Amenhotep II

Amenhotep II

Pharaoh Infobox | Alt=Amenophis II
Name=Amenhotep II |

Caption=Large statue head of Amenhotep II on display at the Brooklyn Museum.
NomenHiero= i-mn:n-R4:t*p-HqA-iwn
Nomen="Amenhotep Heka Iunu"
Amun is Satisfied,
Ruler of Heliopolis
PrenomenHiero= N5:O29-L1:Z2s
Great are the Manifestations of Re [Clayton, Peter. Chronicle of the Pharaohs, Thames & Hudson Ltd., 1994. p.112]
Golden="Ity Sekhemef em Tau Neb"
Who seizes by his strength in all lands| NebtyHiero= -wsr-s-f:F40-G43-s-N28:D36-m-R19-t:O49-
Nebty="User Fau Sekha Em Wast"
Powerful of Splendour, Appearing in Thebes
Horus="Ka Nakht Wer Pekhty"
Strong Bull, Great of Power
Reign=1427–1401 BC or 1427–1397 BC
Predecessor= Thutmose III
Successor= Thutmose IV
Spouse= Tiaa
Children= Thutmose IV, Amenhotep, Webensenu, Amenemopet, Nedjem, Khaemwaset?, Aaheperkare? Aakheperure? Iaret, Ahmose (?)
Dynasty=18th Dynasty
Father= Thutmose III
Mother= Merytre-Hatshepsut
Died= 1401 or 1397 BC
Burial= KV35

Amenhotep II (sometimes read as "Amenophis II" and meaning "Amun is Satisfied") was the seventh Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt. Amenhotep inherited a vast kingdom from his father Thutmose III, and held it by means of a few military campaigns in Syria; however, he fought much less than his father, and his reign saw the effective cessation of hostilities between Egypt and Mitanni, the major kingdoms vying for power in Syria. His reign is usually dated from 1427 to 1400 BC.

Family and early life

Amenhotep II was the son of Thutmose III and a minor wife of the king: Merytre-Hatshepsut. He was not, however, the firstborn son of this pharaoh; his elder brother Amenemhat, the son of the great king's chief wife Satiah, was originally the intended heir to the throne since Amenemhat was designated the 'king's eldest son" and overseer of the cattle of Amun in Year 24 of Thutmose's reign. [Eric Cline & David O'Connor, Thutmose III: A New Biography, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2006. p.415] However, between Years 24 and 35 of Thutmose III, both queen Satiah and prince Amenemhat died which prompted the pharaoh to marry the non-royal Merytre-Hatshepsut. [Cline & O'Connor, op. cit., p.415] She would bear Thutmose III a number of children including the future Amenhotep II. Amenhotep II was born and raised in Memphis in the north, instead of in Thebes, the traditional capital.Gardiner, Alan. "Egypt of the Pharaohs." p. 198. Oxford University Press, 1964.] While a prince, he oversaw deliveries of wood sent to the dockyard of Peru-nūfe in Memphis, and was made the "Setem," the high priest over Lower Egypt. Amenhotep has left several inscriptions touting his athletic skills while he was a leader of the army before his crowning. Amenhotep was no less athletic than his powerful father. He claims to have been able to shoot an arrow through a copper target one palm thick, and that he was able to row his ship faster and farther than two hundred members of the navy could row theirs. Accordingly some skepticism concerning the truth of his claims has been expressed among Egyptologists.

Amenhotep acceded to the throne on the first day of the fourth month of Akhet, but his father died on the thirtieth day of the third month of Peret. [Peter Der Manuelian, "Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II," p.21. Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26, Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987.] If an Egyptian crown prince was proclaimed king but did not take the throne on the day after his father's death, it meant that he served as the junior coregent during his father's reign. A coregency with Thutmose III and Amenhotep II is believed to have lasted for two years and four months.Charles C. Van Siclen. "Amenhotep II," "The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt." Ed. Donald Redford. Vol. 1, p.71. Oxford University Press, 2001.]

When he assumed power, Amenhotep II was 18 years old according to an inscription from his great Sphinx stela:: "Now his Majesty appeared as king as a fine youth after he had become 'well developed', and had completed eighteen years in his strength and bravery." [Urk. IV. 1279.8-10]

After becoming pharaoh, Amenhotep married a woman of uncertain parentage named Tiaa.Peter Der Manuelian, "Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II," p.171. Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26, Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987.] As many as ten sons and one daughter have been attributed to him. Amenhotep's most important son was Thutmose IV, who succeeded him; however, there is significant evidence for him having many more children. Princes Amenhotep, Webensenu, Amenemopet, and Nedjem are all clearly attested, and Amenemhat, Khaemwaset, and Aakheperure as well as a daughter, Iaret, are also possible children.

