1500-1001 BC PART I


1500 - 1001 BC
The 18th dynasty Egipt
Thutmose I and Thutmose II
The New Kingdom
Thutmose III
Battle of Megiddo
Amenhotep II
Thutmose IV
Amenhotep III
The New Kingdom II: The Amarna Period
Tomb of Tutankhamun
Old Assyrian Kingdom and Middle Assyrian Kingdom
Ancient Egypt, Pharaohs
The Old Kingdom
1570-1343 в.с.
The New Kingdom
1335-1200 в.с.
to c. 1180 b.c.
Mitanni and Urartu
Ancient Egypt, Religion
Part III
The New Kingdom III: Ramessid Period 1320-1070 в.с.
Abu Simbel
The 19th dynasty Egipt (1292-1190)
Seti I
Ramses II
Ramses III
Ancient Egypt, Death and Burial
The Israelites in Egypt
The Promised Land and the Diaspora
Pharaohs in the book of Exodus
Destruction of Troy
Trojan War
Homer "Iliad", "Odyssey"
The Dorian Migrations
Nebuchadnezzar I
Tiglath-pileser I
The Canaanites and the Amorites
The Early Israelites and Saul
Saul - first king of Israel (c. 1021–1000 bc)
Part VII
Vedic religion
The Arrival of the Indo-Aryans
The Nations of the Middle Vedic Period
JUDAISM. The Covenant with God
I.Old Testament history
collection: Moses
II.Old Testament history
collection: Judith
III. Old Testament history
collection: Delilah
IV. Old Testament history
collection: Susanna-I
V. The history of Judaism
collection: Susanna-II
VI. The history of Judaism
collection: Salome-I

VII. The history of Judaism
collection: Aubrey Beardsley "Salome"

Bible Illustrations by Gustave Dore
Julius von Carolsfeld
"Das Buch der Bucher in Bildeb"

William Blake
"The Book of Job"

Judaism under Arab and Christian Rule
Shang culture in China
Shang Bronze-Casting
Middle Elamite and Assyrian Art
The New Kingdom Egypt
Hatshepsut's temple
Hatshepsut: The Woman Who Would Be King
The New Kingdom Egypt
The Tomb of the Sons of Ramses II
Akhenaton and the Amarna Period
The Tomb of Tutankhamen and the Post-Amarna Period
Tomb of Tutankhamun
The Mycenaean Culture and Troy
Mycenaean Art
Mycenaean Art
Phrygia and Lydia
The Four Vedas
"The Epic of Gilgamesh"
The Phoenician City-States
Ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, Hebrew Clothing
Ancient Egyptian Clothing
Ancient Assyrian Clothing
Ancient Hebrew Clothing






Ramesses II mastering his enemies

"Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of heaven,
О living Aton, Beginning of life!
When Thou risest in the eastern horizon of heaven,
Thou fittest every land with Thy beauty;...
For Thou art beautiful, great, glittering...
When Thou settest in the western horizon of heaven,
The world is in darkness like the dead...
Darkness reigns,
The world is in silence.
He that made them has gone to rest in His horizon.
Bright is the earth, when Thou risest in the horizon,
When Thou shinest as Aton by day.
The darkness is banished
When Thou sendest forth Thy rays..."

From Akhenaton's Longer Hymn to Aton

Events that Shaped the World

1500-1001 BC

1500 b.c.e. North American Urban Center

The first known urban center in North America, known as Poverty Point, was located along the Mississippi River in modern-day
Louisiana. It was occupied beginning around 1500 B.C.E. by hunter-gatherers who constructed a complex of earthworks organized into six concentric semicircles surrounding a broad, flat plaza. Each semicircle consisted of four ridges, rising more than 20 feet high and capped by some 600 houses altogether. A 70-foot mound on the outer edge of the complex is perhaps evidence of Poverty Point's importance as the major ceremonial center of the area, though the mound's exact function is still speculative. The precedent established by Poverty Point of urban centers and ceremonial monuments built of earthen mounds would be continued in eastern North America over the next 2,000 years.
1450 b.c.e. Minoan Civilization Ends

The demise of Minoan civilization on Crete came at the hands of the Mycenaeans of mainland Greece, a group of people that became in many respects the Minoans' cultural successors. Though they had been trading partners for as many as 150 years, a group of Mycenaeans invaded Minoan Crete around 1450 B.C.E., burning their towns to the ground, ransacking their palaces, and possibly even enslaving their artisans and engineers. Soon afterward, rough-hewn stone fortresses employing Minoan building techniques began to appear on the Greek mainland, complete with wall paintings of a Minoan style. Back on Crete, the Minoans' script was commandeered to produce what may be the first written form of ancient Greek, a language known as Linear B. The Mycenaeans also took over the Minoans' trade routes, establishing outposts on a number of Aegean Islands and in western Anatolia. Later Greek writers would preserve the legends of the warfaring Mycenaeans in some of the world's best-known epic poetry, The Iliad and The Odyssey.
The explanation of the Minoans' demise is still controversial. Many archaeologists maintain that a cataclysmic volcanic eruption in about that same period, which destroyed the Minoan island ofThira, may have led to the civilization's collapse. The eruption rained ash and debris in a wide swath to Crete and surrounding shores. Merchant vessels of this seafaring power would have been destroyed by tsunami-like waves, crippling a key economy. Ensuing climate change—a volcanic winter caused by particles ejected into the atmosphere— would have affected crops severely.
No palace complexes have been found, as on Crete, but excavations on Thira show remnants of a major Minoan settlement at Akrotiri, with three-story-high structures, wide streets and squares, and a drainage system. Noted for its colorful frescoes and pottery, Akrotiri shows all the signs of a sophisticated culture. Script called Linear A—the forerunner of Linear В—is incised on pottery and clay tablets. It has not yet been fully translated, but it shares many symbols with Linear B.

The Bronze Age town of Akrotiri was buried in ash from the voicano, causing its preservation and making it one of the most important archaeological sites in the Aegean. Of particular interest are its frescoes.
1400 b.c.e. Iron Metallurgy Developed

The development of iron metallurgy is a watershed event that I effected widespread changes in farming, warfare, migratory trends, and daily life. Though cast iron had been produced in Asia Minor as far back as 2000 B.C.E., it was not until around 1400 B.C.E. that the Hittites refined the process that created wrought iron, a strong, durable material that could be made on a large scale for a number of uses.
When the Hittite Empire collapsed in the 12th century B.C.E., Hittite craftsmen dispersed, spreading iron metallurgy throughout the Middle East and inaugurating what is known as the Iron Age. The technology radiated to Europe and India by 1000 B.C.E., arose independently in Africa by 900 B.C.E., and diffused to China around 700 B.C.E.
Naturally abundant and readily available, iron brought about tremendous transitions wherever it traveled. It made the war chariot obsolete in the Middle East by equipping infantry forces with stronger weapons; not until the invention of gunpowder did weaponry change in significant ways. It also allowed migratory groups to expand in Europe, Africa, and India since new land could be cleared for agriculture far more rapidly, producing a surplus that stimulated population growth, and it revolutionized farming along with the entire social order in China, where previously the masses of agriculturalists had toiled with stone, wood, and bone tools. The widespread effects of this technological breakthrough reverberate throughout the world to this day.
With the onset of this period, called Iron Age, begins the final technical and cultural stage in the Stone-Bronze-Iron Age sequence of historical dating.
1400 b.c.e. Vedas Composed

The Vedas, ancient Indian compilations of hymns, prayers, and rituals, are among the world's earliest sacred scriptures and possess such historical import that they lend their name to the time period, the Vedic Age of India. Composed in archaic Sanskrit beginning around 1400 B.C.E., they are the product of the migratory Indo-European Aryans, who entered India only about 100 years earlier. The Vedas were orally transmitted and expanded upon for almost a thousand years before taking their final form in writing. The oldest is the Rig Veda, which means "wisdom of the verses" and consists of 1,028 hymns addressed to various deities of the Aryan canon. Thousands of these deities personify natural and cosmic forces, such as Indra, associated with war, rain, and creation; Agni, associated with fire; Vishnu, associated with the sun; and Soma, associated with a hallucinogenic substance of unknown origin. Vedic religion gradually evolved into Hinduism, which still reveres the Vedas as sacred texts, parts of which are memorized and recited to this day.
1300 b.c.e. Exodus From Egypt

The exodus of the Hebrews out of Egypt around 1300 B.C.E., led by the legendary political and military leader, Moses, has become one of the most storied allegories of the western world, preserved in the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament. Following oppressive measures and probable enslavement under the pharaoh Ramses II, Moses led the Hebrews across the Sea of Reeds and into the Sinai Peninsula, where he is said to have issued a moral code of law known as the Ten Commandments. With an early form of monotheism as its foremost edict, Moses' commandments set the framework of the religion that would be known as Judaism. Moses then led the Hebrews north through conquest and, following his death, the Hebrews continued into Canaan, where they carved out a territory by overpowering established settlements. Though certainly not the first monothe-ist, Moses was one of the single most influential, revered as a prophet by three of the most widespread religions in the world, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
1200 b.c.e. Phoenicians Emerge

The Phoenicians emerged as a colonial and commercial power in the Mediterranean beginning around 1200 B.C.E. Though they had been settled in modern-day Lebanon and actively trading for almost 2,000 years, they had intermittently been subjected to imperial rule by Mesopotamians, Egyptians, and Hittites. As the sway of these empires decayed and Cretan shipping routes collapsed, sturdily built Phoenician cargo ships became the preeminent vessels of commerce and trade throughout the Mediterranean and beyond. Phoenician merchants exported cedar and pine wood, dyed cloth, glass, metalwork, wine, and fish for any number of raw goods. With an advanced and carefully guarded knowledge of the stars, winds, and currents, Phoenician seafarers established commercial colonies in Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain, and North Africa. Beyond the Mediterranean, Phoenician merchants visited ports in Portugal, France, and even the British Isles. They also ventured south along the coast of Africa, rounding the whole of West Africa and perhaps farther more than 2,000 years before later European explorers.

