renewal text" and buildings early in his reign
Shows piety/dedication to the gods. particular shown by the unusual bowing position of the pharaoh in relation to the gods
He usurped buildings of previous pharaohs by replacing their names with his.
Built at Karnak in an attempt to legitimize reign by building in the place where past pharaohs built on an even grander scale
Building program was beneficial to all the gods in an attempt to preserve maat.
Seti's building program included;
a white limestone temple at Abydos
columned hypostyle hall at karnak
summer palace at Avaris
a mortuary temple and tomb at Western Thebes
Embarking on such a large building program required large supplies of gold and stone. Seti sent expeditions to locate these materials.
It appears Seti took personal interest in the conditions of his workers
EVIDENCE - quarry inscription records how Seti increased the rations of quarrymen to allow the work to be easier. He also ordered a new well, as they were working in hot conditions.
Seti may have taken an interest as he came from non royal background.
Seti was assisted in his building by Vizier Nebamun, Paser (vizier of the south) and Amen-em-ope ( viceroy of Nubia)
Temple of Osiris at Abydos
Abydos was a holy site associated with Osiris, it was L shaped, rather than rectangular, it was made of white limestone, it has 7 chapels behind columned hall, had beautiful reliefs of Seti offering to the gods and reliefs of the legend of Osiris.
Seti also wrote an edict to ensure the temple and its estates continued undisturbed. This Temple was finished by Rameses II
Mortuary Temple and Tomb at Western Thebes
This temple was built of white sandstone with cedar doors. His tomb was extremely long and beautifully decorated with quality raised reliefs
Building in lower Egypt
a summer palace at Thebes
added to Temple of Ptah
Added to temple of Re

Seti's Death
Died at age 50
Egypt was prosperous
Well administered
Had reestablished its empire
Had buildings to rival even Amenhotep 's best
The new dynasty had therefore started positively and the pharaoh had reestablished his superhuman image.
Seti's reign was highly successful and through his vast building program he secured his legitimacy and that of a dynasty, Ramesses II was the beneficiary of his fathers legacy.

Rameses II

As crown prince, Ramese early years are well documented
At 10 he was given the title "commander in chief" of the army
14-15 he went on campaigns with Seti, present at capture of Kadesh
In teens he was made prince-regent to ensure succession
Seti set him up with a harem
Chief wife Nefertari, marriage may have been political
She may have been from Theban noble family
she's referred to as "beloved of Mut" which strengthens the connection to Thebes
Her name is reminiscent of Ahmose Nefertari, founding family of 18th Dynasty
Ramese assisted Seti in building program
Ramese II sons appear to have accompanied him on military campaigns, or held priestly offices. Many of these children died before Ramese II and therefore he had 5 different heirs.
e.g Khaemwaset learned history, scribal arts, administered Ptahs estates, restored monuments, helped father's jubilee, died yr 55.

As King
Many Egyptologist called him "the great" because;
cartouches inscribed everywhere
size and number of his buildings
number of offspring
account of kadesh, number of recordings
length of reign, successors he modeled himself on
Later these views change Wilson - "Blatant advertising was used to cover up the failure to attain past glories"
Now views are more balanced; he was a good pharaoh, successful relationship with gods, defends Egypt, maintained order/maat
He came to throne at 25
Had two chief wives (Nefertari and Istnofret) had around 17-27 children
His throne name was Usi-ma-re (strong in right is re)

Rameses and the gods
To ensure prosperity and please the gods Rameses had to;
out do other Pharaohs in the size of his building program
promote all the gods
conduct religious rites and major festivals
These show Rameses service and dedication to the gods

Rameses as defender/warrior
Rameses attempted to defend Egypt from the Hittites, Palestine tribesmen and Nubians
Tightened security in the delta by building fortresses against the Libyans
Made peace with the Hittites and became their ally
The may not have been what other great pharaohs did. But he still was successful. He presented himself as a typical warrior pharaoh, giving a superhuman, personally courageous image
While he provided the expected image, he was not a great military leader like Thutmose III
EVIDENCE- of Ramese's lack of military ability include;
Lack of respect for Seti's treaty
Failed intelligence gathering at Kadesh, which endangered his army
Never captured Kadesh
Foolish in not wearing armor
Wasted effort and resource for 20years in trying to take Syria without success.

