1 Redating the Early 18 th Dynasty By Ian Onvlee, 4 August 2013, Netherlands Introduction This article is an excerpt from one of my upcoming book-series, concerning the redating of ancient Egypt according to the best academic knowledge of today. In these series I debunk the unsubstantiated claims of the currently popular Low Chronology since Albright. Apart from traditional evidence, updated with the latest archaeological surveys and stratigraphy, I also introduce completely new dating methods, allowing for all ancient Egyptian kings to be dated to the year exact, a feat which no Egyptologist has so far been able to perform on a solid basis. In this introduction to the Early 18 th Dynasty I will explain only what the reader should minimally know about my methods and preliminary research in order to be able to follow this article. I discovered that the only dating system that works throughout the entire Pharaonic Era is the High Chronology. In the High Chronology all ancient Egyptian observations of Sothis, i.e. the heliacal risings of the star Sirius, occurred at Memphis. There are no exceptions to this rule. In contrast to the belief system of proponents of any lower chronology, the Sothis was never observed at Thebes and never at Elephantine or Assuan either, since at least 3600 BC. Unlike in our modern society, Sothis was for ancient Egypt not just an object in the sky which could be observed anywhere in the world. Sothis (Egyptian Spdt) was a local goddess of Memphis, like the goddesses Bubastis of Bubastis, Neith of Sais, Wadjet of Buto, Nekhbeth of Nekheb, and others. None of these goddesses ever moved to elsewhere, a fact completely ignored by the proponents of Sothis at Thebes or at Elephantine. These modern theories are alien to Ancient Egypt. Sothis was as much religiously tied to Memphis as YHWH to Jerusalem and Allah to Mecca, regardless of the location of the secular rulers. This is the basic rule of all religions, especially ancient ones. There is sufficient evidence that Sothis was observed at Memphis, and none at Thebes or elsewhere. The district of Memphis was regarded by all Egyptians as preserved for the gods and is the only place in Egypt where the Sothis rose every 1461 Egyptian Years in accord with the Egyptian Civil Calendar. The High Chronology is the only system which synchronizes with modern radiocarbon dates, overwhelmingly confirming Sothis observations at Memphis and the High Chronology of Mesopotamia as proposed by Hubbert according to the Venus-tablets. This complete synchronism between the various independent disciplines throughout the Ancient World debunks once and for all the Middle and Low Chronologies. Once this became crystal clear to me, it made me discover two new dating methods. These are (1) The Apis Cycle System; and (2) The Lunar Accession Dating (LAD) method. Both methods integrate with the High Chronology without a single flaw or internal conflict. The Lunar Accession Dating method confirms that every single Egyptian king of the Middle and New kingdoms chose to accede during a lunation and allows for an amazing precision to the day and year exact and even works for dating the kings of the Early and Old Kingdoms.
Now how are we ever going to work with such a complete mess of uncertain data, other than
pick and choose as is usually done by Egyptologists? Many Egyptologists therefore simply revert to minimalism, also known as ”dead reckoning”. Others take a few anchor dates, and fill in the
rest by conjecture. It all remains pure guesswork. It became one of my goals to get rid of this
totally unstable dating system once and for all.
I discovered a consistent pattern, first vaguely in the Early and Old Kingdoms and later more
clearly in the 12th and 13th Dynasties and all the more clearly in the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties. It all boiled down to the notion that all Egyptian kings chose their accession date to
occur on a lunation, mostly a Full Moon and sometimes a No Moon, a First Visible Evening
Crescent or a pure Conjunction. I call this discovery the Lunar Dating (LAD) method. It is this
method which comes to the rescue! According to my analyses of known accession dates, the best
solution comes with the High Chronology, in contrast to all possible lower chonologies I have tested with or without coregencies. This discovery gives the following secured structure, covering
a round period of 165 Egyptian years:
Absolute dating of the early 18th Dynasty according to the LAD method: 18th Dynasty King Accession date Julian date Lunation reign length
1. Amosis I II Shemu 9 (inferred) 27 June 1578 BC First Visible 25 y. (21y 1m sole)
2. Amenhotep I III Shemu 9 27 July 1557 BC 18th day Visible 25 (21 sole) years
3. Thuthmosis I III Peret 21 29 March 1532 BC No Moon 13 years 6 months
4. Thuthmosis II II Akhet 8 14 October 1519 BC Full Moon 14 years 7 months
Subtotal combined 26975 days, in terms of Egyptian years, months and days: 73 y. 11 m. 0 d.
5. Hatshepsut (co-reigning with Thuthmosis III, and discussed later)
6. Thuthmosis III I Shemu 4 4 May 1504 BC Full Moon 54 y. (51y 6m sole)
7. Amenhotep II IV Akhet 1 19 November 1453 Conjunction 29 (26 sole) y. 2 m.
8. Thuthmosis IV ? (I Peret 30?) (11 January) 1423 (Full Moon) 10 years 3 months
Total combined 60212 days, in terms of Egyptian years, months and days: 164 y. 11 m. 22 d.
In this scheme it can be seen that the accession dates of Amosis I and Amenhotep I are still
highly influenced by the Semitic lunar calendar during the war with the Hyksos, which ended in
Egypt in 17 Amosis I, 1562 BC and lasted until the last Hyksos holdout at Sharuhen near Gaza
on the Palestine coast had been vanquished in 22 Ahmosis I, 1557 BC, the accession year of Amenhotep I. Amosis I and Amenhotep I also have their reign lengths in common. Their
relationship is highly symbolic for the Egyptian Osiris-Horus succession myth, emphasized in
Year 9 of Amenhotep I, signifying a new lunar beginning. Osiris too is supposed to have reigned
for 25 years as the mythical first mortal king of Egypt, and his son Horus ”the Avenger of his
Father” succeeded him after defeating the usurper, his ”uncle” Seth, the Hyksos god Suthekh. There is yet another reason for this dividing line: Amosis I and Amenhotep I still belonged to the
family line of the 17th Dynasty, so it is strange that Manetho made Amosis I start a new
Dynasty. In fact the next king, Thuthmosis I, started a new Dynasytic (family) line of kings and
should have begun Dynasty 18. How it is possible that Manetho made Amosis I begin the 18th
Dynasty, I will discuss in the section of dating Thuthmosis I.
As we can see from the two tables above, the greatest source of debate is the reign length of
Thuthmosis II, since we have on the one hand only his Year 1 attested from the monuments,
plus a highly dubious stray Year date of 18, while Manetho says his reign length is 12- 13 years,
and I claim it to be 15 years. How are people supposed to believe any of this if it doesn’t lead to a
Interlude of Manethoan Disorder
Manetho’s evidently wrong order of the first six kings of Dynasty 18 is certainly a source of
debate. However, a sound and systematic explanation can be given for this disorder. Manetho
must have had before him a table of three rows and two columns, meant to be read column by
column but read row by row as Manetho seems to have done:
First column Second Column
Manetho’s order Correct order Manetho’s order Correct order
1. Amosis/Tethmosis 1. Amosis I 2. Chebron 4. Thuthmosis II
3. Amenophis 2. Amenhotep I 4. Ame[n]sse 5. Hatshepsut
5. Mephres 3. Thuthmosis I 6. Mephra[g]muthosis 6. Thuthmosis III
Precisely hereafter both Africanus and Eusebius enter a separate summation line with a subtotal of
respectively 69 and 71 years, excluding for some odd reason Misphragmuthosis (Thuthmos III) himself. This is a unique discovery, and although well-known to Egyptologists, it is hardly ever stressed by anyone
who studies the problems of Manetho’s king list. In fact, I never saw anyone trying to find out how Manetho also came to disorder the remaining kings of the 18th Dynasty and the following Dynasty 19, which may have occurred in a similar systematic way. So I reassessed Manetho’s 18th and 19th Dynasties in order to
discover such a possible systematic deviation from Manetho’s source(s). It turns out that the order of Manetho’s fourth group of two kings is swapped:
First column Second Column
Manetho’s order Correct order Manetho’s order Correct order
7. Thuthmosis 8. Thuthmosis IV 8. Amenophis 7. Amenhotep II
Then the order alternates:
9. Orus 9. Amenhotep III 10. Akenkheres I (dau!) 10. Akenaten (male!)
In which a royal daughter-brother pair is copied onto the wrong pair, due to the thrice used name
Akenkheres, a probable coorruption of these kings’s new capital city name Akhetaten since Akhenaten:
13. Akenkheres III 13. Tutankhamun 14. Harmais 14. Ay
This is where the 18th Dynasty should end. However, confusion with the Early 19th Dynasty crept into
Manetho’s work, perhaps not even due to himself but due to his commentators and perhaps due to the way the Early 19th Dynasty kings tried to rewrite the late 18th Dynasty after Amenhotep III, in order to eliminate from history the whole Amarna (Akhetaten) era of five kings from Akhenaten to and including king Ay. And indeed, hereafter the confusion becomes more obvious, in which Manetho mistakenly switches over to the opposite alternating order:
15. Ramesses 16. Ramesses I 16. Harmesse Miamun 15. Horemheb
Next he also conflates both Horemheb and Seti I with Ramesses II in the next row and column
18/1. Sethos 17. Seti I 18/2. Ramesses 18. Ramesses II
As a consequence of this conflation he conflates Seti I with Seti II in the next row as well as Merenptah
with Amenmesse in the following row:
18/4. Ramesses 20. Seti II 17/3. Amenophthes 19. Merenptah
By doing so, he eventually ends up equating Siptah with his wife Tawosret, clearly not knowing whether Tawosret was a man or a woman or even had a separate reign after Siptah’s death, so he gave Tawosret’s name a male ending in the form of Thuoris, which of course can only refer to Siptah as the husband of Tawosret. The sole reign of Tawosret after the death of Siptah at the end of Dynasty 19 and the following interregnum with Irsu is thus left out of the record by Manetho:
3. The Sed-festival of Hatshepsut, which is capable of different interpretation.
Up till now the pros and cons have been equal. But to the arguments of Beckerath and Wente
& Van Siclen I add:
4. The distance in time between the two Sothis dates of Amenhotep I and Thuthmosis III, which advocates a longer time between the two kings, regardless whether the Sothis star
(Sirius) is observed rising at Memphis or elsewhere, suggesting a 15-year reign of
Thuthmosis II after Thuthmosis I.
5. The association of the Sothis date of Thuthmosis III with his First and Second Jubilee.
6. The lunar accession dating method which argues for a reign of more precisely 15 years, thus making the arguments for a longer reign all the more secure.
7. The role Hatshepsut claims to have had before and after the death of Thuthmosis II, usually’
minimized due to the assumption that she was just telling lies in order to gain her power.
Dating Thuthmosis III
Two lunar dates are available from the time of Thuthmosis III in which the Moon was invisible
(Bryan, Betsy. The Reign of Thutmose IV. p.14. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore,
1991). The first date fell in the month I Shemu (9th month Pakhon) on day 21, in year 23,
during the battle of Megiddo; the second date fell in the month II Peret (6th month Mekhir) on
day 30, in year 24. The difference between the two dates therefore was 649 (= 284 + 365) days,
or precisely 22 lunar months. In combination with the Sothis date of Year 9 of Amenhotep I there is only one perfect match: the first lunar date I Shemu 21 fell on 16 May 1482 BC during a
Conjunction, and the second lunar date II Peret 30 fell on 23 February 1480 BC on No Moon
Day (i.e, the first morning invisibility of the old lunar crescent called psdntyw), so that the New
Moon (Conjunction) occurred correctly on the next day as implied by the accompanying text.
