The Golden Age of Egypt: High Culture, Architecture, Archeology and Art - Dynasties XVIII - XX-African Historiography
Pharaoh And King Menkaura
Looking At Egypian History From An African-Centered Perspective
The XVIIIth Dynasty
To Understand Kemetic(Egyptian) or Sais, or Alkebulan's history, is to understand African history and the place of Waset in it, is important to keep two things clearly in mind. Also, for Africans to reclaim Egyptian History, Art and Architecture, Archeology and society, is to give credence to History of Africa and Africans in Africa and the Diaspora. First, the political control of dynastic Kemet was in the hands of Kemetic(Africans) people for nearly all of Kemetic history from,10,000-5000 BC to the Persian conquest in 525 BC.
During that time, Egyptologists have accepted a division that has three kingdoms and three periods (the time in-between the kingdoms). Kemetic scholars prefer to call them Golden Ages. The First Golden Age, the Old Kingdom (The Pyramid Age) was from the 1st to the sixth Dynasty 3,700 to 2160 BC.
It was followed by a period of disorder that is called the First Intermediate Period. The second Golden Age was the Middle Kingdom, the Age of Classical Literature. It included the 11th and 12th Periods 2040 to 1784 BC. It was followed by the Second Intermediate Period, a period of disorder within which occurred a short (150 year) foreign invasion of Asian Nomads. They left no significant contributions to Egyptian culture (Steindorf and Seele, 1957)
It should be noted that by now evidence has been brought forward linking the Ishango/Katndan horizons with those of the Nile Valley, Sahara, and Syrio-Palestine. In fact, the Natufians of 10,000 years ago in Palestine shared phenotypic affinities closer to the Badarians than they did the Merimdens, whose culture is said to have been more closely related to those of the Near East.
It has been customary to separate the Near East from Africa. Ethno-culturally , though, in the light of increasing Neolithic evidence, it is perhaps more nearly correct to consider the lands between Khartoum in the South and the Tigris-Euphrates in the North as constituting one broad horizon in the period between 10,000 and 5,000 BC This broad horizon was composed substantially of "Saharo-Nilotic" ethnocultural elements. Regional differences and variations were certainly evident in its larger complex, but ongoing techno-commercial relations lined the various groups of this horizon.
It is certainly true that what is known as the Near East is more properly thought of as Africa's "Northeast Extension," because geologically and geographically that is in fact what it is. It was the main corridor of human migration out of Africa into the rest of the world beginning 100,000 years ago and it makes sense to find that the earliest definable Near Eastern Neolithic populations, the Natufians, are indisputably Africoid. These seem to be of good reason more to believe that prior to 5,000 BC, this "Northeast Extension" participated in the various cultural horizons of Africa. Thus, when we look at the Neolithic Near East, we are looking culturally at a "promise" of Neolithic Africa.(Finch)
In the Egyptian Pharaonic civilization of historical times,t two main currents can be discovered. The first is the material legacy. The second, also descended from the most distant past, is the more abstract legacy. They are interrelated and together comprise the Egyptian cultural phenomenon. The material legacy includes crafts and science(geometry, astronomy,chemistry), applied mathematics, medicine, surgery and artistic production. The cultural side covers religion, literature and philosophic theories.
One of the earliest and most remarkable advances made by Egypt was in the field of economics. At the end of the Neolitihic period, around-5000, the Ancient Egyptians gradually transformed the Nile River, enabling its inhabitants to progress from a food gathering economy to a food-producing one, and this important transition in human development in the valley had great consequences, material as well as moral. for the growth of agriculture made it possible for the Ancient Egyptian to adopt a settled, integrated village life and this development affected his social and moral development not only in pre-historic times, but also during the Dynastic periods.
As long ago as the early dynastic period ( — 3000B.C.), the Egyptians knew, and employed in making their copper tools, all the basic techniques of metal-working such as forging, hammering, casting, stamping, soldering and riveting techniques, which they mastered very rapidly. As well as tolls, large Egyptian copper statues have been found which date from-2300. Texts of an earlier time, dating back to-2900 BC, note the existence of statues of the same type, and scenes from mastabas of the very earliest period depict workshops where gold and electrum, which is a blend of gold and silver, are being fashioned into jewelry.
Egypt provides us with a wealth of information on the techniques used by craftsmen. In the workshops depicted in painting or bas-reliefs on the tomb walls, both above and below ground, one sees, for example, carpenters and cabinet-makers at work making furniture and the tools they used, saws, drills, adzes, chisels and mallets, all faithfully represented and with infinite detail, as well as the manner in which they used them.
As a result, we know that the Egyptian saw was a pull-saw and not a push-saw, like the modern saw. In many fields, it is possible to point to the similarity between Ancient Egyptian techniques, practices of beliefs, and African ones of more or less recent or ancient origins. One of the most attractive examples at first sight is that of the doubles (known as Kas in Ancient Egypt) of the physical person to which the Egyptians and many present-day African societies attach importance. The after-life forms of these double among the Bantu, Ule or Akan for instance, make it very easy for us to see the similarities with Egyptian concepts in Pharaonic time
The Third Golden Age was called the New Kingdom (The Grand Golden Age), including the 18th. 19th and 20th Dynasties.(1554-1000). It is followed by a Late Period of declining conditions. Traditional Egyptology has designated as the last Golden Age, the Late Kingdom, (a Resurrection Kingdom) since that is how it saw itself.
That is how it behaved, drawing its cultural inspiration from its ancestors, acting to purify the deteriorated forms of Kemetic culture. The rulers of the 2nd Dynasty went back to the Middle Kingdom for its cultural models. Therefore, the last three Golden Ages, including the greatest of the Golden Ages were ruled from Waset either physically, as in the case of the Second and Third Golden Ages, or culturally, as in the case of the Fourth Golden Age.
The Basis of Egyptian chronology is the lost History of Egypt, by Manetho. Ptolemy Philadelhus, King of Egypt in the third century BC, commissioned Manetho, a learned Egyptian priest, of the Temple of Sebennytus, to write a history of Egypt from the earliest times up to his own day. But in this article, we'll try to reconstruct the Golden Age of Egypt without rewriting all of Manetho's historical timeline, we will sum up the rulers from the 18th Dynasty to the twentieth Dynasty and finally show how Egyptian history, art, archeology and architecture was inspired and is African in its historical manifestations.
Ahmose I (Nebpehtyre) 1570-1546 BC
The middle Kingdom was started after the Second Intermediate Period, a period that included the first meaningful invasion of Kemet(kmt or Egypt) by a group of Asian "Hyksos Kings." They established their capitol in the Delta region of the Nile River. It is important to note that they never established effective control over the southern provinces. A subdued but unconquered Waset maintained its cultural ad partial political leadership. The fight to repel the hated Hyksos began with Seqen-en-Re Ta'o.
The story is told of an argument between Seqen-en-Re and the Hyksos King Apopi (Apophis), who lived several hundred miles away down north in the delta region. Apopi is said to have sent a message to Seqen-en-Re complaining about the noises being made by hippopotamus at Waset, obviously a taunt. Seqen-en-Re's verbal reply to this thinly veiled challenge was not saved in the records.
With the expulsion of the Hyksos, the princes of Thebes now reigned supreme. The war against the Hyksos had not been without cost: Ahmose lost his father Seqenre II and his brother Khamose within about three years of each other, leaving him heir to the throne at a very young age.
His mother, Queen Ashotep, was a powerful force in the land and may have been co-regent with him in the early years of his reign. After Ahmose expelled the Hyksos, he consolidated the border; also, he devolved great of the responsibilities on to local governors in the nomes. He encouraged support for his regime with gifts of land — and initiated temple building projects. Ahmose I reigned for 26 years and after his death, he was buried in the Dra Abu-el-Naga, area of the necropolis, in front of the Theban hills.
Amehotep I (Djeserkare) 1551-1524
Amenhotep I ruled for 25 years and has left few records. He is said to have carried-out military campaigns against the Libyans. He also initiated building work at the temple of Karnak as attested n the autobiographical inscription of Ineni the architect, 'Chief of all Works at Karnak'(the Theban tomb 81). He was the son of Ahmose and Queen Ahmose Nefretiri and he was the second king of the 18th Dynasty.
Amenhotep had a relatively peace reign. When he was facing the Libyans in his first year as king, he successfully overcame the ancient enemies and prevented an invasion in the Delta area, and after his victory in Kush(Nubia) in the eighth year of rule, and after his victory, brought back captives from Thebes. He worked very hard to restore many ancient temples along the Nile.