In order to recapture former Egyptian territories in western Asia, Rameses II like Thutmose II planned to take one step at a time. Firstly he would retake Amurru, capture Kadesh, then move north beyond Aleppo
Campaign against Kadesh -year 5
"There is no episode in Egyptian history which occupies so much carved space in Egyptian temples"
Kadesh was a strategic location on trade routes.
The Hittites had Iron weapons, which were advanced technologically.
EVIDENCE- Bulletin (official report with reliefs)
EVIDENCE - Poem (heroic role of king)
These could be fanciful, yet the main features of the campaign seem true from the Hittite records
In year 4 Rameses embarked on a Syria campaign against Amurru, after several months the vassals were loyal top Egypt.
The news of this defeat reached the Hittites who started preparing for Egyptian attack.
Year 5 Rameses and four military divisions left for Kadesh.
They encountered Shosu tribesmen which told them the Hittite forces were in Aleppo, without cross examination Rameses forces marched into a trap.
When they learned the true whereabouts fort the Hittites from spies, confusion broke out and emergency measures were taken.
Despite the propaganda in records of Rameses superhuman courage and prowess in averting disaster, the king appears to have shown considerable personal bravery. He seized his coat of mail and jumped onto his chariot and charged at the enemy.
The king was saved by the arrival for the west of a force he had sent to the coast of Amurru.
The Hittite commander pulled back to regroup and Rameses forces took the offensive. Hittite king Muwatallis realized Rameses had the upper hand, he had not anticipated the support of force from west.
Following the Hittites serve looses, Muwatallis sent a peace proposal.
Rameses actually suffered a political defeat, The Hittite king was now in control of Kadesh, and took Amurru in following weeks. Some groups in Palestine saw Egypt's weakness and failed to pay tribute.
Massive advertising campaign
Rameses proceeded to magnify a military setback into stunning personal victory, the fiction details repeated many times on Egyptian and Nubian walls.
It was unthinkable for the Pharaoh to be defeated, and official records focus on the kings superhuman personal bravery, enemy depicted as cowardly scared of Pharaoh.
Rameses self glorification went far beyond anything recorded by previous Pharaohs.

Military improvements
Ramese rebuilt a better army, improved intelligence service, strengthened existing settlements.
Between year 7-8 Ramese and his son retook Upi. and they surpassed Amurru and Kadesh and moved deep into Hittite territory and Ramese cut of Kadesh and Amurru from the Hittite king.
Unfortunately these victories were short lived, they later returned to Hittite alliance, as did conquered Syria

Diplomatic relations
Year 18, there was a conflict for next Hittite king between Hattusil and Mursil. Mursil was sent into exile and he ended up in Egypt. Rameses refused to hand him over.
Hattusil was facing threat from Assyrians forces.
A treaty was signed with Egypt.
EVIDENCE - stelae in Temple of Karnak
EVIDENCE - clay tablet found in Hittite capital
Terms of treaty
Non aggression pact
Extradition of fugitives seeking asylum
assistance if a third party attack.
because of the treaty Ramese could no longer capture Kadesh, increasing his warrior pharaoh image, therefore he focused the second half of his reign on diplomatic relations, building programs and honoring the gods.
Marriage links to Hittite
Hattusil proposed a marriage between his daughter and Rameses, she was accompanied by a magnificent dowry "splendid gifts", which Rameses was more interested in. The Princess became "kings great wife" Matnefrure
EVIDENCE - marriage inscription on temples at Karnak
This marriage was juts another of Rameses victories.
There were also visits by the Hittite price, to Egyptian court.

