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Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt

Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt

232 Medinet Habu Calendar

Medinet Habu, the migdol complex of Ramesses III at Thebes, used in later eras as a fortress. (Hulton Archive.)

courts, and a SACRED LAKE, lead to vestibules and an elab- The royal residence attached to the fortress was made
orate HYPOSTYLE HALL. The sanctuary connected to this out of mud brick and was decorated with stones and
hall has a FALSE DOOR depicting Ramesses III as the deity glazed tiles. Private apartments, vestibules, double stair-
Amun-Ré. A stairway leads to the roof, where solar cere- cases, and columned halls adjoined barracks, magazines,
monies were conducted, and Osiride statues of Ramesses and workshops. The rulers of later historical periods
III grace some areas. refurbished and maintained Medinet Habu. In some trou-
bled periods, the people of Thebes moved into the com-
The original temple foundation dating to the Eigh- plex and kept it fortified and secure.
teenth Dynasty was actually started by TUTHMOSIS I (r.
1504–1492 B.C.E.) and was called “Splendor of the West” Medinet Habu Calendar This was the most elabo-
or “Amun is Splendid in Thrones.” Hatshepsut directed rate display of a calendar prior to the Ptolemaic Period
much of the construction of the temple, but the dedica- (304–30 B.C.E.), a unique aspect of the MEDINET HABU
tion and opening of the site dates to the reign of Tuthmo- temple erected by RAMESSES III (r. 1194–1163 B.C.E.) at
sis III. Four additional chapels in the complex were THEBES. During the reign of Ramesses III the feasts hon-
added during the Twenty-fifth (712–657 B.C.E.) and oring the deity AMUN were staged at Medinet Habu. The
Twenty-sixth (664–525 B.C.E.) Dynasties. The mortuary Medinet Habu Calendar was introduced during
cult of the GOD’S WIFE OF AMUN, or Divine Adoratrices of Ramesses III’s 12th regnal year. The calendar lists all of
Amun, was also displayed in the complex. A columned the so-called feasts of heaven, celebrations honoring the
forecourt honoring the Divine Adoratrice AMENIRDIS (1), Theban deity, Amun. Some of the feasts listed appear as
a daughter of KASHTA (770–750 B.C.E.), and her burial site newly established holidays designed to inspire the Egyp-
are part of the complex. The chapel of the Divine Adora- tians of the era.
trices NITOCRIS (2) and SHEPENWEPET (1) are also in
Medinet Habu.

Medinet Wadi See NARMOUTHIS. Megiddo, Ar- 233

Medir (fl. 27th century B.C.E.) Governor of the Third Artaxerxes I, Megabyzus was sent to Egypt to put down
Dynasty the revolt of INAROS, a native Egyptian who had slain
He served in the reign of DJOSER (2630–2611 B.C.E.). General ACHAEMENES, Xerxes I’s brother, in battle. After a
Medir was governor of certain territories in Upper Egypt. series of skirmishes, Megabyzus forced Inaros to retreat to
When the Nile failed to rise and inundate the land over a an island in the Nile. A traitor surrendered the rebel to
span of years, Djoser consulted with Medir, and with his the Persians, and Megabyzus promised Inaros’s personal
vizier of Memphis, IMHOTEP, seeking remedies from them safety. The rebel was crucified, however, because the Per-
both. The two counselors advised that Djoser should visit sian queen mother, Amastris, would not allow the slayer
ELEPHANTINE Island, because he had seen the god KHNUM of Achaemenes to live.
in one of his dreams. Khnum’s cult center was on the Ele-
phantine. Djoser visited the shrine and made certain Megabyzus rebelled at the execution, which he
repairs and additions, and the Nile flooded the land soon believed broke his pledge and stained his honor. He went
after. This event was commemorated on the FAMINE STELA to Artaxerxes I’s court and stated his views openly. For
at SEHEL ISLAND in a later era. this and other openly critical remarks, Megabyzus was
exiled to a small city on the Persian Gulf. There he pre-
Medjay This was the name given to units of the tended to have contracted leprosy and was soon returned
Nubian (modern Sudanese) forces long in service in to the court. The anger Megabyzus felt at having his
Egypt, particularly under KAMOSE of the Seventeenth sworn oath reviled kept him from marching against a sec-
Dynasty (c. 1550 B.C.E.) when he began his campaigns to ond Egyptian rebel, ARMYRTAEUS, who declared the region
oust the HYKSOS from the northwestern territories of the of the far western Delta independent from Persian con-
land. Kamose’s father, Sekenenré TA’O II, had started the trol.
