The World of the 18th Dynasty

Egyptian chronology is used for the general period; dates prefaced with (c.) are specific to their own chronology not Egyptian.  The Egyptian framework chronology is from Dr. Zahi Hawass’ Egyptian Chronology Listed in Silent Images (pages 202—203).

All dates ought to be considered as best available at this time, subject to change, as knowledge grows.  All dates are Before Common Era.

Events from Around the Ancient World of the Middle East Prior to the 18th Dynasty Roughly Spanning the 17th century and early 16th century.

Egypt – is divided with the Hyksos in the Delta of Lower Egypt, and adopting Egyptian styles.  While Upper Egypt, its Theban rulers under the 17th dynasty regain their independence from the Hyksos.  However, they remain sandwiched between Nubia (ancient enemies) and the Hyksos (For more please see works consulted on the 18th Dynasty and Egypt section.)

Babylon – c. 1595 The Amorite First Dynasty of Babylon ends with the raid of Hittite Old Kingdom King Mursilis I raid and sacking.  The Sealand peoples to its south and the Kassite peoples contest the remains of Babylon possibly from the north/northwest Zargros Mountains.  The Kassites win and hold Babylon until c. 1157 (Saggs, 2000: 144.)

Hittite – Mursilis I of the Old Kingdom with assistance from the Hurrians occupying the lands between Hittite and Babylon raids and sacks Babylon.  Then attacks and destroys the great Syrian city of Aleppo.  After his death, the Old Kingdom begins to contract and by c. 1460; it goes silent in the records after King Telipinus (Mcqueen, 1999: 44).  It does not return until its Empire Period under King Suppiluliumas I c. 1380.

Mitanni – During this century, it organizes into a northern Mesopotamian state.  Much of it remains clouded by history in popular materials.  The people were Hurrians speaking a language unrelated from its neighbors.  While it appears that, its ruling elite spoke an Indo-Aryan language (Akkermans and Schwartz, 2005: 327—329).

Greece – The mainland Mycenaeans of Peloponnese Greece survives the destruction of the volcanic explosion of Thera in the 17th century.  Becoming the dominate force in the Greek based Aegean (Shelmerdine, 2008: 231).

Levant– Theorized and accepted homeland of the Hyksos, certainly its southern most point remains under Hyksos control.  Population increases as evidenced by increase settlements and great fortification systems across the Levant (Mazer, 1992: 197).


1547 17th Dynasty Theban King Seqenenre Ta’o II dies in repulsing Hyksos control of Lower Egypt.

1547–1550 Kamose, parentage unsure continues the fight of his predecessor against the Hyksos.  Reign lasts about 3–5 years.

Minoan style wall art is found in both Lower Egypt and Canaan.   The mainland Mycenae palaces, also has the Minoan style (Cline and O’Connor, 2005: 13).

1550–1525 The child Ahmose I, son of Seqenenre Ta’o II, succeeds beginning the 18th Dynasty and New Kingdom era.

At Megiddo, a moderate sized palace is built (Mazer, 1992: 244—246).  (I will be following the evolution of this palace.  I found it interesting.)

1540 Finally, as an adult he succeeds in driving the Hyksos out of Egypt and into Canaan, destroys their great city Sharuhen (Tell el–Ajjul).  Until this time, his mother Queen Ahhotep has been regent and a source of continued resistance against the Hyksos.  He begins the reorganization the Egyptian army along the lines noted in Exodus 18: 21 and in 1st Samuel 8:11–12 and making it a standing professional army.  He campaigned further north in Canaan, and then down into Nubia.  He was a lifetime builder of Egyptian monuments.  He recreated the office of God’s Wife of Amun, only endowing it with substantial power and wealth for his sister-wife Queen Ahmose-Nefertari.  It became the favorite title of its initial holders (Robbins, 1996: 149—156).

1526–1506 Amenhotep I warrior son of Ahmose I shored up father’s conquests.

1506–1493 Thutmose I, warred in Nubia subjugating it completely, then in Asia where he enjoyed an elephant hunt.  He is credited with being the first Pharaoh to reach the Euphrates River.  He was the father of Queen Hatshepsut and Thutmose II.

c 1500 The Hittite Old Kingdom ends under King Telipinus.  At about the same time the  new power is Mitanni/Hurrian, it defeats the great city of Aleppo.  Assyria also falls to  Mitanni (Healy, 2000: 4).

