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Horemheb (reigned 1320-1292 BCE) was the last pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt. His name means, “Horus is in Festival” and he came from the lower classes of Egypt, worked himself up through the ranks of the army, became commander-in-chief of the Egyptian military, and finally pharaoh. Little is known about his early life, but it seems that he initially served under Amenhotep III and continued service under Akhenaten. He first comes to the notice of historians during the reign of Tutankhamun when he acted in the capacity of advisor to the young king along with the vizier Ay. Ay succeeded Tutankhamun and, on his death, Horemheb took the throne, at which point he initiated a nation-wide campaign to erase his immediate predecessor's names from history and revitalize the nation that had declined under Akhenaten's rule. He is generally considered a good pharaoh, but whether he is a hero or villain depends upon one's view of Akhenaten's reign and Horemheb's reaction to it.

Early Career

Based upon his coronation text, Horemheb came from the city of Herakleopolis, but nothing is known of his parentage nor anything of his youth. He first appears in the historical record serving under Amenhotep III but, as this reference is unclear, he could have begun his career under Akhenaten. It would seem, however, that since he was quickly promoted by Akhenaten to Great Commander of the Army, he would have provided service to the throne earlier.

Horemheb wanted to restore Egypt to the grandeur it had known under Amenhotep III's rule.

Akhenaten initiated religious reforms that proscribed the traditional polytheistic religious practices in Egypt and instituted monotheism in the form of the religion of Aten. Aten had been a minor sun deity prior to Akhenaten's reign but now became the supreme god of the universe and the only god the Egyptians were allowed to worship. Further, Akhenaten proclaimed himself the incarnation of Aten and elevated his wife, Nefertiti, to equally divine status. Thus, the royal couple were not only the intermediaries between the people of Egypt and their god, they were the god incarnate. Whatever Horemheb may have thought of these reforms at the time is unknown but, based upon his later reaction to them, he did not approve. There would have been good reason for his displeasure. The historian Barbara Watterson notes that:

Still, Horemheb served his king as commander-in-chief and led the armies of Egypt against the Hittites in the north. If he did serve under Amenhotep III, then his frustration under Akhenaten must have been immense in that the inscriptions relate that the Egyptian army, once invincible, was unable to win a single victory against the Hittites during Akhenaten's reign. The cause of this is thought to be the king's neglect of both foreign and domestic affairs due to his intense religious interests. Nefertiti assumed the responsibilities of her husband but, in spite of her efforts, Egypt continued to decline in power. The military exercises and discipline, which had been a regular part of the army's life under Amenhotep III, had grown lax as, in fact, had every other aspect of Egyptian rule save that of Akhenaten's monotheistic faith.

Tutankhamun & Ay

Akhenaten died in 1353 BCE and, after a short interim rule by another of his sons (or, it is thought, by Nefertiti), his son Tutankhaten assumed the throne. Shortly after his coronation, Tutankhaten changed his name to Tutankhamun, repealed his father's proscriptions, and returned Egypt to traditional religious practices. He moved the capital from Akhenaten's city of Akhetaten back to Thebes and re-opened the temples. Although his reign lasted only ten years, and he died before he was 20 years old, Tutankhamun's efforts to bring Egypt back to its former balance would have meant a great deal to the people of the land. The Egyptian concept of ma'at, of eternal balance, was thought to be maintained by the people's cooperation in the work of the gods. In abandoning those gods, it was thought, Akhenaten had brought imbalance to the land, and it was this balance that Tutankhamun sought to restore.

When Tutankhamun died, Horemheb was in the north leading the armies of Egypt against the Hittites. The vizier Ay ordered a ceremonial marriage with Tutankhamun's young widow, Ankhsenamun, in order to officiate at the king's funeral and then assumed the throne. This official marriage was considered necessary in order to maintain balance, the concept of celestial harmony known as ma'at, but it was not an actual marriage. It was assumed, however, that Ankhsenamun would marry Ay in order to legitimize his claim to the throne and, again, ensure balance in the land. Shortly after the funeral, however, Ankhsenamun wrote to the Hittite king Suppiluliuma I asking him to send one of his sons to be her husband. She refused to marry Ay (who may have been her grandfather) and wanted a husband of royal blood whom she could consider an equal. Suppiluliuma was suspicious at first but, after Ankhsenamun's assurances, sent his son Zananza to be king of Egypt. The prince was murdered before reaching the border, however, and this assassination has long been thought to be the work of Horemheb. The Egyptologist Zahi Hawass writes:

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Perhaps Ay told the commander of the army, Horemheb, what the young queen had done, or perhaps Ay and Horemheb were themselves involved in a struggle for the throne. Perhaps the two men decided together to stop the Hittite prince, because it would have brought shame on the nation for an Egyptian queen to marry a foreigner - such a thing would have reversed the proper order of things. Perhaps it was Ay, or his successor, Horemheb, who had the Hittite prince killed; and perhaps Ankhsenamun was forced, after all, to marry the aged Ay. In fact, we do not have any clues to her eventual fate (68).

