Seqenenre Tao

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Seqenenre Tao (also Seqenera Djehuty-aa or Sekenenra Taa), called 'the Brave', ruled over the last of the local kingdoms of the Theban region of Egypt in the Seventeenth Dynasty during the Second Intermediate Period. He probably was the son and successor to Senakhtenre Ahmose and Queen Tetisheri. The dates of his reign are uncertain, but he may have risen to power in the decade ending in 1560 BC or in 1558 BC (based on the probable accession date of his son, Ahmose I, the first ruler of the eighteenth dynasty, see Egyptian chronology). With his queen, Ahhotep I, Seqenenre Tao fathered two pharaohs, Kamose, his immediate successor who was the last pharaoh of the seventeenth dynasty, and Ahmose I who, following a regency by his mother, was the first pharaoh of the eighteenth. Seqenenre Tao is credited with starting the opening moves in a war of revanchism against Hyksos incursions into Egypt, which saw the country completely liberated during the reign of his son Ahmose I.

Thebes, Egypt Ancient Egyptian city

Thebes, known to the ancient Egyptians as Waset, was an ancient Egyptian city located along the Nile about 800 kilometers (500 mi) south of the Mediterranean. Its ruins lie within the modern Egyptian city of Luxor. Thebes was the main city of the fourth Upper Egyptian nome and was the capital of Egypt for long periods during the Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom eras. It was close to Nubia and the Eastern Desert, with its valuable mineral resources and trade routes. It was a cult center and the most venerated city of ancient Egypt during its heyday. The site of Thebes includes areas on both the eastern bank of the Nile, where the temples of Karnak and Luxor stand and where the city proper was situated; and the western bank, where a necropolis of large private and royal cemeteries and funerary complexes can be found.

Senakhtenre Ahmose seventh king of the Seventeenth dynasty of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period

Senakhtenre Ahmose was the seventh king of the Seventeenth dynasty of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period. Senakhtenre reigned for a short period over the Theban region in Upper Egypt at a time where the Hyksos 15th dynasty ruled Lower Egypt. Senakhtenre died c.1560 or 1558 BC at the latest.

Tetisheri ancient Egyptian queen consort

Tetisheri was the matriarch of the Egyptian royal family of the late 17th Dynasty and early 18th Dynasty.

Contents

Reign

New Kingdom literary tradition states that Seqenenre Tao came into contact with his Hyksos contemporary in the north, Apepi or Apophis. The tradition took the form of a tale in which the Hyksos king Apepi sent a messenger to Seqenenre in Thebes to demand that the Theban hippopotamus pool be done away with, for the noise of these beasts was such that he was unable to sleep in far-away Avaris. Perhaps the only historical information that can be gleaned from the tale is that Egypt was a divided land, the area of direct Hyksos control being in the north, but the whole of Egypt paying tribute to the Hyksos kings.

Hippopotamus A large, mostly herbivorous, semiaquatic mammal native to sub-Saharan Africa

The common hippopotamus, or hippo, is a large, mostly herbivorous, semiaquatic mammal and ungulate native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae, the other being the pygmy hippopotamus. The name comes from the ancient Greek for "river horse" (ἱπποπόταμος). After the elephant and rhinoceros, the common hippopotamus is the third-largest type of land mammal and the heaviest extant artiodactyl. Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, the closest living relatives of the Hippopotamidae are cetaceans from which they diverged about 55 million years ago.

Avaris Archaeological site in Egypt

Avaris was the capital of Egypt under the Hyksos. It was located at modern Tell el-Dab'a in the northeastern region of the Nile Delta, at the juncture of the 8th, 14th, 19th and 20th Nomes. As the main course of the Nile migrated eastward, its position at the hub of Egypt's delta emporia made it a major administrative capital of the Hyksos and other traders. It was occupied from about 1783 to 1550 BC, or from the Thirteenth Dynasty of Egypt through the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt until its destruction by Ahmose I, the first Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty. The name in the Egyptian language of the 2nd millennium BC was probably pronounced *Ḥaʔat-Wūrat 'Great House' and denotes the capital of an administrative division of the land. Today, the name Hawara survives, referring to the site at the entrance to Faiyum. Alternatively, Clement of Alexandria referred to the name of this city as "Athyria".

