Archive for the Montuemhet Category

Chapels of the Gods Wives at Medinet Habu by www.EgyptSites.co.uk

Posted in Akhamenerau, Amen, Amenirdis, Amon, Amonardis, Amonirdis, Amoun, Amun, Ancient Egypt, Ankhnesneferibre, Assyrian, Deir el-Bahri, Divine Wife, Dynasty, Egypt, EgyptSites, First Prophet, God, Goddess, Habu, Harwa, Karnak, Kush, Luxor, Medinet, Medinet Habu, Memphis, Montuemhet, Mortuary Temple, Napata, Nasalsa, Necho, Nitocris, Nitoqret, Nubian, Nubian Queens, Oracle, Osorkon, Peshuper, Piankhi, Pie, Piye, Priest, Psammetik, Pye, Ramesses, Sais, Scribe, Shabaka, Shabaqo, Shabitko, Shepenupet, Shepenwepet, Taharqa, Tanis, Tantamani, Temple of Amun, Thebes, Third Intermediate Period, Upper Egypt, Uraeus, Wadi Hammamat, West Bank, www.EgyptSites.co.uk, XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXVI with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2009 by www.Amunirdis.net

Chapels of the God’s Wives – Medinet Habu – Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III, West Bank, Luxor

“It now seems to be a forgone conclusion that when we’re on the West Bank, we will end up at Medinet Habu and today was no exception. I wanted a last look at the temple and went to take more photographs in the shrines of the God’s Wives of Amun, the Divine Adoratirix that have become a study theme for me on this visit.

Relief of Shepenwepet in the Chapel of AmenirdisThere are four chapels at Medinet Habu dedicated to the God’s Wives. The earliest belongs to Shepenwepet I who was appointed by her father Osorkon III during the last years of Theban independence before full Nubian control. Little is left of her chapel, but the burial shaft still gives access to vaulted chambers below – not open to the public however. The next shrine is that of Amenirdis I, the successor to Shepenwepet and daughter of Nubian King Kashta. This is the best-preserved chapel and has many interesting reliefs, though it is very dark inside. A forecourt fronts Amenirdis’s chapel, the four columns now reduced to stumps, but there is still a black granite offering table in situ. Inside the shrine, a free-standing sanctuary surrounded by a corridor whose walls are adorned with excerpts from the Pyramid Texts and reliefs of Amenirdis I and her successor Shepenwepet II (who built this shrine for her aunt), before various deities. The walls are now blackened but little square openings in the roof send atmospheric shafts of light down onto the scenes. The workmanship is really beautiful here.

In due time Shepenwepet II adopted Amenirdis II, a daughter of King Taharqa, as her successor, but her rule was ill-fated as by then the Nubian Dynasty XXV came to an end with the Assyrian invasions of Thebes. The Theban priesthood was forced to accept an heiress from the Saite dynasty of the Delta and it was Psamtik’s daughter Nitocris who became the next God’s Wife of Amun, after being adopted by both Shepenwepet II & Amenridis II. It was Nitocris who completed the chapel for Shepenwepet II after her death, adding to the burial chambers to provide for herself and her birth mother Mehytenweskhet. The fourth chapel is now gone, but is thought to have belonged to Ankhnesneferibre, a daughter of King Psamtik II, who was the last holder of the office of Divine Adoratrice at Thebes and who also took the title of High Priest of Amun. Her beautiful sarcophagus, found in a shaft at Deir el-Medina after being re-used during Roman times, is now in the British Museum.

Sarcophagus of Ankhnesneferibre in the British Museum

Over the doorways to these chapels is a kind of threat, written as an ‘Appeal to the Living’, which consists of words to be uttered by people passing by. The text more or less states that anyone not participating in the mortuary cult by repeating the prayers will be cursed by the ‘Mistress of the West’ who will cause sickness to their families. I always bear this in mind, saying a little prayer of my own for the souls of the powerful ladies once buried here.”

http://egyptsites.wordpress.com:80/2008/05/27/chapels-of-the-gods-wives/

Reproduced courtesy of  http://www.EgyptSites.co.uk/ with thanks.

