TUTHMOSIS II, PHARAOH, HATSHEPSUT'S HUSBAND
by Jimmy Dunn
Tuthmosis II might never have ruled Egypt but for the early death of Wadjmose and Amenmose, the eldest sons of Tuthmosis I, leaving him
as the only heir. He became the fourth ruler of Egypt's 18th Dynasty. He was apparently the oldest son of Mutnefert, a minor royal
queen of Tuthmosis I, who was herself the sister of Tuthmosis I's principal queen, Ahmose.
In order to strengthen his position and legitimize his rule, he was married to Hatshepsut, the oldest daughter of Tuthmosis I and Queen
Ahmose. She was very possibly older then Tuthmosis II. During this period, Hatshepsut also carried the title, "God's Wife of Amun", a
position she may have had even before the death of Tuthmosis I. Hatshepsut would have been both Tuthmosis II's half sister and cousin.
In the light of history she became a much better known pharaoh then her husband.
We believe that Tuthmosis II had only one son by a harem girl named Isis (or Iset). However, Tuthmosis III would have to wait to rule
Egypt until after Hatshepsut death. Tuthmosis II must have realized the ambitions of his wife, because he attempted to foster the ascent
of his son to the throne by naming his son as his successor before he died. But upon Tuthmosis II's death, his son was still very
young, so Hatshepsut took advantage of the situation by at first naming herself as regent, and then taking on the full regalia of the
pharaoh. He may have also had as many as two daughters by Hatshepsut. We are fairly sure one of them was named Neferure and another
possible daughter named Neferubity.
We know that Tuthmosis II was a physically week person, and many Egyptologists speculate that even during his rule, Hatshepsut may have
been the real power behind the throne. We believe that Tuthmosis II (Born of the God Thoth) which was his birth name (called by the
Greeks), ruled for about fourteen years before dying in his early thirties. However, recent scholars wish to have his rule shortened to
three years. He is also sometimes called Thutmose II, or Thutmosis II and his throne name was A-kheper-en-re., which means "Great is the
Form of Re". The Oxford History of Egypt places his reign from 1492-1479, while the Chronicle of the Pharaohs provides dates of 1518 to
1504. Aidan Dodson's Monarchs of the Nile gives his reign as 1491-1479 BC.
We know that he sent campaigns to Palestine and Nubia, attested to by a short inscription in the temple at Deir el-Bahari and a rock-cut
stele at Sehel south of Aswan. We are told that he had to crush a revolt in Nubia in his first year and that this bought about the
demise of the kingdom of Kush at Kerma. Apparently, to punish the Kushites for their rebelion, he had everyone put to death with the
exception of a royal son, who was bought back to Egypt as a hostage. We are told that the Palestine campaign was against the Shosu
Bedouin in the region of Nahrin. However, the term Shosu may also refer to Nubians, and some Egyptologists believe that this reference
really relates to the campaign in Nubia.
We also have evidence of Tuthmosis II's building projects. Traces of a temple built by him have been found just north of the temple of
Medinet Habu on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes). This small temple, known as Shespet-ankh (Chapel of Life), was finished by his
son, Tuthmosis III. He also had built a pylon shaped limestone gateway in front of the Fourth Pylons forecourt at Karnak which also had
to be completed by Tuthmosis III. The material from this gate and another limestone structure were later reused in the building of
Karnak's Third Pylon foundation. However, the gate has since been rebuilt in Karnak's Open Air Museum. Scenes on the gate sometimes
depict Tuthmosis II with Hatshepsut, and sometimes Hatshepsut alone. On one side of the gate, Tuthmosis II is shown receiving crowns,
while other scenes depict his daughter, Nefrure and Hatshepsut receiving life from the gods. We also know of a building project in Nubia
at Semna and Kumma, and surviving blocks from his buildings at Elephantine. A statue of Tuthmosis II was found at Elephantine that was
probably commissioned by Hatshepsut.
We have not really identified either a tomb or a completed mortuary complex for Tuthmosis, though his mummy was found in a royal cache
of mummies located at Deir el-Bahari.