war against the Hyksos ruler, APOPHIS. The Medjay, famed
as warriors of cunning and stamina, served as scouts for Megiddo, Ar- A fortress on the northern slopes of
the Egyptians on the marches or at the oases of the LIBYAN Mount Carmel, in modern Israel, it commanded the trade
DESERT. In actual battle they formed light infantry units routes to Anatolia (modern Turkey), Syria, and the valley
and rushed to the front lines, delighting in hand-to-hand of the Euphrates River. The fortress was erected on a
combat and the slaughter of the enemy. ridge and served as a barrier to any military force advanc-
ing from the south. In the reign of TUTHMOSIS III
When ’AHMOSE (r. 1550–1525 B.C.E.), the brother of (1479–1425 B.C.E.), the ruler of the city-state of KADESH
Kamose and the founder of the Eighteenth Dynasty and and Canaanite allies took up a position in front of Ar-
the New Kingdom (1550–1070 B.C.E.), assaulted the Hyk- Megiddo as the 30,000-man Egyptian army approached.
sos capital of Avaris, the Medjay were again at his side. Tuthmosis III had marched from the Egyptian Delta on
When the war ended successfully, the Medjay became the April 19, 1468 B.C.E. By May 10, he had reached Mount
backbone of the newly formed state police in times of Carmel and saw the assembled enemy units. Despite
peace. Some of the members, men such as DEDU, distin- warnings from his commanders, Tuthmosis III took his
guished themselves and were given high political and army over the slopes of Mount Carmel, moving single file
government posts. TUTHMOSIS III (r. 1479–1425 B.C.E.) for 40 miles. It took three days to bring the entire force
built a temple to Dedun, the Nubian god who was proba- through the mountain passes, but Kadesh and his allies
bly patron of the Nubian troops. The Medjay are associ- discovered the Egyptian cavalry behind them.
ated with the PAN-GRAVE people in southern Egypt and
Lower Nubia. Indications are that these troops served as The enemy raced to Ar-Megiddo fortress, and they
guardians of the viceroy of Kush and various FORTRESSES. rushed inside, closing the gates. Late arrivals at the fort
The original Medjay forces are recorded as early as the had to climb ropes made of clothes and linens to
Sixth Dynasty (2323–2150 B.C.E.) when they were used gain entrance. Tuthmosis III’s men looted the area until
as mercenary troops. he called a halt. They then built a wall around the
fortress and installed a garrison and siege units. Ar-
See also BLEMMYES; MAHU. Megiddo lasted seven months before disease, hunger,
and thirst forced the trapped inhabitants to open the city
Megabyzus (fl. fifth century B.C.E.) Renowned general of gates and surrender. Tuthmosis III, meanwhile, ravaged
Persia the lands of the besieged rulers and their troops and
He served ARTAXERXES I (r. 465–424 B.C.E.) in Egypt as returned to accept their surrender personally. Because
the head of the forces occupying the Nile Valley. the Egyptians had stopped their pursuit to loot the area,
Megabyzus had started his career under XERXES I (r. Kadesh’s ruler escaped. Ar-Megiddo, however, became
486–466 B.C.E.), becoming his brother-in-law. He aided the famed “end of the world” throughout the region, the
the cabal that assassinated Xerxes I, however. Under modern Armageddon. Kadesh would also provide
RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.) with a military crisis
during his reign.

234 Mehen as late as the New Kingdom (1550–1070 B.C.E.). The
outer casing, however, was damaged and collapsed dur-
Mehen A great serpent in the Egyptian cosmological ing construction. The mummies of several individuals
traditions, associated with the solar cult of the god RÉ, were discovered in the resulting debris. Interior passages
Mehen was the protector of Ré, coiling around the solar and chambers led to a vertical shaft and a burial room,
bark of the deity as it traveled across the sky. Bearers car- which was lined with limestone. The remains of a
ried Mehen and the bark on their journey. In some tradi- wooden coffin were discovered in this corbeled chamber,
tions, Mehen had two heads, one at each at each end, in and a MORTUARY TEMPLE was also found on the east side
order to destroy the enemies of Ré. of the pyramid, containing two rounded stelae. A cause-
way also led to a VALLEY TEMPLE.
See also SOLAR CULT.
A series of Fourth Dynasty (2575–2465 B.C.E.)
