April 8, 2012

Senusret III Pharaoh Biography 1878-1841 BC

Senusret III
Khakhaure
1878 - 1841 BC
Senusret III
Senusret came to the throne in about 1878 bc, and is thought to have reigned for 37 years. He is probably the best known, visually, of all the Middle Kingdom pharaohs with his brooding, hooded-eyed and careworn portraits, carved mainly in hard black granite. In Middle Kingdom royal portrait sculpture there is a move away from the almost bland, godlike and complacent representations of the Old Kingdom to a more realistic likeness. Part of this stems from the realization that the king, although still a god on earth, is nevertheless concerned with the earthly welfare of his people. The Egyptians no longer placed huge emphasis and resources on erecting great monuments to the king's immortal hereafter, as the rather inferior Middle Kingdom pyramids show. Instead, greater emphasis was placed on agricultural reforms and projects, best exemplified by the great Bahr Yusuf canal).

Manetho describes Senusret as a great warrior, and unusually mentions that the king was of great height: '4 cubits 3 palms 2 fingers breadth' - over 6 ft 6 in (2 m). His commanding presence must have helped the success of his internal reforms in Egypt. Most notably he managed to curtail the activities of the local nomarchs, whose influence had once again risen to challenge that of the monarchy, by creating a new system of government that subjugated the autonomy of the nomarchs. The king divided the country into three administrative departments - the North, the South and the Head of the South (Elephantine and Lower Nubia) - each administered by a council of senior staff which reported to a vizier.

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