Amenhotep II: Biography, Sons & Family Tree

Instructor: Tommi Waters

TK Waters has a bachelor's degree in literature and religious studies and a master's degree in religious studies and teaches Hebrew Bible at Western Kentucky University.

Amenhotep II was a pharaoh from the 18th dynasty of Egypt, famous for his legendary athletic ability, but overshadowed by his descendants, like his great-great grandson King Tut. Learn more about Amenhotep II's life and descendants in this lesson.

Prince Amenhotep II

Many rulers are famous for their heroic and legendary feats, like David defeating the giant Goliath. Amenhotep II, the seventh ruler of the New Kingdom of Egypt's 18th dynasty, was one of these heroes and rulers of legend. He was the son of the prior pharaoh, Thutmose III. Though he was not the eldest, he inherited the throne because his older brother, Amenemhat, and his brother's mother, the chief queen of Egypt, both died. Thutmose III married Merytre, or Merytre-Hatshepsut, who was the daughter of a priestess. She became the mother of Amenhotep II.

As the prince of Egypt, Amenhotep II was made the high priest of the southern area of Egypt, though he was born and raised in Memphis in the north. His father was a renowned warrior and commander and passed this military prowess and athletic ability on to his son. Amenhotep II was an army leader as prince and was famous for his skill in archery and battle, supposedly shooting arrows straight through a thick copper plate. His athletic ability was incredible —though undoubtedly hyperbolic— as Amenhotep II was known to row a ship faster than 200 men from Egypt's navy!

Egyptian pharaoh riding on a chariot with a bow, like Amenhotep II would have done
Egyptian pharaoh riding on a chariot into battle

Pharaoh Amenhotep II

Imagine helping your father run one of the world's greatest empires when you were only a teenager. This is what Amenhotep II did. He ruled as co-regent, sharing responsibility with his father, before Thutmose III's death and Amenhotep II's ascension to the throne around the age of 18. He ruled from roughly 1427-1400 BCE.

Despite his military expertise, Amenhotep II did not engage or even have to engage in many battles, unlike his father. Having inherited a well-established and expansive kingdom, Amenhotep II had already found balance for the kingdom and did not need to expand it. Though some enemies attacked, testing the new and young ruler, Amenhotep II sought to make alliances with other nations, including the previously hostile Mitanni.

Descendants of Amenhotep II

Marriage and Children

From the lack of clear records in ancient Egypt, it is unclear exactly how many children Amenhotep II had, but most claim he had at least 11. When he became pharaoh, he married Merytre, his mother. This might seem weird to us, but it was not an uncommon practice in ancient Egypt. He also married a woman named Tiaa and between these two women, and probably some other wives, he had at least 10 sons, including Amenhotep, Amenemopet, Nedjem, and Webesenu. Another of his sons, and most important for our study of Egyptian rulers, was Thutmose IV, who was a son of Tiaa and became pharaoh after Amenhotep II's death.

Family Tree

While you may not have known much about Amenhotep II before now, you have surely heard of some of his descendants. After Thutmose IV's rule, which brought peace and prosperity for Egypt, Thutmose IV's son Amenhotep III took over. Amenhotep III's reign saw the addition of many architectural masterpieces, such as the 720-ton Colossi of Memnon, since this pharaoh was left with a mostly peaceful nation.

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