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 THE NEW KINGDOM (1565 to 1085 BC) 

 

 

Egypt was about to experience its most glorious epoch that would be expressed through the construction of many magnificent temples. Its inheritance from the past grew as each pharaoh in turn tried to complete the work of his predecessors, adding a room or temple bearing his name that would remind future generations of his work.

Of these the most beautiful temple was of course at Thebes, the mystical center which was the spiritual heart of Egypt. It was said that at Luxor the stones had a soul which lived eternally. When darkness fell, the light of the stars lit them again, and they filled the luminous Kas of the pharaohs with the light from the sun. For one hour only, these stars made a pilgrimage to earth to fill the ancient containers of incense and myrrh before returning to the king of the gods.

Like the cathedrals of our ancestors, these stones express the life and love of those who had cut, hauled, assembled and now, from the other side of the great river, contemplate with nostalgia of the glory that had been Thebes and Luxor.

These stones have a history that is connected directly to the men who worked them under the eye of the sacred Re, and hide within them mysteries we are still trying to discover. They make us forget the present and relive the past, and invite us to search for the mystical, for silence and the absolute, by immersing ourselves completely in the divine.

Many of our scholars go to Egypt for several years and remain in that beautiful land, where the wind blows mountains of sand like pieces of straw, as if to protect the mysterious past from the rigors of time!

The scholars want to go back in time to relive for an instant the incredible vision of temples with walls of gold decorated with precious stones, the ground covered with silver, and where only one ray of sun was needed to illuminate the immense pillars and create a fantastic ballet of sparkling lights.

 

A M O N  :  THE INVISIBLE SUPREME GOD

 

"Imem" in Egyptian means "the hidden". He was the life, the power and the source of the universe, and he directed both the great and small. His earthly home was at Karnak. He was the ONE of whom Champollion said :

"Amon, whose name means occult or hidden, was the first leader of the gods, the SPIRIT which is in all things, the creator SPIRIT of all people, and illuminates everything which is in shadow."

This was also written in the Hymn to Amon (at Leyde) :

Amon, Re and Ptahs embrace all the gods.
Amon is secret,
He has the face of Re (the light)
and his body is that of Ptah, (eternal life)

It was not just by chance that "The Jubilee of SED" (to celebrate 30 years of the pharaoh’s reign) was patronized by the god Ptah.

Amon was the wheel whose spokes all led to the center.

 HE IS THE UNCHANGING BEING OF LIGHT CAPABLE OF MULTIPLYING TO INFINITY

In the texts of Akhmenou :

"Amon is the lord of sky and earth, of the water, of mountains, and the Creator of all that exists. He is "the king of the gods" whose WORD created everything for eternity.

The word "Amon" in the Egyptian language can be translated also as a prayer, so that one could say his name to invite him into one’s soul, "come to me."

 

THE XVIIIth Thebain dynasty

 

After destroying Avaris, pharaoh AHMOSIS 1st made THEBES the capital of the two reunified kingdoms. His son AMENHOTEP 1st (in Greek Amenophis 1st) ruled from 1540 to 1530 BC. His name means "Amon is satisfied". He succeeded AHMOSIS, and undertook the construction of the temple to Amon at Karnak. As a great conqueror, he extended the jurisdiction of Egypt north of the Euphrates. This started the first clashes with two new forces : the Hittite empire and the kingdom of Mitanni.

His son TOUTHMOSIS 1st (1530 to 1520 BC) added to the splendor of THEBES and ABYDOS. At Karnak he built a large pillared room with pylons and huge obelisks. The cult of the god THOT, (considered to be the WORD of the god Ptah), was assimilated with that to AMON (the hidden god). He was the first pharaoh to build himself a tomb in the famous Valley of the Kings to the west of Thebes.

THOUTMOSOS II (1520 to 1540 BC) succeeded his father and his wife (who was his half sister Hatchepsout) in 1530BC. However, after his sudden death in 1504BC, Hatchepsout usurped the throne for her infant nephew THOUTMOSIS IIIrd, who waited 20 years before he became sole ruler of Egypt.

 

 The Reign of Queen  : HATCHEPSOUT

 

In order to ensure his claim to the throne, Hatchepsout not only became regent but also married her young nephew so that she no longer had to bow down to his power. Her architect and lover SENENMOUT built for her a large temple at Deir el-Bahari in the valley of the goddess Hathor, beside the funeral temple and pyramid of Mentouhotep 1st, a king in the X1th Dynasty (2060BC).

 

 

Senenmout designed for the queen a grandiose structure that had 3 large levels joined together by a framework of greenery, brought at great expense from the wonderful country of Pount, where myrrh and incense grew to perfume the entire region. This beautiful complex was (like the hanging gardens of Babylon) watered by a water system which fell in cascades.

One gained access to the first terrace by a walkway edged with sphinx surrounded by majestic pylons and obelisks that rose high up to the sky.

A large ramp gave access to the second level, where the temples to the goddess Hathor and the god Anubis were to be found. On the walls, scenes from the life of the queen were drawn, especially her expeditions to the marvelous country of POUNT, which is no longer there today.

On the top level, there was a central portico that towered above the other doors, opening on to a great courtyard surrounded by a double row of columns. In the center was the hypogeum of Hatchepsout; to the right the temple of the sun god Horus at his zenith (Herakhty), and to the left a chapel consecrated to his dead father Thoutmosis 1st.

 

THOUTMOSIS III, who ruled (unaided) from 1484 to 1458 BC

 

 

When Hatchepsout died, he finally was able to succeed her (in 1484 BC). In a fit of vengeance he had all the inscriptions of his wife removed from the monuments, and replaced them with his own. He did this so efficiently that it is difficult now to determine which buildings were commissioned by her, and which were built by her unhappy nephew.

All this does not detract from the exploits of Thoutmosis III, who won two victories over the Mitannians, (at Quadesh and KarKhemish in 1483BC). He also won a resounding victory at Meggido, over a coalition of many Syrian princes, who banded together against him Because of these victories, Thoutmosis expanded his empire as far as Lebanon and included Crete, Cyprus, Canaan and the Cyclades islands.

He was very just and generous and pardoned his former enemies, allowing them to keep their customs, their temples and religions. This did not however stop the expansion of the Egyptian rites and culture throughout the world at that time.

 

THOUTMOSIS IV (1425 1408BC) the son of Amenophis II. The period of these two pharaohs was peaceful and a successful era. There was even a treaty of peace and mutual assistance made between Egypt and Mitanni, which was sealed by the marriage of Thoutmosis IV to princess MITENIYA, the daughter of Artatama, king of Mitanni.

 

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