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Key gods of Ancient Egypt
The king as
divine, the
of the god
The king was the
earthly interpretor of
Ma’at – divine order
and rightness
Each king’s
coronation at
Memphis reaffirmed
The king’s regalia
– the Double
Crown and the
insignia of the
pastoral chieftain
The king’s divine
powers rejuvinated at
the Sed festival every
30 years
The king’s names
and titles –
Horus name,
King of Upper
and Lower Egypt
The king, as a god, was
assured of a blessed
eternal life with the
other gods
The king as provider
and protector of his
people and defender
of the country
Ancient Egypt: The New Kingdom
The New Kingdom is composed of the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Dynasties, following the
expulsion of the Hyksos and the reunification of the country by Ahmose. The New Kingdom
was a time of great prosperity in Egypt. The massive building projects at Thebes, the
religious centre and sometime capital of the period, demonstrate the power and wealth of the
kings of the New Kingdom. The Temple of Amun at Karnak, the Luxor Temple and the many
mortuary temples on the west bank of the Nile record great battles and other royal exploits.
Several kings of the Eighteenth Dynasty led campaigns into Palestine, parts of which were
brought under Egyptian control.
The rock cut tombs of kings and private individuals were lavishly decorated. Most famous of
these is the tomb of Tutankhamun, which shows that royal tombs were provisioned with
treasures. A wide variety of literature from this period has survived, including funerary, legal,
medical and literary papyri, personal letters and hymns.
The gold resources of the conquered Nubia were heavily exploited until they were exhausted
in the early Nineteenth Dynasty. A less settled period followed and the threat of the Hittite
empire reached a crisis in the reign of Ramesses II with the battle of Kadesh. The
assassination of Ramesses III marked the beginning of decline. The New Kingdom ended
with a series of weak kings, a corrupt administrative system, tomb robberies and incursions
of Libyans into the Theban region.
First three Pharaohs of the 18th dynasty (1570–1518):
Ahmose I
Amenhotep I
Thutmose I
1. Consider the above text. What characteristics define the New Kingdom period? Why
do you think these are important?
New Kingdom Egypt: Hatshepsut
Many uncertainties plague the early history of the New Kingdom, but it's clear that when
Hatshepsut was born, Egyptian power was waxing. Her possible grandfather Ahmose,
founder of the 18th dynasty, had driven out the formidable Hyksos invaders who had
occupied the northern part of the Nile Valley for two centuries. When Ahmose's son
Amenhotep I did not produce a son who lived to succeed him, a redoubtable general known
as Thutmose is believed to have been brought into the royal line since he had married a
Hatshepsut was the oldest daughter of Thutmose and his Great Royal Wife, Queen Ahmose,
likely a close relative of King Ahmose. But Thutmose also had a son by another queen, and
this son, Thutmose II, inherited the crown when his father "rested from life." Adhering to a
common method of fortifying the royal lineage—and with none of our modern-day qualms
about sleeping with your sister—Thutmose II and Hatshepsut married. They produced
one daughter; a minor wife, Isis, would give Thutmose the male heir that Hatshepsut was
unable to provide.
Thutmose II did not rule for long, and when he was ushered into the afterlife by what CT
scans 3,500 years later would suggest was heart disease, his heir, Thutmose III, was still a
young boy. In time-honored fashion, Hatshepsut assumed effective control as the young
pharaoh's queen regent.
So began one of the most intriguing periods of ancient Egyptian history.
At first, Hatshepsut acted on her stepson's behalf, careful to respect the conventions under
which previous queens had handled political affairs while juvenile offspring learned the
ropes. But before long, signs emerged that Hatshepsut's regency would be different. Early
reliefs show her performing kingly functions such as making offerings to the gods and
ordering up obelisks from red granite quarries at Aswan. After just a few years she had
assumed the role of "king" of Egypt, supreme power in the land. Her stepson—who by then
may have been fully capable of assuming the throne—was relegated to second-incommand. Hatshepsut proceeded to rule for a total of 21 years.
2. Describe the political environment of Egypt at the time when Hatshepsut was born.
3. Why is the life of Hatshepsut considered “one of the most intriguing periods of
ancient Egyptian history”?
4. Using the above text provided and page 281-282 of your Hatshepsut booklet, create
a family tree that documents the 18th Dynasty. You can use the website to
create your family tree.