Called Phoenicians by the Greeks, from the word "phoenix" for purple, because of their purple cloaks, the seafaring traders benefited from a rare dye, obtained from Murex snails, that became a sought-after commodity.
1200 b.c.e. Olmec Society Builds

The Olmec society of Mesoamerica, evident by around 1200 B.C.E. in the humid lowlands along the Gulf Coast of southern Mexico, marks the first civilization in Central America characterized by extensive material and architectural remains through which scholars can piece together a relatively clear picture of their cultural traditions and political structure. Within a stratified, nonegalitarian social order, Olmec elites commissioned thousands of laborers to construct elaborate monumental temples, pyramids, and altars dedicated to a pantheon of animalistic gods. Ceremonial centers were built up and flanked by large-scale drainage ravines. Giant basalt boulders were quarried, transported, and hewn into imposing ten-ton busts, artistry that was recreated on a smaller scale with stone, wood, and ceramic figurines. A calendar and the Americas' first known glyphs were developed. Knowledge of these technical and intellectual achievements was exported along with manufactured goods through an extensive trade network that influenced groups of people throughout Mesoamerica at that time and for millennia to come.
1027 b.c.e. Zhou Dynasty Rules

The Zhou dynasty of China rose to power around 1027 B.C.E. and presided over dramatic transitions in Chinese culture for 250 years. Foremost among them was a reex-amined relationship between gods and humans that, for example, depended less on entreaties for rain and more on large-scale methods of irrigation. The Zhou dynasty established a theory of imperial succession that was based not on divine right, but on divine mandate. This "Mandate of Heaven" was retained if the virtuous performance of a ruler, the "Son of Heaven," effected stability within the land and harmony in the cosmos, but could be revoked if a ruler's actions led to social or political disunity and cosmic imbalance. The Mandate of Heaven was continually invoked by Chinese kings and emperors all the way up until the dissolution of China's final ruling line, the Qing dynasty, in 1912.

Ideas and literature from the Zhou dynasty influenced the philosophers Confucius, founder of Confucianism, and Laozi, founder of Daoism.Their wisdom inspires generations to this day.
1021 b.c.e. Kingdom of Israel Established

The kingdom of Israel was established around 1021 B.C.E. with Saul as its first king. Defeated and slain in battle, Saul was succeeded by David, who set up his capital at Jerusalem, a newly conquered Canaanite city, and then by Solomon, who erected the first temple in Jerusalem, among a number of other building projects. Solomon transformed Israel's economy, setting up networks of trade and commerce throughout North Africa and the Middle East. Around this time, a Hebrew alphabet was derived from Phoenician neighbors to the north and the earliest writings of the To rah were set down by Israel's scribes, codifying the growing canon of Jewish law and elaborating on moral teachings that had been passed down orally for centuries. A unified kingdom of Israel was short-lived though and was ultimately dissolved by repeated Mesopotamian conquests.
  1500-1001 BC

Aegean civilizations
Around 1450все Mycenaean influence spread throughout the Aegean,
including to several sites that had been part of the Minoan Empire.



1550-1400 B.C.

IN c. 1550BCE,THE THEBAN KING Ahmose I (1550-1525 все) drove the Hyksos from Lower Egypt, ushering in the third period of settled rule in Egypt, known as the New Kingdom (с. 1550-1070 ВСЕ).

During this time, Egyptian rulers assumed the title "pharaoh," meaning "great house." A succession of warrior kings campaigned to expand Egypt's boundaries once more. Tuthmosis I (r. 1504-1492bce) drove the Nubians back in the south and recaptured Sinai and parts of Syria and Palestine. Under Tuthmosis III (r. 1479-1425bce), Egypt controlled a strip along the Mediterranean coast and north of the Euphrates.

The conquered states paid huge annual tributes to Egypt, a part of which was spent building one of the world's largest religious sites at Karnak and the impressive mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut (r. 1473-1458bce).

Egyptian religion was very complex. Every village, town, and district had its own patron deity. In paintings and sculptures, many deities were shown with animal heads, representing their most important attributes. For example, the falcon god Horus protected the king, while the ibis-headed Thoth was the patron god of scribes.

By 1600 все, а new civilization emerged on the Greek mainland. Its people are now known as the Mycenaeans, after the fortress-palace of Mycenae, believed to be the home of the mythical king Agamemnon from Homer's Iliad. However, the Mycenaeans probably called themselves Ahhiyawa. They had migrated from the Balkans or Anatolia about 500 years earlier. Their lands were a patchwork of small kingdoms, each later dominated by a palace-citadel such as the ones at Mycenae, Tiryns, and Pylos. They spread their influence through trade. After the collapse of the Minoan Empire с 1450ВСЕ, the Mycenaeans took over several sites formerly occupied by the Minoans, including Knossos.
  After с. 1400bce, they also took over Minoan trade networks d established settlements on Rhodes, Kos, and the Anatolian mainland. The Mycenaeans inherited Minoan arts and crafts, adapting the Linear A script to write an early form of Greek known as the Linear В script.

They were great traders, and ventured out to Sicily and Italy. A ship believed to be of Canaanite origin, , wrecked off  Uluburun on the coast of Turkey, was found to contain tin from Iran or Afghanistan, copperand pottery from Cyprus, ivory and jewelry from Egypt, and Mycenaean swords.
The late Bronze Age was a time of unrest in Western Asia. From 1550-1400bce, there was a struggle between various powers in the region, including the Hurrians, Hittites, Elamites, Egyptians, and Kassites. In the 1570sbce. the Kassites had gained control of Babylon. However, by 1450BCE, the Hittite New Kingdom was growing in influence, partly due to an alliance with Egypt.

Around this time, the Mitanni dominated Syria, but by the 1400s, the Hittites were fighting for control of the region. In China, the Shang civilization  flourished around 1500BCE, with its rulers dominating a large area of central China. However, the Shang had to regularly fend off threats to their kingdom from nomadic tribes to the north. Shang capitals were surrounded by defensive walls. Kings and nobles were buried in tombs, which held fabulous grave goods. The Shang capital moved several times during this period. Shang society was believed to be well organized and extremely hierarchical. Writing began around 1900 ВСЕ. Most examples of early writing took the form of oracle bones, attesting to the Shang rulers' practice of consulting their ancestors on important decisions. Questions concerning the future were inscribed on the bone of an ox or on a turtle shell, which was then struck with a hot metal tool. The way the bone cracked was believed to provide the answer.



IN c. 1352BCE, AMENHOTEP IV a religious reformer, became Egypt's pharaoh. He broke with the traditional religion, with its pantheon of gods, and initiated the worship of a single god, Aten, or sun-disk.

He changed his name to Akhenaten, meaning "living spirit of Aten," and founded a new capital between Thebes and Memphis. He named it Akhetaten, meaning "horizon of Aten."

Akhenaten's religious reforms were believed to have been unpopular, especially with the influential priestly elite. After his death in с 1336 все, his son Tutankhamun ascended the throne at the age of nine. He restored the old gods and abandoned the new capital.

is believed to have died under mysterious circumstances at 18, and was hastily buried in a minor tomb.
  It was thought for years that Tutankhamun died of a blow to the head, but the latest evidence suggests he died of blood poisoning after breaking his leg in a chariot crash while out hunting in the desert.

Since the 1570s все, Egypt's pharaohs had been buried in rock-cut tombs in the Valley of the Kings, on the west bank of the Nile. Rulers hoped their tombs would be safe from robbers, but almost all the tombs were robbed of their rich goods. However, in 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter found Tutankhamun's tomb virtually intact. The shrine room had four gilded shrines, holding the king's coffin and mummy with a solid gold mask. The other rooms contained jewelry, furniture, golden statues, and musical instruments.


1300-1200 B.C.

TOWARD THE END OF THE 2ND MILLENNIUM ВСЕ, the eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia were a mosaic of empires, which comprised Egypt, Babylonia, Elam, Assyria, and the Hittites in Anatolia.

Borders fluctuated as each kingdom strove to gain ascendancy over its neighbors through conquest or diplomacy. In war and peace, vital trade routes, through which tin and copper for bronze reached the region, remained intact. A frequent flashpoint for conflict was the Levant (modern Syria and Lebanon), which Egypt had lost to the Hittites following the reign of Akhenaten.

In the 13th century ВСЕ, Pharaoh Seti I and his son Ramesses II campaigned to win it back. Ramesses' 67-year reign (r. 1279-1213 bce) was a time of stability and prosperity for Egypt. Through a combination of war, diplomacy, and strategic marriage, Ramesses sought to extend Egyptian influence to Western Asia. In the 1270sbce, he fought a series of wars with the Hittite king, Muwattalis II, of which the most famous was the Battle of Qadesh (с. 1274ВСЕ).

Although Ramesses claimed victory at Qadesh, the battle is believed to have been inconclusive, and the Hittites held on to the region. In 1259ВСЕ, after further campaigns in Syria, Ramesses tried a different tactic, and negotiated a pioneering peace treaty with the new Hittite king, Hattusilis III.
  Ramesses also took two Hittite princesses in marriage (he had about seven wives in total). Following the treaty, Ramesses kept up a friendly correspondence with the Hittite ruler, which was recorded on clay tablets in Akkadian cuneiform script. Ramesses also embarked on an extensive program of monument-building. On Egypt's southern border with Nubia, he constructed the magnificent temple of Abu Simbel. He founded a new capital at Per-Ramesses in Lower Egypt, although Thebes in Upper Egypt remained an important center. West of Thebes he built a vast mortuary temple, which doubled as a palace, court, and center of learning.

