Many of the monuments standing in Egypt today date from the Negro Eighteenth Egyptian Dynasty. There were many great rulers from this period, but Amenhotep III was particularly distinguished. Ascending the throne in 1538 BC, Amenhotep III ruled until 1501 BC. During his early years on the throne, the dominant influences came from his mother, Mutemwia. Later, he elevated Tiye to the position of Great Royal Wife. She became the real centre of power in later years as illness made Amenhotep III more and more dependent on her. Tiye built alliances by arranging diplomatic marriages. She also bought off Asian peoples through the gift giving of gold. In return the Asians sold lapis lazuli and cedar wood. A period of much prosperity and stability, this allowed for the construction of monuments. Amenhotep III commissioned a brilliant new temple in the city of Luxor containing hundreds of statues of Amen-Ra and himself. The Colossi of Memnon stood in front of his great temple at Waset. They were 65 feet high and an awesome 720 tons each. During this prosperity, members of the administrative and ruling class shared in the wealth of the land. They had great statues built of themselves and many could afford luxurious tombs. Overlooking the Nile from the West Bank, these private tombs were carved into the hills. A high official under Amenhotep II owned one of these tombs. It had three chapels decorated with coloured paintings showing daily life activities. In Nubia, Amenhotep III built the temples of Soleb and Sedeinga.
This period was indeed a Golden Age. Goods entered Egypt from Asia Minor, Crete, Cyprus, and elsewhere in Africa paid for by Egyptian grain, papyrus, linen and leather. From Asia Minor came coniferous woods. From Syria came oils, resins, weapons of metal, and wine. From Crete came vases. From Cyprus came copper. From the Aegean came silver. From Nubia, and the lands to the south, came ebony, elephant ivory, gums, leopard and panther skins, ostrich plumes and eggs, resins, and a variety of animals. Caravan trails of donkeys, mules and asses carried goods to and from Egypt, the Western Desert, and the Isthmus of Suez. Goods changed hands with the payment of silver, gold, grain or copper. One unit or deben (9.1 grams) of gold, equalled two units of silver, equalled two hundred units of copper or two hundred bushels of grain.
|All of this information is extracted from When We Ruled. To find out more about this book CLICK HERE |