Building Program
Rameses building program has sheer colossal size and number of monuments.
His name is found on more buildings throughout Egypt and Nubia than any other pharaoh in Egyptian history. However he also claimed to buildings of other kings.
Some of his building achievements include;
The Ramesseum - mortuary temple
Rameses temple at Abydos
Twin temples at Abu Simbel in Nubia
Completion of Seti's mortuary temple
Rameses II built on a colossal scale. he had gigantic statues of himself at Abu Simbel 21metres high.
His monuments unlike those of Amenhotep III "attempted to impress by overpowering size, without concern for artistic quality".
Compared to the delicate reliefs by his father at the Abydos temple, Rameses were crude. He used sunken, instead of raised reliefs
His desire for speedy results forced him to ransack many monuments for previous pharaohs to obtain large building blocks. The last traces of Akhenaten's reign were removed.
Many of Rameses temples were traditional in their layout but introduced some changes. Example if the complex at Luxor built by Amenhotep II, he changed the axis of the temple.
In his Mortuary Temple he replaced the traditional broad open court with huge pylon entrance.
To emphasize the divine status of the king, Rameses erected colossal statues of himself outside each temple pylon. The staues of Nefertari at Abu Simbel are as large as her husbands and indicate the religious status of the queen.
Rameses also dedicated his temples to a large number of gods, re Amun, Seth, Hathor.
Because of the length of Rameses reign (67 years), a number of men worked on his monuments
Paser - southern Vizier
Panhesy and Suty - chiefs of the treasury
Bakenkons - High priest of Amun

New Capital Pi-Ramese
For a number of personal, diplomatic and religious reasons Rameses decided to extend the summer palace of Seti in Avaris into a new capital city
This was because Ramese family came from around Avaris
The king wants a centre to deal with Egypt's Asiatic territory
The dampness of the delta region has meant many of the buildings at Pi-Rameses have disappears. However remains suggest a beautiful city with mudbrick walls, glazed titles.
The city comprised of Military barracks, temples to gods, jubilee hall for Rameses 14 sed festivals and administration buildings.

Maintained order
Incredible building program indicated prosperity and evidence points to a huge amount of activity during the reign
Administration was strong "His laws are firm in the administration of the regulations of the ancestors" Did like previous Pharaohs
Looked after his workers
Since Egypt was prosperous, the people would have seen Ramese II as successful in his role.

At Thebes
Celebrated Opet festival
Appointed high Priest of Amun
Started mortuary temple "Ramesseum"
Continued building
Started work on new capital "Pi Ramese"
Year 4 he was ready to embark on military campaigns

At this time Nefertari was with him. She played a role in the high priest of Amun's appointment and is shown appealing to the gods (usually done by the kings) depicting her importance
Chief consort until yr 24, when she is no longer mentioned.
She appears beside him on state and religious occasions
Yr 1 she accompanied him to Abydos, Seti's burial
Yr 3 she is shown on a monumental scale
She is known to have sent official letters and gifts to Hittite queens in yr 21
She shared a small temple with Tuya (Ramese's mum) in the valley of the queens, is finest yet discovered.

Hayes - says that Rameses wasn't the great on the battlefield, or otherwise. Egypt still prospered, therfore maybe he wasn't the great but still good

Kitchin - Rameses probably was great, not the greatest but as good example of a Pharaoh. Egypt was dominant for a long time.

Eliza B

Oct 15, 2003
Akhenaten was the tenth ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty, and his reign bought about enormous innovation and change regarding religion and the politics of the New Kingdom Egypt. Akhenaten brought about a religious revolution, that extinguished traditional religion and ultimately affected every other part of Egyptian life. Due to religious alterations, a large building program was carried out in the new capital of Akhetaten. This was so Akhenaten and his people could further worship the Aten in a place of religious innocence. Within foreign affairs, Akhenatens government experienced many internal problems and it seems that Akhenaten appeared impassive or reluctant to solve them. Little is known about Akhenatens military activity, but it is believed during year 12 of his reign, he embarked on a military campaign to Nubia. The lack of military activity and foreign problems could have been a result of Akhenatens focus on religious changes.

