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The 18th Dynasty Kings

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					Once Amenhotep I, who reigned 1551-1524 BC, had full control over his administration—he was
co-regent for five years—he began to extend Egypt’s boundaries in Nubia and Palestine. A major
builder at Karnak, Amenhotep, unlike his predecessors, separated his tomb from his mortuary
temple; he began the custom of hiding his final resting place. Thutmose I continued the advances
of the new Imperial Age and emphasized the preeminence of the god Amon. His tomb was the first
in the Valley of the Kings. Thutmose II, his son by a minor wife, succeeded him, marrying the royal
princess Hatshepsut to strengthen his claim to the throne. He maintained the accomplishments of
his predecessors. When he died in 1504 BC, his heir, Thutmose III, was still a child, and so
Hatshepsut governed as a regent. Within a year, she had herself crowned pharaoh, and then
mother and son ruled jointly. When Thutmose III achieved sole rule upon Hatshepsut’s death in
1483 BC, he reconquered Syria and Palestine, which had broken away under joint rule, and then
continued to expand his empire. His annals in the temple at Karnak chronicle many of his
campaigns. Nearly 20 years after Hatshepsut’s death, he ordered the obliteration of her name and
images. Amenhotep II, who reigned 1453-1419 BC, and Thutmose IV tried to maintain the Asian
conquests in the face of growing threats from the Mitanni and Hittite states, but they found it
necessary to use negotiations as well as force.
Amenhotep III
ruled peacefully for nearly four decades, 1386-1349 BC, and art and architecture flourished during
his reign. He maintained the balance of power among Egypt’s neighbors by diplomacy. His son
and successor, Akhenaton (Amenhotep IV), was a religious reformer who fought the power of the
Amon priesthood. Akhenaton abandoned Thebes for a new capital, Akhetaton (see Tall al
‘Amarinah), which was built in honor of Aton, the disk of the sun on which his monotheistic religion
centered. The religious revolution was abandoned toward the end of his reign, however, and his
son-in-law, Tutankhamen, returned the capital to Thebes. Tutankhamen is known today chiefly for
his richly furnished tomb, which was found nearly intact in the Valley of the Kings by the British
archaeologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon in 1922. The 18th Dynasty ended with
Horemheb, who reigned 1321-1293 BC.

				
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