Seqenenre Tao participated in active diplomatic posturing, which went beyond simply exchanging insults with the Asiatic ruler in the North. He seems to have led military skirmishes against the Hyksos and, judging from the vicious head wounds on his mummy in the Cairo Museum, may have died during one of them. [2]

His son and successor Wadjkheperre Kamose, the last ruler of the seventeenth dynasty at Thebes, is credited with launching a successful campaign in the Theban war of liberation against the Hyksos, although he is thought to have died in the campaign. [2] His mother, Ahhotep I, is thought to have ruled as regent after the death of Kamose and continued the warfare against the Hyksos until Ahmose I, the second son of Seqenenre Tao and Ahhotep I, was old enough to assume the throne and complete the expulsion of the Hyksos and the unification of Egypt.

Kamose king of the Theban Seventeenth Dynasty

Kamose was the last king of the Theban Seventeenth Dynasty. He was possibly the son of Seqenenre Tao and Ahhotep I and the full brother of Ahmose I, founder of the Eighteenth Dynasty. His reign fell at the very end of the Second Intermediate Period. Kamose is usually ascribed a reign of three years, although some scholars now favor giving him a longer reign of approximately five years.

Ahhotep I Queen consort of Egypt

Ahhotep I was an Ancient Egyptian queen who lived circa 1560–1530 BC, during the end of the Seventeenth Dynasty of Egypt. She was the daughter of Queen Tetisheri and Senakhtenre Ahmose, and was probably the sister, as well as the queen consort, of Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao ll. Ahhotep I had a long and influential life. She ruled as regent for her son Ahmose I for a time.

Ahmose I Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt

Ahmose I was a pharaoh and founder of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. He was a member of the Theban royal house, the son of pharaoh Seqenenre Tao and brother of the last pharaoh of the Seventeenth dynasty, Kamose. During the reign of his father or grandfather, Thebes rebelled against the Hyksos, the rulers of Lower Egypt. When he was seven years old, his father was killed, and he was about ten when his brother died of unknown causes after reigning only three years. Ahmose I assumed the throne after the death of his brother, and upon coronation became known as nb-pḥtj-rꜥ "The Lord of Strength is Ra".

Monumental construction

The relatively short length of the reign of Seqenenre Tao did not allow for the construction of many monumental structures, but it is known that he had built a new palace made of mud brick at Deir el-Ballas. On an adjacent hillside overlooking the river, the foundations of a building were found that almost certainly was a military observation post. [3]

Deir el-Ballas is an archaeological site in Upper Egypt. It was the location of a royal palace and administration center occupied by rulers of the Seventeenth Dynasty in ancient Egypt's late Second Intermediate Period.

A relatively large amount of pottery known as Kerma-ware was found at the site, indicating that a large number of Kerma Nubians were resident at the site. It is thought that they were there as allies of the pharaoh in his wars against the Hyksos. [4]

Mummy

Mummified head of Seqenenre depicting his battlewounds Sequenre tao.JPG
Mummified head of Seqenenre depicting his battlewounds

Seqenenre's mummy was discovered in the Deir el-Bahri cache, revealed in 1881. He was interred along with those of later, eighteenth and nineteenth dynasty leaders, Ahmose I (his second son to be pharaoh), Amenhotep I, Thutmose I, Thutmose II, Thutmose III, Ramesses I, Seti I, Ramesses II, and Ramesses IX.

