Detail of a statue of Horemheb, at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
|Reign||1306 BC (most likely) or 1319 BC until 1292 BC (18th Dynasty)|
Horemheb (sometimes spelled Horemhab or Haremhab and meaning Horus is in Jubilation) was the last pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled for 14 years somewhere between 1319 BC and 1292 BC.He had no relation to the preceding royal family other than by marriage to Mutnedjmet, who is disputed to have been the daughter of his predecessor Ay; he is believed to have been of common birth.
Before he became pharaoh, Horemheb was the commander in chief of the army under the reigns of Tutankhamun and Ay. After his accession to the throne, he reformed the Egyptian state and it was under his reign that official action against the preceding Amarna rulers began. Due to this, he is considered the man who restabilized his country after the troublesome and divisive Amarna Period.
Horemheb demolished monuments of Akhenaten, reusing their remains in his own building projects, and usurped monuments of Tutankhamun and Ay. Horemheb presumably had no surviving sons, as he appointed his vizier Paramesse as his successor, who would assume the throne as Ramesses I.
Horemheb is believed to have originated from Herakleopolis Magna or ancient Hnes (modern Ihnasya el-Medina) on the west bank of the Nile near the entrance to the Fayum since his coronation text formally credits the God Horus of Hnes for establishing him on the throne.
His parentage is unknown but he is believed to have been a commoner. According to the French (Sorbonne) Egyptologist Nicolas Grimal, Horemheb does not appear to be the same person as Paatenemheb ( Aten Is Present In Jubilation) who was the commander-in-chief of Akhenaten's army.Grimal notes that Horemheb's political career first began under Tutankhamun where he "is depicted at this king's side in his own tomb chapel at Memphis."
In the earliest known stage of his life, Horemheb served as "the royal spokesman for [Egypt's] foreign affairs" and personally led a diplomatic mission to visit the Nubian governors.This resulted in a reciprocal visit by "the Prince of Miam (Aniba)" to Tutankhamun's court, "an event [that is] depicted in the tomb of the Viceroy Huy." Horemheb quickly rose to prominence under Tutankhamun, becoming commander-in-chief of the army and advisor to the pharaoh. Horemheb's specific titles are spelled out in his Saqqara tomb, which was built while he was still only an official: "Hereditary Prince, Fan-bearer on the Right Side of the King, and Chief Commander of the Army"; the "attendant of the King in his footsteps in the foreign countries of the south and the north"; the "King's Messenger in front of his army to the foreign countries to the south and the north"; and the "Sole Companion, he who is by the feet of his lord on the battlefield on that day of killing Asiatics."
When Tutankhamun died while a teenager, Horemheb had already been officially designated as the rpat or iry-pat (basically the "hereditary or crown prince") and idnw ("deputy of the king" in the entire land) by the child pharaoh; these titles are found inscribed in Horemheb's then private Memphite tomb at Saqqara which dates to the reign of Tutankhamun since the child king's
... cartouches, although later usurped by Horemheb as king, have been found on a block which adjoins the famous gold of honour scene, a large portion of which is in Leiden. The royal couple depicted in this scene and in the adjacent scene 76, which shows Horemheb acting as an intermediary between the king and a group of subject foreign rulers, are therefore to be identified as Tut'ankhamun and 'Ankhesenamun. This makes it very unlikely from the start that any titles of honours claimed by Horemheb in the inscriptions in the tomb are fictitious.
The title iry-pat (Hereditary Prince) was used very frequently in Horemheb's Saqqara tomb but not combined with any other words. When used alone, the Egyptologist Alan Gardiner has shown that the iry-pat title contains features of ancient descent and lawful inheritance which is identical to the designation for a "Crown Prince."This means that Horemheb was the openly recognised heir to Tutankhamun's throne and not Ay, Tutankhamun's ultimate successor. As the Dutch Egyptologist Jacobus Van Dijk observes:
There is no indication that Horemheb always intended to succeed Tut'ankhamun; obviously not even he could possibly have predicted that the king would die without issue. It must always have been understood that his appointment as crown prince would end as soon as the king produced an heir, and that he would succeed Tut'ankhamun only in the eventuality of an early and/or childless death of the sovereign. There can be no doubt that nobody outranked the Hereditary Prince of Upper and Lower Egypt and Deputy of the King in the Entire Land except the king himself, and that Horemheb was entitled to the throne once the king had unexpectedly died without issue. This means that it is Ay's, not Horemheb's accession which calls for an explanation. Why was Ay able to ascend the throne upon the death of Tut'ankhamun, despite the fact that Horemheb had at that time already been the official heir to the throne for almost ten years?