Important factor that contributed to change was the transition from the traditional polytheism to monotheism religion. The Aten (sun disc) became worshiped as the central god.
Some probable reasons for change could have been, the priesthoods political and financial influence over the state, that traditional religion was too Egypt centered, and a new religion may have been intended to give new power to the Pharaoh over the priesthood.
Some historians state that Akhenaten was a great visionary who wanted to change everything.
Tuthill (in particular) claims these changes occurred gradually, in response to a political situation; the growing power of the Amun Priesthood. Redford also supports this claim adding that worship of the Aten had been building up for generations.
While Atenism may have been seen as an entirely new, revolutionary religion, the concept of the Aten had existed in Egyptian religion as far back as the Old Kingdom. After Akhenaten became Pharaoh, he began to promote a cult of the god Aten in Thebes, by building temples to this deity near Amun-Re temples at Karnak. However, he later took one step further and inflicted a form of monetarism on Egypt, forcing the people to worship the Aten and removing other deities.
Mertz has argued that Akhenaten may have been influenced by his family members. Within Akhenatens family and predecessors, there was an inclination towards sun-worship. An example of this is during Thutmose IVs reign, where he attributed some of his success in battle to the Aten. In the reign of Amenhotep III (Akhenatens father) the Aten was frequently depicted; his boat sailed on an artificial lake near his palace, dedicated to the Aten.
Both these points seem credible, as the evidence indicates that Akhenaten did not bring about radical change, but further emphasized one that already existed.

The first signs of Akhenatens, (or Amenhotep IV at the time) dedication to religion came after the first months of his reign, when he announced that the Aten was a living god, represented as light radiating from the sun disc.
In his second or third year major changes occurred when he broke the traditional images of gods and replaced them with the icon of the sun disc; enclosing the Atens name in a cartouche.
He married Nefertiti before he came to the throne.
Later the Aten was declared as supreme god, to be intimately associated with Akhenaten, thus emphasizing the kings divine status.
EVIDENCE- comes from the Hymn to the Aten.
This inscription was written on behalf of Akhenaten, and it details how the Aten was the creator of all life.
Redford maintains that the Aten was a god lacking human qualities, No text tells us that he hears the cry of the poor man". This is why the common Egyptians could not relate to the Aten.
Akhetaten built his new political and religious capital half way between Memphis and Thebes. Akhenaten announced his new city of Akhetaten (a religiously untouched city), dedicated to the Aten during his 5th to 8th year.
He also changed his name from Amenhotep IV to Akhenaten. Akhenatens changes during his 9th year meant that there was almost nothing left of traditional worship, a symbol replaced all other gods, processional festivals halted and Akhenaten was the only person who could directly communicate with the Aten, meaning there was no longer any need for priests.
For perhaps political or economic reasons, all rival gods were banned and even inscriptions to polytheism were defaced to for the Aten to replace. Evidence for this comes from fragments of names where the Amun part is vandalized but the Re element remains intact. All of this affected the New Kingdom temples, art, economy, and the social life of Egyptians.

Building Program
Due to this religious reform, Akhenaten embarked on a huge building program, when he moved the capital from Thebes to his new city of Akhenaten, dedicated to the Aten. It is thought that Akhenaten founded a new capital during his 5th year because he was politically motivated to choose another site with no existing religious associations. Others say he wanted to set up a city where people could have processions to worship Akhenaten.
EVIDENCE -to suggest much opposition to this decision to move the capital, as Akhenaten recorded even though it be more evil than what I heard in the 4th year, implying this evil was people opposing the decision to abandon Thebes.
The temple architecture, decoration, and rituals within this new city were altered to suit the Aten. The sun temples built by Akhenaten followed the same architectural form and it appears that they were oriented to the rising sun. They were enormous, elaborate and highly decorated using sunken relief rather than the favored, raised relief.
EVIDENCE- of a sun temple complex is Gempaaten.
Decorating of the Aten temples followed themes; the offering ritual and the Sed festival and other royal activities.
EVIDENCE- of ritual offering can be seen in the Mansion of Ben-ben at Karnak, where it shows Nefertiti raising her arms to the Aten.

Also, during Akhenaten's reign, his religious turnover contributed to a new artistic style. The style he used has been called both naturalistic and expressionistic.
Many images of Akhenaten and Nefertiti worshipping the Aten emerged from this period. The content of Amarna period imagery was more relaxed and informal than that of any other period in Egyptian history, making the pharaoh and his family seem a bit more human than their predecessors and successors.
Aldreds assessment of Akhenatens character seems plausible, by claiming he was The good ruler who loves mankind because this is how he was depicted in Amarna art.
EVIDENCE- of this is on a stelae showing Akhenaten kissing his child.

