Aakheperure Amenhotep II (d. 1401/1397 BC) was the seventh Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from either 1427 BC to 1401 BC based on the reign of 25 Years and 10 Months for a certain Misphragmouthosis according to Josephus' version of Manetho's Epitome or 31 Years at 1428 BC to 1397 BC according to the German scholar J. von Beckerath.. An inscription containing the king's prenomen was written on a wine jar from Amenhotep II's funerary temple at Thebes. It is dated to this king's highest known date--his Year 26--and names the Pharaoh's Vintner, Panehsy.
Amenhotep II was the son of Thutmose III and a minor wife, Hatshepsut-Meryetre. Amenhotep was certainly the junior co-regent to his father for 2 Years and 4 Months according to contemporary historical records since his accession date was "IV Akhet day 1" as noted in the Semna stela of Usersatet, the serving King's son or Viceroy of Kush under Amenhotep II, while Thutmose III is recorded to have died on III Peret day 30 in the Tomb Biography of Amenemheb. Peter Der Manuelian gives this translation of the text in Usersatet's stela: "Year 23, IV Akhet [day] 1, the day of the Festival of the king's accession"  Amenhotep was faced with a major rebellion in Syria by the vassal state of Naharin in his Year 3 almost immediately after the death of his father and dispatched his Army to the Levant to suppress it. The king was well known for his physical prowess and is said to have singlehandedly killed 7 rebel Princes at Takhsy. After capturing Kadesh and thus successfully terminating his first Syrian campaign, the king ordered the bodies of the seven princes to be hung upside down on the prow of his ship – a common punishment for rebel leaders in Pharaonic Egypt. Upon reaching Thebes all but one of the princes were mounted on the city walls. 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. Amenhotep II was evidently successful in his endeavour since no mention of any rebellion was recorded in Nubia under his reign – unlike the situation with his successor Thutmose IV. Amenhotep also embarked on his second and third Syrian campaigns in Year 7 and 9 of his reign. Both rebellions were caused by a revolt in the Syrian regions of the Egyptian Empire, which was likely instigated by Egypt's chief Near Eastern rival, Mitanni. The Year 9 battle occurred on the heights of Niy and resulted in Egypt's loss of control over the entire area between the rivers Orontes and Euphrates despite the recorded Egyptian pillaging in Retenu and the capture of 3,600 Apiru prisoners-of-war. After this campaign, no further conflicts developed between Mitanni and Egypt, and an informal peace was maintained between Amenhotep and the king of Mitanni. Thereafter, Amenhotep concentrated on domestic matters but maintained Egypt's imperial control over Canaan and Egypt's overall prosperity.
Amenhotep was not solely a warrior, but also a diplomat who established cordial relations with Babylonians and Hittites in exchange for acknowledging Egyptian hegemony of the region. With peace secured, Amenhotep set about initiating various building projects. He commissioned a column to stand in the courtyard between the fourth and fifth pylons in the Temple of Karnak commemorating the agreement between him, Artatama I and other Mitanni leaders. He also built a temple to Horemakhet near the Great Sphinx at Giza and expanded the Temple of Karnak. Amenhotep also ordered the decoration of the Temple at Kalabsha and continued Thutmose III's construction projects at Amada in Nubia.
Amenhotep did not 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.
Like many Pharaohs, Amenhotep had a number of names. The most important of these were his prenomen, or throne name, and his nomen, or birth name (which is Amenhotep), with its epithet. These names, in Egyptian hieroglyphs, can be seen above right. The technical transliteration of these names is 3-ḫprw-r ỉmn-ḥtp–ḥḳ3-ỉwnw. This is normally realised as Aakheperure Amenhotep-hekaiunu, meaning "The great forms of Ra, Amun is satisfied, ruler of Heliopolis".
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 Tuthmose 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. Two further burials from the mummy cache in KV 35 have now been identified by DNA analysis carried out by a team under Dr Zahi Hawass. The 'Elder Lady' is Queen Tiye, Great Royal Wife of Amenhotep III, and the 'Younger Lady' is a daughter of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye, full sister to Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) and mother of Tutankhamun. Reference: The Family of Tutankhamun, Journal of the American Medical Association, Feb 17, 2010, (Volume 303 no 7)
Architecture, Reliefs and StatuesEdit
Amenhotep II followed Thutmoses III in building and enlarging temples. He also placed statues of himself both in front of them and inside them. One shows him as an offering king in kneeling position with an altar (Cairo CG 42073). His statuary can 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..
- History of Ancient Egypt
- 18th Dynasty Family Tree
- Digital Egypt for Universities
- Amenhotep II: 7th Pharaoh of Egypt's 18th Dynasty
- ↑ Jürgen von Beckerath, Chronologie des Pharaonischen Ägypten. Mainz, Philipp von Zabern, (1997) p.190
- ↑ Peter Der Manuelian, "Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II", 1987. p.21
- 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
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