Mehu (fl. 24th and 23rd centuries B.C.E.) Princely offi- MASTABA tombs surround the pyramid, some containing
cial of the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties spectacular reliefs and statuary. The famous Meidum geese
Mehu served as VIZIER to UNIS (r. 2356–2323 B.C.E.) and paintings were part of the reliefs in the tomb of NEFER-
TETI (r. 2323–2291 B.C.E.). He is recorded as being the MA’AT and his wife Atet. Nearby, the mastaba of Prince
son of Idut. Mehu was buried in a borrowed tomb at RAHOTEP and his wife NOFRET (1) contained a unique por-
SAQQARA, near Unis’s mortuary complex. A panel in the trait style statue group. The paintings and statues are in
tomb depicts the original owner. MASTABA-shaped, the the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. A Fifth Dynasty
tomb had three chambers and a courtyard, with addi- (2465–2323 B.C.E.) mummy was also found in Meidum.
tional mud-brick masonry. A STELA was discovered, as
well as reliefs, including one depicting the trapping of Meir This necropolis site was on the banks of the Nile,
birds. north of modern ASSIUT, the domain of the governor of
CUSAE. The necropolis was used from the Sixth Dynasty
Mehurt (Mehturt, Mehueret) A celestial being (2323–2150 B.C.E.) to the Twelfth Dynasty (1991–1783
depicted in the form of a cow, this divine creature was B.C.E.). Rock-cut tombs with burial shafts were uncov-
associated with the cultic ceremonies of the god RÉ. The ered at Meir. The Cusae officials and their families were
name of the being meant “Flooding Waters,” and she rep- entombed on the site. Cusae was once the capital of the
resented the spiritual river of the heavens. Ré sailed his fourteenth nome of Upper Egypt, and during the Second
bark alongside her on his daily rounds. Mehurt was also Intermediate Period (1640–1550 B.C.E.) was the south-
considered part of the cult of ISIS. She was a protector of ernmost holding of the HYKSOS. Beautiful reliefs and stat-
the dead when they appeared in the JUDGMENT HALLS OF ues were recovered on this site.
OSIRIS beyond the grave.
mekes An ancient Egyptian royal SCEPTER designed to
Mehy (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) Official of the Nineteenth be flat at one end, the mekes represented pharaonic pow-
Dynasty who incurred the wrath of Ramesses II ers in royal rites and was used by the rulers in many his-
He started his career in the reign of SETI I (1306–1290 torical periods at formal court or temple ceremonies. The
B.C.E.). Mehy’s rank and role remain a mystery. The original cultic symbolism of the scepter is not known,
agents of RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.), the successor and the ritual purpose is not clear.
of Seti I, vandalized Mehy’s reliefs in his tomb. Such
reliefs would have provided details about his service to Meket-Aten (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the
the pharaohs. It is obvious that Mehy was a warrior. He Eighteenth Dynasty
was normally depicted in princely trappings and A princess, she was the daughter of AKHENATEN (r.
appeared on Seti I’s war reliefs. Some of the love songs of 1353–1335 B.C.E.) and Queen NEFERTITI. Paintings depict
the era mention the fact that Mehy was a commoner by her royal parents mourning her death at a young age. In
birth, and he was possibly a favorite of Seti I. In either the paintings a nurse is shown carrying a royal baby, lead-
case he earned the enmity of Ramesses II and was singled ing to the assumption that Meket-Aten died in childbirth.
out for eternal disgrace by having his tomb portraits dam- Akhenaten was probably the father. Meket-Aten was
aged. buried at ’AMARNA, but her tomb and remains were van-
dalized. The Amarna necropolis suffered the same sort of
Meidum This site near the FAIYUM area served as a destruction as the main capital buildings of Akhenaten at
royal necropolis for the Third and Fourth Dynasties. A the hands of HOREMHAB (r. 1319–1307 B.C.E.) and the
step PYRAMID at Meidum was probably started by HUNI (r. Amunite priests of THEBES. The surviving members of
2599–2575 B.C.E.) and completed by SNEFRU (r. Akhenaten’s reign did not fare much better after his
2575–2551 B.C.E.). This pyramid was erected on an death.
earthen platform and was composed originally of eight
layers. The structure collapsed some time later, possibly

Meketré (fl. 21st century B.C.E.) Chancellor of the Memphis 235
Eleventh Dynasty famous for his mortuary figures
He served MONTUHOTEP II (r. 2061–2010 B.C.E.), as the WESKHET (2). This Libyan queen was the mother of PSAM-
chancellor and chief steward of Egypt during a period of METICHUS II.
war and reunification. Meketré also survived long enough
to serve MONTUHOTEP III (r. 2010–1998 B.C.E.). His tomb Mekhu See SABNI.
at Deir el-Qurna, near DEIR EL-BAHRI, on the western
shore of the Nile at THEBES, was designed to rest on the Memmius, Lucius (fl. second century B.C.E.) Roman
cliff. The tomb had a mud-brick wall and courtyard with official and scholar who arrived in Egypt in 112 B.C.E.
limestone columns. The entrance leads 20 yards into the His tour of the Nile Valley took place in the joint reign of
side of the cliff, where a chapel honors Meketré and his PTOLEMY IX SOTER II (116–107, 88–81 B.C.E.) and CLEOPA-
son, Inyotef. TRA (3). Memmius traveled to the FAIYUM region in Mid-
dle Egypt in order to study crocodiles at CROCODILOPOLIS.