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The Divine Adoratrices By Patricia Blosser www.KingTutOne.com

Posted in Adoratrice, Akaluka, Akhamenerau, Amen, Amenardis, Amenirdis, Amenirdis the Elder, Amon, Amonardis, Amonirdis, Amoun, Amun, Amunardis, Amunirdis, Ancient Egypt, Ankhnesneferibre, Assasif, Assyrian, Black Pharaohs, Chief Priestess, Deir el-Bahri, Divine Adoratice of Amun, Divine Adoratrice, Divine Adoratrices, Divine Adoratrix, Divine Votaress, Divine Wife, Dynastic, Dynasty, Egypt, Egyptian, Egyptian History, Egyptian Queen, Egyptologists, Egyptology, el-Assasif, First Prophet, God, Goddess, Gods Hand, Gods Wife, Gods Wife of Amun, Harwa, Karnak, Karnak Temple, Kashta, King Kashta, Kush, Kushite, Medinet Habu, Memphis, Montuemhet, Napata, Nasalsa, Necho, Nitocris, Nitoqret, Nubian, Nubian Queens, Oracle, Osorkon, Patricia Blosser, Peshuper, Pharaoh, Pharaohs, Piankhi, Pie, Piye, Prenomen, Priest, Princess of Nubia, Psammetichus, Psammetik, Psamtek, Psamtik, Pye, Queen Amenirdis, Queen Amunirdis, Queen of Egypt, Queen Pebatma, Sais, Scribe, Scribe of Amenirdis, Shabaka, Shabaka Neferkare, Shabaka Stone, Shabaqo, Shabitko, Shebitku, Shepenupet, Shepenwepet, Taharqa, Taharqo, Tanis, Tantamani, Temple of Amun, Thebes, Third Intermediate Period, Twenty Fifth Dynasty, Upper Egypt, Uraeus, Wadi Hammamat, www.Amenardis.net, www.Amenirdis.net, www.Amunirdis.net, www.KingTutOne.com, XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXV Dynasty, XXVI, XXVI Dynasty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2009 by www.Amunirdis.net

The Divine Adoratrices

By Patricia Blosser

In 656 BC, or regnal year 9, first month of Akhet, day 28, of the Sais King Psamtek I, his young daughter Nitocris, is recorded as leaving his private apartments in Sais. Dressed in the finest of linen garments and adorned with new turquoise she is headed for her own destiny. Her father had arranged for her to marry no other than Amun, the great god of Thebes(1). She left her father’s city in a great fleet sailing up the Nile to Thebes. It isn’t known how old she was at the time of her marriage, but she lived another 70 years (2) in Thebes as the Divine Adoratrice, the god Amun’s wife. She would s 

The office of the Divine Adoratrice, the God’s Wife had evolved greatly. Since the day Ahmose, first Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty had first made his wife Ahmose-Nefertari the god’s wife of Amun at Karnak(3). At this remote time Ahmose-Nefertari, the god’s wife, wasn’t the Divine Adoratrice. It would be several centuries yet, before the God’s wife took the office of the “adoratrice of the god”(4) and combined it with her royal office. Until that time this secondary office for women in the Temple of Amun at Karnak, was held by well-born noble women. The God’s Wife position was a priestly office at first held by non-royal ladies of the Middle Kingdom(5). From Ahmose-Nefertari on it would be an office held only by women of the royal house. Ahmose endowed the position with lands and entitlements, making it a wealthy position as well as a religious office. During Ahmose-Nefertari’s occupation of the office, its title the God’s Wife appears to be the title she preferred over the usual titles. She was entitled to use such as King’s wife, King’s principle wife, or even King’s mother. From Karnak Deir el Bahri, Abydos, and Serabit el Khadim in Sinai there are a number of ritual offerings dedicated by Ahmose-Nefertari. While other Queens and Kings dedicated similar objects, chronologically and numerically Ahmose-Nefertari heads the list and perhaps sets the trend. She opened quarries along with her husband and was asked for her approval on some of his building projects(6). Such participation of a queen is unique in the records.