He also erected a chapel commemorating his father Ahmose I. He is well known for being responsible for a large, limestone gateway at Karnak, and his most famous architectural feat was by building the Temple of Karnak in Thebes where he utilized different types of stone including many relief carvings on the limestone monument monuments at Karnak. Amehotep I had a bark shrine built for God Amun[Amon/Amen - see my Hub called: Hub on: "Egyptian God, Amon(Amen) The Invisible Creative Power - Hidden From View: Akhanton, Moses and the Origins of Monotheism."
He had the rare hone bestowed upon him the title of 'titular god' upon his death by the priests. He was regarded as a patron god of the Theban Necropolis, alongside his mother, Ahmose Nefretiri, who's posthumous renown probably exceeded that of her son. During the renovation he undertook in Egypt, he restored the mines at Serabit el-Khadim in the Sinai where he also expanded the middle Kingdom temple of Hathor.
By the end of his reign. Amenhotep I had established the main characteristics of the 18th Dynasty, this also included the worship of Amun(Amen/Amon) at Karnak. The Temple of Karnak still overshadows many of the wonders of the modern world. It is the largest of all religious buildings, the largest ever made and a place of pilgrimage for nearly 4,000 years. Although today's pilgrims are mainly tourists. It covers about 200 acres, 1,5 kilometers by 0,08 kilometers.
The area of the sacred enclosure of Amon alone is 61 acres and would hold ten average European cathedrals. The great Temple at he heart, is so gig. St. Peter's, Milan and Notre Dame Cathedrals could be lost within its was. The Hypostyle hall at 54,000 square feet with its 134 columns is still the largest room of any religious building in the world. In addition to the main sanctuary there are several smaller temples and a vast Sacred Lake.
All the Egyptian Temples had a sacred Lake, Karnak's is the largest. It was used during festivals when images of the Gods would sail it on golden barges. Karnak was also the home of a flock of geese dedicated to Amun/Amen/Amon.
He is the first King to take the radical decision to site his mortuary temple away from his burial place. The Location of his burial location is uncertain, for although an uninscribed tomb at the Dra Abu-el-Naga has been assigned to him, some speculate that he is buried in a grave that was robbed in the Valley of the Kings (KV 39). Like his father, Ahmose, Amenhotep I's mummy was found in excellent condition in the 1881 royal mummy cache.
Thutmosis I (Akheperkare) 1524-1518
Amenhotep I was succeeded not by his son (a break with tradition that would usually indicate a change in dynasty), but by a military man, Tuthmosis, already in middle-age when he achieved supreme power. He may have partly legitimized his rule by acting as co-regent with Amenhotep in the last years of the Old King's rule. His main claim to the throne, however, was through his wife, the Princess Ahmose, who was the daughter of Ahmose I and Queen Ahmose Nefertary.
Since ancient Egypt was a matrilineal society, he had thus married into the royal blood. Robert Briffault informs us that: "The functions of royalty in ancient Egypt were regarded as being transmitted in the female line. While every Egyptian princess of the royal house was born a queen and bore the titles and dignities of the office from the day of her birth, a man only acquired them at his coronation, and could do so only by becoming the consort of a royal princess...
"Those features of the constitution of Egyptian royalty are not singular. They are substantially identical with those obtaining in all other African Kingdoms."
As a soldier, he was very popular with the army and increased its size considerably during his rule. With its backing, he was able to unsure that his men were placed in key positions within the civil and religious hierarchy of the state.
His wars proved to be highly profitable and an unprecedented wealth of tribute was at his disposal. Although Tuthmosis I had a short reign of only about six years, it was marked by a series of brilliant military campaigns that were to set the seal on most of the test of the 18th Dynasty (the Amarna period apart)
Preparation were made in the last years of Amenhotep I for Tuthmosis I to have been able inaugurate his military movements so rapidly and effectively under Tuthmosis the grip of Amun at Karnak began to take hold, as the king extensively remodeled and restored the great temple to the chief of the gods under his architect, Ineni
Apparently, Amenhotep I had no surviving offspring, at least none that can be identified with any certainty, and so the throne passed to a commoner by the name of Tuthmosis. All we know about his family is that his father was an unnamed army officer and his mother was named Seniseneb. He was a soldier himself and had obviously distinguished himself in earlier campaigns before he was chosen as the next Pharaoh. He was given princes of the royal blood to be his wife — descent through the female line was very important during this period — and was apparently made co-regent sometime before Amnhotep died.
Thutmosis I died in about 1518 BC, living behind a complicated situation, namely, is successor to the throne. His tow elder sons — the princess Wadimose and Amenmose - predeceased their father, so the young third son became the heir. Also called Tuthmosis, the new king was son of a minor royal wife, the princess Mutnefert(sister of Tuthmosis I's queen, Ahmose). In order to strengthen the youngster's position. Therefore, he was married to his half-sister, Hatshepsut, elder daughter of Tuthmosis I and Queen Ahmose. Together Tuthmosis II and Hatshepsut reigned for about 14 years until he died in his early thirties.
Despite his apparent poor health, the King prosecuted successful campaigns in both Syria and Nubia, attested by a short inscription in the temple at Deir el-Bahari and a rock inscription at Aswan. Old retainers such as Ineni the architect were still serving the court: "I was a favorite of the King in he every place ... I attained old age of the revered, I possessed the favor of His Majesty every day. I was supplied from the table of the King with bread."
Thutmosis II had one son, likewise Tuthmosis, by Iris, a harem-girl. He may also have had a daughter, Neferure, by Hatshepsut. The King realized the overweening ambition of his wife and half-sister and endeavored to curtail it by declaring his son his successor before he died.
In the even, Tuthmosis III was still a young child when he succeeded to the throne and his stepmother and aunt, Hatshepsut initially acted as regent for the young King. Ineni, in his autobiography put it forth as follows: "His son [Tuthmosis III] stood in his [Tuthmosis II's] place as King of the Two Lands, having become ruler upon the throne of the one who begat him.
"His sister the Divine Consort, Hatshepsut, settled the affairs of the Two Lands by reason of her plans. Egypt was made to labor with bowed head for her, the excellent seed of the god, which came forth from him." Ineni, however, remained in the queen's favor: "Her Majesty praised me, she loved me, she recognized my worth at court, she presented with things, she magnified me ... I increased beyond everything." By regnal Year 2 of the young Tuthmosis III, Hatshepsut had her propaganda machine in place and working, and usurped her stepson's position.
Queen[Pharaoh] Hatshepsut (Maatkare) 1504-1450 B.C.
Queen Hatshepsut was in the 15 century Before Christ, daughter of Thutmose I and Ahmose, both of Royal Family, was the favorite of the their three children. She was married to her half brother Thutmose. As Thutmosis had realized early on, Hatshepsut was a strong-willed woman who would not let anyone or anything stand in her way. By Year 2 or her co-regency with the child king Thutmosis III she had begun her policy to subvert his position.
Initially, she had been content to be represented in reliefs standing behind Thutmosis III and to be identified simply by her titles as queen and 'great king's wife' of Thutmosis II. This changed as she gathered support from the highly placed officials, and it was not long before she began to build her splendid mortuary temple in the bay of the cliffs at Deir el-bahari.
In statuary, architecture, and the minor arts the first reigns of Dynasty XVIII illustrate both a development from and a harking back to the forms of the Middle Kingdom. These features are seen in the obvious parallel between the terraced structure of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari and its Dynasty XI antecedent just to its south, the cloaked statures of Hatshepsut's officials and their Middle Kingdom prototypes, and even in the scenes from the tomb of Ineni.
A freedom to the experiment is evidenced after the reign of Thutmosis III, and it is particularly observable in the work of the tomb painters, for they frequently led the way to change. The mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahari was constructed under the supervision of the queen's steward Senenmut - who was to rise to the highest offices during her reign.
Hatshepsut's temple took its basic inspiration from the 12 Dynast temple of Mentuhotep, adjacent to the site on the South. The final plan of the temple made it unique in Egyptian architecture: built largely of limestone,it rose in three broad, colonnade-fronted terraces to a central rock-cut sanctuary on the upper terrace.
