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Article

Donald B. Redford

pharaoh of Egypt during the Eighteenth Dynasty (c. 1377–1359 BCE; Low date: 1352–1334 BCE), was the son of Amenhotep (Amenophis) III and Queen Tiye (Teya). He was named after his father and succeeded to the throne initially as Amenophis IV.

Akhenaten was one of six children born to the royal couple four girls and two boys His older brother Thutmose destined for the throne as heir apparent and his older sister Sat Amun claimed their father s affection from an early age and as was customary for a crown prince Thutmose took up duties as high priest of Ptah in Memphis Perhaps because of his unsightly appearance Akhenaten was deprived of the attention his parents might have shown and little care was taken in assigning an entourage of companions His main tutor was an otherwise unknown Parennefer who hailed from a small town rather than the capital When the court ...

Article

Alara  

A. K. Vinogradov

earliest ruler of the Kushite kingdom (ancient Sudan) attested in written sources. His personal name (also Alala, Arara, Aruru, or similar) is usually considered as native, so-called “Meroitic,” and thus impossible to etymologize in the present state of knowledge about this language. However, some similar appellatives in Egyptian (the official language of Kush for several centuries, due to the long-continued colonization) suggest its rendering as Irery/Ireru (“Roarer,” “Snarler”), possibly a metaphor for “lion.”

The historical data about Alara is extremely scanty. No personal belongings of his have been attested so far. The tomb Ku. 9 (completely plundered in ancient times) that was found in the Kushite royal cemetery near the modern village of el Kurru (south of the Fourth Cataract of the Nile) has recently been attributed to him but this identification is hypothetical.

In fact Alara is known only from several mentions in Kushite royal chronicles in Egyptian dated ...

Article

Jay Spaulding

first ruler of the Funj kingdom (in present-day Sudan), was nicknamed “Dunqas,” a term implying that one who came into his presence should bow down with an inclined head. In later years it would be said that ʿAmara’s father’s name was ʿAdlan, and that he came from Lul, a place on the White Nile. However, the kinship principles that brought ʿAmara to power were matrilineal; like all the members of his dynasty, he was eligible to rule because of his descent, through the female line, from a remote Funj ancestress, whom tradition remembered by the name of Bint ʿAyn al-Shams.

ʿAmara was said to have founded the kingdom in 1504–1505 and to have reigned until 1533–1534 Contemporary information about ʿAmara may be found in the account of the mystic and adventurer David Reubeni whose controversial subsequent role in European Jewish history while in the Sudan Reubeni claimed to be ...

Article

Amasis  

Roberto Gozzoli

pharaoh of Egypt (570–526 BCE), as Herodotus (II, 172) reports, was from Siuph in the district of Sais. The name of his father is not known, but the mother’s name, Tashereniset, survives on a statue of Amasis erected after he was made king.

There is no information about Amasis until the year 570 BCE As Herodotus recounts II 161 69 that year when Apries then the pharaoh was returning from an unsuccessful expedition against Cyrene a Greek colony on the Libyan coast the Egyptian army accused the pharaoh of having sent them to die Thus they chose the general Amasis as the new pharaoh When Apries sent an embassy to Amasis asking him to submit to the legitimate king the general replied in a vulgar manner A battle ensued at Memphis in which Amasis defeated his opponent s army seized power and took Apries prisoner Later Amasis had Apries strangled ...

Article

Lawrence M. Berman

Egyptian pharaoh (reigned c. 1991–1961 BCE), was the founder of the Twelfth Egyptian Dynasty, the heart of the Middle Kingdom Period of Egyptian history (c. 2040–1640 BCE). The first of a new line of kings, Amenemhat (an alternative form of the name is Amenemhet) was of nonroyal birth. He was probably the vizier (chief minister) Amenemhat who in c. 1997 BCE led an expedition of ten thousand men to the Wadi Hammamat, between the Nile and the Red Sea, to procure stone for the sarcophagus of Mentuhotep IV, the last king of the Eleventh Dynasty, as recorded in inscriptions at the quarry site.