Ay ruled for three years and, having no heir at his death, Horemheb took the throne. While Ay had continued Tutankhamun's policies concerning the return to traditional religious practices, Horemheb would go much further, and it is these policies for which he is most remembered.

Pharaoh Horemheb

Horemheb ascended the throne c. 1320 BCE and, according to the historian Margaret Bunson, “he marked his reign with extensive programs to restore order and rebuild Egypt's decimated shrines. Tributes flowed into the land during his reign and lesser city-states and nations sent delegations to keep cordial relations with him; he was called `stern' by contemporaries” (115-116). Claiming that the gods, specifically Horus of Hutsenu (his patron god), had chosen him to bring balance back to the land, Horemheb instituted a strict orthodoxy concerning traditional religious practice. Bunson writes:

He returned all of the properties of the temples to the rightful priests, lands which Akhenaten had confiscated during the Amarna Period. He also dated his reign to the death of Amenhotep III in 1353 BCE, thus erasing the Amarna Period and its aftermath. His reign was also marked by building programs, including restorations and the start of additions to Karnak, Nubian shrines, a temple to Ptah and tombs at Memphis and Thebes (116).

Horemheb destroyed Akhenaten's city of Akhetaten and moved the capital of Egypt from Thebes to Memphis in order to distance himself from anything that had to do with the rulers of the Amarna Period (the period during which the capital of Egypt was at Akhetaten, known today as `Amarna', but including Akhenaten's successors prior to Horemheb). The monuments, temples, and stele that had been erected by his immediate predecessors were torn down and used as fill in constructing new buildings. Just as Akhenaten had ordained that all signs of the old gods should be erased from the landscape of Egypt, Horemheb proclaimed that all reference to the religion of Aten be obliterated. So successful was he in this goal that later Egyptians believed he was the successor of Amenhotep III and had simply continued that king's policies. Akhenaten, Tutankhamun, and Ay were forgotten by history so completely that it was not until they surfaced in excavations in the late 19th and mid-20th centuries that it was known they had ever existed.

The primary goal of Horemheb had not so much to do with religion, however, as balance. He wanted to restore Egypt to the grandeur it had known under Amenhotep III's rule. In this endeavor, he admirably succeeded as is attested to by later inscriptions regarding his reign. Bunson writes:

His most ambitious and beneficial act was the reestablishment of law and order in the Nile Valley. His famous edict concerning firm government was found on a fragmented stela in Karnak. The edict concerned itself with legal abuses taking place because of the laxity of Akhenaten's rule. Horemheb declared that officials of the state and provinces would be held accountable for cheating the poor, for pocketing funds, and for misappropriating the use of slaves, ships, and other properties. The king singled out higher-ranking official especially, promising swift judgments and the death penalty for offenses. The edict also announces the appointments of responsible men as viziers and gives information about the division of the standing army into two main units, one in Upper Egypt and one in Lower Egypt. Horemheb not only published his edict throughout the land took inspection tours to make sure that all of the provisions were being carried out in the remote areas as well as the cities (116).

Horemheb reigned for 28 years and, in that time, restored Egypt to its former balance, though not to the level of power it had known under Amenhotep III. He had no heir to take the throne and so appointed his vizier and former comrade-in-arms Paramesse as heir to the throne. Paramesse took the name Rameses I upon his ascension and founded the 19th dynasty of Egypt.

10 Intriguing Facts about Horemheb

In this post, I wrote 10 facts about Horemheb in order to describe his life and explain his personality. From historians perspective, Horemheb is considered to be one of the most mysterious rulers of Egypt. In fact, he was as mysterious as Queen Nefertiti who was suspected of disguising herself as a male in order to rule the Kingdom.

In our day and age, we can recognize Horemheb from his edgy beard because most of his surviving wall images and sculptures depict him with that appearance. In my opinion, a person’s outer appearance does not reflect his or her inner world. Therefore, let’s learn what kind of person he was in reality and how fairly he ruled the Kingdom of Egypt

Facts about Horemheb

Horemheb was the last pharaoh of the 18 th dynasty of Egypt.

Total of thirty-two dynasties has existed in Ancient Egypt, each leaving the significant traces in human history. During this periods, pharaohs carried out several religious revolutions and built temples for their gods.