The late 2nd millennium ВСЕ saw the resurgence of Ashur, in what is now called the Middle Assyrian Empire 11350-1000 все]. Following the death of Shamshi-Adad in 1781 все, Ashur had become a vassal first of Babylon, then of Mitanni. A revival of Ashur's fortunes began under Ashuruballitl (r. 1363-1328все), who broke free of Mitannian rule and carved out a kingdom in northern Iraq. His later successors, Shalmaneser I and Tukulti-Ninurta I, continued to gain territory, expanding the kingdom's borders west to conquer eastern Mitanni and briefly, from 1225— 1216BCE, southeast to Babylonia. In the Aegean, the Mycenaean palace-kingdoms of the Greek mainland continued to thrive.

1200-1100 B.C.

BETWEEN 1250 AND ABOUT 1050 все, many of the powers that had dominated Western Asia for centuries went into decline, and some disappeared altogether.
The eastern Mediterranean entered a time of turmoil, and many coastal cities were laid waste by unknown invaders—written records of the period give few clues as to their identity. First to succumb were the Hittites, whose capital Hattusas was sacked and abandoned с.1200ВСЕ. By c.1180ВСЕ, Hittite possessions in the Levant were lost and the empire fragmented.

These conflicts were most likely instigated by the waves of migrants known collectively as the Sea Peoples. These warlike peoples came from many different areas, including Sicily, Sardinia, Greece, Libya, and Anatolia. Whatever their origins, their movements through the eastern Mediterranean in c. 1200-1100все led to attacks on Cyprus, Egypt, Anatolia, and Canaan and Syria in the Levant. In 1178BCE, the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses III drove the Sea Peoples from Lower Egypt, but could not prevent them from colonizing the Levant.

Around 1200 все, the Mycenaean kingdoms entered a time of upheaval, a result of both internal disintegration and external threats. The defenses of many Mycenean palaces were strengthened.
  Records at Pylos show the inhabitants feared attack from the sea. By 1100 все, most of the Mycenaean palaces had been sacked and abandoned. This triggered the so-called Dark Age of Greece, when writing fell out of use, not to be reintroduced until the Homeric age.

In the late Bronze Age, parts of Europe came to be dominated by the Urnfield Culture—named after the practice of cremating the dead and burying the remains in funerary urns, sometimes accompanied by rich grave goods. This culture originated in the Danube region in 1300все, and spread to Italy and central and eastern Europe in the following centuries.
Between 1200 and 700 ВСЕ iron technology spread northward from Greece to Central Europe. Iron rapidly replaced bronze in tools and weapons, signaling the end of the Bronze Age.
In Mesoamerica, the region's first great civilization, the Olmec, was emerging in the lowlands of Mexico's southern Gulf coast. The Olmecs built ceremonial centers, ncluding San Lorenzo, constructed temples and houses on earthen mounds, and carved huge stone heads clad in helmets. They also established long-distance trade routes. Meanwhile, other cultures were emerging, such as at Cerro Sechin, in what is now Peru.

1100- 1000 B.C.

THE CLOSE OF THE 2ND MILLENNIUM SAW MAJOR CHANGES in the power politics of West Asia. In 1070 ВСЕ, the Egyptian New Kingdom ended and Egypt entered a time of unrest called the Third Intermediate Period, which lasted until 747bce.
Historians believe that the power of the pharaohs had been eroded by a priestly elite who had gained control of many areas. By 1000все, all of the territories won by New Kingdom pharaohs had been lost.

In Mesopotamia, there were frequent wars between the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Elamites; the region was also subjected to devastating raids by Aramaean nomads from the west. Meanwhile, other powers were rising in the region. A Semitic-speaking people, who called themselves Canaanites, had inhabited the Levant for centuries, living in city-states that controlled the surrounding territory. They were skilled seafarers and played a major role in international trade. By 1100все, Canaanite port cities such as Arwad, Byblos, Tyre, and Sidon were expanding their operations, establishing trading posts and colonies throughout the eastern Mediterranean. They traded cedarwood from Lebanon, glass- and ivory-ware, metal ores, and, most important, an expensive purple dye made from murex shellfish. It was this luxury commodity that caused them to be known by their more familiar Greek name, the Phoenicians, after phoinix, Greek for "purple."

In China, a new dynasty replaced the Shang in 1027BCE, when King Wu of the Zhou defeated the last Shang ruler, Di-Xin. The Zhou dynasty was to rule China for 700 years. This long era is usually divided into two periods: the Western and Eastern Zhou. During the first era, the Zhou capital was Zongzhou. This was a time of prosperity and strong central control. Zhou territory was divided into fiefs held by trusted noblemen, in return for military allegiance. But many aspects of Chinese tradition already present in the Shang period continued in the Zhou, including ancestor worship and the use of oracle bones for divination.
  Meanwhile, in Japan, the Jomon culture, named after the cord patterns [jomon] that decorate its pottery, continued. The Jomon people were still hunter-gatherers, albeit prosperous and sedentary.

In northern India, small groups of nomadic pastoralists had been migrating into the Ganges basin from Central Asia since the 1500s bce. By the 1100s BCE, most had begun to settle and cultivate crops. They spoke Sanskrit, which became the language of early Indian sacred writings. Sanskrit, an Indo-European language related to Iranian and almost all European languages, is also the ancestor of modern languages such as Hindi and Urdu.


Krishna Yajur Veda

Sacred writings called the Vedas were transmitted orally in Sanskrit for many centuries. Although the Vedas are largely religious writings and hymns, the geographical information that they contain not only describes the gradual spread of farmers and pastoralists from the Punjab to the Ganges basin, but also gives some information about conflicts with other groups, and local life at the time.

For example, the division of society into varnas or castes is described in the Vedas, first appearing in Book X of Rigveda, although there is nothing in the text to suggest that the system was hereditary at the time.
  1500-1001 BC

The Phrygians migrate from Thrace to Asia Minor

Chiapa de Carzo, earliest known settlement in Mexico

Thutmose III (1480-1450) extends Egyptian empire along eastern Mediterranean, to banks of Euphrates, and to upper Nile

Under the peaceful reign of Amenhotep III (1420-1385) Egyptian trade and culture flourish

The Phoenicians reach Malta

Amenhotep IV (Pharaoh Ikhnaton, 1385-1358) builds new residence in Amarna; attempts revolutionary changes in army and priesthood, later annulled by Tutankhamen

19th dynasty (Seti I, Ramses II and III, 1350-1200) moves seat of government to Memphis, reestablishes pre-lkhnaton status

King Shalmaneser I establishes Assyrian supremacy; founds first city of Nimrud

The Israelites, led by Moses, leave Egypt, reach Canaan

Phoenicians become the predominant trading power in Mediterranean area

20th dynasty in Egypt (1200-1090); decline of power begins

Crossing of the Jordan by the Israelites

Destruction of Troy during Trojan War (1193, sixth level)

Nebuchadnezzar I, king of Babylon (1146-1123)

Chou dynasty succeeds Shang dynasty (1122-480)

Tiglath-pileser I (1116-1077) founds Assyrian Empire and fortifies it against migrating peoples from the north; conquers Babylon

Ethiopia becomes independent power

The Dorians conquer the Peloponnesus

21st dynasty in Egypt (1090 -945); civil war under Ramses XI

Abolition of monarchy in Athens; Medon becomes first archon

Saul becomes first king of Israel (1002-1000) and is defeated by Philistines

The 18th dynasty Egipt
  Thutmose I and Thutmose II

Lacking a surviving heir, Amenhotep I was succeeded by one of his generals, Thutmose I (ruled 1493–c. 1482 bc), who married his own full sister Ahmose. In the south Thutmose destroyed the Karmah state. He inscribed a rock as a boundary marker, later confirmed by Thutmose III, near Kanisa-Kurgus, north of the Fifth Cataract. He then executed a brilliant campaign into Syria and across the Euphrates River, where he erected a victory stela near Carchemish.

Thus, in the reign of Thutmose I, Egyptian conquests in the Middle East and Africa reached their greatest extent, but they may not yet have been firmly held. His little-known successor, Thutmose II (c. 1482–79 bc), apparently continued his policies.

The New Kingdom ca. 1539-1379 в.с.
Ancient Egypt was at the pinnacle of its political power during the era of the New Kingdom. The pharaohs of the 18th dynasty turned Egypt into the dominant state of the Near East.
Under Ahmose I, the first pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, the rulers of Thebes were able to expel the Hyksos and extend Egyptian hegemony to the Syrian border. Ahmose's descendent Thutmose I (ca. 1525- ca. 1512 B.C.) conquered the entirety of Nubia and integrated it into the Egyptian Empire.

Thutmose's daughter 9 Hatshepsut (1503-1482 B.C.) was married to her half-brother Thutmose II. After his death she assumed power, initially as regent for her nephew Thutmose III. She ultimately took the title of pharaoh for herself and ushered in a period of peace and prosperity in Egypt. Great trading expeditions were undertaken, for example, to the land of Punt (present-day Eritrea and Somalia).

Like other pharaohs, she had a magnificent 11 funerary temple constructed for herself, one of the most significant structures of its kind.

11 Terrace-shaped funerary temple complex of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri in West Thebes, ca. 1470 B.C.

7 Giant statue of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiy,
ca. 1370 B.C.
After Hatshepsut's death, 8 Thutmose III (1504-1450 в.с.) eradicated all memory of his stepmother and aunt. Under him, the New Kingdom was at its most extensive. It reached from the Euphrates in the north into today's Sudan in the south.

To counter the growing power of the Hittites, succeeding pharaohs formed alliances with the Mitanni kingdom. This policy of alliances was reinforced through dynastic marriages; 7 Amenhotep III (1417-1379 B.C.) married not only the Egyptian Tiy but also two Mitannian princesses.

