third king of the eighteenth dynasty, New Kingdom. Thutmose I was born to the “King's Mother,” Seniseneb, and an unknown father. He married Ahmose, who was possibly his biological sister, and he is known to be the father of five children, although some are disputed by scholars. Of the five, his wife Mutnofret bore Amenmose, the “King's Eldest Son,” who became commander of the army, as well as the little-known Wadjmose; Thutmose II followed his father to the throne, married to his sister Hatshepsut (she reigned after his death, acting as regent to Thutmose III); another of Thutmose I's daughters, Neferu-bity, is sometimes attributed to Thutmose II and Hatshepsut. Perhaps Thutmose I's most puzzling personal relationship is with Ahmose-Nefertari, mother of Amenhotpe I, who helped legitimate his reign; he built her tomb and provided a proper burial for her.

Thutmose I ruled for nine years, and no convincing evidence exists for a coregency with Amenhotpe I or with Hatshepsut (as she later claimed). He conducted three military campaigns and built extensively in Egypt.

Thutmose I conducted military campaigns in Kush and the Near East. The southern campaign to Kush occurred early in his reign and was described by his contemporary, Ahmose-si Ibana, as a policing action. In the Near East, Thutmose gave less clear reasons for the war, but as he told the priests of Abydos, he had “made the boundaries of Egypt as far as that which the sun disk encircles.” Modern commentators, however, have understood these activities as raids designed to establish Egypt's place in the international power politics of the day. They resulted in booty and diplomatic gifts while they influenced local politics. Even if they were intended to colonize the Near East, no subsequent campaign enforced his claims until Thutmose III came into his inheritance.

Thutmose I added to the Middle Kingdom temple at Karnak, with the construction of two pylons, a hypostyle hall, two obelisks, a courtyard, and a temenos wall. In North Karnak, he sponsored the completion of the calcite (Egyptian alabaster) chapel of Amenhotpe I, a gateway, and a treasury. Those structures, along with the išd-tree scene that links him to Senwosret I, demonstrate his interest in building on the legacy of the Middle Kingdom. He founded the workmen's village of Deir el-Medina and a way-station in Deir el-Bahri, and he had his mortuary temple built. His numerous Nubian construction projects are known, and buildings near Memphis are attested by inscriptions (for example, at the House of Aakheperkare and on a foundation in Meidum that flourished in Hatshepsut's time).

According to inscriptions, Thutmose I was fifty at his death. The mummy attributed to him and reburied in the twenty-first dynasty in Deir el-Bahri, however, is that of an eighteen-year-old male—thus it is unlikely that he was correctly identified as the king. Thutmose I was the earliest known king to be buried in the Valley of the Kings, and a sarcophagus bearing his name is known from tomb 38 in the Valley of the Kings.

Thutmose I's reign set an important example for subsequent Egyptian rulers. Both Hatshepsut and Thutmose III derived the legitimacy of their rule from him. To honor him, Hatshepsut built a chapel to him in her mortuary temple, and Thutmose III implicitly compared his own military victories to his grandfather's, recounting that on the Euphrates River, his own victory stela was erected next to that of his royal ancestor.

Thutmose I set the pattern for the great kings of the eighteenth dynasty. His reign linked the glorious Middle Kingdom to the achievements of the New Kingdom.



  • Redford, Donald B. “A Gate Inscription from Karnak.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 99.2 (1979), 270–287. On the wars with the Near East.
  • Redford, Donald B. Egypt, Canaan, and Israel. Princeton, 1992.
  • Robins, Gay. “Amenhotpe I and the Child Amenemhat.” Göttinger Miszellen 30 (1978), 71–75.
  • Robins, Gay. “A Critical Examination of the Theory that the Right to the Throne of Ancient Egypt Passed through the Female Line in the 18th Dynasty.” Göttinger Miszellen 62 (1983), 68–69. On the king's parents and family.
  • Romer, John. “Tuthmosis I and Bibân el-Molûk: Some Problems of Attribution.” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 60 (1974), 119–133. On the tomb of Thutmose I and whether it is tomb 38 in the Valley of the Kings.

Edward Bleiberg