The beautifully wrapped mummy of Wah, Meketré’s The royal court at ALEXANDRIA sent a letter to Faiyum
estate manager, was discovered there also. Modern X rays officials, instructing them to assist Lucius Memmius in
revealed an elaborate funerary collar on Wah, necklaces, his efforts to see the LABYRINTH as well. The Labyrinth
and two solid silver scarabs. The burial chamber of was the temple precinct of AMENEMHET III (r. 1844–1797
Meketré contained a cedar coffin with gilded inscriptions. B.C.E.) at HAWARA in the Faiyum. The Egyptians were
Other relatives were buried in nearby shafts. A hidden instructed to take “the greatest pains” in making Mem-
chamber contained wooden replicas depicting daily life mius satisfied at every turn.
on Meketré’s estate. Painted miniatures, including sol-
diers, ships, farmworkers, overseers, even cattle, were Memnomium This was the name given to the ceno-
placed in the tomb with miniature gardens and buildings. taph of SETI I (1306–1290 B.C.E.) or RAMESES II (r. 1290–
A granary, bakery, spinning shop, and a workroom are 1224 B.C.E.) by the Greek historian STRABO. This L-
depicted, as well as yachts. The buildings contained por- shaped tomb was located in ABYDOS.
ticos, columns, and landscapes.
Mekhenet This was the Egyptian name of the solar bark
of the god RÉ, used during his sojourn through the sky. Memphis This was the capital of ancient Egypt from
the Early Dynastic Period (2920–2575 B.C.E.), continuing
See also MANDET. as a seat of political power even when the rulers main-
tained a capital in another area of the nation. Called
Mekhtemweskhet (1) (fl. 10th century B.C.E.) Royal Hiku-Ptah, or Hat-Ka-Ptah, “the Mansion of the Soul of
woman of the Twenty-first Dynasty PTAH,” Memphis was located on the western side of the
She was the consort of Shoshenq, a Libyan military com- Nile, south of modern Cairo. The first capital of the first
mander at BUBASTIS, and the mother of OSOCHOR (r. nome of Lower Egypt, Memphis was supposedly founded
984–978 B.C.E.), SIAMUN (r. 978–959 B.C.E.), and by AHA (Menes; 2920 B.C.E.). Legends state that this ruler
SHOSHENQ I (r. 945–924 B.C.E.). She also had another son, altered the course of the Nile in order to clear the plain
Nimlot. Mekhtemweskhet was a Libyan noblewoman, a for his capital. This plain, on the western side of the Nile,
member of the ruling class of the MESHWESH, the Libyan was some four miles wide, and its western end sloped
ranking clan. upward to the cliffs of the LIBYAN DESERT. The distinctive
white walls of the capital were made of mud bricks over-
Mekhtemweskhet (2) (fl. seventh century laid with plaster and then painted. Memphis was thus
B.C.E.) Royal woman of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty called Ineb-hedj, “the White Walled.” The original site is
The consort of PSAMMETICHUS I (r. 664–610 B.C.E.), she now covered by the modern village of Badrasheen and
was the daughter of HARSIESE, the high priest of HELIOPO- covers an archaeological field of three square miles.
LIS, and was probably the mother of NECHO II (r. 610–595
B.C.E.), Psammetichus I’s heir. Mehtemweskhet’s daughter In some eras Memphis was called “Ankh-Tawy,” “the
was NITOCRIS (2), the GOD’S WIFE OF AMUN. Life of the Two Lands.” When the capital of Egypt was
Mekhtemweskhet was honored with a tomb chapel at officially founded at HERAKLEOPOLIS, IT-TAWY, THEBES, or
KARNAK, along with Nitocris. PER-RAMESSES in later historical periods, the affairs of
state were conducted in part in Memphis, and most
Mekhtemweskhet (3) (fl. seventh century B.C.E.) dynastic clans spent a portion of each year in residence
Royal woman of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty there. The city remained great throughout the nation’s
A consort of NECHO II (610–595 B.C.E.), she was probably various eras.
the daughter of PSAMMETICHUS I and Queen MEKHTEM-
The modern name derives from the period of the
Sixth Dynasty in the Old Kingdom, when PEPI I (r.

236 menat 2134 B.C.E.) tombs at Mendes denote the age of the site.
A granite shrine was erected at Mendes by AMASIS (r.
