Amenemhat III

Amenemhat III

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Amenemhat III, also spelled Amenemhet III was a pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 of the Twelfth Dynasty
Twelfth dynasty of Egypt
The twelfth dynasty of ancient Egypt is often combined with Dynasties XI, XIII and XIV under the group title Middle Kingdom.-Rulers:Known rulers of the twelfth dynasty are as follows :...

 of Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

. He ruled from c.1860 BC to c.1814 BC, the latest known date being found in a papyrus
Papyrus
Papyrus is a thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge that was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt....

 dated to Regnal Year 46, I Akhet 22 of his rule. He is regarded as the greatest monarch of the Middle Kingdom
Middle Kingdom of Egypt
The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is the period in the history of ancient Egypt stretching from the establishment of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Fourteenth Dynasty, between 2055 BC and 1650 BC, although some writers include the Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties in the Second Intermediate...

. He may have had a long coregency (of 20 years) with his father, Senusret III
Senusret III
Khakhaure Senusret III was a pharaoh of Egypt. He ruled from 1878 BC to 1839 BC, and was the fifth monarch of the Twelfth Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom. Among his achievements was the building of the Sisostris Canal...

.

Towards the end of his reign he instituted a coregency with his successor Amenemhet IV, as recorded in a now damaged rock inscription at Konosso in Nubia, which equates Year 1 of Amenemhet IV to either Year 46, 47 or 48 of his reign. His daughter, Sobekneferu
Sobekneferu
Sobekneferu was an Egyptian pharaoh of the twelfth dynasty. Her name meant "the beauty of Sobek." She was the daughter of Pharaoh Amenemhat III. Manetho states she also was the sister of Amenemhat IV, but this claim is unproven. Sobekneferu had an older sister named Nefruptah who may have been...

, later succeeded Amenemhat IV, as the last ruler of the 12th Dynasty. Amenemhat III's throne name, Nimaatre, means "Belonging to the Justice of Re."

He built his first pyramid
Pyramid
A pyramid is a structure whose outer surfaces are triangular and converge at a single point. The base of a pyramid can be trilateral, quadrilateral, or any polygon shape, meaning that a pyramid has at least three triangular surfaces...

 at Dahshur
Dahshur
Dahshur , is a royal necropolis located in the desert on the west bank of the Nile approximately 40 kilometres south of Cairo...

 (the so-called "Black Pyramid
Black Pyramid
King Amenemhat III built the Black pyramid during the Middle Kingdom of Egypt . It is one of the five remaining pyramids of the original eleven pyramids at Dahshur in Egypt. Originally named Amenemhet is Mighty, the pyramid earned the name the Black pyramid for its dark, decaying appearance as a...

") but there were construction problems and this was abandoned. Around Year 15 of his reign the king decided to build a new pyramid at Hawara
Hawara
Hawara is an archaeological site of Ancient Egypt, south of the site of Crocodilopolis at the entrance to the depression of the Fayyum oasis. The first excavations at the site were made by Karl Lepsius, in 1843...

 The pyramid at Dahshur was used as burial ground for several royal women.

His mortuary temple at Hawara
Hawara
Hawara is an archaeological site of Ancient Egypt, south of the site of Crocodilopolis at the entrance to the depression of the Fayyum oasis. The first excavations at the site were made by Karl Lepsius, in 1843...

 (near the Fayum), is accompanied by a pyramid
Egyptian pyramids
The Egyptian pyramids are ancient pyramid-shaped masonry structures located in Egypt.There are 138 pyramids discovered in Egypt as of 2008. Most were built as tombs for the country's Pharaohs and their consorts during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods.The earliest known Egyptian pyramids are found...

 and may have been known to Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 and Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian who flourished between 60 and 30 BC. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily . With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus' life and doings beyond what is to be found in his own work, Bibliotheca...

 as the "Labyrinth
Labyrinth
In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos...

". Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 praised it as a wonder of the world. The king's pyramid at Hawara contained some of the most complex security features of any found in Egypt and is perhaps the only one to come close to the sort of tricks Hollywood associates with such structures. Nevertheless, the king's burial was robbed in antiquity. His daughter, Neferuptah, was buried in a separate pyramid (discovered in 1956) 2 km southwest of the king's. The pyramidion
Pyramidion
A pyramidion is the uppermost piece or capstone of an Egyptian pyramid in archaeological parlance. They were called benbenet in the Ancient Egyptian language, which associated the pyramid as a whole with the sacred benben stone...

 of Amenemhet III's pyramid tomb was found toppled from the peak of its structure and preserved relatively intact; it is today located in the Egyptian Cairo Museum.

The vizier Kheti
Kheti (vizier)
Kheti was an Ancient Egyptian vizier of the Twelfth Dynasty under king Amenemhet III, around 1800 BC. Kheti is known from a papyrus fragment dated to year 29 of that king. He is the only vizier who can be specifically dated to the rule of Amenemhat III...

 held this office around year 29 of king Amenemhet III's reign. The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus
Rhind Mathematical Papyrus
The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus , is named after Alexander Henry Rhind, a Scottish antiquarian, who purchased the papyrus in 1858 in Luxor, Egypt; it was apparently found during illegal excavations in or near the Ramesseum. It dates to around 1650 BC...

 is thought to have been originally composed during Amenemhat's time. The monuments of Amenemhat III are fairly numerous and of excellent quality. This includes a small, but well decorated, temple of Medinet Maadi in the Faiyum which he and his father dedicated to the harvest goddess Renenutet
Renenutet
In Egyptian mythology, Renenutet was the anthropomorphic deification of the act of gaining a true name, an aspect of the soul, during birth. Her name simply meaning, gives Ren, with Ren being the Egyptian word for this true name...

.
Other names:
  • Ammenemes
  • Lamares, Ameres (According to Manetho
    Manetho
    Manetho was an Egyptian historian and priest from Sebennytos who lived during the Ptolemaic era, approximately during the 3rd century BC. Manetho wrote the Aegyptiaca...

    )
  • Moeris

Further reading

  • W. Grajetzki, The Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt: History, Archaeology and Society, Duckworth, London 2006 ISBN 0-7156-3435-6, 58-61

External links