Horemheb was an experienced leader.

Before becoming a pharaoh, he was the commander of the army under Tutankhamun and Ay. There are also speculations that suggest that he might have also served under the Akhenaten’s rule as a high ranking official. Historians came to such conclusion because historical records show the existence a general named Paatenemheb during that period. And, some historians think that he and Horemheb was the same person.

Most historians, however, believe that Horemheb thrived under the King Tut’s reign, during which he was believed to serve as a royal spokesman to conduct communications with nearby kingdoms such as Nubians.

There is no record about Horemheb’s ancestors.

Almost no information survived about his childhood years. It is not a surprise though. Most family lineages of Pharaohs are not clearly traceable. We can trace them only if their parents were noble people like pharaohs, generals or people with high rankings. In the case of Horemheb, none of the historic records show that he was descendant of a predominant parent.

Horemheb was one of a few leaders who became a pharaoh without having a direct relation to a preceding royal family.

Although there is no rock solid proof, he was considered an outsider to the preceding royal lineage. For instance three Pharaohs, Akhenaten , Tutankhamun , and Ay, who reigned before him, somehow related to each other. For instance, Tutankhamun was a son of Akhenaten, and Ay was the father of Nefertiti who was the royal wife of Akhenaten. Some speculations , however , suggest that Horemheb’s great royal wife Mutnedjmet was Ay’s daughter.

Horemheb lost his throne to Ay.

While serving under Tutankhamun, Horemheb was appointed as a crowned prince of Egypt. That title should have paved the way towards the throne after Tutankhamun’s death. However, the story takes a different turn. After Tutankhamun’s unexpected death, Ay became the next pharaoh instead of Horemheb.

There are two speculations to explain why Horemheb did not succeed Tutankhamun. The first claim suggests that he might have been abroad with a military mission during Tutankhamun’s death. (Some historians believe that it was Ay who has murdered Tutankhamun. So, it is probably that Ay took the chance to establish himself on the throne). The second theory suggests that Tutankhamun’s wife Ankhesenamun refused to marry Horemheb trying not to give the throne to a commoner. So, Ay became the next Pharaoh and ruled Ancient Egypt for about 4 years, taking widowed Ankhesenamun as a wife. Eventually, Horemheb gained a power thanks to his military ranking and became the last pharaoh of the 18 th dynasty.

Horemheb ruled the Kingdom of Egypt close to 28 years.

He is considered to be one of the longest-serving pharaohs in Egyptian history. But his ruling period was still short compared to Thutmose III who ruled the kingdom for 54 years and compared to the longest-serving Pharaoh of all time Ramses II who sat on the throne for 67 long years.

Horemheb conducted religious reforms and destroyed the religion that Akhenaten left behind.

Akhenaten was known for his radical religious reforms, during which he forbade his nation from worshipping most of the ancient Egyptian gods. He replaced all of those gods with a single god called Aten (son disc-shaped deity). He accepted Aten as the ultimate god of Egypt. He did not even stop there, he also proclaimed himself the incarnation of Aten, so Egyptians would treat him and his wife Nefertiti as true gods. Horemheb, however, proscribed any religious practices relating to Aten and literally dismantled their temples in order to construct new ones so Egyptians could worship the god Amun and others.

Horemheb did not have any heirs

Like Tutankhamun, Horemheb also did not leave behind any heir to continue his kingdom and legacy. He appointed his vizier named Paramesseas the crowned prince. Currently, we recognize Paramesse as Ramses I who founded the 19 th dynasty of Egypt.

Horemheb had two tombs.

The question is why. One explanation is that nobody had expected him to become Pharaoh since he was a commoner. It is probably that when he elevated himself up to the high ranking positions, he could afford to build his own civil tomb at Saqqara, not knowing that one day he would rule Egypt and be buried in Valley of the Kings.

His second tomb which located in Valley of the Kings was found by British Egyptologist Edward Ayrton in 1908. Archeologists found several wooden images, sculptures, figures, chairs, pots, boats, and several religious artifacts in his tomb. One interesting thing about his royal tomb is that it contains the inscriptions from the Book of Gates. It is unusual because none other pharaohs had these inscriptions in the ir tombs .

Horemheb had two wives.

Amenia and Mudnejmet were the names of his wives. It is believed that Amenia was his first wife who did not survive to see the Horemheb’s ruling days. His second wife Mudnejmet, however, was beside him as the great royal wife when ruled the kingdom as Pharaoh. Mudnejmet, which means the sweet mother, believed to be one of the daughters of Ay.

