Considered the first official ruler of the 18th Dynasty (in accordance with Manetho’s dynastic framework), Ahmose oversaw the final expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt and the consolidation of his Theban dynasty’s control over the Nile Valley and immediately adjacent regions, effecting a complete revival of Egypt’s former Middle Kingdom power. In this achievement, Ahmose built on the geopolitical gains of his father and brother and brought them to their logical outcome – both Seqenenre Tao and Kamose respectively had lost their lives in the wars against the Hyksos, leaving the throne and its responsibility to Ahmose at a relatively tender age. It seems that Ahmose ; his strong-willed mother, Seqenenre’s queen Aahotep, may well indeed have served as regent / co-ruler with the young pharaoh.
With the expulsion of the Hyksos, Ahmose’s first priority was to ensure the security of Egypt’s frontiers and consolidate the grip of his dynasty on power. The first aim was met with a quick succession of campaigns that closed the Levantine border and quietened the Kushite polity. Domestically, Ahmose apparently delegated much responsibility for internal administration to the local governors in their nomes. Gifts of land were deeded as a means of ensuring support for his rule (as recorded by Ahmose si Abena in his el-Kab tomb) and a variety of building projects were initiated under Ahmose, which are best documented in inscriptions and architectural remains from Abydos.
Ahmose established the strong relationship with the central cult of the dynastic god Amun at Karnak that represents the primary expression of devotion amongst his New Kingdom successors. Although little remains extant of Ahmose’s concrete expressions at Karnak (a portal and perhaps a boat shrine, additions that he no doubt would have augmented had he reigned longer), a number of stelae from that temple reveal him to have been a generous benefactor of the Amun cult. Two of these stelae were recovered from the foundations of the Third Pylon and are named according to their central themes: the Donation Stela and the Tempest Stela.
The Donation Stela records Ahmose’s purchase of the 2nd Priesthood of Amun on behalf of his consort, the God’s Wife of Amun, Ahmose-Nefertari. The price of this office was paid direct to the temple by the king, establishing his role as benefactor and tying the cult more closely to the royal family.
The Tempest Stela makes the claim that Ahmose rebuilt the tombs and pyramids in the Thebaid devastated by a storm that was inflicted on Upper Egypt by the power of Amun.
Ahmose, it seems fairly certain, ruled a total of 25 – 26 years according to Manetho, a figure backed by Josephus who records 25 years 4 months for Ahmose’s reign. He was succeeded in the kingship by his son Amunhotep (I). As his heir may not yet have reached adulthood (a now-deceased older brother having been designated as heir about 5 years previously), Ahmose may well have ordained a brief co-regency with his son in order to ensure a smooth transition within the dynasty at his death.
Upon his death, Ahmose was interred in a tomb in the Dra Abu el-Naga area of the Theban West Bank. This sepulchre has not as yet been located by Egyptologists for science; nonetheless, a limestone portrait ushabti of the king was purchased by Wallis Budge for the British Museum in 1889 [right, EA 32191] (the first known royal ushabti), suggesting that the tomb of Ahmose has been compromised to some extent at least. The well-preserved mummified remains of Ahmose were found amongst the royal cache of mummies located in 1881 (having been removed in antiquity from his original burial) and are now housed in the Cairo Museum.
Bryan, Betsy M.
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1990 “A Storm in Egypt during the Reign of Ahmose”, in Hardy, D.A. & A.C. Renfrew, A.C. (eds), Thera and the Aegean World III, Vol. 3: Chronology (Proceedings of the Third International Congress, Santorini, Greece, 3-9 September 1989), 1990, pp.232-235.
1953 “Un document sur la vie chère à Thèbes au début de la XVIIIe dynastie”, BSFE 12 (1953), pp.11-25.
1990 “The Coffins of Queen Ahhotep, Consort of Seqeni-en-Re and Mother of Ahmose”, CdÉ 65 (1990), pp.195-205.
1976 “La résiliation d’une fonction religieuse : nouvelle interprétation de la stèle de donation d’Ahmès Nefertary”, BIFAO 76 (1976), pp.65-89.
1995 Studies about Kamose and Ahmose, Baltimore: Halgo, 1995.
1959 “Nature de la stèle de donation de fonction du roi Ahmosis à la reine Ahmès-Nefertari”, ASAE 56 (1959), pp.139-201, pls. I-II (facsimile).
Harvey, Stephen P.
1998 The Cult of King Ahmose at Abydos, unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 1998.
2004 “New Evidence at Abydos for Ahmose’s Funerary Cult”, Egyptian Archaeology 24 (2004), pp.3-6.
1977 “La ‘stèle’ d’Ahmès Nefertary dans son contexte juridique et historique”, BIFAO 77 (1977), pp.89-100.
1982 “Transferts par imyt-per: quelques remarques à propos de l’étude comparée de la stèle juridique de Karnak et de la stèle d’Ahmès-Nefertari”, inRecherches sur l’histoire juridique, économique et sociale de l’ancienne Egypte, Versailles 1982, pp.200-215 [= RdE 23 (1971), pp.155-163].
2002 “La famille d’Ahmosis”, CdE 77 (2002), pp.23-46.
1967 “Une tempête sous le règne d’Ahmosis”, RdE 19 (1967), pp.123-159, pls.8-10.
1968 “Deux nouveaux fragments de la stèle d’Ahmosis relatant une tempête”, RdE 20 (1968), pp.127-134.
1971 Les guerres d’Amosis, fondateur de la 18e dynastie, Bruxelles, 1971.
Wiener, Malcolm H. & Allen, James P.
1998 “Separate Lives: The Ahmose Tempest Stela and the Theran Eruption”, JNES 57 (1998), pp.1-28.