During the war to expel the Hyksos from Egypt, Ahmose decided to follow in his father Abana's footsteps, and he enlisted in the navy during the reign of Tao II Seqenre.
After the deaths of Tao II Seqenre and his son Kamose, Ahmose continued to serve under Pharaoh Ahmose. Ahmose participated in the battle of Avaris (the Hyksos capital), where he killed two Hyksos and was awarded the "Gold of Valor" twice. Ahmose was awarded slaves and other spoils by the Pharaoh after Avaris was sacked. Ahmose also participated in three of the sieges of Sharahen for which he was rewarded.
Under the reign of Thutmose I, Ahmose participated in several major military campaigns against insurgent Hyksos tribes in the Nile Delta. Ahmose accompanied Thutmose I as he pursued the tribes all the way to the Euphrates River. In Nubia, Ahmose went with an expedition beyond the Third Cataract where Thutmose I engaged a Nubian king in hand to hand combat and slew the Nubian king. According to one of Ahmose' reports, upon victory Thutmose I had the Nubian king's body hung from the prow of his ship, before he returned to Thebes.
Ahmose was elevated to the rank of admiral an exact or even a general date of this promotion is not known.
The nomarchs (governors) of El Kab and their families were ardent supporters of the newly rising Theban Dynasty which had to face unceasing and exhausting wars, and there is no doubt that this loyalty had been extensively rewarded with gold, lands and personnel. Frequently, even the royal children were entrusted to them, which is explicitly indicated by Paheri. They ended up having control of the whole region situated between El Kab and Esna.
Paheri, grandson of Ahmose, doesn't fail to show in this tomb, his connection with this famous ancestor (see "The tomb of Paheri").
It is also he who had engraved the inscription in the tomb of his grandfather Ahmose, as it is recalled in front of the figure which represents him at the feet of this one : " It was his daughter's son who undertook the work in this tomb, perpetuating the name of his mother's father, the scribe of Amon, Paheri, Justified. "
the history of Ahmose son of Abana
The war chronicles of Ahmose - Son of Abana are very important texts for the knowledge of Egyptian history because they constitute the only source currently known (together with the inscription of Ahmose-pen-Nekhbet) on the expulsion of the Hyksos from the valley of the Nile and the resumption by the first sovereigns of the 18th Dynasty of their African and Asian possessions, which had become independent during this occupation. These texts also show us what could be the career of an officer of value, and the honours and material advantages which he could recover.
The Hyksos were Asian tribes driven back by the Indo-European invasions of the second millennia B.C. They installed two dynasties of sovereigns, whose power spread in Lower and Middle Egypt. Their capital was Avaris in the eastern part of the Delta. The memory of this foreign occupation of the Two-lands remained in the Egyptian imaginary for a long time. It was one of the major reasons which brought the Pharaohs to establish and to extend an empire which, besides the wealth which it procured them, protected the Valley of the Nile from new invaders.
The events proceeded in the following way :
• The long siege of Avaris ended, the Egyptian army pursued the Hyksos who took refuge in their fort of Sharuhen, in the south of Palestine. Another long siege of 6 years then began, focally interrupted by rebellions in Egypt itself, which king Ahmosis had to return to subdue. The citadel finally fell, and the Egyptians pursued their thrust toward Syro-Palestine, at the same time to finish with the Hyksos and to take in hand this region.
• This done, Ahmosis carried his army to the extreme south, to Nubia. The revolts had returned to this region, Egyptian until the end of the Middle Kingdom, had been practically autonomous. Two expeditions re-establish the Egyptian sovereignty.
Thus closed the wars and probably the reign of Ahmosis. Ahmose will thus have formed part of all the campaigns of this king.
• Under the reign of Thutmosis I, Ahmose was always in active service in the navy. He brought the Egyptian army to Nubia for the first campaign. He is then named Admiral of the Fleet. The campaign concluded triumphantly with the return of the boats to Egypt, a killed enemy being suspended head down in the royal vessel.
• Then came the famous expedition in Naharina, of which one only finds mention at El Kab, in the tombs of the two Ahmoses.