This means that Thuthmosis III’s regnal years began each year between II Peret 30 (about 23
February) and I Shemu 21 (about 16 May), around the beginning of Spring and the rising of
Capella and the Pleiades, a constellation which seems to have been favoured by the Egyptian
kings since the days of the earliest Dynastic kings Narmer and Aha. The day of Thuthmosis III's
accession is indeed known to be with absolute certainty I Shemu 4 (Urk IV 180, 15-16), which is
thus during a Full Moon on Julian date Saturday 4 May 1504 BC. Only one other recorded date of Thuthmosis III corresponds to a lunation, although not stated as such. It is the date Year 2,
month 10 (II Shemu), day 7, which turns out to be a No Moon Day (Psdntyw) on 6 June 1503
BC. It may be just a coincidence.
The length of Thuthmosis III's reign is also known to the day exact thanks to information found in the tomb of the court official Amenemheb (Redford, Donald B: “The Chronology of the Eighteenth Dynasty”. Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 25, No 2, p.119; University of
Chicago Press, 1966). Amenemheb records Thuthmosis III's death to his master's fifty-fourth regnal year (Breasted, James Henry. Ancient Records of Egypt, Vol. II, p. 234; University of
Chicago Press, Chicago, 1906), on the thirtieth day of the third month of Peret (Murnane, William J.: “Ancient Egyptian Coregencies, p.44; The Oriental Institute of the University of
Chicago, 1977), which in this chronology would be 18 March 1450 BC. Hence, Thuthmosis III
had ruled for 53 (Egyptian) years, 10 months (of 30 days each), and 26 days, and died just one month and four days shy of the start of his 54th regnal year (Peter Der Manuelian: “Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II”; Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge (HÄB) Verlag: 1987, p.20).
A Sed-festival was celebrated during Thutmosis III’s reign and it has once been assumed that
it coincided with an event mentioned on an Elephantine fragment from a temple festival calendar
stating that the Spdt or Sothis rose heliacally on III Shemu 28, that is, the 28th day of the eleventh month Epiphi. The Sothis date in this fragment is thought to belong to the reign of
Thutmosis III, but this assumption has never been proven. As observed from Memphis, the
Sothis star Sirius rose heliacally on III Shemu 28 at the earliest on 21 July 1479 BC and at the
latest on 18 July 1466 BC. This complies nicely with the fact that a first Sed-festival was
normally held in the 30th year of a king’s reign. If Thutmosis III acceded in 1504 BC and held
his Sed-festival on the same day as the heliacal rising of the Sothis, this would have occurred on
20 July in 1475 BC, thus perfectly within the limits of an observation of the Sothis at Memphis. The problem with this assumption is that the above mentioned inscription does not mention a
Sed-festival, nor does it mention the name of Thutmosis III or even a regnal year, which makes it
problematic to use as evidence. Here is the relevant portion:
”Epiphi, day 28, the day of the festival of the rising of Sothis.”
Epiphi is the month III Shemu. Unless it can be proven that the fragment belongs to one of the
temples built by Thutmosis III himself and even better, that it was a temple associated with his
Sed-fesatival, a statement like this is generally regarded useless, because it may easily be
describing a heliacal rising of Sothis that occurred long before the birth of Thutmosis III or long
after his death.
Since we know that the Sothis rises a day later in the Egyptian calendar every 4 years, we
should expect the rising of the Sothis on III Shemu 28 to occur 19 x 4 = 76 years after it had
risen on III Shemu 9 in Year 9 of Amenhotep I. Since we have already settled on 19 July 1549
BC as the rising of the Sothis in Year 9 of Amenhotep I, this calls for dating the Sothis rising on III Shemu 28 in at least around 19 July 1473 BC, which falls in Thuthmosis III’s Year 32. We
don’t know exactly in which group of four years the Egyptians generally would have observed the
Sothis rising on the same day, but we do know that it cannot be more than three years earlier or
later than 1473 BC. Thus III Shemu 28 simply must fall within the range of 1476-1470 BC, thus
between Years 29 and 35 of Thuthmosis III, if he is to be dated to 1504 BC. Thus, although we
have no archaeological (phisical) evidence that the fragment belongs to one of the temples built by Thuthmosis III, we definitely do have the astronomical evidence that it can only be a Sothis
date belonging to Thuthmosis III around his First Jubilee Year 30 or his Second Jubilee, which
is commonly thought should be Year 33. Therefore it must have come from one of his temples,
and most likely a Temple dedicated to his First Jubilee Year 30 or perhaps his Second Jubilee in
Year 33 at the latest.
There is indeed no way we can lengthen the distance by 14 years or shorten the distance by 11
years and still expect the Sothis to be rising on III Shemu 28 in respect to the Sothis rising on III
Shemu 9 on 19 July 1549 BC. In addition the Sothis date III Shemu 28 on 19 July 1473 BC,
also happens to be a day of Full Moon, exactly like the Sothis date III Shemu 9 on 19 July 1549
BC in Year 9 of Amenhotep I, which may indicate a deliberate choice of Thuthmosis III to specifically record this Sothis date as perhaps honoring the celebration of Amenhotep I’s Sothis
rising on the same day of the natural solar year! This may also serve as evidence that the
Egyptians were well aware of the true solar year, despite their wandering calendar, as well as
that the Sothis observations in both cases were done at Memphis and not at Thebes. Both
Amenhotep I and Thuthmosis III therefore were probably more interested in the combination of the Full Moon and the rising of the Sothis at Memphis. Also of considerable importance must
have been the fact that Year 9 of Amenhotep I would have been his father Amosis I’s first Jubilee
in Year 30 if he had still lived, while in the case of Thuthmosis III the Sothis probably also rose
on III Shemu 28 in 1475 BC (on 20 July), during his First Jubilee in Year 30. Thus the event of a
First Jubilee or a would-be-Jubilee, would certainly have heightened the interest in the rising of
the Sothis in both cases, and an additional reason to even record it.
In any case, the fragment does mention the celebration of the rising of Sothis on the specified
day, and assuming it to be correct that Thutmosis III celebrated his festival Sed-festival as usual
in his 30th year, and assuming it to be correct that he acceded in 1504 BC, it can only have
occurred on 20 July 1475 BC. The next Sed-festivals would likely have been held every three or four years hereafter, as was also the case with the later kings Amenhotep III, Akhenaten and
Ramesses II. So either the first or at most the second Sed-festival of Thuthmosis III could have
been associated with the Sothis rising, but not his third or later Sed-festival.
On the other hand, if the Sothis rising on III Shemu 28 was observed at Thebes, one of the
later Sed-festivals could have been referred to between 17 July 1465 BC and 14 July 1451 BC,
but since Thuthmosis III died in his 54th regnal year on III Peret 30, in that case 18 March 1450
BC, any lower date would be out of the question. The most likely suitable date would then be
either 16 July 1461-1458 BC or 15 July 1457-1454 BC, between Year 44 through 51, which
could be regarded his 5th through 7th Sed-festivals, if Sirius rose correctly an hour before sunrise on III Shemu 28 at Thebes. If we had fixed the Sothis rising in Year 9 of Amenhotep I to
a 14 year later date according to its observation at Thebes, the ideal year would be Year 46 of
Thuthmosis III, and its possible occurrence on III Shemu 28 would be tightened to between
Years 43 and 49 (1462-1456 BC).
All in all, the whole set of lunar and Memphite Sothis dates, from Amosis I down to the end of
the 20th Dynasty combined, reaffirmed and refined by my lunar accession dating method, thus
makes it prefectly clear that Year 1 of Thuthmosis III most certainly fell in 1504 BC. This was
the preferred date before the 1960s and is still preferred by the Cambridge Ancient History. I
originally had set out to disprove this conviction, but can only fully agree since I found no fault
in it and no suitable alternative.
The First and Second Sed-Festivals of Thuthmosis III
Long after I had completed my research on Thuthmosis III, I was pleasantly surprised to find
full confirmation of my work from Egyptological giants like Breasted, Sethe and Donald Redford:
James Breasted, in his paper on the obelisks of Thutmose III, stated that a Year 30 sed-festival
or jubilee of Thuthmosis III could be inferred on the basis of the mention of one in Year 33 of that king.
The London obelisk of the king states it was erected, with a companion one (now in New York
City), on the occasion of Thuthmosis III having celebrated his third (according to Breasted, but Wallis Budge read fourth) jubilee. Although a year date for the erection of these obelisks is not visible, it has been inferred from the text that Thutmose III celebrated heb seds in years 30-33. Yet
the only actual mention of a jubilee during those three years comes from the inscription of Sennefer at el-Bershe, now lost but included in Sethe's Urkunden IV, below:
This text says: “Year 33, fourth month of the season of Shemu, day 12, the beginning of millions
of jubilees, very many, [inscribed?] by Thoth, himself, in his writing upon the noble Ished-tree, etc.”
Thus the el-Bershe inscription states that the many wished-for jubilees began in Year 33. Since
Thuthmosis III Menkheperre's accession date was in the first month of Shemu, the celebration occurred three more months into his 33rd year.
This is absolutely perfect. The recorded Sothis date on III Shemu 28, when placed in Year 33
Thuthmosis III, i.e. on Julian date 19 July 1472 BC as observed at Memphis, is only 14 days
ahead of the recorded Sed-festival on IV Shemu 12 in Year 33, i.e. on the Julian date 2 August
1472 BC. Not only does this connect the Sed-festival of Thuthmosis III and the rising of Sothis
as observed at Memphis, it also verifies beyond a doubt that Year 9 Amenhotep I is 1549 BC as observed at Memphis. The same is true for Year 30 Thuthmosis III (the two Julian dates being
respectively 20 July and 3 August in 1475 BC. Despite the trivial guesses of Breasted and Budge
concerning the number of Sed-Festivals, the most natural and correct conclusion is that the two
occasions were the First and Second Sed-Festivals of Thuthmosis III.
