Ancient Egypt - Pharaoh Tuthmosis I

Updated: Nov 5


Amenhotep I was not succeeded by a son, but instead by a military man, Tuthmosis I. This is usually a break in dynasty, however, Tuthmosis I was most likely a co-regent during the last years of Amenhotep's reign. Tuthmosis I also married the princess, Ahmose Meritamun II, who was the daughter of Ahmose I and Queen Nefertari. Since ancient Egypt was a matrilineal society, he had married into the royal blood line.


Upon Tuthmosis I's coronation, he led the greatest Nubian Campaign all the way to the Fourth Cataract when Nubia revolted. With him on this journey was Ahmose, son of Ebana. In Nubia, Tuthmosis I conquered two tribes and the Bedouins, which the Egyptians called the 'sand dwellers'. Tuthmosis I personally traveled up the Nile and killed the Nubian king. Upon victory, he had the Nubian king's body hung from the prow of his ship before returning to Thebes. Again, Egypt's centralized government prevailed over tribal Nubia. Nubia did not become centralized until about the 25th Dynasty.



As a result, Egypt never had any real trouble conquering them. Nubians were very skilled as bowmen, and were used in the Egyptian army as mercenaries shortly after this time. Tuthmosis I also conducted a Syrian campaign where he crossed the Euphrates River. This was the first major river which the Egyptians had encountered that flowed from North to South, and they found it very strange. During this campaign, the Syrian princes declared allegiance to Tuthmosis I. But after he

returned to Egypt, they discontinued tribute and began fortifying against future incursions.


Tuthmosis I organized great building projects during his reign. His greatest project was at the Temple of Karnak, which was under the supervision of his architect Ineni. Previous to Tuthmosis I, Karnak probably only consisted of a long road to a central platform with a number of solar shrines along the road. He was the first Pharaoh to drastically enlarge the temple. He also erected two obelisks at the Temple of Karnak.


Tomb (KV38)

Tuthmosis I was also the first Pharaoh to be definitely buried in the Valley of the Kings. Ineni was commissioned to dig his tomb (KV38). Ineni, on the walls of his own tomb, talks about building the first tomb in the Valley of the Kings:


'I inspected the excavation of the cliff tomb of his Majesty... alone.

No one seeing, no one hearing. It was a work of my heart. My virtue

was wisdom. There was not given to me a command by an elder.'


This means he did this by his own authority, most likely coming up with the idea himself. He continues:


'I shall be praised because of my wisdom after years by those who shall

imitate what I have done.'


The pharaohs up to this point had tried to hide their tomb entrances. Noting that every tomb had been eventually robbed during the First Intermediate Period, and now during the Second Intermediate Period, they realized it was futile and began to hide their actual tomb. Remember that Amenhotep I was the first Pharaoh to separate his mortuary temple from his tomb. Now, with Ineni's innovative idea to construct these tombs in the Valley, tomb secrecy would be the main focus throughout the remainder of the New Kingdom.


The plan of the tomb was simple, consisting of a steep corridor (B) which opened into a small, unevenly cut chamber (C). A steep descent (C) led down from the center of this chamber to the burial chamber (J), which was provided with a single side chamber (Ja) off its left (south) wall. The tomb was poorly cut, and water penetration has further contributed to the tomb's rough appearance. Only in the burial chamber were there traces of decoration.



Tuthmosis I's mummy was discovered in an 1881 mummy cache at Deir el-Bahari. This cache revealed many of the mummies of the New Kingdom which had been saved during the later 21st Dynasty. As I've mentioned before, the Egyptians generally lived on the east side of the Nile and constructed their tombs on the west. The Egyptians associated the west with the dead because the sun died in the west everyday.


The Valley of the Kings is located on the west-bank of the Nile, directly across from the Temple of Karnak at Thebes. In looking for a place to construct a secret tomb, Ineni chose the most barren, inhospitable location. Nothing grows in the Valley. The humidity is also usually about 18, a number not normally used to rate humidity. Its a very dry place. A virtue of this spot is that it only has one passageway, one entrance into the Valley so it is easily guarded. Another reason for picking the

area was the natural pyramid, located at the top of the cliffs, which are about 100 feet high. Ineni was also commissioned to build Tuthmosis I's mortuary temple. This temple has not been found, most likely because it was incorporated or destroyed by Hatshepsut's mortuary temple.

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