Thutmose III


Thutmose III was the son of Thutmose II. He became king as a small boy when his father died. His stepmother Hatshepsut became regent, but in a few years decided to take over fully as pharaoh. She died when he was a young adult, and he took place as pharaoh on his own.


He is famous for a few reasons. He is sometimes called the 'Napoleon of Egypt' for the successful series of campaigns he led to conquer parts of the Middle East (now Israel, Lebanon and Syria). Immediately after becoming pharaoh he set off on the first of 17 campaigns. His most famous battle, at Megiddo, is recorded on the walls of Karnak. He is shown smiting a group of enemies while seizing them by the hair.


About 20 years after Hatshepsut's death, Thutmose began another campaign, to destroy her memory. He walled up her obelisks, smashed up her statues, and had her name and images carefully chiselled out of temple walls. He even took his grandfather Thutmose I's mummy out of the tomb he shared with her and placed it in a new tomb.


There are different ideas about why he did this. One is that he was angry, and sought revenge for her taking the kingship away from him. However it is unlikely anger was the cause since he waited 20 years to carry out his destruction of her name.


Perhaps he wanted Egypt to forget that there had ever been a female pharaoh. While this was not illegal, it was almost unheard of. As the son of the god Amun, or Ra, and as the incarnation of  Horus, the king was supposed to be male. A female pharaoh was a threat to maat, the Egyptian idea of the correct order of things.


Thutmose III is also known for the numerous temples and other structures he built. He built his own temple next to Hatshepsut's in Deir El-Bahri (which again suggests he did not hate her). He also built a large new section of Karnak temple, called his Festival Hall.


Thutmose III was buried in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings, now known as KV34. His name means 'born of the god Thoth' and should be pronounced something more like Djehutymes. His throne name, which you can see on the belt in the statue right, is Menkheperre, which means 'the lasting form of Re'.