Queen Hatshepsut, was the third holder of this important religious office, again the god’s wife was the title she too, preferred over other titles she was able to use. It is believed by modern scholars that it was her position as ‘God’s Wife’ that enable her to take up the titles and offices of King during her step-son’s minority(7). After she did become, Pharaoh she passed her role as god’s wife to her daughter Neferura(8). In the modern belief, that Neferura as the god’s wife assumed the role in temple rites that traditionally fell to a senior ranking royal woman. Roles she most likely fulfilled during her mother’s Kingship. Neferura’s preference of her title ‘the god’s wife’ is the third such preference of that title, by a royal woman over the more traditional titles such as the King’s daughter, or even King’s wife. It is as the God’s Wife that we find her, following her dressed as King mother, into the temple of Amun at Karnak. Whereas she is dressed in a simple sheath dress, sometimes tied at the waist unlike most such dresses, with a short wig and a thin fillet knotted at the back of the head the loose ends hanging down(9).

The office and title of God’s Wife, while not disappearing began a period of eclipse under the succeeding rule of Thutmose III, his son Amenhotep II, and grandson Thutmose IV. Under these three rulers there were four more god’s wives of Amun at Thebes. Aset, the mother of Thutmose III, and Meritamun his daughter held it. During the reign of Amenhotep II his mother Meritra, is given the title. While Tiaa, the mother of Thutmose IV is the last named god’s wife. In the reign of Amenhotep III, there is at one point a god’s wife but she is unnamed and after her the office disappears until the 19th dynasty(10). While the title disappears in the reign of Amenhotep III and his immediate successors, it would be incorrect to assume, that the power and statue of the King’s principle wife suffered any lost. In fact, with the advent of Amenhotep III’s queen, Tiye we see the power of the Queen rise to an equality that would have been familiar to Queen Ahmose-Nefertari back at the start of the dynasty. This was true as well with Akhenaten’s queen, Nefertiti. It is only after the death of Tutankhamun that we see the role of queens again fading into the background. Until Ramesses II once again, brings his principle wife Nefertari with a cult along side his at Abu Simbel(11). By this time, the title god’s wife is again being given to queens’ married to Kings, but it does not return to a position of power until much later.

In the mid-20th dynasty while Egypt began it’s post empire decay, as the power of the Chief Priest of Amun grew thorough out the nation. Ramess VI made his daughter Isis, the god’s wife of Amun at Thebes but this attempt of royal control was not successful(12). The country continued to decline, grave robbery of the Valley of the Kings and even the Queens grew at an alarming speed. The beginning of the 21st dynasty was beset with reburials of the ancient Kings and Queens. Into this came the Chief Priest of Amun at Thebes Pinudjem I, married to a daughter of Ramess XI. In the sixteenth year of Smendes, Pinudjem I(13) adopted royal titles and wrote his name in a cartouche and passed his office of Chief Priest of Amun to a son. He named his virgin daughter Maatkare, to the post of god’s wife of Amun at Thebes. Maatkare, combined the roles of God’s Wife and chief of the priestesses of Amun, in one title: the Divine Adoratrice from this time on the position was held by virginal daughters of the royal house who selected their successor by adoption(14). At one point, the burial remains of this Divine Adoratrice was thought to provide proof that the office wasn’t virginal in reality, because found with her remains was another smaller bundle of remains thought to be her child. However, as examination proved it was actually a monkey’s remains not a child. This finding restored both the honor of the Divine Adoratrice Maatkare, and the office she held(15).

