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Senusret III

Khakaure Senusret III (also written as Senwosret III or the hellenised form, Sesostris III) was a pharaoh of Egypt. He ruled from 1878 BC to 1839 BC during a time of great power and prosperity and was the fifth king of the Twelfth Dynasty of the Middle Ki

He was a great pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty and is considered to be, perhaps, the most powerful Egyptian ruler of the dynasty. Consequently, he is regarded as one of the sources for the legend about Sesostris. His military campaigns gave rise to an era of peace and economic prosperity that reduced the power of regional rulers and led to a revival in craftwork, trade, and urban development. Senusret III was among the few Egyptian kings who were deified and honored with a cult during their own lifetime.


FAMILY

Senusret III was the son of Senusret II and Khenemetneferhedjet I. Three wives of Senusret III are known for certain. These are Itakayt, Khenemetneferhedjet II and Neferthenut, all three mainly known from their burials next to the pyramid of the king at Dahshur. Amenemhat III was most likely a son of the king.


INITIATIVES

Senusret III cleared a navigable canal through the first cataract of the Nile River, (this was different from the Canal of the Pharaohs, which apparently, Senusret III also tried to build). He also relentlessly pushed his kingdom's expansion into Nubia (from 1866 to 1863 BC) where he erected massive river forts including Buhen, Semna, Shalfak and Toshka at Uronarti.


He carried out at least four major campaigns into Nubia in his Years 8, 10, 16, and 19. His Year 8 stela at Semna documents his victories against the Nubians, through which he is thought to have made safe the southern frontier, preventing further incursions into Egypt. Another great stela from Semna dated to the third month of Year 16 of his reign mentions his military activities against both Nubia and Canaan. In it, he admonished his future successors to maintain the new border that he had created.


His final campaign, which was in his Year 19, was less successful because the king's forces were caught with the Nile being lower than normal and they had to retreat and abandon their campaign in order to avoid being trapped in hostile Nubian territory.


Such was his forceful nature and immense influence that Senusret III was worshipped as a deity in Semna by later generations. Jacques Morgan, in 1894, found rock inscriptions near Sehel Island documenting his digging of a canal. Senusret III erected a temple and town in Abydos, and another temple in Medamud.


TRIVIA

Many conservative biblical scholars consider Senusret the pharaoh mentioned in Genesis 39-47, who elevated Joseph to a high administrative post, answerable directly to him.




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