2289–2255 B.C.E.) built his beautiful pyramid in SAQ- 570–526 B.C.E.). There are Ramessid Period (1307– 1070
QARA. That mortuary monument was called Men-nefer- B.C.E.) ruins as well as Predynastic remains, indicating
Maré “the Established and Beautiful Pyramid of the continued occupation of Mendes. A cemetery of rams
Men-nefer-Maré.” The name soon came to designate the is present, and MASTABA tombs are located on the site.
surrounding area, including the city itself. It was called Mendes excavations are uncovering a vast collection of
Men-nefer and then Menti. The Greeks, visiting the capi- ruined structures and artifacts.
tal centuries later, translated the name as Memphis.
Menes See AHA.
The temple of PTAH once dominated the capital, but
only the precinct walls of that structure can be seen today Menet-Khufu The principal town of a region in the
in modern MIT RAHINAH. There are also remains of shrines Oryx nome of Upper Egypt, associated with KHUFU (r.
dating to SETI I (r. 1306–1290 B.C.E.) of the Nineteenth 2551–2528 B.C.E.), modern BENI HASAN is located nearby
Dynasty and RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.). MEREN- and is famed for its tombs. In ancient periods Menet-
PTAH (r. 1224–1214 B.C.E.) also built on the site. The Khufu was called “the HORIZON of HORUS.”
necropolis area of Memphis was divided into six sections,
including Saqqara, with its remarkable tombs of the Menhet (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Palace woman of the
Archaic Period and the Old Kingdom and earlier. Eighteenth Dynasty, one of three Syrian sisters
She was a lesser ranked consort or possibly a concubine
The palace of APRIES (r. 589–570 B.C.E.) has been of TUTHMOSIS III (1479–1425 B.C.E.). Menhet and her sis-
uncovered in Memphis and has enclosure walls and ters, Merti and Menwi, were Syrians, the daughters of a
courts still visible. Other archaeological discoveries at the chief, given to Tuthmosis III as tribute or as part of politi-
site include a hypostyle hall and pylons, an embalming cal pacts. Menhet and her sisters were not buried in the
house for APIS bulls, elaborate figurines, the colossus of VALLEY OF THE QUEENS but in an area called the Valley of
Ramesses II, and a temple. The Kom Fakhry necropolis of the Monkeys, Wadi Gabbenet el-Kurrub. Each of the sis-
Memphis contains tombs from the First Intermediate ters received the same exquisite funerary regalia and rit-
Period (2134–2040 B.C.E.) and a Middle Kingdom ual mortuary offerings to ensure equal honors in death.
(2040–1640 B.C.E.) settlement. The Persians ruled from
Memphis during their historical period on the Nile Menkauhor (d. 2388 B.C.E.) Seventh ruler of the Fifth
(525–404 and 343–332 B.C.E.), and HERODOTUS, the Dynasty
Greek historian, praised the beauty of the city when he He reigned from 2396 B.C.E. until his death, succeeding
visited it. Memphis declined when ALEXANDRIA was NIUSERRÉ to the throne, and probably the son of Niuserré
founded in 332 B.C.E. and Queen Khentikas. Menkauhor is recorded as having
sent a mining expedition to the SINAI, perhaps to prepare
menat (1) A form of ancient Egyptian AMULET heavily his burial site. No pyramid has been identified as his, but
weighted and used to counterbalance the heavy collars he was probably buried in DASHUR. A cult honoring
worn by the rulers and members of the aristocracy, the Menkauhor was also conducted in SAQQARA for many
menat was attached to the back of such collars to keep centuries. He probably erected a sun temple in ABUSIR.
them in place. As an amulet the menat was painted or
carved with spells, prayers, and divine images. Made of Menkauré (Mycerinus) (d. 2472 B.C.E.) Fifth ruler of
stone, FAIENCE, or metal, it was worn with strands of the Fourth Dynasty, the builder of the third pyramid at Giza
beads when not used as a counterbalance. The successor of KHAFRE, Menkauré ruled from 2490
B.C.E. until his death, and was called Mycerinus by the
menat (2) This was a fetish of virility, depicted on Greeks. He was Khafre’s son, probably born to Queen
reliefs and statues of the god KHONS (1) and worn by KHAMERERNEBTY (2) or perhaps to Queen PERSENTI. His
Egyptians to foster fertility and health in women and sons were Ka’auré, Khuenré, the chosen heir who died
virility in men. In this form the menat was fashioned out young, and SHEPSESKHAF, who succeeded him. His daugh-
of glaze ware. The AMULET was also placed in the mummy ter was KHENTAKAWES (1). Shepseskhaf possibly com-
wrappings of the deceased in mortuary rituals. pleted Menkauré’s pyramid, the third one erected at GIZA,
and it is known that he completed Menkauré’s mortuary
Mendes It was an ancient cult center on the site of temple. He was recorded as being “pious,” and his death
modern el-Simballewein at TELL EL-RUB’A in the Delta, was predicted by the ORACLE of BUTO.
