Son of Thutmes II and a minor wife named Isis, Thutmes III became king while still a child. His stepmother and aunt, Hatshepsut, served as regent until she usurped the title of king two years later. It is unclear if this was a palace coup or simply an attempt to maintain a strong royal authority. But Thutmes III returned to power with the death of Hatshepsut in regnal year 22, and almost immediately began a systematic obliteration of her images and references to her on Egyptian monuments.
After establishing his sole rule, Thutmes III also began a series of military campaigns in western Asia and deep into Nubia, which were badly needed to maintain Egypt’s authority abroad. A substantial number of texts inscribed in temples throughout Egypt described his military activities. There was extensive building activity in Thutmes III’s reign and he erected scores of temples throughout Egypt and Nubia. At Thebes, he made extensive additions to the Temple of Amen at Karnak, built a superbly decorated processional temple at Dayr al Bahri, and enlarged the Amen temple at Madinat Habu.
His own tomb was dug in the Valley of the Kings (KV 34). He also ordered a tomb for his chief wife Hatshepsut-Meryet-Ra (KV 42) and commissioned a new sarcophagus in KV 38 for the reburial of his grandfather, Thutmes I. Officials at the court of Thutmes III were buried in Theban tombs that displayed some of the New Kingdom’s finest and most informative scenes. The tomb of his vizier Rekhmira (TT 100), for example, has elegant scenes of daily life, craftsmen, and banquets, and lengthy texts that describe the duties of the vizier. The reign of Thutmes III is considered one of ancient Egypt’s most active and successful and he became the subject of a long-lived religious cult in the New Kingdom.