I should emphasize that the dates of the Sed-Festivals, although called ”Jubilees” do not need to correspond to the anniversary of the king’s accession or even to each other. The reasoning
behind the Sed-Festivals is still a mystery. Some attempts have been made to solve this mystery,
but so far to no avail. They may have also been associated with the Apis worship, or at least
originally”, but I have not been able to find a single clue in this respect. During the Early and
Old Kingdoms the sed-festivals were namely associated with a ritual called ”the Running of Apis”, although apparently already a separate festival in those days. According to my hypothesis
1474 BC would have been a year of ritual Apis sacrifice in order to let the soul of Ptah
reincarnate in a new Apis calf, which would have naturally been paraded during a sed-Festival,
hence ”the Running of Apis”. Interestingly the year 1474 BC is precisely 90 years after the start
of the New Kingdom Apis cycle in 1564 BC according to my Apis hypothesis, a period which
corresponds to five Apis lives, or three periods of 30 years. There are precisely four such periods
within each Apis cycle possible. The next occasion of correspondence would be yet another 90
years later, in 1384 BC, which indeed happens to be the first Jubilee of Amenhotep III in his
year 30! Following this pattern through, the third occasion would be in 1294 BC, which in my
system correctly corresponds to an Apis death in Year 16 of Ramesses II, although not a Jubilee Year. However, although the next Apis death was scheduled to occur 18 years later, in Year 34 of
Ramesses II, the death of this Apis was forcedly recorded to have occured instead in Year 30 of
Ramesses II, 1280 BC, thus four years too early! The fourth occasion would be in 1204 BC, but
we alas know nothing about that year as it falls within the period of an interregnum between the
19th and 20th Dynasty, before the next cycle would restart in 1198 BC. Even more interesting is my observation that the 30th Year of Amenhotep I would also have coincided with a sacrificial
Apis year, even though we have no written records of this event. And while we are at it, it would
seem that Hatshepsut’s sed-festival in Year 16 of Thuthmosis III seems curiously similar to the
occasion in Year 16 of Ramesses II, but this time it must have been forcedly delayed by 4 years,
just like the occasion in Year 30 of Ramesses II. This focus on a Year 16 may have something to
do with the first Apis of the cycle, apparently installed by Ahmosis I during his rebuilding of the Ptah Temple at Memphis:
1564 BC – New Kingdom Apis cycle begins = Year 15 of Ahmosis I.
1528 BC – 3rd Apis year = Year 30 of Amenhotep I, after 36 years. 1498 BC – 4 years delayed 5th Apis year = Hatshepsut’s sed-festival, year 16 of Thuthmosis III, forced! 1474 BC – 6th Apis year = Year 31 or late Year 30 of Thuthmosis III, after 2 x 90 years 1384 BC – 11th Apis year = Year 30 of Amenhotep III, after 3 x 90 years 1294 BC – 16th Apis year = Year 16 of Ramesses II, after 4 x 90 years 1280 BC – 4 years premature 17th Apis year = Year 30 of Ramesses II, forced!
1204 BC – 21st Apis year = ? (Falls within the interregnum, of which we know nothing)
1198 BC – the 2nd New Kingdom Apis cycle begins
I will explain a bit more about my Apis hypothesis hereafter.
Lower Chronologies for all the wrong reasons
Since the 1960s the balance had turned over to a 25 years later dating. Accordingly the first
lunar date was placed on 9 May 1457 BC, during a conjunction, and the second lunar date on
17 February 1455 BC, on No Moon Day. This in turn places the accession of Thuthmosis III in
1479 BC, which is currently the most commonly cited year date for Thuthmosis III. This date
conforms only to a Low Chronology of Egypt, and is the lowest accepted date in conventional Egyptology, still based on the observation of the Sothis but now at Elephantine. The highest
accepted year date, 1504 BC, conforms solely to the High Chronology, based on the observation
of the Sothis at Memphis, and to which the CAH and most other Egyptologists still firmly hold
on for a number of well-argued reasons to which now my own strong arguments have been
There are several problems with dating Thuthmosis III’s Year 1 to as late as 1479 BC. For one
thing, it requires the Sothis to be observed at a much more southernly location than Memphis or
even Thebes, for which we have no evidence at all. At Elephantine at the southern extreem of
Egypt, Sirius rose on III Shemu 28 at the earliest on 16 July 1458 BC and at the latest on 12
June 1444 BC. Thus a rising of Sirius at Elephantine on 14 July 1450 BC in Year 30 of Thuthmosis III is proposed in this Low Chronology. However, if the Sothis was observed from
anywhere other than Memphis during the 18th Dynasty, it would have been Thebes, the capital
of the 18th Dynasty, not Elephantine. At Thebes the Sothis date 14 July 1450 BC would be the
lowest extreme for Year 30 of Thuthmosis III, which is not credible. To mend this problem it has
been assumed that Thuthmosis III celebrated his Jubilee earlier in his reign, perhaps in that case jointly with Hatshepsut. There are contemporary examples of earlier Jubilees. Hatshepsut
herself celebrated her first jubilee in Year 16, and Akhenaten celebrated his in Year 3. But I do
not recommend building a chronology on such shaky speculation and conjecture, unless other
evidence adds up to its probability. We do not know when Thuthmosis III celebrated his first
Sed-festival, but it is highly improbable that he did it any differently than his predecessors and
successors, or that he would have done it while his aunt was still the king.
For these and other reasons some Egyptologists found it more credible to date Thuthmosis III’s
accession slightly higher, on 1 May 1490 BC, which also happens to be a Full Moon, with
Dynasty 18 starting in 1560 BC. His first lunar date on I Shemu 21 in Year 23 would then be 12
May 1468 BC during a conjunction; the second lunar date on II Peret 30 in Year 24 would be 20
February 1466 BC, but alas during a conjunction not a No Moon which should be the case. The proponents neverthelees believe in this date, because then Sirius would rise nicely at Thebes on
III Shemu 28 at the earliest on 17 July 1465 BC and at the latest on 14 July 1451 BC, and thus
in Year 30 of Thuthmosis III on 16 July 1461 BC, correctly an hour before sunrise at Thebes.
This is reasonably credible, but only if we would be forced to accept Sothis dating at Thebes,
against which I have already strongly argued. Those who wish to date Thuthmosis III later than
1479 BC are forced to abandon Sothis dating altogether, and they openly do just that. I do not recommend ignoring Sothis dates; so in my system, dating Thuthmosis III later than 1490 BC is
already out of the question.
The Egyptologist Edward Wente wrote an article in favor of Thuthmosis III’s accession in 1504
BC (Edward F. Wente, ’Thutmose III’s Accession and the Beginning of the New Kingdom’, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol 34, No. 4, Oct.
1975, pp. 265-272, at http://www.jstor.org/stable/544149). He reminds us that Donald B.
Redford had argued that Thuthmosis III’s accession may have occurred in 1504 BC rather than
in 1490 BC (Donald B. Redford: ’New Light on the Asiatic Campaigning of Horemheb’, BASOR
211, 1973, 49; see also William J. Murnane: ’Once Again the Dates of Tuthmosis III and
Amenhotep II’, JANES 3, 1970-1971, 1-7). His exhortation for us to consider 1504 BC as Thuthmosis III’s accession is justified, especially in view of the significant contribution of
Wolfgang Helck regarding the date of the Battle of Megiddo, which was fought in Thuthmosis III’s
Year 23 (’Das Datum der Schlacht von Megiddo’, MDIK 28, 1972, 101-102). Helck discovered
that the battle actually took place on the unemended date of I Shemu 21, as stated in the
Annals of Thuthmosis III (Urk. IV, 657, line 2). Those who favored 1490 BC as Thuthmosis III’s accession had been led by Raymond O. Faulkner’s emendation of the original date I Shemu 21
(our first lunar date of Thuthmosis III) to I Shemu 20 (Richard A. Parker: ’The Lunar Dates of
Thutmose III and Ramesses II’, JNES 16, 1957, 39-42), but Helck has now convincingly
demonstrated that no such emendation of the text is required.
Similarly, it had been concluded that with regard to the second lunar date in Year 24 II Peret 30, being the day of the tenth day feast of Amon in Karnak (Urk. IV, 835-836), there was no
possible solution that would permit Thuthmosis III’s accession in 1504 BC (Parker: ’Lunar Dates
of Thutmose III’, pp. 41-42; 10). Wente showed that a slightly different reading of the text places
the lunar date in its correct perspective, in favor of Thuthmosis III’s accession in 1504 BC. The
formal lunar date was that on which Thuthmosis III ordered preparations for the stretching of the cord, which it was planned, would subsequently be performed on the day of the new moon.
Thus ’the stretching of the cord’ occurred on the day before New Moon, on No Moon Day, and
not, as the text had previously been read, on the day of New Moon itself (Wente, ibid., 266).
Helck had shown that during the Ramesside period the decade weekends (the tenth, twentieth
and thirtieth of each month) were occasions for the appearance of the deified King Amenhotep
and that at such times oracular decisions were made by the god in the workmen’s village at Deir el-Medinah (Helck: ’Feiertage und Arbeitstage in der Ramessidenzeit’, JESHO 7, 1964, 160-162).
Such periodic epiphanies of the god from within his sanctuary permitted oracular consultations
that could not otherwise have been made while the god was at rest within his shrine (See Černý:
’Egyptian Oracles’, pp. 35-48, for the mechanics involved in Egyptian oracles).
If the New Moon fell on III peret 1 in Year 24 of Thuthmosis III, we again have an exact
solution favoring either 1504 BC or 1479 BC for Thuthmosis III’s accession, whereas 1490 BC is
of the type that Parker would characterize as impossible and requires not only Faulkner’s
emendation of the first lunar date but also a forced reading of the text regarding the second
for estimating a king's reign when dated documents are not available, is nearly impossible
because Hatshepsut usurped most of his monuments, and Thuthmosis III in turn re-inscribed
Thuthmosis II's name indiscriminately over other monuments (Grimal, Nicolas: “A History of
Ancient Egypt”, pp. 216, Librairie Arthéme Fayard, 1988). On the other hand, apart from several
surviving blocks of buildings erected by the king at Semna, Kumma and Elephantine,
Thuthmosis II's only known major monument consists of a limestone gateway at Karnak that once lay at the front of the Fourth Pylon's forecourt. Even this monument was not completed in
Thuthmosis II's reign but in the reign of his son Thuthmosis III, which thus seems to hint at "the
nearly ephemeral nature of Thuthmosis II's reign." (Betsy Bryan, pp.235-236). The gateway was
later dismantled and its building blocks incorporated into the foundation of the Third Pylon by
Amenhotep III (Betsy Bryan, p.236).
There is a stronger argument for a short reign. In 1987, Luc Gabolde published an important
study which statistically compared the number of surviving scarabs found under Thuthmosis I,
Thuthmosis II and Hatshepsut (Gabolde, Luc (1987). "La Chronologie du règne de Thoutmosis II,
ses conséquences sur la datation des momies royales et leurs répercutions sur l'histoire du
développement de la Vallée des Rois", SAK 14: 61–87). While monuments can be usurped, scarabs are so small and comparatively insignificant that altering their names would be
impractical and without profit; hence, they provide a far better insight into this period. Gabolde
highlighted, in his analysis, the consistently small number of surviving scarabs known for
Thuthmosis II compared to Thuthmosis I and Hatshepsut respectively; for instance, Flinders
Petrie's older study of scarab seals noted 86 seals for Thuthmosis I, 19 seals for Thuthmosis II and 149 for Hatshepsut, while more recent studies by Jaeger estimated a total of 241 seals for
Thuthmosis I, 463 seals for Hatshepsut and only 65 seals for Thuthmosis II (Gabolde, op. cit.,
pp. 67~68). Hence, unless there were an abnormally low number of scarabs produced under
Thuthmosis II, this would indicate that the king's reign was rather short-lived. On this basis,
Gabolde estimated Thuthmosis I and II's reigns to be approximately 11 and 3 full years
respectively, which implies that he started off by assuming 20 years for Hatshepsut. Yet, this too is not regarded conclusive evidence. If he had started off with 14~16 years for Hatshepsut, his
results would have been 8~9 for Thuthmosis I and 2~3 for Thuthmosis II, which would have
brought him even closer to the highest attested Year dates of these kings.
There are many kings who are poorly attested but still must have had long reigns. A good example is Senwosret II of Dynasty 12. Consequently, the reign length of Thuthmosis II has been
a much debated subject among Egyptologists with little consensus given the small number of
surviving documents for his reign. Also, if Hatshepsut indeed reigned since the death of her
father Thuthmosis I, as she claimed, alongside her husband Thuthmosis II, as she had claimed,
then surely a number of her scarabs would have belonged to the time of Thuthmosis II. It would
explain why the officials Ineni and Ahmose-pen-Nekhbet emphasize their relationship with Hatshepsut instead of Thuthmosis II. It would seem that Thuthmosis II played only a secondary
part and derived his kingship from his wife Hatshepsut. It may even be possible that he already
had died prematurely after a reign of 1~5 years so that Hatshepsut was already given the
regency over the newborn Thuthmosis III before proclaiming him king at the age of 10~12 years.
