Ancient history

New Kingdom of Egypt

The New Kingdom comprises the 18th to 20th Dynasties (1570-1070 BC). This stage was a moment of splendor, thanks to the work of the Theban princes of the Eighteenth Dynasty to strengthen the State, expel the Hyksos, restore international relations and reopen trade routes, also starting a time of conquests abroad.

Characteristics of the New Kingdom

The new empire installed its capital in Thebes, in the south, and restored the unity of Upper and Lower Egypt, lost during part of the Second Intermediate Period, since, as we said, Apopis, at least in the glass of Almuñecar, is titled king of Upper and Lower Egypt . There was from the beginning a great activity to reorganize the country, which produced great prosperity, reflected in the construction of numerous monuments.
The new empire is characterized by the great importance of women and their leading role in succession problems. For the first time, a woman is appointed pharaoh with all the male titles:Hatshepsut, and also another queen, Nefertiti, is represented in family scenes, on an equal plane, as is Queen Tiyi, with her husband Amen-Hotep/Amenophis III and mother of Amen-Hotep/Amenoíis IV.

International Situation of the New Kingdom

The international situation at this time of the new empire consisted of the Egyptian protectorate over the Canaanite cities. The last kings of the Old Kingdom and those of the Middle Kingdom reigned in Assyria and the Kassite rule in Babylon was produced, also coinciding with the rise and fall of the Mycenaean kingdoms in Greece, the Exodus of Israel and the so-called invasion of the Peoples of the Ma , extant only in Egyptian sources.

New Kingdom dynasties

Eighteenth Dynasty.

In the new empire, the study of this dynasty is usually divided into three stages that comprise the first kings in the first place:From the liberation to Amenophis IV, secondly the time of Amen-Hotep/Amenophis IV and the stage of el-Amarna for finish with the last kings.


The XVIII Dynasty began without change in relation to the previous one, since the first pharaoh, Amosis, or Ahmosis , was the brother of Kamose, the last pharaoh of the 17th Dynasty, both sons of Sekenenra Taa II and Queen Ahhotep I.

The war of liberation

as in the time of Mentuhotep, the reunification of Egypt started from the south. The account of Kamose's campaign against these invaders describes a great battle whose site cannot be located and ends with a triumphant return to Thebes. The definitive expulsion was the work of his brother Ahmosis I Nebpehtira (1570-1546), the first king of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Ahmosis undertook an offensive that we know from a story of an officer, named Ahmosis as the king, son of Abana, who participated in the first taking of Avaris, the capital of the Hyksos kingdom.
The Egyptian advance, which was carried out with numerous vicissitudes, reached Sharuhem (southern Palestine).
Ame-hotep I Dyeserkara (Amenophis or Amenotes) (1551-1524) did not carry out great acts of foreign policy but dedicated himself to the reorganization of the country, which, grateful, instituted a festival in his honor that ended up giving its name to a month of the Egyptian calendar, the month of phamenoth He and his mother Ahmosis-Nefertari had a common temple on the west bank of Thebes.
Both Ahmosis I and his successor, Amen-Hotep I, whom he associated with the throne during his reign, embellished the country with their constructions of temples and other buildings, especially in Abydos and Karnak (temple of the god Amun, with which they affirm the importance of this local god) initiating the reorganization of the administration.

The Thutmosids

The time of reign of the pharaohs of this family can be distributed in several periods:Before Hatshepsut. the reign of Hatshepsut and after this queen.