Funerary Practices
Funerary practices changed during Akhenatens reign, when the Aten came in, other funerary beliefs were eliminated. Continuity remained in once aspect of burial practices; mummification. However, rituals were under developed during Atenism as Akhenaten had banned the cult of Osiris. Its seems that under Akhenatens reign, the commoner had to worship the king for a good afterlife. They could no longer be welcomed into the afterlife by Osiris. This had a large impact on Egyptian people, as they had nothing to look forward to in the afterlife.

Within Egyptian society, the systems of religion, politics and economy were all integrated. This meant that when Akhenaten changed the religion and capital, the economy was adversely affected.
It is possible that when Akhenaten closed all the Amun temples he had economic motives. The Amun priesthood was very wealthy, perhaps he believed this money could fund his new building program in Akhetaten. Also since Akhenaten did not replace these temples the economy started to break down which lead to corruption.

Foreign Affairs
It appears that Akhenaten was losing control of the outlying areas of the Egyptian Empire.
EVIDENCE - Amarna Letters, diplomatic correspondence from outlying governors to the Pharaoh. They provide a look at diplomacy that was used during Akhenatens reign. It is likely that Akhenaten believed his control over the empire to be so solid that no major intervention was required.
The letters show there was considerable unrest and squabbling between the near eastern towns. Some were threatened by the Hittites. These letters depicts Akhenaten's lack of interest in the slow invasion and conquest of Egyptian vassals. The Hittites took over the Mitanni and Syria
However, Akhenaten still did not act to help the cities pleading for help in the North. There is a lack of evidence supporting Akhenatens foreign military campaigns; which implies little military activity happened. However it appears that Akhenaten did hold a campaign in Nubia during his 12th year as Pharaoh. Thutmose, viceroy of Kush led this expedition and it was a victory; evidence to support this campaign can be found on a stela in Buhen. It is apparent that he also held the army in high esteem
EVIDENCE - of this is featured in major reliefs. Other evidence is shown in reliefs where Akhenaten is seen wearing the khepresh the crown of a warrior pharaoh.

The opinion that the king was so involved with his new religion, and new city, that focus on foreign relations and military campaigns was diverted, appears to be plausible. Perhaps Akhenaten was a pacifist, however it seems more plausible that his communication system was ineffective and he was unaware of the situations. Because of this, Egyptian control over Syria and Palestine was lost, and Akhenatens empire crumbled.

Therefore, it seems most plausible that the reign of Akhenaten, filled with political and religious upheaval altered many other parts of the New Kingdom.
A giant building program was brought about in Akhetaten devoted to the Aten, which was abandoned after Akhenatens reign. This was funded by tribute from the dissembled Amun cult.
Strange new artistic styles changed the way Egyptians saw their gods and rulers. The traditional funerary practices were abolished to make way for a new monotheism god, shattering the common Egyptians hopes for an afterlife.
In addition, the economy in Thebes started to crumble from Akhenatens changing of the capital. Ultimately the outer empire of Egypt was lost due to lack of foreign affairs and military power.
Therefore Akhenatens religious revolution failed for many reason; people couldnt easily forget their old gods, the worship of the Aten never became widespread, the priests considered the religious revolution as heretical and the art and manners associated with the Amarna religion were seen as anti cultural by traditionalists. Therefore, perhaps Akhenatens political and religious changes were too modern for the Egyptians, consequently they were not readily accepted. This may have caused him to focus more on religion and politics, rather than maintaining or expanding his empire like previous pharaohs. Akhenaten was definitely a controversial figure, who was not at all typical of the Egyptian Pharaohs.