This would more easily explain Hatshepsut’s claims and the fact that she already wielded so much power after the death of Thuthmosis II and long before she was proclaimed King. We
simply don’t know what had happened between the death of Thuthmosis II and the eventual
accession of the boy King Thuthmosis III.
There are still numerous arguments for a long reign of Thuthmosis II, traditionally given as 13
or 14 years, and in my system as 15 years. Although Ineni's autobiography can be interpreted to say that Thuthmosis II reigned only for a short time, it also calls Thuthmosis II a "hawk in the
nest," indicating that he was perhaps a child when he assumed the throne (Breasted, James
Henry: “Ancient Records of Egypt”, Vol. II p. 47, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1906).
Since he lived long enough to father two children – his daughter Neferure with Hatshepsut and
son Thuthmosis III with his concubine Isis - this suggests that he may have had a longer reign of 13 years, or more likely 15 years, in order to reach adulthood and start a family with
Hatshepsut being not much older or younger than himself.
The German Egyptologist, J. Von Beckerath, uses this line of argument to support the case of
a 13-year reign for Thutmose II (J. Von Beckerath, Chronologie des Pharaonischen Ägypten,
MÄS 46, Philip von Zabern, Mainz: 1997). Alan Gardiner noted that at one point, a monument
had been identified by Georges Daressy in 1900 (G. Daressy, ASAE 1, 1900, 90, 20) which was
dated to Thuthmosis II's 18th year, although the precise location of the monument itself has not
been identified (Gardiner, Alan: “Egypt of the Pharaohs”, p. 180 Oxford University Press, 1964).
This inscription is now usually attributed to Hatshepsut, who certainly did have an 18th year. Von Beckerath observes that a Year 18 date appears in a fragmentary inscription of an Egyptian
official and notes that the date likely refers to Hatshepsut's praenomen Maatkare, which had
been altered from Aakheperenre Thuthmosis II, with the reference to the deceased Thuthmosis II
being removed (Beckerath, Chronologie, p.121). And the remarks of Ahmose Pen-nekhbet seem
to indicate that Hatshepsut had this praenomen already during the reign of Thuthmosis II, yet another reason to accept her claims as having reigned side by side with Thuthmosis II.
There is also the curious fact that Hatshepsut celebrated a Sed-festival (or Jubilee) in Year 16
of her reign, which is usually not celebrated before a 30th year of reign. Since she did not reach
a 30th year and claimed to have already been appointed coruler by her father, it has been
suggested that the thirty years were counted either from the start of the reign of her father Thuthmosis I, whom she highly honored, or during her husband and brother Thuthmosis II,
whom she greatly disliked. The former solution calls for giving Thuthmosis I a reign of 13 years
and Thuthmosis II a reign of only 1 year, the minimalistic view. The latter solution calls for
giving Thuthmosis II a reign of at least 14 years. Von Beckerath believes it occurred 30 years
after the death of Thuthmosis I, her father, who was the main source of her claim to power. This would create a gap of 14-15 years (= 29-30 minus 15 years to Year 16) where Thuthmosis II's
reign would fit in between Hatshepsut and Thuthmosis I's rule (J. Von Beckerath, Chronologie
des Pharaonischen Ägypten, MÄS 46, Philip von Zabern, Mainz: 1997, p.121).
Some inscriptions suggest that Hatshepsut tried to portray herself as direct successor to
Thothmosis I, making her appear to be coruler with Thuthmosis II. Although there doesn’t appear to be any significant evidence that she did in fact so serve, there is no sufficient evidence
that she had been lying either, especially since there were plenty of people around her who knew
all about what had really happened or not during the reign of Thuthmosis II. Since the Lunar
Accession Dating method gives the same possible reign lengths as Beckerath’s theory of
Hatshepsut’s Jubilee, a method which is much more consistent throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasty, we do not need to speculate on this issue anymore. Therefore my prefered
solution is that Thuthmosis II reigned for 15 years. Hatshepsut then could easily have rightfully
claimed to have become her husband’s coruler in Year 1, before II Akhet 8 (14 October 1518 BC)
of his Year 2, so that her idealogical Year 30 was indeed celebrated in Year 16 of Thuthmosis III,
between I Shemu 4 (30 April) and II Akhet 8 (6 October) in 1489 BC. Her accession as coruler in
Year 1 of Thuthmosis II would then have been between 8 May and 14 October 1518 BC.
In establishing Hatshepsut’s own reign length, we have a few pieces of evidence referring to
regnal years of Thuthmosis III. As regent and coregent from the beginning of Thuthmosis III’s
reign, her rule can be considered to have lasted until her 20th-22nd year. It is quite common to
use Year 22 as her last year, counted from Year 1 of Thuthmosis III, which seems to be in excess by two years, even to the point as to give her also the same accession date I Shemu 4. This last
cannot be correct, although her regnal years do seem to have been counted as those of
Thuthmosis III, even when she was not yet proclaimed king. We should note that Hatshepsut, in
her supposedly fictional account of her coronation by Thuthmosis I, says that her father chose
the date I Akhet 1 as her coronation day as the most auspicious for a peaceful reign. Therefore,
she may still have celebrated her own anniversary, despite the year count being that of Thuthmosis III and his anniversary being celebrated on I Shemu 4.
Hatshepsut, while speaking of her (fictitious?) corronation by her father, Thuthmosis I, said that ”he [Thuthmosis I] knew the virtue of an accession on New Year’s Day” (Urk IV.261; cf. P.
262, 7-8; cf. However D.B. Redford, ”On the Chronology of the Egyptian Eighteenth Dynasty”,
JNES 25, 1966, 119-120; idem, ”The Coregency of Tuthmosis III and Amenophis II”, JEA 51, 1965, 107-122; idem, ’History and Chronology of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt’, Toronto, 1967, pp. 3-27). Murnane says: ”all that can fairly be drawn from this passage is the ellegant deceit of beginning the regnal and civil years simultaneously.” However, this may not be true.
Hatshepsut says nothing about the lunar calendar in this regard. Both dates I Shemu 4 and I
Akhet 1 fit the scenario of her being already coruler of her husband Thuthmosis II in Year 1,
between I Shemu 4 and II Akhet 8. But in 1518 BC they do not fall during a lunation, which
thus bolsters the general opinion that her claim was invented after the death of her husband
and that she celebrated her Sed-festival in Year 16 only to enforce her claim. Nevertheless, her claim seems to validate the Lunar Accession Dating method, in that according to her
Thuthmosis II acceded 15 years before Thuthmosis III, which made her decide to celebrate her
Sed-festival in Year 16 of Thuthmosis III as being posthumusly Year 30 of Thuthmosis II. Thus,
we have here a similar situation as with Ahmosis I, whose Year 30 seems to have been
celebrated posthumously in Year 9 of Amenhotep I, making this a more important event combining a Sed-Festival with a Sothis-Festival. The apparent need to reflect something similar
as Year 9 of Amenhotep I is also seen in my survey of Thuthmosis III’s own Jubilee in Year 30
connected with the Sothis rising as it did in Year 9 of Amenhotep I. This may indeed explain why
Hatshepsut in some scenes are shown connected with the long dead king Amenhotep I.
We at least know that Hatshepsut took full pharaonic titles not later than ’year 7, IV Peret 2’. Some earthernware vessels found in the tomb of the parents of Senenmut, Ramose and
Hatnefret, both buried in Year 7, carried the date ’Year 7, II Peret 8’ and another one the seal of
the ’God’s Wife Hatshepsut’ together with the label ’Year 7, Satuwina’. Two other jugs carried the
seals of the ’Good Goddess Maatkarre’, Since Maatkarre is the throne name (Prenomen) of
Hatshepsut, this title means that Hatshepsut had already mounted the throne. However, these two jugs carry no date. In 1920 Norman de Garis Davies discovered in the forecourt of
Senenmut’s own tomb (TT71) an ostracon which referred to ’Commencement of the work in this
tomb’ in ’Year 7, IV Peret 2’. The king, to whose reign this date is referring, is not mentioned.
Since Senenmut served Hatshepsut, testified until Year 16, it is inferred that the ostracon
referred to Hatshepsut as king. This ostracon must have been buried during the work on tomb
TT71 when the entrance to the tomb of the parents was filled up with earth. Therefore, Year 7, IV Peret 2, is the last possible date on which things could have been put inside the tomb. The
jug from the tomb of the parents of Senenmut showing the title of the ’Good Goddess Maatkare’
thus testifies that Hatshepsut had already been crowned king before this date.
It is further well-documented that Amenemnekhu has been the ’Viceroy of Kush’; possibly another but destroyed inscription dated to regnal year 20 also refers to him. El-Sabbahy (GM
129, 1992) accepts the uncertain reading of the inscription on one block statue (British
Museum, London, EA 1131) dated into the reign of Hatshepsut and mentioning also Thuthmosis
III, that Inebni had also served as ’King’s son of Kush’ and arranged Inebni as ’Viceroy of Kush’
after Amenemnekhu and before Nehi served as Viceroy of Kush after the death of Hetshepsut
and starting with Year 23 of Thuthmosis III.
User-amun was appointed to the office of a Vizier in year 5, I Akhet 1, as the ’staff of the old
(man)’ for his father Ahmose Amethu (i.e. to support his old father who has held this office
before). The installation of User-amun to the office of the Vizier is described on the one hand in
his tomb TT131, on the other hand also on a papyrus fragment which is today in the Turin Museum. The comparison of the texts proves that both describe the same event (W. Helck, ’Die
Berufung des Wesirs Wsr’, Ägyptologische Studien, No. 29, 1955). In contrast to the tomb the
papyrus fragment, however, contains a date for this event, i.e. ’Year 5, I Akhet 1’! In both texts
the appointment into the office occurred under the reign of Thuthmosis III. According to these
two sources Hatshepsut mounted the throne in or before ’Year 5, I Akhet 1’. However, Dorman
(1988) and others point to the fact that the text in the tomb TT131 is to be judged as a retrospective description of the event. User-amun deceased between years 28 and 32, thus, at a
time, when Thuthmosis III had already governed alone for several years and possibly the
persecution of Hatshepsut had already started. The inscriptions in the tomb already could have
taken into account the political changes after the death of Hatshepsut.
The administrative document, Papyrus Turin 1878, surely is not a retrospective description of
the event and also was not the base for the inscriptions in tomb TT131. Also a later censorship
of the document by which the name of Hatshepsut was replaced by that of Thuthmosis, appears
improbable. Nevertheless, also regarding this document there are certain doubts. Dorman (1988)
points out that the paleography of the papyrus fragment is that of the early 18th Dynasty but
fits into the 19th Dynasty. Furthermore, another fragment of the same papyrus, not published
yet, seems to contain a part of the Hymn to the Nile, a text the existence of which so far could
not be testified earlier than the 19th Dynasty. Therefore, one must assume that the Papyrus
Turin 1878 which contains the appointment of User-amun to Vizier is a copy in the Ramessid
writing style of the 19th Dynasty, but that does not inevitably mean that the original text had been changed.
