Re: ABH Redating the Founders of 18th Dynasty Egypt
as a repost, another note about two potentially important issues that may be easily resolved. These are the existence and length of a Thuthmose III/Amenhotep II coregency. Based on the date provided by Amenemhab's biography, in TT85, Thuthmose III died in year 54 on the 30th day of Phamenoth during Peret. However, according to Usersatet's stele at Semna Amenhotep II ascended the throne on the 1st day of Choiak during Akhet. As a side note according to the Dream Stele dated to Thuthmose IV's year 1, he appears to have become Amenhotep II's coregent on the 19th day of Choiak during Akhet. Furthermore, Amenembab's biography suggests the death of Thuthmose III occurred first, followed by Amenhotep II's official coronation. This seems to suggest Amenhotep II assume the double crowned 240 days after his father's passing.
Clearly, Amenhotep II was present in Egypt when his father died and although a military expedition may have been planned, it is probable he didn't depart the frontier fortress at Tharu until the end of I Shemu. We may assume that Amenhotep II initially took care of pressing domestic affairs as news of the alder king's death travelled quickly. Therefore the reason for Amenhotep II's campaign dated year 2 was pervious unrest and outright rebellion of Egypt's Syrian vassals immediately following Thuthmose III's death. Undoubtedly there was the fear this instability would soon spread to Canaan. However he must have ended this campaign, installed garrisons, and returned to Egypt with the bulk of the army well before the end of Shemu in order to be present at his father's funeral as documented in Amenemhab's tomb TT85. Returning to Amenhotep II's Karnak Stele commemorating his year 2 campaign, at the end of the text is the following salutation:
`Thru the righteous god, sovereign of Egypt, ruler of offerings [lost text], beloved of Amun, defender of those in Thebes, master of feasts at Amun's temple, ruler of Thebes, [lost text], son of Re, Thutmose, rewarded life forever more.'
It may be inferred that the individual mentioned here was Thutmose IV and thus the assumption would be he also commissioned this stele to commemorate his father's deeds postmortem. However, the events recorded in Amenhotep II's Karnak Stele would have occurred some 30 years prior. The often very detailed nature of this narrative and the calindrical dates provide some events suggest Thuthmose IV's authorship is unlikely. Moreover, Thuthmose III often used the tributary titles of `Defender' or `Ruler of Thebes' which appears in the text. Likewise, Amenhotep II typically used the title of `Ruler of Heliopolis.' Amenhotep II's tributary connection to Heliopolis was possibly due to his subtle shift away from Amun cult and an increased investment in the Re cult. In contrast, Thuthmose IV does not appear to have used either of these titles. Therefore a better argument may be made that Amenhotep II's Karnak Stele was installed near the end of this king's 2nd year and the associated narrative was an adaptation of Amenhotep II's official campaign log. Overall the passage above may have served as an epilogue to his exploits in northern Syria indicating Thuthmose III's passing and his ascension to the throne as Egypt's sole ruler.
The only plausible scenario is that the calindrical date mentioned by Usersatet, as the anniversary of Amenhotep II's coronation referred only to the day he was made coregent with Thuthmose III. Likewise Amenemhab's mention of Amenhotep II's ascension to the throne after Thuthmose III's death marked the hereto undated occasion when the former became the sole ruler of Egypt. While this may indicate the existence of a coregency, unless the campaign dated to Amenhotep II's 2nd year is assumed to have occurred soon after Thuthmose III's death, beyond 4 months the number of years it lasted remains unknown.
Concerning the length of Thutmose III and Amenhotep II's coregency, Amenemhab's biography may provide some insight. This narrative says that soon after Thuthmose III died and Amenhotep II became sole ruler of Egypt the king noticed him during the annual Opet festival held at Thebes. Here his strength and skill were witnessed while rowing aboard a barque called the Khamsutenua. Apparently, despite being pharaoh Amenhotep II was present as a fellow oarsman and found Amenemhab's performance admirable. According to the narrative this served as a subtle spark of recognition as Amenemhab was also married to Baky; one of Amenhotep II's nursemaids. From Amenhotep II's Sphinx Stele we understand that in his youth he enjoyed rowing and often enlisted the oar aboard some ceremonial barque to demonstrate his physical attributes. Thus Amenemhab's story certainly has the ring of truth about it. Below is an excerpt from Amenhotep II's Sphinx Stele that mentions one such event.
`Untiringly strong-armed his highness took up the oar from the stern of his Falcon-boat and rowed with its crew of two hundred. Yet due to his pace after a half mile they fell weak and breathlessly slacked while his highness remained strong under his sixty foot oar, without slowing his stroke or speed. This his highness did for another three miles before he made land which upon seeing this feat the faces of his shipmates shone bright.'
Amenemhab's story continues that soon after this event he was instructed to report to the king in the royal palace. There Amenemhab tells us that Amenhotep II recalled seeing him often when he was an officer in the company of his father and thus he knew his outstanding character. Furthermore its said that when Amenhotep II saw Amenemhab at court he was a child. According to his narrative Amenemhab appears to have joined the army upon coming of age, when he was about 18 years old. Pairing the campaigns mentioned in Amenemhab's biography with those from Thuthmose III's annals we find he was recruited in this king's 30th year. This would have made Amenemhab approximately 43 years old when he met Amenhotep II as Egypt's sole ruler in the royal palace at Thebes.
