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Name of Egyptian pharaohs of the 18th dynasty in ancient Egypt.
Amenhotep III Ruled circa 1455–1419 B.C. At the beginning of his reign the military might of Egypt, which had become the predominant power in the eastern Mediterranean, had reached its zenith. The realm of Amenhotep III extended from the upper reaches of the Euphrates in the north to the fourth cataract of the Nile in the south. The kings of Babylon, Cyprus, and the Mitanni paid him homage, as witnessed by the documents of the Tel-el-Amarna archive. Internal contradictions and the onslaught of the Hittites somewhat weakened the country during the last years of his reign and led to unrest in the Asian possessions. Under Amenhotep III the sumptuous temple of Amon-Ra at Luxor and his own mortuary temple with huge statues of himself—the colossi of Memnon—were built. (The Leningrad sphinxes also come from the tomb of Amenhotep III.)
Amenhotep IV (Ikhnaton). The son of Amenhotep III; ruled 1419–circa 1400 B.C. He attempted to break the power of the old aristocracy and the priesthood that was closely associated with the cult of the Theban deity Amon-Ra as well as with the local nomic cults. He prohibited the worship of Amon, confiscated the possessions of the Theban temple, and proclaimed the new state cult of the god Aton. He made the new city of Akhetaton, the contemporary site of El-Amarna, the new capital of the state. The pharaoh took the name of Ikhnaton, meaning “useful to Aton.” Under Amenhotep IV the local temples became desolate. Sumptuous temples were built in honor of Aton, and a new priesthood, devoted to the reformer pharaoh, made its appearance. Under Amenhotep IV, Egypt began to lose its dominion over Syria and Palestine. Some Syrian princes attempted to obtain the support of the Hittites for the struggle against Egypt. The incursions of the nomadic tribes of the Habiru into the Asian domains of Egypt further complicated the situation. The circumstances of Amenhotep IV’s death are unknown. The series of official records with his name comes abruptly to an end in 1402; subsequent years of reign are probably ascribed to him by mistake.
REFERENCESMat’e, M. E. Vo vremena Nefertiti. [Leningrad-Moscow, 1965.] Perepelkin, Iu. Ia. Perevorot Amen-khotpa IV. Moscow, 1967.
I. A. STUCHEVSKII