Her successor isn’t known and might have been a member of the 22nd dynasty Libyan royal house. The next known Divine Adoratrice was Karomama, the granddaughter of Osorkon I(16). Her successor apparently was taken from the 23rd dynasty, another Libyan royal house and was Shepenwepet I, sister of Takelot III, the children of Osorkon III. Together this sister and brother shared the privileges of rule over Thebes. She appears to have taken over the position of chief priest that her brother had given up to ascend to the throne. While along with her brother and their father, she appears on the temple walls of Osiris heka-djet (‘lord of eternity’) at Karnak(17). It wasn’t long after her brother’s death, and the short succession of his heir. That Pianky the Kushite King began his conquest of Egypt from the southern boarders of Egypt. Shepenwepet I would adopt this foreign King’s sister as her heir and with that adoption. Pianky’s control over Upper Egypt was cemented as he continued his conquest of Middle and Lower Egypt(18.

In this Kushite Dynasty of the 25th, the role of the Divine Adoratrice, the maiden princess of the royal house, dedicated to Amun was equal to that of a royal governor in Thebes(19) . Considering that Pianky was busy most of the time with his conquest of Lower Egypt, and then his brother Shabak, the first Pharaoh of the 25th Dynasty consolidating his rule over the rebellious northern Egypt. It was up to their female family members to control Thebes. This, Amenirdis I(20)did, as the adopted daughter and heir of Shepenwepet I.

Amenirdis I maintained the secular power of Amun’s chief priest, even after her brother Shabak revived the position for a son of his. It had remained vacant since Takelot III had given it up to become Pharaoh(21). She under took the building of her own mortuary chapel and tomb for herself within the temple enclosure at the 18th dynastic temple at Medinet Habu(22). She ruled Thebes into the reign of Pianky’s son Sebitku, when her adopted daughter Shepenwepet II, the daughter of Pianky succeeded her.

Shepenwepet II raised, along with another of her brothers Taharqa, a chapel to Osiris, Lord of Life, and another one to Osiris, Lord of Eternity at the temple at Karnak. Her building achievements continued with other sacred edifices in the Theban region. She adopted as her successor her niece, the daughter of Taharqa, who took the name Amenirdis II. Amenirdis II often appears next to her aunt in reliefs at Thebes, like a co-regent(23).

Assurbanipal, King of Assyria in 663 B.C.E. resumed Assyria’s attacks on Egypt. He conqueror Memphis and even reached Thebes sacking it. Despite this treatment Upper Egypt refused to accept Assyrian rule and continued support for the Kushite Pharaoh Tantamani, who had fled on to Kush. This state of affairs continued, until the Sais King Psamtek I 26th dynasty, given his power by the Assyrians, threw off the Assyrian yoke once and for all pushing them out of Egypt in 655 B.C.E.(24) shortly, after reuniting Egypt. With his daughter’s adoption, by the last Kushite Divine Adoratrice Amenirdis II in Thebes. At that time the elderly Shepenwepet II was still very much alive and had approved the adoption of Nitocris, by her own adopted daughter Amenirdis II. It was the first time in the history of the Divine Adoratrice, that there were three such ladies in Thebes.

Nitocris I lived and ruled in Thebes for another 70 years after her arrival in Thebes. Her own successor Ankhnesneferibre, daughter of Psamtek II mounted the throne of the Divine Adoratrice in 586 B.C.E. Two years later, she was invested officially with the office of high priest. Ankhnesneferibre was another long-lived God’s Wife ruling until her death in 525 B.C.E. The year the Persians invaded Egypt. Her successor Nitocris II, ruled only until the Persians took control of their new land(25). The office of Divine Adoratrice was over, the glorious royal women who served Egypt would never again offer sacrifices, adoration, or reenact age-old rituals in the Temple of Amun at Karnak.