DESCRIPTION of THE TOMB
The upper register shows a character seated on the right, very mutilated, in front of a great table of offerings. Paheri (grandson of Ahmose) is represented on the left, dedicating this offering "hetep-di-nesu" "to Ra-Horakhty, to Osiris Lord of the West (= the dead), to Anubis Lord of the Necropolis, to Hathor Mistress of the western desert", so that, by the traditional system of the transfer of the offerings, the gods make some benefit his parents.
A similar scene is represented on the lower register , but at a smaller scale. Did the seated man call himself Jry (?) and does he actually stretch his hand over a sign for his ka, placed on a stand, in front of the table of offerings. Behind Paheri are the deceased's children.
The north wall of the tomb
The major part of the wall, like that of the west, is divided into two main registers. Seated on the right of both registers is a representation of a couple In the upper register, the larger of the two, the couple is formed by Ahmose and his wife Iput. The deceased stretches the hand toward the well garnished offering table, represented in front of him. A small detail, making the scene come alive, is the pet baboon, under the master's chair, eating a fruit . In front of the chair is the small son of Paheri, who dedicates the offering of the ka up to the deceased. Behind the the table of offerings, the register is divided into two sub-registers; in the top one are the deceased's children and below a feminine character designated as "his mother", but the name is incomplete.
The east wall of the tomb
The left portion of this wall is now mostly destroyed by the opening up of the entrance to the burial chamber Just past the entrance to the burial chamber are a few columns of incomplete text, then a large (life sized) image of Ahmose. In front and at a much smaller scale is an image of Paheri, above whom, in a small table of hieroglyphs, is Paheri's dedication text (mentioned above).
In front of this imagary, and taking up the greater part of this east wall, is the first part of the famous autobiography of Ahmose (31 lines).
The main chamber of this tomb has a vaulted ceiling, which was possibly decorated.
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AHMOSE
The columns of text of the autobiography read from left to right, even though the individual hieroglyphs in each column read right to left. Columns 1 to 31 are on the east wall and continue on the south wall with columns 32 to 40. Column 32, the first column on the south wall, is totally destroyed; the last two columns, next to the entrance, are partially destroyed.
Introduction : (columns 01 - 04) :
The admiral, Ahmose, son of Abana, justified (lit. "true of voice", thus "deceased"); he says: "I speak you, oh all you people. I am going to let you know the honours which have befallen me. I have been rewarded with gold seven times, in the presence of the entire country, with servants and maidservants also. I was endowed with very numerous pieces of land. A man's renown depends according to what he has done and won't perish in this land, forever."
Ahmose's youth : (columns 04 - 06) :
He speaks as follows: "I grew in the city of Nekheb (present day El Kab). My father was in command (in the army) of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Sekenen-Re (Sekenenre Ta'a II, Theban Prince, next-to-last king of the XVIIth Dynasty, about 1600 B.C.), justified; Baba, son of Ra-inet, was his name. I became a commander in his place, on the ship "Pa Sema" ("The Fighting Bull"), in the time of the Lord of the Two Lands, Neb-Pehty-Re (son of Sekenen-Re–Ta'a, and founder of the 18th Dynasty, about 1580–1558 B.C.), justified. I was still very young; I was not married and I slept in a net hammock. After I had established a household, I was taken to the northern fleet, because of my courage. I accompanied the sovereign, Life-Prosperity-Health, on dry land, following on foot when he was on his chariot.
War against the Hyksos, with king Ahmosis : (columns 06 - 16) :
When we laid siege to the city of Avaris, and I had the opportunity to prove my valour, on foot, in the presence of his Majesty. I was then promoted to the ship "khaemmennefer" ("That which shines in Memphis"); we then fought on water, in the Pa-djed-ku canal of Avaris (which shows that the fighting took place on land and on water). I took spoils, I brought back a hand (to prove he had killed an enemy, the soldier would cut off a hand and bring it back so as to count the dead). When the fact was reported to the royal herald, I was given the gold of valour. Then they fought again in this place and I made even more spoils: I carried off a hand, and I was awarded the gold of valour all over again. Then there was fighting in Egypt, to the south of this city; there, I carried off a prisoner, a man. I went down to the water, see, he was brought back as if he was captured on the way from the city (Ahmose brought back his prisoner, therefore, as if he had been on dry land): I crossed the water while carrying him, and it was reported to the royal herald; then I was rewarded, once again, with gold. Then Avaris was plundered; I brought back spoils from there: a man, three women, total: four persons; his Majesty gave them to me as servants. Then Sharuhen (a stronghold to the south of the present Palestine where the Hyksos had retreated) was besieged for three years; His Majesty then plundered it; from there I brought spoils: two women and a hand. Then I was assigned the gold of valour all over again, while the captives were given to me as servants.
