Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Kingdom Dynasties


1570 - 1070 BC

Egyptian dating is expressed by ruling families - dynasties. The historian Manetho (270 BC) wrote a history of Egypt giving the number of dynasties, the number of kings, their names and the length of each reign.

Dynasty 18

This family began a period of unprecedented success in international affairs for Egypt. There was a succession of extraordinary and able kings and queens who laid the foundations of a strong Egypt and bequeathed a prosperous economy to the kings of the 19th dynasty. 

There was Ahmose who expelled the Hyksos, followed by Thutmose I's conquest in the Near East and Africa. Queen Hatshepsut and Thutmose IIIwho made Egypt into an ancient super power. 

The magnificent Amenhotep III, who began an artistic revolution. Akhenaton and Nefertiti who began a religious revolution - the concept of one god. Finally there was Tutankhamen who is so famous in our modern age.

 18th dynasty 1550-1295 BC

  • Ahmose
  • Amenhotep I
  • Thutmose I
  • Thutmose II
  • Hatshepsut
  • Thutmose III
  • Amenhotep II
  • Thutmose IV
  • Amenhotep III
  • Amenhotep IV 
  • Neferneferuaten
  • Tutankhamen
  • Ay
  • Horemheb
Ahmose I
Amenhotep I
Tuthmosis I
Tuthmosis II
Queen Hatshepsut
statue of Ahmose I
Amenhotep I
Tuthmosis I
Tuthmosis II
Queen Hatshepsut
Came to the throne at a very young age, ruled for 26 years. Consolidated Egypt's borders after expelling the Hyksos. Gave gifts of land to local governors for their help in getting the country back to normal. Reigned for 25 years. Led expedition to Kush and campaign to Nubia. Initiated building at Karnak. Military man married to daughter of Ahmose I. Reigned for only 6 years. Continued building at Karnak. Conquered the Nubians. Third son of Tuthmosis I. Married his half sister Hatshepsut reigned together for 14 years. Undertook successful campaigns in Syria and Nubia. Initially regent to young Tuthmosis III then took title of king. Built mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahari and 2 giant red granite obelisks at Karnak quarried from Aswan.Restored many temples in middle Egypt. Undertook trading expeditions to Punt

Tuthmosis III
Amenhotep II
Tuthmosis IV
Amenhotep III
Tuthmosis III
Amenhotep II
Tuthmosis IV
Amenhotep III
Claimed his rightful inheritence with the death of Hatshepsut(which he may have instigated). Reigned 54 years (23 as co-regent) Removed carvings and statues of Hatshepsut from temples and walled up her obelisks. Led campaigns to Syria and Asia. Inscriptions at Karnak say he captured 350 cities. Added to many temples including Karnak. Buried in Valley of the Kings, KV 34 Reigned for 34 years. Put down Asian revolt in 2nd year, and subdued the Syrians and brought back much treasure. Also campaigned into Palestine. Buried in Valley of the Kings KV 35. Legend says he became king after dreaming that he had to clear the sand from the great sphynx in order to become king. This is related on the stela between the sphynx paws at Giza. Appears to have undertaken some Syrian campaigns. Reigned 33 years, Burried VoK, KV 43. Peaceful reign of almost 40 years. Had many wives, main one Tiy. Wealth of country at this time came from trade. Built mortuary temple on West bank. All that now remains is the 2 statues known as the Colossi of Memnon. Buried in the Valley of the Kings, KV 22.

(Amenhotep IV)
Akkenaten / Amenhotep IV statue Luxor museum
Tutankhamun bust
Ay relief
Horemheb relief
The "heretic king" changed his name from Amenhotep when he began to worship one god, the Aten, portrayed as a solar disc with rays emanating from it, ending with hands. In doing so he alienated the priesthood who served many gods. In year 6 he moved his capital to half way between Thebes and Memphis, naming it Akhenaten, now el-Amarna. Married the famous Nefertiti. Evidence shows that the ordinary people continued their old religion. It is thought that he suffered from "Frohlilchs syndrome" due to his strange shape,which includes an elongated skull and neck, and fat deposits on the abdomen, thighs and breasts giving an overall shape like that of a woman. Probably a younger brother of Akhenaten (who had no heirs) and ruled for only 2 years. Was married to Merytaten from the royal bloodline. Thought to have started to return to the old religions before he died. Aged about 9 years when he was made king and was married to his older half sister Ankhesenpaaten. His advisors Ay and Horemheb returned the country to the old religion and the apitol was returned to Thebes. He probably died during the 9th year of his reign. He is reknown for the treasures found in his in-tact tomb by Howard Carter in 1909 An old man became king by marrying Tutankhamun's widow, but only reigned for four years. Was a commander in the army under Akhenaten. Declared himself king after marrying a sister of Nefertiti. He restored the priesthood of Amun and repaired temples. He was buried in the VoK, KV 57 after a reign of 28 years but left no heir.

Dynasty 19

Seti I's reign looked for its model to the mid-18th dynasty and was a time of considerable prosperity. He restored countless monuments. His temple at Abydos exhibits some of the finest carved wall reliefs. 

His son Rameses II is the major figure of the dynasty. Around this time the Hittites had become a dominant Asiatic power. An uneasy balance of power developed between the two kingdoms, which was punctuated by wars and treaties By now Egypt was an ethnically pluralistic society and this is reflected in a diversity of artistic expression. Unfortunately the tide of history was turning and Rameses son, Merenptah had to struggle to maintain Egypt's prestige.