The Eleventh Dynasty kings had begun the process of reuniting Egypt after the period of political fragmentation known as the First Intermediate Period (c. 2100–2040 BCE Amenemhat I took this process a step further Like his predecessors Amenemhat was of southern origin Mentuhotep means Mentu is ...

Article

Josef Wegner

Egyptian pharaoh (r. c. 1878–1842 BCE), was also known as Amenemmes III (the Greek version of the name). Amenemhat III was the sixth king of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt’s Middle Kingdom Period (a period which included Dynasties 11–13, c. 2050–1650 BCE With a reign of forty six years Amenemhat III was the longest ruling king of the Twelfth Dynasty a line of pharaohs who governed Egypt from the city of Itj Tawy modern el Lisht He was the son of Senwosret III Sesostris III with whom his early reign may have overlapped during a period of coregency His mother may have been Senwosret III s chief queen Khnumetneferhedjet Weret II The name Amenemhat the king s birth name means Amun is foremost and was used both by royalty and by commoners The name indicates both the importance of the god Amun during the Middle Kingdom and the origins ...

Article

Troy Leiland Sagrillo

was the ninth king (reigned c.1391–1353 BCE) of the Eighteenth Dynasty (c.1550–1295 BCE) of pharaonic Egypt. Upon ascending to the kingship in c. 1391 BCE, he bore the titulary “Neb-maat-Re; Amenhotep, Ruler of Thebes”; he is known in Greek as Amenophis and in Akkadian as Nibmuareya. His father was king Thutmose IV and his mother, Mut-em-wiya, was one of his father’s minor consorts. Amenhotep came to the throne as a child, no more than about ten years old, and he reigned at least thirty-eight years.

Amenhotep III s reign is characterized as being a political and artistic highpoint of the Egyptian empire of the Eighteenth Dynasty a period of peace following Egypt s aggressive expansion during the earlier reigns of Thutmose III and Amenhotep II With the exception of a military campaign in Regnal Year 5 against Nubian tribes in Kush Amenhotep s relations with his ...

Article

Awaw  

A. K. Vinogradov

earliest of the rulers of Kush (Ancient Sudan) so far attested in written sources. The form of the name is conjectural.

Awaw is briefly referred to as an enemy in the Egyptian “Execration Texts,” compositions of magical spells meant to protect the unnamed “customer(s)” (most likely a royalty, perhaps a pharaoh) from any sort of harm made by, or expected from, any potential adversary anywhere in Egypt and/or beyond it. Exorcisms of this kind would be written in black ink on certain ritual objects (pottery vessels of various forms—bowls, platters, etc., or figurines of clay, alabaster, or limestone, representing bound prisoners), which, in the course of a mass ceremony, would be ritually broken up or otherwise damaged and buried afterward.

As several groups of finds show the Execration Texts were composed of almost stereotypes for the given group of objects formulae The variant of the text reconstructed from the sherds ...

Article

Ay  

Joyce Tyldesley

influential Egyptian courtier who served under the late Eighteenth Dynasty kings Amenhotep III, Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV), and Tutankhamen. Following Tutankhamen’s untimely death, he claimed the throne, reigning for no more than four years (c.1327–1323 BCE). After his death, his name was erased from Egypt’s official history.

Ay’s parentage is unconfirmed. However, there is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that he was the brother of Queen Tiy, the commoner-born consort of Amenhotep III (reigned c. 1390–1352 BCE), and the father of Nefertiti, the commoner-born consort of Akhenaten (reigned c. 1352–1336 BCE Queen Tiy s father Yuya routinely used the title god s father which if it is to be read literally rather than as a priestly title translates as father in law of the king Ay too routinely used this title and while he makes no mention of any relationship with Nefertiti his wife claims to have been ...

Article

Jonathan P. Roth

Roman military leader and politician, was born in Tusculum, a town southwest of Rome, to a wealthy landowning family. Some of his ancestors had distinguished themselves in military service, but none had ever held office in Rome or been members of the Senate. Cato’s father died when he was still a child, and he grew up on a farm he had inherited. One of his neighbors, Lucius Valerius Flaccus, belonged to a powerful Senatorial clan; he and Cato shared the idea that Rome’s traditional values were being undermined by the more sophisticated Hellenistic culture. Although both were about the same age, Flaccus became Cato’s patron, supporting him financially and politically.

