The Eighteenth Dynasty was founded by Ahmose, the brother of Kamose, the last ruler of the Seventeenth Dynasty . Ahmose finished the campaign to expel the hated Hyksos rulers. With this dynasty, the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt ended, and the New Kingdom of Egypt or the Egyptian Empire began.
Highlights of this dynasty include: Queen Hatshepsut, who effectively ruled during the minority of her stepson, but was later considered a usurper; the first formal relations with foreign countries under Amenhotep III, of which some records were included in the el Amarna letters; the first expression of monotheism under Akhenaton, but whose religion offended many in power, and who late suffered damnatio memoriae. Although modern students consider the monotheism of Akhenaton the most important event of this period, for centuries this period was best known as when the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt.
Scholars believed that Akhenaton caused a great deal of antipathy by his devotion to his God Aten, which contributed to the end of this dynasty. Its final years were clearly shakey: the unidentified widow of king Nibhuruyiras (identified with either Akhenaton or Tutankhamun) wrote to Suppiluliumas I, king of the Hittites, asking him to send one of his sons to be her husband and rule Egypt. Suppiluliumas sent an ambassador to investigate, who reported that the situation was accurately described; however the destined Hittite prince died en route, and the last two members of this dynasty came from officials of the royal court.
The Nineteenth dynasty of Ramesses I succeeded it in 1293.
See: History of Ancient Egypt
Last updated: 10-18-2005 23:02:42