The aged Vizier Ay sidelined Horemheb's claim to the throne and instead succeeded Tutankhamun, probably because Horemheb was in Asia with the army at the time of Tutankhamun's death. No objects belonging to Horemheb were found in Tutankhamun's tomb, but items donated by other high-ranking officials such as Maya and Nakhtmin were found in there by Egyptologists. Further, Tutankhamun's queen, Ankhesenamun, refused to marry Horemheb, a commoner, and so make him king of Egypt.Having pushed Horemheb's claims aside, Ay proceeded to nominate the aforementioned Nakhtmin, who was possibly Ay's son or adopted son, to succeed him rather than Horemheb.
After Ay's reign, which lasted for a little over four years, Horemheb managed to seize power, presumably thanks to his position as commander of the army, and to assume what he must have perceived to be his just reward for having ably served Egypt under Tutankhamun and Ay. Horemheb quickly removed Nakhtmin's rival claim to the throne and arranged to have Ay's WV23 tomb desecrated by smashing the latter's sarcophagus, systematically chiselling Ay's name and figure out of the tomb walls and probably destroying Ay's mummy.However, he spared Tutankhamun's tomb from vandalism presumably because it was Tutankhamun who had promoted his rise to power and chosen him to be his heir. Horemheb also usurped and enlarged Ay's mortuary temple at Medinet Habu for his own use and erased Ay's titulary on the back of a 17-foot colossal statue by carving his own titulary in its place.
Upon his accession, Horemheb initiated a comprehensive series of internal transformations to the power structures of Akhenaten's reign, due to the preceding transfer of state power from Amun's priests to Akhenaten's government officials. Horemheb "appointed judges and regional tribunes ... reintroduced local religious authorities" and divided legal power "between Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt" between "the Viziers of Thebes and Memphis respectively."
These deeds are recorded in a stela which the king erected at the foot of his Tenth Pylon at Karnak. Occasionally called The Great Edict of Horemheb,it is a copy of the actual text of the king's decree to re-establish order to the Two Lands and curb abuses of state authority. The stela's creation and prominent location emphasizes the great importance which Horemheb placed upon domestic reform.
Horemheb also reformed the Army and reorganized the Deir el-Medina workforce in his 7th Year while Horemheb's official Maya renewed the tomb of Thutmose IV, which had been disturbed by tomb robbers in his 8th Year. While the king restored the priesthood of Amun, he prevented the Amun priests from forming a stranglehold on power, by deliberately reappointing priests who mostly came from the Egyptian army since he could rely on their personal loyalty.Horemheb was a prolific builder who erected numerous temples and buildings throughout Egypt during his reign. He constructed the Second, Ninth and Tenth Pylons of the Great Hypostyle Hall, in the Temple at Karnak, using recycled talatat blocks from Akhenaten's own monuments here, as building material for the first two Pylons.
Because of his unexpected rise to the throne, Horemheb had two tombs constructed for himself: the first – when he was a mere nobleman – at Saqqara near Memphis, and the other in the Valley of the Kings, in Thebes, in tomb KV57 as king. His chief wife was Queen Mutnedjmet, who may have been Nefertiti's younger sister. They had no surviving children, although examinations of Mutnedjmet's mummy show that she gave birth several times, and she was buried with an infant, suggesting that she and her last child died in childbirth. Horemheb is not known to have any children by his first wife, Amenia, who died before Horemheb assumed power.
Scholars long disputed whether Horemheb reigned for 14 or 27 years. Manetho's Epitome assigns a reign length of 4 years and 1 month to Horemheb. Scholars previously assigned this reign-length to Ay; however, evidence from excavations in Horemheb's tomb (KV57) indicates that this figure should be raised by a decade to 4 years and 1 month and attributed to Horemheb. These excavations, conducted under G.T. Martin in 2006 and 2007, uncovered a large hoard of 168 inscribed wine sherds and dockets below densely compacted debris in a great shaft (called Well Room E) in KV57. Of the 46 wine sherds with year dates, 14 have nothing but the year date formula, 5 dockets have Year 10+X, 3 dockets have Year 11+X, 2 dockets preserve Year 12+X and 1 docket has a Year 13+X inscription. 22 dockets "mention Year 13 and 8 have Year 14 [of Horemheb]" but none mention a higher date for Horemheb.