Cato was seventeen when Hannibal invaded Italy in 218 BCE and like virtually every Roman male of his age he went to war Given his social class Cato probably served either in the legionary cavalry or as the commander of ...

Article

Robert Fay

Cleopatra VII was the second daughter of Ptolemy XII Auletes, the king of Egypt. Although born in Alexandria, Egypt, she was a member of the dynasty of the Ptolemies. Ptolemy Soter, the dynasty’s founder, had come from the Greek-speaking region of Macedonia with Alexander the Great and established a kingdom in Egypt after Alexander’s death in 323 b.c.e. Upon her father’s death, Cleopatra became queen in 51 b.c.e., at the age of eighteen, ruling with her fifteen-year-old brother Ptolemy XIII. Fluent in Egyptian, unlike previous Ptolemies, Cleopatra sought to strengthen her support among Egyptians by claiming she was the daughter of Ra, the Egyptian sun god.

Encouraged by his advisers Ptolemy XIII exiled Cleopatra and claimed the throne as his own Cleopatra assembled an army from Syria but could not assert her claim to the throne until the Roman ruler Julius Caesar arrived Cleopatra aimed to restore ...

Article

Prudence Jones

queen of Egypt, was the last ruler in the Ptolemaic dynasty, which held power in Egypt from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE until the death of Cleopatra in 30 BCE. The Egyptian ruler referred to as Cleopatra was Cleopatra VII, daughter of Ptolemy XII, one of Alexander the Great’s Macedonian generals.

The identity of Cleopatra s mother is not known for certain She may have been the daughter of Ptolemy XII and his first wife Cleopatra V Cleopatra V disappears from the historical record sometime before 68 BCE however and it is unclear whether this disappearance occurred before or after Cleopatra s birth in 69 BCE It is possible that Cleopatra s mother may have been a concubine of Ptolemy XII who himself was the son of Ptolemy IX and a concubine The third option is that Cleopatra was the daughter of Ptolemy XII s second ...

Article

“Cleopatra was an Egyptian woman who made herself into an object of gossip for the whole world,” or so Boccaccio, the Renaissance humanist, wanted his readers to believe. But Boccaccio formed his opinion of her from classical Roman writers, and Cleopatra was the enemy of Rome. She was the last pharaoh of Egypt, but when Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 b.c.e. she was living in great state in Rome. Cleopatra was Caesar’s lover and she had a son by him. Twenty years later she would join Mark Antony in his opposition to Octavian (later known as Caesar Augustus). Together they would make a bid to establish an eastern empire to rival Rome.

Issues of politics and desire are at stake in representing Cleopatra In her image they are fascinatingly entwined and collapsed into each other which is one reason why the figure of Cleopatra has survived so strongly ...

Article

Jonathan P. Roth

Carthaginian military leader and politician was one of Carthage s greatest generals and the father of the famous Hannibal It has been suggested that Hamilcar s family came from Cyrene modern day Libya and that they were part of the landed nobility but we know next to nothing about his personal background not even the names of his father and mother Hamilcar was a child when the First Punic War broke out in 264 but would have been of military age when a Roman army invaded Africa in 256 He might have fought in this campaign and may also have seen service in Sicily in the late 250s and early 240s It seems likely that by this time he had become an officer in the navy since in 247 he was given command of the entire Carthaginian fleet in Sicily After launching a successful raid on southern Italy with this ...

Article

Jonathan P. Roth

Carthaginian military leader and politician, was born in Carthage, in what in now Tunisia, the son of Hamilcar Barca, an important Carthaginian general. Although we know a great deal about his military career, few details of his personal life survive. Several stories about Hannibal’s youth are related in ancient sources, but these must be taken with a grain of salt. One, related by the historian Livy, has a young Hannibal asking his father to take him on campaign to Spain. Hamilcar agrees but insists that his son swear eternal hostility for Rome. In any case, it is true that Hamilcar took his nine- or ten-year-old son to Spain. After Hamilcar’s death in 229 or 228, the eighteen-year-old Hannibal served as an officer in the army commanded by his brother-in-law Hasdrubal.

