Twosret playing the sistrum at Amada Temple, Nubia
|Reign||1191–1189 BC (19th Dynasty)|
|Burial||KV14 in the Valley of the Kings|
Twosret (Tawosret, Tausret, d. 1189 BC conventional chronology) was the last known ruler and the final Pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt.
Pharaoh is the common title of the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the actual term "Pharaoh" was not used contemporaneously for a ruler until Merneptah, c. 1200 BCE. In the early dynasty, ancient Egyptian kings used to have up to three titles, the Horus, the Sedge and Bee (nswt-bjtj) name, and the Two Ladies (nbtj) name. The Golden Horus and nomen and prenomen titles were later added.
The Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt is classified as the second Dynasty of the Ancient Egyptian New Kingdom period, lasting from 1292 BC to 1189 BC. The 19th Dynasty and the 20th Dynasty furthermore together constitute an era known as the Ramesside period. This Dynasty was founded by Vizier Ramesses I, whom Pharaoh Horemheb chose as his successor to the throne.
She is recorded in Manetho's Epitome as a certain Thuoris, who in Homer is called Polybus, husband of Alcandra, and in whose time Troy was taken.She was said to have ruled Egypt for seven years, but this figure included the nearly six-year reign of Siptah, her predecessor. Twosret simply assumed Siptah's regnal years as her own. While her sole independent reign would have lasted for perhaps one to one-and a half full years from 1191 to 1189 BC, this number now appears more likely to be two full years instead, possibly longer. Excavation work by the University of Arizona Egyptian Expedition on her memorial temple ("temple of millions of years") at Gournah strongly suggests that it was completed and functional during her reign and that Twosret started a regnal year 9, which means that she had two and possibly three independent years of rule, once one deducts the nearly six-year reign of Siptah. Her royal name, Sitre Meryamun, means "Daughter of Re, beloved of Amun."
Manetho is believed to have been an Egyptian priest from Sebennytos who lived in the Ptolemaic Kingdom in the early third century BC, during the Hellenistic period. He authored the Aegyptiaca in Greek, a major chronological source for the reigns of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. It is unclear if he wrote his work during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter or Ptolemy II Philadelphos, but no later than that of Ptolemy III Euergetes.
Akhenre Setepenre Siptah or Merenptah Siptah was the penultimate ruler of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. His father's identity is currently unknown. Both Seti II and Amenmesse have been suggested although the fact that Siptah later changed his royal name or nomen to Merneptah Siptah after his Year 2 suggests rather that his father was Merneptah. If correct, this would make Siptah and Seti II half-brothers since both of them were sons of Merneptah.
Ra or Re is the ancient Egyptian deity of the sun. By the Fifth Dynasty in the 25th and 24th centuries BC, he had become one of the most important gods in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the noon sun. Ra was believed to rule in all parts of the created world: the sky, the Earth, and the underworld. He was the god of the sun, order, kings, and the sky.
Twosret or Tausret's birth date is unknown. Twosret is thought to have been a daughter of Merenptah, possibly a daughter of Takhat, thereby making her sister to Amenmesse. She was thought to be the second royal wife of Seti II. There are no known children for Twosret and Seti II, unless tomb KV56 represents the burial of their daughter.
Takhat was an ancient Egyptian princess and queen of the 19th dynasty, the mother of Twosret and the usurper pharaoh Amenmesse.
Amenmesse was the fifth pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty in Ancient Egypt, possibly the son of Merneptah and Queen Takhat. Others consider him to be one of the innumerable sons of Ramesses II. Very little is known about this pharaoh, who ruled Egypt for only three to four years. Various Egyptologists date his reign between 1202 BC–1199 BC or 1203 BC–1200 BC with others giving an accession date of 1200 BC. Amenmesse means "born of or fashioned by Amun" in Egyptian. Additionally, his nomen can be found with the epithet Heqa-waset, which means "Ruler of Thebes". His royal name was Menmire Setepenre.