The primary dedication was to Amun(Amen)(See my Hub on The Egyptian God, Amen(Amun), but there were also smaller shrines to Hathor(who earlier had a small cave shrine on the site and Nubis, respectively located on the South and north sides of the second terrace. A feature of the temple was its alignment to the east directly with the great temple of Amun across the Nile at Karnak.(Clayton)
While Hatshepsut is not known for her military prowess, her reign is noted for its trading expeditions, particularly to the land of Punt(either northern Somalia or Djibouti) — a record of which id carved on the walls of her temple. It shows the envoys sailing off down the Red Sea(with fish accurately depicted in the water) and later their arrival in Punt, where they exchanged goods and acquired the fragrant incense tees. Other trading and explorative excursions were mounted to the turquoise mines of Sinai, especially to the area of Serabit el-Khadim, where Hatshepsut's name has been recorded.
Hatshepsut died in about 1483 BC. Some suggest that Thutmosis III, kept so long in waiting may have had a hand in her death. He hated her enough to destroy many of the queen's monuments and those of her closest adherents. Hatshepsut had her tomb dug in the Valley of the Kings by her Vizier and High Priest of Amun, Hapuseneb. The tom had never been used ad still held the sandstone sarcophagus inscribed for the queen.
Hatshepsut's second tomb was located at the foot of the cliffs in the eastern corner of the Valley of the Kings. The original intention seems to have been for a passage to be driven through the rock to locate the burial chamber under the sanctuary of the queen's temple on the other side of the cliffs. Perhaps the greatest posthumous humiliation she was to suffer, however, was to be omitted from the carved king lists: her reign was too disgraceful an episode to be recorded.
Carter wrote: "As a king, it was clearly necessary for her to have her tomb in The Valley like all other kings — as a matter of fact, I found it there myself in 1903 - and the present tomb was abandoned. She would have been better advised to hold to her original plan. In this secret spot her mummy would have had a reasonable chance of avoiding disturbance: in The Valley it had none. A king she would be, and a king's fate she shared." The queen's mummy has never been found nor identified, although it has been suggested that a female mummy rediscovered in 1991 in KV 21 (the tomb of Hatshepsut's nurse) might have been her body.
The Golden Age of the XVIII Dynasty and its Rulers
After the expulsion from Egypt of the Hyksos in 1580 BC, the power of the new XVIIIth Dynasty increased progressively and reached its peak under the reign of Thutmosis III(1501- 1447) This pharaoh has been considered the greatest conquerer of Ancient times. A reasonably trustworthy account of the battles was inscribed on the inside walls surrounding the granite sanctuary at Karnak.
The author of these so-called Annals was the archivist, royal scribe and army commander, Thanuny; he left an inscription in his tomb on the West Bank at Thebes saying, "I recorded the victories he [the king] won in every land, putting them into writing according to the facts." Thanuny must be one of the earliest official war correspondents. By recording details of the war in the great temple of Karnak, Thutmosis III was not only glorifying his won name, but also promoting the God Amun - under whose banner he literally marched and whose estates were to reap such rich rewards from the spoils of war.
His empire extended from Babylon, on to the Euphrates, to the Upper Nile. The same expansionist policy was maintained by his successors, who succeeded in preserving the power of the empire until the Nubian campaign of Amenhophis III, from 1407 to 1406. Around 1406 BC, the political strategy of Amenenhophis III changed, and there suddenly began an era in international relations hitherto unknown in history, according to James Breasted(1951).
Relations between the Pharaoh and both the vassal princes and the neighboring kings became fraternal, instead of being based on force as was the case in preceding periods. They started calling each other "brothers [tablets of Tel al-Amarna, Mercer, 1939'. The Pharaoh appeared in public for the first time in history and the affairs of the divine royal house were dealt with in public. A period of literature began to flourish with its own art, architecture, and music… Amenophis III favored the religion of the Sun god Aton,in the polytheistic Egypt of the time.
The invasion of the Hittites (it might perhaps be more correct to say: the revolt) in the North marked the beginning of the collapse of the empire. Amenophis III did nothing in its defense. His successor, Amenophis IV, or Akhenaton (1375-1358 BC), continued the peaceful politics of his father (tablets of Tel al-Amarna) while the Hittites invaded the northern part of the empire. Akhenaton was interested only in religious reform. He ordered the destruction of all polytheistic symbols, closed the ancient temples, and introduced the worship of a universal God, Aton. He is considered the first monotheist in history.
Amenhotep II was an athletic youngster. Several representations of the king show him engaging in successful sporting pursuits, and he was keen to establish an equally good reputation in the military field An opportunity to do just this presented itself early in his reign when, on receiving the news of the death of Thutmosis III, the Asiatic cities rose up in revolt. Amenhotep II was not slow in showing the rebels that he was not to be taken as a weakling. He also attacked Palestine which was in full revolt.
In his third year in power he moved south and completed the temples begun by his father at Aswan on Elephantine land and at Amada. From the stele left by the king at both temples, we learn the fate of the seven captive princess: the king sacrificed all seven to Amun in the age-old manner, smiting them with his mace and then hanging them face downwards on the prow of his ship. In the 9th year of his rule he attacked Palestine again, but this time went as far as the sea of Galilee. The rest of his 34-year rule, he made his mark and peace reigned.
He has bee credit with reviving the Sphinx after he received instructions to do so by Re-Harakhte, the sun god embodied in the Sphinx. Little of a military nature appears to have occurred during Thutmosis IV's reign. It was only in his eighth year, a campaign to Nubia has been recorded; There were some Syrian campaigns, and had to conquer it twice, but these were low-key policing excursions rather than full-blown military campaigns.
Some of the best known decorative private tombs survive in the Theban necropolis. His grave/tomb was robbed and damaged and funerary furniture destroyed, Ushabtis, food provisions and a chariot were found in it. The destruction seemed to have happened during the rule of Horemheb (1321-1293), when two graffiti record the restoration of the tomb by the official Maya and his assistant Djehutymose. The King's mummy, however, was not present in the splendidly decorated granite sarcophagus: it had been found five years earlier, as one of those hidden in the tomb of Amenhotep II.
Amenhotep III has the distinction of having the most surviving statues of any Egyptian Pharaoh. Over 250 statues of the king have been discovered. Since these statues cover his entire life, they provide the most complete portraiture over time of any ancient Egyptian ruler. He was crowned while still a child,the Son of Thutmosis IV, perhaps between the ages 6 and 12. His lengthy reign was a period of great peace, prosperity and artistic splendor, when Egypt reached the very heights of artistic and international power.
He celebrated three Jubilee festivals in his year 30, Year 34 and Year 37. Amenhotep III built extensively at the temple of Karnak, including at least two pylons, a colonnade behind the new entrance, and a new temple to the goddess Maat. He oversaw construction of another temple to her at Luxor and virtually covered Nubia with numerous monuments including a small temple with a colonnade (dedicated to Thutmose III) at elephantine, a rock temple dedicated to Amun 'Lord of the Ways' at Wadi es-Sebuam, and the temple of Horus of Miam at Aniba.
Amenhotep III's long reign of almost 40 years was one of the most prosperous and stable in Egyptian history. His grandfather, Thutmosis III had laid the foundations of the Egyptian empire by his campaigns into Syria, Nubia and Libya. Hardly any military activity was called for under Amenhotep, and such little as there was, in Nubia, was directed by his son and viceroy of Kush, Merymose. A rebellion at Ibhet is reported as having been heavily crushed by the Viceroy of Nubia. 'King's Son of Kush', Meryose.
Although the king, 'mighty bull, strong in might ... the fierce-eyed lion' is noted as having made great slaughter within the space of a single hour, he was probably not present; nevertheless, 150 Nubian men, 250 women, 175 children, 110 archers, and 55 servants — a total of 740 - were said to have been captured, to which was added the 312 right hand of the slain.
Amenhotep had a large and ever-increasing Harem, and some were foreign princesses, the result of diplomatic marriages, but his chief wife was a woman on non-royal rank whom he had married before he came to the throne. This was Tiy, the daughter of a noble called Yuya and his wife, Tuya. This was an important family, because it had land in the Delta and Yuya was a powerful military leader.
Tiy's brother, Anen, was also to rise to high office under Amenhotep III as Chancellor of the King of Lower Egypt, Second Prophet of Amun, sem-priest of Heliopolis, and Divine Father. Tiy gave birth to six or more children, at least two sons, and then four daughters. The oldest boy died without reigning, leaving his younger brother(the future Amenhotep IV, later called Akhenaten) heir to the throne. Amenhotep III also married two of his daughters, first Isis and then, in Year 30, Sitamun Evidence for this comes from a series of kohl eyeliner tubes inscribed for the King together with a cartouche of each royal lady.