Both of Horemheb’s wives were buried in his unused tomb in Memphis. Researchers could determine that Mudnejmet had passed away in childbirth.


Two side by side vertical cartouches:

A tomb relief scene with Horemheb, from the Valley of the Kings, at Thebes, Egypt.

Djeser,KheperU,Re Hor,eM,Heb (KheperU is the plural) (Sacred,the Manifestations,(of)Re) (Probably implying, more than just himself, being the Manifestations.) and: "Horus of Celebrations"

A tomb relief scene with Horemheb offering a vessel in each hand to Hathor, has the adjacent Praenomen and Nomen in side by side vertical Cartouches.

Because there are two prepostions, eM (one) and eM (two), his name may be more like:

"Horus through Amon's Beloved" and "Horus of the Celebraton(s)". (Horus being the Hawk (as Pharaoh)) No, praenomen reads: Dsr-xprw-ra stp-n-ra: Holy are the manifestations of Re, Chosen of Re. Nomen reads mr-n-imn Hr-m-hb: Beloved (one) of Amun, Horus in festival/jubilation. There is only one m, and only one n in the nomen. The position of the n (the phonetic value of the red crown) next to the hawk can be accounted for by aesthetic transposition, although I believe that during the 40's there was some suggestion that it was hot Horus in Festival but Hauron in Festival, Hauron being a Syrian-Canaanite god. --Cliau 03:45, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Why is there no section of Horenheb's war and victory against the Hittites? It seems absurd to create a page of this Egyptian figure without eleborating on the other obvious reson for his rise to the throne, that of preventing the impending invasion of the Hittites. In fact, this seems downright irresponsible. Other obvious gaffes are the processs of succession, especially as both Ay, and perhaps previously Tutenkahmun himself were conviently dispatched to facillitate Horenheb's succession. This would have of the typical machination of classic court intrigues, redundant in any human ruling society. -- (talk) 00:05, 11 March 2012 (UTC)Veryverser

  • Horemheb didn't conveniently 'dispatch' Tutankhamun because if he had, he would have assumed the throne. He was designated the 'Crown Prince' to the throne by Tutankhamun himself during the Boy king's reign but Ay somehow manipulated the internal political situation and got himself crowned pharaoh instead of Horemheb--who was presumably away on a campaign in Asia. Horemheb was the legitimately recognised successor to Tutankhamun. See pages 50-51 & 56-60 of this on-line article here by Jacobus Van Dijk who later established that that Horemheb had a reign of only 14 years, and not 27 years. Ay likely had help from Ankhesenamun, too, who disliked the commoner Horemheb. It was Horemheb who was stabbed in the back by Ay and Ankhesenamun. When Horemheb came to power, he smashed Ay's sarcophagus to pieces, destroyed Ay's figure from the latter's royal tomb, usurped this king's mortuary temple and also wiped out Ankhesenamun from history. What's more important is what he didn't do! He may have usurped many of Tutankhamun's monuments but he left the boy king's tomb alone. It was Tutankhamun who promoted his rise to power and made him the 'Crown Prince'--effectively chosing Horemheb to be his successor if he died without any children. Horemheb owed his own legitimacy to Tutankhamun. just as Ramesses I and Seti I owed their legitimacy to Horemheb's decision to choose Ramesses I as his own successor. I have to go now. Regards, --Leoboudv (talk) 04:07, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

This Wiki states that Ay preceded Horemheb, and the Wiki for Ay states that he reigned until either 1319 or 1323 BC. Horemheb is listed as reigning from either 1319 - 1292 BC or 1306 - 1292 BC. Furthermore, the Horemheb Wiki states that his reign is more likely to have started in 1306 BC. This is an interesting point because, if Horemheb's reign began in 1306 BC, and if Ay was his predecessor as stated in the Wiki, then nobody would have reigned between Ay's death (1319 or 1323 BC) and 1306 BC. This scenario seems unlikely to me. Thus, indicating that 1306 is more likely to have been the start of Horemheb's reign is probably incorrect, when the reigns of both Ay and Horemheb are cross-referenced. Tomada36 (talk) 02:15, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

I'm Curious?--JaredMithrandir (talk) 02:14, 3 November 2016 (UTC)

To the best of my knowledge, no. Iry-Hor (talk) 12:13, 3 November 2016 (UTC)

"He ruled from either 1319 BC to late 1292 BC,[1] or 1306 to late 1292 BC (since he ruled for 14 years) "

if he ruled for 14 years the first numbers make no sense, it should be "1319-1305". (talk) 18:15, 20 October 2017 (UTC)


Horemheb oli Egyptin 18. dynastian viimeinen faarao. Hän hallitsi vuosina 1323–1295 eaa.

