Egyptian Timeline:

New Kingdom (1570 B.C.1070 B.C.)

Prehistoric and Predynastic Periods First Intermediate Period The Middle Kingdom Second Intermediate Period New Kingdom Third Intermediate Period Late Period Graeco-Roman Period Byzantine Period Early Dynastic Period Old Kingdom
Dynasty 18 through Dynasty 20, known as the New Kingdom, witnessed a time of international prestige and prosperity for Egypt. The kings of this period conducted extensive military [14770], diplomatic and trade relations with Nubians as far south as the Fourth Cataract in Nubia, with the Hittite Empire and the city states as far north as far as the Euphrates River in Syria, and with other Mediterranean states. In some areas Egypt exercised outright control. Several New Kingdom pharaohs (Thutmes IV, Amenhetep III and Rameses II) strengthened their international relations by marrying the daughters of foreign monarchs, and building Egyptian temples in foreign outposts [14278]. Foreigners were also active in all levels of Egyptian society, from slaves to personal aides to the king. Egyptian religion, language and art received some influences from these foreign contacts. 14770 14278
Foreign tribute and agricultural prosperity during the New Kingdom provided the means to enlarge and build new state temples and cities [17344]. The site of Thebes, modern Luxor, became powerful as the principal cult center of the god Amen-Ra and received a great deal of the wealth from the empire [14236]. Temple building in stone increased in scale at other cult centers such as that of Ptah at Memphis, Ra at Heliopolis, and Osiris at Abydos. Kings also built a series of memorial temples (now physically separated from their tombs) for themselves along the edge of the cultivation on the Theban West Bank [13252]. The traditional religious institutions weathered a serious threat during the latter half of the Dynasty 18, when Amenhetep IV (also known as Akhenaten) rejected Egypt's former polytheistic religion and replaced it with his own monotheistic religion focused on one god, Aten [16661]. Akhenaten destroyed images of Amen throughout the country. He moved both the religious and the political capital of Egypt to a new city, which he called Akhetaten (modern Tall al-Amarnah). Tutankhamen rejected these new religious ideas and restored the old, by beginning a new temple building program [14893]. This was continued by his successors [14281]. The political capital was Memphis (except during the Amarna Period) until Rameses II built a vast new city called Pi Rameses in the Nile Delta. 17344 14236 13252 16661 14893 14281
Wealth in Egypt was also channeled into the building of tombs during the New Kingdom, particularly on the Theban West Bank. While the Valley of the Kings was the final resting place of the New Kingdom rulers, from Dynasty 19 on the Valley of the Queens served as the burial ground for many queens and princes as well [15035]. Nobles also had their tombs built in the Theban hills. Previous to the Amarna Period, non-royal tomb art and architecture focused on the noble, his family and his achievements [14868]. After the Amarna Period the non-royal art was centered on the pharaoh and/or formulaic books of the afterlife as in the royal tombs. 15035 14868
The stability and prosperity of Egypt began to decline toward the end of Dynasty 19, when there were a series of power struggles for the throne. Among those who reigned during this period were an usurper (Amenmeses), a young child (Siptah) [15615], his regent and stepmother Queen Tausert [14692] and her consort Bay. 15615 14692
By Dynasty 20, the Hittite empire had collapsed and left a void, which was partly filled by the powerful Assyrians. On the home front during late Dynasty 19 and Dynasty 20, the Egyptians had to fight off numerous invasions of Nubian, Libya, Sea Peoples, and other international factions [16732]. 16732
Other domestic issues threatened Egypt: insufficient Nile floods, the inflation of the price of grain, a harem conspiracy which might have lead to Rameses III's death, and strikes by the tomb builders protesting the arrears in food payments due them from the stores of the memorial temples on the Theban West Bank [10205]. Many of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings were robbed during this period. Simultaneously, there was a rise in power of the High Priest of Amen at Thebes, which lead to the downfall of Rameses XI, the final king of the New Kingdom. 10205
Published or last modified on: August 23, 2002
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