 Resources
1) Robin Gay, Women in Ancient Egypt, pg 155
2) Karol Mysliwiec, First Millennium B.C.E. The Twilight of Ancient Egypt, translated by David Lorton pg. 115
3) Robin Gay, Women in Ancient Egypt, pgs 43, 44
4) Robin Gay, Women in Ancient Egypt, pg 27
5) Robin Gay, Women in Ancient Egypt, pg 150
6) Robin Gay, Women in Ancient Egypt, pgs 43, 44
7) Robin Gay, Women in Ancient Egypt, pg 153
8 ) Robin Gay, Women in Ancient Egypt, pg 48
9) Robin Gay, Women in Ancient Egypt, pg 151
10) Robin Gay, Women in Ancient Egypt, pg 150
11) Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, pg 313
12) Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, pg 288
13) Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, pg 312
14) Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, pg 314
15) Karol Mysliwiec, First Millennium B.C.E. The Twilight of Ancient Egypt, translated by David Lorton pg 34
16) Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, pg 332
17) Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, pg 331
18) Karol Mysliwiec, First Millennium B.C.E. The Twilight of Ancient Egypt, translated by David Lorton pg 57
19) Karol Mysliwiec, First Millennium B.C.E. The Twilight of Ancient Egypt, translated by David Lorton pg 94
20) Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, pg 335
21) Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, pg 345
22) Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, pg 344
23) Karol Mysliwiec, First Millennium B.C.E. The Twilight of Ancient Egypt, translated by David Lorton pg 111
24) Karol Mysliwiec, First Millennium B.C.E. The Twilight of Ancient Egypt, translated by David Lorton pg 108, 109
25) Karol Mysliwiec, First Millennium B.C.E. The Twilight of Ancient Egypt, translated by David Lorton pg 131″

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Amenirdis the Great – Princess of Nubia – Queen of Egypt XXV Dynasty

Posted in Adoratrice, Akaluka, Akhamenerau, Amen, Amenardis, Amenirdis, Amenirdis the Elder, Amon, Amonardis, Amonirdis, Amoun, Amun, Amunardis, Amunirdis, Ancient Egypt, Ankhnesneferibre, Assasif, Assyrian, Black Pharaohs, Chief Priestess, Deir el-Bahri, Divine Adoratice of Amun, Divine Adoratrice, Divine Votaress, Divine Wife, Dynastic, Dynasty, Egypt, Egyptian, Egyptian History, Egyptian Queen, Egyptologists, Egyptology, el-Assasif, First Prophet, God, Goddess, Gods Hand, Gods Wife, Gods Wife of Amun, Harwa, Karnak, Karnak Temple, Kashta, King Kashta, Kush, Kushite, Medinet Habu, Memphis, Montuemhet, Napata, Nasalsa, Necho, Nitocris, Nitoqret, Nubian, Nubian Queens, Oracle, Osorkon, Peshuper, Pharaoh, Pharaohs, Piankhi, Pie, Piye, Prenomen, Priest, Princess of Nubia, Psammetichus, Psammetik, Psamtek, Psamtik, Pye, Queen Amenirdis, Queen Amunirdis, Queen of Egypt, Queen Pebatma, Sais, Scribe, Scribe of Amenirdis, Shabaka, Shabaka Neferkare, Shabaka Stone, Shabaqo, Shabitko, Shebitku, Shepenupet, Shepenwepet, Taharqa, Taharqo, Tanis, Tantamani, Temple of Amun, Thebes, Third Intermediate Period, Twenty Fifth Dynasty, Upper Egypt, Uraeus, Wadi Hammamat, www.Amenardis.net, www.Amenirdis.net, www.Amunirdis.net, XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXV Dynasty, XXVI, XXVI Dynasty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2009 by www.Amunirdis.net

Amenirdis the Great – Princess of Nubia – Queen of Egypt XXV Dynasty

“The Ancient Kushite princess commonly known as Amenirdis I was the daughter of Kashta and sister of Piye and Shabaka. Kashta arranged to have her adopted by the Divine Adoratrice of Amun, Shepenupet I, at Thebes as her successor; this proves that he already controlled Upper Egypt prior to the reign of Piye, his successor. At the reign of Piye, Amenirdis was established as God’s Wife of Amun in Thebes, and this important post typifies the policy of the Napatan kings of Egypt and may anticipate the central role which royal women held in the later history of Kush.