Before Hatshepsut

The Egyptians in the new empire always considered that the reorganization carried out by Ahmosis and his expulsion of the Asians from the Delta area began a new era and for this reason he was considered the initiator of an 18th dynasty, although the first two kings were direct successors, without apparent break, of the Theban princes of the XVII Dynasty. When a new family really ascends the throne it is with Thutmose I Ajeperkara (1524-1518), the first great conqueror among the Egyptian pharaohs, reaching the Euphrates River in his conquests, with which, in reality, the Eighteenth Dynasty should begin.
As soon as he ascended the throne, Thutmose I issued a decree that, among other personalities, was sent to the governor of the southern countries called Thure, in which he announced the beginning of his reign and notified him of the exact title of his magistracy:
In this way the way of naming the pharaoh for the rest of Egyptian history was fixed. This decree is dated on the day of the coronation feast, the first year, in the third month of the second season, day 21.
On a stele engraved on the rocks of the island of Tombos, at the third cataract, it is read that Thutmose I, in the second year of his reign, carried out a campaign in Nubia with brilliant military results and built a fortress in Nubia. Tombos. He returned to Nubia the third year. With these campaigns came the ruin of what is supposed to have been the indigenous kingdom of Kerma. Nubia pacified, Thutmose I went to Palestine and reached the Euphrates, hunted elephants and erected a stele. It seems that it was this pharaoh who abandoned the idea of ​​burying himself in a pyramid and started the custom of the king being buried in a hypogeum carved into the slopes of the desert hills on the left bank of the Nile River, opposite Thebes. This type of burial would continue throughout the New Kingdom. The set of tombs is located in what is called the Valley of the Kings.
The organizing work of his kingdom continued that of his predecessors, highlighting the role of the city of Memphis. He died after three years and a few months of reign. He succeeded his son, Thutmose II Ajeperenka (1518-1504).


Thutmose II took Hatshepsut as his main wife. , his stepsister, eldest daughter of Thumose I, with which he became the direct heir of this king, legitimizing his ascension to the throne through the royal blood of his wife. On the death of Thutmose II, this queen relegated the young Thutmose III to the shadows, after two years of co-regency or regency, and ruled as king for twenty-two years.
Hatshepsut Makara (1498-1483) took, when governing, all the royal titles of the pharaohs with the names:
Female Horus Uosretkau, King of Upper and Lower Egypt , Makare or Maatka-Ra, Truth is the soul of Ra and Jnemetamun Hatshepsut. She who embraces Amun, the foremost among noblewomen she, being the true ruler of the country, relying to reign on a group of faithful officials to whom she entrusted the highest positions in the State. The queen dressed as a man and suppressed feminine endings in her names and titles, adopting the complete protocol of the kings of Egypt with the exception of the traditional epithet of powerful bull . His reign seems to have interrupted the conquest policy of his three direct predecessors, contenting himself with exploiting the quarries and organizing commercial expeditions, the most famous, immortalized in the magnificent reliefs of the queen's temple in Deir el-Bahari, is the one organized at Country of Punt, where the queen of this distant country is represented.
Seconded by her favourite, Senemut, she built many temples, including her mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahari, famous for the originality of its plan and the beauty of its decoration. The best known of this temple of Deir el-Bahari is the relief of the expedition to Punt, that place that has left such an abundant literature since the Old Kingdom.
Hatshepsut relegated the young King Thutmose III Menkheperra (1504-1450) to the shadows and ruled alone. It must be said that throughout the history of Egypt, women had a very prominent role, but this importance is seen with special clarity at the beginning of the New Kingdom, lahotep has already been mentioned, but there are many more who have a numerous and numerous servants. intervene in matters of state and other women who reigned as kings. Thutmose, in these dark years, is believed to have engaged in military affairs at Memphis.
Hatshepsut, with the real name of Maat-ka-Ra Truth is the soul of Ra her, she had a peaceful reign outside and inside she dedicated herself to organizational and administrative tasks.