The full texts of the docket readings are identical and read as:
"Year 13. Wine of the estate of Horemheb-meren-Amun, L.P.H., in the domain of Amun. Western River. Chief vintner Ty."
Meanwhile, the Year 14 dockets, in contrast, are all individual and mention specific wines such as "very good quality wine" or, in one case "sweet wine" and the location of the vineyard is identified.A general example is this text on a Year 14 wine docket:
"Year 14, Good quality wine of the estate of Horemheb-meren-Amun, L.P.H., in the domain of Amun, from the wineyard of Atfih, Chief vintner Haty."
Other Year 14 dockets mention Memphis (?), the Western River while their vintners are named as Nakhtamun, [Mer-]seger-men, Ramose and others.
The "quality and consistency of the KV57 dockets strongly suggest that Horemheb was buried in his Year 14, or at least before the wine harvest of his Year 15 at the very latest."This evidence is consistent "with the Horemheb dockets from Deir el-Medina which mention Years 2, 3, 4, 6, 13 and 14, but again no higher dates"... while a docket ascribed to Horemheb from Sedment has Year 12." The lack of dated inscriptions for Horemheb after his Year 14 also explains the unfinished state of Horemheb's royal KV57 tomb--"a fact not taken into account by any of those [scholars] defending a long reign [of 26 or 27 years]. The tomb is comparable to that of Seti I in size and decoration technique, and Seti I's tomb is far more extensively decorated than that of Horemheb, and yet Seti managed to virtually complete his tomb within a decade, whereas Horemheb did not even succeed in fully decorating the three rooms he planned to have done, leaving even the burial hall unfinished. Even if we assume that Horemheb did not begin the work on his royal tomb until his Year 7 or 8, ... it remains a mystery how the work could not have been completed had he lived on for another 20 or more years." Therefore, most scholars now accept a reign of 14 years and 1 month.
The argument for a 27-year reign derived from two texts. The first is an anonymous hieratic graffito written on the shoulder of a now fragmented statue from his mortuary temple in Karnak which mentions the appearance of the king himself, or a royal cult statue representing the king, for a religious feast. The ink graffito reads Year 27, first Month of Shemu day 9, the day on which Horemheb, who loves Amun and hates his enemies, entered the temple for this event. It was disputed whether this was a contemporary text or a reference to a festival commemorating Horemheb's accession written in the reign of a later king.The second text is the Inscription of Mes, from the reign of Ramesses II, which records that a court case decision was rendered in favour of a rival branch of Mes' family in Year 59 of Horemheb. It was argued that the Year 59 Horemheb date included the reigns of all the rulers between Amenhotep III and Horemheb. Subtracting the nearly 17-year reign of Akhenaten, the 2-year reign of Neferneferuaten, the 9-year reign of Tutankhamun and the reign of Ay suggested a reign of 26–27 years for Horemheb. However, the length of Ay's reign is not actually known and Wolfgang Helck argues that there was no standard Egyptian practice of including the years of all the rulers between Amenhotep III and Horemheb.
Under Horemheb, Egypt's power and confidence were once again restored after the internal chaos of the Amarna period; this situation set the stage for the rise of the 19th Dynasty under such ambitious Pharaohs as Seti I and Ramesses II. Horemheb is believed to have unsuccessfully attempted to father an heir to the throne since the mummy of his second wife was found with a fetus in it. Geoffrey Martin in his excavation work at Saqqara states that the burial of Horemheb's second wife Mutnedjmet was located at the bottom of a shaft to the rooms of Horemheb's Saqqara tomb. He notes that "a fragment of an alabaster vase inscribed with a funerary text for the chantress of Amun and King's Wife, Mutnodjmet, as well as pieces of a statuette of her [was found here] ... The funerary vase in particular, since it bears her name and titles would hardly have been used for the burial of some other person."