Horemheb ei ollut kuninkaallista syntyperää, vaan hän oli toiminut edeltävien faaraoiden (mm. Tutankhamonin ja Ayn) upseerina. Faarao Ayn kuoleman jälkeen silloinen upseeri Horemheb julisti itsensä faaraoksi.

Hänen vanhemmistaan tai muusta perheestään ei ole asuinpaikan lisäksi juurikaan tietoa. He asuivat todennäköisesti Herakleopoliissa (muinaisegyptiläiseltä nimeltään Nen(i)-nesut/Hut-nen-nesu). Vaimoja hänellä oli kolme, kaksi joiden nimiä ei tiedetä ja Mutnodjmet. Mutnodjmet oli mahdollisesti faarao Akhenatenin vaimon Nefertitin sisar.

Valtaan päästyään Horemheb julkisti Horemhebin ediktin nimellä tunnetun julistuksen, joka on löydetty steelaan kaiverrettuna Karnakista. Siinä kuvattiin maan tuolloista surkeaa tilaa, kansan kurjuutta ja virkamiesten väärin­käytöksiä. Ediktissä uhattiin ankarilla rangaistuksilla: vilppiin syyllistyneiltä virkamiehiltä oli leikattava nenä ja myös maanpakorangaistus palautettiin käyttöön. [1]

Horemheb teki myös voitavansa hävittääkseen kaikki muistot Akhenatonista ja tämän kolmesta seuraajasta, Smenkhkaresta, Tutankhamonista ja Aysta, joita hän piti syyllisinä Egyptissä tuolloin vallinneeseen kurjuuteen. Niinpä heitä esittävät veistokset joko rikottiin tai niistä hakattiin nimet pois ja tilalle hakattiin uuden hallitsijan nimi. Myös Akhenatonin rakennuttamat Atonin temppelit purettiin. Horemheb selitti myös olleensa Amenhotep III:n laillinen seuraaja, minkä vuoksi egyptiläisissä asia­kirjoissa alettiin laskea hänen hallitus­vuotensakin Amenhotep III:n kuolemasta, vaikka hän todellisuudessa nousi valtaan lähes 30 vuotta myöhemmin. Sen vuoksi eräissä egyptiläisissä teksteissä hänen mainitaankin hallinneen 50 vuotta. [1] [2] Vielä seuraavan 19. dynastian aikaisissa luetteloissa, esimerkiksi Abydoksen kuningas­luettelossa, Horemheb mainitaan Amenhoptep III:n välittömänä seuraajana. [1] [3]

Horemhebin hauta sijaitsee Kuninkaiden laaksossa (hauta KV57). Lisäksi hänellä oli Sakkarassa keskeneräinen ei-kuninkaallinen hauta, joka kuitenkin jäi käyttämättä. Horemhebin kivinen sarkofagi on yhä haudassa, mutta muumiota ei ole löydetty. Sen sijaan haudasta on löydetty naisen ja vastasyntyneen lapsen muumiot, jotka ovat todennäköisesti kuuluneet Mutnodjmetille ja hänen lapselleen.

Horemhebilla ei ollut perillisiä, joten 18. dynastia päättyi hänen kuolemaansa.

Horemheb on myös keskeisessä sivuosassa Mika Waltarin romaanissa Sinuhe egyptiläinen.

Horemheb - History

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Ay, also spelled Aye, (flourished 14th century bce ), king of ancient Egypt (reigned 1323–19 bce ) of the 18th dynasty, who rose from the ranks of the civil service and the military to become king after the death of Tutankhamen.

Ay first appears as a member of the court of Akhenaton, at his capital city of Akhetaton, where Ay’s large private tomb is found. His military functions included master of the horse and troop leader, but his primary title, “God’s Father,” indicates an especially close relationship to the royal family. Ay’s wife, Tey, also served as the nurse of Nefertiti, Akhenaton’s queen, and it has been surmised that Ay and Tey were her parents.

With Akhenaton’s death and the accession of the young Tutankhamen to the throne, Ay may well have taken on the role of elder statesman and may have been one of the guiding hands behind the court’s abandonment of Akhetaton (Tell el-Amarna) and the reinstatement of the primacy of Amon at Thebes. There is insufficient evidence to indicate that he acquired the title of vizier under Tutankhamen, but, when the king died childless at a young age, Ay presided at the funeral in the role of Tutankhamen’s presumptive heir.