Berlandini-Grenier has suggested that several titles of Senenmut on the Sheikh Labib statue
are indicative of Senenmut’s functions at Hatshepsut’s coronation, and Helck has discussed the title r-p’t íry hdj n Gb in the light of possible Jubilee participation. Senenmut’s function as djb3 W3djty m íns occurs on the Sheikh Labib statue in conjunction with the title sm3ty Hr, a title
that is ubiquitous at representations of the Jubilee. Therefore, despite Berlandini-Grenier’s
suggeston that the Sheikh Labib statue may have been intended to commemorate Senenmut’s
role in Hatshepsut’s accession, one cannot exclude the consideration of her Sed-festival as well.
Vandersleyen has already recognized the difficulties of distinguishing the ceremonies of
coronation and Jubilee purely on the basis of private titles (Vandersleyen, CdE 43: 253) and
without descriptions or portrayals of the former, the uncertainties will endure. Helck produced a list of office-holders of the title r-p’t íry hdj n Gb and its variations (Helck, ’Orientalia 19’: 426-
427), and indeed most of them seem to fall into the reigns of kings who ruled for more than
thirty years. Thus these documents may point to a late accession of Hatshepsut between ’Year 5,
I Akhet 1’ (appointment of User-amun to Vizier) and ’Year 7, IV Peret 2’ (commencement of the
work in tomb TT71).
Helck translated a badly eroded inscription on a stela found in a small mud-brick chapel,
north of Karnak and west of the enclosure wall of the Temple of Month, recorded by L.A.
Christophe (in ’Karnak-North III’, Le Caire, 1951; quoted after W. Helck, ’Die Opferstiftung des
Senenmut’, ZÄS 85, 1960). The stela describes Senenmut donating several fields to the Temple
of Amun at Karnak and the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari, and also donates to both the workshops of the Temple of Amun and the Temple of Djeser djeseru a male and female servants
each. The text dates to Year 4 of Thuthmosis III, I Shemu 16, and shows an intact cartouche of
Hatshepsut’s throne name Maatkarre, in connection to the servant donated to the workshop,
established by her for her ’father’ Amun in Djeser djeseru. Senenmut mentions his tomb twice,
which therefore must also have already been under construction. Naturally, this stela is
consulted by all (among others Schott, Helck, Meyer) as proof of an early accession of Hatshepsut. Dorman (1988) argues against this with the restoration of the stela, already
mentioned by Christophe and Helck. In his opinion the absence of the original border of the
stela makes it most likely that the stela was already that damaged in antiquity, that the present
text, which contains the date had to be recarved completely in Ramessid times.
On the other hand, the part of the text in which the cartouche of Hatshepsut is shown and in
which Senenmut reports about his tomb seems to prove that at least the work on the tomb must
have started. However due to the finds in the tomb of his parents – directly located below TT71 –
this cannot have been the case before Year 7, II Peret 8 (of course one can assume that the tomb
mentioned is not TT353). Dorman insists that the reference to his tomb by Senenmut ’dates’ the
text and the stela rather into regnal year 8 of Hatshepsut and/or Thuthmosis III. According to Dorman the recorded date (year 4) on the donation stela of Senenmut is more than doubtful.
Monuments show twice a change in the throne name of Thuthmosis III. At the beginning of his
reign he carried the throne name Menkheperre. During the time of the coregency, i.e. after the
accession of Hatshepsut, he used the throne name Menkheperkare. After the death of Hatshepsut he changed back again to his old throne name Menkheperre. Meyer (1980) points
out that, since Hatshepsut obviously had a special relationship to the ’Ka’ – as also shown by
the use of it in her titles, the first change to Menkheperkare was probably connected with her
accession and the demotion of the legal ruler, Thuthmosis III, to the rank of a coruler. According
to the investigation of Brovarski (JEA 62, 1976; quoted after Meyer) the name Menkheperre is
testified for the years 1-5 and afterwards again starting with year 21, whereas the name Menkheperkare is testified for the years 5 to 20. Once again this points to Year 5 of Thuthmosis
III for her accession, possibly indeed on I Akhet 1. This also suggests that Hatshepsut did not
reign for 22 but only 20 years.
Now in view of the Lunar Accession Dating method we have the following interesting possible
accession dates for Hatshepsut within the range of Years 2-7 of Tuthmosis III:
I Akhet 1 Year 2 : 3 September 1503 BC – No Moon/Conjunction I Akhet 1 Year 5 : 2 September 1500 BC – First Visible
I Shemu 4 Year 5 : 3 May 1500 BC – No Moon
Although only one of these dates can be right, we do seem to have a nice fit corresponding to
the monumental evidence. Year 5 of Hatshepsut is well-presented, especially with I Akhet 1 as her accession date in Year 5. Year 2 seems to mark her original plan to rule but is testified only
in one inscription in Nubia without a civil date. Our choice must be year 5 of Thuthmosis III,
and Hatshepsut’s true accession date is then indeed I Akhet 1, during a First Visible, which
befits her unprecedented role as ’a First’, like Amosis I. I Shemu 4 as her accession date is
already ruled out since Year 5 still testifies of Thuthmosis III’s use of his first throne name
Menkheperre while also of his second throne name Menkheperkare.
Thus Year 5 of Thuthmosis III began with Hatshepsut still being a regent. This also rules out
Year 2. The change of Thuthmosis III’s throne name back to Menkheperre in his Year 21
signifies that Hatshepsut must have died just prior to the anniversary of his Year 21 on I Shemu
4. Her death date II Peret 10 then means that she died on 4 February 1484 BC, 2 months 24 days before Year 21. So Hatshepsut reigned for 19 years 9 months 11 days, if reckoned from
Thuthmosis III’s accession on I Shemu 4 1504 BC, instead of the 21 years 9 months Manetho
gives to her according to Josephus or the 21 years 1 month according to Theophilus. If Manetho
accidently reckoned her reign length of 20 years from Year 5 of Thuthmosis III, then Thuthmosis
III’s 31 years of sole reign shortens to 27 years which may explain Manetho’s 26 years for this
king. However, her true reign length as king, starting on I Akhet 1 in Year 5 of Thuthmosis III, should be reckoned as 15 years 5 months and 9 days.
A problem arises with two dated objects, originally associated with Thuthmosis IV. One is
dated to a Year 19 and another to a Year 20. Neither has been accepted as dating to the reign of Thuthmosis IV (Bryan, Betsy: “The Reign of Thutmose IV”, p. 6, The Johns Hopkins University
Press, Baltimore, 1991). The reading of the king in these dates are today accepted as referring to the praenomen or throne name (nisu-bity name, or Praenomen) of Thuthmosis III – Menkheperre
- and not Menkhepe[ru]re Thuthmosis IV. However, this flies in the face of the above observation
that Thuthmosis III’s throne name Menkheperre is only testified in his years 1 to 5 and from
year 21 onwards, while Years 5 to 20 testify only of his throne name Menkheperkare not
Menkheperre. Should we then assume that Thuthmosis III used both throne names in Years 19 and 20 for some unexplained reason, or are the Egyptologists in this case simply mistaken and
did those two stray dates indeed belong to Thuthmosis IV? We shall return to this problem when
discussing the reign length of Thuthmosis IV.
Hatshepsut’s Jubilee in Year 16 occurred during a perfect lunar conjunction on the
anniversary of her accession date 1 Akhet 1 (30 August 1489 BC). This makes it likely that she celebrated her anniversary in Year 16 as a special Jubilee, posthumously in Year 30 of her
alleged coregency with her late husband Thuthmosis II, in near imitation of Amenhotep I’s Year
9 anniversary, posthumously in Year 30 of his late father Ahmosis I during a perfect Full Moon
on III Shemu 9 in 1549 BC. Thus the beauty of my Lunar Accession Dating method is that the
various attempts to explain Hatshepsut’s reign and her claims all neatly fall into place.
For more evidence in support of this conclusion, consider also the southern exterior face of
Amenhotep I’s bark shrine that was decorated by Thutmose I. Hatshepsut had this very shrine
represented in scenes in her own bark shrine (Chapelle Rouge). Here the Queen is shown
performing ritual coronation rites before Amenhotep’s shrine! This is from page 36 of Elizabeth Blyth’s book ‘Karnak: evolution of a temple’ (2006): “An interesting point to note is that Amenhotep [I]’s [bark] shrine is represented in both name and image on Hatshepsut’s Chapelle Rouge (her bark-sanctuary) where the queen (as Pharaoh) is shown performing ritual acts before Amenhotep [I]’s shrine.”
This is clearly a relationship statement on the part of Hatshepsut, and it had something to do
with her “genuine” coronation. Why did she feel it necessary to associate herself and the time of
her “genuine” coronation with Amenhotep I? It seems because Hatshepsut attempted to facilitate
her right to the throne by being able to boast that her coronation occurred during a unique
stellar constellation which everybody would have recognized as an approval of the gods as did the celebration of Amenhotep I’s accession c.q. coronation on III Shemu 9 in his Year 9. And
Thuthmosis III too seems to have attempted to reach such a goal in relation to Amenhotep I’s
Year 9, but neither he nor Hatshepsut were able to recreate the unique situation in Year 9 of
So here I submit an overview of the four highly related events during Amenhotep I, Hatshepsut
and Thuthmosis III.
Four highly related year dates of the 18th Dynasty according to the LAD method: 18th Dynasty King Anniversary Julian date Lunation occasion
Amenhotep I, Yr 9 III Shemu 9 19 July 1549 BC Full Moon Sothis-Festival & Anniversary
Amenhotep I, Yr 30 III Shemu 9 14 July 1528 BC Evening First 1st Sed-Festival (likely) & Anniversary (? & Apis-Festival)
Hatshepsut, Yr 16 I Akhet 1 30 August 1489 BC Conjunction 1st Sed-Festival & Anniversary (? & forced Apis-Festival)
Thuthmosis III, Yr 33 I Shemu 4 26 April 1472 Evening First 2nd Sed-Festival & Sothis-Festival (? 2 years after Apis yr)
A joint sed-festival of Thuthmosis III and Queen Hatshepsut
E.P. Uphill wrote an article which can be accessed of the Journal of Near Eastern Studies (Vol
Joiint Sed-Festival of Thutmose III and Queen Hatshepsut”. I cite here only the preview: ’The reliefs in the funerary temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri provide many references
to her Sed-festival, but some of these pose a problem, for they seem to be without parallel in similar scenes depicting Sed-festivals celebrated by other Pharaohs. The problem arises from the fact that in some of the scenes Thutmose III appears as a king taking part in the festival, although he seems to have played a subsidiary role in the ceremony.
The scenes showing the birth of Hatshepsut and her coronation are all well known and need little comment, the purpose of this article being to examine briefly those scenes showing the extraordinary spectacle of two kings taking part in the same ceremonies.
The northwest hall of offerings in the temple, (1) contains a scene showing Hatshepsut offering a loaf to Amûn (shown here in ithyphalic form). The scene next to this (2) is similar in subject, and shows king Menkheperrĕ‛, wearing the uraeus, offering a table of offerings to Amūn, who is here shown seated. On the left of the scene behind Amūn there is a dj[e]d mdw formula: ”(I) give to thee the celebrating of millions of Sed-festivals on the throne of Horus and that thou direct all the living like Rē‛ for ever.” This reference to the awarding of Sed-festivals is quite specific, not just a mere wish, and is applied to Thutmose in this case and not to Hatshepsut. Again in another scene in which Thutmose is shown burning incense before Amūn, (3) he appears as king Menkheperrĕ‛ wearing the atef crown, while he holds an ankh sign in his hand. This scene also appears to be an
unaltered one. It is known from other Sed-festival scenes that the king gave large presents of food and other
offerings to the gods, in return for the benefits that he hoped to receive at the Sed-festival. He also burnt incense before the gods who were assembled for the festival. (4)
In the shrine of Anubis at Deir el Bahri, Hatshepsut is shown making offerings to both Amūn and Anubis, and being rewarded with very many Sed-festivals in return. (5) Similarly another scene (6) shows King Menkheperrĕ‛ offering two vases to the god Sokar and receiving the same reward. [hieroglyphs here].
