Tuthmosis III


Tuthmosis III
King 1504-1450 BC.
    Tuthmosis III, the son of *Tuthmosis II by a concubine named Isis, came to the throne as a minor under the regency of his father's Great Royal Wife, Queen *Hatshepsut. With her impeccable royal lineage and the support of powerful officials, *Hatshepsut was able to seize control, and in Year 2 of her joint rule with Tuthmosis III, she was crowned as Pharaoh with full powers, reducing Tuthmosis III to insignificance. He probably spent most of the years of this co-regency in training with the army, but by Year 22 (1482 BC), when *Hatshepsut died, he was able to gain complete control of the country. His hatred for his step-mother, who had barred him from power for so long is evident in the erasure of her name from the monuments which was carried out in his reign.
    During *Hatshepsut's reign, the possessions which *Tuthmosis I had gained in Syria and Palestine had largely disappeared; some princes there had declared themselves independent while others had changed their allegiance to *Mitanni, Egypt's great Mesopotamian rival.
    Tuthmosis III was eager to restore these possessions and in Year 23 (the second year of his independent reign), he set out on his first campaign, marching to Gaza and then on to Megiddo, a fortified town overlooking the plain of Esdraelon, where he defeated a coalition of Syrian princes. The king acted with great personal valour and completely routed the enemy; Megiddo was finally taken after a seven-month siege, and this victory was obviously regarded as the basis for his future efforts in Syria and Palestine.
    The Kingdom of *Mitanni, thrusting as far as the Euphrates, continued to hinder Tuthmosis III's plans for expansion, and a total of seventeen campaigns were waged in Syria to drive the *Mitannians back across the Euphrates and establish Egypt's supreme power in the area. In the eighth campaign in Year 33, the Egyptians succeeded in crossing the Euphrates and defeating the king of *Mitanni, but conflict continued even after this.
    Egypt became the greatest military power in the ancient world and received lavish gifts from the other powerful states of *Assyria, Babylonia and the *Hittites. Her administration of the Syro-Palestine empire centred around the policy of leaving local rulers in charge, but ensuring that they were favourable to Egypt; this was underlined by removing their children or brothers to Egypt where they were educated and retained as hostages. In *Nubia also Tuthmosis III confirmed Egyptian domination as far as the Fourth Cataract on the Nile. He is rightfully acknowledged as Egypt's greatest ruler, and records of his campaigns are preserved in the inscriptions in the Temple of Karnak and on the Armant and Gebel Barkal stelae.
    At home, Tuthmosis III pursued equally efficient and beneficial policies and built more temples than any other ruler until that date. At Karnak, his major additions were the Seventh Pylon and the Festival Hall, where unusual plants he brought back from Syria are depicted on the walls. His funerary temple at Thebes is now almost completely destroyed; his tomb in the Valley of the Kings contains wall-scenes representing the Book of Amduat ('What is in the underworld'), and his mummy was amongst those discovered in the Deir el Bahri cache.
    Many of his courtiers and officials have fine tombs at Thebes, including that of the famous vizier, *Rekhmire, but the administrative capital was now situated at Memphis. Tuthmosis III had several wives including Neferure (the child of *Tuthmosis II and *Hatshepsut) and Hatshepsut-Meryetre, who was the mother of his heir, *Amenophis II. There were also three queens (who may have been of foreign origin) whose tomb was found to contain some fine jewellery.
    In his later years, Tuthmosis III led no further campaigns and probably devoted his attention to building projects. He was remembered as a world conqueror and Egypt's greatest pharaoh and his exploits were emulated by the later rulers *Sethos I and *Ramesses II.
BIBL. Breasted, J.H. Ancient Records of Egypt: Historical Documents 2: The Eighteenth Dynasty. Chicago: 1906; Edgerton, W.F. The Thutmosid Succession. Chicago: 1933; Faulkner, R.O. The Euphrates campaign of Tuthmosis III. JEA 32 (1946) pp. 39-42; Faulkner, R.O. The Battle of Megiddo. JEA 28 (1942) pp. 2-15.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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