1493–1479 Thutmose II married Hatshepsut and fathered Thutmose III with a lessor wife named Iset.  The length of his reign is not determined with scholars arguing it was between 3-13 years.  His generals put down rebellions in Nubia, and the Levant.  His very young son, with Hatshepsut as regent, succeeded him.

1479-1458 Queen Hatshepsut, the God’s Wife of Amun of her husband, came to rule first as Queen Regent then as Co-Regent with Thutmose III the very young son of her deceased husband.  His grandfather Thutmose I was her father.  Shortly later, she gives the title of God’s Wife of Amun to her daughter Neferure, and takes up the full regalia invested with all the power of Pharaoh.  She was a successful Pharaoh, with a mostly peaceful reign with her pushing building and trade.

1458 Hatshepsut dies leaving her co-regent Pharaoh Thutmose III to his sole rule.

1458 The first great historical battle at Megiddo, it is between Egypt, and local  Canaanites, the cities of Kadesh, Tunip, and the kingdom of Mitanni.  Thutmose III wins battle and puts the city under siege lasting 7 months, until it surrenders to him.

1479–1425 Thutmose III wins decisive battle at Megiddo (1458) capturing just over 900 chariots just after assuming sole rule (Redford, 2003: 10—11, 35).  His administration developed sustaining military logistics to support 14 separate military campaigns into Syria.  Rewards some allies with increased status, others he takes their children back to Egypt for education.  Creates Egypt’s first international empire is considered the Napoleon of ancient Egypt; his empire lasts for some 300 years.  The Syrian great city in its southwestern region Damascus is reported for the first time in Egyptian history and falls under Egyptian control (Cline and O’Conner, 2003: 336).  The other conquered northern Syrian city he takes is Aleppo.  A general of his, Djehuty covertly sent armed Egyptian warriors into Jaffa winning it for Egypt (Cline and O’Conner, 2005: 103).  He is Egypt’s third longest ruling Pharaoh after Pepi II, and Ramesses II.  The role of God’s Wife of Amun begins decline.  He names his mother Iset posthumously, as God’s Wife of Amun.  He establishes short co-rule with son Amenhotep II.

The Hittites, Babylon, and Assyria court Egyptian favor-sending gifts to Pharaoh.  Ivory begins to be mentioned as gifts to Egypt.

Minoans and Mycenaeans also send gifts and trade goods to Pharaoh.

The Levant experiences decades of peace (Redford, 1993:                                        166—169).

Egypt recognizes three distinct areas in the Levant:

Djhay– SouthernPalestine

Remenen–denotes Lebanon and the coastline down to Egypt

Retenu– its relationship to Remenen and Djahy is not clear, but it rises out of them and expands into Syria. 

None of these states share defined borders between them (Cline and O’Connor, 2005: 173-174).  This area also contained independent city-states such as Aleppo, Ashkelon, and Jerusalem.

After the death of Thutmose III, Aleppo swears featly to Mitanni forsaking                  Egypt.

1427–1401 Amenhotep II the warrior King noted for his own military might in chariots, running, rowing, and using the bow.  Sole rule began at the age of 18 according to a monumental stele erected during his reign, fathered many sons many predecease him leaving younger son Thutmose IV to succeed.  Put down several rebellions in Syria.  He creates the first description of the Aten (Fletcher 2000, 60—61).  Honors mother a minor wife of his father.

1401–1391 Thutmose IV modern scholars dispute how he came to be King and length of reign.  Recorded the Dream Stele where the Great Sphinx promises him the throne, if the prince removes the sand covering him.  Peace achieved in his reign by his marriage to a Mitannian princess the first recorded marriage of international status.  He honors his mother, a minor wife of his father.