Although it has been claimed that Ay married Tutankhamen’s widow, Ankhesenamen, on the basis of their names appearing jointly on several small objects, there is no evidence for such a union, and Ay remained married to his wife of many years. Ay seems to have usurped both the tomb and mortuary temple of Tutankhamen at Thebes, with the latter buried in a hastily converted private tomb in the Valley of the Kings and Ay receiving a much larger sepulchre in the nearby west valley. In other respects he continued to honour the memory of his young predecessor, adding his own texts next to those of Tutankhamen and continuing the decoration of the Temple of Luxor.

Ay died after a short reign and was succeeded in office by the general Horemheb.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Noah Tesch, Associate Editor.

After the discovery of the tomb, journalists popularized the myth about the ‘Curse of pharaohs’. Media claimed the hieroglyphs inside of the tomb promised swift death to anyone who would disturb Tutankhamun.

When Lord Carnarvon suddenly died just four months after the discovery of the tomb, the myth spread like a fire.

However, the data shows that the myth is not true. Only eight out of fifty-eight people present at the tomb opening died within a decade. The rest, including Carter, lived long lives.

Horemheb - History

Her Life, Statues, Images, etc.

Her origins are unclear. I has been suggested in the past that she was the Queen's Sister (of Nefertiti) depicted in Amarna, but there is no evidence for this identification. She was Horemheb's second wife. His first wife Amenia died before he came to the throne of Egypt. Amenia does appear in scenes and statues in Horemheb's Saqqara tomb.

This double statue depicts Mutnodjemet next to her husband Horemheb. She is depicted on the side of the throne as a winged sphinx. She is shown adoring her own cartouche which is placed atop a nub (gold) sign and topped with the double plumes. The sphinx is wearing an interesting headdress that is reminiscent of the blue crown worn by Nefertiti. In this image the crown is topped with plants/flowers. From the Museum of Turin.

A statue of God's Wife from the temple of Hathor at Dendera. Her titles include God's Wife, King's Chief Wife, His Beloved, and Mistress of the Two Lands. Other epithets include: 'causing hearts to be joyful', 'Sovereign Lady exalted with the Two Feathers', 'soothing her Lord (or Horus, i.e. the King) with her voice'. Aldred suggested this might be Mutnodjemet, Horemheb's Queen. He based his theory on the fact that the style of dress points to a post Amarna period Queen. The titles and epithets are closer to those of the Amarna period and would then point to Mutnodjemet. There is no other evidence that Mutnodjemet served in the capacity of God's Wife.

This colossal statue of Amaunet in Karnak is half of a pair. The other statue is on of Amun. The statues show altered inscriptions with references to Horemheb, Tutankhamen, and even Aye. The goddess would have been depicted with the face of the Queen and even though not inscribed for her would have referred to Mutnodjemet (or Ankhesenamun or Tey earlier).

This lower half of a statue of Mutnodjemet was excavated from Horemheb's tomb in Saqqara. Mutnodjemet has the titles Great royal wife, Lady of the Two Lands, and Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt.

Horemheb - History

R esearchers continue to investigate the cause of Tutankhamun's premature death. Bob Brier, a mummy specialist from Long Island University, has been tracking down clues that indicate Tutankhamun may have been killed by his elderly chief advisor and successor, Ay. An X-ray of his skull revealed a calcified blood clot at its base. This could have been caused by a blow from a blunt implement, which eventually resulted in death.

T he painting in Tutankhamun's burial chamber depicts Ay at the "opening of the mouth" ceremony, giving life and breath to the young deceased pharaoh. Ay, a commoner, is wearing the leopard skin of a high priest and the crown of a pharaoh. Since Tutankhamun did not have a child to succeed him, it appears that Ay decided to seize the crown and declare himself King of Egypt.

T here were at least two other deaths following that of Tutankhamun. His young wife Ankhesenamum pleaded with the king of the Hittites to send her one of his sons for a husband. She did not want to marry a servant, such as Ay. A son was sent, but he was murdered before he arrived.

Queen Ankhesenamun offers Tutankhamun a bouquet of flowers. Scene taken from the lid of an ivory chest found in Tutankhamun's tomb.
Papyrus painting, modern

S o who did Ankhesenamum marry? There is now evidence that she married Ay. A ring has been found with her cartouche inscribed next to his. Did Ay force her to marry him, thus legitimizing his claim to the throne? Within three years of Ay's death, Ankhesenamum disappeared. Could she also have been the victim of a serial killer?

W hat happened to Ay? He died within a few years of seizing the throne. His cartouches, which he had inscribed on temple walls, were eradicated, his tomb was robbed and vandalized, and his mummy disappeared. His name was also eliminated from the official list of pharaohs, as was that of Tutankhamun.