originally called Per-Ba’eb’djet. “The domain of the Ram
Lord of BA’EB DJET,” as Mendes was called in some eras, His pyramid at Giza was designed smaller than the
the city was also the capital of the sixteenth nome of ones erected there by KHUFU and Khafre, but it was cov-
Lower Egypt. A goddess, HAT-MEHIT, was popular in
Mendes and became the consort of Ba’eb-Djet. Their son
was Harpocrates, a form of Horus. Old Kingdom (2575–

ered by costly ASWAN stone. A basalt SARCOPHAGUS was Mentuemhat 237
placed within the pyramid and contained fine panel deco-
rations. Statues and other reliefs attest to the skill of the His mortuary stela portrays him in the course of his
artisans of his historical period. In the Twenty-sixth duties. His tomb on the west bank of Thebes, at SHEIKH
Dynasty (664–525 B.C.E.) Menkauré’s remains were ABD’ EL-QURNA, depicts his activities, including directing
placed into a new wooden coffin. His basalt SARCOPHAGUS the punishment of errant officials who tried to avoid the
was taken to Europe, but it reportedly went down in a tithes or duties imposed by the crown. His wife and
shipwreck off the coast of Spain. daughter are portrayed as well in beautiful rural settings.

Menkhaf (fl. 26th century B.C.E.) Princely vizier of the Menouthis This is a sunken city on the northern coast
Fourth Dynasty of Egypt, rediscovered with the cities of CANOPUS and
He was a son of KHUFU (Cheops; r. 2551–2528 B.C.E.) and Heraklion by divers. Menouthis was the wife of Canopus,
a lesser ranked wife. Menkhaf served as a VIZIER for his a military aide of the Spartan king Menelaos, and was
father but was not the designated heir. He was part of honored by having the city named after her. Canopus had
that dynasty’s tradition of using only royal family mem- visited Heraklion with Menelaos. He was stung by a viper
bers in positions of power or trust. while on this tour and died. HERODOTUS, the Greek histo-
rian who visited Egypt c. 450 B.C.E., wrote about the
Menkheperresenb (1) (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Archi- cities and their naming.
tect and priestly official of the Eighteenth Dynasty
He served TUTHMOSIS III (r. 1479–1425 B.C.E.) as the When the city of ALEXANDRIA was founded by
fourth prophet of AMUN and as a chief architect. He was ALEXANDER III THE GREAT (r. 332–323 B.C.E.) in 331 B.C.E.,
also a nome aristocrat. Menkheperresenb was buried in as the new capital of Egypt, Heraklion lost its economic
KHOKHA on the western shore of THEBES, and his tomb base. An earthquake and tidal wave destroyed all three
contained scenes of everyday Egyptian life, temple work- cities sometime during the seventh or eighth century C.E.
shops, and a portrait of Tuthmosis III. Menkheperresenb Statues, city grids, remains of temples, and tributes to the
also controlled the royal residence at Thebes, called “the deities ISIS, OSIRIS, and SERAPIS are being recovered from
Gold and Silver Houses,” a designation symbolizing the Menouthis and the other sunken sites. Heraklion’s
union of Upper and Lower Egypt under the pharaoh. remains are about four miles out at sea from the bay of
Abu Qir, and artifacts and magnificent carved pieces are
Menkheperresenb (2) (fl. 11th century B.C.E.) High being lifted from their watery resting places. An elaborate
priest of Amun at Thebes in the Twenty-first Dynasty museum area is planned by the Egyptian government to
He served in this priestly capacity during the reign of safeguard the relics being rescued from these ancient
PSUSENNES I (1040–992 B.C.E.). Menkheperresenb was the sites.
son of PINUDJEM (1) and Queen HENUTTAWY and the
brother of Djedkhonsufankh. When his brother died, Mentjuhotep (c. 16th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of
Menkheperresenb succeeded him in the temple office. He the Seventeenth Dynasty
married Psusennes’s daughter, ISTEMKHEBE (3), who bore She was a consort of Senakhtenré TA’O I (date of reign
a daughter of the same name, as well as PSUSENNES II, PIN- unknown). Mentjuhotep was buried at DRA-ABÚ EL-NAGA
UDJEM (2), and SMENDES II. in THEBES. Ta’o I ruled Thebes and most of Upper Egypt,
while the Hyksos were in control of the northern
Unlike other members of his family, Menkheperre- domains. Ta’o II would begin the crusade to force the
senb served as high priest of AMUN without assuming HYKSOS out of the Nile Valley. Mentjuhotep was probably
royal ceremonies and attire, but he did have his name a lesser ranked consort, as TETISHERI was the Great Wife
recorded in a CARTOUCHE, a royal insignia. Menkheperre- of the reign.