She occupied one of the highest ranks a woman could attain in a cult of the god; that was the position known as God’s Wife. Another high temple rank for women was Divine Adoratrice, which in the 18th Dynasty was sometimes held by women of high status at court, like the mother of the queen, or by the wife of the high priest in the Amun cult at Karnak. From the reign of Osorkon III to that of Psammetik III, Thebes was ruled by a succession of five daughters of the ruling royal house who would live in Thebes and give all their attention to the god’s cult.

The first was Shepenwepet I, who was appointed Divine Wife by her father, Osorkon II, who received all the estates and property formerly possessed by the High Priest. She also officiated at the Temple of Osiris. Shepenwepet I continued in power under Osorkon’s successor, Takeloth III, though no mention of the Divine Wife appears in his records and he made no arrangements for a successor. When at the end of the Third Intermediate Period the rulers of Kush began to extend their authority into Egypt and took power away from the Libyans, Piankh invaded Thebes from Kush to become the first ruler of the 25th Dynasty.

He persuaded Shepenwepet I to adopt his sister Amenirdis, as successor. So Amenirdis carried the old title of Divine Adoratrice Apparent. Amenirdis I, sister of the general Piankh, reigned as Divine Wife under Piankh, Shabaka, and Shabitko of the 25th Dynasty. She in turne adopted Piankh’s daughter to succeed her as Shepenwepet II. Some years later Shepenwepet II adopted the daughter of Taharqa to reign as Amenirdis II.

There is a fragmentary stela that refers to Taharqa having given his daughter to marry the vizier Montuemhat and that they had a son named Nasalsa. When Amenirdis I died, her niece completed a mortuary chapel at Medinet Habu for her, though nothing now remains in the burial chapel. But her grave goods can be found in museums all over the world.”

http://www.sis.gov.eg/En/Pub/magazin/winter2008/110235000000000018.htm
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Egyptian Women in Power – Shepenwepet, Amenirdis, Nitoqret, Nitocris, Ankhnesneferibre – God’s Wife of Amun

Posted in Adoratrice, Akaluka, Akhamenerau, Amen, Amenardis, Amenirdis, Amenirdis the Elder, Amon, Amonardis, Amonirdis, Amoun, Amun, Amunardis, Amunirdis, Ancient Egypt, Ankhnesneferibre, Assasif, Assyrian, Black Pharaohs, Chief Priestess, Deir el-Bahri, Divine Adoratice of Amun, Divine Adoratrice, Divine Votaress, Divine Wife, Dynastic, Dynasty, Egypt, Egyptian, Egyptian History, Egyptian Queen, Egyptologists, Egyptology, el-Assasif, First Prophet, God, Goddess, Gods Hand, Gods Wife, Gods Wife of Amun, Harwa, Karnak, Karnak Temple, Kashta, King Kashta, Kush, Kushite, Medinet Habu, Memphis, Montuemhet, Napata, Nasalsa, Necho, Nitocris, Nitoqret, Nubian, Nubian Queens, Oracle, Osorkon, Peshuper, Pharaoh, Pharaohs, Piankhi, Pie, Piye, Prenomen, Priest, Princess of Nubia, Psammetichus, Psammetik, Psamtek, Psamtik, Pye, Queen Amenirdis, Queen Amunirdis, Queen of Egypt, Queen Pebatma, Sais, Scribe, Scribe of Amenirdis, Shabaka, Shabaka Neferkare, Shabaka Stone, Shabaqo, Shabitko, Shebitku, Shepenupet, Shepenwepet, Taharqa, Taharqo, Tanis, Tantamani, Temple of Amun, Thebes, Third Intermediate Period, Twenty Fifth Dynasty, Upper Egypt, Uraeus, Wadi Hammamat, www.Amenardis.net, www.Amenirdis.net, www.Amunirdis.net, XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXV Dynasty, XXVI, XXVI Dynasty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2009 by www.Amunirdis.net