The mummy was unwrapped by Eugène Grébaut when

Professor Gaston Maspero resigned his office of directorship on June 5, 1886, and was succeeded in the superintendency of excavations and Egyptian archeology by M. Eugene Grebault. In the same month Grebault started upon the work of unbandaging the mummy of the Theban King Sekenenra Ta-aken, of the eighteenth dynasty. It was under this monarch that a revolt against the Hyksos, or Shepherd Kings, had originated, in the course of which the Asiatics were expelled from Egypt. The history of this king has always been considered legendary, but from the signs of wounds present in the mummy, it is certain that he had died in battle. In the same season the mummy of Seti I was unbandaged, and also that of an anonymous prince. [5]

A vivid description provides an account of the injury that was done to the pharaoh at his death:

...it is not known whether he fell upon the field of battle or was the victim of some plot; the appearance of his mummy proves that he died a violent death when about forty years of age. Two or three men, whether assassins or soldiers, must have surrounded and despatched him before help was available. A blow from an axe must have severed part of his left cheek, exposed the teeth, fractured the jaw, and sent him senseless to the ground; another blow must have seriously injured the skull, and a dagger or javelin has cut open the forehead on the right side, a little above the eye. His body must have remained lying where it fell for some time: when found, decomposition had set in, and the embalming had to be hastily performed as best it might. [2]

The wound on his forehead was probably caused by a Hyksos axe [6] and his neck wound was probably caused by a dagger while he was prone. [4] There are no wounds on his arms or hands, which suggests he was not able to defend himself.

Until 2009 the main hypotheses have been that he died either in a battle against the Hyksos or was killed while sleeping. [7] A reconstruction of his death by Egyptologist Garry Shaw and archaeologist and weapons expert Robert Mason suggested a third, which they saw as the likeliest, that Seqenenre was executed by the Hyksos king. [8] Garry Shaw also analysed the arguments for the competing hypotheses and other physical, textual and statistical evidence concluding "that the most likely cause of Seqenenre’s death is ceremonial execution at the hands of an enemy commander, following a Theban defeat on the battlefield." [9]

His mummy appears to have been hastily embalmed. X-rays that were taken of the mummy in the late-1960s show that no attempt had been made to remove the brain or to add linen inside the cranium or eyes, both normal embalming practice for the time. In the opinion of James E. Harris and Kent Weeks who undertook the forensic examination at the time the x-rays were taken, his mummy is the worst preserved of all the royal mummies held at the Egyptian Museum, and they noted that a "foul, oily smell filled the room the moment the case in which his body was exhibited was opened", which is likely due to the poor embalming process and the absence of the use of absorbing natron salts, leaving some bodily fluids in the mummy at the time of burial. [10]

He is the earliest royal mummy on display in the recently revamped (2006) Royal Mummies Hall at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. [11]

Related Research Articles

Hyksos Asian invaders of Egypt, established 15th dynasty 1650-1550 BC

The Hyksos were a people of diverse origins, possibly from Western Asia, who settled in the eastern Nile Delta some time before 1650 BC. The arrival of the Hyksos led to the end of the Thirteenth Dynasty and initiated the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt. In the context of Ancient Egypt, the term "Asiatic" refers to people native to areas east of Egypt.

Second Intermediate Period of Egypt period of Ancient Egyptian history

The Second Intermediate Period marks a period when Ancient Egypt fell into disarray for a second time, between the end of the Middle Kingdom and the start of the New Kingdom.

Amenhotep I Second Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt

Amenhotep I or Amenophis I, (,), from Ancient Greek Ἀμένωφις, additionally King Zeserkere, was the second Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt. His reign is generally dated from 1526 to 1506 BC. He was a son of Ahmose I and Ahmose-Nefertari, but had at least two elder brothers, Ahmose-ankh and Ahmose Sapair, and was not expected to inherit the throne. However, sometime in the eight years between Ahmose I's 17th regnal year and his death, his heir apparent died and Amenhotep became crown prince. He then acceded to the throne and ruled for about 21 years. Although his reign is poorly documented, it is possible to piece together a basic history from available evidence. He inherited the kingdom formed by his father's military conquests and maintained dominance over Nubia and the Nile Delta but probably did not attempt to maintain Egyptian power in the Levant. He continued the rebuilding of temples in Upper Egypt and revolutionized mortuary complex design by separating his tomb from his mortuary temple, setting a trend in royal funerary monuments which would persist throughout the New Kingdom. After his death, he was deified as a patron god of Deir el-Medina.