The Years of Opulence and Wealth
The Wealth of Egypt at this period came not from the spoils of war, as it had under Thutmosis III, but from international trade and an abundant and vast supply of gold (from the mines in the Wadi Hammamat and from panning gold dust as far south into the land of Kush). It was this great wealth and booming economy that led to such an outpouring of artistic talent in all aspects of the arts.
The last 25 years of Amenhotep's reign seem to have been a period of great building works and luxury at court and in the arts. Since the houses or palaces of the living were regarded as ephemeral, we unfortunately have little evidence of the magnificence of a palace such as Amenhotep's Malkata palace. Fragments of the building, however,indicate that the walls were once plastered and painted with lively scenes from nature.
Many of the temples he built had been destroyed too. At Karnak, he embellished the already large temple to Amun and at Luxor he built a new one to the same God, of which the still standing colonnaded court is a masterpiece of elegance and design… Particular credit is owed to his master architect: Amenhotep son of Hapu.
A Peak of XVIIIth DynastyArtistic Zenith
For his temple he built two outstanding couchant rose granite set before the temple at Soleb, Nubia (but was subsequently removed to the temple at Gebel Barkal; further south of Sudan) There is also a proliferation of private statues like that of Amenhotep the son of Hapu, and those of other nobles and other dignitaries.
The largest of the statues was the Colossi of Memmnon, a huge limestone statue of King and Queen with three small standing princesses from Medinett Hau. There was also a superb 6ft(1.83), high pink quartzite statue of the kKing standing on a sledge wearing the Double Crown.
The two most widely known portraits of Queen Tiy(Tiye) are the small ebony head(in the picture gallery), identified as the queen by her cartouche on the front of her crown. Inscribed clay dockets from the Malkata palace carry dates into at least Year 38 of Amenhotep's reign, implying that he may have died in his 39th regnal year when he would have been about 45 years old.
Akhenaten(Amenhotep IV) and Smenkare(ankhkheperure)
Amenhotep IV - better known as Akhenaten, the new name he took on his reign — ushered in a revolutionary period in Egyptian history. The Amarna interlude, as it has often been called, was the removal of the seat of government to short-lived new capital city, Akhenaten (modern el-Amarna), the introduction of a new art style, and the elevation of the cult of the sun disc, the Aten to the highest status in Egyptian religion. This last heresy brought Akhenaten down. As noted above, he was the second son of Amenhotep III and his mother was Tiye(Tiy)
The beginning of Akhenaten's reign marked no great discontinuity with that of his predecessors. Not only was he crowned at Karnak(temple of the god Amun) but, like his father, he married a lady of non-royal blood,Nefertiti, the daughter of the vizier Ay. Ay was Queen Tiy's brother, as noted above, and Tiy and Anen were the son and daughter of Yuya and Tuya, but Nefertiti was brought p by another wife of Ay, named TaGey, who was Nefertitit's stepmother.
Amenhotep has recognized the power of the priests of Amun and he sought to curb it… Akhenaten took the matter further and introduced monotheism religion of sun-worship This was not a new idea, and it was a minor aspect of the sun god Re-Harakhte, and the Aten had been venerated in the Old Kingdom and a large scarab of Akhenaten's grandfather, Thutmosis IV has a text that mentions the Aten. Akhenaten worshipped the Aten in its own right.
Portrayed as a solar disc worse protective rays terminate in hands holding the Ankh hieroglyphic for life, and the Aten was only accessible to Akhenaten, therefore obviating the need for an intermediate priesthood.
In Year ^ of his rule he moved to a new capital in Middle Egypt, half-way between MemAkhenatenphis and Thebes. It was a virgin site, not previously dedicated to any other god and goddess, and he name named it Akhenaten - The Horizon of the Aten. Today the site is known as el-Armana.
According to present evidence, however, it appears that it was only the upper echelons of society which embraced the new religion with any fervor (and perhaps that was only skin deep). Akhenaton dismantled the priesthood and closed their temples. The local population had little to do with the religion except on the high days and holidays when the god's statue would be carried in procession from the sanctuary outside the walls of the great temple.
It is evident from the art of the Amarna period that the court officially emulated the king's unusual physical characteristics. Thus individuals such as the young princesses are endowed with elongated skulls and excessive adiposity, while Bek - the chief sculptor and Master of Works - portrays himself in the likeness of his king with pendulous breasts and protruding stomach.
On the stele in Berlin, Bek states that he was taught by his majesty and that the court sculptors were instructed to represent what they saw. The result was a realism that broke away from the rigid formality of the earlier official depictions. although naturalism is very evident in earlier , unofficial art.
Akhenaten died in 1334 BC in his 16th regnal year. It is certain that his body did not remain at Armana. A burnt mummy was seen outside the royal tomb in the 1880s, although it was soon found out it belonged to the coptic believers. It is also speculated that his remains were buried in the old royal burial ground at Thebes, where it was believed that his enemies would have never dreamt of looking.
He was the nominal successor of Akhenaten, and was probably the younger brother of the King. But appears that they may have died within months of each other. Smenkhkare's two year reign was in reality a co-regency during the last years of Akhanaten's life. A graffito in the tomb of Pairi at Thebes, records a third regnal year, and there are indications that Smenkhkare was preparing ground for a return the old orthodoxy and had left Akhenaten.
He was married to Merytaten. Together with his wife he returned to Thebes to try and placate the army and the Priests of Amun after Akhenaten's reign and the worship of Aten. After just one year, Smenkhkare was dead, and Meritaten disappeared.
Tutankhamen (Hequaiunushema - Nebkheperure
Tutankamun was a teenager when he died, and he was the last heir of a powerful family that had ruled Egypt and its empire for centuries, he was laid to rest laden with gold and eventually forgotten. Tutankamun's name was known in the early years of this century from a few references, but his exact place in the sequence of the 'Amarna Kings' was uncertain. Like Akhenaten and Ay, his name had been omitted from the classic King lists of Abydos and Karnak, which simply jump from Amenhotep III to Horemheb.
Toward the end of Akhenaten's reign, the senior members of the court,especially Ay and Horemheb, realized that things could not go on as they were. Smenkhkare, Akhenaten's younger brother(or son)? and co-regent, must have come to the same conclusion since he had left Akhenaten and moved back tote old secular capital,Memphis, where he my have been in contact with the proscribed members of the Priesthood of Amun, before his death and burial at Thebes.
Soon after Akhenaten's death, Tutankhamen(as he was then called), was crowned at Memphis. At age nine and having lost his mother, Kiya, his step mother Nefertiti, and his elder step-sisters dead, he was under the direct influence of Ay, the senior civil servant, and Horemheb, the military man… Akhenaten married Ankhesenpaaten, who was older then him, and had a daughter by her father, Akhenaten.
Soon after the new King was installed, a move was made back to the old religion. In year 2 both king and Queen changed their name from -aten to ending their names in -amun. His advisors held the reigns for the boy king. A great restoration stele records this re-installation of the old religion of Amun and the reopening and rebuilding of the temples. King Tut was not really involved in any military forays, but Horemheb was the one who attacked Nubia since he was a military man.
It is postulated that Tutankhanum died at age 17. He seems to have passed away in Year 9 of while he reigned. Modern X-Rays show a small sliver of bone within the upper cranial cavity. It may have arrived there as the result of a blow, but whether deliberately struck, to indicate murder, or the result of an accident, such as a fall from a chariot, it is still not possible to say. His burial tomb, it is suspected, was not intended for his because of his sudden death.
The tomb was far too small, even the sarcophagus box was second-hand. Extensive recutting was undertaken, to the extent of removing all the original texts, and adding new ones; wings were also added to alter the standing figure of the goddesses. The granite lid was made to fit the quartzite box — obviously a different material but, again, time may have been the essence and a suitable slab of granite was available at Thebes. Signs of haste are evident everywhere, since the ritual required that all preparations and the embalming be completed within a period of 70 days.
In addition to the two premier figures of Ay and Horemheb, the names of other high officials who served during Tutakhamun's rule are now known to us today. Two of them were accorded the privilege of donating objects to the kings burial. One was known as Nakhtmin, a military officer under Horemheb and a relative of Ay (possibly a son).
