His Royal Mouseness King Thutmosis III

The first shock in the history of the New Kingdom, right after the victory over the Hyksos and stabilization of the new administratory system, was the Thutmosides' struggle for power. This frightening and complicated period was dominated by three charismatic persons, fighting  for the power, the throne and the crowns.

The hated rule of Hyksos was defeated by Kamose Wadjkheperre, and his younger brother Ahmose. The disabled and ruined structure of administration system was restored in a more adequate form by Ahmose and his successor Amenophis. King Thutmosis I ensured the power and reputation of the Two Lands with great war campaigns. This strong handed ruler reached to the Euphrates and extended his power far down to south. After his sudden death he left a vacuum in the power behind him - the First Royal Wife had a daughter only, and another of his wives had an ill-healthed and weak son. Those years passed by long ago, when the beautiful Nitokris and Sobeknoferure, who balanced between her husband and son, ruled the countries, and even the mere thought of a woman wearing the Double Crown made many people to resist firmly. Altogether the clerical struggles and the contest between the temples found good soil in the arguments on succession.

Around 1481 BC Thutmosis II seized the reign, but the ill ruler couldn't hold it for a long time. After two years he died, and his successor was Thutmosis III, son of Iset, a concubine of the King. The prince was too young to fulfil his role, and his aunt and wife Hatshepsut had the power, first as a regent ("repat"), then as associate ruler. This beautiful and intelligent woman, the greatest queen of Egypt, didn't have only the power but the hang of it - and by 1473 BC she took the crown from her nephew, as the third queen of Egypt she seized the power. She was helped by an advisor of outstanding qualities, Senenmut. Her reign was the time of wisdom and sobriety, and kept the order of Maat on the Two Lands. This was a real problem for Thutmosis III who grown up and wanted his throne and countries back. Altogether he had Senenmut as a plague, since the brilliant and intelligent, agile man had important positions in the court. Within his many titles he was the tutor of princess Noferure, the daughter of the Queen, and some of their portraits suggest that he was even her father (see the picture at the side) - he had must been a hard bite for the young prince. After his long time of being neglected, Thutmosis seized the reign around 1473, when Queen Hatshepsut died - no one knows the reasons. It is useful to know that Senenmut was disappeared from the court. (His story is untold, too. He left two tombs, both empty and unused.) There is no sign of the Queen's forced death...

After Hatshepsut has died Thutmosis III had got the permission to print money. His first action was to erase Hatshepsut out from the history and disable her both in the present and the afterlife. He ordered to carve out her cartouches, break her statues, and he usurped her monuments. One could call a miracle that some fragments remained. The yet idled and neglected armies had the pleasure to participate in the king's campaigns to resurrect the conquers of Thutmosis I, because the Queen (showing great wisdom and temperance) let them. He camped at the shores of the Reversed River, and led his men far beyond the fourth cataract. (In his time Egypt reached its greatest territory.) But his forced victories killed the one third of the people of the Two Lands, consumed up the treasures and other resources of the countries, and settled foreign captives to replace the missing working hands. The race of glory and fame earned the title "Napoleon of the Ancient Times" - in the meantime his work inducted the slow and long fall of the culture and nation. (NB: Egypt was the first state, despite all of division, where a kind of 'nation' formed, by the modern means.) Thutmosis's forced wars lacked every circumspection, and did not consider the real needs of the Two Lands. What kind of ruler can treat his own empire this way?

The Egyptian art has the point to form the reality of afterlife instead of modelling the present. This art of strict rules portraits the rulers by the ideals. Faces show a great degree of likeness, but the personality appears at its best, most ideal, perfect and divine qualities. Beside all of these limits, statues of Thutmosis III tell us a lot of things.

Fragment of Hatshepsut's statue - © Egyptian Museum, Cairo
A fragment of a statue of Queen Hatshepsut
Senenmut's block statue - © Egyptian Museum, Cairo

Senenmut's block statue, holding princess Noferure in his arms. The chin over the head has the symbolic meaning 'she is my child who is under my protection' - Maybe he was the father?

Deir el Bahri, Hatshepsut's mortuary temple - © 1995 Born 2B Wide

Hatshepsut's mortuary temple at Deir el Bahri.This unique example of Egyptian architecture was designed by Senenmut, and built around 1460 BC

This is one of the finest statues of Thutmosis III, on the picture. This statue of basalt is kept in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Perhaps it has the actual size, it is about five feet tall - corresponding the ancient Egyptian average. It has nicely formed muscular structure, counterpointed by a face which has a hint of discord. It is not disturbing, but proves that the statue is strongly idealized. His benevolent look and nice smile are overruled by his strong nose, but his chin is definitely small. Since the statue had to resemble, these characters could not be changed.

Thutmosis got orphan rather early and his puberty shadowed by his firm and dominating aunt. He was the one of the power, but was not the one in the charge. It must effected his personality, too. Also being a characteristic person, he had his aunt oppressive - we know lots of instances from our own time, too. If we take off the mask of the ideal, we can spot the small chin, and the small ears, unusual in the Egyptian arts. Even his look is familiar: the slightly short-sighted looks this way - these marks give his look a certain mouselikeness (that's why we playing our ... er... not-really-respectful plays). His well-formed nose (according to an ancient Roman saying: ad nosam conoscitur verga, what can mean one can recognize the rod after the nose) is typical for the great natured people. Under Hatshepsut's oppression and his own desires' pressure, Thutmosis developed inferiority complex - compensated with aggressiveness. His suppressed grieves and tendency of aggression supposedly made him anxious with the females - as a king or member of the royal family he could get anything he wanted but could not enjoy the benefits. That is why he tried to prove his values at the battlefields, and why he did it accurate and well.

This characteristic profile and his aunt's political success make us understand his rage against Hatshepsut's bare memory and the will of erase her out of the worlds. And he nearly achieved his goals: those king lists which accurately counts the hated Persian and Hyksos kings, knows nothing about the greatest queen's rule. The marvellous temple build by Senenmut represented the glory of Thutmosis III, the most of pink granite sphinxes of the alley to the temple, and the other statues of Hatshepsut were thrown to the quarry used as junkyard, intentionally broken to pieces.

But His Royal Mouseness King Thutmosis III, pharaoh of Upper and Lower Egypt, exploited his own countries and people, marched into the history as the greatest conqueror of Egypt. If it gave him the satisfaction or not, this is the secret of his own.

Basalt statue of Thutmosis III - © Egyptian  Museum, Cairo

The face of the basalt statue of Thutmosis III. The main characters tell lots of things about His Royal Mouseness, despite the idealized portrayal.

 

Thutmosis III offers fragrances - © Egyptian Museum, Cairo

Thutmosis III offers fragrances. By the soft face I cannot withstand to think this statue as usurped from Hatshepsut. The queen liked her representations to wear male vest or showing her male, to express her legitimacy to the throne.

"Three times woe for the nation, which has a king who has been born to be a great warrior."

(Zsuzsa Ghyczy-Dráveczky: Woman on the Throne of the Pharaohs - Born's attempt of translation)

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Remark: certainly this train of thoughts is a personal opinion, not an analysis of scientific intentions. Everybody has the right of think it different, argue or accept it. If you have your well established argue, we are encourage you to share it with us. Just send us a mail!

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