1391–1353 Amenhotep III the Magnificent, the Dazzling Sun King born during his grandfather’s reign to a minor wife he honors her, a minor wife of his father.  Despite multiple marriages of international status to royal princess, his principle Great Royal Wife is a well-born Egyptian lady named Tiye.  She is the mother of his heirs Crown Prince Thutmose, High Priest of Ptah dies young, succeeded by younger brother Amenhotep.  Tiye’s power came through her title of Great Royal Wife, not as God’s Wife of Amun and is noted for her use of her royal status and power (Hawass 2000, 48—49).  The power of royal women again ascends as Great Royal Wives.  He refuses one of his daughters in marriage to the King of Babylon, Kadashman-Enlil I.  Two daughters are created as God’s Wives.  Egypt reaches the pinnacle of international power, prosperity, and artistic splendor during his reign.  The power of Aten grows during the reign, early versions of The Great Hymn of Aten date to this reign (Fletcher, 2000: 61).  Expansion of royal power in Nubia/Kush increases with the court adopting Nubian styles.  The use of linen for dressing skyrockets as shown in the pleated clothes of court dress indicating the increased wealth of the nobility.  He builds temples in Nubia, and Great Temple in Thebes (Lawler, July 2011).  The Levant is very quiet during this reign and contains Egyptian governors civil and military.

Assyria during Amenhotep’s III reign, gains enough freedom from Mitanni to enter  into trade with Egypt under its powerful King Asshur-Uballit I.

The Megiddo palace is enlarged.

Hittite comes into its glorious Empire era under its new King Suppiluliumas I (c. 1380) into an Empire.  He was a powerful and shrewd King that increased his nation’s  territories (Mcqueen, 1999: 46—47).

For the first time international diplomacy expands to include all of the Near East nations; major players include the great kings of Egypt, Hittite, Assyria, Mitanni, Babylon and a subgroup of important vassal city-states (Cohen and Westbrook, 2000: 6—9).

1353–1336 Jerusalem, receives new Egyptian military governor (Redford, 1993:179).  Amenhotep IV succeeds, in his 4th regal year; he changes his name to Akhenaten.  Nefertiti is his Great Royal Wife (Hawass, 2000: 49—52).

Co-regency with his father Amenhotep III is possible but greatly debated by scholarship (for a summation of both sides see Giles, 2001: 136—137; Stiebing, 2003: 179—180).  Queen Tiye, now the King’s Mother maintain great power during the early years of his reign and supported the rise of Atenism.

Artistic flowering continues with a unique, for Egypt, style of naturalism, it is said to have been taught by Akhenaten himself.

He rejects the Theban priesthood of Amun, in favor of the Aten shown in his name change (yr. 4), promotion of the Aten, and moving his court and royal city to a made to order new city of Akhetaten (yr. 5).  Aten theology appears to be, that the he or the royal couple is the source the Aten’s favor upon his courtiers and people (Stiebing, 2003: 182—183).  Akhenaten certainly favored Atenists with largess over others.

Mitanni king assassinated and his son flees to Hittite for protection.  He is then, with Hittite assistance, restored to his throne but as a vassal king to Hittite.  Amarna Letters shows continued royal interest in the Levant and Syria.  Akhenaten ignores some old Levant vassal states cries for military assistance.  The small and vassal state of Amurruin the Bekaa (Beqaa) Valley begins expanding.  Its prince was executed by Egypt for disloyalty, and was succeeded by a son who after imprisonment in Egypt switches loyalty to Hittite.  Amurru was a perceived as a threat from the prince of Byblos but was ignored by Egypt.  It is during this period that Canaanite Lab’ayu, recognized by Egypt as prince of Shechem, began his own troubling of Egypt.  In the end, he too is removed with Egyptian help and his sons take over.  During his reign, Akhenaten does not seem to respond to the growing threat of Hittite as it expands its power southward approaching Canaan with its historical divisions, noted under Thutmose III reign (Cohen and Westbrook 2000: 6, 112— 124).

He creates co-regency with an unknown person currently thought to be Queen Nefertiti as Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten, who then reinvents herself as Smenkhkare (Wilkinson, 2010; 275—276).

Plague evidence at Akhetaten may have played a part in the sudden deaths of many royal members near the end of reign (Booth, 2009: 30).

1333–1323 Tutankhaten/Tutankhamun makes no claim of parental descent after assuming the throne.  However, he allows images of Nefertiti and Akhenaten to remain untouched in Akhenaten suggestive of honoring his real parents.  In his 10-year reign, no other woman replaces Nefertiti in the record, unlike preceding Pharaohs of his dynasty that elevated their mothers after accession to the throne.

