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Historical scarabs of Amenophis III.

The Tell el-Amarna tablets.

Marriage with Thi.

b. C. 1466

Heresy of the disk worship


first records his lion hunts; the second the coming of Thi, the daughter of an Asiatic father, to Egypt, accompanied by 317 of her women; the third the marriage of Amenophis and Thi, and the fourth the building of a large lake 3,600 cubits long by 600 cubits wide for his queen near the town of T'arucha, which the king opened on the 16th of Choiak in the eleventh year of his reign, by sailing across it in his barge called Atenneferu. The tablets inscribed in cuneiform recently found at Tell el-Amarna prove that Amenophis III. married a sister and daughter of Kallimma-Sin, king of Karaduniyash, a country probably lying to the north-east of Syria; Gilukhipa the sister of Tushratta, king of Mitani, and Sâtumkhipa daughter of Tushratta; and Thi the daughter of parents who were not royal. The country of Mitani also lay to the northeast of Syria, and we know that like Tiglath-Pileser I., king of Assyria, about B.C. 1120, Amenophis III. went thither frequently to hunt lions." The kings and governors of places as remote as Babylon promptly claimed the friendship of their new kinsman, and their letters expressing their willingness to make alliances offensive and defensive, are some of the most interesting objects of the “find" at Tell el-Amarna.

Of Amen-hetep IV., or Chu-en-aten, the son of Amenhetep III. and the Mesopotamian lady Thi, very little is known ; he built a temple at Heliopolis, another at Memphis, one at Thebes, and some in Nubia. He is famous, however, as the leader of the heresy of the “disk worshippers,” that is to say of those people who worshipped the disk of the sun,

Aten |-3, in preference to Amen-Ră, the national god of

Egypt. He showed how much he detested the god Amen, by setting aside his name Amen-hetep and adopting that of Chu-en-áten, “the brilliance of the disk.” The worship of the disk was of some antiquity, and seems to have been a monotheistic worship of Ră which originated in Heliopolis. Amenophis III. seems to have encouraged this form of religion somewhat, and it is certain that he named his barge Aten-neseru, “the most beautiful disk.” The native Egyptian

* See The Tell el-Amarna tablets in the British Museum, by Bezold and Budge, p. xviii.

priesthood disliked the foreign queen, and the sight of her
son with his protruding chin, thick lips, and other charac-
teristics of a foreign race, found no favour in their eyes; that
such a man should openly despise the worship of Amen-Ră
was a thing intolerable to them. In answer to their angry
words and acts, the king ordered the name of Amen-Ră to be
chiselled out of all the monuments, even from his father's
name. Rebellion then broke out, and Chu-en-áten left
Thebes and founded a new city for himself at a place between
Memphis and Thebes, now called Tell el-Amarna. After a few
years the queen Thi came to live there, and there Chu-en-áten
passed the rest of his life with his wife and seven daughters.
In the twelfth year of his reign he celebrated his victories
over the Syrians and Ethiopians, but it is doubtful if they
were of any importance.
After the death of Amenophis IV. there is some confusion
in Egyptian history; the immediate successors of the “heretic
king” were Se-aa-ka-Ra, Tut-ānch-Amen, Ai, of whom but
little is known. The last king of the XVIIIth dynasty
was Heru-em-heb, the Horus of Manetho, who seems to
have been a native of Het-suten, the Alabastronpolis of the
Greeks, or Tell el-Amarna. He made an expedition into
Nubia and the lands to the south of that country, and he
carried on buildings at various places, and restored temples at
Heliopolis, Memphis, Thebes and elsewhere.