Thutmosis III

It is not known how the reign of Maat-ka-Ra Hatshepsut ended. She is believed to have perished in an uprising by supporters of Thutmose. This hypothesis was based on the consideration of the violently destroyed monuments, both those of the queen and those of her favorite Senemut of her.
Thutmose III , when Hatshetsut disappeared from the public scene, in the year 22, according to the Stele of Erment, which contained a kind of summary of her reign, she was finally able to assume her role as king and she did so well and in such a way during this stage , which lasted thirty years and changed the course of Egypt's history, taking his country to peaks of power and extension never surpassed by any other pharaoh, dividing this stage into two parts:the first twenty-one years dedicated to the conquests and campaigns in Asia especially and his last twelve years, calmer.
At the beginning of his reign, the situation in Asia was serious, since the Mitanni had formed a great coalition taking advantage of the sometimes questioned passivity of Hatshepsut's reign. The pharaoh organized some seventeen expeditions to Asia, reported in a completely objective way on the walls of the corridor that surrounds the innermost and most sacred part of the temple of Amun in Karnak, the Sanctuary of the Boat, on the wall that, by these engravings, receives the name of Wall of Annals .
The king's goal was the Euphrates. He wanted to bring down the power of the Mitanni and although the first coalition against Egypt was organized by the prince of Kadesh, all the Pharaoh's campaigns can be reduced to a Mitanni-Egypt duel that the latter country won.
At the end of the campaigns, some of them before the fortress of Kadesh, on the Orontes River, in Syria, the reputation, power and wealth of the Egyptian king were considerable:his provinces in Asia regularly sent him tributes and the great neighboring states such as Babylon, Assur and the vanquished Mitanni sent him frequent gifts seeking his friendship. He also maintained good relations with the Aegean islands, producing a First International Balance in 1464.
This is the time when we can speak of the Egyptian empire since under the rule of the Theban monarchy there are peoples of different languages, races and cultures. From north to south, the country covered 3,200 km. The peoples included in it were of very different cultural levels and also differed in social and political organization. Egypt will exploit and plunder all this immense territory, achieving greater wealth for the State, which is reflected in the Egyptian territory itself due to the enormous construction activity of the pharaohs of the New Kingdom, especially in Thebes.
Amun's temple at Karnak received a large part of the spoils of war and tribute paid by the pharaoh's foreign subjects. A good example of this is the hypostyle hall, whose reliefs reflect long processions of tribute bearers.
In the south, Egyptian domination extended at the time of Thutmose III beyond the fourth cataract. And his successors were limited to keeping his work.

The successors of Thutmosis III

Amen-hotep/Amenophis II Hekaon, Ajeprura (1453-1419), associated with the throne by his father a year before he died, continued his policy and brought down the revolted Syrian princes again. From his reign is the first mention of the Apiru (perhaps the Israelites).
From his successor, Thutmose IV Menjeprura (1419-1386), only one Asian campaign is known.
Amen-Hotep/Amenophis III Hekauise Nebmara (1386-1349), his successor, continued the policy of good relations with the Asiatics, also marrying Mitannian princesses.
This was the most brilliant period in the history of Egypt. Peace assured by the previous campaigns, the country enjoyed a prosperity that manifested itself in the luxury of the court, in the architectural works and above all in the royal tombs, and in those of officials. In the remains of the Theban palace, called Malqatá by the Arabs, there is evidence of a campaign in Nubia in the seventh year, which could not have gone beyond a show of force, the result of which was the enslavement of 1,052 Nubians. His foreign relations with the princes of the Near East can be traced by the correspondence of El-Amarna, in the Akkadian language, the diplomatic language of the time that was used from Cappadocia to the Persian Gulf and from Ligarit to the borders of the Zagros, that is, the entire civilized world of the time, except Egypt, for international correspondence.
A very important facet of this reign is the evolution of both social and religious sensibilities, which in a certain way will prepare the way for the events of the following reign. Amenophis had Tiy or Tiye as his royal wife, who bore Amenophis III six children, perhaps a Thumosis who died without reigning and also the future Amenophis IV and four daughters, two of whom also held the title of queens:Satan and Isis .
In the ideological-religious order, it is interesting to highlight the role that the god Aton is acquiring, until now little known. This fact can be seen in two hymns to the Sun god by the brothers Suti and Hor, who lived in the reign of Amenophis III.
Of its splendid constructions, the ruins of the funerary temple on the western bank are preserved, of which currently only two colossi of the king remain standing, called colossi of Memnon ,
He also built one of the most beautiful monuments of universal art:the temple of Luxor, in Thebes, as the southern Harem of Amun, who came by boat from the temple of Karnak in the Thirst Festival to carry out his union or hierogamy with his wife, the goddess Amonet.