Around 226 Hannibal married Imilce the daughter of the king of Castulo a town in south central Spain According to ...

Article

Philip Kaplan

Carthaginian ruler and explorer. Almost nothing is known of his life. In classical sources, Hanno is called dux, imperator, and basileus (king) of the Carthaginians. The latter is likely a translation of the Punic sft, suffete, an executive position. The name Hanno is common among the leading families of Carthage; the explorer is sometimes identified, without justification, with the son of Hamilcar, the suffete who died in the battle of Himera in 480 BCE (e.g., in Justin’s Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus). Aside from several references in later works of classical scientists and geographers, Hanno’s journey is known primarily from a brief Greek account— Periplus, or Circumnavigation preserved in a single Byzantine manuscript Codex Palatinus Graecus 398 The text claims to be a version of an account presumably originally in Punic posted in the temple of Kronos Baʿal Hamon in Carthage A ...

Article

John Alden Williams

Egyptian Arab scholar, writer, patron, and administrator under the Ayyubid rulers of Aleppo, was born Jamal al-Din Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn Yusuf ibn Ibrahim ibn Abd al-Wahid al-Shaybani to a judge’s family in Qift in Upper Egypt, the town on the Nile nearest to the Red Sea, and thus on the most convenient route from Egypt to the two holy cities of Arabia for those going on the Hajj in that era.

There is ambiguity in the sources for his biography that may be due to the gratitude of the encyclopedic biographer and geographer Yaqut al Rumi or al Hamawi whose patron Ibn al Qifti became near the end of Yaqut s life Ibn al Qifti s maternal grandmother was an Abyssinian slave girl This was not a distinguished pedigree and typically such a woman would have been a slave concubine The chronicler Yaqut reports improbably that she was raised ...

Article

Stephen Cory

was the founder of the Aghlabid dynasty, which ruled over the province of Ifriqiya (Tunisia, Eastern Algeria, and Western Libya) in the name of the Abbasid caliphs from 800 to 909. However, due to contradictions between the historical sources, it is difficult to determine an accurate timeline for his life. What is clear is that Ibrahim took advantage of unrest in Ifriqiya, as well as his position as governor in a neighboring province, and the confidence that the caliph had in his abilities and his loyalty, to establish a dynasty that brought stability to the province for more than one hundred years.

From his childhood Ibrahim had been raised in a privileged environment since his father served in a number of military posts for the Abbasids including a tour as governor of Ifriqiyya between 765 and 767 Ibrahim was born in Baghdad but raised in Egypt where he obtained a ...

Article

A. K. Bennison

was the second and most successful ruler of the Idrisid dynasty, which ruled northern Morocco from 789 to 985. His full name was Idris ibn Idris ibn ʿAbd Allah al-Hasani.

Among his achievements was the construction of the city of Fez, a project initiated, but not fully realized, by his father, and the promotion of Arabo–Islamic culture among local Berber tribes. Today, Moulay Idris II is venerated as the “patron saint” of Fez, and his shrine stands close to the city’s great mosque, the Qarawiyyin. However, his saintly status dates to the fifteenth century, when the cult of holy men and women became common in Morocco, rather than to his own era. Regular use of “Moulay,” a title of respect meaning “my lord,” in reference to Idris II also probably dates to this era.

The sources for the life of Idris II are hagiographic We cannot be certain about the ...

Article

Imhotep  

Joyce Tyldesley

ancient Egyptian architect and administrator, lived during the earlier part of Egypt’s third dynasty (c. 2686–2613 BCE). A high-ranking courtier, he held numerous important positions; but he is best known today as the architect of Egypt’s first stone building, the Sakkara Step Pyramid, built for King Djoser (Netjerikhet). After death, Imhotep became one of the few nonroyal Egyptians to be worshipped as a nationally recognized god.

Imhotep built Djoser s mortuary complex in the Sakkara cemetery close to the city of white walls Memphis The complex included Egypt s first pyramid Imhotep s original design was for an unusual square solid stone structure with corners oriented to the flow of the Nile and the rising and setting of the sun This was then extended to form a two stepped structure cased in fine white limestone A third extension converted the square tomb to an oblong this then became the bottom ...