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The Annals of Thutmose III (2.2A)

(5,910 words)

Author(s): Hoffmeier, James K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Eighteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary These annals are among the most celebrated of ancient Egyptian historical texts. The annals are carved in raised relief on walls that surrounded the bark shrine of Amun which likewise was erected by Thutmose III. K. Sethe’s collation of the annals (Urk. IV:625–756), despite its predisposition to offer speculative restorations, has served as the standard trans…

First Beth-Shan Stela, Year 1 (2.4B)

(725 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary On his campaign in Year 1 (1294 or 1290 bce), Sethos I probably penetrated as far as Phoenicia. Then on his return southward, he found disturbances in the Beth-Shan district, just south of the Sea of Galilee. The local chiefs of Hammath and Pella (W and E of the Jordan) had blockaded nearby Rehob and seized the important center of Beth-Shan. So the pharaoh sent out th…

Karnak, Campaign From Sile to Pa-Canaan, Year 1 (2.4A)

(1,857 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary To celebrate his northern wars, about 1294/85 bce, Sethos I placed three registers of scenes on either side of the north doorway into the Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak temple in Thebes. On the east side, the registers read from bottom to top (normal in the New Kingdom), but the top register is lost. On the west side opinions differ as to whether one should read als…

The Tomb Biography of Ahmose of Nekheb (2.1)

(2,678 words)

Author(s): Hoffmeier, James K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Eighteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary Ahmose, the son of Baba and Abena, was a highly decorated naval officer from ancient Nekheb. In his tomb biography, he offers one of the most important historical witnesses to the rise of the 18th Dynasty. His distinguished career lasted from the reign of King Ahmose (1550–1525 bce) into that of Thutmose I (1504–1492 bce). Most significantly, his references to the battles against Avaris remain the only surviving…

Bilingual Edict of Ḫattušili I (2.15)

(2,623 words)

Author(s): Beckman, Gary
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Hittite Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Edicts and Proclamations Commentary The reign of one of the earliest Hittite Great Kings, Ḫattušili I, was plagued by dissension within his own family, culminating in several plots against his rule by members of the younger generation. In this document, which is presented in both Hittite and Akkadian in parallel columns,1 Ḫattušili justifies his disinheritance of one adopted son, Labarna, and the nomination of another, Muršili, as successor …

Karnak, Campaign Against the Hittites (undated) (2.4E)

(1,318 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary Originally, two whole registers on the west half of this wall dealt with northern wars of Sethos I: the bottom one, a clash with the Hittites, and the top one the king’s attack on Qadesh and Amurru. It is significant that the two are separated by a middle register that focuses on a wholly different locale — a war in the west with the Libyans. This suggests th…

Thutmose III (2.2)

(40 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Eighteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary The Annals of Thutmose III The Gebel Barkal Stela of Thutmose III The Armant Stela of Thutmose III Thutmose III (2.2)

The Gebel Barkal Stela of Thutmose III (2.2B)

(3,999 words)

Author(s): Hoffmeier, James K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Eighteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary Found in the temple built by Thutmose III at Gebel Barkal in the Fourth Cataract region, this stela offers an overview of Pharaoh’s military accomplishments and hunting heroics. While much of what is reported on the stela is recorded in the Annals, it does, nevertheless, provide important supplemental information. For instance, the duration of the siege of Me…

Karnak, Campaign to Yenoam and Lebanon (year 1 or Later) (2.4C)

(967 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary In this register, two successive war-scenes have Sethos I conquering Yenoam and [X-1], then Qdr in a land Hnm and [X-2] in [Leban]on. Lebanese chiefs fell timber for him. The mention of Yenoam may link the scenes with Year 1 (cf. Yenoam on the Year 1 stela, just above), but there is no guarantee that Yenoam did not feature in a later campaign. Qdr and Hnm are…

The Memphis and Karnak Stelae of Amenhotep II (2.3)

(3,336 words)

Author(s): Hoffmeier, James K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Eighteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary Amenhotep II (1427–1400 bce) succeeded his father, Thutmose III, and continued his father’s military policy in Syria-Palestine. In so doing, Amenhotep assured that the empire he received would be successfully maintained by his successors. He conducted at least two military campaigns into the Levant which are reported on two nearly identical stelae, the one disco…

Kululu 4 (2.22B)

(584 words)