Amen-Hotep/Amenophis IV

The last part of the Eighteenth Dynasty offers the historian the interest of a time in crisis, more ideological than institutional, which represents a total and unique break in the history of Egypt.
Amen-Hotep/Amenophis IV NEFERJEPRURA (1350-1334), successor to Amen-Hotep III. He is mainly known for the religious change that he carried out in year 2 of his reign, substituting the primacy of the cult of the god Amun for that of the Aten or solar disc, although at the beginning of his reign he is still represented making an offering to the god Amun.
Amen-Hotep IV took as his real name Nefer-jeperu-Ra-wa-en-Ra beautiful in form is Ra, the only one of Ra , which above all affirms the individuality of his link to the Sun god. It is possible that he was educated in Hermonthis, called the Heliopolis of Upper Egypt with Heliopolitan priests who considered the cult of Amun as something devoid of true religious content, content and spiritual value that did have, however, the ancient cult of the Sun god, so widespread during the V Dynasty.

The El-Amarna Schism

The god Atón (the Atón or solar disc) was a divinity that was present in all things, who had no need to be represented by means of statues. He was represented by the solar disk whose rays ended in hands holding the sign Ankh, life . Their sanctuaries were not dark and reserved like those of Amun but open, so that the god in person would visit them and the Disc would bathe his faithful and all the earth and everything in it with its rays, while the pharaoh was not only his High Priest, but also his prophet, the one who speaks with the god and transmits his teachings.
One of the Gods persecuted by Akhenaten was Hapy, the Nile god, who also went against the cult of Osiris.


The substitution of the Great Priest of Amón by that of Atón caused a religious, political revolution (due to the great political and economic power that the priests of the god Amón lost) and social (there were disorders and assassinations of faithful of Amón by those of the Atón and vice versa). There is also the primacy of the cult in the sky of the sun (Ra) visible through its Disc (Aton) from which light emanates and everything is good, although the worship of the local gods or Wadjet herself, the cobra goddess who it stands at the bottom of the solar disk in its Amarna representations.
In the 4th year of his reign, the old capital, Thebes, was abandoned, and from the 5th year another one was built further north, in the now small town of el-Amarna, in a place revealed by the same Aton which he called Aket-Aton (Horizon of the Disc).
Amenophis IV changed his name from Horus, Mighty Bull of Great Feathers , which linked him to Thebes, in powerful bull beloved of Aten . The name of him from Nebty To the great royalty in Karnak becomes To the great royalty in the Horizon of the Disc . His name from Horus of Gold, Who raises the crowns in southern Heliopolis in Who raises the name of Aten . He kept his coronation name and changed Amenophis to Ankh-en-Aten or Akhenaten:
Pleasing to Aten , a simple transformation of Amun into Aton.
Akhenaten built a temple to his god at Thebes, near the temple of Amun. Statues were placed in it in which an expressionist style was evident.

Possible failures of the Amarna Schism

The first because he saw abandoned by royal order his ancient and multiple gods, to whom he had turned for millennia in search of help and consolation.
Daily life must also have been greatly affected by the transfer of the capital from Tebas to El Amarna, with the consequent economic displacement of the country to the north.
The clergy of the temples of Karnak and Luxor, the temple of Amen-Hotep III, etc., who although they kept their possessions, were officially persecuted and removed from royal favor.
As a consequence of all these things, it is possible to understand why it should never have been accepted by the generality of the Egyptian people and should not have spread much, even though the city of Gematón was founded in Nubia.
This political-religious circumstance is known as Amarniense Schism, by the name of the new capital.
El-Amarna is one of the few moderately known cities of ancient Egypt. Some buildings were built such as the northern palace, the great temple of the Aten, official facilities, a second palace of ceremonies, residences of government officials, necropolis of courtiers and the royal tomb with its corresponding village of workers who worked in it, such as It was customary in pharaonic works. The royal tomb was located in the Wadi that flows into the great el-Amarna basin.
During these years the anger of the king was unleashed with unrestrained violence against Amon and all that it meant, as it happened years later with his god. The divine name was hammered into monuments, even the most venerable, such as
the second stela of Kamose.
Historical tradition did not consider him legitimate king, as can be seen from the Royal List of the Abydos temple. However, the Amharic trace will be preserved throughout the Ramesside era and in a certain way the later Egyptian religion will be affected by the spirit of the Atonian faith. that. despite all the hype, it brought the pharaoh and the gods closer to men.


