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Asess the Reign of Amenhotep Iii

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Assess the reign of Amenhotep III
Amenhotep III’s reign is often referred to as a time of political stability and economic prosperity for Egypt. Under his reign, and as a result of many conquests of his predecessors, Egypt was flooded with wealth, promoting a flourishing civilisation. With this sense of stability and wealth, Amenhotep was able to invest his time into building programs, building extensively at Thebes, Luxor and Karnak, which also resulted in an advancement in art and religion. In order for his reign to be as successful as it was, Amenhotep also had to promote the image of warrior pharaoh in order to maintain ma’at. Amenhotep governed his empire by a policy of diplomacy, he needed to maintain the peace and stability through a carefully kept balance of power between greater and lesser kingdom. Due to these factors Amenhotep has a highly successful reign for almost 40 years.
With the empire at peace for most of his reign, Amenhotep was able to initiate a building program that would surpass that of any of his predecessors. O’Conner says “few Pharaohs from any period of Egyptian history are as noteworthy for their monument-building activities as Amenhotep III.” The Temple of Luxor is an example of the architectural achievements during Amenhotep’s reign. Reeves says that it is Amenhotep’s principal architectural triumph. The temple was built for the purpose of the Opet Festival. This festival renewed the pharaoh’s power and reaffirmed that he was the god’s son. Reliefs in one of the chambers depicts Amenhotep’s divine birth and establishes his divine power to uphold ma’at. Amenhotep’s mortuary temple is the largest royal temple known in ancient Egypt. The temple was built to house the funeral service for the pharaoh’s spirit, like the Temple of Luxor it was also dedicated to Amen. The stela from the building describes its splendour and wealth, “never has happened like since the beginning.” The wealth of Egypt is also highlighted in the description of the materials used to build the temple, “costly gritstone” and “every splendid costly stone”. His impressive buildings are a substantial contributor towards Amenhotep being recognised as one of the greatest pharaohs of the 18th dynasty because this shows his dedication and ability to maintain ma’at.
Building programs were not only of political importance but also vital in reinforcing the religious role of the Pharaoh as the intermediary between the gods and the people of Egypt. * Most buildings he built were temples * Demonstrated piety, pleased the gods – further secured economic wealth and fulfilled another facet of maintaining ma’at * Initially promoted Amen as main god and invested a significant amount of wealth into the priesthood. * Schemes involved extending Karnak – construction of 3rd pylon. Shows wealth: “worked with gold throughout, with the gods shade in the likeness of a ram, inlaid with real lapis lazuli and worked with gold and costly stone. The like has never been made.” – Lichtheim * Due to priesthood having control of 1/3 of the wealth (received enough of the riches of empire to pose a threat to the king in certain circumstances – Thomas), focus was shifted to various solar cults such as Aten in order for Amenhotep to keep power. * Self-deification was a direct political challenge to the Amen priesthood – evident through his depiction at the Soleb Temple with the horns of Amen. Shows he no longer fell subject to the priesthood and had dominant positon over them – authority of pharaoh god.

It was essential that early on his reign, Amenhotep, like his predecessors, promote an image of himself as a warrior pharaoh. * Use of scarabs advertised his ability to hunt: during a hunting trip the young king rounded up a total of 75 wild bulls. Aldred suggests that since the king was young, it seems more likely that it was a military operation with the king in attendance. * Due to previous pharaohs, he didn’t need to extend the boarders of Egypt any further. “the era of warring in Asia was over, extending the boundaries of Egypt was over”- Breasted * Only one minor revolt in Nubia in year 5 * Marriage scarab described him as “smiter of Asiatics” * Victory tablet in mortuary tablet, shows driving chariot over conquered Syrians with the words “smiting Naharin with his mighty sword” – Breasted
The period in which Amenhotep III ruled was unique in that it was a period of peace, enabling Amenhotep to maintain peace through diplomatic relations. * Empire exerted unprecedented power and influence over its neighbours * Amarna letters: foreign kings such as Assyria and Mittani wrote to pharaoh and begged for gold in exchange for other resources or sometimes marriages * Negotiated alliances with the rulers of the north-east * Showed power though relationships with lesser kings (vassal) who were bound to Egypt by treaty and has to pay taxes to Egypt. this lesser kings referred to him as ‘my god’, ‘my son’, ‘my lord’ * Ruled from a position of great advantage, the battles had been won, the treaties and alliances made and the administration of the empire established before he even came to the throne.

It is believed by many that Amenhotep was one of the greatest pharaohs of the 18th dynasty. This is supported through the wealth of sources available. In the reign of Amenhotep III, Egypt reached its peak of wealth and glory. Due to his predecessor’s successful reigns, he had the foundation to build a peaceful and stable empire. He achieved great things such as impressive building programs, maintain the image of a warrior pharaoh and have peaceful, diplomatic engagements with foreign leaders.…...

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