Egypt: Tuthmosis II (Thutmose II, or Thutmosis II), Pharaoh, Hatshepsut's Husband

Tuthmosis II, Pharaoh, Hatshepsut's Husband

by Jimmy Dunn

Tuthmosis II might never have ruled Egypt but for the early death of Wadjmose and Amenmose, the eldest sons of Tuthmosis I, leaving him as the only heir. He became the fourth ruler of Egypt's 18th Dynasty. He was apparently the oldest son of Mutnefert, a minor royal queen of Tuthmosis I, who was herself the sister of Tuthmosis I's principal queen, Ahmose.

In order to strengthen his position and legitimize his rule, he was married to Hatshepsut, the oldest daughter of Tuthmosis I and Queen Ahmose. She was very possibly older then Tuthmosis II. During this period, Hatshepsut also carried the title, "God's Wife of Amun", a position she may have had even before the death of Tuthmosis I. Hatshepsut would have been both Tuthmosis II's half sister and cousin. In the light of history she became a much better known pharaoh then her husband.

Above: The mummy of Tuthmosis II

We believe that Tuthmosis II had only one son by a harem girl named Isis (or Iset). However, Tuthmosis III would have to wait to rule Egypt until after Hatshepsut death. Tuthmosis II must have realized the ambitions of his wife, because he attempted to foster the ascent of his son to the throne by naming his son as his successor before he died. But upon Tuthmosis II's death, his son was still very young, so Hatshepsut took advantage of the situation by at first naming herself as regent, and then taking on the full regalia of the pharaoh. He may have also had as many as two daughters by Hatshepsut. We are fairly sure one of them was named Neferure and another possible daughter named Neferubity.

Above: Tuthmosis II before Khunm at Semna

We know that Tuthmosis II was a physically week person, and many Egyptologists speculate that even during his rule, Hatshepsut may have been the real power behind the throne. We believe that Tuthmosis II (Born of the God Thoth) which was his birth name (called by the Greeks), ruled for about fourteen years before dying in his early thirties. However, recent scholars wish to have his rule shortened to three years. He is also sometimes called Thutmose II, or Thutmosis II and his throne name was A-kheper-en-re., which means "Great is the Form of Re". The Oxford History of Egypt places his reign from 1492-1479, while the Chronicle of the Pharaohs provides dates of 1518 to 1504. Aidan Dodson's Monarchs of the Nile gives his reign as 1491-1479 BC.

We know that he sent campaigns to Palestine and Nubia, attested to by a short inscription in the temple at Deir el-Bahari and a rock-cut stele at Sehel south of Aswan. We are told that he had to crush a revolt in Nubia in his first year and that this bought about the demise of the kingdom of Kush at Kerma. Apparently, to punish the Kushites for their rebelion, he had everyone put to death with the exception of a royal son, who was bought back to Egypt as a hostage. We are told that the Palestine campaign was against the Shosu Bedouin in the region of Nahrin. However, the term Shosu may also refer to Nubians, and some Egyptologists believe that this reference really relates to the campaign in Nubia.

We also have evidence of Tuthmosis II's building projects. Traces of a temple built by him have been found just north of the temple of Medinet Habu on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes). This small temple, known as Shespet-ankh (Chapel of Life), was finished by his son, Tuthmosis III. He also had built a pylon shaped limestone gateway in front of the Fourth Pylons forecourt at Karnak which also had to be completed by Tuthmosis III. The material from this gate and another limestone structure were later reused in the building of Karnak's Third Pylon foundation. However, the gate has since been rebuilt in Karnak's Open Air Museum. Scenes on the gate sometimes depict Tuthmosis II with Hatshepsut, and sometimes Hatshepsut alone. On one side of the gate, Tuthmosis II is shown receiving crowns, while other scenes depict his daughter, Nefrure and Hatshepsut receiving life from the gods. We also know of a building project in Nubia at Semna and Kumma, and surviving blocks from his buildings at Elephantine. A statue of Tuthmosis II was found at Elephantine that was probably commissioned by Hatshepsut.

We have not really identified either a tomb or a completed mortuary complex for Tuthmosis, though his mummy was found in a royal cache of mummies located at Deir el-Bahari.

Above: Cartouche of Tuthmosis II at Buhen


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