His Great Royal Wife Ankesenpaaten/Ankhesenamun the third daughter of Nefertiti is his only known wife.

Restores Theban priesthood of Amun after assuming throne keeps important advisers of his father’s reign Ay and Horemheb.

Raids against Nubians, and Asians with a major campaign waged with General Horemheb, his designated successor, titled the Eastern Expedition thought to be in the Gezar area (Stiebing 2003: 188).

Ankhesenamun, after the death of Tutankhamun, only known and attested action was to write the King of Hittite a correspondent of Akhenaten, for a son to rule with her in Egypt.  He agreed sending his son, Prince Zannanza who died on his wedding journey to Egypt (Wilkinson, 2010: 278).  This resulted in the Hittite-Egyptian war.

Hittite-Egyptian War over the death of the Prince on way to marry widowed Queen resulted in both King Suppiluliumas I, and eldest son dying of plague obtained from  Egyptian prisoners in Egyptian held territory c. 1334 unleashing 20 years of plague in  Hittite lands.  Mursilis II a younger son inherits Hittite throne, after their deaths.  He turns his warring attention away from the south and Egypt other areas (Macqueen, 1999: 47—48).  His southern border is quiet until Egyptians under the new 19th dynasty Pharaohs Seti and his son Ramesses II start military maneuvers south of it.  Mursilis II  dies at about the time of the new Egyptian dynasty.  His son Muwatallis becomes king.

1323–1319 Ay succeeds after Tutankhamum’s early and unexpected death.  No evidence survives that he married the widowed Queen to secure his throne.  Posthumously names his wife Tey, a former nurse to Queen Nefertiti, as Great Royal Wife.  Might have been planning for a son to succeed him there is a record of a King’s son in reference to him, as the father.  His tomb was defaced during the reign of Horemheb.  It is thought as revenge by Horemheb for usurping his place in succession.  He wrote to Hittite King Suppiluliumas I, denying Egyptian hands having anything to do with the death of his son, on his way to marry Egypt’s widowed Queen.  He ruled for about 4 years.

1319/1306–1292 or 1336–1306 Horemheb, claimed a rule of 30 years from the death of Amenhotep III to his own death.  He also altered and falsified Egyptian history in support of this claim by deleting his predecessors Akhenaten, Smenkhkare, Tutankhamun, and Ay.  He claimed blood decent from Pharaoh Thutmose III.  Claimed the god of Hnes-Herakleopolis or modern Ihnasya el-Media in Lower Egypt chose him to become King.  The truth is not readily available to modern scholarship.  Some claim he ruled for 13 years while others believe he ruled about 24; no scholar believes his claim of 30 years.

He continues Tutankhamun’s restoration, and settling civil problems left untended during the Hittite-Egyptian war, and Ay’s brief reign.

In his career, he was a royal representative of foreign affairs, possibly under Tutankhamun, and led a successful diplomatic mission to Nubian governors.

Under Pharaoh Tutankhamun, he ultimately became Commander in Chief of the Army.  His best-known war was the Eastern Expedition with Tutankhamun followed by commanding in the Hittite war.  As King, he leads no campaigns into the Levant, or Syria.  His successor Ramesses I, is credited with having campaigned in the southern Levant in his one year of rule, some of which might have taken place during Horemheb’s reign.  Monuments of him were often usurped from his predecessors particularly those of Tutankhamen.  He built a non-royal tomb while serving under Tutankhamun, located in the noble tomb area of Saqqara that dates to his era.  After his ascension to the throne, he built another and royal tomb in the Valley of Kings.

Both of his known wives were buried in his Saqqara tomb, indicating they died before his royal tomb was finished.  His 2nd wife became his Great Royal Wife for many years she was identified as the daughter of Ay this is no longer the firmly accepted theory, her parentage is not known.  Some believe she lived until year 13 of her husband, but since his dates have been obscured by his own claims it is hard to determine when she died except that her burial was that of a Great Royal Wife.

He had no surviving children to succeed him and therefore selected a member of his inner circle to succeed him.  Traditionally he is placed at the end of the 18th dynasty despite his successors claiming him in as the head of their dynasty, the 19th of the Ramessides Kings.

King Ahiram of Byblos dates to this period buried with a rich burial.  His city continues  to be a major supplier of wood for building (Moscati, 1997:28).