The reign of Amenhotep III was noted for its 10 construction and architecture. His long reign was also marked by the gradual decline of the 18th dynasty, which was further accelerated by the religious policies of his son Amenhotep IV (Akhenaton).
Thutmose III

Thutmose III extends Egyptian empire along eastern Mediterranean, to banks of Euphrates, and to upper Nile

Thutmose III was a skilled warrior who brought the Egyptian empire to the zenith of its power by conquering all of Syria, crossing the Euphrates to defeat the Mitannians, and penetrating south along the Nile River to Napata in the Sudan. He also built a great number of temples and monuments to commemorate his deeds.

Thutmose’s minority
Thutmose III
was the son of Thutmose II; his mother was one of the king’s secondary wives or a lesser harem queen, named Isis. Since there was no prince with a better claim to the throne, the boy was crowned king on the early death of his father; he was very young at the time. Hatshepsut—the daughter of Thutmose I, the wife and sister of Thutmose II, and the mother of Thutmose III’s half-sister Neferure—acted as regent. By the seventh year of his reign this strong-minded and ambitious woman herself assumed the attributes, dress, and insignia of a king and to all intents and purposes reigned in his stead. As one of her courtiers says, “she directed the affairs of the whole land according to her wishes.” Still, Thutmose was given an education befitting his royal station. He was taught all military skills, especially archery, which he demonstrated in public display, and horsemanship, in which he showed considerable prowess. He was later to boast that none among his followers could equal him in physical strength and in marksmanship.

As he grew up, Thutmose may even have been entrusted with command of the army on campaign in Nubia; he may have also fought in Gezer in Palestine. His grandfather Thutmose I had penetrated into northern Syria; Thutmose II, though far from a weakling, had not followed this success, and Hatshepsut may have been unwilling to send an army into the field. Thus, through inaction, Egyptian influence in Syria and Palestine declined.

8 Thutmose III

  The sons and grandsons of the Syrian princes who had surrendered to Thutmose I no longer sent tribute, and the king of Mitanni, a powerful Mesopotamian kingdom with its capital beyond the Euphrates, was able to extend his control westward to the Mediterranean.

In the 22nd year of Thutmose’s reign, a formidable coalition was formed against Egypt, led by the king of Kadesh in northern Syria and no doubt supported by the Mitanni. At this moment of crisis, Hatshepsut died, and Thutmose as sole ruler began a series of annual military campaigns aimed at Nubia and the Levantine powers.

Military campaigns
After a few months’ preparation the king was ready to march at the head of his army. The first campaign is recorded in some detail on the walls of the temple he built at Karnak in Thebes, which describe the march to Gaza and thence to Yahmai south of the Carmel Range, the council of war, and the king’s bold decision to surprise the enemy encamped at Megiddo, northeast of Carmel and about 18 miles (29 km) southeast of the modern city of Haifa. Thutmose’s approach was by the route least expected—a narrow defile over the mountain. It was successful: the enemy was defeated, and Megiddo was taken after a siege of eight months. In subsequent campaigns, which are less fully described in the annals, ports on the Phoenician coast were converted into Egyptian supply bases, and Kadesh and other cities in Al-Biqāʿ (Bekaa) valley were taken. In the 33rd year of Thutmose’s reign, the time was at last ripe for his most audacious move, an attack on the kingdom of Mitanni itself, which had grown stronger since the day when Thutmose I had taken its army by surprise. Thutmose planned the campaign well; pontoon boats were transported across Syria on oxcarts for the crossing of the Euphrates River. The ensuing encounter, which must have taken place on the eastern bank, is not described by the annalist; it resulted in the precipitate flight of the Mitannian king and the capture of 30 members of his harem and some hundreds of his soldiers. Triumphantly, Thutmose set up his commemorative inscription by the river’s edge, next to that of his grandfather Thutmose I. It was his farthest point of advance. On the homeward journey he hunted elephant in the land of Niy, in the Orontes valley, and on his return he celebrated a great triumph at Thebes and dedicated prisoners and booty to the temple of the state god, Amon. In later campaigns (there were 17 in all), Thutmose III was content to consolidate what he had won and to lay the foundations of an imperial organization of his Asian possessions. Native rulers, members of local ruling dynasties, were henceforward set to govern their own territories as vassals of Egypt and were bound by solemn oath to keep the peace, render annual tribute, and obey the Egyptian representative in the region, the “overseer of foreign lands.” Their sons were sent as hostages to Egypt and educated at court, so that in due course they might return to rule their inheritance, Egyptianized in outlook and sympathies. Fortresses were built, and Egyptian garrisons were stationed at key points along the coast and in the highlands. To the south, Thutmose reaffirmed the southern boundary of Egyptian domination over Nubia as far as Kurgus, and at Napata, near Mount Barkal, he built a temple to Amon. He thoroughly subdued the turbulent Nubian tribes and employed many of them in the gold mines, which from his reign on became the basis of Egyptian wealth in foreign exchange with the princes of western Asia. For the last 12 years of his reign, he was content to enjoy the fruits of his victories. The tribute of Syria and Palestine and of the Sudan poured into his treasury; the annals list huge quantities of timber and metal ores, cattle, and grain delivered by the conquered. Minoan Crete and Cyprus, Babylonia, Assyria, and the Hittites sent gifts. The tombs of high officials of the reign are decorated with scenes depicting the reception of foreign envoys coming from places as far away as the Aegean and the Greek mainland to lay their rich and exotic gifts at the feet of the pharaoh. The prestige of Egypt had never been so great.

Margaret Stefana Drower
Encyclopædia Britannica


Battle of Megiddo

Battle of Megiddo (15th century BC):

fought between the armies of the Egyptian pharaoh
Thutmose III and a large Canaanite coalition led by
the rulers of Megiddo and Kadesh.


Hatshepsut, also spelled Hatchepsut, female king of Egypt (reigned in her own right c. 1473–1458 bc) who attained unprecedented power for a woman, adopting the full titles and regalia of a pharaoh.

Hatshepsut, the elder daughter of the 18th-dynasty king Thutmose I and his consort Ahmose, was married to her half brother Thutmose II, son of the lady Mutnofret.


9 Queen Hatshepsut wearing the traditional fake
ceremonial beard of the pharaohs, ca. 1490 B.C.

 Since three of Mutnofret’s older sons had died prematurely, Thutmose II inherited his father’s throne about 1492 bc, with Hatshepsut as his consort. Hatshepsut bore one daughter, Neferure, but no son. When her husband died about 1479 bc, the throne passed to his son Thutmose III, born to Isis, a lesser harem queen. As Thutmose III was an infant, Hatshepsut acted as regent for the young king.
For the first few years of her stepson’s reign, Hatshepsut was an entirely conventional regent. But by the end of his seventh regnal year, she had been crowned king and adopted a full royal titulary (the royal protocol adopted by Egyptian sovereigns).

Hatshepsut and Thutmose III were now corulers of Egypt, with Hatshepsut very much the dominant king. Hitherto Hatshepsut had been depicted as a typical queen, with a female body and appropriately feminine garments. But now, after a brief period of experimentation that involved combining a female body with kingly (male) regalia, her formal portraits began to show Hatshepsut with a male body, wearing the traditional regalia of kilt, crown or head-cloth, and false beard. To dismiss this as a serious attempt to pass herself off as a man is to misunderstand Egyptian artistic convention, which showed things not as they were but as they should be. In causing herself to be depicted as a traditional king, Hatshepsut ensured that this is what she would become.

Hatshepsut never explained why she took the throne or how she persuaded Egypt’s elite to accept her new position. However, an essential element of her success was a group of loyal officials, many handpicked, who controlled all the key positions in her government. Most prominent amongst these was Senenmut, overseer of all royal works and tutor to Neferure. Some observers have suggested that Hatshepsut and Senenmut may have been lovers, but there is no evidence to support this claim.
Traditionally, Egyptian kings defended their land against the enemies who lurked at Egypt’s borders. Hatshepsut’s reign was essentially a peaceful one, and her foreign policy was based on trade rather than war. But scenes on the walls of her Dayr al-Baḥrī temple, in western Thebes, suggest that she began with a short, successful military campaign in Nubia.
  More-complete scenes show Hatshepsut’s seaborne trading expedition to Punt, a trading centre (since vanished) on the East African coast beyond the southernmost end of the Red Sea. Gold, ebony, animal skins, baboons, processed myrrh, and living myrrh trees were brought back to Egypt, and the trees were planted in the gardens of Dayr al-Baḥrī.

Restoration and building were important royal duties. Hatshepsut claimed, falsely, to have restored the damage wrought by the Hyksos (Asian) kings during their rule in Egypt. She undertook an extensive building program. In Thebes this focused on the temples of her divine father, the national god Amon-Re. At the Karnak temple complex, she remodeled her earthly father’s hypostyle hall, added a barque shrine (the Red Chapel), and introduced two pairs of obelisks.

At Beni Hasan in Middle Egypt, she built a rock-cut temple known in Greek as Speos Artemidos. Her supreme achievement was her Dayr al-Baḥrī temple; designed as a funerary monument for Hatshepsut, it was dedicated to Amon-Re and included a series of chapels dedicated to Osiris, Re, Hathor, Anubis, and the royal ancestors. Hatshepsut was to be interred in the Valley of the Kings, where she extended her father’s tomb so that the two could lie together.

Toward the end of her reign, Hatshepsut allowed Thutmose to play an increasingly prominent role in state affairs; following her death, Thutmose III ruled Egypt alone for 33 years. At the end of his reign, an attempt was made to remove all traces of Hatshepsut’s rule. Her statues were torn down, her monuments were defaced, and her name was removed from the official king list.

