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 [...]

The Religious Year (6 + 7 / 12): Great and Small Heat The sixth and seventh months of the year were called Great and Small Heat, respectively. They were a time of mainly elite ceremonies: obscure theological performances that took place in the great temples. Among the festivities were celebrations of the gods Anubis and [...]

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 [...]

Amunhotep II (Part 2): The Pharaoh's Servant. The Vizier Rekh-mi-Re was a powerful and influential man. Serving Thutmose III, and then Amunhotep II, Rekhmire was the mayor of Thebes, and the Vizer (tjaty) of Upper Egypt. In his day, he dealt with judicial matters, administration, economics, petitions, and power politics. To his enduring credit, he [...]

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 [...]