He presented five large wooden Ushabtis, each inscribed with his name under the feet. Another official was Maya, who was Tutankhamun's Treasurer and also Overseer of the Place of Eternity(the royal cemetery), where his name is also known from a graffito in a fine hand on the wall in the tomb of Thutmosis IV recording restorations being carried out, the checking and rewrapping of the royal Mummy.
May contributed a fine large wooden Ushabti. Another high official to have a tomb at Thebes was Huy, Viceroy of Nubia. A vast wall painting about 17 ft (6 m) long, shows Huy in the full finery of his office presenting the princes of north and south Nubia,together with their families and retainers, to the King. Clay seals on wine jars found in his tomb record not only the type of wine, the vineyard and the name of the chief vintner, but also the king's regnal year when each wine was laid down.
Tutankhanum's early death left his wife, Ankhesenamu a young widow in a very difficult situation. She was hemmed on all sides by ambitious old men much older than herself, and took a bold step and wrote to Suppiluliumas I, King of the Hittites, explaining her plight. This evidence does not come form the Egyptian records, but from excavations in Hattusas (Bohazkoy) in Turkey, the Hittite capital, where a copy was found in the archives.
She told him her husband had died and she had no sons while he had many, so would he send one to marry her and continue the royal line. The Hittite King was highly suspicious and made enquiries; messengers were sent to check the details sand reported back that such was the case. A Hittite prince, Zannanza, was therefore sent to Egypt to take up the Queens offer.
It seems that he got no further than the border before he was murdered, and the deed was easily laid at the door of Hormheb: he had the means as commander-in-chief of the army, and he also had the opportunity and certainly the motive. Tutankhamun's was found by Giovanni Belsoni in 1816 at the far end of the Western Valley of the Kings, and later used by Ay.
This somehow conforms to the patter of 18th Dynasty royal tombs and was probably chosen with a propaganda motive in view,that is to bury King Tutankhamen fairly close to his grandfather Amenhotep III, thereby underlining the return to old ways and the old religion.(Clayton)
Ay (itnetjer) Kheperkheperure
Ay was now an old man and he married Tutankhamun's wife and widow, Ankhesenamun - probably against her wishes since she was actually marrying her grandfather. Evidence for the marriage came from the bezel of a ring seen by Prof. Percy Newberry in Cairo in the 1920s which carried a cartouches of Ankhesenamun and AY side by side: a normal way of indicating marriage. The wedding seems to have taken place rapidly because Ay officiated at Tutankhamun's funeral as a King wearing the Blue Crown. Furthermore, by burying his predecessor, he also consolidated his claim to the throne.
Because of his age, Ay's reign was short: four years.The pictures of his and a woman are that of him and his elder wife, Tiy, and not Ankhesenamun. Ay's large sarcophagus was like that of Tutankahmun because it had goddesses enfolding the corners with the wings. His tomb was robed and wreaked and the mummy found in there was in question, some say it was Amenhotep III, some say it was Ay - this is still unresolved. His sarcophagus was not only smashed, but his figure was hacked out and is name excised in the wall paintings and texts.
No Ushabti figures of him are known to exist. This damnation memorial seems to have been carried out on the instructions of Ay's successor, Horemheb. There are questions as to why he did not destroy Tutankhamen's tomb, which he knew where it was since he was so involved in the burial.
In his temple at Thebes, near Medinet Habu, Ay inscribed his name on two quartzite colossi of Tutankhamen, taken from the latter's temple nearby. Even these statues were usurped by Horemheb when he took over Ay's temple. It seems like Ankhesenamun did not survive Ay's rule, and her known whereabouts are those in the ring bezel mentioned above. With her died the last of the true Amarna royal bloodline.
Horemheb (Meryamun) Djeserkheperure Setepenre
His background is totally unknown except that he came from Herakleopolis, and to the Faiyum, he was a career officer who had recognizable. He first served under Amenhotep III, and became a great commander under Akhnaten, and was later appointed Kings Deputy by Akhenaten.
The death of Ay offered a good opportunity for him to restore Egypt the strong leadership he felt she needed. He then declared himself King in 1321, and consolidated his claim to the throne through marriage to a lady named Mutnodjime, the Sister of Nefertiti. He therefore formed a link back to the female royal blood line, albeit a tenuous one. From earlier unearthed evidence, he seem to have had an earlier wife, but her name is unknown.
He was middle-aged when he became King and he immediately went about resetting the former status quo, reopening temples, repairing them where necessary, and bringing back the Priesthood of Amun. This time he made a change regarding the Priesthood(which he and Amenhotep endeavored to implement), that the priests were reappointed from the army, because they could rely on their loyalty.
To make sure he could have a hold over his army, now that he was no longer a military man, he divided it under two separate commanders, one for the North and one for the South. He also usurped the monuments of Ay and Tutankhamun. e added to the two great 'Restoration' he simply aded his own.
He initiated the great Hypostyle Hall and added a tall pylon to the glory of Amun on the South side of Karnak. He also destroyed the fated temple of Aten erected by Akhenaten, dismantled it and used is small talatat('two hands width'. By hiding the blocks of the Pylon, he preserved them for posterity.
Horemheb took over Ay's mortuary on the West bank at Medinet Habu, along with the two quartzite statutes of Tutankhamun that Ay himself had usurped. He then set out to expunge from the record any trace of his four Amarna predecessors.
He dated his reign from the death of Amenhotep II, adding the intervening years to his own total; none of the Amarna names appeared in any of the Rameside king lists at Abydos and Karnak, where tow rows of seated statues of kings and queens are depicted on the West wall.
Horemheb is place between Amenhotep III and Ramsesses I. Kings of the 19th Dynasty were to regard him as the founder of the line, and this probably explains why a number of tombs of officials, as well as that of Ramesses II's sister, the Princess Tia, were deliberately placed near his Saqqara tomb. Although Horemhemb's reign goes as far as Year 59 (by incorporating those of the Amarna Pharaohs - as if they never existed, as noted above), his actual reign of almost 30 years was spent in consolidation.
His tomb was robbed and those who found it was badly wrecked in antiquity, but his tomb, from the pieces picked up there was one of the finest in the area, from the funerary furniture and gold earring the robbers dropped.
Horemheb made workers to sculpt and add to the royal uraeus to his brow in the sculpted reliefs, though he never made use of the tomb. The painting of several rooms in the tomb had been finished to a very high standard. Work in other rooms, however, was still in progress when the King died, and these are particularly interesting because they show the manner of working — the outline grids and the corrections made.
Ramesses I (Menpehtyre)
The 19th Dynasty began on a low note. It took its name 'Rameside,' as a time period, from Ramesses I who became Pharaoh. He was previously a vizier by default. We know him as vizier, close friend and confidant of Horemheb, who having failed to produce an heir, bestowed the succession on to his comrade. Ramses was advanced in years, maybe into his fifties, and he was not of royal blood.
He was a career army officer, and the son of the troop commander, Seti. His family came from the north-eastern Delta area of Avaris, the capital of the Hyksos invaders of 400 years earlier.Rameses ruled for only two year, and he did not make a mark in history. There are some of his reliefs on the Second Pylon at Karnak, and a stele dated early in his second regnal year at Wadi Halfa.
His tomb was small and showed signs of hasty internment; the burial chamber was unfinished and as intended to be an antechamber to a march larger tomb. His tomb was robbed in antiquity, and some burial provisions remained, a large granite sarcophagus almost 6i/2 feet(2-m) high wooden statues of the king once covered with thin gold foil, and other wooden statuettes of underworld deities and curious animal heads.
Robbers had furiously hurled some of the smaller statuettes as can be witnessed attached to the plaster. His mummy did not survive, and has not yet been identified. It appears it might have been taken from his tomb around 968 BC, when a number of royal mummies were moved to safety and deposited in the tombs of Amenhotep II and Queen Inhapi.
Seti was a Vizier and Troop Commander as his father , Ramses I, whom he rapidly succeeded. To resort Egyptian under the Amarna Kings, he inaugurated a policy of major building at home and a committed foreign policy abroad.He took the title of 'Repeater of Births', signifying the beginning of a new and legitimate era. In his 13 years of ruling, he legitimized Egyptian art and culture to maturity and sophistication unequalled by the later centuries.
He married within his won military caster, he chose Tuya, the daughter of a lieutenant of chariotry, Raia. The had a boy, who died young, and their second child was a girl, Tia. Their third, another boy, was named after his grandfather, and he later became Egypt's mightiest Pharaoh, Ramesses II. Seti I had a second daughter, whom he named Henutmire, who later became a minor queen of her older brother in due course.