The end of the Amarna Schism includes the reign of a series of kings:Tutankha-mon , married to princess Ankesenamun, daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti , queen-pharaoh when her husband died, until her marriage with Ay, Smenkara possibly father of queen Nefertiti and after the reign of AY with Mutnedjemet (sister of Nefertiti), reigned Horemheb , married to Mutnedjemet , who reigned alone after the death of her previous husband (perhaps her father, Woe to her), so that at this time there were several pharaoh-queens, who also do not appear on the royal lists.

Dynasty XIX

Start this Dynasty with Ramesses/Ramesses I, Menpehtire (1293-1291), sovereign from Tanis (Delta), perhaps from a family of upstarts (Asian or of Asian origin), of which an officer is known, the first Setos/Sethi, Ramses already occupying a place in the court of his predecessor as Vizier. Ramses I's reign was peaceful. The work of his predecessor, Horemheb, bore fruit in his fight against the Hittites and his good administration was noted in subsequent years, managing to reorganize the Kingdom. Since he had no male heir, he passed on the power to another military man, Setos / Sethi I Menmare (1291-1278), who was a warrior monarch who campaigned in Palestine and Phoenicia and carried out a new battle in Kadesh against the Hittites (remember that Thutmose III had also fought there and would fight Ramesses II).

Ramesses/Ramesses II

His son and his successor, Rameses II, Usimara (1279-1212) is perhaps the best known pharaoh of the New Kingdom and, possibly, of the entire history of Egypt. In his foreign policy the following facts are emphasized:

Egyptian-Hittite confrontation

Reigning in Hatti was King Muwatalli, son and successor of Mursil II, his brother Hattusil was appointed governor of the High Country and general-in-chief of the entire Hittite army. Meanwhile, the Gasga invaded the entire north of the Hatti country, reaching Hattusas, their capital.
At the behest of Mitanni and Egypt, the rival states of Hatti joined with those of northern Syria to fight the Hittites. The king of Ugarit refused to participate in this alliance.
In Egypt, the internal struggles and the weakening of the Eighteenth Dynasty (el-Amarna schism) had allowed the consolidation of Hittite power in Syria and the entry into Egypt, from the east, of nomadic and semi-nomadic elements. Already in the reign of Amen-Hotep/Amenophis III, the Hittites had tried to unify Anatolia and then Syria, where they faced Mitanni, an ally of the pharaoh, which they defeated, but trying not to confront Egypt, since During the Eighteenth Dynasty, the Hittites paid tribute to this country. But pacifism was the general tone of the reign of Amen-Hotep /Amenophis IV, allowing Hatti to become stronger.