19th dynasty 1295 -1186 BC

  • Rameses I
  • Seti I
  • Rameses II
  • Merenptah
  • Amenmessu
  • Sety II
  • Saptah
  • Tausret


Rameses I
Seti I
Rameses II
Rameses I
Seti I painting from his tomb
Rameses II  statue at Abu Simbel
Was vizier and confidant of Horemheb and not of royal blood but was chosen by Horemheb to follow him to the throne. His short reign of only 2 years did not enable him to make much of a mark on Egyptian history. He is buried in the VoK KV 16. Son of Rameses I, also Vizier and troop comander before becoming king. In only 13 years rule, he led military campaigns to Syria, Libya, Lebanon and was the first to fight the Hittites. Undertook major rebuilding and chronicled all his achievements on temple walls especially at Karnak. Built spectacular temple at Abydos to the god Osiris and his mortuary temple on the west bank at Thebes. Also built longest and deepest tomb KV 17 in VoK, said to be the finest in the valley. Third son of Seti I came to power at 25 and reigned for 67 years. Built temples all over the country all with reliefs showing off his military prowess. He also built a new city in the Delta which is thought to have employed Hebrews as the builders and therefore Rameses II is believed to be the Pharaoh of the biblical Exodus.
Had several wives, the principle one being Nefertari for whom he built a magnificent temple into the rock at Abu Simbel. He fathered many children who had their own special tomb in the VoK. He fought the Hittites at the battle of Kadesh, eventually forming a treaty which is carved on the walls at Karnak and at his mortuary temple, the Ramasseum. He died at the age of 92 and was buried in his large tomb is KV 7.
Was Rameses II 13th son and in his 60's when he came to power. Ruled for 10 years and was a great military campaigner against Syria, the Lybians and the Nubians

Seti II
Queen Twosret
Seti II statue
Queen Twosret
Not officially next in succession, but son of a lesser wife of Merneptah. Reigned for only 4 years but possibly only in the south. Amenmesses possibly co-ruled with Seti II. The legitimate successor of Merneptah, outlived Amenmesses and took over the throne and erased his titles and took over his monuments. Only ruled for 6 years. Younger son of Seti II by his Syrian concubine.He was14 when he inherited the throne, but he was crippled and only lived for another 6 years.On his behalf the rule was held by Twoseret, his step-mother Wife of Seti II. After death of the 20 year old king she took over the throne but the country was actually run by a Syrian chancellor named Bay. Her death brought the 19th Dynasty to an end.

Dynasty 20:

Setnakht ruled for only a few years but restored order after a period of chaos. His son Rameses III was the last great king. He gave Egypt a final moment of glory by defeating Sea Peoples who had utterly destroyed Hittite Empire and swept all before them on their march south. After Rameses III, Egypt began to suffer economic problems and a break down in the fabric of society. She was unable to exploit the revolution of the Iron Age and there followed a succession of kings all called Rameses. Perhaps this was a vain attempt to recapture past glories.

20th dynasty 
1186 - 1069 BC

  • Setnakht
  • Rameses III
  • Rameses IV
  • Rameses V
  • Rameses VI
  • Rameses VII
  • Rameses VIII
  • Rameses IX
  • Rameses X
  • Rameses XI

Rameses III
Rameses IV
Rameses V
Rameses VI
Relief of Setnakhte painting of Rameses III statue of Rameses IV
mummy of Rameses V
statue of Rameses VI
It is uncertain who Setkakhte was but he put down rebellions from Asiatic invaders and restored the cities,temples and their revenues. He reigned for only 3 years. He usurped Queen Twosret's tomb KV 14 in the VoK. Co-ruled for a time with Setnakhte, then for a total 31 years. He was the last of the great Pharaohs, undergoing many campaigns against invaders from the north and building a vast temple at Medinet Habu. He named rameses IV, son of his second wife as his successor but his first wife Tiye wanted her son to succeed him. She incited a plot against him with his harem and he died shortly after. Rameses IV brought Tiye and its ringleaders to trial. Son of Rameses III reigned for only 6 years. He made expeditions to the turquiose mines at Serabit el-Khadim in Sinai. There are no records of any military campaigns. During his 4 year reign there was civil war raging. He was buried in year 2 of Rameses VI reign suggesting that he was userped by his brother and held captive. Reigned for 8 years. During his reign, the turquoise mines were abandoned and trading with the near east was reduced. His tomb was robbed and his mummy visciously attacked and mutilated but his huge black granite sarcophagous has been reassembled and lies in his tomb KV9 in the VoK.

Rameses VII
Rameses VIII
Rameses IX
Rameses X
Rameses XI
painting from Rameses VII tomb
tomb painting of Rameses VIII
relief of Rameses IX
wall painting from Rameses X tomb
damaged wall carving of Rameses XI
Succeeded his father Rameses VI and reigned for 7 years. The country was economically unstable and there was unrest. Was probably a son of Rameses III and reigned for only a year. He has no known tomb. Reigned for about 18 years during which time the country remained relatively stable. Some building work was done at the "sun centre" inHeliopolis in the Delta, which may explain why the high priests of Thebes asserted their own power in Upper Egypt. Not much information remains for Rameses X. Thought to have reigned between 3 - 9 years. His tomb is KV 18 in the VoK. His 28 year reign brought the 20th Dynasty to a close, with the king ruling from the north and the Viceroy of Kush, Panehesy, running the south. Civil war raged on and off in the Theban region. It is thought that Panehesy was usurped by High Priest Herihor at least 6 years before the king's death and Herihor continued to rule the south at the same time as Rameses XI in the north.

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