Of the events which led to Rameses I. becoming sole king of Egypt nothing whatever is known. Some suppose

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that he was connected with Horus, the last king of the

XVIIIth dynasty, but there are no proofs which can be
brought forward in support of this theory. He seems to have
carried on some small war with the people of Nubia, and to
have been concerned in a treaty with the Cheta; he also built
a little at Thebes. He is famous, however, as the father of
Seti I., and grandfather of Rameses II. ; the former was
probably associated with him in the rule of the kingdom,
but how long it is not possible to say.
While Amenophis IV. was quarrelling with the priests of

War with

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Seti I. in battle. From a bas-relief at Thebes. t --

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Amen about the worship of the disk, and during the rule of
his feeble successors, the peoples of Nubia and the Shaasu
and the nations of Syria and Mesopotamia became more and
more independent, and as a result ceased to fear the arms of
Egypt, and consequently declined to pay the tribute imposed
upon them by the mighty Thothmes III. and Amenophis III.
Under the rule of Rameses I. the Egyptians were forced to
sign a treaty which fixed the limits of their country and those
of the Cheta ; hence when Seti I. ascended the throne he
found it necessary to make war against nearly every nation
that had formerly been subject to the Egyptians. From the
reliefs sculptured on the walls of the temple of Amen-Ră at
Karnak we see that he attacked the people who lived north
of Palestine, the Retennu or Syrians, the Shaasu, the Cheta,
and in returning to Egypt passed through the land of
Limanen. At the city of Chetam, on the frontier of Egypt,
he was received by the priests and nobles of Egypt, who said
to him : “Thou hast returned from the lands which thou hast
conquered, and thou hast triumphed over thy enemies. May
thy life be as long as that of the sun in heaven Thou hast
washed thy heart on the barbarians, Rä has defined thy
boundaries.” Seti then sailed up to Thebes, where he
presented his captives and booty to the gods in the temples
there. From the lists of vanquished peoples inscribed by
Seti it is found that his rule extended over Mesopotamia,
Punt or Somali land, Nubia, and the lands on the west bank
of the Nile. Cities like Kadesh on the Orontes, Tyre, Reseph,
Migdol, etc., he not only conquered, but also built fortresses in
them. During the reign of Seti the Cheta who, without,
in my opinion, the slightest evidence for the theory, have been
identified with the Hittites of the Bible, reappear in history.
Seti set up an obelisk at Kantarah, “the bridge” uniting Asia
and Africa, he built at Heliopolis, Memphis and Abydos, and
at Karnak he began several buildings, some of which were
finished by Rameses II. His name is often found in Nubia
on rocks and stelae, and he worked the gold mines there, and
sank wells in the rock to obtain water for his workmen. Seti
associated his son Rameses II. with him in the rule of the
kingdom when he was but twelve years old. According to the

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monuments Seti reigned about twenty-seven years. The
name Seti is connected with the god Set, who though at one
time worshipped by the Egyptians, was subsequently consi-
dered to be the father of all evil; in several places it is seen
that his name has been carefully chiselled out.
Rameses II., the Sesostris of the Greeks, was perhaps the
greatest king that ever ruled over Egypt. He was a man of
commanding stature, of great physical strength and personal
bravery, a great builder and a liberal patron of the science
and art of his days. Around his name has gathered a
multitude of legends, and the exploits of other warriors and
heroes who reigned hundreds of years after him have been
attributed to him. Before he came to the throne he led an
expedition into Nubia and defeated the peoples there; and
he brought back to Egypt much spoil, consisting of lions,
gazelles, panthers, ebony, ivory, gold, etc., etc. In the fifth
year of his reign he set out on a campaign against the Cheta,
which was the most important event in his life; his victory
over this foe was considered so great a triumph that an
account of it illustrated by sculptures was inscribed upon the
temples of Thebes, Kalābshi and Abu Simbel, and a poetic
description of the battle with a vivid outline of the king's
own prowess was written down by Pen-ta-urt, a temple
scribe. The Cheta were a confederation of peoples, nomad
and stationary, who first appear in the time of Thothmes III.,
to whom they paid tribute. In the time of Rameses I. they
made a treaty of friendship with the Egyptians, but in the
time of Seti I. they fought with them. The kings of the
Cheta at this period were Sapalel and his son Maru-sar;
the latter had two sons Mautenure and Cheta-sar. Mău-
tenure was king of the Cheta when Rameses II. marched
against them in his fifth year, and Cheta-sar was king when
the Cheta and the Egyptians made a new treaty in the
twenty-first year of the reign of Rameses, at which time they
seem to have reached the summit of their power. According
to an inscription which appears to be the official statement
concerning this memorable battle, Rameses II. was in the
fifth year of his reign in the land of T'ah, not far from
Kadesh on the Orontes. The outposts kept a sharp look-out,

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