Thursday, May 26, 2011

Page 15: The Founding of the New Kingdom

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The founding of the New Kingdom was not only due to the leadership of the pharaoh, but also owed much to the bravery and initiative of individual soldiers in the Egyptian army. In fact, much of what we know about the wars of Kamose, Ahmose, Amunhotep I, and Thutmose I is contained in the autobiographical texts of marines buried at Elkab. One of the lengtheist and most detailed inscriptions belong to a soldier ho led a long and successful military career - Ahmose son of Ibana (his mother's name). During the rule of the pharaoh Ahmose, the soldier Ahmose succeeded his father, Baba, who had fought for the king Seqenenre, and went north with the ruler to take part in the attack on the Hyksos capital, Avaris. He served on the ships Savage Bull, Northerner, and Glorious Appearance in Memphis, and followed on food when the king rode out on his chariot (the reference to the chariot in his autobiography records the earliest thus far attested use of this vehicle by ancient Egyptians). After the fall of Avaris, Ahmose son of Ibana accompanied the victorious Theban army in its siege of Sharuhen.

Ahmose son of Ebana also campaigned in Nubia under the kings Ahmose, Amenhotep I, and Tuthmose I. Under Tuthmose I, Ahmose son of Ebana must have reached the site of the ancient Egyptian boundary stele at Hagar el-Merwa, between the Fourth and Fifth cataracts (about four hundred kilometers north of Khartoum, as the crow flies). Under the command of the same ruler, Ahmose son of Ibana fought the armies of Naharin (a name meaning "river land," at this time indicating the kingdom of Mitanni on the northern Euphrates) ini far northern Syria, and saw the erection of the ancient Egyptian victory stela on the Euphrates. This Egyptian soldier had stood at the northern and southern limits of the ancient Egyptian Empire, which he would have seen as the endges of the ordered world.

Ahmose son of Ebna owed much of his wide-ranging experience to the pharaoh Thutmose I, who shared neither the blood of his predecessors nor their relatively introverted and restrained vision for ancient Egypt's power. Tuthmos I roused the sleeping colossus that was early New Kingdom Egypt and established the foreign geographic goals towards which all of his militarily active successors would literally aim and shoot. Thutmose I reinaugurated the 18th Dynasty, and in terms of foreign policy, he was the true founder of the New Kingdom, establishing ancient EGyptian influence beyond the Fourth Cataract at Kurgus in the far south, and setting up his victory setela on the Euphrates in the equally distant north. In Nubia Tuthmose I further developed Nubian administration as a mirror of ancient Egypt's own. In Syria-Palestine he began what would become during the course of the 18th Dynasty a series of destabilizing campaigns that created a
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