How to Make Friends and Rule the Nile Valley The pharaoh Amunhotep II (c.1430 BCE) has a reputation for cronyism. He promoted friends and confidants to positions of influence and power, seemingly on the basis of familiarity rather than merit. This contrasts sharply with his father, making Amunhotep appear to be a shift in the [...]

The Book of the Hidden Chamber (Amduat) In the mid-18th Dynasty (c.1430 BCE), pharaohs were decorating their tombs with a beautiful and intricate set of religious images. These texts/scenes comprised the Amduat ("That Which is in the Underworld"), and they told the story of Re's journey through the night-time hours. In twelve chapters, Re travelled [...]

The Architect Kha and his Book of Going Forth by Day In the days of Amunhotep II (c.1420 BCE), a royal architect named Kha commissioned a funerary text for his tomb. This text was a magnificent rendition of the Book of the Dead. To celebrate Kha's work, and the survival of his tomb, we take [...]

Amunhotep II (Part 4): Worshiping the Sphinx Before he became King, Amunhotep II made a promise to revitalize worship at the Giza necropolis. Once Pharaoh, he fulfilled that promise in spectacular fashion... Direct Download (Save As mp3) The Sphinx Temple of Amunhotep II (GizaPyramids.org) The Sphinx Temple of Amunhotep II, with limestone gateway and the [...]

Amunhotep II (Part 3): the Origins of the Exodus. 1435 BCE was a landmark year. Leading two campaigns, in regnal years seven and nine, Amunhotep II institutes a new policy of depopulating rebellious regions in Canaan, Lebanon and Syria. He strips whole communities of their families, and brings thousands back to Egypt as captives. These [...]

ANNOUNCEMENT: the History of Egypt Podcast presents "Syrian Tales," a 3-part miniseries recounting stories from Bronze Age Syria (c.2400 to 1500 BCE). These episodes are available only by donation (here), and will release on July 01st (EST). When you donate, 100% of your donation will go to the International Rescue Committee fund for aiding victims [...]

The Month of Cats and Snakes (The Religious Year 5/12). The fifth month, Ta-Abet ("the banquet offering") was a month for worshiping snakes and cats above all. In particular, the Egyptians celebrated the gods Nehebkau, Bastet, Mut and Wadjet. We meet three of these strange deities, and see why, for the Egyptians, cats and snakes went hand-in-hand [...]

Amunhotep II (Part 1): The Early Years 1459 to 1440 BCE. Amunhotep II enjoyed a privileged upbringing. He rode chariots, competed in sports activities, and even trained horses. When he ascended to power, he continued many of these habits. From the battle-field to the sports-field, Amunhotep II immediately set out to carve a distinct niche [...]

Thutmose III (Part 10): The End of Days. 1450 to 1441 BCE. Thutmose enjoyed the last nine years of his rule with a spate of activity. He commanded a final expedition; oversaw construction work at many sites; brought his tomb to completion; and made arrangements for the succession. Finally, the day came when Thutmose would face [...]