Legacy of Akhenaten
During the years after Akhenaten's reign the traditional cult of Amun was reinstated.
Orthodoxy returned, probably by Ay, not Tutankhamun who didn't has the wisdom to change it and if he did it was due to influence from Ay and Horemheb.
Akhetaten was probably still occupied during Tutankhamun's reign and the Aten cult not abandoned but coexisted with Amun.
EVIDENCE - for this is the Aten ion Tutankhamun's throne.
Horemheb began systematic destruction of Akhenaten monuments and continued his policy of restoring the traditional cult. During his reign the Aten cult non longer was dominant. The Ramesside Kings continued the destruction of Akhenaten's monuments.
During the 19th Dynasty, Amun was restored as the chief god of Egypt. Although many more gods were promoted, no one god would rise up again. Other pharaohs learnt a political lesson from Akhenaten's focus on one cult.
The bad reaction to Akhenaten's reign was shown during the Ramesside Kings where Horemheb's name was shown immediately after Amenhotep III. Akhenaten's immediate successors were condemned
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Eliza B

Oct 15, 2003
Amenhotep III
He reaped the benefits from the conquests of his predecessor, Thutmose II, Amenhotep II and Thutmose IV. Amenhotep III ruled his empire through diplomacy rather than force. he communicated and exchanged gifts with the great kings of Babylon. Incredible wealth poured into Egypt which enabled him to initiate a great building program. He dedicated vast wealth to the god Amun. Amenhotep II built temples at Karnak and Luxor. It was a time of artistic flowering, court life was fashionable and elegant. He was supported by his great royal wife Tiye who also has an influence on the government of Egypt.

Came from established line of powerful kings, inherited a stable country
Son of Thutmose IV and Queen Mutemweya. Thutmose IV died when Amenhotep was only 12. Mutemweya probably acted as regent. Amenhotep had a close relationship with his mother.
Strong influential queen Tiye, non royal background.
After Amenhotep's accession to throne, part of his coronation ceremony was to marry Tiye. This event has commemorative Scarabs made.
Breasted "This was the first time a Queen's name was inserted into the royal titulary"
Many historians emphasized that marriage scarabs show Tiyes non royal background
Amenhotep honored Tiyes parents by allowing them to be buried in richly endowed tomb in the valley of the kings. Queen Tiye portrayed as having exotic appearance which leads historians to believe her family came from Nubia. Amenhotep was rarely represented without Tiye. She was often depicted on the same level as her husband.
Amenhotep also trusted her imput in state matters. Amenhotep publicly honored Tiye who was described "lady of delight". Year 11 he constructed a pleasure lake for Tiye in her city of Djaruka. It is believed they had 7 children, the heir died and Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) became heir.
EVIDENCE - from the Amarna Letters says Tiye played an active role in diplomatic affairs. Foreign rulers directly wrote to her. When Amenhotep died the Mitanni king wrote to Tiye requesting Egypt and their good relations stay the same indicating respect for Tiye.
Children include; Sitamun, Baketaten, Amenhotep IV
Married numerous foreign princesses

Status of the King
Celebrated 3 jubilees which suggest a long peaceful reign
Shown as sportsman, typical warrior pharaoh despite the lack of wars
Diplomatic marriages hint at Egypt being dominate partner
Presented the pharaohs image was an important task
Image of a warrior pharaoh was the most important. Amenhotep presented himself in reliefs as " Superhuman, all conquering warrior king"
Also focussed on the hunter image as evident from commemorative scarabs. These scarabs portrayed Amenhotep to the world.
In the New kingdom it was important to expand borders, during his reign "extending the borders of Egypt was over". Therefore Amenhotep couldn't present this "warrior pharaoh" image the way his predecessors did.
This is why he exaggerated some campaigns e.g. 5th years raids in southern Egypt were turned into a giant defeat.

Marriage scarabs describe him as "smitter of Asiatics"
Victory tablets in mortuary temple
Stela, first cataract depicts Amenhotep killing Nubians
Therefore, Amenhotep never actually lead an army to smite enemies, but it was important that he keep that image as it maintains maat.

