Tuthmosis III (Greek: Thotmes) (1479-1425 BC)
Tuthmosis became a pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty
at the age of six, upon the death of Tuthmosis II in 1501 BC. His
throne was held safe for him for around twenty-one years by Queen
Hatshepsut and when he acceded the throne he initially respected
Hatshepsut's reign and achievements.
His eastern vassals, for so long quiet, were starting
to challenge Egypt's dominance, so he embarked upon a series of glorious
campaigns, including the dramatic capture of Megiddo, and saw Egypt
restored to her position of power. Egypt now controlled an empire which
stretched from beyond the third cataract in Nubia to the banks of the
River Euphrates in Syria.
Using his hard-won wealth, Tuthmosis attempted to
out-build Hatshepsut. But after a while there was destruction alongside
the construction. The royal masons had been charged with the task of
removing all traces of the female pharaoh. By the time of his death,
some thirty-three years after his solo accession, Tuthmosis was confident
that Hatshepsut's unorthodox reign would soon be forgotten.
Tuthmosis proved himself a calm and prudent general,
a brave man not given to hasty or irrational actions. He did not start
his solo reign with an assault on Hatshepsut's memory; indeed, he allowed
her a traditional funeral, and waited until it was convenient to fit the
desecration into his schedule.
Some of the destruction was even carried out by his son,
after his death, when most of those who remembered Hatshepsut had also
died. It was a remote, rather than an immediate, attack. Furthermore the
attack was not a thorough one. Enough remained of Hatshepsut to allow
modern scholars to recreate her reign in some detail.
Her tomb, the most obvious place to start the attack,
still housed her name. Hatshepsut may have been erased from Egypt's
official record, but she was never hated as Akhenaten 'The Great Criminal'
would later be.
By removing all obvious references to his co-ruler,
Tuthmosis could incorporate her reign into his own. He would then become
Egypt's greatest pharaoh; the only successor to Tuthmosis II. Hatshepsut
would become the unfortunate victim, not of a personal attack, but of an
impersonal attempt at retrospective political correctness.