Seti II was the fifth pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt and reigned from c. 1203 BC to 1197 BC. His throne name, Userkheperure Setepenre, means "Powerful are the manifestations of Re, the chosen one of Re." He was the son of Merneptah and Isetnofret II and sat on the throne during a period known for dynastic intrigue and short reigns, and his rule was no different. Seti II had to deal with many serious plots, most significantly the accession of a rival king named Amenmesse, possibly a half brother, who seized control over Thebes and Nubia in Upper Egypt during his second to fourth regnal years.
Theodore Davis identified Twosret and her husband in a cache of jewelry found in tomb KV56 in the Valley of the Kings. This tomb also contained objects bearing the name of Rameses II. There is no consensus about the nature of this tomb. Some (Aldred) thought this was the tomb of a daughter of Seti II and Tawosret, but others (Maspero) thought this was a cache of objects originally belonging with the tomb of Tawosret herself.
Theodore M. Davis was an American lawyer and is best known for his excavations in Egypt's Valley of the Kings between 1902 and 1914.
The Valley of the Kings, also known as the Valley of the Gates of the Kings, is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, rock cut tombs were excavated for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom.
After her husband's death, she became first regent to Seti's heir Siptah jointly with Chancellor Bay. Siptah was likely a stepson of Twosret since his mother is now known to be a certain Sutailja or Shoteraja from Louvre Relief E 26901.When Siptah died, Twosret officially assumed the throne for herself, as the "Daughter of Re, Lady of Ta-merit, Twosret of Mut", and assumed the role of a Pharaoh.
While it was commonly believed that she ruled Egypt with the aid of Chancellor Bay, a recently published document by Pierre Grandet in a BIFAO 100 (2000) paper shows that Bay was executed on Siptah's orders during Year 5 of this king's reign. The document is a hieratic ostracon or inscribed potshard and contains an announcement to the workmen of Deir El-Medina of the king's actions. No immediate reason was given to show what caused Siptah to turn against "the great enemy Bay," as the ostracon states. The recto of the document reads thus:
Hieratic is a cursive writing system used for Ancient Egyptian, and the principal script used to write that language from its development in the 33rd century BCE until the rise of Demotic in the mid 1st millennium BCE. It was primarily written in ink with a reed pen on papyrus.
An ostracon is a piece of pottery, usually broken off from a vase or other earthenware vessel. In an archaeological or epigraphical context, ostraca refer to sherds or even small pieces of stone that have writing scratched into them. Usually these are considered to have been broken off before the writing was added; ancient people used the cheap, plentiful and durable broken pieces of pottery around them as convenient places to place writing for a wide variety of purposes, mostly very short inscriptions, but in some cases surprisingly long.
This date accords well with Bay's last known public appearance in Year 4 of Siptah. The ostracon's information was essentially a royal order for the workmen to stop all further work on Bay's tomb since the latter had now been deemed a traitor to the state.
Meanwhile, Egyptian territories in Canaan seem to have become effectively independent under the overlordship of a man called Irsu. Papyrus Harris I, the main source on these events, seems to claim that Irsu and Twosret had allied themselves, leaving Irsu free to plunder and neglect the land.
Twosret's reign ended in a civil war, which is documented in the Elephantine stela of her successor Setnakhte, who became the founder of the Twentieth dynasty. It is not known if she was overthrown by Setnakhte or whether she died peacefully in her own reign; if the latter is the case, then a struggle may have ensued among various factions at court for the throne in which Setnakhte emerged victorious. However, Setnakhte and his son Ramesses III described the late 19th dynasty as a time of chaos. Setnakhte usurped the joint KV14 tomb of Seti II and Twosret but reburied Seti II in tomb KV15, while deliberately replastering and redrawing all images of Twosret in tomb KV14 with those of himself. Setnakhte's decisions here may demonstrate his dislike and presumably hatred for Twosret since he chose to reinter Seti II but not Twosret.