Ahmose, son of Ebana Ancient Egyptian soldier and warrior

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Ahmose-Nefertari ancient Egyptian queen consort

Ahmose-Nefertari of Ancient Egypt was the first queen of the 18th Dynasty. She was a daughter of Seqenenre Tao and Ahhotep I, and royal sister and the great royal wife of Ahmose I. She was the mother of king Amenhotep I and may have served as his regent when he was young. Ahmose-Nefertari was deified after her death.

Gods Wife of Amun

God's Wife of Amun was the highest-ranking priestess of the Amun cult, an important religious institution in ancient Egypt. The cult was centered in Thebes in Upper Egypt during the Twenty-fifth and Twenty-sixth dynasties. The office had political importance as well as religious, since the two were closely related in ancient Egypt.

Sharuhen

Sharuhen was an ancient town in the Negev Desert or perhaps in Gaza. Following the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt in the second half of the 16th century BCE, they fled to Sharuhen and fortified it. The armies of Pharaoh Ahmose I seized and razed the town after a three-year siege.

The Seventeenth Dynasty of Egypt is classified as the third dynasty of the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt. The 17th Dynasty dates approximately from 1580 to 1550 BC. Its mainly Theban rulers are contemporary with the Hyksos of the Fifteenth Dynasty and succeed the Sixteenth Dynasty, which was also based in Thebes.

Apepi (pharaoh) ruler of Lower Egypt during the fifteenth dynasty

Apepi or Apophis was a ruler of Lower Egypt during the fifteenth dynasty and the end of the Second Intermediate Period that was dominated by this foreign dynasty of rulers called the Hyksos. According to the Turin Canon of Kings, he ruled over the northern portion of Egypt for forty years. He ruled during the early half of the 16th century BC and outlived his southern rival, Kamose, but not Ahmose I. Although his reign only entailed northern Egypt, Apepi was dominant over most of Egypt during the early portion of his reign, and traded peacefully with the native Theban Seventeenth dynasty to the south.

Ahhotep II politician

Ahhotep II was an Ancient Egyptian queen, and likely the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Kamose.

Ahmose Sapair ancient Egyptian prince

Ahmose-Sapair was an ancient Egyptian prince of the late Seventeenth Dynasty. He was probably a son of Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao and a brother of Ahmose I or the child of Ahmose I.

Ahmose (princess) Egyptian princess

Ahmose was a princess of the Seventeenth Dynasty of Egypt. She was the only known daughter of Seqenenre Tao by his sister-wife Sitdjehuti. She was the half-sister of Pharaoh Ahmose I and Queen Ahmose-Nefertari. Her titles are King's Daughter; King's Sister.

Ramose was an ancient Egyptian prince of the eighteenth dynasty; probably the son of Pharaoh Ahmose I.

Nefertari or Nefertari Meritmut was a Queen of Egypt and the wife of Ramesses II.

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.

References

  1. Clayton, Peter. Chronicle of the Pharaohs, Thames and Hudson Ltd, paperback 2006. p.94
  2. 1 2 3 Maspero, Gaston. History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 4 (of 12), Project Gutenberg EBook, Release Date: December 16, 2005. EBook #17324. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-03-29.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. Shaw, Ian. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press, 2000. p.198.
  4. 1 2 Shaw, Ian. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press, 2000. p199.
  5. Rappoport, S. The Project Gutenberg EBook of History Of Egypt From 330 B.C. To The Present Time, Volume 12 (of 12), by S. Rappoport. The Grolier Society Publishers, London. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2016.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. Shaw, Ian. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. p199. Oxford University Press, 2000.
  7. Smith, G Elliot The Royal Mummies. Duckworth Egyptology. 2000 (Reprint from original 1912 edition). ISBN   0-7156-2959-X
  8. "Axe Experiment". Museum Secrets. History Television. Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2011.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. Shaw, Garry J. (2009). "The Death of King Seqenenre Tao". Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt. 45.
  10. Harris, James E., Weeks, Kent R. X-raying the Pharaohs. Charles Scribner's Sons. 1973. SBN 684-13016-5 p.122-123.
  11. Hawass, Zahi. Dancing with Pharaohs: The New Royal Mummies Halls at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. KMT, Volume 17, Number 1, Spring 2006. p22.

Further reading