Seti's military feats in his initial six years of rule are preserved on the outer north and east walls of the great temple of Amun at Karnak. They are the same as Tutmosis III tactics of swift movement up through Gaza Strip and Palestinian coast, thus securing his flank and supply line by sea into the Phoenician ports. Fortresses are shown being attacked and Syrians captured, bound and carried-off, and the whole culminates in a huge presentation of prisoners being slain before Amun.
Some of his other campaigns were waged against the Libyans of the western desert, and renewed attack upon the Syrians and Lebanon, where for the first time, the Egyptians met the Hittite in battle. There is another one at Karnak showing the capturing of Kadesh, that in the later years, under the rule of Ramesses II was to become a focal point. He endeavored to restore the past glories of the earlier XVIIIth Dynasty Pharaohs, namely, Thutmosis III and Amenhotep III.
There was also the point at which Egyptian Art was at its zenith. Seti worked on building the Hypostlye Hall in the temples in the Temple of Amun that was to be completed by his son Ramesses. One can find his reliefs on the North side and contrast in their fine style with the later additions. He also built the most decorated amongst of ancient Egypt.
This showed his determination to demonstrate his devotion to Amun, and also link himself with the distant origins of Egyptian monarchy. The temple has seven sanctuaries for Ptah, Ra-Harakhte. Amun-Re, Osiris, Isis and Horus.Within the Abydos Temple, in the "Hall of Records" or "Gallery" of Lists showing Seti with the young Ramesses before long official lists of the Pharaohs from the earliest of times to his own reign. The names of the Armana Kings is auspiciously absent and omitted.
The sequence on the cartouche sequence jumps from Amenhotep III to Horemheb. In the hall there are reliefs showing the king officiating in the temple as a priest, offering to the god in his shrine and carrying out all the necessary daily functions of the priestly office in the service of god… In the deer at the rear of the temple, Seti built structure known as the Osireion.
This hall was the where the body of Seti, together with funerary equipment, rested before being taken for burial in the Valley of the Kings. The structure that he built(the tunnel)reflected the origins of the life from the primeval waters… His mummy which is still in good condition, shows his face as being noble. His remains were interned with those of his son, Ramesses II and were finally hidden, both of them, in the Deir el-Bahari tomb, in the 10th year of Siamun.
Ramesses II (Meryamun) Usermaarte
The Nineteenth Dynasty Ramses II (1394-1328). This pharaoh in a reign of sixty-six years c. conquered extensive territories in western Asia and built colossal temples in the Nile Valley. He was worshipped as a God in Ethiopia; among the Kushites he built six new temples. We are informed by Breasted that, "in all of them Rameses was more or less prominently worshipped, and in one his queen, Nefretiri, was the presiding divinity."
"Of his Nubian sanctuaries, the great rock-temple at Abu Simbel is the finest and deservedly the goal of modern travelers in Egypt." (Breasted) He came into power at the age of 25 and ruled for 67 years. He built many temples more than any other pharaoh, and he also many colossal statues and obelisks.
He was also allowed to participate in the military forays carried out by Seti; he also oversaw the cutting of obelisks in the projects carried out by Seti. He had two wives, Nefertari and Istnofret. Nefertari gave birth to Ramesses, crown Prince Amenhirkhoshef, Khaemwaser and at least three other sons and two daughters.
Istnofret bore a son named Ramesses, Khaemwaset and Merneptah. Ramesses II married Istnofret after Nefertari died in about the Year 34 Ramessses then married many of his subsequent wives from his immediate family…
After he concluded peace with the Hittites, he took a Hittite princess and given an Egyptian name Maathorneferure. He then too a second Hittite princesses, and during the waning years of hi rule, he had a harem made up of Hittite princess living together with Sumarian and Babylonian royal ladies.
Ramesses II took many military Campaigns, but soon realized that he could not hold on to the northern reaches of Syria, and he had internal disturbance and a Syrian menace to the East, and a Hittite King named Hattisilis, was carrying on running battles with the Egyptians. Finally Ramesses II pursued and sued for peace and a non-aggression pact along with some support of and from both countries.
One other thing that Ramesses II was noted for was his building of monuments, temples in Abydos, and mortuary temples at Abydos(Thebes). In Nubia at Beit el-Wali, Gerf Hussein, Wadi es Sebua, Derr and even as far as south as Napata.
According to Clayton, By the time Merneptah Ramses' 13th son, succeeded his long-lived father he must have been in his sixties. Merneptah's ten-year reign is documented by three great inscriptions: some 80 lines on a wall in the temple of Amun at Karnak; a large stele with 35 lines remaining from Athribis in the Delta; and the great Victory Stele found by Flinders Petrie in 1896 in Merneptah's ruined mortuary with burial ground In the last years of Ramses II peace reigned, but a flash revolt was brutally crushed.
The King Merneptah agreed to sign a treaty and he also responded by sending grain — once more, as in the Biblical story, Egypt was a granary for the starving Near East… There was a skirmish with the Libyans who had bee infiltrating the Delta in the year 5(1207 BC). A rapid mobilization and a preemptive strike totally routed the Libyans.
Nubia supported Merneptah, and Merneptah made sure that the insurgents would no more tamper with the security of Egypt. His mummy was found after some speculation by the Biblical scholars that he was the Pharaoh of the Exodus. But these speculations were laid to rest when his mummy was found.
From Amenmesses To Queen Twosret
Instead of Crown Prince Seti-Merneptah ascending the throne, an unknown Amenmeses became king. At the time of the death of Merneptah, a lesser prince, the son of a lesser queen (Takhat), seized the initiative. Little is known of Amenemesses apart from a few minor inscriptions and the fact that during his short reign The successor of Amenmesses in 1199 BC was Seti II, who may have been the previously ousted Crown Prince.
Three of his queens are known: Takhat II, Twosret, who was the mother of the oldest son and heir apparent, Seti Merenptah; and Tiaa, who was the mother of Ramses-Siptah. The heir apparent died before his father, Seti II, and the younger son inherited the throne as a minor, taken on the name of Siptah.
The older queen, Twosret, in effect ruled in her stepson's name together with the Chancellor, the so-called kingmaker Bay, who was granted the privilege of a small private tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Siptah died during his sixth year of rule, and his large red granite sarcophagus still exists, but his body, due to deformity of a club foot(possibly a result of poliomyelitis when he was still young) was found in the cache in the tomb of Amenhotep II. With Siptah's death, his stepmother Twosret declared herself queen, using all the pharaonic titles as did Hatshepsut 300 years earlier. Her tomb in the valley had a checkered history; begun under Siptah in Year 2, was extended by Twosret .
Between the end of Twosret's sole reign, the end of the 19th Dynasty ended with a great degree of confusion, and Twosret's reign was the fourth by a queen in Egyptian history up to that time. After her rule, it is not yet clear how Setnakhte ascended to the throne. The best source for the beginning of the 20th Dynasty came 65 years later, found in The Great Harris Payrus. This is the longest known papyrus from ancient Egypt.
It measures 133 feet(40.5 meters) it consists of 117 columns, each of 12 or 13 lines, and is dated to the day that Ramesses III died in 1151. It is claimed that it was compiled by Rameses IV, and it extolled the virtues of Rameses III to the gods whilst invoking benefactions on his son. It is a social document that charts the annual temple festivals and Ramesses' gifts to them over the 31 years of his reign.
Most of the space had been taken by six main sections of which the first three-are concerned with the shrines of Amun at Thebes, Re at Heliopolis, and Ptah at Memphis- and the fourth column deals with other temples and the fifth a summary of all the temples of Egypt. The final one, the sixth column,is a historical section concerning the beginning of the dynasty and the campaigns of Ramesses III.
Now, the last four pages of the Great Harris Papyrus describe how Setnakhte arose and put down the rebellions fermented by Asiatics: He relieved besieged cities, brought back those who had gone into hiding, reopened the temples and restored their revenues. Senakhte reigned for about three years, and was buried with full royal honors described in the papyrus, 'he was rowed in his king's barge upon the river [i.e., crossed the Nile to the West bank], and rested in his eternal home west of Thebes'.
Ramesses III (Heqaiunu) Usemaatre Meryamun
He was he last of the great pharaohs of the throne of Egypt. At the time of his rule when the outside of the Mediterranean was in turmoil, namely, the Trojan War, the fall of Mycenae and a tidal wave that was breaking upon the shores of Egypt. The first signs of trouble emerged in the fifth year with an attack coming Libyans known as Meshwesh and Seped who were forcing their way into the Nile Delta areas.