Setnakhte's son, Ramesses III, later excluded Twosret and even Siptah of the 19th dynasty from his Medinet Habu list of Egyptian kings thereby delegitimizing them in the eyes of the citizenry.It appears more likely that Setnakhte overthrew Twosret from power in a civil war.
Twosret's highest known date is a Year 8 II Shemu day 29 hieratic inscription found on one of the foundation blocks (FB 2) of her mortuary temple at Gournah in 2011 by the University of Arizona Egyptian Expedition.Since this was only a foundation inscription and Twosret's temple, although never finished as planned, was at least partially completed, it is logical to assume that some time must have passed before her downfall and the termination of work on her temple project. Richard Wilkinson stressed that Twosret's mortuary temple was "largely structurally completed," although bearing minimal decoration; therefore, she would have ruled for several more months beyond II Shemu 29 of her 8th Year for her temple to reach completion. Further study by Pearce Paul Creasman has concluded that the temple was "functionally complete." She could, hence, have possibly ruled for 6 to 20 more months after the inscription date to achieve these levels of completion, thus starting her 9th regnal year around the interval of IV Akhet/I Peret—when her husband died (since she assumed Siptah's reign as her own) or perhaps longer—before Setnakhte's rule began. Or she could have had a nearly full 9th year reign, including the 6-year reign of Siptah.
It is believed that expeditions were conducted during her reign to the turquoise mines in Sinai and in Palestine and statues have been found of her at Heliopolis and Thebes. Her name is also found at Abydos, Hermopolis, Memphis, and in Nubia.
Inscriptions with Twosret's name appear in several locations:
Twosret's KV14 tomb in the Valley of the Kings has a complicated history; it was started in the reign of Seti II. Scenes show Tawosret accompanying Siptah, but Siptah's name had later been replaced by that of Seti II. The tomb was then usurped by Setnakht, and extended to become the deepest royal tomb in the valley while Tawosret's sarcophagus was reused by Amenherkhepeshef in KV13. Altenmuller believes that Seti II was buried in one of the rooms in KV14 and later reburied in KV15. Others question this scenario.
A mummy found in KV35 and known as Unknown Woman D has been identified by some scholars as possibly belonging to Twosret, but there is no other evidence for this other than the correct Nineteenth Dynasty period of mummification.
The history of ancient Egypt spans the period from the early prehistoric settlements of the northern Nile valley to the Roman conquest, in 30 BC. The Pharaonic Period is dated from the 32nd century BC, when Upper and Lower Egypt were unified, until the country fell under Macedonian rule, in 332 BC.
Userkhaure-setepenre Setnakhte was the first pharaoh (1189 BC–1186 BC) of the Twentieth Dynasty of the New Kingdom of Egypt and the father of Ramesses III.
Merneptah or Merenptah was the fourth pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. He ruled Egypt for almost ten years from late July or early August 1213 BC until his death on May 2, 1203 BC, according to contemporary historical records. He was the thirteenth son of Ramesses II and only came to power because all his older brothers, including his full brother Khaemwaset or Khaemwase, had died. By the time he ascended to the throne, he was probably around seventy years old. His throne name was Ba-en-re Mery-netjeru, which means "The Soul of Ra, Beloved of the Gods".