Expert analysis subsequently showed that the bones represented part of the skull and other portions of the body, including the pelvis, of an adult female who had given birth several times. Furthermore, she had lost all her teeth early in life, and was therefore only able to eat soft foods for much of the time. She died in her mid-forties, perhaps in childbirth, for with her bones were those of a foetus or newborn child. The [tomb] plunderers had evidently dragged the two mummies, mother and child, from the burial chamber below, and broken them open in the pillared hall above. The balance of probability, taking into account the evidence of the objects inscribed for Mutnodjmet, is that the adult bones are those of the queen herself and that she died in attempting to provide her husband the Pharaoh with an heir to the throne.
Since Horemheb remained childless, he appointed his Vizier, Paramesse, to succeed him upon his death, both to reward Paramesse's loyalty and because the latter had both a son and grandson to secure Egypt's royal succession. Paramesse employed the name Ramesses I upon assuming power and founded the 19th Dynasty of the New Kingdom. While the decoration of Horemheb's KV57 tomb was still unfinished upon his death, this situation is not unprecedented: Amenhotep II's tomb was also not fully completed when he was buried, even though this ruler enjoyed a reign of 26 years.
Horemheb's tomb was excavated in the early 20th century by Theodore M. Davis. Davis discovered it in a poor state due to robbers and earth movements over the centuries. The lid of the sarcophagus had been taken off and smashed by robbers.
Horemhab is a character in the opera Akhnaten by Philip Glass; he is sung by a baritone.
Tutankhamun, Egyptological pronunciation Tutankhamen, was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who was the last of his royal family to rule during the end of the 18th dynasty during the New Kingdom of Egyptian history. His father was the heretical king Akhenaten, believed to be the mummy found in the tomb KV55. His mother is his father's sister, identified through DNA testing as an unknown mummy referred to as; "The Younger Lady" who was found in KV35.
Neferneferuaten Nefertiti was an Egyptian queen and the Great Royal Wife of Akhenaten, an Egyptian Pharaoh. Nefertiti and her husband were known for a religious revolution, in which they worshipped one god only, Aten, or the sun disc. With her husband, she reigned at what was arguably the wealthiest period of Ancient Egyptian history. Some scholars believe that Nefertiti ruled briefly as Neferneferuaten after her husband's death and before the accession of Tutankhamun, although this identification is a matter of ongoing debate. If Nefertiti did rule as Pharaoh, her reign was marked by the fall of Amarna and relocation of the capital back to the traditional city of Thebes.
Tiye was the daughter of Yuya and Tjuyu. She became the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III. She was the mother of Akhenaten and grandmother of Tutankhamun. In 2010, DNA analysis confirmed her as the mummy known as "The Elder Lady" found in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV35) in 1898.
Ankhkheperure Smenkhkare Djeser Kheperu was a short-lived pharaoh in the late 18th dynasty. The names of this pharaoh translate as 'Living are the Forms of Re' and 'Vigorous is the Soul of Re – Holy of Forms'. His or her reign, for it is uncertain whether Smenkhkare was male or female, was during the Amarna Period, a time when Akhenaten sought to impose new religious views. He or she is sometimes distinguished from the immediate predecessor (successor?), the female ruler Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten. Unlike Neferneferuaten, Smenkhkare did not use epithets in his or her royal name or cartouche.
Kiya was one of the wives of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten. Little is known about her, and her actions and roles are poorly documented in the historical record, in contrast to those of Akhenaten's first royal wife, Nefertiti. Her unusual name suggests that she may originally have been a Mitanni princess. Surviving evidence demonstrates that Kiya was an important figure at Akhenaten's court during the middle years of his reign, when she bore him a daughter. She disappears from history a few years before her royal husband's death. In previous years, she was thought to be mother of Tutankhamun, but recent DNA evidence suggests this is unlikely.
Ay was the penultimate pharaoh of Ancient Egypt's 18th dynasty. He held the throne of Egypt for a brief four-year period, although he was a close advisor to two and perhaps three of the pharaohs who ruled before him and is thought to have been the power behind the throne during Tutankhamun's reign. Ay's prenomen or royal name—Kheperkheperure—means "Everlasting are the Manifestations of Ra" while his nomenAy it-netjer reads as "Ay, Father of the God". Records and monuments that can be clearly attributed to Ay are rare, not only due to his short length of reign, but also because his successor, Horemheb, instigated a campaign of damnatio memoriae against him and other pharaohs associated with the unpopular Amarna Period.
