Tuthmosis IV


Tuthmosis IV
King 1425-1417 BC.
    The son of *Amenophis II and Queen Tio, Tuthmosis IV was not the heir apparent and probably succeeded because of the death of an elder brother. In the Dream Stela, which dates to Year 1 of his reign, Tuthmosis IV tells the story of how, as a young man, he fell asleep near the Great Sphinx at Giza; subsequently, in a dream, Harmachis (the deity embodied by the Sphinx) prophesied that the young prince would one day become king, but also expressed his displeasure with the sand which engulfed the body of the Sphinx. When Tuthmosis IV became king he therefore ordered the sand to be cleared away, and the stela was set up between the paws of the Sphinx, to commemorate this event.
    Little evidence of the king's reign survives. His funerary temple near the Ramesseum at Thebes is poorly preserved; his tomb, sarcophagus and funerary furniture were discovered by Howard Carter, and in 1898, his mummy had been found amongst those in the royal cache in the tomb of *Amenophis II. Medical examination later revealed that he had died as a young man in his twenties.
    His foreign policy included a campaign in *Nubia in Year 8 to check an incursion of desert tribesmen, and he also continued military action in the Asiatic provinces. His reign saw a major change in Syrian affairs: here, neither the Egyptians nor the *Mitannians could gain complete supremacy, and so they finally made a peaceful alliance, marking it with a royal marriage between Tuthmosis IV and the daughter of King Artatama I. It is likely that this *Mitannian princess became *Mutemweya, the king's Great Royal Wife. She is shown as the mother of *Amenophis III in the scenes in the Temple of Luxor which depict his divine birth. Because of Tuthmosis IV's early death, it is possible that there was no royal sister to become the wife of *Amenophis III, and he therefore broke the traditional pattern by marrying a commoner, *Tiye.
    Tuthmosis IV's reign is also significant because there is evidence that at this time, the Aten came to be regarded as a separate deity; a scarab inscription refers to the Aten as a god of battles. *Akhenaten, the grandson of Tuthmosis IV, was to develop the cult of this god into a form of monotheism.
BIBL. Shorter, A.W. Historical scarabs of Tuthmosis IV and Amenophis III. JEA 17 (1931) pp 23-5; Carter, H, Newberry, P.E. and Maspero, G. The Tomb of Touthmosis IV. London: 1904.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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