Egyptian Women in Power – Shepenwepet, Amenirdis, Nitoqret, Nitocris, Ankhnesneferibre – God’s Wife of Amun

“By the 23rd Dynasty, Egypt was under Libyan rule. From the reign of Osorkon III to that of Psammetik III, Thebes was ruled by a succession of five daughters of the ruling royal house who would live in Thebes and give all their attention to the god’s cult. The first was Shepenwepet I, who was appointed Divine Wife by her father, Osorkon II, who received all the estates and property formerly possessed by the High Priest.

She also officiated at the Temple of Osiris. Shepenwepet I continued in power under Osorkon’s successor, Takeloth III, though no mention of the Divine Wife appears in his records and he made no arrangements for a successor.

When at the end of the Third Intermediate Period the rulers of Kush began to extend their authority into Egypt and took power away from the Libyans, Piankh invaded Thebes from Kush to become the first ruler of the 25th Dynasty. He persuaded Shepenwepet I to adopt his sister Amenirdis, as successor. So Amenirdis carried the old title of Divine Adoratrice Apparent.

When Shepenwepet I died, she was buried along with several family members in a vault beneath the floor of her mortuary chapel at Medinet Habu.

Amenirdis I, sister of the general Piankh, reigned as Divine Wife under Piankh, Shabaka, and Shabitko of the 25th Dynasty. She in turned adopted Piankh’s daughter to succeed her as Shepenwepet II. Some years later Shepenwepet II adopted the daughter of Taharqa to reign as Amenirdis II. There is a fragmentary stela that refers to Taharqa having given his daughter to marry the vizier Montuemhat and that they had a son named Nasalsa.

When Amenirdis I died, her niece completed a mortuary chapel at Medinet Habu for her, though nothing now remains in the burial chapel. But her grave goods can be found in museums all over the world.

When the Assyrians first invaded Egypt, they placed a puppet, Necho of Sais, on the throne in the Delta. Taharqa had fled to Kush, leaving behind his wives and children. When Taharqa died, his successor, Tantamani, had a dream promising him Egypt, and marched north, killing Necho of Sais. The Assyrians again marched on Egypt and sacked Thebes. But Shepenwepet II remained in position as Divine Wife of Amun.

From Osorkon III’s time on, the title “Divine Wife of Amun” was that of a daughter of the king who became the consecrated wife of the god, Amun. She was expected to reside in Thebes and probably responsible to make known the will of Amun through oracular means. The Divine Wife held a second title, that of “Hand of the God.”

At this time, political power was held by Montuemhet, a man holding a minor political office. He was only Fourth Prophet of Amun, but also mayor of the city and governor of Upper Egypt. Taharqa had installed Montuemhet in Thebes when he was residing at the royal palace in Tanis in the Delta. After Taharqa fled Egypt, the Assyrians confirmed Montuemhet as vassal, and he boasts of protecting the city of Thebes and conducting ceremonies of purification in the despoiled temples.

Psammetik I became the first ruler of the 26th Dynasty, but was little more than an Assyrian vassal. Psammetik gradually formed an alliance with the rulers in Herakleopolis and was recognized as overlord. When he was recognized as ruler by Thebes, who had still considered the Kushites their king, Egypt was once again unified and could declare itself independent from Assyria. Psammetik appointed his daughter Nitoqret as Divine Wife of Amun.

Other women were still involved in serving in the temple, not just the daughter of the king. The title “singer in the temple of Amun” was held by approximately 100 women from the reigns of Takelot II to the end of the 26th Dynasty. They were most likely retainers of the god’s wives, and some are buried not far from the tomb chapels of the 25th and 26th Dynasties at Medinet Habu.