senb made his base of operations at el-HIBA and put down
Theban revolts efficiently, exiling the leaders of these Mentuemhat (fl. seventh century B.C.E.) “Prince of the
rebellions to the oases of the LIBYAN DESERT. He died in City” of Thebes
the last year of reign of Psusennes I and was buried in He was the fourth prophet of Amun at THEBES, called “the
THEBES. Prince of the City,” and serving TAHARQA (r. 690–664
B.C.E.), TANUTAMUN (r. 664–657 B.C.E.), NECHO I (r.
Menna (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) Treasury official of the 672–664 B.C.E.), and PSAMMETICHUS I (664–610 B.C.E.),
Eighteenth Dynasty also ruling a part of Egypt in his lifetime. Mentuemhat
He served TUTHMOSIS IV (r. 1401–1391 B.C.E.) as a tax col- witnessed the rise and fall of the Nubian Dynasty and the
lector, estate inspector, and harvest collector. Menna was Assyrian invasion of Egypt. ASSURBANIPAL, the Assyrian
attached to the temple’s assessment programs, visiting the ruler, approved of Mentuemhat during his visit to Thebes
various agricultural regions and tallying crops and tithes. as the conqueror of Egypt and allowed the Egyptian to
remain in his position, impressed by the man’s intellect
and power.

238 Mentuemzaf from their long reigning father (1290–1224 B.C.E.). Active
militarily while a prince, Merenptah was apparently in his
Mentuemhat, however, defected to Taharqa, who had 50s when he became pharaoh.
been forced to flee from Egypt and was regrouping to
regain control. When Psammetichus I founded the A KARNAK inscription and the ATHRIBIS STELA give
Twenty-sixth Dynasty, Mentuemhat acknowledged his accounts of the difficulties he faced upon taking the
sovereignty. He also sponsored Princess NITOCRIS (2), the throne. The Cairo Column also adds details. Merenptah
daughter of Psammetichus I, as the Divine Adoratrice of faced a combined force of Libyans, Libu, Tekenu, and
Amun or GOD’S WIFE OF AMUN. He ruled from ASWAN to MESHWESH in the fifth year of his reign in the western
HERMOPOLIS MAGNA and had three wives. Delta and defeated them. He then met the Libyans and a
contingent of SEA PEOPLES, including the MESHWESH,
A black granite bust of Mentuemhat was discovered Kehek, Sherden, Shekelesh, Lukka, Tursha, and Aka-
at KARNAK, and a standing statue depicts him as a robust, washa, repelling them. A major battle was fought at
powerful man. Other private monuments display a high Per-yer in the Delta and then at “the Mount of the Horns
degree of artistic skills in the period. His tomb was of the Earth” in the Libyan Desert. Mauroy, a Libyan
erected at ASASIF in Thebes. This burial site is a rock-cut leader, fell in this battle, as Merenptah used chariots,
complex with outer courts and pylons. A single sloping infantry units, and archers to repel the enemy. More than
passage leads to an incomplete chamber. The tomb is 6,000 of the enemy died, and their families were taken
beautifully painted and the burial chamber is at the bot- captive.
tom of a shaft. There is a sun court, as well as side
chapels, a portico, and a stairway. The ceiling decorations Merenptah’s chief consorts were ISETNOFRET (2) and
depict astronomical designs. Mentuemhat also erected a TAKHAT (1). His sons were SETI II and probably AMEN-
MORTUARY TEMPLE, with the separate chambers using dif- MESSES. He built a royal residence at MEMPHIS and
fering style of decorations. restored temples elsewhere. He also aided the HITTITES,
who were suffering from a severe famine. Seti II was
Mentuemzaf (Djed’ankhré) (fl. 17th or 18th century made coruler before Merenptah died, probably in his
B.C.E.) Ruler of the Thirteenth Dynasty early 70s. At his death he was corpulent, bald, and stand-
The actual dates of his reign are unknown. A monument ing five feet seven inches tall. His tomb in the VALLEY OF
honoring Mentuemzaf was discovered at DEIR EL-BAHRI, THE KINGS on the western shore of THEBES was designed
opposite Thebes. His son resided apparently at AVARIS, the with five corridors and contained halls, side chambers,
seat of the growing power of the HYKSOS, or Asiatics, who and annexes. This highly decorated tomb held a SAR-
were consolidating their hold on the eastern Delta. A sec- COPHAGUS of red granite. The lid of the sarcophagus
ond monument of Mentuemzaf was found in GEBELEIN. depicted the BOOK OF THE GATES, a mortuary document.
