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ART204 Egypt the New Kingdom

1552–1069 B C.18th to 20th Dynasties.

About 1600 BC - Egypt is politically weak, with conflict between city-states. The Pharaohs court is weak.

Powerful officials fight for control of the country and Egypt is plunged into a political dark age.

During these years Lower Egypt is invaded by an ascetic warrior peoples, the Hyksos, Hittite, or shepherd kings?

These conquers bring the horse, chariots, armor and the long bow, which easily defeat Egyptian resistance.

The 18th Dynasty begins the expulsion of the Hyksos and a new capital at Thebes. After a century of foreign rule, the Pharaoh's from Upper Egypt regain power after assimilating the new war techniques brought by the invaders.

This New Kingdom in five centuries will exhibit a period of unprecedented wealth and imperial power.

Known for its enormous architectural projects around Thebes.

The Royal funerary complexes across the Nile are moved to the Valley of the Kings. The aesthetic becomes more heroic in scale.

After 1100 B C, the kingdom falls into decline and Egypt becomes a group of competing states. For the next 2500 years, the country will be controlled by foreign powers, beginning with Rome.


Sold into slavery, Joseph was made Viceroy over all of Egypt. The Pharaoh gave him the daughter of a priest. After Joseph interprets the Pharaoh's dream

The Moses Story. 1250–1200 BC

In a contest to free the Hebrew slaves, Moses staff swallows the priest's snakes. Slaves are not freed which begins the 10 plagues ?

Plagues have been proven to happen,

Egypt's connection to the Middle East.

New Kingdom Pharaohs
Queen Hatshepsut 1501–1481 BC.

1st Historical woman of power. Her son, King Tuthmose III of 18th dynasty 1480 - BC will extend influence into Eastern Mesopotamia.

Encourages marriages between the ruling classes of both empires. Mesopotamia royal courts send daughters to the Pharaohs.

Brings more stability to Mesopotamia because of trade for grains from Egypt to Middle East.

Temples are built on the east bank of the Nile at Thebes. Funerary tombs are cut into rock west at the "Valley of Kings".

A site to perform important ceremonies and worship and then becomes his tomb.

NEW KINGDOM Funerary Architecture
Queen Hatshepsut 1501–1481 B C

Mother of Tuthmose III daughter of Tuthmose I. Half sister and wife to Tuthmose II

Among the earliest of the ambitious builders of the Empire was Queen Hatshepsut, first great female ruler of whom we have any record, successor of Tuthmose II.

Ruled first as Queen and consort to her husband then at his death, becomes ruler, supposedly as a regent for her stepson Tuthmose III.

She assumes power as pharaoh and governed peacefully for twenty years, as the supposed divine daughter of Amon.

She brings to her court rows of fragrant myrrh trees from the Red Sea, highly prized as a source of incense.

Akhenaton 1379–1336 BC

Assumes the throne 1353 BC. at his fathers death.

Founds new religion, moves capital from Thebes and builds a new city and temples to Aton, temples are in open courtyard, direct sun. Will rule for 17 years.

Stressed concept of divine truth. His family, not the gods are emphasized in the art.

Changes name from Amenhotep to Akhenaten, to reflect the worship of one god, the sun god Aton of which he is the earthly representative. Takes Nefertiti as his wife, and will elevate his child bride to divine status as well.

Many people have seen a connection between Akhenaten's god Aton, and Moses' singular deity, particularly since Moses came out of Egypt. To establish the 10 commandments, Monotheism and moral teachings of Early Christian.

Akhenaten held many gods in reverence, but named Aton as the prime creator, represented as the sun. He seems to have been a gentle, and truly religious man.

Some relief's show him and Nefrititi nude. Certain representations of Akhenaton omit male genitalia and show him resembling a woman more than a man. For which there was a precedent.

He and his family lived isolated far from the traditional centers of power. Akhenaten had several concubines, and Nefertiti seems to have had three of their six children by other men.

"The nation" suffered greatly from Akhenaten's refusal to rule the state. He ordered his armies not to attack and to defend themselves without shedding blood.

Military commanders thought him a fool, the priests of Ra-Amen considered him a serious threat, and he bewildered the people.

Akhenaten's father began the revision of Egyptian religion to a more important single sun god, Amun, the Hidden One.

He will build the temples at Karnak and Luxor at Thebes. His divine authority is renewed by Amun each year, the Opet.

His burial temple features two 720-ton quartzite statues of himself.

His son Akhenaten will continue the revision to a single deity,
And move the religious center south to Amarna.

Kiya, another wife of Akhenaten conceives the only son, Tut.

In Akhenaten's 12th year of rule, she disappears. His mother and two daughters die of a plague.

Nefertiti assumes more power as Tut's co-regent. When Akhenatens dies, in his 17th year of rule.

Nefertiti he will ask a Mesopotamian king for a son to marry, for political reasons.

Nefertiti will rule for a few years until Tut, her stepson takes the throne.

She is buried in a lavish tomb in Amarna. Which was removed for the dam.

After Tut's mysterious death the priests will restore the old religion, destroying the city and temples.

Akhenaten was taught by a women priest the teachings of Melchizedek, who came from the Salem Group, in Ur of Mesopotamia.

The concept of a one and universal creator, offers a counterpoint to the direction that Mesopotamia was taking in religion and politics.

Ramesses 1145 BC

100 children
Rules for 80 + years Re-establishes the strength of the Pharaohs court
and expands the empire.

His military has light chariots with 20,000 solders, each division named after an Egyptian deity, copper wheel coverings.

His court was known for being exotic with pet lions, and snake charmers. Who lost the contest to Moses, who was educated in Egypt.

There is evidence of famine and Jewish presence in the capital. They built a city for themselves.

With the death of a son, the 10th prophecy, Ramesses frees the Israelites, but chases them to Red Sea, which parts, Evidence of huge volcano that caused dramatic weather changes.

It is known that the Jewish people will leave Egypt refusing to build a temple.

The scribes of Ramesses recorded the king's great jubilees. That symbolically reinvigorated the aging king, as the annual flood of the Nile renews the land.

At his funerary tomb, twice a year, in late February and again in October, the rising sun reaches 160 feet in to the inner sanctum to bless Ramesses.

The Tomb of Tutankhamen—Date: 1350 BC

  • Born to Nefertiti during Akhenaten's reign.
  • Assumes power at 10 years, 4 years after his fathers death.
  • Within two years recognized Amun as primary deity and moves capital back to Thebes.

Dies before he was twenty. The tomb was found in the Valley of the Kings near Thebes in 1922.

It was intact because its entrance had been covered with rubble from the digging for a Ramesses tomb.

King Ramesses held king Tutankhamnen's entire line in contempt, ironically, he saved Tutankhamen for posterity, by disturbing Tut's burial temple.

Rules for ten years, his mummy reveals a skull fracture. His priest wouldn't tolerate another heretic.

King Tutankhamen mummy was preserved in a solid gold coffin weighing 650 pounds.

Protected by two more coffins of ceramic material, in turn protected by an airtight quartzite sarcophagus placed inside four tightly fitting wooden cases.