Early scholars interpreted this as an act of vengeance, but it seems that Thutmose was ensuring that the succession would run from Thutmose I through Thutmose II to Thutmose III without female interruption. Hatshepsut sank into obscurity until 1822, when the decoding of hieroglyphic script allowed archaeologists to read the Dayr al-Baḥrī inscriptions. Initially the discrepancy between the female name and the male image caused confusion, but today the Thutmoside succession is well understood.

Joyce Tyldesley

Amenhotep II

About two years before his death, Thutmose III appointed his 18-year-old son, Amenhotep II (ruled c. 1426–1400 bc), as coregent. Just prior to his father’s death, Amenhotep II set out on a campaign to an area in Syria near Kadesh, whose city-states were now caught up in the power struggle between Egypt and Mitanni; Amenhotep II killed seven princes and shipped their bodies back to Egypt to be suspended from the ramparts of Thebes and Napata. In his seventh and ninth years, Amenhotep II made further campaigns into Asia, where the Mitannian king pursued a more vigorous policy. The revolt of the important coastal city of Ugarit was a serious matter, because Egyptian control over Syria required bases along the littoral for inland operations and the provisioning of the army. Ugarit was pacified, and the fealty of Syrian cities, including Kadesh, was reconfirmed.

Statue of pharaoh Amenhotep II
of the 18th dynasty of Egypt
Thutmose IV

Thutmose IV, (flourished 2nd millennium bce), 18th-dynasty king of ancient Egypt (reigned 1400–1390 bce) who secured an alliance with the Mitanni empire of northern Syria and ushered in a period of peace at the peak of Egypt’s prosperity.


Thutmose IV at the Louvre Museum.
Thutmose IV was the son of his predecessor’s chief queen. As prince, he was assigned to the military operational base at Memphis, near present-day Cairo, where he spent his leisure time in hunting and sports near the pyramids on the western desert. During a rest near the great Sphinx, he dreamed that the god Horus, whom the sphinx was believed to represent, asked him to free it of sand that had drifted around it, in return for which he would become pharaoh. On the basis of this dream, it has been suggested that Thutmose was not the heir apparent and that he succeeded after an elder brother’s death, using the dream as divine sanction of his rule.
As king, Thutmose made an armed tour of Syria-Palestine, during which he quelled some minor uprisings. Sensing the growing menace of the Hittite empire in Asia Minor, he initiated lengthy negotiations with the Mitanni empire, Egypt’s former foe in Syria, which culminated in a peace treaty between the two powers, cemented by a royal marriage between a Mitanni princess and the king. Gifts were exchanged, and the city of Alalakh (present-day Açana in southern Turkey) was ceded to Mitanni.
  A long peace marked by friendly relations ensued between the two states.

In the eighth year of his reign, Thutmose learned of a revolt by a desert chieftain in Lower Nubia (in present-day Sudan). He swiftly gathered and led his army with a riverborne force and defeated the rebels, who probably had endangered the rich gold country of eastern Nubia.
During the remainder of his peaceful reign, Thutmose erected at Thebes the large obelisk that now stands before the church of St. John Lateran in Rome. In western Thebes, he built a small but fine mortuary temple, and he also left memorials at Memphis, the residence of his youth.
During his reign Thutmose showed some personal devotion to the Aton, which would feature in his grandson Akhenaton’s religious revolution. The art of his reign likewise reveals the start of tendencies that later led to the Amarna style of his grandson.

Thutmose died after a reign of about nine years and was succeeded by his son Amenhotep III. His tomb was found in 1903, with some of its furniture in place.
Amenhotep III

Amenhotep III, also called Amenophis III, king of ancient Egypt (reigned 1390–53 bce) in a period of peaceful prosperity, who devoted himself to expanding diplomatic contacts and to extensive building in Egypt and Nubia.


Amenhotep III
In the fifth year of his reign, Amenhotep conducted campaigns against a territory called Akuyata in Nubia. Thereafter his reign was peaceful, except for some disturbances in the Nile River delta, which Amenhotep, son of Hapu, the king’s most prominent official, quelled by carefully regulating access into Egypt by land and sea.

Amenhotep III in his early years enjoyed hunting in the tradition of his father, Thutmose IV, and grandfather, Amenhotep II, and on two occasions issued large commemorative scarabs to proclaim several of his feats. Early in his reign he married Tiy, a commoner and a shrewd and able woman. She became the chief queen and was the mother of the reforming king Akhenaton. In the 11th year of his reign, Amenhotep ordered the excavation of a large inland basin, the location of which remains unknown.
Utilizing the talents of Amenhotep, son of Hapu, the king engaged in a great construction program, which included his own mortuary temple in western Thebes, of which the Colossi of Memnon remain the most prominent feature, and a major temple at Soleb in Nubia.

His palace complex at Malkata in western Thebes was linked to the Nile by a large artificial harbour, the Birket Habu. The king also built the main portions of the temple at Luxor and a pylon in the temple at Karnak, both in ancient Thebes. He also constructed many buildings in Memphis. Amenhotep carried on lively diplomatic exchanges with the other great contemporary powers, as confirmed by the Amarna Letters (diplomatic archive of Amenhotep III and Akhenaton), which reveal that Egyptian gold was exchanged for horses, copper, and lapis lazuli from Asia.   He contracted political marriages with the sisters and daughters of the kings of Mitanni (a powerful empire on the Euphrates River in northern Syria) and Babylon to consolidate alliances, and he sought to marry a Hittite princess as well. Diplomatic correspondence was also sent to Assyria, Cyprus, and a number of Egypt’s Syrian vassals. Late in Amenhotep’s reign, Tushratta, the ruler of Mitanni, forwarded a divine image to Egypt to cure the ailing king. Queen Tiy played a great role in his last days, and Tushratta even corresponded with her after her husband’s death.

Encyclopædia Britannica


10 Statues of Memnon at Thebes during the Inundation-
remains of the funerary temple of Amenhotep III in West Thebes, painting, 19th с A.D.

The New Kingdom II: The Amarna Period  1379-1320 в.с.
Amenhotep IV introduced a form of monotheism and banned older cults. He thereby incurred the wrath of the priests, who feared losing their influence in Egypt.
The veneration of the sun disk, the Aten, was already common at the pharaoh's court under Amenhotep III. The new pharaoh, Amenhotep IV (1379-1362 B.C.), banned all other cults. He took the name 3 Akhenaton ("He who is of service to Aten") and founded a new capital city, Akhetnaton ("Horizon of the Aten"), on the plains of Tell el-Amarna in central Egypt.

In doing this, he deprived Amun-Re priesthood in Thebes of its power. Under Akhenaton, a new, more 4 naturalistic art style became popular. In the twelfth year of his reign, however, his zeal for reform let up.

Nefertiti, who until then had appeared as his equal and "great royal wife," disappeared and was replaced by the Mitanni princess Kiya. A reason for this could have been the growing threat from the Hittites, which had caused Egypt and Mitanni to ally.

2 Nefertiti drives though the capital, drawing, 20th century

Soon after Akhcnaton's death, the old cults were restored. Attempts were made to annihilate memory of the "Heretic King."

Both of the succeeding pharaohs married а 1 daughter of Akhenaton and Nefertiti to ensure dynastic continuity. The second of them, the young Tutankh-aten, changed his name to Tutankhamun in the course of a return to orthodoxy. He was otherwise politically insignificant. The generals had steadily increased their power through continual clashes with the Hittites. Follow ing Tutankhamun's death, military leaders usurped the throne. One of them, Ramses I. established a new dynasty about 1320 B.C.

3 Portrait of Akhenaton, ca. 1355 B.C.

Portrait of Akhenaton

Akhenaton, also spelled Akhenaten, Akhnaton, or Ikhnaton, also called Amenhotep IV, Greek Amenophis, king (1353–36 bce) of ancient Egypt of the 18th dynasty, who established a new cult dedicated to the Aton, the sun’s disk (hence his assumed name, Akhenaton, meaning “beneficial to Aton”).


Akhenaten depicted as a sphinx at Amarna (now in the Kestner Museum)
Early reign
Few scholars now agree with the contention that Amenhotep III associated his son Amenhotep IV on the throne for several years of coregency; it is assumed here, in accordance with general scholarly consensus, that the older king died before his son gained power. At or shortly after the time of his accession, Amenhotep IV seems to have married the chief queen of his reign, Nefertiti. The earliest monuments of Amenhotep IV depict the traditional worship of deities executed according to the artistic style of the preceding reign—with the exception of a prominent role accorded to the falcon-headed god Re-Harakhte, who is given an unusual epithet containing the phrase “who rejoices in his horizon, in his aspect of the light which is in the sun’s disk.”

Within the first few years of his rule, Amenhotep IV introduced sweeping changes in the spheres of religion, architecture, and art. Near the main precinct of the god Amon at Karnak, he founded several new temples dedicated to Re-Harakhte, who was now provided with a lengthy epithet placed in two royal cartouches and was described as “the light which is in the sun’s disk (aton).” Moreover, the new god, Aton, was no longer portrayed in anthropomorphic form but as the sun’s disk itself, elevated to the heavens and extending its multiple rays down over the royal family. Each ray ended in a tiny hand with which the Aton might offer the sign of life to the king and queen or even embrace their limbs and crowns.

Unlike the traditional ritual prescribed for most Egyptian deities, which was carried out in small, darkened sanctuaries in the innermost recesses of their temples, Amenhotep IV’s devotion to the Aton was celebrated through the presentation of foodstuffs on large numbers of offering tables and made in open sunlight. The Aton temples at Karnak therefore consisted of a series of vast open-air courts in which there was virtually no interior space at all. The only preserved architecture from Karnak indicates that these courts were flanked by roofed porticos with colossal statues of the king placed against the pillars.
The new temples were built entirely of relatively small blocks of sandstone of uniform size, known as talatat, apparently for speed in construction—an understandable convenience, considering the scale of the project. The walls were decorated with reliefs executed entirely in sunk relief, a method well-suited for exterior surfaces exposed to direct sunlight.
The scenes, reconstructed from thousands of individual talatat blocks, portray the royal couple and their eldest daughter, Meritaton, engaged primarily in making offerings to the Aton, although scenes of offering-bearers, cattle designated for slaughter, foreigners in obeisance, and detailed depictions of the royal palace are also abundant.