The Egyptian annihilated and made some of them slaves. In the eighth year, because of a bad harvest and nomads who were upset, the hostilities boiled over in the Middle East. Foreign countries dislodged and scattered the Hittites, Egypt's age-old enemy, this confederation and they were the Peleset(i.e., the Philistines), Tjeker (possibly connected with the Teucri of the Troad), Shekelesh(possibly Sikels from Sicily), Weshesh (of uncertain origin, and the Denyen of Dardany Who could be Danaoi of Homer's Illiad). Put together, these people as a confederation made up the 'Sea People').
The written account of Ramesses's fight against the Sea People can b found on the outer wall of the Second Pylon, northern side; it is the longest hieroglyphic inscription known. The graphic presentation are carved o the outer north wall of the temple. It is written on the inscription that the Sea people, while in Syria, resumed their attack on Egypt.
Their intention was to force their way into Egypt and settle, because they were a nation on the move with women, children, family and their possessions piled on oxcarts. When Ramesses saw that the Sea people had an armada, he utilized a strategy of rapid movement was needed and he sent dispatches to the eastern frontier posts to stand firm until the Egyptian army arrives.
The clash came at the border and the slaughter of the invaders as great, as the reliefs depict. Pharaoh was everywhere in his chariot and, according to the anon of Egyptian art, represented at far greater size than any of the other participants. Even when the invasion scattered them, the Sea People fleet made for the mouth of one of the eastern arms of the Nile, and even there they were met by the Egyptian fleet…
Since the Egyptians never prided themselves as being sailors, and they hated the sea, yet here they were fighting a landlocked battle… The Egyptian marine archers annihilated their enemies. This was really the beginning of the fabulous wealth of the priesthood of Amun that finally had disastrous consequences for the next dynasty.
. Noe follow-up campaign to pursue the Sea People back to the Levant was recorded on the Great Harris Papyrus of on the walls of Medinet Habu. Although one can note that the great entrance gateway to the temple is actually modeled on a Syrian fortified tower, migdol, such as clearly seen on the reliefs of Seti I and Ramesses II.
Egypt was quiet for three years and then trouble came from the Western bloc, the Libyans, allied with the Meshwesh and five other clans, listed above, who were infiltrating immigrants into the areas west of the Canopic Arm of the Nile, and in the Year 11, this came to a head with an invasion.
The frontier forts took the brunt as the Delta was being overrun, and in the end Ramesses crushed all the opposition. About 2000 were killed and their cattle and possession were rich booty for the treasury of Amun. Other campaigns are mentioned in the inscription in the mortuary temple at Medinet Habu. Some of the scenes, however, are suspect.
Other scenes show the king invading territories to the North, going into the country of the Amurru, Khatti, and Syrians, none of whom existed any longer as political entities. These reliefs seem in fact to be copies of earlier ones from a building of Ramesses II. Ramesses III is merely modeling himself on his illustrious predecessor who, despite their proximity in numerical sequence, was unrelated to him.
Ramesses, who reigned for 31 years and 41 days, who had a chief queen named Isis but for some reason the cartouches in Medinet Habu were left where the queen's name supposed to appear. It may be because Isis was of Asiatic extraction since her mother's name Habadjilat, a distinctly Un-Egyptian name.
Then there was a conspiracy to kill the king. Known as the Harem Conspiracy Papyrus, it exists in three portions and concerns the trial of a group who plotted to murder the king. The chief defendant was one of Ramesses' minor queens, and in particular, queen Tiy was hoping to see her son, Pentewere, succeed to the throne.
Fortunately for the king, the plot was discovered and the guilty arrested. Fourteen officials were called to sit in judgement, including seven royal butlers (a high office, two treasury overseers, two army standard bearers, two scribes and a herald). The commission was given full powers to call whatever evidence was necessary and, most unusually, power to deliver and carry out the verdict, even the death penalty, which was normally reserved to the king.
Most of the conspirators were all personally close to the king, especially officials in the harem. Over 40people were implicated and were tried in groups, and evidence had emerged of a plot to incite revolt outside the palace to coincide with the intended coup within. The Record of Queen Tiy's trial has not survived, and she was not allowed to live. Twenty-eight people, including the major ringleaders, were condemned in the first persecution to death.
The second persecution condemned six people, who were forced to commit suicide within the court itself. In the third persecution, the four people involved, who included the misguided Pentewere, were condemned to suicide, although not immediately within the court, but it is presumed to have been in their cells.
The fourth persecution throws a curious light on the whole case. The defendants were not conspirators, but three of the judges and two officers, who were charged that, after appointment to the commission, they knowingly entertained several of the women conspirators and a general named Peyes. One of the judges was found innocent, and the others were condemned to have their ears and noses amputated. Ramesses was died before the verdicts were reached (G.E. Smith).
It should duly noted here that after 31 years of Ramesses III's rule, the greatness of the Pharaohs end. Also, with the long 28 year long reign of Ramesses XI, the 20th Dynasty came to a close. Merneptah's death was followed by a dynasty struggle and the throne was successively occupied by five rulers whose order and relationship one to another has not yet been clearly established.
Order was restored by Sethnakhr, who reigned for two year as the first King of the Twentieth Dynasty. He was succeeded by his son Ramses III who, in a reign of 31 years, did as much as could be done to revive the glories of the New Kingdom. In his fifth and eleventh years of rule, he decisively defeated the invading hordes of Western Libyans, and in the eighth year beat back systematic invasion by land and sea of the Sea Peoples.
In dealing with the internal ills which also beset the country, Ramses III was less successful than in defending it against foreign armies. The country was harassed by labor troubles, turbulence among government workers, an inflationary rise in wheat prices and a fall in the value of bronze and copper.
Decadence grew in the reigns of subsequent kings from Ramesses IV to Ramesses XI. The feeble hold of the royal house became more precarious as the power of the priests of Amon increased, until finally they chose a higher priest, Heri-Hor, to ascend the throne and begin a new dynasty.
The achievements of this African culture have been aptly summarized by Herbert Wendt, a German scholar, as follows:
"The insurgent Amasis stood at the end of Egypt's history, but at its beginning by the Nile mud, which came from the interior of Africa, spread itself over the annually flooded river valley proved to be an excellent fertilizer. And even in the Neolithic Age, men were sowing wheat and barley there. These neolithic children of the Nile were East Hamitic.
Africans, related to the present Galla, Somali and Masai in East Africa; the later Egyptians were their descendants. The language of the Egyptians was an East Hamitic dialect as is spoken today by the natives between the Upper Nile and the Masai Steppes. Egyptian skeletons, statues, and countless pictures of Egyptians in their and monuments show the same racial characteristics as the Nubians and the Nilotic clans, the brown skinned hunters of the steppes and the Savannah husbandmen of the Sudan.
Therefore, Egypt was a great kingdom created by Africans ... Of African inspiration are the pyramids, the golden burial chambers, the statues, plastic arts, temple friezes, and other great Egyptians works of art. The Sphinx is an African monument, the hieroglyphics are an African script and Ammon, Isis and Osiris are African Gods.
So great was the achievement of the Africans in the Nile Valley that all the great men of ancient Europe journeyed there — the philosophers Thales and Anaximander,the mathematician Pythagoras, the statesman Solon and an endless stream of historians and geographers whose works are all based on Herodotus' outstanding description of Egypt, to which the second volume of his history entirely was devoted.
It is important to show and put into perspective all what tis Hub above is about. It is about African history and how Africa gave birth to the civilization and Dynasties of Egypt. Sri E. A. Wallis Budge states: The prehistoric of Egypt, both in the old and new Stone Ages, was African, and there is every reason for saying that the earliest settlers came from the South(of Africa).
There are many things in the manners and customs and religions of the historic Egyptians that suggests that the original home of their ancestors was in a country in the neighborhood of Uganda and Punt. This point is made even more clearer and historically authenticated by Prof. ben-Joachannan when he presented new evidence of the Southern origins of Egypt from their own writings. In his statement, written in the books, "Abu-Simbel-Ghizeh, Guide Book/Manual" and "Black Man of the Nile and His family," in his statement he says:
"This guide book, or manual, will concentrate on those many aspects which depicted the indigenous African contributions to the high-culture of Ta-Merry--Nubia that reached its first zenith before the original foreign invaders of Africa,called 'Hyksos' or "Shepherd Kings of Bedunia," in ca. 1675 B.C.E.(Before The Christian Era), XIIIth Dynasty, conquered the Delta Region of Egypt , Northeast Africa.
