Amenhotep III

A MASTER OF DIPLOMACY

Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BC) was Egypt’s 18th Dynasty’s ninth ruler. When he ascended to the kingdom. He developed into a master of diplomacy, putting many countries in his debt with expensive gold things so that they would be compelled to yield to his wishes, which they did on a regular basis.

Amenhotep III

Thutmose IV, Amenhotep’s father, bequeathed his son an empire of enormous size, money, and power. “Amenhotep III was born into a world where Egypt reigned supreme,” writes Egyptologist Zahi Hawass. It had riches in its coffers, and its vassals bowed down to the powerful kings of the Two Lands” ). He ascended to the kingdom at the age of twelve and married Tiye in a royal wedding. Amenhotep’s relationship with his wife was marked by her elevation to the status of Great Royal Wife shortly after their marriage, an honour that Amenhotep’s mother, Mutemwiya, had never received and which practically indicated that Tiye outranked the king’s mother in courtly issues.

Amenhotep III

His generosity to nice rulers became well-known, and he had prosperous diplomatic connections with the neighbouring nations. He was also known as a fantastic hunter and sportsman, boasting in an inscription that “the total number of lions slain by His Majesty with his personal arrows, from the first to the tenth yr. [of his reign] was 102 wild lions.” Furthermore, Amenhotep III developed into a capable maritime commander who “in all probability fought, or supervised his army commanders, in a single commercial expedition in Nubia, and he had inscriptions carved to commemorate that journey”.

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Amenhotep iii was a master of diplomacy, sending lavish gifts of gold to other nations so they would bend to his wishes, which they invariably did.

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Amenhotep and Tiye with one of their daughters

Amenhotep III and Tiye

Tiye was not of royal lineage, but she came from a family of strong nobles, and Amenhotep III married her. Her father, Yuya, was a strong military leader, and her brother, Anen, was the Chancellor of Lower Egypt, as well as the “Second Prophet of Amun,” “sem-priest of Heliopolis,” and “Divine Father,” among other titles. Tiye would be Amenhotep’s Great Royal Wife during his reign. Several memorial scarabs were commissioned and gifted during Amenhotep’s reign. With the “marriage scarabs,” Amenhotep III declared his divine sovereignty and the legitimacy of his wife. Amenhotep IV and Crown Prince Thutmose would be Amenhotep’s children from his marriage to Tiye.

Amenhotep III

Reign

Egypt began to export its culture and commodities throughout the Mediterranean and Near East under the reign of Amenhotep III. He was in constant contact with the Babylonians, Mitanni, and Arzawa, and foreign place names (especially those from mainland Greece) began to appear more often in inscriptions. The Amarna Letters repository contains examples of his diplomatic letters with the monarchs of Assyria, Mitanni, Babylon, and Hatti.

The Amarna Letters

Letters to Amenhotep III reveal that his neighbours frequently requested money and other presents for example, letters from Tushratta, King of Mitanni and Yabitiri, Governor of Joppa and Gaza. The letter in one of them relates to Amenhotep’s unwillingness to provide one of his daughters as a spouse. This denial would have been smart since it may have given the foreign king or his progeny with the Egyptian princess a claim to Egypt’s throne, but it also reflects Egypt’s status in the ancient world, as the Babylonians were not a weak force.

Amenhotep III

Construction projects

During his reign, Amenhotep III conducted a number of large-scale construction projects. He nearly totally rebuilt the temple of Amun in Karnak, removing the peristyle court in front of the Fourth Pylon and utilising the masonry as filling for the new Third Pylon on the east-west axis, establishing a new entrance to the temple complex. In the centre of the new courtyard, he built two rows of columns with open papyrus caps. At the south end of Karnak, he began construction on the Tenth Pylon. This gateway led to a new entry for the goddess Mut’s temple.

Temple de Louxor_ Colonnade d'Amenhotep III

There’s also evidence that he began construction on a new temple for this Goddess. He erected a shrine devoted to Maat in the north of Karnak and a temple dedicated to the sun deity in the east.
He built a new shrine to Amun near the Luxor Temple, complete with a splendid colonnaded court created by the architect Amenhotep son of Hapu. He erected a temple dedicated to Sobek at Sumenu, near Armant, south of Thebes. This temple is said to have served as a breeding place and habitat for precious temple crocodiles.
He also erected temples and shrines at Hebenu and Hermopolis “dedicated to Thoth,” in Memphis, where he built a temple to Ptah, at Elephantine, Elkab, Bubastis, Athribis, Letopolis, and Heliopolis, and at Elephantine, Elkab, Bubastis, Athribis, Letopolis, and Heliopolis.

Colossi of Memnon

He built his funerary temple on the West Bank, across the water from Thebes, and it was to become the greatest of all the royal temples. Unfortunately, it was erected too near to the floodplains and was entirely wrecked by the Nineteenth Dynasty, with much of the stone being reused in other constructions. The famed “Colossi of Memnon,” as they were dubbed by the Greeks, are all that remains. His Malkata palace was likewise located in the West Bank.
Although little of this palace has survived, there is evidence that it was once adorned in exquisite murals portraying natural settings. Along with his mansion, he created a magnificent port. Amenhotep III erected a painted mud brick Heb Sed at Kom el-Samak, further south on the West Bank.

Tomb of Amenhotep III

Death and burial

Year 38, which occurs on wine jar-label dockets from Malkata, is Amenhotep’s highest confirmed regnal date. He might have lived into an undocumented Year 39, dying just before the wine harvest. Amenhotep III is depicted as an obviously feeble and unwell man in reliefs from the wall of the temple of Soleb in Nubia and scenes from the Theban tomb of Kheruef, Steward of the King’s Great Wife, Tiye. Scientists say he developed arthritis and got heavy in his latter years. Furthermore, a forensic study of his mummies reveals that, due to his damaged and cavity-pitted teeth, he was undoubtedly in continual discomfort throughout his final years. According to an analysis of his mummy by Australian anatomist Grafton Elliot Smith.

Amenhotep III

The mummy demonstrates an extremely significant usage of subcutaneous filling to make the mummy seem more realistic during the 18th dynasty. Amenhotep III was buried in the WV 22 tomb in the Valley of the Kings, outside of Thebes. The tomb is the biggest in the West Valley of the Kings, with two side chambers for Tiye and Sitamun, his Great Royal Wives. However, neither woman appears to have been buried there. During the reign of Smendes, Amenhotep’s mummy was relocated.
In April 2021, his mummy, together with that of 17 other kings and four queens, was transferred from the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in an event known as the Pharaohs’ Golden Parade.

F.A.Q

What is Amenhotep III famous for?

Amenhotep III erected several monuments to himself and the gods during his reign as pharaoh. The Temple of Luxor at Thebes is perhaps his most famous structure. This temple became one of Egypt’s most opulent and well-known structures. Amenhotep also erected a slew of sculptures of himself, notably the Memnon Colossi.

How did Amenhotep III contribute to the economy of Egypt?

Thutmose III’s great grandson was Amenhotep III. He ruled for over forty years at a time when Egypt was at its pinnacle of power. He lived a life of luxury, erecting enormous temples and sculptures. Egypt’s economy was growing, thanks to solid foreign commerce and a sufficient supply of gold from the mines.

How long was Amenhotep III a pharaoh?

During the 18th Dynasty, Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC) reigned for around 39 years.

Has Amenhotep III tomb been found?

Amenhotep III was buried in Tomb WV22, sometimes known as KV22, in the Western arm of the Valley of the Kings.

 

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