  One series of reliefs shows Amenhotep IV at the celebration of his jubilee, a ceremony normally observed by kings of the New Kingdom (c. 1539–1075 bce) only beginning in their 30th regnal year.

One temple at Karnak shows only Nefertiti as the primary officiant before the Aton, sometimes accompanied by Meritaton—an unprecedented privilege for a mere queen. In addition, the enormous expanse of the exterior temple wall provided a stone canvas on which experiments in large-scale composition were undertaken.

The introduction of a new cult was accompanied by innovations in the portrayal of the human form in both relief and sculpture. The royal family was depicted with features that, by comparison with standard conventions of Egyptian art, appear noticeably exaggerated: a prognathous jaw, a thin neck, sloped shoulders, a pronounced paunch, large hips and thighs, and spindly legs. Facial features were characterized by angular, slitted eyes, fleshy lips, nasolabial wrinkles, and holes for ear plugs, while the princesses are often each depicted with an inflated, egg-shaped cranium.

Much scholarly debate has centred on whether these features reflect the actual appearance of the king—extended by convention to his family and retainers—and various theories have been argued about the presumed pathology of Amenhotep IV and what medical conditions might produce the anatomical traits shown. The Karnak colossi in particular show these new characteristics in notably exaggerated form, including one that apparently depicts the king without male genitalia.

Whether such statues were intended to represent the male and female element combined in the person of the divine king or whether they are simply statues of Nefertiti has not been satisfactorily settled. More simply, the remarkable innovations of Amenhotep IV in several cultural spheres at once may be reasonably viewed as a manifestation of the intimate connection in Egyptian culture between art and religion.

In devising a radically different cult based on the worship of the sun’s natural form, the king was forced to develop a new artistic idiom with which to express it. That Amenhotep IV was personally involved in these changes seems clear: the biographical text of one of the reign’s master sculptors indicates that he was instructed by the king himself.

1 Daughters of Nefertiti and Akhenaton in front of Aten's sun disk, relief, ca. 1355 B.C.

Move to Akhetaton

In the fifth year of his reign, the king changed his name from Amenhotep (“Amon Is Content”) to Akhenaton (“Beneficial to Aton”). Nefertiti’s name was expanded to Neferneferuaten (“Beautiful Is the Beauty of Aton”)-Nefertiti.

That same year Akhenaton moved his capital to a new site some 200 miles (300 km) north of Thebes. The location chosen for the new capital, named Akhetaton (“Horizon of the Aton”; Tell el-Amarna), was a virgin site on the east bank of the Nile River, a large desert embayment enclosed by limestone cliffs, in which a series of boundary stelae were carved. The boundary texts, dated the fifth, sixth, and eighth years of his rule, describe the planned city in some detail and reveal Akhenaton’s primary intention: to construct a city dedicated to the worship of the Aton separate from already established cults.

Construction began apace on a new series of royal residences and open-air temples, the latter built entirely from limestone talatat and decorated in a manner similar to that of their predecessors at Karnak. The central city was built around the vast main temple to the Aton, called Gempaaton, and a secondary sanctuary, called the Mansion of the Aton. A large formal palace connected to a royal estate by means of a bridge over the main north-south road was located nearby. The road itself led to a northern palace and a riverside settlement laid out along the northern limits of Akhetaton.
The royal and religious structures of the central city were surrounded with administrative offices, storerooms, and workshops, as well as extensive suburbs of private villas and smaller private houses. To the far south a separate garden enclosure, called the Maru-Aton, was built, and it seems to have provided a place of recreation for the royal family. The site of Tell el-Amarna provides invaluable insight into the city layout and domestic architecture of ancient Egypt, and yet it remains very much an atypical settlement, because of its programmatic foundation and its situation on the edge of the desert rather than in the cultivation.

Private tombs for the officials of Akhenaton’s court were built in the northern and southern cliffs to the east, although ultimately none were completed or ever used for burial. The royal tomb, intended for Akhenaton, Nefertiti, and his daughters, was carved in a large wadi east of the city.
  Not far from the outlet of the royal wadi, the remains of a village for workmen were discovered, apparently the domestic quarters for those skilled craftsmen engaged in cutting and decorating the royal tomb.

One of the most important discoveries from Tell el-Amarna was a cache of clay tablets originating in the records office of the central city, referred to as the Amarna Letters. Written in an archaic and somewhat provincialized form of Babylonian cuneiform, the tablets represent part of the correspondence between the Egyptian court and other states and vassals of the ancient Middle East. They provide invaluable insight into the nature of diplomatic relations between the great nations and petty states of the 14th century bce as well as an incomplete and tantalizing hint of the strategic maneuvering of the time. Letters from the great powers (Babylonia, Assyria, Mitanni, and the Hittite court) are often preoccupied with the exchange of gifts and diplomatic marriages. Those from the vassal states of Syro-Palestine deal with the local political and military situation and are often filled with complaints of inattention on the part of the Egyptian court. These communications have been used as the basis for the conclusion that Akhenaton had adopted a pacifist attitude toward the Egyptian empire in Asia, but, considering the selective nature of the letters and the lack of direct evidence from the Levant, such judgments may in fact be premature.

In addition to Nefertiti, two other queens appear at Akhetaton: the king’s mother, Tiy, and a secondary wife of Akhenaton, called Kiya, who bears a distinctive epithet, quite different from Nefertiti’s, incorporating the phrase “the (king’s) greatly beloved wife.” While Tiy seems to have died during her son’s reign, the fate of Kiya is unclear, although her name at the Maru-Aton was usurped by that of the eldest princess, Meritaton.



Religion of the Aton

The religious tenets Akhenaton espoused in his worship of the Aton are not spelled out in detail anywhere.

They must be reconstructed largely from the iconography of the temple reliefs and stelae that depict him with his deity and from the one lengthy religious text from Tell el-Amarna, the Aton Hymn, preserved in several of the private tombs.

In myriad offering scenes preserved from Karnak and Tell el-Amarna, Akhenaton is not portrayed face-to-face with his god, as traditional offering practices would dictate, but lifting up offerings to the sun’s disk in the heaven, which bathes him in its rays. Although the Aton is depicted as the physical manifestation of the sun, his name is nonetheless placed within cartouches, a distinction typical of royalty rather than divinity, and he is said to be “one who is in his jubilee,” a celebration normally reserved for kings.

The reciprocal dialogues between king and deity—which regularly appear in traditional temple scenes and which validate the blessings uttered by the gods—are not feasible in Akhenaton’s religion, in which the primary deity has no mouth to speak. Temple texts are thus confined almost entirely to the names and titles of the Aton and those of Akhenaton and his family, who are often shown together on offering stelae from private villas.

The Aton Hymn itself is largely a forceful description of natural effects.

It describes the solar disk as the prime mover of life, whose daily rising rejuvenates all living things on earth and at whose setting all creatures go to sleep. While the Aton is said to have created the world for men, it seems that the ultimate goal of creation is really the king himself, whose intimate and privileged connection to his god is emphasized. Divine revelation and knowability are reserved for Akhenaton alone, and the hymn is ultimately neutral in regard to explicating the mysteries of divinity.

  The hymn has certain passages that are shared by a wider literary tradition and are not unique to Akhenaton.

At some point after his fifth regnal year, Akhenaton initiated a program to erase the name and image of the Theban god, Amon, from all monuments, a decision that wreaked widespread destruction in many Egyptian temples. The reason for this drastic step is not known; at some point, it seems that other gods were attacked as well, including Amon’s consort, Mut, and the plural word gods.

Although Akhenaton has been considered by some as the world’s first monotheist, the religion of the Aton may best be described as monolatry, the worship of one god in preference to all others. In fact, Akhenaton’s god consistently incorporated multiple aspects of the traditional divinized sun, such as Re-Harakhte (the rising sun), Shu (atmosphere and sunlight), and Maat (daughter of Re).

Whether his beliefs ever took hold in the public imagination, or even among the residents of Akhetaton itself, remains uncertain. Private homes, as well as the workmen’s village, have yielded numerous figurines of household deities, and stelae dedicated to traditional deities, such as Isis and Tausret, have been found in some of the private chapels. Certainly there is no evidence that Akhenaton’s idiosyncratic religion survived his death.

Last events of the reign
Toward the end of his reign, Akhenaton is shown on certain monuments together with another king, whose coronation name was Ankhkheperure and whose personal name was Neferneferuaten, the initial element of Nefertiti’s own name. Whether this personage is in fact a new male coregent whose origin cannot now be traced or whether it is Nefertiti herself elevated to the status of male pharaoh remains a controversial issue. This king’s personal name, Neferneferuaton, was then changed to Smenkhkare, the name by which he is more widely known. Akhenaton seems to have ruled with Smenkhkare until Akhenaton’s death in his 17th regnal year, when he was presumably buried in the royal tomb at Akhetaton; Smenkhkare then seems to have had an independent rule of perhaps three years, although Smenkhkare’s biographical and regnal details remain unclear. The city that Akhenaton founded did not long survive; jar dockets from Akhetaton indicate that the site was abandoned by the third regnal year of his son and successor, Tutankhamen.
Akhenaton’s rule may be seen as a brief rent in the fabric of Egyptian civilization, in which an idiosyncratic and short-lived royal cult was officially mandated, as was the foundation of an ephemeral royal capital and far-reaching effects in the areas of monumental art. There is little doubt that the major tenets of the Aton religion and the concomitant changes in artistic style were personally initiated by Akhenaton himself, justly earning him the sobriquet of “history’s first individual”—if not the first monotheist. Although the Aton cult quickly disappeared after the death of its inventor, a number of Akhenaton’s stylistic innovations were adopted into the artistic repertoire of later craftsmen, and the large-scale compositions of the Amarna period may be seen as predecessors of later Ramesside battle and festival reliefs.