Papyrus B.M. 10056, which dates to sometime after Amenhotep II's tenth year, refers to a king's son and setem-priest Amenhotep.Peter Der Manuelian, "Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II," p.174. Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26, Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987.] This Amenhotep might also be attested in a stele from Amenhotep II's temple at Giza,Peter Der Manuelian, "Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II," p.175. Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26, Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987.] however the stele's name has been defaced so that positive identification is impossible.Peter Der Manuelian, "Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II," p.176. Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26, Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987.] Stele B may belong to another son, Webensenu. Webensenu's name is otherwise attested on a statue of Amenhotep's chief architect, Minmose, and his canopic jars and a funerary statue have been found in Amenhotep II's tomb. Another Giza stele, stele C, records the name of a Prince Amenemopet, whose name is otherwise unattested. The same statue with the name Webensenu on it is also inscribed with the name of prince Nedjem, who is otherwise unattested.Peter Der Manuelian, "Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II," p.177. Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26, Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987.]

There are other references to king's sons from this period who may or may not be sons of Amenhotep II. Two graffiti from Sahel mention a king's son and stable master named Khaemwaset, but specifically which king is his father is unknown. A figure with the name Amenemhet is recorded behind a prince Amenhotep in Theban tomb 64, and assuming this Amenhotep is indeed the king's son from B.M. 10056, Amenemhat would also be Amenhotep II's son.Peter Der Manuelian, "Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II," p.178. Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26, Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987.] Also, there is a prince Aakheperure mentioned in a Konosso graffito alongside a prince Amenhotep, and once again assuming this Amenhotep to be the same as the one in B.M. 10056, Aakheperure would also be Amenhotep II's son. However, in both these cases the figure identified as Amenhotep has been identified by some as possible references to the later King Amenhotep III, which would make these two princes sons Thutmose IV.Peter Der Manuelian, "Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II," p.175. Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26, Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987.] In addition to sons, Amenhotep II may have had a daughter named Iaret, but she could have also been the daughter of Thutmose IV.

Two more sons had been attributed to Amenhotep II in the past, however, they have since been proven to be of other parentage. Gauthier catalogued one Usersatet, the "King's son of Kush," (ie. Viceroy of Nubia) as a son of Amenhotep II, as well as one Re, however, both are now known to be unrelated to the royal family.Peter Der Manuelian, "Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II," p.181. Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26, Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987.] Usersatet merely served as Amenhotep's chief official in Nubia and was not a blood relative of the king.

Dates and length of reign

Amenhotep's coronation can be dated without much difficulty because of a number of lunar dates in the reign of his father, Thutmose III. These sightings limit the date of Thutmose's accession to either 1504 or 1479 BC. [Edward F. Wente, "Thutmose III's Accession and the Beginning of the New Kingdom," p.267. Journal of Near Eastern Studies, The University of Chicago Press, 1975.] Thutmose died after 54 years of reign, [Breasted, James Henry. "Ancient Records of Egypt, Vol. II" p. 234. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1906.] at which time Amenhotep would have acceded to the throne. Amenhotep's short coregency with his father would then move his accession two years and four months eariler, dating his accession to either 1427 BC in the low chronology,Shaw, Ian; and Nicholson, Paul. "The Dictionary of Ancient Egypt." p.28. The British Museum Press, 1995.] or in 1454 BC in the high chronology. The length of his reign is indicated by a wine jar inscribed with the king's prenomen found in Amenhotep II's funerary temple at Thebes; it is dated to this king's highest known date--his Year 26--and lists the name of the pharaoh's vintner, Panehsy. [Der Manuelian, op. cit., pp.42-43] Mortuary temples were generally not stocked until the king died or was near death; therefore, Amenhotep could not have lived much later beyond his 26th year. [Redford, JNES Chronology, p.119] There are alternate theories which attempt to assign him a reign of up to 35 years, which is the absolute maximum length he could have reigned. In this chronology, he reigned from 1454 to 1419. However, there are problems facing these theories which cannot be resolved.Peter Der Manuelian, "Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II," p.43. Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26, Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987.] In particular, this would mean Amenhotep died when he was 52, but an X-ray analysis of his mummy has shown him to have been about 40 when he died.Peter Der Manuelian, "Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II," p.44. Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26, Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987.] Accordingly, Amenhotep II is usually given a reign of 26 years and said to have reigned from 1427 to 1401 BC.