Titkheperure or Tyetkheperre Psusennes II [Greek Ψουσέννης] or Hor-Pasebakhaenniut II [Egyptian ḥr-p3-sb3-ḫˁỉ-⟨n⟩-nỉwt], was the last king of the Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt. His royal name means "Image of the transformations of Re" in Egyptian. Psusennes II is often considered the same person as the High-Priest of Amun known as Psusennes III. The Egyptologist Karl Jansen-Winkeln notes that an important graffito from the Temple of Abydos contains the complete titles of a king Tyetkheperre Setepenre Pasebakhaenniut Meryamun "who is simultaneously called the HPA and supreme military commander." This suggests that Psusennes was both king at Tanis and the High Priest in Thebes at the same time, meaning he did not resign his office as High Priest of Amun during his reign. The few contemporary attestations from his reign include the aforementioned graffito in Seti I's Abydos temple, an ostracon from Umm el-Qa'ab, an affiliation at Karnak and his presumed burial – which consists of a gilded coffin with a royal uraeus and a Mummy, found in an antechamber of Psusennes I's tomb at Tanis. He was a High Priest of Amun at Thebes and the son of Pinedjem II and Istemkheb. His daughter Maatkare B was the Great Royal Wife of Osorkon I.
Tomb KV14 is a joint tomb, used originally by Twosret and then reused and extended by Setnakhte. It has been open since antiquity, but was not properly recorded until Hartwig Altenmüller excavated it from 1983 to 1987.
Tomb KV35 is an ancient Egyptian tomb located in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. It was discovered by Victor Loret in March 1898 and contains the tomb of Amenhotep II. Later, it was used as a cache for others.
Bay, also called Ramesse Khamenteru, was an important Asiatic official in ancient Egypt, who rose to prominence and high office under Seti II Userkheperure Setepenre and later became an influential powerbroker in the closing stages of the 19th Dynasty. He was generally identified with Irsu mentioned in the Great Harris Papyrus, although no contemporary source connects Bay with Irsu.
Tomb KV15, located in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, was used for the burial of Pharaoh Seti II of the Nineteenth Dynasty. The tomb was dug into the base of a near-vertical cliff face at the head of a wadi running south-west from the main part of the Valley of the Kings. It runs along a northwest-to-southeast axis, comprising a short entry corridor followed by three corridor segments which terminate in a well room that lacks a well, which was never dug. This then connects with a four-pillared hall and another stretch of corridor that was converted into a burial chamber.
Neterkheperre or Netjerkheperre-Setepenamun Siamun was the sixth pharaoh of Egypt during the Twenty-first dynasty. He built extensively in Lower Egypt for a king of the Third Intermediate Period and is regarded as one of the most powerful rulers of the 21st Dynasty after Psusennes I. Siamun's prenomen, Netjerkheperre-Setepenamun, means "Divine is The Manifestation of Ra, Chosen of Amun" while his name means 'son of Amun.'
Irsu is the name used in Papyrus Harris I to designate a Khasu who became overlord of a group of local rulers nominally under Egyptian control, at a time of unrest between the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties. The reading of the name is contested and the man may instead have simply been called Su. The events in which Irsu participated likely took place outside of the Nile Valley, in the Asiatic territories of Egypt's empire.
Tiaa or Tiya or Tiy was the third wife of Pharaoh Seti II, after Takhat and Twosret. She is thought by some to have been Syrian (Ḫurru). She was once thought to be the mother of Rameses-Siptah, the next Pharaoh of Egypt after the death of his predecessor Seti II. However, Siptah's mother is now known to be a Canaanite woman named Sutailja or Shoteraja from a newly discovered relief in the Louvre museum.
Tiaa or Tia'a was an ancient Egyptian queen consort during the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. She was the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Amenhotep II and the mother of Thutmose IV.
Richard H. Wilkinson is an archaeologist in the field of Egyptology. He is Regents Professor Emeritus, Ph.D. at the University of Arizona and founding director of the University of Arizona Egyptian Expedition. He conducted research and excavation in Egypt for 25 years – mainly in the Valley of the Kings – most recently excavating the royal temple of Twosret, a queen of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt who ruled Egypt as a king.
Baketwernel was an ancient Egyptian queen during the 20th Dynasty. She is likely to have been the Great Royal Wife of Ramesses IX.
The Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt is the third and last dynasty of the Ancient Egyptian New Kingdom period, lasting from 1189 BC to 1077 BC. The 19th and 20th Dynasties furthermore together constitute an era known as the Ramesside period.