People > Amenmesse


Egypt History - Egyptian Chapter Decoration


Amenmesse was a pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, ruling during a period of internal strife and political intrigue around 1201–1198 BCE. His reign is relatively short and shrouded in mystery, marked by his contested ascension to the throne and the subsequent erasure of his memory by his successor. Here is an overview of Amenmesse and his reign:


  1. 19th Dynasty:

    • The 19th Dynasty is part of the New Kingdom period, characterized by powerful rulers such as Seti I and Ramesses II. This dynasty saw the consolidation of Egypt’s power and extensive building projects.
    • Amenmesse’s reign falls into a period of transition following the long and prosperous reign of Ramesses II and the relatively stable reign of his successor, Merneptah.
  2. Family and Lineage:

    • The exact lineage of Amenmesse is unclear. He is believed to be a son of Merneptah, though some theories suggest he could be a grandson of Ramesses II through Merneptah or another prince.
    • His claim to the throne was contested, likely leading to significant political conflict during his brief reign.

Reign of Amenmesse

  1. Accession to the Throne:

    • Amenmesse came to power under mysterious circumstances around 1201 BCE, possibly during a period of co-regency or after the death of Merneptah. His ascension appears to have been disputed by another contender, Seti II.
    • He adopted the throne name Menmire Setepenre, asserting his divine right to rule.
  2. Political Conflict:

    • Amenmesse's reign was marked by internal strife and rivalry with Seti II. This conflict likely involved power struggles among high-ranking officials and members of the royal family.
    • Evidence suggests that Amenmesse controlled Upper Egypt and possibly Nubia, while Seti II maintained influence in Lower Egypt.
  3. Building Projects:

    • Despite the short and turbulent nature of his reign, Amenmesse initiated several building projects, including inscriptions and reliefs bearing his name.
    • He usurped monuments and inscriptions from his predecessors, a common practice among pharaohs seeking to legitimize their rule.

Downfall and Erasure

  1. End of Reign:

    • Amenmesse's reign ended around 1198 BCE, possibly due to a coup or military defeat by Seti II. The exact circumstances of his downfall remain unclear, but it likely involved significant political maneuvering.
  2. Erasure of Memory:

    • After his death, Seti II undertook efforts to erase Amenmesse's memory from history. Monuments and inscriptions bearing Amenmesse’s name were defaced or replaced with those of Seti II.
    • This erasure was intended to legitimize Seti II’s rule and eliminate the memory of his rival.


  1. Historical Significance:

    • Amenmesse's brief and contested reign highlights the political instability and factionalism that could occur during periods of dynastic transition in ancient Egypt.
    • His conflict with Seti II illustrates the challenges of maintaining a stable succession and the lengths to which rulers would go to secure their legitimacy.
  2. Archaeological Evidence:

    • Archaeological discoveries related to Amenmesse include tomb KV10 in the Valley of the Kings, which was initially intended for him but later altered and reused by other rulers.
    • Inscriptions and reliefs that survived the erasure efforts provide valuable insights into his reign and the political dynamics of the time.


Amenmesse was a pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty whose reign around 1201–1198 BCE was marked by political conflict and internal strife. His contested ascension to the throne, likely against Seti II, led to significant power struggles within the royal family and the court. Despite his short reign, Amenmesse initiated building projects and sought to legitimize his rule through inscriptions and monuments. After his downfall, Seti II attempted to erase his memory from history, leading to the defacement of his monuments. Amenmesse's reign underscores the complexities of dynastic succession in ancient Egypt and the lengths to which rival factions would go to secure power.

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