Foreign Affairs

Amenhotep's first campaign took place in his third regnal year.Gardiner, Alan. "Egypt of the Pharaohs." p. 200. Oxford University Press, 1964.] It is known that the pharaoh was attacked by the host of Qatna while crossing the Orontes river, but he emerged victorious and acquired rich booty, among which even the equipment of a Mitanni charioteer is mentioned. The king was well known for his physical prowess and is said to have singlehandedly killed 7 rebel Princes at Kadesh which successfully terminated his first Syrian campaign on a victorious note. [Grimal, "A History of Ancient Egypt", p.218] After the campaign, the king ordered the bodies of the seven princes to be hung upside down on the prow of his ship. [Grimal, Nicolas. "A History of Ancient Egypt." p.218. Librairie Arthéme Fayard, 1988.] Upon reaching Thebes all but one of the princes were mounted on the city walls. [Grimal, op. cit., p.218] The other was taken to the often rebellious territory of Nubia and hung on the city wall of Napata, as an example of the consequence of rising against Pharaoh and to demoralise any Nubian opponents of Egyptian authority there. [Grimal, op. cit., p.218] Amenhotep called this campaign his first in a Stele from Amada, however he also called his second campaign his first, causing some confusion. The most common solution for this, although not universally accepted, is that his truly first campaign was fought before the death of his father and thus before he was the sole king of Egypt, and he counted his second campaign as his first because it was the first that was his and his alone. [Gardiner, op. cit., p.200] Amenhotep's first campaign was so successful that he is recorded as having captured a vast amount of war booty "consisting of 6,800 deben of gold and 500,000 deben of copper (about 1,643 and 120,833 pounds respectively), as well as 550 mariannu captives, 210 horses and 300 chariots." [ [ Amenhotep II] by J. Dunn]

In April of his seventh year, Amenhotep was faced with a major rebellion in Syria by the vassal states of Naharin and dispatched his army to the Levant to suppress it. This rebellion was likely instigated by Egypt's chief Near Eastern rival, Mitanni.Redford, Donald B. "Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times." p. 162. Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 1992.] His stele of victory carved after this campaign records no major battles, which has been read a number of ways. It may be that this campaign was more similar to one of the tours of Syria which his father had fought, and he only engaged minor garrisons in battle and forced cities to swear allegance to him–oaths immediately broken after his departure.Redford, Donald B. "Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times." p. 163. Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 1992.] Alternatly, it appears that the two weeks when Amenhotep would have been closest to Mitanni are omitted from the stele, thus it is possible that his army was defeated on this campaign. [Peter Der Manuelian, "Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II," p.62. Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26, Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987.] Amenhotep's last campaign took place in his ninth year, however it apparently did not proceed farther north than the Sea of Galilee. [Gardiner, Alan. "Egypt of the Pharaohs." p.202. Oxford University Press, 1964.] According to the list of plunder from this campaign, Amenhotep took 101,128 slaves, which is an obviously exaggerated figure. [Peter Der Manuelian, "Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II," p.76. Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26, Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987.] Some of these slaves may have been recounted from the year 7 campaign, such as 15,070 citizens of Nukhash, since Amenhotep did not campaign anywhere near Nukhash on his year 9 campaign. [Gardiner, Alan. op. cit., p. 203. Oxford University Press, 1964.] However, even accounting for this recounting, the numbers still are too high to be realistic, and are probably just exaggerated. [Peter Der Manuelian, "Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II," p.77. Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26, Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987.]

After the campaign in Amenhotep's ninth year, Egyptian and Mitannian armies never fought again, and the two kingdoms seem to have reached some sort of peace. Amenhotep records that the kings of Babylon, the Hittites, and Mitanni came to make peace and pay tribute to him after his ninth year, although this may be outlandish boasting.Redford, Donald B. "Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times." p. 164. Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 1992.] However, a second passage appears on the walls of Karnak, saying that the princes of Mitanni came to seek peace with Amenhotep, and this cannot be so easily explained away. The rising power of the Hittites eventually persuaded Mitanni to seek an ally, and there was definitely a treaty of some sort between Egypt and Mitanni by the time of Amenhotep's successor, but it may be that it was enacted after Amenhotep's campaigns, to try to prevent any more of campaigns of mass deportations. Whenever formal peace was enacted, an informal peace was maintained between Amenhotep and the king of Mitanni. Thereafter, Amenhotep concentrated on domestic matters, with one possible exception. A shrine of Amenhotep's Nubian viceroy shows Amenhotep receiving tribute after a Nubian campaign, but it is not possible to date when this happened. [Peter Der Manuelian, "Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II," p.92. Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26, Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987.]