Tey was the wife of Kheperkheprure Ay, who was the penultimate pharaoh of Ancient Egypt's 18th dynasty. She was also the wet nurse of Queen Nefertiti.
Ankhesenamun was a queen of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Born Ankhesenpaaten, she was the third of six known daughters of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and his Great Royal Wife Nefertiti, and became the Great Royal Wife of her half-brother Tutankhamun. The change in her name reflects the changes in Ancient Egyptian religion during her lifetime after her father's death. Her youth is well documented in the ancient reliefs and paintings of the reign of her parents. Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun shared the same father but Tutankhamun's mother has recently been established by genetic evidence as one of Akhenaten's sisters, a daughter of Amenhotep III.
Atenism, or the "Amarna heresy", refers to the religious changes associated with the eighteenth dynasty Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, better known under his adopted name, Akhenaten. In the 14th century BC, Atenism was Egypt's state religion for around 20 years, before subsequent rulers returned to the traditional gods and the Pharaohs associated with Atenism were erased from Egyptian records.
The Amarna Period was an era of Egyptian history during the later half of the Eighteenth Dynasty when the royal residence of the pharaoh and his queen was shifted to Akhetaten in what is now Amarna. It was marked by the reign of Amenhotep IV, who changed his name to Akhenaten in order to reflect the dramatic change of Egypt's polytheistic religion into one where the sun disc Aten was worshipped over all other gods. Aten was not solely worshipped, but the other gods were worshipped to a significantly lesser degree. The Egyptian pantheon of the equality of all gods and goddesses was restored under Akhenaten's successor, Tutankhamun.
Maya was an important figure during the reign of Pharaohs Tutankhamun, Ay and Horemheb of the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt. Maya's titles include: fan bearer on the King's right hand, overseer of the treasury, chief of the works in the necropolis, and leader of the festival of Amun in Karnak.
The Egyptian noble Penthu was the sealbearer of the King of Lower Egypt, the sole companion, the attendant of the Lord of the Two Lands, the favorite of the good god, king's scribe, the king's subordinate, First servant of the Aten in the mansion of the Aten in Akhetaten, Chief of physicians, and chamberlain. These titles alone show how powerful he would have been in Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt.
Tjuyu was an Egyptian noblewoman and the mother of queen Tiye, and the wife of Yuya. She is the grandmother of Akhenaten, and great grandmother of Tutankhamun.
Mutnedjmet(Mutnedjemet, Mutnodjmet, Mutnodjemet) an Ancient Egyptian queen, the Great Royal Wife of Horemheb, the last ruler of the 18th Dynasty. The name, Mutnedjmet, translates as: The sweet Mut.
Amenia was an Egyptian noble lady, the first wife of Horemheb, the last ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty.
Ankhkheperure-mery-Neferkheperure/ -mery-Waenre/ -mery-Aten Neferneferuaten was a name used to refer to either Meritaten or, more likely, Nefertiti.
The Memphite tomb of Horemheb is located in the Saqqara necropolis, near Memphis, Egypt. It was constructed before Horemheb ascended to the throne and was never used for his burial, since he later built the Theban tomb KV57 for this purpose. His two wives Mutnedjmet and Amenia were buried within the structure.
Nakhtmin held the position of generalissimo during the reign of pharaoh Tutankhamun of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. His titles during the reign of Tutankhamun included "the true servant who is beneficial to his lord, the king's scribe," "the servant beloved of his lord," "the Fan-bearer on the Right Side of the King," and "the servant who causes to live the name of his lord." These titles were found on five ushabtis that Nakhtmin offered as funerary presents for pharaoh Tutankhamun.
Pentu (Pentju) was a Vizier of Ancient Egypt. He served during the reign of Tutankhamun.
The Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt is classified as the first dynasty of the New Kingdom of Egypt, the era in which ancient Egypt achieved the peak of its power. The Eighteenth Dynasty spanned the period from 1549/1550 to 1292 BC. This dynasty is also known as the Thutmosid Dynasty for the four pharaohs named Thutmose.