Sandstone stela of Amenhotep III

From Semna, Egypt
18th Dynasty, around 1350 BC

Recording a campaign by the viceroy Merymose in Nubia

It became customary for Egyptian kings to leave some sort of physical record of their foreign campaigns in certain strategic locations in the occupied lands. In early examples it just took the form of a brief mention of the name of the king on a nearby rock, but the texts gradually increased in length, and from the Middle Kingdom (about 2040-1750 BC) the practice was to set up stelae.

This example was erected on the east side of the Nile at Semna, the location of the Second Cataract and one of the natural borders for the Egyptians in Nubia. The inscription records a military campaign against the people of Ibhet, an area perhaps to the east of the Nile. The Egyptians are (naturally) victorious, with the tally of the living and the dead among the enemy recorded as 1052. The expedition was led by the viceroy Merymose, parts of whose coffins are also in The British Museum. The reign of Amenhotep III (about 1390-1352 BC) is not known as a very warlike period, and this is only the second campaign in Nubia recorded for his thirty-eight year reign.

Another example of a campaign stela, once set up at the southern boundary of Egypt at Elephantine, is also in The British Museum.

Find in the collection online

More information


Z. Topozada, 'Les deux campagnes d'Amenhotep III en Nubie', Bulletin de lInstitut França-2, 88 (1988), pp. 153-64

I.E.S. Edwards (ed.), Hieroglyphic texts from Egyp-8, Part 8 (London, British Museum, 1939)

B.G. Davies, Egyptians historical records o (Warminster, Aris & Phillips, 1992)


Height: 82.000 cm
Width: 90.000 cm

Museum number

EA 657


Gift of Lord Prudhoe


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore