Amenhotep III was an Egyptian pharaoh who ruled after Thutmose II (he was his great-grandson actually). I choose him to write my blog post about because he had a very interesting and much more successful kingship than many of the other pharaohs of the time. He reigned for just under forty years and, during his reign, Egypt was at the height of its glory.
Amenhotep definitely did not live a humble lifestyle. His palace, placed at Thebes, was known as the most opulent in the entire ancient world. He also spent much of his riches towards the building of giant statues and temples in his and the gods honor. Amenhotep’s wealth came from the vast trade coming to and from Egypt along with their plentiful gold mines. With this vast excess of money, Amenhotep dedicated much of his money towards the patronage of the arts, which allowed this to flourish.
At the beginning of his reign, Amenhotep was a very active king. He enjoyed social events, fishing, hunting, and sport. Soon after becoming king, he also squashed a Nubian rebellion, though after this, he never again had need for military action. He was a pharaoh who preferred to deal with issues peacefully and never seemed to have many conflicts arise.
Amenhotep was not someone who lived by standard rules however. He married a commoner actually. All indications show that not only did he do this, but he actually married for love. While he had a harem of much higher born women, his first wife was a commoner which was practically unheard of. He even built her a giant lake on which they could sail on together and would annually celebrate festivals on. Together, they had six children – one of which is actually given credit for beginning the tradition of sacrificing and mummifying the Apis bull.
Many of the great works dedicated by Amenhotep, however, were attributed to Rameses II at first because he simply removed Amenhotep’s name from the great works when he came into power and replaced it with his own. He also destroyed Amenhotep’s beautiful mortuary temple by using it as a quarry for his own temple. Only the two statues at the entrance still survive. Luckily, many of Amenhotep’s achievements still stand today. One of his most famous monuments is the Temple of Luxor on the Nile.