With king Ahmosis, during the campaigns of Nubia : (columns 16 - 19) :
After his Majesty had slain the nomads of Asia, he sailed south, toward Khent-hen-nefer (to the south of the second cataract), to destroy the Nubians. He made a great slaughter among them. I carried away spoils from there: two living men and three hands; I was rewarded once again with gold, and two women were given to me. His Majesty then sailed upstream (northwards), his heart rejoicing in valour and victory, because he had conquered those of the south and those of the north.
Capture of Aata : (columns 19 - 22) :
Then Aata headed southwards (to Egypt), his fate brought his downfall. The gods of Upper Egypt grasped him. His Majesty found him at the waters of Tinet-taa and took him as a living captive, while all his people were as plunder. Then I took for myself, two young soldiers as captives, from the boat of Aata. I was given five persons and I was given a portion of land - five arouras (1 aroura = 2700 m²) - in my town. It was done in the same way for the whole crew.
Defeat of Teti-an : (columns 22 - 24) :
Then that enemy Teti-an (an Egyptian name) came; he had gathered around him of the malcontents. His Majesty slew him, and his troops were as if they had never existed (meaning annihilated). I was given three persons, and five arouras of land in my town.
Nubian campaign, with Amenophis I : (columns 24 - 29) :
Then I transported, by boat, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt Djeser-Ka-Re, justified, when he travelled south to Kush, to enlarge the borders of Egypt. His Majesty then smote this Nubianin the middle of his army, and they were taken in shackles, so they could not escape, those who fled were knocked aside, as if they had never existed. Behold, I was at the head of our army (it is the only mention in all the Egyptian historic texts of "our army", giving a real patriotic feeling); I fought truly well, and his Majesty noted my valour. I brought back two hands, I offered them to his Majesty. Then his people and his herds were sought after. I then carried off a living captive, which I offered to his Majesty. I returned his Majesty, in two days, to Egypt, from "Upper Well". Then I was rewarded with gold, I brought back two female slaves as booty - apart from those I had offered to his Majesty. They then granted upon me (the title) "Warrior of the Ruler".
Nubian campaign, with Thutmosis I (about 1530-1520 B.C.) (columns 29 - 36) :
Then I transported, by boat, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt Aa-Kheper-Ka-Re, justified, when he travelled south to Khent-hen-nefer, to repress a civil war throughout the foreign lands and to repulse an invasion from the desert region. I was brave in his presence, in difficult waters, in the hauling of the ship over the cataract. So they granted to me (the title) Admiral (lit. "chief of the sailors). Then his Majesty, L.P.H., (the rest of this passage is mutilated: but, the king probably learned of the existence of a new revolt, nearby).
At this his Majesty became furious like a panther; his Majesty shot, his first arrow remained in the chest of this enemy. Then those (again, a damage area: but, probably "the adversaries turn and flee"), weak before his uraeus. In a moment, a slaughter was made among them, and their families were taken as living prisoners. His Majesty journeyed north, all foreign lands being in his grasp, while this vile Nubian was hung, head down, at the prow of his Majesty's ship "Falcon", landing at Ipetsut (the Temple of Karnak).
Campaign in Syria with Thutmosis I : (columns 36 - 39) :
After this (his Majesty) proceeded to Retenu (northern Canaan), to take revenge (lit. to wash his heart) through the foreign countries. When his Majesty reached Naharina (to the North of Phoenicia), his Majesty, L.P.H., thought that this enemy had recruited troops (in preparation for battle). Then his Majesty made a great massacre of them, and one could not count the number of living prisoners which his Majesty brought from his victories. Behold, I was at the head of our army, and his Majesty saw my supremacy; I brought a chariot, its horse and he who was upon it as a living captive, as a gift to his Majesty. I was then rewarded with gold again.
Old age : (column 40) :
I became old, I reached a great age. My favours are as before ... and loved ... I will rest in the tomb which I made for myself.
And so concludes the autobiography of this great soldier.