Ahmose I

1570 - 1546 BC


 18th Dynasty

The first king of the New Kingdom, Ahmose came from a line of Theban rulers (17th Dynasty) who were campaigning against the rulers of Egypt ­ the Hyksos. Following the death of his brother, Kamose (it is not known whether Kamose died from natural causes or in battle), Ahmose then became head of the Theban royal line and took up the challenge to rid Egypt of the hated foreigners. Kamose and Ahmose were sons of Seqenenre-Tao II and Queen Ahhotep, Seqenenre-Tao's mummy was found in the cache of mummies from TT320 ­ the skull shows considerable damage, and relates how he did not die an easy death in battle. It is thought that when he first inherited his family throne, Ahmose was roughly ten years old, at this point his mother, Ahhotep became co-regent with him until he reached 16 and became king in his own right.

Expulsion of the Hyksos in Year 16 of his reign.
Ahmose I slowly drove the Hyksos back to their capital Avaris (location on one of the eastern branches of the Nile in Lower Egypt), once here Ahmose laid siege to the city. Ahmose had troubles of his own with his kingdom, he left the siege of Avaris in the control of his military commanders so that he was free to placate a rebellion in the Theban region. When Ahmose returned to Avaris he found that negotiations had been taking place between the Hyksos and his military commanders ­ the Hyksos were allowed to leave Egypt gracefully in return for surrendering the city (1532 BC).

...However, Ahmose was not going to let his enemy escape so easily ­ the Egyptian army pursued the Hyksos people into southern Palestine to Sharuhen. The city was put under siege by the Egyptians, after three years the Hyksos once more fled this time into Syria. Again the Egyptians followed, but Ahmose finally returned home to Egypt.

On his return Ahmose sailed south to Nubia to face another uprising, the Nubians had taken the opportunity to claim back the land in Nubia which pharaohs of previous dynasties (11th & 12th) had conquered. Ahmose eventually subdued all opponents as far as the Third Cataract - once this campaign had ended he established Ahmose Sitayet (a loyal subject) as the Viceroy of Nubia based at Aswan and at Elephantine.

The tombs of two of Ahmose's soldiers give accounts of the campaigns (Ahmose son of Ebana, and Ahmose Pennekheb).

Ahmose was required to return to Nubia a second time, but little is known as to the cause of this need to return or the outcome of this campaign (similarly little is known of Ahmose campaign in the Levant).
Once Ahmose had cleared Egypt of foreigners and once more calmed the waring tribes of Nubia he could concentrate on the internal matters of Egypt. During the period of occupation by the Hyksos, both the country and government had fallen into ruin - Ahmose had to reorganise the tax system, re-open trade routes as well as repair canals, dikes and irrgation systems.

The begin of the rise of Amun
Ahmose also honoured his god for the many victories Ahmose had won - he edowed the temple of his capital city with many gifts, this act was to set a precedent for future kings of Egypt, one which begin the rise of Amun over all other gods of Egypt.

The Tombs of Ahmose I

Ahmose I died around 35 years old. It is thought that he actually had two tombs - the first a ceremonial tomb at Abydos and a second at Thebes (although the location of this tomb is unknown).

The tomb at Abydos consisted of many parts; a cliff temple, the ceremonial tomb, a pyramid and a temple to the pyramid.  Little remains of Ahmose's pyramid - at the time of construction it was 70 metres square (the last true pyramid to be built in ancient Egypt). Scenes from the pyramid-temple are thought to shown scenes of Ahmose and his victory over the Hyksos.

 Remains of the Pyramid of Ahmose I

 Plan of Ahmose I's tomb at Abydos

Ahmose's Theban tomb - this tomb had been robbed in antiquity, his mummy was found within the royal cache of mummies in TT320, however, a shabti of Ahmose I has been found - the earliest royal shabti found (bought by Wallis Budge for the British Museum in the 1890's):

The women around Ahmose I
His maternal grandmother -
Tetisheri the founding matriarch of the dynasty who was greatly honoured by her descendants. She was buried at sacred Abydos in a lavish tomb complete with a pyramid and chapel.

A stela of Ahmose paying homage to his grandmother Tetisheri

Aahotep - mother of Ahmose, an inscription describes her as 'one who cares for Egypt. She has looked after her soldiers; she has guarded her; she has brought back her fugitives and collected together her deserters; she has pacified Upper Egypt, and expelled her rebels. She was found within her intact tomb at Thebes in 1859.

Ahmose-Nefertari - wife of Ahmose I, held considerable power of her own and was to be revered in her own right for generations. She outlived her husband for her name is found in an inscription dating to the 1st year of Tuthmosis I. When Ahmose I died, Ahmose-Nefertari acted as regent until her son Amenhotep I became king. After her death she became the focus of a very popular cult - her name has been found (sometimes associated with Amenhotep I) in at least 50 private tombs and more than 80 monuments dating from Tuthmosis III to the of the 20th Dyasty. The centre of this cult was at Deir el-Medina.

The children of Ahmose
Merytamun - eldest daughter of Ahmose-Nefertari (died young)
Tair - daughter of Kasmut
Satamun - 2nd daughter of Ahmose-Nefertari (died infant)
Sapair - eldest son of Ahmose-Nefertari (died young)
Saamen - 2nd son of Ahmose-Nefertari (died infant)
Aahotep - 3rd daughter of Ahmose-Nefertari (Queen)
Amenhotep I - 3rd son of Ahmose-Nefertari (King)
Satkames - 4th daughter of Ahmose-Nefertari (died aged ~30)
Henttameh- daughter of Thenthapi
Ahmose - daughter