Construction projects

Since Thutmose III had devoted so much energy to expanding Karnak, Amenhotep's building projects were largely focused on enlarging smaller temples all over Egypt. In the Delta, his father's "Overseer of Works", Minmose, is attested from an inscription at Tura as overseeing construction of more temples. He also built a temple to Horemakhet near the Great Sphinx at Giza.Fact|date=February 2007 In upper Egypt, small shrines are attested at Medamud, el-Tod, and Armant. Karnak, despite not receiving the attention given it by his father, also was not totally neglected. [Grimal, Nicolas. "A History of Ancient Egypt." p.220. Librairie Arthéme Fayard, 1988.] He commissioned a column to stand in the courtyard between the fourth and fifth pylons commemorating the reception of tribute from Mitanni.Fact|date=February 2007 In Nubia, Amenhotep built at Qasr Ibrim and Semna, and ordered the decoration of the Temple at Kalabsha. [Grimal, Nicolas. "A History of Ancient Egypt." p.219. Librairie Arthéme Fayard, 1988.] However, his most famous Nubian temple was at Amada. [Gardiner, op. cit., p. 199] Thutmose III had begun constructing a temple which, technically, was dedicated to Horus there, although the presence of Re-Harakhti and Amun-Re is easily observed. [Gardiner, op. cit., p.199] Amenhotep completed it and put in it the record of his year 3 campaign on a stele, which was until 1942 the source of most information about Amenhotep's wars. [Gardiner, op. cit., p.200]

Reliefs and Statues

Amenhotep II, as kings before him, placed statues of himself both in front of and inside his temples.Fact|date=February 2007 One shows him as an offering king in kneeling position with an altar (Cairo CG 42073). His statuary may be grouped on the basis of physiognomy and iconography. One can see a development from the statuary of Hatshepsut, Thutmoses III, Amenhotep II, Thutmoses IV, up to Amenhotep III. So the faces of the statues are not so much portraiture as an idealized face expressing artistic tradition and the contemporary ideal of beauty. Fact|date=February 2007


Amenhotep's mummy was discovered in March 1898 by Victor Loret in his KV35 tomb in the Valley of the Kings within his original sarcophagus. He had a mortuary temple constructed at the edge of the cultivation in the Theban Necropolis, close to where the Ramesseum was later built, but it was destroyed in ancient times. Amenhotep II's KV35 tomb also proved to contain a mummy cache containing several New Kingdom Pharaohs including Thutmose IV, Seti II, Ramesses III, Ramesses IV, and Ramesses VI. They had been re-buried in Amenhotep II's tomb by the 21st Dynasty High Priest of Amun, Pinedjem II, during Siamun's reign, to protect them from tomb robbers. The most detailed and balanced discussion on the chronology, events, and impact of Amenhotep II's reign was published by Peter Der Manuelian, in a 1987 book on this king.

Personality and later life

A stela from this pharaoh's final years highlights his openly contemptuous attitude towards non-Egyptians. The document, which dates to "Year 23 IV Akhet [day] 1, the day of the festival" of Amenhotep II's accession to power, is a copy of a personal letter which the king composed himself to Usersatet, his viceroy of Kush (Nubia). [Urk IV, 1343:10] In it, Amenhotep II reminded Usersatet of their military exploits together in Syria and proceeds to criticise the way this official conducted his office as Viceroy. [Erik Hornung 'The Pharaoh' in Sergio Donadoni, "The Egyptians", The University of Chicago Press, 1997. p.291] Amenhotep writes:

Usersatet was so impressed (or fearful) of Amenhotep's message that he ordered a copy of it to be engraved on a stela "that was once [located] at the Second Cataract [in Nubia] and is now in Boston." [Hornung, op. cit., pp.290-291]

Amenhotep II did not openly record the names of his queens; some Egyptologists theorise that he felt that women had become too powerful under titles such as God's Wife of Amun. They point to the fact that he participated in his father's removal of Hatshepsut's name from her monuments and the destruction of her image.

The destruction of Hatshepsut's images began during the co-regency of Amenhotep when his father was very old, but stopped during his reign. However, the king may have harboured his father's concern that another woman would sit on the throne. Despite his efforts, another woman, Neferneferuaten, would eventually rule as pharaoh before the end of his own 18th dynasty.

ee also

*History of Ancient Egypt
*Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt Family Tree



*Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, Blackwell Books: 1992, pp.218-220
*Peter der Manuelian, Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II, Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge(HÄB) Verlag: 1987
*Reisinger, Magnus, Entwicklung der ägyptischen Königsplastik in der frühen und hohen 18. Dynastie, Agnus-Verlag, Münster 2005, ISBN 3-00-015864-2

External links

* [ Panorama view of the tomb of Amenhotep II]

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