Ancient Egyptian History – The New Kingdom (Part One

The New Kingdom 1550-1100 BC (Part One)

Ancient Egypt- the Archaic Period & Old Kingdom

Hatshepsut, the Queen who became King

Hatshepsut was one of the most successful pharaohs of Egypt. Under herreign, Egypt enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity.WhenHatshepsut died, her nephew, Tuthmosis III, took the throne.

Akhenaten, the Pharaoh who practiced Monotheism

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Tut died at around age 19. He was buried in the Valley of the Kings. In 1922, Howard Carter, and English archaeologist, discovered Tuts tomb and its treasures. Though thousands of years had passed, robbersdid not find the tomb, though evidence showed they had come close. Tuts death mask has become one of the most recognized artifacts from this king who ruled almost 3,500 years ago.

Amarna Art showing Akhenaten, Neretiti, and the Aten

Ancient Egyptian History – The New Kingdom (Part One)

Like his grandfather, Tuthmosis III was a warrior pharaoh. During the reign of Hatshepsut, many of the kings in the buffer zone refused to pay their annual tribute. Tuthmosis III set out with an armyto force these kings to pay o of these kings were the king of Kadesh andthe king of Megiddo. These kings, along with others, decided to pay tribute to the Hittites to the north, and not the Egyptians. Megiddo was an important city in Canaan at the crossroads of important trade routes. Tuthmosis set out from Egypt to attack Megiddo, where armies of those who refused to pay him tribute had assembled.

Hatshepsut was the daughter of pharaoh Tuthmosis I, a warrior pharaoh who conquered Nubia, a land to the south of Egypt, and attacked Syria (see map on this page). When Tuthmosis I died, the throne passed to his son, Tuthmosis II, who married his half-sister, Hatshepsut. This was very common in royal Egyptian marriages. The pharaoh had one royal wife, and many minor wives, this assured at least one son to carry on the family dynasty. Hatshepsut was the daughter of the royal wife, Tuthmosis II was the son of a minor wife.

Pharaoh Akhenatens reign began around 1379 BC.Akhenatens royal wife was Nefertiti, whom he loved very dearly. Poems from AkhenatentoNefertiti have survived, andreveal how much he loved her.

Tuthmosis III surprised the enemy by taking the Aruna Pass, he would have had a complete and swift victory, had his soldiers not stopped in the enemy camp to steal the values left behind. This gave the enemy army time to enter the city and and close the gates. Tuthmosis waited out a months-long siege, until finally the kings in the city surrendered. Tuthmosis III gathered many valuables from the city and brought them back to Egypt. Tuthmosis III was particularly proud of this victory and bragged about his accomplishment.

Hatshepsutwore the clothes of the pharaoh, and even attached the pharaohs false beard to her chin.A possible explanation is that Hatshepsut enjoyed ruling Egypt as a regent, and did not want to lose control and step down. Hatshepsuts reign was successful. She increased trade with areas south of Egypt, like Punt, a kingdom rich in resources. Hatshepsuts building projects were some of the most impressive in Egypt, including Deir el Bahari, Hatshepsutsmortuarytemple. Although Hatshepsut was not a warrior pharaoh, there is some evidence that she led armies on a war chariot. Since she was successful, the Egyptian peopleaccepted her continuingreign. Tuthmosis III would have to wait to become pharaoh.

One of the interesting parts of the battle was the route Pharaoh Tuthmosis III decided to take to Megiddo, where the enemy armies waited. There were three ways to get to Megiddo, and area covered with mountains. One route was the north road, the other the south road. Both of these roads were heavily guarded by the king of Megiddo with large armies. The other route was a narrow mountain pass, only wide enough for soldiers walking in single file. The Egyptians would have to carry their war chariots, and lead the horses through this dangerous pass.

A likeness of Hatshepsut wearing the pharaonic beard.

Unlike his father, Tuthmosis II was a weak king, who suffered from sickness and disease. Surprisingly, he had a son from a minor wife, and a daughter by Hatshepsut, his royal wife. Tuthmosis II died when his son was very young, it was the job of Hatshepsut, the boys aunt, to act asregent. It was not unusual for a woman to rule Egypt as a regent, as many had done in the past. What makes Hatshepsut an interesting personality is that just before Tuthmosis III was old enough to rule on his own, Hatshepsut declared herself pharaoh, or king of the land around 1503 BC.