Foreign Policy
International diplomacy was carried out
EVIDENCE- Amarna letters show marriages and contact between kings
It was a relationship between Amenhotep and "brother kings". These treaties of friendship provided for assistance against attack by a third party, but forbade a vassal ruler to support an attack against the king Amenhotep.
Amenhotep III ruled his empire from a position of great advantage. the battles had been won, the treaties and alliances made and the administration of the empire established before he came to throne. His role was to maintain and protect what already existed.
Although there were no military campaigns, Amenhotep maintained an army and forts and garrisons throughout the empire
No more need for war, empire controlled through diplomacy - marriage, letters, gifts
Egypt seems dominant partner, no princesses sent from Egypt
Complacency over foreign affairs - rising of the Hittites
Amenhotep governed his empire through a policy of diplomacy
Communicated by letter to great kings; Mitanni, Babylon
negotiated alliances with rulers
Added foreign princess to royal harem
exchanged gifts with brother kings
Employed highly trusted envoys to travel to east
Lettered were used by vassal princes, extensive flattery, and complaints. This communication negotiated marriages.
Diplomatic marriages were done for two reasons
maintain friendly relations
obtaining luxury goods
Foreign princesses were sent to Egypt with rich dowry. The regular exchange of gifts between kings was also expected. No records suggest Egyptian princesses were given to foreign kings
"Never has the daughter of an Egyptian King been given to anyone."
Harem was the women Amenhotep married for diplomatic reasons, yet this didn't affect Tiyes status. Large sums of gold was handed over from foreign kings. A full harem increased Amenhotep's power and status.
It was not until the end of his reign that the Hittite King Suppiluliumash began to challenge the established balance of power. Future Pharaohs had to deal with the full force of this new conqueror.
Foreign policy bought more foreigners and trade to Egypt. From this Egyptians learned skills of foreign artisans, craft influence from the east.

It appears Amenhotep ran a well governed Egypt. The bureaucracy ran smoothly under the supervision of the viziers, public works were maintained and a massive building program undertaken
Brilliant officials helped maintain the countries status e.g. Ramose, Amenhotep son Hapu. Large numbers of chief officials came from lower Egypt. First part of his reign was in the capital of Memphis the moved to Thebes and officials accompanied him. Vizier Ramose was responsible for the day to day running of the vast palace complex. Scribe of recruits was Amenhotep son of Hapu, who was in charge of all countries manpower. High priest of Amun was Ptahmose he was vizier before becoming high priest.
The influence and wealth of these officials is reflected in the size and richness of their tombs

Established trade/tribute system meant large incoming wealth from western Asia, Nubia, Aegean
His rule provided almost 40 years of peace and at the same time the Egyptians enjoyed the benefits from earlier conquests; taxes, tribute, slaves and labour force.
EVIDENCE from tombs gives an impression of the great prosperity achieved during Amenhotep's reign

Building Program
Amenhotep III's building program, surpassed that of any of his predecessors in both quantity and quality. He began his building program early in his reign.
Shows wealth, power and control to embark on such extensive building programs
Shows dedication to Amun, Thebes and other gods
e.g Karnak pylon, Malkata Palace, Mortuary Temple, Temple of Luxor
Amenhotep III reign was the height of prosperity due to trade and tribute boom. This enabled Amenhotep to develop one of the greatest building programs.
Major features
Enormous size and massive sanctuary
Lavish rich materials
quality in design and workmanship
Temple of Luxor
Regarded as greatest building achievement. Designed by Suti and Hor for Opet festival the temple is built out of sandstone, decorated with gold. The building was unfinished at the end of Amenhotep's reign.
Enormous court
Inner sanctuary, statues of Amun
Reliefs depicting divine birth of Amenhotep III
Third pylon at Karnak
Amenhotep III created great gateways built for the temple of Amun at Karnak. He also built canals from the Nile that were 20 years later covered by Seti and Ramesses

Amenhotep Mortuary Temple
Regarded as being the most impressive temple ever built in western Thebes. Two enormous statues of the king himself stood over the entrance.
EVIDENCE -inscription from the building stela has a description of its splendor and wealth.
Malkata Palace
When he moved his residence from Memphis to Thebes he built a new palace on the west bank of the Nile. It was a vast complex stretching 32 hectares. The buildings were one of three storeys, made from mud brick
Amenhotep emphasized his relationship with the gods to ensure their protection in the next life, he honoured them trough monuments benefactions.

Arts and crafts
High standard of excellence, high quality of materials, and workmanship
shows imagination/beauty
shows peaceful country that allowed for artistic development
New style of art appearing suggests intellectual development, perhaps made possible by peace/prosperity
Amenhotep's reign reached "zenith of magnificence" as the borders secured the kingship could flourish in artistic greatness. There were two forms of art; traditional and naturalism. Naturalism in art appeared in statues, tomb reliefs and jewelry. It was not at exaggerated as the Amarna Period.

