People - Ancient Egypt: Amenemhet II (Nubkaure)
MIDDLE KINGDOM 12th Dynasty (1911-1877) This period is marked with foreign trade and enormous building
projects. There is a refinement in the making of jewelry. Prosperity and renaissance existed for a long period
of time, but eventually, internal problems become apparent.
Amenemhat II in Wikipedia
Nubkhaure Amenemhat II was the third pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. Not much is known about his reign. He ruled Egypt for
35 years from 1929 BC to 1895 BC and was the son of Senusret I through the latter's chief wife, Queen Nefru. His queen is not known;
although recently a certain king's wife' named Senet has been proposed. His prenomen or throne name, Nubkaure, means "Golden are the Souls
The most important monument of his reign are the fragments of an annal stone found at Memphis, reused in the New Kingdom. It reports events
of the first years of his reign. Donations to various temples are mentioned as well as a campaign to Southern Palestine and the destruction
of two cities. The coming of Nubians to bring tribute is also reported. Amenemhat II established a coregency with his son Senusret II in his
33rd Regnal Year in order to secure the continuity of the royal succession.
His pyramid was constructed at Dahshur and is only little researched. Next to the pyramid were found the tombs of several royal women some
of them were found undisturbed and still contained golden jewellery.
The court of the king is not well known. Senusret and Ameny were the viziers at the beginning of the reign. Two treasurers are known:
Merykau and Zaaset. The overseer of the gateway Khentykhetywer is attested on a stela, where he reports an expedition to Punt.
Amenemhat II and his son, Senusret II, shared a brief coregency, which was the last certain one of the Middle Kingdom. The stela of Hapu at
Aswan dates to the third year of Senusret II and to the 35th year of Amenemhat, meaning that Senusret was crowned in his father's 33rd
regnal year. The name of the younger king is placed ahead of the senior king, which may possibly indicate that Senusret was the dominant
personality in the coregency even before his father died, although such speculation is based on far too little evidence for a fair
evaluation one way or the other.
Amenemhet II (Nubkaure) in Tour Egypt
AMENEMHET II, 3RD KING OF THE 12TH DYNASTY
BY JIMMY DUNN.
Amenemhet II was the son of Senusret I and one of his chief queens, Nefru. He was the third ruler of Egypt's 12th
Dynasty. Like his father, he served the first part of his reign as co-regent (perhaps for only two years) with
Senusret I. His co-regency may have been short, but we are told that during this co-regency, Amenemhet II led a
Nubian expedition. Apparently, Amenemhet II also took his son, Senusret II as a co-regent, but also for only a
brief time before his own death. Amenemhet II apparently ruled Egypt for a period of some 30 years after his co-
regency. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt gives his reign as lasting from 1911 through 1877 BC, while Clayton
gives it as 1926 through 1895 BC.
His birth name, Amenemhet, means "Amun is at the Head". He is also sometimes referred to as Amenemhat II, or
Ammenemes II (Greek). His throne name was Nub-kau-re, which means "Golden are the Souls of Re". We are not sure of
who exactly Amenemhet II was married to but at least one source lists Mereret I. However, this source also lists
who is now considered to have been a 13th Dynasty queen. There was also apparently a prince named Amenemhetankh
and princesses Ita, Khnemet, Itiueret and Sithathormeret. Of course, another son was Senusret II, who succeeded
his father on the throne.
We have considerable knowledge of Amenemhet II's reigns because of a number of important documents. Some
historical information about the 12th Dynasty comes from a set of official records know as the genut, or "day-
books". There were found in the temple at Tod. Some of Amenemhet II's buildings also contain parts of these
annals. They describe the day to day process of running the royal palace. One very important set of annuals were
discovered at Mit Rahina (a part of ancient Memphis) that record detailed descriptions of donations made to
temples, lists of statues and buildings, reports of both military and trading expeditions and even royal
activities such as hunting. These documents not only provide information on Amenemhet II, but other kings of the
period as well.
Amenemhet II is probably best known for consolidating the work of his predecessors in foreign affairs. He
exchanged gifts with other rulers in the Mediterranean (Levant) region. We find jewelry inscribed with his name in
royal tombs at Byblos in Lebanon, as well as local copies of Egyptian jewelry. These items were particularly
prevalent in the tomb of a local prince named Ipshemuabi. In addition, native rulers at Byblos even wrote short
inscriptions in hieroglyphs, held the Egyptian title of count, and made references to Egyptian gods. They even
acquired royal and private statuary.