Akhenaten also developed a new style of art. Amarna Art, shows Akhenaten and his family in relaxed poses. There are family portraits of pharaoh and his family that have survived. Before Akhenaten, art was only used to glorify the gods, or to brag about pharaohs military accomplishments. Pharaoh was always seen as muscular and strong, but this is not the case in Amarna Art, though the Aten is always clearly present.

Akhenaten is sometimes called the worlds first individual. When he became pharaoh, his royal namebecame Amenhotep IV. In this name, you can see the god Amen (Amun) mentioned. Amun was the most important god during the New Kingdom. Akehantens father was pharaoh Amenhotep III.Amenhotep IVfelt that the Aten, the sun-disc god, was the most important god, he changed his name to Akhenaten (one who worships the Aten). Thebes was a city with temples to many gods and goddesses, especially Amun. Akhenatenbuilt a new city north of Thebes with art and temples dedicated only to Aten. The city was called Akhentaten (The city of Aten); many of his followers joined him in Akhentaten, however, most Egyptians were uncomfortable with Akhenatens new religion. They were not willing to give up the other gods and goddesses.

Another aspect of the New Kingdom was a change in the way that pharaohs in this period were buried. As you remember from earlier chapters, pharaohs had been buried under, or within, pyramids. These monuments proved costly and offered little protection against grave robbers. In fact, pyramids encouraged robbers by showing the location of the pharaohs burial. During the New Kingdom, pharaohs were buried on the west side of the Nile, across from the city of Thebes. These cliffs provided excellentcamouflage, making itmore difficultfor thieves to find the pharaohs burial. This area became known as the Valley of the Kings.

Pharaoh Tutankhamun (King Tut) succeeded Akhenaten, he was the son of Akhenaten. Originally known as Tutanhkaten (living image of Aten), he changed his name to Tutankhamun, and brought back the Amum as chief god, along with the other gods and goddesses. The short-lived religion of his father, Akhenaten, came to an end. Thebes was once again the capital of ancient Egypt.

Ancient Egypt New Kingdom Dynasty XVII Read Aloud(WMA 10.81 MB)

The New Kingdom of Egypt was the time of the warrior pharaohs.After the Hyksos invasion, Egyptians realized that the desert borders no longer offered protection. The pharaohs of the New Kingdom were determined to protect their land at any cost. The pharaohs of the New Kingdom modernized their armies. The capital of Egypt was moved to Thebes in Upper Egypt, far away from possible attacks from the northeast. Pharaohs of this time period went on the offensive, attacking areas outside of Egypt. When pharaohs went to war, they worethe blue crown into battle. The idea behind the Egyptian empire was to create abuffer zoneof people who had to paytributeto the pharaoh. This buffer zone lay in between Egypt andother powerful people like the Hittites and Assyrians. With the buffer zone, enemy armies would first have to march into the buffer zone (also known as a march)before they reached Egypt. In this chapter, we will learn about two of these warrior pharaohs, and their military conquests.

The Battle of Megiddo is one of the first battles to have an eye-witness account. Pharaoh Tuthmosis III brought along a scribe to write down the events of the battle. These writings have survived to this day, and so, we can read from this primary source of the battle.

The route Tuthmosis III chose tells us something about his personality. He told his army that he would lead them through the narrow mountain pass, called the Aruna Pass. This was not only dangerous to walk, but the Egyptians could easily be ambushed from the steep sides of the pass.

As we learned in the last chapter, Kamose of Thebes began the revolt against Hyksos rule.Kamose sent an army down the Nile to attack the Hyksos in Lower Egypt. Though he was killed in battle, his brother, Ahmose, drove the Hyksos across the desert and out of Egypt. Ahmose is considered the founder of the New kingdom, as Egypt, once again, was united under the rule of one king. Ahmose is also the first king of Dynasty XVIII (18).

In the next chapter, we will learn about the personalities of Dynasties XIX and XX, and Egypts age of decline.

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