His assignment as a `picked-' or `choice-warrior' and his eventual promotion as Thuthmose III's aide de camp, coupled with the rowing story suggests that even at middle age Amenemhab remained fit for service. Despite this, the narrative gives the distinct impression that Amenemhab was much older than Amenhotep II. Again the only plausible resolution is that Amenhotep II was 18 years old when he became coregent and that his year 2 campaign occurred soon after his father's death. If so Amenhotep II was born in Thuthmose III's 34th year. Therefore, according to his narrative, Amenemhab would have been about 22 years old when Amenhotep II was born. Likewise, when they meet in the palace at Thebes Amenhotep II would have been about 22 years old and Amenemhab may have been in his early to mid-40s. Given this reconstruction of events the details of Amenemhab's biography seem to also ring true.
Overall, this seems to confirm that Amenhotep II became coregent with Thutmose III in the latter's 52nd year. By extension it also implies that a coregency of more than 2 years and 4 months is essentially out of the question.
Didn't proof the initial posting and found far too many problems, so it was removed. Hope this version is more intelligible.
- As a side note according to the Dream Stele dated to Thuthmose IV's year 1, he appears to have become Amenhotep II's coregent on the 19th day of Choiak during Akhet.
I noticed the error above. This line should read: According to the Dream Stele, dated to his 1st year, Thuthmose IV appears to have become Amenhotep II's coregent either on the 19th day of Choiak during Akhet or a few weeks prior.
In order to further discuss the length of the Thuthmose III/Amenhotep II coregency and early years of the latter king it is also important to resolve the number and dating of his foreign military expeditions. As mentioned before Amenhotep II's Karnak Stele dated to his 2nd year described in some detail the young king's campaign in northern Syria. This expedition likely occurred soon after Thuthmose III's death which fanned unrest into open rebellion among Egypt's vassals both in Asia and Africa. While this monument bears an inscription made by Seth I notating the occasion of his restoration it also appears to have been commissioned and installed late in Amenhotep II's 2nd year.
At Amada in Kush Thuthmose III began a large temple dedicated to Amun and Re-Horakhty. This edifice was designed to be a physical manifestation of pharaohic mastery and the ritualistic centerpiece of Egyptian colonial policy in Kush. It seems that soon after Thuthmose III died work on it slacked. Nonetheless early in Amenhotep II's 3rd year, his 1st as sole ruler, he decided to resume and complete this long term project. Here is a commemorative stele dated to Amenhotep II's 3rd year that addresses his decision to resume his father's work at Amada and mentions in general terms what must be the Syrian campaign of year 2.
Installed not long after the return of Amenhotep II and the Egyptian army the Amada inscription describes in detail the fate of seven captured Syrian princes. Amenhotep II personally executed each and then hung the lifeless bodies of six from the gates of Thebes. The remains of the seventh, and possible ringleader, was sent far south to Napata in Kush. Here his body was hung from the walls of this colonial settlement as a warning against rebellion there.
With minor exception another stele commissioned by Amenhotep II recorded a similar series of events. This monument was found in the temple of Khnum which is situated on the Island of Elephantine. Likewise this temple was initially started by Hatshepsut during her coregency with Thuthmose III. After the latter's death Amenhotep II apparently decided to continue work on it. The aforementioned stele cites the continuation of his father's efforts there, but unlike the Amada monument this stele was dated to Amenhotep II's 4th year. Regardless, this account also appears to represent the Syrian campaign of year 2.
According to the Turra Inscription, as a high ranking officer Minmose accompanied Amenhotep II and the Egyptian army into northern Syria. He claimed that while there the king tasked him to fashion and erect a stele that commemorated Amenhotep II's recent victory overs Mitanni. Some researchers assume this monument was placed beside his father's stele, as his father Thuthmose III, had place his next to the stele of his grandfather, Thuthmose I. The reason is because Minmose was also present with Thuthmose III during his 8th Syrian campaign when the king erected his stele near Carchemish east of the Euphrates River, in his 33rd year.
Given Amenhotep II's propensity to boast its strange that is no mention of this stele in any of his own surviving inscriptions. Nonetheless, Minmose served Thuthmose III as a King's Scribe and the Supervisor of Temple Works, an office he continued to hold during the early years of Amenhotep II. After returning to Egypt he was instructed to reopen the old limestone quarry at Turra near Memphis, in Amenhotep II's 4th year.
Because the Turra inscription was date to Amenhotep II's 4th year Minmose was therefore probably writing about Amenhotep II's campaign of year 2. Furthermore the Turra mentioned that a second stele similar to the one in Mitanni had been placed in the Karoy district of Kush. Thus it is also implied that Minmose accompanied Amenhotep II while campaigning in Kush. As Minmose mentioned of a stele in Mitanni related to Amenhotep II's northern Syrian campaign of year 2 this was without doubt a reference to a campaign directed against a rebellion in Kush. This operation was only alluded to in an undated inscription written by Usersatet in Shrine 4 at Ibrim. Here Amenhotep II is present with Usersatet while the former inspected the tribute delivered after his successful military operation. As we know Amenhotep II campaigned in northern Syria in year 2, that he sent the corpse of an executed Syrian prince to Kush early in year 3 to warn against rebellion, and the Turra inscription was dated to year 4 we may conclude that Amenhotep II's campaign in Kush occurred late in year 3 or early in year 4.
The only remaining bit of dated evidence on this topic is Amenhotep II's Memphis Stele which outlines two campaigns. However I can find a copy of its text so unfortunately I can comment on it. I wonder if you have a copy you could post?