The strongest evidence for a joint Sed-festival comes, however, from the north colonnade of the middle terrace, where the birth and coronation of the Queen are depicted. The pillars of this colonnade are decorated with scenes, two of which (7) show Amūn embracing Thutmose III, who is here called Menkheperkarĕ! The young king wears both the double crown of Egypt and the red crown of Lower Egypt. He holds a group of ankh signs in his right hand and a mace and another ankh sign in his left hand, while the inscription carved below the scene states...
Referrences given by Uphill: (1) Naville, The Temple of Deir el Bahari, Vol. I, Pl. 20. (2) Ibid., Pl. 21.
(3) Ibid., Pl. 23. (4) See Von Bissing and Kees, Das Re‛-Heiligtum des Konigs Ne-woser-re, Band OO, Pl. 9;
Naville, Festival Hall of Osorkon II, Pls. 7-8 and especially Pl. 4 bis. (5) Naville, Deir el Bahari, Vol II, Pls. 36-37. (6) Ibid., Pl. 40. (7) Naville, op. Cit., Vol III, Pl. 65.’
As mentioned before, the investigation of Brovarski (JEA 62, 1976; quoted after Meyer) and
others show that the name Menkheperkare is testified only in the years 5 to 20 of Thutmosis III instead of Menkheperre. Since Hatshepsut was dead hereafter, the only time Thutmosis III could
have celebrated a Sed-festival jointly with Hatshepsut and with his prenomen Menkheperre
would be during his first 4 years. Thus it may be possible that Hatshepsut and Thutmosis III
had celebrated a joint Sed-festival in his Year 2, 1503 BC, which would be Hatshepsut’s Year 16
of her claimed coregency with her husband Thuthmosis II. This is thus a totally new take on the Jubilee theory concerning Hatshepsut. Such an early Jubilee (Sed-festival) is later paralleled by
Akhenaten’s earliest Sed-festival in Year 3, or according to some in Year 2. Otherwise, the only
other time Thutmoses III could have celebrated a Sed-festival jointly with Hatshepsut, but this
time only with his prenomen Menkheperkare, would be during one of the years 5-20. This then
suggests that it was already a second or later joint Jubilee, and therefore most likely celebrated
in his year 16, 1489 BC, which then would have been Hatshepsut’s Year 30 of her claimed coregency with Thuthmosis II. Following this it would be most likely that Thutmosis III finally
celebrated his own first Jubilee as sole ruler in Year 30, 1475 BC with his original prenomen
Menkheperre, after the death of Hatshepsut. Once again this points to Year 5 of Thuthmosis III
for Hatshepsut’s accession, most likely on I Akhet 1. This also again suggests that Hatshepsut
did not reign for 22 but only 20 years.
Hatshepsut’s daughter Neferure as Heir-apparent?
In her blogpost "Neferura, Heir Apparent" at http://thetimetravelerreststop.blogspot.com/
Marianne Luban, in October 2011, mentions Stuart Tyler and his Hatshepsut Projects at the
website http://styler78hatshepsutproject.blogspot.com/2011_09_01_archive.html. Tyler had
located a long-lost portrait of princess Neferure’ from Deir el-Bahri (or more correctly Djeser
Djeseru) mentioned by K.A. Kitchen in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 49, December 1963, pp. 38-40. Tyler quotes:
"I have visited Deir el-Bahri and was able to place the pencil- rubbing of the Dundee head in the
1. Amosis I 1560-1535 BC 25 years 1560-1535 BC 25 years
2. Amenhotep I 1539-1518 BC 21 years (4 joint) 1539-1518 BC 21 years (4 joint)
3. Tuthmosis I 1518-1505 BC 13 years 1518-1505 BC 13 years
4. Thuthmosis II 1505-1490 BC 15 year 1505-1504 BC 1 year
5. Thuthmosis III 1490-1436 BC 54 years 1504-1451 BC 54 years
6. Hatshepsut 1490-1470 BC 21 years (4 regent) 1504-1484 BC 21 years (4 regent)
Of these latter two schemes, I find Scheme 4 the most applicable as it retains the High
Chronology dating of Thutmosis III, while reducing the distance to Amosis I acceptably and still
in general accord with Manetho, except for the reign length of Thuthmosis II; the problems of
this scenario however come from other arguments, while I also pertinently do not accept Sothis
observation at Thebes.
Amenhotep II and Thuthmosis IV
Dating Amenhotep II
Amenhotep II came to the throne on the first day of the fourth month of Akhet, but his father
Thuthmosis III died on the thirtieth day of the third month of Peret (Peter Der Manuelian: “Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II”, p.21, Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26,
Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987). If an Egyptian crown prince was proclaimed king but did
not take the throne on the day after his father's death, it was supposed to mean that he served
as the junior coregent during his father's reign. My Lunar Accession Dating method falsifies this
assumption and shows that the successor simply waited until the very next lunation came
about, which always occurred less than half a month after the death of his predecessor. However, in the above case we are obliged to accept a coregency, since Amenhotep II’s accession
comes at least about four months prior to Thuthmosis III’s death.
A coregency with Thuthmosis III and Amenhotep II is believed to have lasted for two years and
four months, according to the astronomical calculations by Parker (Charles C. Van Siclen, "Amenhotep II," The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, Ed. Donald Redford, Vol. 1, p. 71,
Oxford University Press, 2001). Others believe that it could have lasted up to six years or more,
but that does not agree well with other pieces of evidence concerning the chronology of the 18th
Dynasty kings. One hypothesis claims for Amenhotep II a fantastic co-regency of twenty-five
years or more (O.A. Toffteen, ‘Ancient Chronology’, Researches in Biblical Archaeology 1, Chicago
1907, 196. Rebuttal by H.R. Hall in PSBA 34, 1912, 107; Borchardt, Mittel, 81 f.; most recently E. Knudsen, Acta Orientalia 23, 1958-1959, 111 f.), and some of the arguments for this are even
quite convincing. In ‘The Coregency of Tuthmosis III and Amenophis II’, Donald B. Redford
explains and attempts to refute these arguments (http://www.jstor.org/pss/3855623). I shall
not go into this issue, but it is good to keep it in mind if needed.
Amenhotep II assumed power at the age of 18, according to an inscription from his great Sphinx stela:
"Now his Majesty appeared as king as a fine youth after he had become 'well
developed', and had completed eighteen years in his strength and bravery." (Urk. IV.
Amenhotep II's coronation can be dated without much difficulty because of a number of lunar
dates in the reign of his father, Thuthmosis III. These sightings limit the date of Thuthmosis III's accession to 1504 BC (Edward F. Wente, “Thutmose III's Accession and the Beginning of the New Kingdom”, p. 267, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, The University of Chicago Press, 1975).
Thuthmosis III died after 54 years of reign, when Amenhotep II would have already acceded to
the throne. Amenhotep II's coregency with his father would then move his accession at least two years and four months earlier, thus dating his accession to at least 1453 BC. The current
opinion is that his reign length is indicated by a wine jar inscribed with the king's praenomen
found in Amenhotep II's funerary temple at Thebes; it is dated to this king's highest known date
- his Year 26 - and lists the name of the pharaoh's vintner, Panehsy (Peter Der Manuelian: “Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II”, pp. 42-43, Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26,
Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987). Mortuary temples were generally not stocked until the king died or was near death; therefore, Amenhotep II could not have lived much later beyond his
26th year (Redford, JNES Chronology, p.119).
There are alternative theories which attempt to assign Amenhotep II a reign of up to 35 years,
the absolute maximum length he could have reigned (Charles C. Van Siclen. "Amenhotep II," The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, Ed. Donald Redford, Vol. 1, p. 71, Oxford University Press,
2001). There are problems which cannot be resolved facing these theories (Peter Der Manuelian: “Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II”, p. 43, Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 26,
Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987). In particular, this would mean Amenhotep II died when
he was 52, but an X-ray analysis of his mummy has shown him to have been about 40 when he died (Peter Der Manuelian: “Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II”, p. 44, Hildesheimer
Ägyptologische Beiträge 26, Gerstenbeg Verlag, Hildesheim, 1987). Accordingly, Amenhotep II is usually given a reign of 26 years (Shaw, Ian; and Nicholson, Paul: “The Dictionary of Ancient Egypt”, p. 28, The British Museum Press, 1995). However, the X-ray estimates actually
produced an estimate of 40-45, not just 40, and if we allow the 10-20 percent error factor in X-
ray estimates observed elsewhere this actually produces a range of 44-45 years. In other words
the X-ray does not exclude either the lowest possible age (18 + 26) or the highest (19 + 35).
The methods used to estimate the age of an ancient mummy is not watertight. They seem to
estimate the ages slightly too low and have lately come under heavy attack, especially regarding
the mummies of the Amarna Age. So we can safely take these estimates as minimum ages.
It is also important to note that Amenhotep III’s astronomical dating in 1413 BC (see hereafter) corroborates Manetho’s reign lengths of 31 years for Amenhotep II and 10 years for Thuthmosis
IV, thus dating Amenhotep II to 1454 BC. So we are not at all yet in the position to accept Year
26 as Amenhotep II’s final regnal year on the basis only of a single wine jar stock in a mortuary
temple and an age estimation. Especially since it is known that well-to-do Egyptians thought it
prudent to prepare for their burial long before they would actually die (William J. Murnane:
‘Ancient Egyptian Coregencies’, The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization, No. 8, Chicago, Illinois, 1977, p. 18). Amenhotep II may have been
a sick man already expecting to die soon in his regnal Year 26, but not necessarily dead yet.
Furthermore, it is also possible that Manetho’s reign lengths have been transposed, that is
that Thuthmosis III should have been given 30 years 10 months and Amenhotep II 25 years 10 months. This is quite possible, given the transpositions of both names and reign lengths in the
preceding list. In that case Hatshepsut and Thuthmosis III add up to 52 years 7 months in
Josephus’s version of Manetho, thus limiting the coregency period with Amenhotep II to only 1
year 4 months. Since Manetho is mistaken by 2 years regarding Hatshepsut’s reign length the
coregency with Amenhotep II may still have lasted two years longer as correctly calculated by
Amenhotep II had an inscription indicating that he might have celebrated a Sed-festival,
suggesting he may have indeed reached a Year 30. But there is some question as to whether
Sed-festivals almost always occurred in Year 30. Not all did. At one time, Year 23 was thought to
be Amenhotep II’s highest year mark, but the discovery of the above mentioned wine jar from his Year 26 resulted in the wide acceptance of Year 26 as the minimum length of his reign. Wente
and Van Siclen cited some indirect evidence suggesting a Year 34. Kitchen amended the
argument, acknowledging only that inscriptions provide for a 34-year interval between the death
of Thuthmosis III and some point during the reign of Thuthmosis IV. And while there is some
evidence of coregency with Thuthmosis III, Aldred has also argued for a coregency with his
successor, Thuthmosis IV.