Another theory on Tutankhamun's death suggests that he was murdered by General Horemheb, a man of low birth who became one of Akhenaten's closest advisors. Under Tutankhamun, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the army and deputy of the king. Following the demise of Tutankhamun and Ay, Horemheb became pharaoh. During his reign, he had the names of Akhenaten, Tutankhamun and Ay removed from the royal list of pharaohs, which suggests that he had personal reasons for eradicating those rulers from the records.


Horemheb, alternativ stavning Haremheb, var en farao i det forntida Egypten och den siste faraon i den artonde dynastin under tiden för det Nya riket. Han regerade från 1319 f.Kr. till 1292 f.Kr. alt. från 1306 f.Kr. [ 3 ]

Horemheb var militär och faraonernas rådgivare, en av Tutankhamuns mest inflytelserika. Tutankhamun dog i tonåren och efterträddes av Ay som var mycket gammal och dog efter en kort tid. Horemheb, som i praktiken haft makten i egenskap av överbefälhavare, blev nu också farao. Hans härkomst var av allt att döma icke kunglig. Horemheb anses ha varit en mycket kapabel regent och militär, som räddade de egyptiska intresseområdena i Palestina som var i fara från norr av Hettiterna. Horemheb, som troligen var barnlös, valde Paramesse till sin medregent och efterträdare och denne blev med namnet Ramses I grundare av den nittonde dynastin och inledde en glansperiod i Egyptens historia. [ 2 ] [ 4 ]

Horemheb begravdes i KV57 i Konungarnas dal [ 1 ] men hans mumie har aldrig hittats. [ 5 ]

Scribe Like an Egyptian

Ancient Egypt’s bureaucratic society depended on an army of scribes. To get ahead, you had to be able to write – but that didn’t necessarily mean mastering hieroglyphs.

Scribes record the harvest, Tomb of Menna, 18th Dynasty.

I n ancient Egypt, literacy was the key to success. However, contrary to popular belief, not all Egyptian scribes understood hieroglyphs. Many relied instead on the simpler hieratic script for the multitude of everyday documents generated by the Egyptian bureaucracy.

Hieroglyphs – ‘the Words of God’ – compose a writing system with more than 1,000 distinct characters, the meaning of which was lost for 1,500 years before they were deciphered by Jean-François Champollion in 1823. Including both ideograms (which convey a whole word or idea, either concrete or abstract, in a single sign) and phonograms (representing either an alphabetic sound or a group of consonants), it was used in formal inscriptions on tomb and temple walls as well as on elaborate funerary papyri. For everyday purposes, however, scribes used a shorthand version of the hieroglyphic script known as hieratic, which was quicker to write and more economical of space. The two writings existed side by side for at least 2,500 years.

Scraps of ancient hieratic writing, mostly penned by student scribes on limestone flakes called ostraca, suggest that no matter how humble his origins, an educated Egyptian could achieve almost anything. Horemheb (d.1292 BC) is a good example. Born of middle-ranking parents, his scribal training led to an army career. From Scribe of Recruits, during the reign of Akhenaten (1353-1336 BC), Horemheb rose through the military ranks and, by the rule of Tutankhamun (1332-1323 BC), he was commander in chief of the Egyptian forces. As a close adviser of the young Pharaoh, Horemheb was appointed ‘Deputy of the King throughout the Two Lands’, and might have expected to succeed to the throne should the king die childless. He had to wait a few years, but eventually Horemheb achieved the pinnacle of his career by becoming the last king of the 18th Dynasty, making his mark by instituting dramatic reforms to the organisation of the army, the judiciary and administration in general. The lasting success of these changes owed much to his scribal background. Trainee scribes were led to believe that, if they stuck to their lessons and followed their tutors’ instructions, the sky was the limit.

Egyptian scribes regularly appear in tomb depictions of everyday activities recording the biennial cattle census, measuring the fields for taxation purposes, checking deliveries of harvested grain, weighing precious metals. The ancient Egyptians placed huge significance on the written word. They believed that committing speech to writing made the words real and true, a belief shared by all Egyptians, literate or not. Those unable to read themselves employed scribes to draw up contracts, letters, inventories and wills. Scribes were required to make agreements and intentions permanent and binding. When the scribe read back his work, his client trusted him to honestly recite the words he had written, trusting he would not abuse his calling. Unsurprisingly, every father hoped to see his son become a scribe: they were highly respected members of society.

But education was not available to all. Government departments and major temples supported schools, where boys commenced their training at six or seven, sometimes earlier. To these boarding establishments, known as ‘stables’, family or household servants delivered the students’ food and drink rations daily for several years, during which time the student was not contributing to the family’s income. Boys from poorer families could only hope to be educated with support from a wealthier relative or patron, or through apprenticeship to an older scribe, perhaps the local clerk or land agent, who would teach them the basics of the scribe’s craft. This limited the scope for employment but such ‘on the job’ training allowed apprentices to help out at home while learning.