Assyria, begins its ultimately successful completion of destroying Mitanni dominance (although by this time it was for all practical purposes a vassal of Hittite).  It starts expanding westward looking towards the Mediterranean (Stiebing 2003: 215).

This ends the Egyptian Chronology of the 18th dynasty.  Nothing, nowhere during the 18th dynasty fits with the picture of desolation left to Egypt after the Exodus.  This for the greater part explains modern scholarships explanation of a gradual exodus out of Egypt, a gradual organization of tribal , and finally poor farmers banding together into what became the Hebrew people in the later Iron Age (Stiebing, 2003: 241—244).

It is in the multiple attempts by scholarship to force a Biblical agreement with a Late Bronze or Early Iron Age origin for Israel.  That we are told there are echoes in that history; of tribal memories, and memories with a historical understanding.  However what is it that keeps modern scholars from investigating if these memories are actually the history they can’t find in the Late Bronze.  Is it out of respect for 17th century Western European theological based thinkers?  It can’t be out of respect for the Bible itself can it?

Take from ABiT Chronology.  All rights reserved © 2000-2008.

Works cited

Akkermans, Peter M. M.G., and Glenn M. Schwartz.  The Archaeology of Syria; From Complex Hunter- to Early Urban Societies (ca. 16,000–300 BC.)  3rd ed.  Cambridge, Gt. Brit: Cambridge UP, 2005.  327—9  Print.

Booth, Charlotte.  Horemheb; the Forgotten Pharaoh.  Stroud, Gt. Brit: Amberley, 2009.  30  Print.

Cline, Eric H and David O’Connor eds.  Thutmose III, A New Biography.  Ann Arbor, MI: U Michigan P, 2005.  13, 103, 173-174 Print.

Cohen, Raymond, and Raymond Westbrook, eds.  Amarna Diplomacy; the Beginnings of International Relations.  Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 2000.  6—9, 112—124  Print.

Giles, Frederick J.  The Amarna Age: Egypt.  Warminster, Gt. Brit: Aris, 2001. 138—139,  Print.  The Australian Centre for Egyptology Studies 6.

Hart, George.  Forward.  Chronicle of a Pharaoh; the Intimate Life of Amenhotep III.  By Joann Fletcher.  New York: Oxford UP, 2000.  (6-7).  60—61 Print.

Healy, Mark.  The Ancient Assyrians.  Oxford, Gt. Brit: Osprey, 2000.  4  Print.

Lawler, Andrew.  “Unearthing Egypt’s Greatest Temple; Discovering the Grandeur of the Monument Built 3,400 years ago.  Smithsonian Magazine.  Smithsonian Museum, October 2007.  Web.  10 July 2011.

Mazar, Amihai.  Archaeology of the Land of the Bible – 10,000–586 BCE.  1st Pb ed. New York: Doubleday—Bantam, 1992.  197, 224—6 Print.

Macqueen, J.G.  The Hittites and their contemporaries in Asia Minor.  Rev. Ed.  New York: Thames, 1999.  4, 46—8  Print.

Moscati, Sabatino, ed.  The Phoenicians.  New York: Rizzoli, 1997.  28  Print.

Mubarak, Suzanne.  Forward.  Silent Images; Women in Pharaonic Egypt.  By Zahi Hawass.  New York: Abrams, 2000.  (p. 14).   48—49, 202—203.  Print.

Redford, Donald B.  Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times.  1st Pb. ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1993.  179  Print.

—, The Wars in Syria and Palestine of Thutmose III.  Leiden, NL: Brill, 2003. 10—11, 35  Print.  Culture and History of the Ancient Near East.  Vol. 16.

Robins, Gay.  Women in Ancient Egypt.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1996. 149—156 Print.

Saggs, H.W.F.  People of the Past; Babylonians.  Berkeley, CA: U of California P, 2000 144 Print.

Shelmerdine, Cynthia W. ed.  The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age.   New York:  Cambridge UP, 2008. 231 Print.

Stiebing, William H. Jr.  Ancient Near Eastern History and Culture.  N.p.: Longman, 2003.  179—180, 182—183, 188, 215, 241—4  Print.

Wilkinson, Toby.  The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt.  New York: Random, 2010. 275—276 Print


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