|A granite bust of Thutmose IV
|Pharaoh of Egypt
|1401 B.C.E. – 1391 B.C.E. or
1397 B.C.E. – 1388 B.C.E., 18th Dynasty
|1391 B.C.E. or 1388 B.C.E.
Thutmose IV (sometimes read as Thutmosis or Tuthmosis IV and meaning Thoth is Born) was the Eight Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. He ruled Egypt from either 1401 B.C.E. to 1391 B.C.E. or 1397 B.C.E. to 1388 B.C.E. and is ascribed a reign of nine years and eight months by Manetho. This figure is affirmed by a year 8 stela from his reign in Nubia. Thutmose IV was once thought to have enjoyed a much longer reign of 34 or 35 years but this fact is not substantiated by the small number of monuments which he left behind as compared to those of his son Amenhotep III, and the complete absence of attested year dates for him after his eighth year. He was the grandfather of Akhenaten. Although he did not break with the priests of Amon, he did perform devotions to Aten. His main achievements were a peace treaty with the Mitanni Empire, and suppressing rebellion in the Palestine–Syria and Nubian regions of the Egyptian empire.
Thutmose was born to Amenhotep II and Tiaa. He took the throne name of "Men-kheperu-re," which means "Everlasting are the Manifestations of Ra."
During his ten-year rule, he led an expedition into the Palestine-Syria region of his empire where local revolt was threatened, which he suppressed. Perhaps his most significant accomplishment, though, was a peace-treaty with the Mitanni Empire. This empire thrived in Mesopotamia from about 1600 B.C.E. until it fell to the Hittites in the 1300s B.C.E. for contested Egypt's control of Syria. Thutmose IV's peace treaty resulted in profitable relations between the two empires until the fall of Mitanni. After much negotiation, he married a Mitannian princess to seal the treaty. The city of Alalakh was also transferred to Mitanni control as part of the treaty.
In his eighth year around 1393 B.C.E. he also suppressed a revolt in Nubia. This was important to protect access to Nubian gold reserves. Thutmoseand was referred to in stele as the Conqueror of Syria, but little else has been pieced together of his military exploits.
Like most Thutmosids he built on a large scale. He completed an obelisk started by Thutmose III, which at 32m (105 ft.) was the tallest ever erected in Egypt, at the Temple of Karnak. This is now in Rome.
Thutmose's most celebrated accomplishment was the restoration of the Sphinx at Giza and subsequent commission of the Dream Stele. According to Thutmose's account on the Dream Stele, while out on a hunting trip he stopped to rest under the head of the Sphinx, which was buried up to the neck in sand. He soon fell asleep and had a dream in which the Sphinx told him that if he cleared away the sand and restored it he would become the next Pharaoh. After completing the restoration he placed a carved stone tablet, now known as the Dream Stele, between the two paws of the Sphinx. Part of the inscription translates as:
- "Now the statue of the very great Khepri (the Great Sphix) restin in this place, great of fame, sacred of respect, the shade of Ra resting on him. Memphis and every city on its two sides came to him, their arms in adoration to his face, bearing great offerings for his ka. One of these days it happened that price Tuthmosis came traveling at the time of midday. He rested in the shadow of the great god. (Sleep and) dream (took possession of me) at the moment the sun was at zenith. Then he found the majesty of this noble god speaking from his own mouth like a father speaks to his son, and saying, 'Look at me, observe me, my son Tuthmosis. I am your father, Horemakhet-Khepri-Ra-Atum. I shall give to you the kingship (upon the land before the living)...(Behold, my condition is like one in illness), all (my limbs being ruined). The sand of the desert, upon which I used to be, (now) confronts me; and it is in order to cause that you do what is in my heart that I have waited."
Some Egyptologists theorize that because Amenhotep II did not name Thutmose IV his co-ruler, he did not intend for him to be his successor and that the restoration of the Sphinx and text of the Dream Stele was meant to bestow legitimacy upon his unexpected kingship.
Thutmose IV was buried in the Valley of the Kings, in tomb KV43, but his body was moved to the mummy cache in KV35, where it was discovered by Victor Loret in 1898. When the tomb was excavated, it was found not to have been entirely sacked and some original furnishing was found. An examination of his body shows that he was very ill and had been wasting away for the final months of his life prior to his death. This explains his short rule.
The peace with the Mitanni Empire was profitable for Egypt, enabling trade. It is possible that Thutmose IV's personal although not public devotion to Aten laid the foundation for the short-lived Atenistic revolution under his grandson, Akhenaten.
- Beckerath, Jürgen von, Chronologie des Pharaonischen Ägypten (Mainz: Philipp von Zabern, Mainz, 1997, ISBN 9783805323109), 190.
- "The Mitanni Empire," Tour Egypt, The Mitanni Empire Retrieved January 22, 2008.
- Dunn, Jimmy, "Thutmois IV of the 18th Dynasty," Tour Egypt, Thutmosis IV of the 18th Dynasty Retrieved January 22, 2008.
ReferencesISBN links support NWE through referral fees
- Bryan, Betsy M. The Reign of Thutmose IV. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. ISBN 9780801842023
- Carter, Howard, Percy E. Newberry, and Theodore M. Davis. The Tomb of Thoutmôsis IV. London: Duckworth, 2001. ISBN 9780715631201
- Forbes, Dennis C. Imperial Lives: Illustrated Biographies of Significant New Kingdom Egyptians. V. 1. The Late 17th Dynasty Through Thutmose IV. Sebastopol, CA: KMT Communications, 2005. ISBN 9781879388086
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