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wife reigned in his stead. This queen was one of the most capable women who ever reigned in Egypt; she is famous as the builder' of the beautiful temple at Dér el-Bahari, and for the remarkable expedition to Punt planned by her and carried out in the ninth year of her reign. Ships were made ready and sailors collected ; a multitude of gifts were stowed in each ship, and the necessary guard of soldiers for each told off; a number of Egyptian ladies and high officials prepared to accompany the expedition, and the direction of the whole was put into the hands of the queen's most beloved servant. The inhabitants of Punt received the expedition in a very friendly manner, and having loaded the servants of Hātshepset with rich gifts of gold, ivory, balsam, precious stones, plants, trees, ebony, apes, greyhounds, etc., etc., sent them back to Egypt. When these things had been safely brought back to Thebes, Hātshepset received them with joy, and dedicated the greater part of them as an offering to her father Ainen-Ră. In the sixteenth year of her reign Thothmes III. became associated with her in her rule over Egypt. At Karnak she set up two magnificent granite obelisks in memory of her father Thothmes I. According to an inscription on the base of the one still standing, the granite for it was hewn out of the quarry in Aswän, and was brought to Thebes, and was polished and inscribed and set up within seven months. The height of this obelisk is 105 feet, and if the weight be taken into consideration, and the difficult site, among a crowd of buildings, upon which it was to be set up, it will be easy to judge of the resources and skill of the Egyptian architect and mason of that period. Of the end of Hätshepset nothing is known. During her lifetime she wore male attire, and put on the robes and ornaments which belonged to kings only. In the inscriptions she is always described as king “of the North and South, Maāt-ka-Ră, son of the Sun, Hätshepset,” and the verbs and pronouns relating to her are masculine. After her death her brother Thothmes III. caused as many traces of her rule as possible to disappear.
* The statue of her architect Sen-mut is preserved at Berlin.
Thothmes III. was one of the mightiest kings who occupied the throne of Egypt, and during his long reign of fifty-three years' he carried the arms of Egypt to the uttermost parts of the world as known to the Egyptians, and showed himself to be a wise and great king. While Hātshepset was amusing herself with her expedition to Punt and the building of her temple at Dér el-Bahari, the desert tribes on her eastern and western borders were making preparations ready to revolt, and they showed their contempt for the authority of Egypt by refusing to pay tribute. The Mesopotamians, over whom the power of Egypt must ever have been of a shadowy nature, boldly declared themselves free, and their neighbours and kinsmen living in Syria and in the districts to the north and north-east of Damascus followed their example. The conquests made by Amāsis I. and Amenhetep I. were all forgotten, and Thothmes III. had practically to reconquer the world. In his twenty-second year he set out from Tanis, and passing through the desert of Sinai he marched to Gaza, a city which had remained faithful to his authority. A few days later he set out for Megiddo, which he found to be occupied by the governor of Kadesh, who had made a league with all the tribes living between the Mediterranean and Nineveh. Sixteen days after Thothmes left Gaza he engaged the enemy, who seeing that the Egyptian king himself was fighting against them, lost all heart, and leaping down from their chariots, decorated with gold and silver, fled to Megiddo, throwing away their arms as they went. As the gates of this town had been shut by those inside, the fugitives had to be pulled up over the walls. The number of the enemy slain by the Egyptians was enormous, and Megiddo was taken with little difficulty. The chiefs of the allied peoples seeing that their league was destroyed, and that Megiddo was in the hands of the enemy, immediately brought offerings of gold, precious stones, horses, corn, oxen, etc., etc., and submitted to Thothmes. The news of the defeat of the league reached the remote parts of Mesopotamia, and their governors, in due time, also sent gifts of
* This number includes the years which he reigned conjointly with his sister; he reigned alone thirty-one years.