Thutmose II (sometimes read as Thutmosis, or Tuthmosis II and meaning Born of Thoth, probably pronounced during his lifetime
as Djhutymose) was the fourth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. He built some minor monuments and initiated at least
two minor campaigns but did little else during his rule and was probably strongly influenced by his wife, Hatshepsut. His
reign is generally dated from 1493 to 1479 BC. Thutmose II's body was found in the Deir el-Bahri Cache above the Mortuary
Temple of Hatshepsut and can be viewed today in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Thutmose II was the son of Thutmose I and a minor wife, Mutnofret. He was, therefore, a lesser son of Thutmose I and chose to
marry his fully royal half-sister, Hatshepsut, in order to secure his kingship. While he successfully put down rebellions in
Nubia and the Levant and defeated a group of nomadic Bedouins, these campaigns were specifically carried out by the king's
Generals, and not by Thutmose II himself. This is often interpreted as evidence that Thutmose II was still a minor at his
accession. Thutmose II fathered Neferure with Hatshepsut, but also managed to father a male heir, the famous Thutmose III, by
a lesser wife named Iset before his death.
Some archaeologists believe that Hatshepsut was the real power behind the throne during Thutmose II’s rule because of the
similar domestic and foreign policies which were later pursued under her reign and because of her claim that she was her
father’s intended heir. She is depicted in several raised relief scenes from a Karnak gateway dating to Thutmose II's reign
both together with her husband and alone. She later had herself crowned Pharaoh several years into the rule of her
husband's young successor Thutmose III; this is confirmed by the fact that "the queen's agents actually replaced the boy
king's name in a few places with her own cartouches" on the gateway.
Manetho's Epitome refers to Thutmose II as "Chebron" (which is a reference to his prenomen, Aakheperenre) and gives him a
reign of 13 years, but this figure is highly disputed among scholars. Some Egyptologists prefer to shorten his reign by a full
decade to only 3 years because his highest Year Date is only a Year 1 II Akhet day 8 stela. The reign length of Thutmose II
has been controversial and much debated.
Dates and length of reign
Manetho's Epitome has been a debated topic among Egyptologists with little consensus given the small number of surviving
documents for his reign, but a 13-year reign is preferred by older scholars while newer scholars prefer a shorter 3-4 year
reign for this king due to the minimal amount of scarabs and monuments attested under Thutmose II. It is still possible to
estimate when Thutmose II's reign would have begun by means of a heliacal rise of Sothis in Amenhotep I's reign, which would
give him a reign from 1493 BC to 1479 BC, although uncertainty about how to interpret the rise also permits a date from
1513 BC to 1499 BC, and uncertainty about how long Thutmose I ruled could also potentially place his reign several years
earlier still. Nonetheless, scholars generally assign him a reign from 1493 or 1492 to 1479.
Argument for a Short Reign
Ineni, who was already aged by the start of Thutmose II's reign, lived through this ruler's entire reign into that of
Hatshepsut. In addition, Thutmose II is poorly attested in the monumental record and in the contemporary tomb
autobiographies of New Kingdom officials. A clear count of monuments from his rule, which is the principal tool for estimating
a king's reign when dated documents are not available, is nearly impossible because Hatshepsut usurped most of his monuments,
and Thutmose III in turn reinscribed Thutmose II's name indiscriminately over other monuments. However, apart from several
surviving blocks of buildings erected by the king at Semna, Kumma and Elephantine, Thutmose II's only major monument consists
of a limestone gateway at Karnak that once lay at the front of the Fourth Pylon's forecourt. Even this monument was not
completed in Thutmose II's reign but in the reign of his son Thutmose III which hints at "the nearly ephemeral nature of
Thutmose II's reign." The gateway was later dismantled and its building blocks incorporated into the foundation of the
Third Pylon by Amenhotep III. In 1987, Luc Gabolde published an important study which statistically compared the number of
surviving scarabs found under Thutmose I, Thutmose II and Hatshepsut. While monuments can be usurped, scarabs are so small
and comparatively insignificant that altering their names would be impractical and without profit; hence, they provide a far
better insight into this period. Hatshepsut's reign is believed to have been for 21 years and 9 months. Gabolde highlighted,
in his analysis, the consistently small number of surviving scarabs known for Thutmose II compared to Thutmose I and
Hatshepsut respectively; for instance, Flinders Petrie's older study of scarab seals noted 86 seals for Thutmose I, 19 seals
for Thutmose II and 149 seals for Hatshepsut while more recent studies by Jaeger estimate a total of 241 seals for Thutmose I,
463 seals for Hatshepsut and only 65 seals for Thutmose II. Hence, unless there was an abnormally low number of scarabs
produced under Thutmose II, this would indicate that the king's reign was rather short-lived. On this basis, Gabolde
estimated Thutmose I and II's reigns to be approximately 11 and 3 full years, respectively. Consequently, the reign length of
Thutmose II has been a much debated subject among Egyptologists with little consensus given the small number of surviving
documents for his reign.