On the other hand, four bronze boxes found at the temple of Montu at Tod and inscribed on their lids with the name
of Amenemhet II bore a large number of silver cups of Lavantine and Aegean origin. There were also cylinder seals
and lapis Lazuli amulets from Mesopotamia. These items were probably either a gift, or tribute, and it is
noteworthy that at the time, silver was more rare then gold in Egypt, so also more valuable.
In addition, Egyptian evidence from this period has been found in Crete at Knossos, and common Minoa pottery,
called Kamares ware, has been found from this period at Lahun and in a tomb at Abydos in Egypt. There is also an
increase in the mention of Levantine names, many of whom were possibly domestic servants, within Egypt. The annals
found at Mit Rahina also identify the Syrian northern city of Tunip as an Egyptian trading partner.
However, the annals mentioned above provide some evidence that the sweeping peace with the Levant was probably
more selective then formerly believed, because apparently Egypt had treaties with only certain countries in the
region. Herodotus even speaks of Asiatic wars about this time (or only slightly later).
In fact, these same annals also refer to a small group of Egyptians who enter Bedouin territory (probably
referring to the Sinai) in order to "hack up the land", and two more campaigns were directed against unknown
walled cities. These towns were referred to as "Aamu" (Asiatic), and 1,554 prisoners were reported to have been
taken by the Egyptian forces. This may very well be the reason we find the increase in Levantine names working as
domestic servants. There were also expeditions to the south and the biography in the tomb of a Amenemhet at Beni
Hassan mentions an expedition to Kush (Upper, or southern Nubia) and also a visit to the East African kingdom of
Punt by the king's official, Khentykhetaywer. This trip was made in the 28th year of Amenemhat II's reign.
One story during the time of Amenemhet II tells of the travels of a ship captain who had been to a magic island in
the sea far south beyond Nubia. The sailor told the vizier (prime minister) about a tempest which arose suddenly
and drove the ship towards a mysterious land. He suddenly heard a noise like thunder, and saw a huge serpent with
a beard. Upon hearing that the sailor was sent by the pharaoh, the serpent let him go back, with gifts to
"Amenemhet". It told him that it was Amon-Ra’s blessing that has made this island rich and lacking nothing. Upon
hearing this amusing story, "Amenemhet II" ordered it to be documented on a papyrus. The story is known to
historians as "The Shipwrecked Sailor".
Domestically, Amenemhet II failed in one important respect. Under the rule of his predecessors, nomarchs, who were
basically the governors of the various nomes (provinces), had been personally appointed by the king. This was a
measure taken to assure the centralization of government. The First Intermediate Period was at least partially
caused the chaos resulting from strong regional rulers who destabilized this central control. However, Amenemhat
II apparently allowed this important office to revert back to a hereditary position.
The nomarchs soon took advantage of this change by adapting pretentious titles sometimes imitating those of the
royal court. However, Amenemhat did keep a firm hand on these matters and appears to not let these local rulers
forget their allegiance to the crown. In return for royal favors, they were expected to help protect the Egyptian
borders, to undertake expeditions for the king and to generally act as his deputies.
In fact, the nomarchs began to disappear during the time of Senusret III because of a practice that was probably
initiated by Amenemhet II. The children of nomarchs were sent to the king for their training, afterwards being
sent to diverse posts. This ended up dissipating the power of the local nomarchs. Amenemhet II does not appear to
have done much building, unlike many of his predecessors. Little is known of any building works with the exception
of his Pyramid, though some projects may have been usurped by future rulers. Amenemhet II built his pyramid in
Dahshure, for reasons we do not know. His two immediate predecessors, Amenemhet I (pyramid) and Senusret I
(pyramid) had built their pyramids at Lisht near the Fayoum. Arnold refers to Amenemhet II's pyramid as a new
phase in pyramid development, that incorporates both ancient design with experimental components.
His is also attested to by a stele with his name found in the Wadi Um Balad, a gateway at Hermopolis, a large
sphinx with his inscription now in the Louvre museum, and he is mentioned in several inscriptions near Aswan,
together with his son.
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