At this point I would like to add that Amenhotep II’s Year 34 would have been a scheduled
Apis Year in 1420 BC according to my Apis Cycle hypothesis. A Sed-Festival in the king’s Year
30, or 1424 BC may therefore have been regarded a valid reason to force a four years earlier
ritual death of the current Apis bull. Yet, we have no records of any Apis deaths prior to Amenhotep III.
A stela from Amenhotep II’s final years highlights his openly contemptuous attitude towards non-Egyptians. The document, which dates to "Year 23 IV Akhet [day] 1, the day of the festival"
of Amenhotep II's accession to power, is a copy of a personal letter which the king composed
himself to Usersatet, his viceroy of Kush (Nubia) (Urk IV, 1343:10). In it, Amenhotep II reminded Usersatet of their military exploits together in Syria and proceeds to criticise the way this official
conducted his office as Viceroy (Hornung, p.291).
Since Amenhotep II did not accede to the throne upon the death of Thuthmosis III, let me test
if his anniversary date in Year 23, month IV Akhet, day 1, was possibly chosen to occur during a
lunation. If his accession to the throne occurred between 1460 and 1453 BC (inclusive), we
should look for a Year 23 anniversary date between 1438 and 1431 BC. We have the following interesting options:
Accession date Lunation Year 23 anniversary Lunation 21 November 1460 BC Full Moon 16 November 1438 BC 1 day before Full Moon
20 November 1457 BC Day 17 of Visibility 15 November 1435 BC Full Moon
19 November 1453 BC New Moon 14 November 1431 BC Last Visible Moon
There seems to be a close link between the accession date in 1460 BC and the Year 23
anniversary date in 1438 BC, in which in both cases a Full Moon is involved. As we saw earlier,
it seems that Full Moon was the ideal condition for an accession, thus symbolizing maturity and
full capacity. I was therefore at first tempted to date Amenhotep II’s accession to 1460 BC, 10
years before the death of his father. The conventional view favours 1454 BC, contrary to Parker’s astronomical observations. The astronomical dating of Amenhotep III’s first year in 1413 BC (see
next) als seems to favour 1454 BC, but only if Amenhotep II ruled for 31 years and Thuthmosis
IV for 10 years flat. But if the year 1460 BC is correct, we would have to raise the reign length of
either Amenhotep II or his successor Thuthmosis IV or both by as many years as needed to fill
On the other hand, Amenhotep II is recorded to have campaigned in Year 7 into Syria as his
first Syrian campaign. An inscription of year 3 speaks of a Syrian campaign already completed
(year 2 or year 3 or both). Yet the inscription of year 7, also of a campaign into Syria, is called
the "first victorious campaign". This calls for an explanation. One explanation is that Year 7 was
Amenhotep II’s first year of sole reign, which suggests that Thuthmosis III may have been dead by the time of the campaigning season of Year 7 of Amenhotep II, 6 years and about 4 or 5
months after his accession. The idea stems from the fact that Thuthmosis III reigned for 53
years and 11 months, while Josephus’ version of Manetho gives the reigns of Hatshepsut and
Thuthmosis III as 21 years 9 months and 25 years and 10 months, totalling 47 years and 7
months. So there remains 6 years and 4 months until the death of Thuthmosis III which would then be the period of co-regency with Amenhotep II. If this is true, then Thuthmosis II would
have died just prior to the campaigning season of Year 7 of Amenhotep II.
So from this viewpoint it is just as tempting to opt for 1457 BC as Amenhotep II’s first year.
However, there is no objective reason to attach Thuthmosis III’s death directly to the year of this
campaign. The campaign record makes it only likely that Thuthmosis III died in one of the years 3 to 7 of Amenhotep II rather than 2 or 11. If so, then 1460 BC as accession year of Amenhotep
II already fails the test. This leaves us with only 1457 BC or 1453 BC, the latter being most
attractive since it occurred during a lunation, New Moon, which also conforms perfectly to
Parker’s astronomical calculations, suggesting that the coregency lasted for two years and four
months and that Thuthmosis III died in Year 3 of Amenhotep II. With this overwhelming confirmation by Parker I have no other option than to fully accept that the accession date IV
Akhet 1 of Amenhotep II occurred during the New Moon on 19 November 1453 BC
If we follow Manetho in this discussion and give Amenhotep II a reign length of 30 years 10
months, then Thuthmosis IV must be dated to sometime between 1426 and 1422 BC, around
September, month II Akhet in this case, and Amenhotep III would have to be dated 9 years 8 months later, to sometime between 1416 and 1412 BC, around May, month II Shemu in this
case. This would place Amenhotep II’s accession in November in either 1457 or 1453 BC. But we
already know that Manetho is not that accurate. He miscalculated Hatshepsut’s reign length by
2 years, so a coregency of 8 years 4 months for Amenhotep II may be just as likely; and if
Manetho’s reign lengths for Thuthmosis III and Amenhotep II were indeed transposed, it remains an option to give Amenhotep II a coregency period of either 1 year 4 months or 3 years 4
months, by giving Thuthmosis III a sole reign of 30 years 10 months and Amenhotep II a reign of
25 years 10 months. Both these methods, however, render a lunar accession date for
Amenhotep II invalid. Accession during a non-lunation seems a poor choice for any king, while
the Lunar Accession Dating method already strongly suggests that every single king of the 18th
Dynasty preferred to accede during a lunation, even if not a junior coregent as in the case of
All in all we are thus better off with an accession of Amenhotep II during the New Moon on 19 November 1453 BC, with a joint reign with his father lasting for 2 years 4 months, exactly as
Parker had calculated on totally independent other grounds. Thuthmosis III then died in Year 3
of Amenhotep II, most likely just after or while the latter was on campaign in Syria in either Year
2 or Year 3. Even this scenario is not completely fool-proof, since we do not know the exact date
of either campaigns, but at least it does not violate any known evidence either, and it still corresponds to Manetho’s numbers as well. With Hatshepsut reigning 19 years 9 months not 21
years 9 months, Thuthmosis III’s sole rule can now be counted as 31 years 10 months instead of
Manetho’s transposed 30 years and 10 months. This leaves Amenhotep II to reign solely for 25
years 10 months, from November 1450 BC (the year in which his father dies) to September 1424
BC. All ends meet perfectly, when using the lunar dating method, except that Thuthmosis IV
must then have reigned 10 years 8 months instead of 9 years 8 months as per Manetho.
On page 267 in his article ‘Thuthmosis III’s Accession and the Beginning of the New Kingdom’
(Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 34, No. 4,
October 1975, pp. 265-272, available at http://www.jstor.org/stable/544149), Wente made an
interesting point in favour of the accession on 19 November 1453 BC for Amenhotep II. Since Parker was primarily concerned with the duration of the coregency of Amenhotep II and not with
the date of Thuthmosis III’s accession, he had wrongly assumed 1490 BC to be the correct date
for the senior partner’s accession. According to Parker’s reconstruction of the fragmentary
Papyrus Leningrad 1116A, it appears that grain for the sixth day lunar feast was issued five or
six days before the feast, whereas grain for the equally important new moon feast was issued
either only four days at most (since the pap has lacunae) before actual conjunction or at the most five days before a new moon by error declared one day late.
Although by calculation the new moon in this scheme of Parker actually occurred on III
Shemu 10, 9 June 18, 1420 BC, this provides a very restricted span of time for preparation of
bread and beer for the new moon feast. Consequently, day 11 is also considered a possibility, new moon day erroneously being declared one day too late. One might feel somewhat happier if
the time allowed for the preparation of bread and beer for the new moon feast were not so
restricted. But that was only the situation in Parker’s calculations based on the year 1490 BC
instead of 1504 BC. It turns out that in 1434 BC and 1409 BC a lunar month began on day 12,
thus providing the desired extra day for the preparation of bread and beer for the new moon
feast. While still allowing for a coregency of 2 years and 4 months starting in 1453 BC or 1428 BC, this solution fits the accession of Thuthmosis III in 1504 or 1479 BC. Once again, we see
that a precise rendering of the data provided by the monuments consistently leads to the same
conclusions. We have here yet another piece of evidence that the low chronology with
Thuthmosis III dated to 1490 BC fails the test miserably and that the year 1504 BC is the only
correct one. Even more importantly we have once again confirmed my hypotheses that every king of Dynasty 18 without exception acceded to the throne during a lunation. This is why I
deliberately tried to disprove my own hypothesis with the case of Amenhotep II’s accession date,
which other scholars will certainly try to do after me, but without success.
Dating Thuthmosis IV
Dating Thuthmosis IV is slightly more difficult to do because he is several generations removed
from the astronomical dates which are usually used to calculate Egyptian chronologies, and the debate over the proper interpretation of these observances has not been settled. Thuthmosis IV's
grandfather Thuthmosis III almost certainly acceded to the throne in 1504 BC, based upon the
two lunar observances during his reign. After his rule for nearly 54 years, Amenhotep II,
Thuthmosis IV's father, took the throne and ruled for at least 26 years after him, but has been
assigned up to at most 34-35 years in some chronological reconstructions (Wente, E.F.; and Van
Siclen, C.: "A Chronology of the New Kingdom," SAOC 39). Beckerath assigned Thuthmosis IV a
2-year coregency with his successor, Amenhotep III, but I have not seen any evidence to that
Amenhotep III’s astronomically based reign in 1413 BC may come to the rescue here (see hereafter). Since Thuthmosis IV’s last attested year is 8, Manetho’s reign length of 9 years, or 9
years and 8 months, rounded off to 10 years, is usually accepted for this pharaoh. So counting
backwards from Amenhotep III, we can date Thuthmosis IV fairly certain to at least 1422 or
more likely 1423 BC.
Thus the reign of Thuthmosis IV is problematic. His son Amenhotep III was supposedly under
the age of puberty upon accession, but at least 13 years old, and his father Amenhotep II was at
least 44, perhaps 52 years old at death. Thuthmosis IV was not the eldest son or designated
heir, and so must have been adult upon accession in order to effect a seizure of power. His own
mummy has been variously estimated at ages ranging from 30 to 40+. There is then enough play
in these data to support a reign of 9 years 8 months as per Manetho or one as much as a decade longer, circa 20 years.
Of all of Thuthmosis IV's dated monuments, three are dated to his first regnal year, one to his
fourth, possibly one to his fifth, one to his sixth, two to his seventh, and one to his eighth Year (Bryan, Betsy: “The Reign of Thutmose IV”, p. 6, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore,
1991). Two possible other dated objects, one dated to a Year 19 and another to a Year 20, have been suggested as belonging to him as well, but neither have been accepted as dating to his reign (Bryan, Betsy, “The Reign of Thutmose IV”, p. 6, The Johns Hopkins University Press,
Baltimore, 1991). The reading of the king in these dates are today accepted as referring to the
praenomen of Thuthmosis III – Menkheperre - and not to Menkhepe[ru]re Thuthmosis IV.
However, we have already encountered these two dates as even more problematic in the reign of
Thuthmosis III. So if the Egyptologists are wrong and the two dates do belong to Thuthmosis IV then Manetho’s 9 or 10 years may have to be regarded an error for 19 or 20. This problem
cannot be resolved right now. Due to the absence of higher dates for Thutmose IV after his Year
8 as found on the Konosso stela (BAR II, 823-829), Manetho's figures here are usually accepted.
Most scholars ascribe him a 10 year reign, within a small margin of error, because our
knowledge of this reign is so scanty. My Lunar Accession Dating method leads to the exact same conclusion, which is phenomenal.