The text known as the Satire of the Trades dates to the Middle Kingdom, the Golden Age of Egyptian literature, between 2025 and 1700 BC. It belongs to a genre known as ‘Wisdom Texts’, supposed collections of the experiences of learned and influential men to be shared with following generations as advice on behaviour, deportment and career advancement. In the Ramesside era (1300-1075 BC), the Satire of the Trades was one of the texts most frequently copied by student scribes. It compares a scribe’s work with that of other trades and crafts in an attempt to persuade the student that education will make him better off than anyone else. The introduction, supposedly written by a father for his son, reads:

I have seen many beatings – set your heart on books! I have watched those conscripted for labour – there is nothing better than books! It [scribedom] is the greatest of all callings, there is none like it in all the land.

Several teaching texts extol the benefits of education with the profession of magistrate promoted as the ultimate achievement.

The scribe directs the work of the people. For him there are no taxes for he pays his tribute in writing … Put writing in your heart that you may protect yourself from hard labour of any kind and become a respected magistrate.

The student scribe was constantly exhorted to be studious:

Do not be idle, or waste your time. Do not give yourself over to pleasures, that will be your ruin. Write with your hand, read with your mouth and seek advice from your betters. A scribe skilled in his calling, a master of education, is most fortunate. Persevere … spend not a moment in idleness or you will be thrashed. A boy’s ear is on his back he only hears when he is beaten. Take these words to heart for your own good.

The badge of the scribe’s trade was his palette, usually a narrow rectangle of wood with two or more depressions for ink and a slot for holding pens. The palette, together with a tubular container for reed stems used as pens and a drawstring bag holding other scribal accoutrements, formed the hieroglyphic sign for a scribe and his activities. An invocational prayer to Thoth, the scribes’ patron deity and inventor of writing, was used as an instruction for student scribes:

Come to me, Thoth, O noble ibis … Come to me and give me counsel to make me skilful in your calling. He who masters it is found fit to hold office … Fate and Fortune are to be found with you.

Ink was made from finely ground pigment mixed with a light gum and formed into small tablets like poster paints. Chewing the end of a fresh reed splayed the fibres to form a brush pen, which was dipped into a water bowl, traditionally a tortoiseshell, before being swirled over the dry ink block to take up the colour. When the pen became ragged or clogged with ink, the scribe cut off the end and chewed the next section. Writing surfaces included limestone flakes, scrubbable whitewashed boards and papyrus or leather rolls, whose surfaces could be smoothed with a rounded pebble or a purpose-made ivory smoother. Errors were erased with a damp cloth or scraped away with a piece of sandstone. The water bowl, spare ink blocks, erasers and a knife for cutting and sharpening pens were kept in the scribe’s bag.

Scribal education began with the elementary principles of the hieratic script. The lowliest scribes, who trained for just five or six years, probably learned only the rudiments of the hieroglyphic script. Students were set exemplar documents and extracts from popular texts to copy, to practise their hieratic handwriting on basic format letters, reports and contracts, while absorbing the good advice contained in the texts. Surviving examples of copy-work sometimes include tutors’ corrections added in red. Some significant Egyptian literary works survive almost exclusively from student copies.

A schoolboy ‘dictionary’ of hieroglyphs with their hieratic equivalents shows that a knowledge of more than 450 signs was required for everyday writing purposes. Lessons in record-keeping and filing and labelling enabled any half-competent scribe to perform that most essential of all scribal functions: the making and updating of lists. For professions such as those of government official, priest or lawyer, a scribe would train for several more years, increasing his vocabulary to perhaps a thousand or more signs. Those with the best handwriting or drawing skills might follow the craft of creating beautifully illustrated copies of funerary texts, commonly called Books of the Dead. Others could become draughtsmen, artists or architects. Doctors compiled their own collections of medication recipes, treatments and associated incantations, many copied from texts found in the House of Life, the temple library. Lawyers had to be familiar with the corpus of civil and religious laws and precedents found in the official records, which were administered by archivists. Egypt’s bureaucratic society depended on the skills of an army of scribes of all ranks from filing clerk to tax assessor. For young Egyptians, ‘be a scribe’ was the best of career advice.

Hilary Wilson is the author of Understanding Hieroglyphs: A Quick and Simple Guide (Michael O’Mara Books, 2019).

Watch the video: Древний Египет. Новое царство. Продолжение.