Model renderings: 9
Archival images: 0
Object catalog: 2
Originally built by Thutmose III - 1479 BCE to 1425 BCE (Show in timemap)
Other works initiated by Thutmose III:
Contra Temple, Wadjet Hall, 7th Pylon, Thutmose III Shrine, Enclosures and Gates, Sacred Lake, 6th Pylon and Court, 5th Pylon and Court, Obelisks of 7th Pylon, Station of the King and Corridor, Obelisks of Festival Hall Center Pair, Central Bark Shrine, Palace of Ma'at, Obelisks of Wadjet Hall, Pylon and Festival Court of Thutmose II, East Exterior Wall
The Akhmenu was a large, rectangular temple located in the eastern part of Karnak, just outside of the original early 18th Dynasty temple complex. Entrance to the building was gained through a main door in the temple's southwest corner, as well as through a door (only recently discovered) in the center of the building's west wall. The southwest entrance led to a line of nine small chambers to the south and to a short vestibule on the north. A small room north of the entrance corridor, known as the "hall of ancestors," was the location of a type of king list; sixty-one kings, the royal ancestors of Thutmose III, were depicted seated and receiving offerings from the king. The earliest preserved king names listed refer to 4th Dynasty rulers of Egypt.
The temple's main pillared hall (the heret-ib) was covered with a beautifully painted blue ceiling with yellow stars. The roof was supported by two rows of uniquely shaped columns representing the poles of a portable tent. At the north of the hall stood three chapels decorated with relief scenes of cult rituals and processions, including the procession of royal statues (the wehem-ankh). Inside the largest of these shrines stood a quartzite triad of Thutmose III with the gods Amun and Mut.
The southeast sector of the building, dedicated to the god Sokar, consisted of a suite of rooms leading onto a hall with eight fluted columns. The block of rooms just north of the Sokar suite were dedicated to the ithyphallic form of the god Amun and to the king himself.
Depictions of exotic flora and fauna sighted by the king on his military campaign are inscribed onto the walls of the famous "botanical room," located in the temple's northeast section. The "botanical room," fittingly adorned by four papyrus columns, led into the Akhmenu's main sanctuary. Eight niches lined the sides of the sanctuary's walls; each originally held a statue, possibly of the Theban Ennead. A larger niche in the rear was left for the placement of the naos.
A stairway accessed from the northeast corner of the pillared hall led up to a solar shrine on the roof of the temple. A Heliopolitan-type solar altar, shaped like a series of hetep symbols, stood within this solar sanctuary.
It is possible that the building overlaid an earlier temple on the same location dated to the reign of Hatshepsut or to the co-regency of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III.
Measurements: The building is 40m deep by 77.5m wide. The main pillared hall spans 40m.
Thutmose III began construction on the Akhmenu in the 23rd year of his reign and it was completed 7 years later. Inscriptions in the "botanical room" record that decoration of the temple began 2 years after initial construction. The large pillared hall commemorates the jubilee of Thutmose III, likely celebrated in his year 30.
Texts within the hall describe the building as a "mansion of millions of years," a type of building that in part was dedicated to the cult of the divine king. Many of the mortuary temples on Thebes’ west bank were given this same title. The temple appears to have served as a locus of cult for worship of the king's royal ancestors, the divine king Thutmose III, the god Amun (unified with the king), as well as solar and underworld deities.
Later changes to the Akhmenu were minimal. The upper solar shrine was altered and decorated in the Ramesside period. A new stairway may have been added at this time as well. Decoration in the rooms dedicated to the king and the ithyphallic Amun was altered during the reign of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE.
Construction materials: sandstone
The model was designed following the numerous detailed plans and axial drawings made in the comprehensive architectural study of the building by Carlotti (2001).
Photographs of the Akhmenu taken in many lighting conditions were used to develop the color scheme for the tent-pole columns in the pillared hall. Two different capitals were designed to reflect the actual variation in the appearance of the columns at the temple. The two types of columns were placed according to the positioning of these columns shown in the axial drawings of the pillared hall by Carlotti (2001). The painted inscriptions on the columns were not included in the model. The ceiling in the pillared hall was recreated from photographs of the remaining painted decoration.
Reconstruction of the appearance of the reed-bundled columns in the "botanical room" and the fluted columns in the "Sokar suite" was done using photographs of the columns at the site today.
A generic stone pattern approximating the size of the actual blocks was used on the walls of the building.
Due to the complexity of modeling statuary, the Osiride statues fronting the temple's southwest entrance were not included in the model.
Carlotti, Jean-François (2001), L'Akh-menou de Thoutmosis III à Karnak : etude architecturale. Paris: Recherche sur les civilisations.
Carlotti, Jean-François (1995), “Contribution à l' étude métrologique de quelques monuments du temple d'Amon-Rê à Karnak.” Cahiers de Karnak, vol. X, 65-127.
Beaux, Nathalie (1993), “L'architecture des niches du sanctuaire d'Amon dans le temple de l'Akh-menou à Karnak.” Cahiers de Karnak, vol. IX, 101-107.
Pécoil, Jean-François (2000), L'Akh-menou de Thoutmosis III à Karnak : la Heret-ib et les chapelles attenantes : relevés épigraphiques. Paris: Editions Recherche sur les civilisations, 32, 122 de pl..