Suggestions of problems
No force lead to complacency over foreign affairs and allowed the rise of northern powers
Promotion of the Aten may indicate problems. Aten is a link to earlier kings who has absolute power. Perhaps the power of the Amun priesthood was threatening the kings power. Amenhotep showed devotion to Amun, yet began to promote the sun god Aten "dazzling sun disc". Maybe this was diminish the power of the Amun Priesthood.
Image of Amenhotep as fat, lethargic, while this suggests a prosperous reign, it may not have been the image expected of a Pharaoh.

When Amenhotep III died he took with him an Egypt of political and religious certainties, a state that had regained strength and respect at home and abroad.

Redford "Amenhotep III and the Egypt he ruled never had been, nor would again, in such a position of absolute power in the world"

Grimal "When Amenhotep died he took with him an Egypt of political and religious certainties, as state that had regained strength and respect at home and a broad"


New Member
Mar 8, 2004
For this topic what you mainly need to know is Amenhotep III, Akhenaten (not too much because he is also a personality and it is unlikely you will have to write solely on him) Seti I and Ramesses II. Then know a few more of the major dot points.


no, you certainly need to know the whole lot. You can't rely on knowing certain parts of egypt, you can do it with Rome (and I'm assuming sparta etc), but not egypt.


New Member
Jun 5, 2005
Whoa ! eliza B how long did it take to type all that up lol..



New Member
Jul 9, 2005
Hunter region
what is the easiest way to study for year 12 ancient history? there is so much to know it is overwhelming and hard to summarise and remember...


floss1988 said:
what is the easiest way to study for year 12 ancient history? there is so much to know it is overwhelming and hard to summarise and remember...
Ooh, that's such a tricky question. I think learning quotations in isolation is dangerous, when it's better to learn a concept and attach a quotation/paraphrase with it.

That way, you're thinking of the actual idea (say, Ramses' building program being poor) rather than a quotation (say, 'the standard of building was sub-par').

hula girl

New Member
Jul 29, 2005
i think Eliza B deserves some sort of medal if she's still around
thanks buddy!


Sexy Member
May 28, 2006
i agree thats bloody brilliant!
wow if you look at the dates, there's like a comment or two posted every year, obviously this is a happening thread...


Aug 17, 2006
Just wanted to point out that you should've posted these notes in the Ancient History resources section....unless you have already.

I'm suprised no-one has pointed that out yet...


S1M0 said:
Just wanted to point out that you should've posted these notes in the Ancient History resources section....unless you have already.

I'm suprised no-one has pointed that out yet...
If you look through all the subforums, you'll see general notes.

The resources section is for more substantial notes.
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yeahh jann. xx
Mar 25, 2007
thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou.

Is this basically everything you need to know for the topic? I have my trials coming up and im doing this as Cleopatra VII.



New Member
Jan 28, 2007
thankyou so much you're a ledgend i have the world's crappiest ancient teacher she dosen't know squat


New Member
Mar 31, 2007
Eliza B, i lurve you!
what uve done is rly kind, deserve bnd 6!


New Member
Jul 23, 2008
i woudlnt count on not needing to know akhenaten as a pharaoh if your doing Egypt, as i got a quetion on akhenaten in that section for my trial even though we do him as a personality aswell!!
Just a heads up, id try and know all pharaohs because they could ask any of them!


ken-doll said:
i woudlnt count on not needing to know akhenaten as a pharaoh if your doing Egypt, as i got a quetion on akhenaten in that section for my trial even though we do him as a personality aswell!!
Just a heads up, id try and know all pharaohs because they could ask any of them!
Agreed. In one of the years closely before mine (2004), they asked about the military campaigns of Horemheb. One of the guys at my school was one of the only people in the state to chose the question, and aced it. So it just shows you to cover everything. :)


New Member
Jul 28, 2009
i think Eliza B deserves some sort of medal if she's still around
thanks buddy!
Wow, Eliza thankyou heapssss.....:music:
You made my life soOo much easier....
Good on all ya smartass people 4 doin this 4 us...

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