Argument for a Long Reign
Thutmose's reign is still traditionally given as 13 or 14 years. Although Ineni's autobiography can be interpreted to say
that Thutmose reigned only a short time, it also calls Thutmose a "hawk in the nest," indicating that he was perhaps a child
when he assumed the throne. Since he lived long enough to father two children--Neferure and Thutmose III--this suggests
that he may have had a longer reign of 13 years in order to reach adulthoood and start a family. The German Egyptologist, J.
Von Beckerath, uses this line of argument to support the case of a 13-year reign for Thutmose II. Alan Gardiner noted that
at one point, a monument had been identified by Georges Daressy in 1900 which was dated to Thutmose's 18th year, although
its precise location has not been identified. This inscription is now usually attributed to Hatshepsut, who certainly did
have an 18th year. von Beckerath observes that a Year 18 date appears in a fragmentary inscription of an Egyptian official and
notes that the date likely refers to Hatshepsut's prenomen Maatkare, which had been altered from Aakheperenre Thutmose II,
with the reference to the deceased Thutmose II being removed. There is also the curious fact that Hatshepsut celebrated
her Sed Jubilee in her Year 16 which von Beckerath believes occurred 30 years after the death of Thutmose I, her father, who
was the main source of her claim to power. This would create a gap of 13 to 14 years where Thutmose II's reign would fit in
between Hatshepsut and Thutmose I's rule.
Upon Thutmose's coronation, Kush rebelled, as it had the habit of doing upon the transition of Egyptian kingship. The Nubian
state had been completely subjugated by Thutmose I, but some rebels from Khenthennofer rose up, and the Egyptian colonists
retreated into a fortress built by Thutmose I. On account of his relative youth at the time, Thutmose II dispatched an
army into Nubia rather than leading it himself, but he seems to have easily crushed this revolt with the aid of his father's
Thutmose also seems to have fought against the Shasu Bedouin in the Sinai, in a campaign mentioned by Ahmose Pen-Nekhbet.
Although this campaign has been called a minor raid, there is a fragment which was recorded by Kurt Sethe which records a
campaign in Upper Retenu, or Syria, which appears to have reached as far as a place called Niy where Thutmose I hunted
elephants after returning from crossing the Euphrates. This quite possibly indicates that the raid against the Shasu was
only fought en route to Syria.
The mummified head of Thutmose II
Thutmose II's mummy was discovered in the Deir el-Bahri cache, revealed in 1881. He was interred along with other 18th and
19th dynasty leaders including Ahmose I, Amenhotep I, Thutmose I, Thutmose III, Ramesses I, Seti I, Ramesses II, and Ramesses
The mummy was unwrapped by Gaston Maspero on July 1, 1886. There is a strong familial resemblance to the mummy of Thutmose I,
his likely father, as the mummy face and shape of the head are very similar. The body of Thutmose II suffered greatly at the
hands of ancient tomb robbers, with his left arm broken off at the shoulder-joint, the forearm separated at the elbow joint,
and his right arm chopped off below the elbow. His anterior abdominal wall and much of his chest had been hacked at, possibly
by an axe. In addition, his right leg had been severed from his body. All of these injuries were sustained post-mortem,
though the body also showed signs that Thutmose II did not have an easy life, as the following quote by Gaston Maspero
He had scarcely reached the age of thirty when he fell a victim to a disease of which the process of embalming could not
remove the traces. The skin is scabrous in patches, and covered with scars, while the upper part of the skull is bald; the
body is thin and somewhat shrunken, and appears to have lacked vigour and muscular power.