Shepenwepet II meanwhile, the reigning Divine Wife, already had an adopted daughter, Amenirdis II, to succeed her. Both of them were loyal to Tantamani, the Nubian. But Nitoqret did not arrive in Thebes until some months after Tantamani was already dead.

It has been suggested that Nitoqret was adopted by Amenirdis II, who was Divine Wife Apparent at that time, and not by Shepenwepet II. But possibly, Shepenwepet II adopted Nitoqret, and Amenirdis II returned to Kush.

This adoption of Nitoqret was recorded on a great granite stela at Karnak which tells how she was escorted from the Delta to Thebes in a long procession of boats bearing much dowry. It describes how, in the spring of 655 BCE, Nitoqret and her retinue boarded ships from the Delta and sailed to Thebes.

Montuemhet accepted Nitoqret as Divine Wife, and agreed to allow the king to appoint not only her officials but also the governor and border commander of the area to the south of Thebes. In return Montuemhet was allowed to retain his position as mayor of Thebes. Probably in return for his new loyalty, Montuemhet’s tomb near Deir el-Bahri is magnificent, its large pylon dominating the plain. It has a vast underground complex and enormous sun-court adorned with statues of him.

The God’s Wife now dressed in royal insignia, including the uraeus, was accorded royal titles and even wrote her name in a royal cartouche. She owned about 2000 acres of fertile land in both the Delta and in Upper Egypt.

Rather than administering her own wealth, Nitoqret’s father Psammetik I appointed an overseer who would answer to him. But once the king died, Nitoqret appointed her own men, loyal to her. Nitoqret was given some 2000 acres of land in both Upper and Lower Egypt. Every day, Nitiqret was to receive from the fourth priest of Amun, his eldest son, his wife, and from the first and third priests of Amun, a total of 600 deben of bread, 11 hin (just under half a liter) of milk, 2 1/6 cakes, 2 2/3 bundles of herbs. Monthly she would receive 3 oxen, 5 geese, 20 heben of beer, and the yield of many fields. Various temples gave her 1500 deben of bread. She thus received 2100 deben of bread daily and over 2000 acres in eleven nomes.

Nitoqret reigned for over fifty years, not appointing a successor in all that time. During her time, the Assyrians invaded and Thebes was sacked, the temple robbed of its treasure. But when she was in her eighties, in 594 BCE, she adopted the daughter of Psammetik II, her great niece Ankhnesneferibre. This girl not only took the title of Divine Wife of Amun, she was also given the title of First Prophet or High Priest of Amun, the only woman known to hold this office. Her beautiful stone sarcophagus shows her effigy wearing a queen’s headdress and holding the flail and crook scepters of Egypt.

Eight years later, Nitoqret died. Her funerary inscription bears language very similar to that used by the kings themselves. 

Year 4 of Apries, 4th month of Shomu, day 4, the Divine Wife Nitoqret, justified, was raised up into heaven, being united with the sun’s disk, the divine flesh being merged with him who made it.

She was buried at Medinet Habu. Though her burial chamber was pilfered, her sarcophagus sits in the Cairo Museum.

Ankhnesneferibre could not prevent King Amasis from appointing his own man as her steward. When the King of Persia conquered Egypt, she had reigned for 60 years. When the Persians conquered Egypt, the office of God’s Wife was discontinued and never again resurrected.

Sources: 

  • Position of Women in the Egyptian Hierarchy by Aylward Blackman, JEA 7
  • Daughters of Isis by Joyce Tyldesley
  • Celibacy and Adoption Among God’s Wives of Amun and Singers in Temple of Amun by Emily Teeter
  • Women in Ancient Egypt by Barbara Watterson
  • Women in Ancient Egypt by Gay Robins “

http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/women2.htm

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http://www.Amunirdis.net/
http://www.Amenirdis.net/
http://www.Amenardis.net/