My reason for emphasizing the indigenous Southern African origin of the ancient Egyptians, who were equally, "Africans," is based upon a historical message extracted from the highly respected "Papyrus of Hunefer" found in the Egyptians' and other Nile Valley indigenous Africans "Book of the Coming Forth by Day and Night"; thus: "We came from the beginning of the Nile where the God Hapi dwells, at the foothills of the mountain of the moon. (Kilimanjaro-between Kenya and Tanzania, or Rwenzori in Uganda)."
There is no attempt there at settling the issue of the "racial" and or "indigenous physical characteristics" of the ancient Egyptians or Nubians. I will concentrate on the type, quality and reason for the colossal monuments, artifacts, and other remaining effects of the Lower Nile with respect to Egypt-"The Gift of the Nile" as Nubia. The breakdown of the "Pre-Dynastic," along with the Post Dynastic."(Prof. ben-Joachannan)
This was the first age of grandeur for the Nile Valley High Culture. It lasted until the eve of the Christian Era. That civilization in Egypt, traveled from south to north with the flow of the Nile River and all its component parts. With them they brought religion and philosophy, all of which existed thousands of years before the first nation in Europe, Greece, came into being.
The African Egyptian golden Age Redux
It is at this juncture in this Hub that I will wish to cap and recap the most important highlights and points of the Golden Age of Egypt. This, I will have to approach it from the African Centered perspective. This is well provided for by Asa Hilliard who work I will cull from in order for us to be able to discern the real African Historiography of Ancient African Egypt.
This last point has been left out of the recent historical comment as if Africans are the one that were not responsible for the Civilization that emerged from Egypt; furthermore, it is interesting to note too that it has been averred that this Civilization, or Egypt itself is not in Africa and it is a Mediterranean civilization, and now of late it is postulated it is part of and it is in the Middle East.
Now, speaking o the Golden Age of Egypt, I will defer to the Master Teacher and Elder, Hilliard in order to right the historical falsifications that abound in the many literatures of Europe and those passed on to Africans in Africa and the Diaspora.
Asa writes the following On Chronology:
"To understand Kemetic history and the place of Waset in it, it is important to keep two things clearly in mind. First, the political control of Dynastic Kemet was in the hands of Kemetic people for nearly all of Kemetic history from 3,100 B.C to the Persian Conquest in 525 BC. During that time, Egyptologists have accepted a division that has three Kingdoms and three periods (the time in between the Kingdoms). Kemetic scholars (Afrocentric) prefer to call them Golden Ages.
"The first Golden Age, The Old Kingdom (The Pyramid Age) was from the Third to the Sixth Dynasties (2700 to 2160 BC). It was followed by a period of disorder that is called the First Intermediate Period.
"The second Golden Age was the Middle Kingdom, the age of classical literature. It included the 11th and 12th Dynasties, 2040 to 1784 BC ... It was followed by the Second Intermediate Period, a period of disorder with which occurred a short (150 year) foreign invasion of Asian nomads. they left no significant Contributions to Kemetic culture (Steindorf and Seele, 1957)
"The Third Golden Age is called the New Kingdom (The Grand Golden Age), including the 18th and 19th Dynasties. (1554 to 1070 BC). It is followed d by a Late Period of declining Conditions. Traditional Egyptology has designated the 25th Dynasty 70-to 657 BC as a "period." However, it should be designated as the Last Golden Age, the Late Kingdom, ( a resurrection Kingdom) since that is how it saw itself.
"That is how it behaved, drawing its cultural inspiration from its ancestors, acting to purify the deteriorated form of Kemetic culture. The ruler of the 25th Dynasty went back to the Middle Kingdom for its cultural models. Therefore, the last three Golden Ages, including the Greatest of the Golden Ages were ruled from Waset either physically, as in the case of the Second and third Golden Ages, or culturally, as in the case of the Forth Golden Age."
Hilliard continues to add that:
"The first thing to remember is that Kemetic culture preceded, remained intact throughout, and succeeded all the intermediate and late periods of Dynastic political rule. In other words, even under the rule of conquerors, the Kemetic way of life, its culture, remained unbroken and profoundly influential internationally for more than three thousand years.
It was not to be overcome until the massive immigration into Hapi(Nile) Valley of an Asiatic Arabic speaking population with the new religion of Islam, circa 7 century AD (after the common era). However, Kemet's purest and loftiest indigenous cultural forms were under the Golden Ages or Kingdoms. For example, here is evidence of the Late Period decadence:
"In the later Period, after the religion had lost more and more of its inner vitality, and the people clung increasingly to outward forms, they carried the animal cults to such extremes that they came to regard each individual of the species in whose form the divinity was believed to reveal himself as sacred and divine." (Steindorf and Seele, 1957)
It was under the Golden Ages or Kingdoms, not the periods, that the greatest growth and acceleration of cultural development happened. We may also cite the example from Cottrell (1967) who points out that there are not erotic cared texts in Ancient Kemet. Sex Topics were not expressed pornographically, but were treated discreetly.
A Thumb-Nail Sketch Of Ancient African Egyptian Rulers
King Menkaura And His Queen
Egyptians Are And Still Africans; Egypt Is In Africa...
African Rulers Of The Golden Age Of Egypt..
We are informed by Clegg that:
"Over he past quarter of a century or so, during which Americans and Europeans have gradually lost their total monopoly on the study and interpretation of World History [and such allied fields as Anthropology, archeology and Paleontology], there have emerged two distinct positions on the racial identity of the ancient Egyptian people…
"One view, which was introduced by the 19 Century Egyptologists and has dominated Western Scientific thinking ever since, is that, the people who lived in ancient Egypt were 'White,' even though their pigmentation was 'dark,' or Black(African), as early as the pre-Dynastic period. Negroes(Africans) made their appearance only from the XVIIIth Dynasty Onwards(UNESCO, 1974)… Yet, little evidence has been presented to support this position, but it has survived largely, if not entirely, on the strength of the reputation, power and influence of the scientists who espoused it.
The opposing view, which holds that "ancient Egypt was peopled, 'from its Neolithic infancy to the end of the Native[African indigenous] Dynasties, by Africans. By the way, there is this new Anthropological party line that states that "there is no such thing as race," and that it is now unscientific to delimit mankind on the basis of "race." But I would hasten add that I do not accept this point of view for the following reasons:
First, three major subspecies of the human family, i.e., the Africoid(africans), Caucazoid and Mongoloid are readily distinguishable and can be scientifically deigned without the absurd assumption that racial "purity" is widespread in either category.
Secondly, it appears that the abandonment of the study of 'race' by modern science is not so much an attempt to stress the unity of the human species, as it is to focus away from the inevitable conclusions that such a study has forced upon the academic community.
Eighteenth Century scientists embarked on the study of human subspecies in order to prove the superiority of the White race, and it is no accident that, as their modern disciples come to the startling realization that the human family was born in Africa-that the first Homo-Sapiens were African and that the Caucasians Sprang out of Pre-Historic African people , as a genetic mutation to Albinism, that these scientists were eager to suppress tis information.
Finally, as long as the World is dominated by White scientists who now claim that there is not validity to the study of race-continue to practice racism socially and academically; and most importantly, so long as the Africans continue to wear the universal badge of inferiority, forced upon us by these scientists who have distorted and falsified African History, we, as an African people, we will continue to include 'Race as part of our historical writings, and I have noted above, from an African Centered Perspective, and I shall continue to do so until the Story of the History and Historiography of Africans is returned to this former position of respect and reverence in the annals of World History and Stories.
I concur with Diop's assertion that the Black/Negro/African Race that he will call who's skin is black with his frizzly hair. Du Bois, with whom I agree with his position that "there was and is wide mingling of the blood of all races in Africa, but this is consistent with the general thesis that Africa is predominantly the Land of Negroes and Negroid(Black African) peoples, just as
Europe is a land of Caucasoids and Asia Mongoloids we may give up entirely, if we wish, the whole attest to delimit races, but we cannot if we are sane, divide the world into Whites, Yellows and Blacks, and then call Blacks(Africans) White. So, I firmly and finally state, Egypt was in Africa and it is African… And there is not disputing nor arguing this fact otherwise.
© 2010 ixwa
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