Egypt: Tuthmosis I, 3rd King of Egypt's 18th Dynasty

Tuthmosis I, 3rd King of Egypt's 18th Dynasty

by Jimmy Dunn

The third king of the 18th Dynasty was a commoner by birth and a military man by training. We do not know his fathers name, but his mother was Semiseneb, a rather common name during the Second Intermediate Period and the early 18th Dynasty. He had married Ahmose, who may have been a sister of Amenhotep I and daughter of Ahmose I and Queen Ahmose Nefertary (who still held the title, "God's Wife of Amun during her grandson's rule) and thus legitimized his rule. However, others have suggested that Ahmose was in fact Tuthmosis I's own sister. He may have also served as a co-regent under Amenhotep I, and was most certainly an important military commander under his predecessor.

His birth name we are told was Tuthmosis, meaning "Born of the god Thoth", though this is a Greek version. His actual Egyptian name was Djehutymes I, but he is also sometimes referred to as Thutmose I, or Thutmosis I. His thrown name was A-Kheper-ka-re (Aakheperkara). He gained the thrown at a fairly late age, and may have ruled for about six years. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt gives his reign lasting from 1504-1492 BC, while Peter Clayton indicates 1524-1518 and Monarchs of the Nile as 1503-1491.

Tuthmosis I's mother, Semiseneb

Nevertheless, he staged a series of brilliant military campaigns that were to establish Egypt's 18th Dynasty. So effective were these efforts that we believe he must have started preparations the the military operations during the last years of Amenhotep I's rule. Ahmose son of Ebana, an admiral during Tuthmosis I's reign, tells us that a campaign into Nubia where he penetrated beyond the Third Cataract was highly successful. Tuthmosis may have defeated the Nubian chief in hand to hand combat and returned to Thebes with the body of the fallen chief hanging on the prow of his ship.

His greatest campaigns were in the Delta and his battles against the Syrians as he finally reached the Euphrates River. This expedition opened new horizons that led later to Egypt's important role in he trade and diplomacy of the Late Bronze Age Near East. Tuthmosis I brought Egypt a sense of stability and his military campaigns healed the wounds of Thebians.

Tuthmosis I's Abydos Stele

We learn from his Abydos stele of his building works at Thebes. His architect, Ineni, built an extension to the temple of Amun at Karnak, adding pylons (the fourth and fifth), courts, statues and one of Egypt's largest standing Obelisks. To commemorate his victory he built a hypostyle hall made entirely of cedar wood columns. He also expanded "the Treasury" begun by his predecessor at the northeast corner of the complex. The Abydos stele also tells us that Tuthmosis I he made contributions to the temple of Osiris, including cult objects and statues. Further, he apparently did some substantial work at Giza.

His Obelisk at Karnak, with that of Hatshepsut behind

In fact, he was responsible for a number of building projects within Egypt proper, where he left indications of structures at Elephantine, Armant, Ombos (near the late 17th to early 18th Dynasty palace center at Deir el-Ballas), el-Hiba, Memphis and probably at Edfu. However, there are also a number of monuments in Upper and Lower Nubia left by Tuthmosis I and his viceroy, Turi. We believe that there are several structures that may date from his reign near Kenisa at the fourth cataract and at Napata. Traces of ruins also exist at Semna, Buhen, Aniba, Quban and Qasr Ibrim, though most of these were probably small, or additions to earlier buildings. We also find a few votive objects dedicated in his name in the Sinai at the temple of Serabit el-Khadim.

Ahmose bore him two sons named Wadjmose and Amenmose (though their parentage is a bit uncertain), but they apparently preceded their father to the grave. So it was by Mutnofret (Mutnefert), a minor queen who was the sister of his principle wife, Ahmose, that his heir, Tuthmosis II was born. However, his more famous offspring was Queen Hatshepsut, a daughter by Ahmose who would rule after her husband and brother's death. After the death of

Ahmose, he probably even took Hatshepsut as his own wife until his death. Ahmose may have also provided him with another daughter by the name of Nefrubity who is depicted with Tuthmosis I and Ahmose in the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri.

His mummy discovered in the Deir el Bahri Cache

We think that Tuthmosis I buried in two different tombs in the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes). It appears that he may have first been buried in KV 20, which may have been intended as a tomb for both him and his daughter, Hatshepsut. It contained two yellow quartzite sarcophagi, one inscribed for him and the other for his daughter, as well as a canopic chest for her. However, when KV 38 was investigated by Victor Loret in 1899, he found a sarcophagus for the king in that tomb as well. It is possible that his grandson, Tuthmosis III had his grandfather's body removed from the tomb of his despised stepmother's burial and relocated it to KV 38. However, his remains were found in the cache, with others, at Deir el Bahri.

Tuthmosis I from his Sarcophagus

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Title Author Date Publisher Reference Number
Chronicle of the Pharaohs (The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt) Clayton, Peter A. 1994 Thames and Hudson Ltd ISBN 0-500-05074-0
History of Ancient Egypt, A Grimal, Nicolas 1988 Blackwell None Stated
Monarchs of the Nile Dodson, Aidan 1995 Rubicon Press ISBN 0-948695-20-x
Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, The Shaw, Ian 2000 Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-815034-2