Amenhotep III was a pharaoh from the 18th Dynasty, 1570-1293 BC. He was born
around 1386-1349 BC to Thutmosis IV and Queen Mutemwiya. He was also the
great-son of Thutmosis III and had many wives. One chief wife was Tiy, daughter of
Yuya and Tuya, whose mummies are among the best preserved in Egypt. Amenhotep had
two sons, The older died leaving Amenhotep IV to take the throne. Amenhotep IV would
later change his name to Akhenaten!
After taking the throne at the age of 12, Amenhotep III's reign lasted almost 40 years and
was one of relative peace. The stability and prosperity during his time was due to
international trade and a strong gold supply, not from conquest and expansionism. He
did lead campaigns, but mainly earlier on in his reign. Amenhotep built many splendid
temples and statuary, including many large lifelike statues of himself.
One of Amenhotep IIIís greatest building achievements was the Temple of Amun. This
is now in modern day Luxor. One of the famous reliefs on the east side of this temple
consists of a royal birth scene. This was built to establish the legitimacy of his rule by
depicting his birth directly from the god Amun. Amenhotep also built the third pylon at
the Temple of Karnak and initiated construction on the Hypostyle hall which contain
reliefs depicting the coronation of Amenhotep III by the gods of Egypt. Across the Nile
River, Amenhotep built a fabulous palace at Malkata which included small chapels, large
audience halls, parade grounds, villas for public officials, kitchens, offices workshops
and quarters for servants.
Yet another example of using sacred temples for quarrying in later times is the
destruction of the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III in the 19th Dynasty by Merneptah,
son of Ramesses II. All that remains on the original site of this temple are the huge,
seated statues of Amenhotep III, which later became known by the misnomer of the
Colossi of Memnon.
After 39 years of reign, Amenhotep died from an undefined illness, at the age of 50. His
tomb has been identified in the Valley of The Kings as tomb KV22, which is decorated
with a version of the "Book of What Is In The Underworld". His mummy is believed to
have been recovered in the Royal cache that was found in the tomb of Amenhotep II