Thotmes / Tuthmosis III
a pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty at the
age of six, upon the death on Tuthmosis II in 1501 BC. His throne was held safe for him
for twenty-four 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.
hard-won wealth, Tuthmosis attempted to out-build Hatshepsut. But after a
was destruction alongside the construction. The royal masons had been
charged with the task of removing all traces of the female pharaoh.
time of his death, some thirty-three years after his solo accession, Tuthmosis was confident that Hatshepsut's unorthodox reign would soon be
Tuthmosis was to prove 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
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.
Akhenaten (1375-1358 BC)
Born as Amenhotep IV, his name means "the
spirit of the Aten". Together with his wife, Nefertiti, Akhenaton introduced a
monotheistic cult of one god, the sun god Aton, and abolished the worship of all the other
traditional Egyptian gods.
He was branded the "Criminal of Amarna" (the city he
built to the Aton). His name and memory, and those of three subsequent kings (including
Tutankhamun, whose tomb was discovered in 1922), were erased from Egyptian history, and
the Egyptian capital of Thebes (modern Luxor) was restored.
Seti I (Sethi) (1313-1292 BC)
The Egyptian god Seth murdered and
dismembered his brother Osiris, but was later forgiven by Isis, his sister and the wife of
Osiris, even though Seth had badly damaged Horus' eye in their fight.
Sethi I, the nineteenth dynasty pharaoh who built a
great temple to Osiris at Abydos, the cult centre of Osiris, was named after Seth and so
politely altered his name in the temple inscriptions to commemorate Osiris instead of Set.
Thus, the Egyptians recognised the moral awkwardness of putting the name of Osiris'
murderer on his temple, but this did not discredit the cult of Seth or the pharaoh named
Sheshonk (Shishak / Sheshong) (circa 945-920 BC)
Sheshonk was a Libyan
mercenary who managed to snatch Egypt from the hands of a weak Pharaoh. During his reign
- the start of the twenty-second dynasty - he is best known for invading Israel and besieging Jerusalem. However, he
did not enter the kingdom's capital and therefore was not responsible for carrying off the Ark of the Covenant to Tanis. A year
after his return Tanis was
supposedly buried by a months-long sandstorm.