"Assess the contributions and impact of Amenhotep III"- a prominent king of the 18th dynasty of ancient egypt

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During the 38 years of reign by Amenhotep III, Egypt reached what Gardener praises as "a zenith of magnificence." Referred to in his time as "The Dazzling Sun Disk" modern historians have dubbed the prosperity and peace of his period the "Golden Age". However, many argue that upon Amenhotep IIIs accession, solid diplomatic policies established by Amenhotep II and Thutmose IV, along with the conquests of Thutmose III prior to them, had assured that Egypt was the richest country in the world and little needed to be done by Amenhotep III to maintain its high status. It is through the evaluation of the relative significance of the main features of Amenhotep IIIs' rule in his Administration, Foreign Policy, Building Program and Religion as forces for change and continuity we are able to assess his contributions and the extent of his impact.

Even though Amenhotep III simply continued his predecessors stable system of collective administration, he was particularly successful. Official documentation suggests the entire population enjoyed prosperity. Particularly in the kings' crucial jubilee year 30 the "Overseer of the Double Granary of Upper and Lower Egypt" Khaemhet recorded a "bumper" harvest of grain. While Betsy Bryan states that "...it is impossible to compare the fortunes of the rich with the poor...whether the peasants' life was economically improved due to the overall wealth in Egypt is unknown.." evidence that the king was remembered even 1000 years later as a fertility god, associated with agricultural bounty is an indication of the prosperity during his time and suggests the lasting impact of his affluence.

The prosperity achieved during his reign can be linked to the effectiveness of the key officials appointed by Amenhotep III, which illustrates his competence in the conduct his administration. Hereditary posts were not the norm during his reign, which implies Amenhotep III regarded merit as a major criterion for appointing authority rather than just family and status. Official roles and titles changed as the civil service grew and trusted individuals received rapid promotion and amassed impressive titles. This in turn would have motivated further good administration from his officials as well as minimizing corruption within the bureaucracy. Amenhotep, Son of Habu was promoted by the king from royal scribe and chief priest at the temple at Horus-Khentikheti to "Scribe of Recruits" where his success further promoted him to the prestigious "Overseer of All Works." There is significant evidence to illustrate Amenhotep IIIs' generosity in rewarding loyal and efficient service. For instance, Amenhotep Son of Habu was given the unique honour of his own mortuary temple, built behind his monarch and later worshipped as deity, another indication of the success and lasting impact of his administration. Although Amenhotep III did not instigate anything new to the system of administration, he clearly made a fair amount of contribution in the running of his bureaucracy in order to achieve the prosperity during his reign.

Little military action was needed during Amenhotep IIIs' period. Owing to his predecessors, the era of warring in Asia and extending the boundaries of Egypt was over. David O'Connor states that he led only two campaigns during his reign, in Year 5 and Year 30 to Nubia. Nonetheless, Stelae and other inscriptions convey Amenhotep III as a warrior pharaoh with references such as "Smiter of the Asiatics". It is a general consensus of historians that the inscriptions are simply a reflection of the political stereotype of his period, as it was customary to depict the warrior-king image in accordance with the early New Kingdom period when military activity led to the establishment of the Egyptian Empire.

In the absence of war, Amenhotep III ruled his empire through his foreign policy of diplomacy. The Armana Letters follows diplomatic communication between the pharaoh and several of the neighbouring kings in...
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