Peter F. Dorman

Encyclopædia Britannica


The Curse of King Tutankhamun

The discovery of the almost undamaged tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922 was the greatest archaeological sensation of the 20th century. But soon many of those involved in the excavation died under mysterious circumstances, and the legend of the "curse of King Tutunkhamun" was born. Today it is believed that the deaths were caused by rare bacteria, fungi, or viruses that were conserved in the burial chamber.

Relief of Tutankhamun and his wife Ankhesenpaaten
who ruled for eleven years, here depicted on the back
of a king's throne, ca. 1340 B.C.
see also:

Tomb of Tutankhamun
Tutankhamen, also spelled Tutankhamun, original name Tutankhaten, byname King Tut (flourished 14th century bce), king of ancient Egypt (reigned 1333–23 bce), known chiefly for his intact tomb, KV 62 (tomb 62), discovered in the Valley of the Kings in 1922. During his reign, powerful advisers restored the traditional Egyptian religion and art, both of which had been set aside by his predecessor Akhenaton, who had led the “Amarna revolution.”
The parentage of Tutankhaten—as he was originally known—remains uncertain, although a single black fragment originating at Akhetaton (Tell el-Amarna), Akhenaton’s capital city, names him as a king’s son in a context similar to that of the princesses of Akhenaton. Medical analysis of Tutankhaten’s mummy shows that he shares very close physical characteristics with the mummy discovered in KV 55 (tomb 55) of the Valley of the Kings. Some scholars identify these remains as those of Smenkhkare, who seems to have been coregent with Akhenaton in the final years of his reign; others have suggested the mummy may be Akhenaton himself.

With the death of Smenkhkare, the young Tutankhaten became king, and was married to Akhenaton’s third daughter, Ankhesenpaaton (later known as Ankhesenamen), probably the eldest surviving princess of the royal family. Because at his accession he was still very young, the elderly official Ay, who had long maintained ties with the royal family, and the general of the armies, Horemheb, served as Tutankhaten’s chief advisers.

By his third regnal year Tutankhaten had abandoned Tell el-Amarna and moved his residence to Memphis, the administrative capital, near modern Cairo. He changed his name to Tutankhamen and issued a decree restoring the temples, images, personnel, and privileges of the old gods. He also began the protracted process of restoring the sacred shrines of Amon, which had been severely damaged during his father’s rule. No proscription or persecution of the Aton, Akhenaton’s god, was undertaken, and royal vineyards and regiments of the army were still named after the Aton.

In addition to a palace built at Karnak and a memorial temple in western Thebes, both now largely vanished, the chief extant monument of Tutankhamen is the Colonnade of the Temple of Luxor, which he decorated with reliefs depicting the Opet festival, an annual rite of renewal involving the king, the three chief deities of Karnak (Amon, Mut, and Khons), and the local form of Amon at Luxor.

  Tutankhamen unexpectedly died in his 19th year. In 2010 scientists found traces of malaria parasites in his mummified remains and posited that malaria in combination with degenerative bone disease may have been the cause of death. Whatever the case, he died without designating an heir and was succeeded by Ay. He was buried in a small tomb hastily converted for his use in the Valley of the Kings (his intended sepulchre was probably taken over by Ay). Like other rulers associated with the Amarna period—Akhenaton, Smenkhkare, and Ay—he was to suffer the posthumous fate of having his name stricken from later king lists and his monuments usurped, primarily by his former general, Horemheb, who subsequently became king.

Although Tutankhamen’s tomb shows evidence of having been entered and briefly plundered, the location of his burial was clearly forgotten by the time of the 20th dynasty (1190–1075 bce), when craftsmen assigned to work on the nearby tomb of Ramses VI built temporary stone shelters directly over its entrance. The tomb was preserved until a systematic search of the Valley of the Kings by the English archaeologist Howard Carter revealed its location in 1922.

Inside his small tomb, the king’s mummy lay within a nest of three coffins, the innermost of solid gold, the two outer ones of gold hammered over wooden frames. On the king’s head was a magnificent golden portrait mask, and numerous pieces of jewelry and amulets lay upon the mummy and in its wrappings. The coffins and stone sarcophagus were surrounded by four text-covered shrines of hammered gold over wood, which practically filled the burial chamber. The other rooms were crammed with furniture, statuary, clothes, chariots, weapons, staffs, and numerous other objects. But for his tomb, Tutankhamen has little claim to fame; as it is, he is perhaps better known than any of his longer-lived and better-documented predecessors and successors. His renown was secured after the highly popular “Treasures of Tutankhamun” exhibit traveled the world in the 1960s and ’70s. The treasures are housed at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Peter F. Dorman

Encyclopædia Britannica


Bust of Nefertiti, 1355 B.C.
Nefertiti, also called Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti (flourished 14th century bc), queen of Egypt and wife of King Akhenaton (formerly Amenhotep IV; reigned c. 1353–36 bc), who played a prominent role in the cult of the sun god known as the Aton.
Nefertiti’s parentage is unrecorded, but, as her name translates as “A Beautiful Woman Has Come,” early Egyptologists believed that she must have been a princess from Mitanni (Syria). There is strong circumstantial evidence, however, to suggest that she was the Egyptian-born daughter of the courtier Ay, brother of Akhenaton’s mother, Tiy. Although nothing is known of Nefertiti’s parentage, she did have a younger sister, Mutnodjmet. Nefertiti bore six daughters within 10 years of her marriage, the elder three being born at Thebes, the younger three at Tell el-Amarna. Two of her daughters became queens of Egypt. The earliest images of Nefertiti come from the Theban tombs of the royal butler Parennefer and the vizier Ramose, where she is shown accompanying her husband. In the Theban temple known as Hwt-Benben (“Mansion of the Benben Stone”; the benben was a cult object associated with solar ritual), Nefertiti played a more prominent role, usurping kingly privileges in order to serve as a priest and offer to the Aton. A group of blocks recovered from Karnak (Luxor) and Hermopolis Magna (Al-Ashmunayn) shows Nefertiti participating in the ritual smiting of the female enemies of Egypt. She wears her own unique headdress—a tall, straight-edged, flat-topped blue crown.

By the end of Akhenaton’s fifth regnal year, the Aton had become Egypt’s dominant national god. The old state temples were closed and the court transferred to a purpose-built capital city, Akhetaton (Amarna). Here Nefertiti continued to play an important religious role, worshipping alongside her husband and serving as the female element in the divine triad formed by the god Aton, the king Akhenaton, and his queen. Her sexuality, emphasized by her exaggeratedly feminine body shape and her fine linen garments, and her fertility, emphasized by the constant appearance of the six princesses, indicate that she was considered a living fertility goddess. Nefertiti and the royal family appeared on private devotional stelae and on the walls of nonroyal tombs, and images of Nefertiti stood at the four corners of her husband’s sarcophagus. Some historians, having considered her reliefs and statuary, believe that Nefertiti may have acted as queen regnant—her husband’s coruler rather than his consort. However, the evidence is by no means conclusive, and there is no written evidence to confirm her political status.

  Soon after Akhenaton’s 12th regnal year, one of the princesses died, three disappeared (and are also presumed to have died), and Nefertiti vanished. The simplest inference is that Nefertiti also died, but there is no record of her death and no evidence that she was ever buried in the Amarna royal tomb. Early Egyptologists, misunderstanding the textual evidence recovered from the Maru-Aten sun temple at Amarna, deduced that Nefertiti had separated from Akhenaton and had retired to live either in the north palace at Amarna or in Thebes.

This theory is now discredited. Others have suggested that she outlived her husband, took the name Smenkhkare, and ruled alone as female king before handing the throne to Tutankhamen. There is good evidence for a King Smenkhkare, but the identification in the 20th century of a male body buried in the Valley of the Kings as Tutankhamen’s brother makes it unlikely that Nefertiti and Smenkhkare were the same person.

Nefertiti’s body has never been discovered. Had she died at Amarna, it seems inconceivable that she would not have been buried in the Amarna royal tomb. But the burial in the Valley of the Kings confirms that at least one of the Amarna burials was reinterred at Thebes during Tutankhamen’s reign.

Egyptologists have therefore speculated that Nefertiti may be one of the unidentified bodies recovered from the caches of royal mummies in the Valley of the Kings. In the early 21st century attention has focused on the “Younger Lady” found in the tomb of Amenhotep II, although it is now accepted that this body is almost certainly too young to be Nefertiti.

Amarna was abandoned soon after Akhenaton’s death, and Nefertiti was forgotten until, in 1912, a German archaeological mission led by Ludwig Borchardt discovered a portrait bust of Nefertiti lying in the ruins of the Amarna workshop of the sculptor Thutmose. The bust went on display at the Egyptian Museum in Berlin in the 1920s and immediately attracted worldwide attention, causing Nefertiti to become one of the most recognizable and, despite a missing left eye, most beautiful female figures from the ancient world.

Joyce Tyldesley

Encyclopædia Britannica

Women in Ancient Egypt

Egyptian women enjoyed rights relatively equal to men's. They could independently complete legal transactions and practice most professions. Women also had equal rights with their husbands in marriage. Polygamy was customary only in the royal houses.

Among the wives of the pharaohs, the "great royal consorts" such as Tiy and Nefertiti were able to assert enormous influence. In some cases, women themselves ruled as pharaohs. Sibling marriages were meant to ensure the purity of the divine dynasties. Usually if the pharaoh was the descendent of a concubine—which was true of most of the kings of the 18th dynasty—he would secure his rule through marriage to a half-sister from the main line. In later periods, the "godly wives of Amun" officially stood at the top of Theban theocracy in Upper Egypt.
  1500-1001 BC

Old Assyrian Kingdom , ca. 1800-1375 в.с.