Author(s): Hawkins, J. D.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Hittite Monumental Inscriptions; Hieroglyphic Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions Commentary This Hieroglyphic Luwian inscription was placed on a round-topped stele, running round all four sides, and broken off at the fourth line, but ending with an appended inscription across the top.1 It is unique in beginning, “I was Ruwa …,” where all other such have “I am….” It is clearly an example of the “speaking dead” addressing an audience from the tombstone, which is emphasized by the final…

The Armant Stela of Thutmose III (2.2C)

(1,253 words)

Author(s): Hoffmeier, James K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Eighteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary The Armant Stela of Thutmose III was discovered in the temple of Montu at Armant, near ancient Thebes. The inscription can be classified as a summary or collection (sḥwy) of the king’s athletic prowess, and it recalls the heroic events of the first campaign. “Summaries” are well attested as a scribal reporting device.1 As with the Annals and the Gebel Barkal Stela, reference is specifically made to the narro…

The Ten Year Annals of Great King Muršili II of Ḫatti (2.16)

(8,274 words)

Author(s): Beal, Richard H.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Hittite Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Annals Commentary This composition is known from five copies. The best preserved is KBo 3.4 + KUB 23.125. This appears to be a copy from approximately the reign of Muršili’s grandson Tudḫaliya IV (Grélois 1988:38–44). The other copies, KBo 16.1, KUB 19.38 (+) KUB 14.21, KBo 16.4, and KBo 16.2 (+) 113/e, appear to be slightly earlier (Grélois 1988:38–44). All of the copies were found at Boğazköy. The main copy, KBo 3.4 + KUB 23.125, as well as KUB 19.38 (+) KUB …

The (Israel) Stela of Merneptah (2.6)

(1,073 words)

Author(s): Hoffmeier, James K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary Discovered in 1896 by Sir Flinders Petrie in western Thebes, the Merneptah Stela instantly became one of the most important documents from the ancient Near East, thanks to the appearance on it of the name “Israel” (Petrie 1897, pl. 13–14). Now over a century later, this reference remains the earliest occurrence of Israel outside of the Bible. In recent years,…

The Battle of Qadesh — the Poem, or Literary Record (2.5A)

(4,444 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary In this epic clash of arms between Muwatallis II of Hatti and Ramesses II of Egypt in the latter’s Year 5 (1275 BC), it is now clear that Ramesses won the battle on the day, but Egypt lost politically by its results: Qadesh was not taken, Amurru returned to Hatti, and the Egyptian province of Upe (around Damascus) fell into Hittite control temporarily. Howeve…

Azatiwata (2.21)

(1,997 words)

Author(s): Hawkins, J. D.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Hittite Monumental Inscriptions; Hieroglyphic Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions Commentary The Karatepe inscriptions are famous as one of the ancient world’s longest bilingual texts. The hilltop fortress of Karatepe was defended by a circuit of walls with two monumental gateways, each decorated with sculptured orthostats and a bilingual version of the same inscription in Phoenician and Hieroglyphic Luwian. The lower North Gate is better preserved with mo…

The Battle of Qadesh — the “Bulletin” Text (2.5B)

(1,648 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary The so-called “Bulletin” is a compact text that gives details supplementary to the main account in the “Poem.” By its position in the first great tableau-scene, it functions as a label-text to that part of the scene (the king interrogating two Hittite spies). But its length and cohesion also ranks it as almost an independent text within the overall composition. The Battle of Qadesh — the “Bulletin” Text (2.5B) Subject: Josh 9; Nu…

Karnak, Campaign Against the Libyans (undated) (2.4F)

(1,193 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary As with all three registers on this western side, an initial scene is now hidden away around the corner, under later (22nd Dynasty) stonework that was part of the masonry for the great forecourt built by Shoshenq I, ca. 925 bce. The visible scenes are limited to a victorious battle, the king killing a Libyan leader, and the triumphal return to Egypt. Karnak, Campaign Against the Libyans (undated) (2.4F) Subject: Exod 3:19–20; 6:1…

The Victory Stela of King Piye (Piankhy) (2.7)

(8,004 words)

Author(s): Lichtheim, Miriam
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Late Inscriptions Commentary The great “Victory Stela of King Piye,”1 on which the king narrates his conquest of all of Egypt, is the foremost historical inscription of the Late Period. It equals the New Kingdom Annals of Thutmosis III in factualness and surpasses them in vividness. It also paints the portrait of a Nubian king who was forceful, shrewd, and generous. He meant to rule Egypt but he preferred…

Ramesses II (2.5)

(40 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary The Battle of Qadesh — the Poem, or Literary Record The Battle of Qadesh — the “Bulletin” Text Ramesses II (2.5)
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