There is only one recorded civil date known for Thuthmosis IV. It is the Konosso inscription
dated to Year 8, II Peret 2. It is a First Visible on 10 January 1416 BC, perfectly compatible with
a possible accession of Thuthmosis IV between probably II Akhet (September) in 1424 BC and II
Peret 2 on 12 January 1423 BC, just the day after Full Moon. I therefore pick this date as his likely accession date until proven otherwise. His accession date remains unknown, but this is
the only lead I have so far. The Lunar Accession Dating method thus suggests a reign length of
10 years 4-8 months, if Amenhotep III acceded in May 1413 BC, contrary to Manetho’s 9 years 8
months. I offer the following solution in (Egyptian) years and months, which shows that
Manetho still corresponds to the evidence so far collected:
King Reign From BC Josephus Lun.Acc. Difference Ahmosis I Sole II Shemu 9 (27 Jun) 1578 25y04m 21y01m -00y03m
Amenhotep I Joint III Shemu 9 (21 Jul) 1557 04y00m?
Sole III Shemu 9 (?) (20 Jul?) 1553 **) 20y07m 20y04m? -00y03m
Thuthmosis I Sole III Peret 21 (29 Mar) 1532 12y09m 13y06m +00y09m
Thuthmosis II Sole II Akhet 8 (14 Oct) 1519 13y00m 14y07m +01y07m
Total 71y08m 73y06m +01y10m
**) This is due to a theory of mine, which can be overridden if the death of Ahmosis I occurred either 3 months earlier or 3
months later. My theory takes the middle road, since we know nothing about the death of Ahmosis I.
King Reign From BC Josephus Lun.Acc. Difference Thuthmosis III Regency I Shemu 4 (4 May) 1504 21y09m 04y04m -02y00m
Hatshepsut & Thuthmosis III
Joint I Akhet 1 (2 Sep) 1500 15y05m
Thuthmosis III Sole II Peret 10 (5 Feb) 1484 30y10m 31y10m +01y00m
Amenhotep II Joint IV Akhet 1 (19 Nov) 1453 +2y04m *) +2y04m +00y00m
Sole III Peret 30 (18 Mar) 1450 25y10m 26y10m +01y00m
Thuthmosis IV Sole ? II Peret 2 (12 Jan) 1423 09y08m 10y4m +00y08m
Subtotal including the extra +2y04m of Amenhotep II’s Joint reign 90y05m 91y01 +00y08m
Subtotal excluding the extra +2y04m of Amenhotep II’s Joint reign 88y01m 88y09m +00y08m
Amenhotep III Sole !!? I Shemu 26 (3 May) 1413 36y05m 37y10m +01y05m
Death III Peret (February) 1375 - - -
Total including the extra +2y04m of Amenhotep II’s Joint reign 126y10m 128y11m +02y01m
Total excluding the extra +2y04m of Amenhotep II’s Joint reign 124y06m 126y07m +02y01m
*) This is added to Josephus by me, to make the comparison with my chronology work
King Reign Start from BC Josephus Lun.Acc. Difference Akhenaten Sole I Peret 8 (7 Dec) 1376 12y01m 11y01 -01y
Last seen! II Peret 8 (3 Jan) 1364 - - -
Akhenaten, hiatus 14 years until Tutankhamun
04y *) 04y +04y ±
Neferneferuaten 1360/59 10 years 09y00m 07y -02y ±
Smenkhkare 1353/52 12y05m 03y -09y05m ±
Tutankhamun 1350/49 12y03m 11y -01y ±
Ay II III Peret (22?) (10 Feb?) 1339 04y01m 04y01m +00y00m
Ramesses I II Peret 20 (?) (5 Jan?) 1322 01y04m 01y05m +00y01m
Subtotal including the extra +4y of Akhenaten’s hiatus 55y02m 55y01m -00y01m
Subtotal excluding the extra +4y of Akhenaten’s hiatus 51y02m 51y01m -00y01m
Seti I III Shemu 24 (7 Jun) 1320 - 11y00m +11y00m
Ship’s Log No Moon Y52 II Peret 27 (3 Jan) Year 52 = 1313
Era Sethos/Horemheb Y56 II Peret 8~27 (14-12-1310~2-1-1309) - - -
Ramesses II III Shemu 27 (7 Jun) 1309 66y02m 66y02m +00y00m
Era Sethos/Horemheb Y59 II Peret 8~27 (13-12-1307~1-1-1306)
Merenptah II Akhet 13 (11 Aug) 1243 19y06m 09y04m -10y02m
Seti II III Peret 3 (27 Dec) 1234 10y00m 05y10m -04y02m
Total including the extra +4y of Akhenaten’s hiatus 150y10m 147y05m -03y05m
Total excluding the extra +4y of Akhenaten’s hiatus 146y10m 143y05m -03y05m
*) This is added to Josephus by me, to make the comparison with my chronology work
We can see that the differences are amazingly small, which confirms the validity of Manetho as
well as my Lunar accession dating method and the monumental data combined, especially in
the High Chronology.
My solution Manetho Hatshepsut, reign from I Shemu 4 (4 May) in 1504 BC 19 years 9 months, 21 years 9 months
Thuthmosis III, sole reign from II Peret 10 (4 Feb) in 1484 BC 31 years 10 months 30 years 10 months - Amenhotep II, joint reign from IV Akhet 1 (19 Nov) in 1453 BC + 2 years 4 months + 2 years 4 months
Amenhotep II, sole reign from III Peret 30 (18 Mar) in 1450 BC 26 years 10 months 25 years 10 months Thuthmosis IV, reign from II Peret 2 (10 January) in 1423 BC 10 years 4 months 9 years 8 months Subtotal: 91 years 1 month 90 years 5 months (88 years 9 months) (88 years 1 month) Amenhotep III, reign from I Shemu 26 in 1413 BC 37 years 10 months, 36 years 5 months Amenhotep III dies? III Peret (February) in 1375 BC.
Total: 128 years 11 months 126 years 10 months (126 years 7 months) (124 years 6 months)
Difference: 2 years 1 month
The accession date of Amenhotep III is still a bit uncertain. If Manetho’s numbers are taken at
face value, Amenhotep III seems to accede in the month I Akhet around day 4 on 14 September
1414 BC. However, this does not coincide with Van Siclen’s observation that the accession date
of Amenhotep III must fall after IV Peret 26 and before or on III Shemu 2, based on observations of Amenhotep III’s three Jubilees. Van Siclen opted for an accession of Amenhotep III in the
beginning of II Shemu, but it could still be some days earlier or later. In my solution Amenhotep
III seems to accede most likely in the month II Shemu around day 4, 11 May 1413 BC, which
coincides nicely with Van Siclen’s observation. But from the Lunar Accession Dating point of
view one can then more likely argue for either the lunar Conjunction on I Shemu 26 or the Full Moon on II Shemu 11 on 18 May 1413 BC, corroborating Van Siclen’s suggestion. These dates
also fit nicely with Donald Redford’s argument, on the basis of three monuments concerning the
Nubian campaign, that the accession day of Amenhotep III must fall between the month I
Shemu and the month II Akhet day 23 (?) in the following year of the civil calendar (D. B.
Redford, ’On the Chronology of the Egyptian Eighteenth Dynasty’, JNES 25, 1966, 120-121).
Donald Redford himself speculated on III Shemu 2 as the accession date. However, Redford’s limits have been challenged.
Thuthmosis IV's rule is significant because he was the New Kingdom pharaoh who established
peaceful relations with Mitanni and married a Mitanian princess to seal this new alliance.
Thuthmosis IV's role in initiating contact with Egypt's former rival, Mitanni, is documented by Amarna letter EA 29, composed decades later by Tushratta, a Mittanian king who ruled during
the reign of Akhenaten, Thutmose IV's grandson. Tushratta states to Akhenaten that:
“When [Menkheperure], the father of Nimmureya (i.e. Amenhotep III) wrote to Artatama, my grandfather, he asked for the daughter of my grandfather, the sister of my father. He wrote 5, 6 times, but he did not give her. When he wrote my grandfather 7 times, then only under such pressure, did he give her”. (EA 29) William L. Moran:
“The Amarna Letters”, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992, p. 93
Evaluating these studies, we may now add Amenhotep II and Thuthmosis IV to our chronology
1. Amosis I 1578-1553 BC 25 (21) years 1578-1553 BC 25 (21) years
2. Amenhotep I 1557-1536 BC 21 years (4 joint) 1557-1532 BC 25 years (4 joint)
3. Tuthmosis I 1536-1523 BC 13 years 1532-1519 BC 13 years
4. Thuthmosis II 1523-1504 BC 19 years 1519-1504 BC 15 years
5. Thuthmosis III 1504-1450 BC 54 years 1504-1450 BC 54 years
6. Hatshepsut 1504-1484 BC 21 years (4 regent) 1504-1484 BC 21 years (4 regent)
7. Amenhotep II 1453-1423 BC 30 years 1453-1423 BC 30 years
8. Thuthmosis IV 1423-1413 BC 10 years 1423-1413 BC 10 years
The above two schemes support a coregency between Amosis I and Amenhotep I, emphasizing
the symbolic meaning of the Sothis rising on III Shemu 9 in Year 9 of Amenhotep I, and the
observation of the Sothis at Memphis. I find Scheme 2 most applicable, since it is closest to Manetho’s scheme and needs no special pleading concerning the reign length of either
Amenhotep I or Thuthmosis II as would be the case with scheme I. Scheme 2 can also be fully
argued for with the greatest certainty and will therefore eventually end up as part of my final
reconstruction of the 18th Dynasty.
If we compare the numbers of scheme 2 with those of Manetho and the highest attested year
marks, we can see that we are most likely on the right track with the lunation dating method:
18th Dynasty King Scheme 2 !! Reign length Manetho Attested
1. Amosis I 1578-1553 BC 25 (21) years 25 years (25 ys 4 ms) 22
2. Amenhotep I 1557-1532 BC 25 (21) years 21 (24) years (20 ys 7 ms) 21
3. Tuthmosis I 1532-1519 BC 13 years 13 years 4, 9?, 11?
4. Thuthmosis II 1519-1504 BC 15 years 13 years (12 ys 9 ms) 1, 2?
Sub total 74 years 72 (75) years (71 ys. 8 ms)
5. Thuthmosis III 1504-1450 BC 54 (sole 32) *) 26 years (25 ys 10 ms) 54
6. Hatshepsut 1504-1484 BC 21 years 22 years (21 ys 9 ms) 18, 20?
7. Amenhotep II 1453-1423 BC 30 (sole 27) 31 years (30 ys 10 ms) 26
8. Thuthmosis IV 1423-1413 BC 10 years 9 years (9 ys 8 ms) 8 *) If the 22 years of Hatshepsut is counted from her accession on I Akhet 1, six months into Year 5 of Thuthmosis III, during a First Evening Visible Crescent on 2 September 1500 BC. hen follows the sole reign of Thuthmosis III, counted as 25 years and 10 months from the death of Hatshepsut, in accord with Manetho’s reign length for Thuthmosis III. However, the 22 years were not reckoned in years of Hatshepsut but of those of Thuthmosis III. They terminated 4 to 6
years earlier. Thuthmosis III’s sole reign was then actually 29 to 31 years 10 months.
An 18 years later dating is equally strong and supports observation of the Sothis at Thebes.
The problems in this scenario come from other arguments, while I pertinently do not accept