We are entering a long and complex period in the history of Egypt governed by the VXIII dynasties (descendants of Ahmose) and XIX Ramesida (with eleven Ramses in it). Our header manual distinguishes two stages, one before Akenaton and the building of the city of Amarna, and another after. We'll see why.

The lines that define the period prior to Amarna (circa 1,347 BC) come to be a time of prosperity for Egypt, with some warfare to the south, up to the fourth cataract of the Nile, and north to Syria and Palestine, but also with strong diplomatic activity.

The architectural section is particularly fruitful. It is the time of the beginning of the construction of the Valley of the Kings and Queens in Luxor and the wealth accumulated both by commercial activity and by the spoils of war allows the erection of temples, columns and colossal statues, palaces, sanctuaries and commemorative pavilions.

But it will also be the time when some women will play decisive roles in government. Since Sobbekneferu of the 12th Dynasty, there has not been another queen until Hatshepsut. Her imprint is noticeable in all facets of the country's reign for more than 15 years: "Egypt worked for her with her head down," says the senior official Ineni in his "Autobiography."

Ahmose-Nefertari, Nefrura or Tiye, mother of Akhenaten and grandmother of Tutankhamun, who was deified in her own temple in Upper Nubia, will also stand out as queen consorts and regents.

*Source, Betsy M. Bryan, "The Eighteenth Dynasty Before the Ammarnic Period," in Ian Shaw's History of Ancient Egypt cited above.

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