Amenhotep III

 

 

 

 

 

Thutmose IV’s son Amenhotep III (ruled 1390–53 bce) acceded to the throne at about the age of 12. Amenhotep III's own chief queen, who he married in year two of his reign, was not of royal blood, but came from a very substantial family. She was Tiy, the daughter of Yuya and his wifeTuya who owned vast holdings in the Delta. Yuya himself was a powerful military leader. Their tomb, numbered KV46 in the Valley of the Kings, is well known.

 

 

 
Tuya, mother of Amenhotep III's wife, Tiye
   

 

 

Earlier in the dynasty military men had served as royal tutors, but Tiy’s father was a commander of the chariotry, and through this link the royal line became even more directly influenced by the military. In his fifth year Amenhotep III claimed a victory over Cushite rebels, but the viceroy of Cush, the southern portion of Nubia, probably actually led the troops. The campaign may have led into the Butāna, west of the ʿAṭbarah River, farther south than any previous Egyptian military expedition had gone. Several temples erected under Amenhotep III in Upper Nubia between the Second and Third cataracts attest to the importance of the region.

Peaceful relations prevailed with Asia, where control of Egypt’s vassals was successfully maintained. A commemorative scarab from the king’s 10th year announced the arrival in Egypt of the Mitannian princess Gilukhepa, along with 317 women; thus, another diplomatic marriage helped maintain friendly relations between Egypt and its former foe. Another Mitannian princess was later received into Amenhotep III’s harem, and during his final illness the Hurrian goddess Ishtar of Nineveh was sent to his aid. At the expense of older bureaucratic families and the principle of inheritance of office, military men acquired high posts in the civil administration. Most influential was the aged scribe and commander of the elite troops, Amenhotep, son of Hapu, whose reputation as a sage survived into the Ptolemaic period.

Amenhotep III sponsored building on a colossal scale, especially in the Theban area. At Karnak he erected the huge third pylon, and at Luxor he dedicated a magnificent new temple to Amon. The king’s own mortuary temple in western Thebes was unrivaled in its size; little remains of it today, but its famous Colossi of Memnon testify to its proportions. He also built a huge harbour and palace complex nearby. Some colossal statues served as objects of public veneration, before which men could appeal to the king’s ka, which represented the transcendent aspect of kingship. In Karnak, statues of Amenhotep, son of Hapu, were placed to act as intermediaries between supplicants and the gods.

Amenhotep III’s last years were spent in ill health. To judge from his mummy and less formal representations of him from Amarna, he was obese when, in his 38th regnal year, he died and was succeeded by his son Amenhotep IV (ruled 1353–36 bce), the most controversial of all the kings of Egypt - Amenhotep IV (Akhenaton).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of painting of Amenhotep III in Chamber E north wall of his tomb in the "Valley of the Kings."

 

 

 

Colossal Statue of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye

This colossal statue of Amenhotep III and Tiye is a group statue of Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III, his Royal Wife Tiye, and three of their daughters. It is the largest known Ancient Egyptian family group ever carved. The almond-shaped eyes and arched eyebrows of the figures are of typical late 18th dynasty style.

Amenhotep III wears the “nemes headdress” with the cobra, a false beard and a kilt and he is resting both his hands on his knees. Queen Tiye is sitting on his left, with her right arm placed around her husband’s waist. Her height is equal to that of the pharaoh, which shows her prominent status. She wears an ankle-length, close-fitting dress and a big wig with a vulture headdress.

The three smaller figures depict the three of their daughters. One of the Princess is standing in the center between her parent’s legs and is depicted as a grown woman, in a close-fitting dress and a full wig with modius and plumes. To the far left of Amenhotep’s legs stands the figure of a younger daughter, while to the far right of Tiye’s legs stands another princess. The two Princesses on the sides of the sculpture are both damaged and not visible in the picture above.

The statue originally stood in Medinet Habu, West Thebes; and today it is the centerpiece of the main hall of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

 

 

 

 
Skull of
  Amenhotep III

 

 

 

Mummy and inner coffin of Amenhotep III

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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