Later, the widow of Akhenaten (Nefertiti) or her daughter Meritaten, widow of Tutankhamun, will maintain a correspondence with Subiluliuma, asking for a Hittite prince to marry him, which did not materialize because perhaps the prince was assassinated before arriving. to Egypt.
With the Hittite kings Arnuwanda, Mursil II and Muwatalli, the Egyptian-Hittite confrontation resumed.
When pharaoh Horemheb ascended the throne of Egypt, he had to send an army to Kadesh, at the time when the Hittite Mursil II was facing the last resistance of Mitanni.
At the beginning of the XIX Dynasty, with Ramses I, the clashes between Egypt and the Hittite king Muwatalli began.
Later, around the year 1309, Pharaoh Sethi I took the fortress of Kadesh, which the Hittites recovered shortly after. After him, his successors continued the same policy of confrontation and although Sethi I and Muwatalli had maintained good relations, it is possible that the Hittites encouraged the Peoples of the Sea against Egypt and the fight became inevitable, again, between Egyptians and Hittites.
In the new battle of Kadesh (1295) the most important Egyptian-Hittite confrontation took place. Ramses II and Muwatalli fought in the spring of the fifth year of the reign of Ramses II, ending with the Egyptian defeat.
Around 1287 Muwatalli died, succeeded by his son Urhi-Teshub (Mursil III), under the tutelage of his uncle Hattusil. And at this time, the Hittites fell back before the joint push of Ramses II and Adad-Nirari of Assyria.
Hattusil III came to the Hatti throne (succeeding his nephew) under unknown circumstances. He needed peace and although the Assyrians did not accept it, he found support in Egypt and Babylon.
In 1278 the Second International Balance took place, with the peace agreed between Ramses II and Hattusil III, taking place two events that endorse it:
a) Treaty of Kadesh, between Ramses II and Hattusil III.

b) The wedding, in 1265, between Ramses II and a Hittite princess, daughter of Hattusil III.

Other events that characterized the reign of Ramses II

Other events that took place during this time were the great architectural achievements (in Abydos, Thebes and Abu-Simbel), where the temples dedicated to himself and the small temple of Abu Simbel to his wife, Queen Nefertari, stand out. His beautiful tomb is also preserved in the Valley of the Queens. Likewise. Hittite decline occurred at this time on the one hand and the Egyptian decline itself after the death of Ramses II.

LAST PHARAOHS of the XIX Dynasty

After the death of Ramses II, the first symptoms of a new decadence in the country began to be noticed, such as negligence in the administration of the State and threats from abroad (especially from Libya and Canaan).
Featuring Mineptah Baenra-merinetyeru (1212-1202), his successor, the revolt and defeat of Canaan took place.
Mineptah's successors:Amenmes/Amenmeses, Mineptah-Siptah, Sheti/Shetos II, Ramses-Siptah, last pharaohs of the 19th Dynasty and Queen Tausert Sitre-meriamun (1187-1185), another pharaoh-queen, Siptah's stepmother, with all the titles of pharaoh like Hatshepsut some 300 years earlier, they characterize a time of continued decline and anarchy.

Dynasty XX

The 20th Dynasty began with Setnakt Usijaure Setpenre (1185-1182), Pharaoh whose origin is unknown. This king put an end to the anarchy of the country and managed to expel the foreign invaders. His successor, Ramses III Usimare Meriamun (1182-1151), was the last great king of the New Kingdom. With him, the country stopped its decline, thanks to the administrative and social reforms that he carried out.
He was an enterprising monarch of new constructions, such as the temple of Medinet-Ha-bu. Also, thanks to his work, Thebes became a great city again.
Due to his good administration, he recovered the tributes from Nubia and Assyria. With these, and the preparation of the army that before him was weak and without troops, he was able to face the revolts of the peoples of the east and west of the Delta.
At the death of Ramses III, Egypt fell into frank decline (the Pharaoh's own death was caused by a palace intrigue). From this moment on, political crises followed one another, due to different causes, such as foreign influences and meddling in Egyptian politics, the growing power of the priests of Amun and the economic deficit, to which should be added the progressive presence of Asians at court.
Thus, the years after the reign of Ramses III (he was succeeded by eight sovereigns of the same name), constitute a period of dynastic crisis that led to the seizure of power by Amehotep , High Priest of Amun, later by Panehesi and then by Herihor (1080-1074), who founded the XXI Dynasty, of Kings-Priests, already from the Third Intermediate Period.
Meanwhile, in the Delta, Smedes (1069-1043) created another kingdom. With them and with a newly divided country, the so-called Third Intermediate Period begins.

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