CAIRO – 3 August 2022: Amenhotep III was one of the rulers of the 18th Dynasty. He is considered the greatest king ever in the history of ancient Egypt.
Amenhotep III was dubbed “The Magnificent” in the 14th century BC. He brought unprecedented amounts of gold to his kingdom, built temples and statues, including the famous Colossi of Memnon and many religious buildings, and portrayed his wife, Queen Tiye, in an unprecedented egalitarian manner.
Amenhotep III is the son of Pharaoh Thutmose IV and his wife, Mutemwiya. Thutmose IV was not very famous, however, he did some decent construction, especially in the Temple of Amun in Karnak, where he explicitly identified himself as the sun god Ra.
Unfortunately for the young prince Amenhotep III, his father did not live long. He died when he was only 12 years old. Amenhotep III ascended the throne as a boy king, exercising his only military campaign dated when he was 17 years old in Kush. In his mid-teens, Amenhotep III was not focusing on the army, but his one true love, a woman named Tiye. She is mentioned as "The Great Royal Wife”.
She was a really amazing woman. Her parents, Yuya and Tuya, were non-royal officials. Her father was a chariot driver and a priest, while her mother was a priestess. Yuya and Tuya's tomb was discovered in 1905, and archaeologists found a lot of riches there.
DNA testing performed on their mummies in recent years has proven key in identifying bodies. One of Tiye's brothers was a high priest named Anen. Many have suggested that the famous official of the 18th Dynasty Ay, the alleged father of Queen Nefertiti and eventual pharaoh after King Tut, was one of her brothers.
Tiye married her husband when they were very young, but the most interesting thing about her is the way she is portrayed in the statues. Amenhotep III ordered to deliberately build statues showing him as the King and Tiye in the same size, which indicates their importance in the royal court. In a culture where visible size was everything, bigger was better, so they were portrayed as a large king and an equally large queen.
This equal portrayal is largely unprecedented, as it shows Amenhotep III's devotion to his wife, allowing her to exercise an influence similar to his. Tiye even took on masculine and royal poses, appearing on her throne as the likes of the Sphinx who crushes his enemies. Now, she's not only equal to the King in the way she is portrayed, she also plays his part.