The eighteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty XVIII)[1] (c.1550-c.1292 BCE) is perhaps the best known of all the dynasties of ancient Egypt. As well as boasting a number of Egypt's most famous pharaohs, it included Tutankhamun, the finding of whose tomb by Howard Carter in 1922 was a sensational archaeological discovery despite its having been twice disturbed by tomb robbers. The dynasty is sometimes known as the Thutmosid Dynasty because of the four pharaohs named Thutmose (child of Thoth).

As well as Tutankhamen, famous pharaohs of Dynasty XVIII include Hatshepsut (1479 BCE – 1458 BCE), longest-reigning queen-pharaoh of an indigenous dynasty, and Akhenaten (1353 BCE – 1336 BCE / 1351 BCE - 1334 BCE), the "heretic pharaoh", with his queen, Nefertiti.

Dynasty XVIII is often combined with the Dynasties XIX and XX to form the New Kingdom period of ancient Egyptian history.


Radiocarbon dating suggests that Dynasty XVIII may have started a few years earlier than the conventional date of 1550 BCE. The radiocarbon date range for its beginning is 1570-1544 BCE, the mean point of which is 1557 BCE.[2]

Dynasty XVIII pharaohs

The pharaohs of Dynasty XVIII ruled for approximately two hundred and fifty years (c. 1550-1298 BCE). The dates and names in the table are taken from Dodson and Hilton. [3]. Many of the pharaohs were buried in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes (designated KV). More information can be found on the Theban Mapping Project website. [4]

Dynasty XVIII pharaohs
PharaohHorus-nameReign (BCE)Burial Consort(s)
Ahmose I Nebpehtire 1549 - 1524 Ahmose-Nefertari
Amenhotep I Djeserkare 1524 - 1503 KV39? Ahmose-Meritamon
Thutmosis I Akheperkare 1503 - 1491 KV20, KV38 Ahmose
Thutmosis II Akheperenre 1491 - 1479 KV42? Hatshepsut
Thutmosis III Menkheper(en)re 1479 - 1424 KV34 Satiah
Menhet, Menwi and Merti
Hatshepsut Maatkare 1503 - 1491 KV20
Amenhotep II Akheperure 1424 - 1398 KV35 Tiaa
Thutmosis IV Menkheperure 1398 - 1388 KV43 Nefertari
Amenhotep III Nebmaatre 1388 - 1348 KV22 Tiye
Akhenaten Neferkepherure-Waenre 1360 - 1343 Royal Tomb of Akhenaten Nefertiti
Smenkhare Ankhkheperure 1346 Meritaten
Neferneferuaten Ankhkheperure-Merwaenre 1346 - 1343
Tutankhamun Nebkheperre 1343 - 1333 KV62 Ankhesenamun
Ay Kheperkheperure 1333 - 1328 KV23 Tey
Horemheb Djeserkheperure-Setepenre 1328 - 1298 KV57 Mutnedjmet

Early Dynasty XVIII

Dynasty XVIII was founded by Ahmose I the brother or son of Kamose, the last ruler of the Dynasty XVII. Ahmose finished the campaign to expel the Hyksos rulers.His reign is seen as the end of the Second Intermediate Period and the start of New Kingdom. Ahmose was succeeded by his son, Amenhotep I whose reign was relatively uneventful.[5]

Amenhotep I probably left no male heir and the next Pharaoh, Thutmose I, seems to have been related to the royal family through marriage. During his reign the borders of Egypt's empire reached their greatest expanse, extending in the north to Carchemish on the Euphrates and up to Kurgus beyond the fourth cataract in the south. Thutmose I was succeeded by Thutmose II and his queen, Hatshepsut. She was the daughter of Thutmose I and soon after her husband's death, ruled for over twenty years after becoming pharaoh during the minority of her stepson, who later would become pharaoh as Thutmose III.

Thutmose III who later became known as the greatest military pharaoh ever, also had a lengthy reign after becoming pharaoh. He had a second co-regency in his old age with his son Amenhotep II. Amenhotep II was succeeded by Thutmose IV, who in his turn was followed by his son Amenhotep III. The reign of Amenhotep III is seen as a high point in this dynasty. Amenhotep III undertook large scale building programmes, the extent of which can only be compared with those of the much longer reign of Ramesses II during Dynasty XIX.[6]

Akhenaten, the Amarna Period and Tutankhamun

Amenhotep III may have shared the throne for up to 12 years with his son Amenhotep IV, who would change his name to Akhenaten. There is much debate about this proposed co-regency. Some experts believe there was a lengthy co-regency, while others prefer to see a short one. There are also many experts who believe no such co-regency existed at all.

In the 5th year of his reign Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten and moved his capital to Amarna. During the reign of Akhenaten the Aten - the sundisk - first became the most prominent deity, and eventually the Aten was considered the only god.[7] If this amounted to true monotheism continues to be the subject of debate within the academic community. Some state that Akhenaten created a monotheism while others point out that he merely suppressed a dominant solar cult by the assertion of another, while he never completely abandoned several other traditional deities.

Later Egyptians considered the so-called Amarna Period an unfortunate aberration. The events following Akhenaten's death are unclear. Individuals named Smenkhare and Neferneferuaten are known but their relative placement and role in history is still much debated. Tutankhamun eventually took the throne and died young.[8]

Ay and Horemheb

The last two members of the eighteenth dynasty - Ay and Horemheb - became rulers from the ranks of officials in the royal court, although Ay may have married the widow of Tutankhamun in order to obtain power and she did not live long afterward. Ay's reign was short. His successor was Horemheb, a general during the reign of Tutankhamun whom the childless pharaoh may have intended as his successor. [8] Horemheb may have taken the throne away from Ay in a coup. He also died childless and appointed his successor, Ramesses I, who ascended the throne in 1292 BC and was the first pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty.

Dynasty XVIII timeline

AyTutankhamunNeferneferuatenSmenkhkareAkhenaten Amenhotep IIIThutmose IVAmenhotep IIThutmose IIIHatshepsutThutmose IIThutmose IAmenhotep IAhmose I


  1. Kuhrt 1995: 186
  2. Christopher Bronk Ramsey et al., Radiocarbon-Based Chronology for Dynastic Egypt, Science 18 June 2010: Vol. 328. no. 5985, pp. 1554-1557.
  3. Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. The American University in Cairo Press, London 2004
  4. Sites in the Valley of the Kings
  5. Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton: pg 122
  6. Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton: pg 130
  7. Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton: pg 142
  8. 8.0 8.1 Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton: pg 143


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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