April 14, 2012

Amenhotep II Pharaoh 1453-1419 BC

Amenhotep II
(heqainu) Akheperure 
Dynasty 18
1453-1419 BC

Amenhotep II Pharaoh Biography
Amenhotep II seems to have been an athletic youngster. Several representations of the king show him engaged in successful sporting pursuits, and he was keen to establish an equally good reputation in the military field. An opportunity to do just this presented itself early in his reign when, on receiving the news of the death of Tuthmosis III, the Asiatic cities rose up in revolt. Amenhotep II was not slow in showing the rebels that he was not to be toyed with.

Statue of Amenhotep II at the Egyptian Museum (Turin)
In April of Year 2 he moved swiftly overland with the army (presumably because the Mediterranean sea ports were also in revolt), advanced into northern Palestine, fought his way across the Orontes river in Syria, and subdued all before him. One city, Niy, had learnt its lesson under Tuthmosis III and welcomed his son. The area of Tikhsi seems to have been the focal point of the trouble and Amenhotep II captured seven princes there, returning with them in the autumn to the temple of his great god Amun at Karnak. He was also accompanied by much booty, which largely went to swell the coffers of Amun.

Nubia took the king's attention next, in Year 3, when he moved south and completed the temples begun by his father at Aswan on Elephantine Island and at Amada. From stele left by the king at both temples we learn the fate of the seven captive princes: the king sacrificed all seven to Amun in the age-old manner, smiting them with his mace and then hanging them face downwards on the prow of his ship. Six of them were subsequently hung on the enclosure wall of the temple at Thebes, while the seventh was taken south into Nubia and hung from the walls of Napata, 'in order to cause to be seen the victorious might of His Majesty for ever and ever'.

Year 9 saw the king campaigning in Palestine again, but only as far as the Sea of Galilee. Thereafter, for the rest of his 34-year rule, it seems he had made his mark and peace reigned.

A stele, originally from Elephantine and now on display at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, recording Amenhotep II's successful campaign against Syria, and dedicating war booty and prisoners to the Temple of Khnum
Amenhotep II was laid to rest in the Valley of the Kings (KV 35) - but not for long, for his tomb was plundered before the end of the 20th Dynasty. When Victor Loret entered it in March 1898 he found the usual debris, but the king still lay in his sarcophagus where the priests had partly rewrapped the body after its desecration. Impressions preserved in the resin indicated the jewellery that had once lain on the body. Amenhotep was not, however, alone in his tomb. It had been used by the priests in antiquity as a hiding place for other royal mummies.

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