Amenemhat, also known by his thrown name Sehetep-ib-re, was the first of eight rulers of Egypt's twelfth Dynasty or the golden age of the Middle Kingdom period. Prior to Amenemhat's rule the capital was situated in the city of Thebes; however, during his rule, he moved this to the Northern city of Itjawy allowing him to have greater control of Egypt due to the city's proximity with the Nile.
Unlike many kings that lead Egypt's monarchy, Amenemhat was the first ruler of non-royal blood. Amenemhat was the son of priest Senuseret of Thebes and Nefret of Elephantine. Later, Amenemhat married Neferitatjenen and had four children - Senuseret I, Neferu III, Neferusherit, and Kayet. Originally, it is believed that Amenemhat was the vizier and skilled administrator of his predecessor, Mentuhotep IV, whom he overthrew to gain control of the monarchy. Much like his predecessor, Amenemhat was assassinated during a palace coup while his son was abroad.
Amenemhat was mummified in accordance to ancient Egyptian mummification traditions. Through removing the internal organs, the process of decomposition of the body slows down and thus better preserving the individual. However, the mummification process calls for the heart to remain inside the body as it is the center of thoughts and emotions; therefore, it will be required in the afterlife. After removing all internal organs, the body is washed with a mixture of spices, fragrant herbs, and palm wine and finally dehydrated by placing it in natron for 70 days. After the drying process period, the body is ready to be embalmed.
Next, the body is wrapped in multiple layers of linen cloth. Amidst the wrapping, Egyptian priests adorn the body with amulets to ward off evil, and the wrapping process continues. Upon completion of wrapping, the body and coffin are coated in layers of resin that acts as a waterproofing and antimicrobial agent to seal off any moisture. Upon completion, the mummy is placed in the tomb along with the preserved organs and possessions believed to be of use in the afterlife.
Due to Amenemhat's luxurious lifestyle, he was in great health prior to his death.
Amenemhat is known to be the first Egyptian leader to introduce the idea of coregency. During his rule, Amenemhat developed a coregency with his son, Senuseret I. It is believed that Amenemhat took such a step in order to train the future heir, and ensure that the traditions he set in place would carry on to the next generation. As a result, Senuseret I was responsible for overseeing military related matters, extended the rule of the kingdom to Nubia, and constructed forts.
Additionally, keeping old traditions alive was very important to this Amenemhat, and this is reflected in his tomb. Amenemhat's pyramid, Pyramid of Amenemhat I at el Lisht, is a combination of the pyramids seen in the 5th and 6th dynasty as well as a touch of Theban tradition. The pyramid itself was constructed with a core clad, an interior layer of limestone, and an outer layer of mudbrick. However, during future dynasties, the pyramid became a great source of limestone for lime burners; thus, causing it to slump. In addition, due to the Kingdom's proximity to the Nile River, as the Nile shifted course over the years, this resulted in Amenemhat's burial chamber to be submerged under water.
Moreover, Amenemhat is more commonly known for pushing Egypt into a phase of bureaucracy. Through appointing his supporters to high administrative posts, Amenemhat was able to implement numerous changes to the Kingdom such as dividing the provinces into specific towns and territories, weakening the control of the army, reintroducing the concept of conscription, and setting up Egypt's gold and copper mines to establish trade deals.
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