Middle Assyrian Kingdom 1375-1047 в.с.



The Assyrian kingdom developed in the north of Mesopotamia at the beginning of the second millennium B.C. Due to their superior methods of warfare, the Assyrians were feared by neighboring peoples.


2 Clay tablet bearing the signature of the Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad I, 1813-1781 B.C.
The city of Ashur was a hub of  Mesopotamian trade with Syria,  Anatolia, and Iran. Its rulers laid claims to an empire as early as the time of 2 Shamshi-Adad I and briefly assumed independence (Old Assyrian Kingdom, ca. 1800-1375 в.с.) before coming under the sovereignty of the Hurrites of Mitanni. Assyria became an independent state under the "great kings" of the Middle Assyrian Kingdom (1375-1047 в.с).

In the middle of the 14th century B.C.. Ashur-uballit I (1365-1330 B.C.) broke from Mitanni and forged close ties with Egypt and Babylon. Adadnirari I (ca.1305-1275 B.C) extended the kingdom at Babylonia's expense and was known by the title "King of All."

5 Prisoners of war being carried away into slavery in the Assyrian empire,
women and children riding on a wagon drawn by oxen; stone relief, seventh с. в.с.
Assyria's transformation into an expansive military power  with a well-trained 3 army began in the 13th century under rulers  Shahnaneserl (1274-1245 в.с.) and Tukulti-Ninurta I (ca. 1294-1208 B.C.). Tukulti-Ninurta I immortalized his deeds in his Tiikulti-Ninurta Epic, which then became the model for the personal  aggrandizement of Assyrian rulers. According to the Assyrian religion, the state god Ashur had destined his people, over whose welfare the 4 genies watched, for world dominance.

The Assyrians subjugated their neighbors in a series of devastating military 1 campaigns, often conducted with great brutality.

The inhabitants of the conquered territories were 5 deported in the tens of thousands into other parts of the Assyrian Empire, where they were used as forced labor. Revolts of the subjugated regions were considered a crime against the "divine world order" and were crushed with cruel punitive expeditions.
1 Assyrian fighter kills his enemy, ninth century B.C.
3 Assyrian spear-carrier, eighth c. B.C.
4 Winged genie, ninth century B.C.

Tiglath-pileser I (ca. 1115— 1077 B.C.) extended the empire into northern Syria and Asia Minor. After occupying the Phoenician trading cities, he levied tribute on them. Alongside these military conquests he also promoted scientific research, particularly with regard to zoology, and oversaw the compilation of a great library and encouraged cultural developments. After his death, the expansion of the Middle Assyrian Kingdom came to an end. Pressure from the Aramaean tribes seeking to break into the fertile lands of Mesopotamia, and a revived Babylonian kingdom, ushered in a period of Assyrian decline. The ancient capital of Ashur was later abandoned in favour of  Nineveh, a new capital on the banks of the upper River Tigris.


The Assyrian Method of Fighting

"Impetuous they are, full of rage, as the storm god transformed,
They plunge into the tangle of battle, naked to the waist,
They test the ribbons; they tear the robes from their bodies,
They tie their hair, the swords they let dance in circles
Jumping about, naked weapons in hand,
The wild warriors, the lords of war,
They stormed ahead, as if lions would seize them."

(from Tukulti-Ninurto Epic)


Ancient Egypt, Pharaohs


"The Sun god has placed king N
in the land of the living
for eternity and all time;
for judging mankind,
for making the gods content,
for creating Truth,
for destroying evil.
He gives offerings to the gods
and funerary offering to the blessed spirits."

Anon. The King as Sun Priest' (c. 1900 ВС); Parkinson (1991) pp.38—40. The purpose of kingship in Egypt is described in a liturgical text about the king's role as a priest of the sun god, which was found carved on the walls of several New Kingdom temples but possibly dates back to the Middle Kingdom.


"Then Avaris was despoiled, and I brought spoil from there: one man, three women; total, four persons. His majesty gave them to me as slaves.
Then Sharuhen was besieged for three years. His majesty despoiled it and I brought spoil from it: two women and a hand. Then the gold of valour was given me, and my captives were given to me as slaves."

Autobiography of Ahmose, son of Ibana (c. 1520 ВС); Lichtheim Vol.2 (1974) p. I 3. The crew commander Ahmose. son of Ibana, recounts his involvement in King Ahmose's defeat of the non-Egyptian Hyksos rulers. The text is part of his autobiography, which is carved in his tomb at el-Kab. Avaris was the Hyksos' (invaders') capital in the northeastern delta; Sharuhen was a city in Palestine. These invaders probably came from Palestine around 1674 ВС and ruled Lower and part of Upper Egypt for 120 years.


"[They are too many to record in writing in this inscription].
They [are] recorded on a roll of leather in the temple of Amun to this day."

Tuthmoselll (c.1479-1425 ВС), annals; Sethe (1906) p.662. The annals of the warrior pharaoh Tuthmose III are carved on the walls of the temple of Amun-Re at Karnak (near Luxor).


"You, my brother, when I wrote [to you] about marrying your daughter, in accordance with your practice of not gi(ving) (a daughter), wrote to me], saying, 'From time immemorial no daughter of the king of Egy[pt] is given to anyone.' Why n[ot]? You are a king; you d[o] as you please. Were you to give (a daughter), who would s[ay] anything? Since 1 was told of this message, I wrote as follows t [ о my brother], saying, '[Someone's] grown daughters, beautiful women, must be available. Send me a beautiful woman as if she were [you]r daughter. Who is going to say, "She is no daughter of the king!"?' But holding to your decision, you have not sent me anyone."

Amarna letter EA 4, с 1360 ВС; W.L. Moran (ed.) The Amarna
Letters (1992) pp.8-9. The king of Babylon, Kadasman-Enlil,
writes to his 'brother' Amenhotep III (1390-1352 ВС) asking
for an Egyptian princess in marriage. The letter is from diplomatic correspondence (in Akkadian), which was found at the royal city of el-Amarna (ancient Akhetaten) in middle Egypt.


"Gold in your country is dirt; one simply gathers it up. Why are you so sparing of it? I am engaged in building a new palace. Send me as much gold as is needed for its adornment. Why should messengers be made to stay constantly out in the sun and so die in the sun? If staying out in the sun means profit for the kind, then let him stay out and let him die right there in the sun."

Amarna letter EA 16, с I 340 ВС; Moran (1992) p.39. Assuruballit, king of Assyria, writes to his fellow king, Akhenaten, requesting more diplomatic gifts of gold and complaining that the sun-worshipping pharaoh has kept his messengers in the sun during their reception.


"The time of the enemy of Akhetaten."

Inscription of the scribe Mes, с 1260 ВС; К.A. Kitchen
Romesside Inscriptions III (1980) p.433. How the reign of Akhenaten was referred to in a text from the tomb of the treasury-scribe of Ptah, Mes, at Saqqara in the reign of Ramses II (c. 1279-1213 ВС). Akhetaten was the name of the heretic's capital city.


"Now when his Person appeared as king, the temples of the gods and goddesses,
from Aswan to the Delta swamps [ ... ] had fallen into ruin.
Their sanctuaries were decayed, become as heaps of rubble, overgrown with weeds;
their shrines were like what does not exist; their mansions were a footpath.
The land was in calamity, and the gods turned away from this land.
If an army was sent to Djahy [Palestine] to extend the borders of Egypt,
no success could happen for them.
If a god was prayed to for advice, he did not come at all."

Tutankhamun, restoration stela, 1332 ВС; W. Helck Urkunden der 18. Dynastie (1957) p.2027. In a stela from the temple of Karnak, King Tutankhamun (r. I 332-1322 ВС) describes the state of the country under his predecessor, the heretic king, Akhenaten.


"His majesty spoke: 'What is this, father Amun?
Is it right for a father to ignore his son?
Are my deeds a matter for you to ignore?
I call to you, my father Amun,
I am among a host of strangers;
All countries are arrayed against me,
I am alone, there's none with me!
My numerous troops have deserted me,
Not one of my chariotry looks for me;
I keep on shouting for them,
But none of them heeds my call."

Anon. The Battle of Qadesh" (1274 ВС); Lichtheim Vol.2 (1974) p.65. Ramses II (c. 1279-121 3 ВС) recounts his experiences at the Battle of Qadesh, in which he fought the Hittites, in a text found inscribed on many of his monuments. Here he describes how it was a near disaster, saved only by his own valour and the help of his divine father, Amun-Re.


"I've noted all the matters you wrote to me about. As for the mention you made of the affair of these two policemen, saying 'They spoke these charges', join up with Nodjmet and Payshuuben as well, and they shall send word and have these two policemen brought to my house and get to the bottom of their charges straight away. If they find that the charges are true, have them put in two baskets and throw them into the water by night - but don't let anyone in the land find out.
Now, as for Pharaoh, - life prosperity health! -how will he ever get to this land? And as for Pharaoh - life
prosperity health!, whose master is he after all?"

Piankh, Late Ramessid letter no.21, с 1075 ВС; Wente (1990) p. 183. The pharaoh's general, Piankh, who was the dominant force in the south of the country, privately expresses his actual opinions about the ruling king, Ramses XI.


"I You [the god Heryshef| protected me in the combat of the Greeks, when you repulsed those of Asia. They slaughtered a million at my sides, and no one raised his arm against me."

Samtouefnakht, Stela 1035 (National Museum, Naples), c.320 ВС; О. Perdu 'Le monument de Samtouefnakht a Naples' in Revue d'Egyptologie 36 (1985) p. 103. The priest Samtuefnakht alludes to Alexander the Great's battle (332 ВС) with the Persian armies occupying Egypt.