propitiation to the king. The names of the places conquered by Thothmes were inscribed by his orders on some of the pylons at Karnak; of the 360 places there mentioned, comparatively few can be identified with Biblical sites with any certainty. For the next few years the Retennu or Syrians and the Babylonians brought their appointed tribute regularly, and to make the relations between himself and the former nation of an amicable character, Thothmes married a princess of their country. In the twenty-ninth and thirtieth years of his reign he marched again to Syria and captured Tunep, Aradus, Carchemish and Kadesh on the Orontes. The remaining years of his life he employed in making expeditions against the Retennu and the Mesopotamians, into whose country he marched as far as Ni. The tribes of Ethiopia and Sinai sent him valuable gifts, which are duly enumerated in the inscriptions containing the annals of this king. A good idea of the different objects of the tribute sent from the various countries may be obtained from the paintings on the tomb of Rech-mâ-Ră at Thebes, where we see depicted horses and chariots, collars of gold, vases weighing 2,821 pounds of gold, tables of cedar, plants, ivory, ebony, corn, cattle, copper, lapis-lazuli, silver, iron, wine, etc., etc. On the south the Egyptian empire reached to the southern confines of Nubia, on the north-east to Lake Van, on the east to the Tigris, and on the west to the great desert on the left bank of the Nile. Notwithstanding the warlike activity of Thothmes III., he was able to carry on great buildings at Heliopolis, Memphis, Thebes, Elephantine and nearly every town in Nubia. Four of the obelisks set up by Thothmes have come down to us: one is now near the Lateran at Rome, one at Constantinople, one in London, and one in New York. Amen-hetep II. had been associated with Thothmes III. in the rule of the kingdom, and immediately he began to reign alone he found himself plunged in wars with the tributary peoples, who on the death of Thothmes III. declared themselves free. He marched into Mesopotamia and captured Ni and Akati; he made war on the Shaasu and the Nubians, and defeated both peoples.
Thothmes IV. maintained the authority of Egypt from
Conquest of Nubia
Mesopotamia to the borders of Nubia, but he is better known as the repairer of the Sphinx at Gizeh. In the first year of his reign he removed the sand which had covered up the monument, in consequence of an after-dinner sleep in which Harmachis appeared to him and promised to bestow upon him the crown of Egypt if he would dig his image, i.e., the Sphinx, out of the sand. Thothmes set up between the paws of the Sphinx a tablet about fourteen feet high, in which he inscribed an account of this vision and a statement of the works which he carried out at Heliopolis and Memphis.
In Amen-hetep III., or Amenophis, the Memnon of the Greeks, the successor of Thothmes IV., Egypt gained a king having some of the ability and energy of Thothmes III. In the fifth year of his reign he marched into Nubia to quell a mighty rebellion which had broken out against the Egyptian rule among a number of confederate tribes. He also held the Mesopotamians in subjection, for we learn from large scarabs inscribed during his reign that his empire extended from Neherna, or Mesopotamia, to Karei, or the land south of Nubia. From these same scarabs we learn that Amenophis was a “mighty hunter,” and that during the first ten years of his reign he slew Io2 lions with his own hand. He built the oldest part of the Serapeum at Sakkārah, a temple to Amen-Ră at Karnak, a larger temple to the same god at Luxor, with an avenue of Sphinxes leading to it, and the temple of Mut to the south of Karnak. On the western bank of the river he built a large temple, the dedication of which was described on a stele found behind the Colossi, which also were set up by this king. These wonderful statues were about 60 feet high, and from that on the north, called the Colossus of Memnon, a sound was said to issue each morning when the sun rose. The upper part of it was thrown down by an earthquake, it is said, about B.C. 27; the damage was partially repaired during the reign of Septimius Severus, about A.D. 16o who restored the head and shoulders of the figure by adding to it five layers of stone; but after that Memnon's Colossus spake no more. At El-Kab, Aswān, and Soleb Amenophis III. also built temples. Four important events in the life and reign of this king are recorded by large steatite scarabs. The