Another alabaster sarcophagus was also discovered on the
Menwi See MENHET. site. The tomb had a trench dug in front of it to protect it
from seasonal floods.
Menyu A god of ancient Egypt, called “the Lord of the
Desert,” Menyu was believed to be the son of ISIS and was The mummy of Merenptah was found in the royal
revered in KOPTOS, worshiped as Neb-Semt, or desert mummy cache in the tomb of AMENHOTEP II in 1898.
deity. He was depicted in some periods as a warrior bull Merenptah suffered from arthritis and calcification of the
god. Menyu was also a deity of regeneration. He is listed arteries. He had severe dental problems and evidence of
on the PALERMO STONE. prior fractures of the thigh bones. Merenptah’s mummy
was encrusted with salty nodules, probably caused by the
Menzala This is a lake in the Delta region of ancient embalming process.
Egypt. The lake is located near the Damietta branch of
the Nile. Menzala is one of the few remaining bodies of Merenré I (Nemtyemzaf) (d. 2246 B.C.E.) Third ruler
water in the Delta, where the Nile had seven separate of the Sixth Dynasty
branches and the water levels of the lakes were higher. He reigned from 2255 B.C.E. until his death. Merenré was
the son of PEPI I and Queen ANKHNESMERY-RÉ (1). His wife
Mereneith See MERNEITH. was Queen NEITH (2) or Nit, who married PEPI II, and his
daughter was Ipwet. Merenré I ruled only nine years, and
Merenptah (Baenre’hotepirma’at) (d. 1214 B.C.E.) he built a pyramid in SAQQARA but never finished the site.
Fourth ruler of the Nineteenth Dynasty Merenré I also exploited the mines of SINAI, the quarries
He reigned from 1224 B.C.E. until his death. Merenptah of NUBIA (modern Sudan), and the mines of ASWAN and
was the son of RAMESSES II and Queen ISETNOFRET (1). He HATNUB, and he visited ELEPHANTINE Island at ASWAN,
was actually the 13th son designated as the royal heir. His appointing a governor for the region. He maintained as
older brothers died before they could receive the throne well the services of General WENI, who had been an offi-
cial in the reign of Pepi I.

The Egyptians controlled the Nile down to the third Merimda Beni Salama 239
cataract during Merenré I’s reign. He cut five canals at the
cataracts of the Nile and commissioned the local Nubians Meresger (2) (fl. 19th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of
(modern Sudanese) to build ships for him out of timbers. the Twelfth Dynasty
A copper statue of Merenré I and Pepi I was found in She was a lesser ranked consort of SENWOSRET III (r.
HIERAKONPOLIS. A mummified body was discovered at 1878–1841 B.C.E.), a ruler noted for his extensive HAREM.
Saqqara, but it was probably not his remains but evidence Meresger was not the mother of the heir.
of a later burial. He was succeeded by his half brother,
Pepi II. Meri (fl. 20th century B.C.E.) Royal pyramid complex
official of the Twelfth Dynasty at el-Lisht
Merenré (II) (Antiemdjaf) (fl. 22nd century B.C.E.) He served SENWOSRET I (r. 1971–1926 B.C.E.). Meri was
Shadowy ruler of the Sixth Dynasty the supervisor of the ruler’s pyramid in el-LISHT, oversee-
He was reportedly the son of PEPI II (r. 2246–2152 B.C.E.) ing the construction of the mortuary complex. He also
and Queen NEITH (2). Merenré II was devoted to a local governed the pyramid territory. His funerary STELA, now
deity, ANTI. He ruled only one year at the close of the in the Louvre in Paris, gives an account of his career and
dynasty with his consort, Queen NITOCRIS (1), as the honors. The pyramidal complexes of the rulers
dynasty was threatened by general unrest and the ambi- demanded considerable attention and personnel. Small
tions of powerful nomarchs who sought independence cities were erected at these sites to provide residences for
for their clans. When he died, Nitocris ruled alone. She priests and other attendants involved in the mortuary
is mentioned in the TURIN CANON. Her successor was pos- cults of the dead rulers, such cults lasting for decades,
sibly NEFERKURÉ, the son of Queen ANKHNES-PEPI and even centuries.
Pepi II.
Merikaré (fl. 22nd century B.C.E.) Ruler of the Herak-
Mereruka (fl. 23rd century B.C.E.) Chief justice and leopolitan Ninth Dynasty (2134–? B.C.E.)
vizier of the Sixth Dynasty He was probably the son of KHETY III. The INSTRUCTIONS
He served TETI (r. 2323–2291 B.C.E.) as VIZIER, chief jus- FOR MERIKARÉ, a didactic document attributed by scholars
tice, and the supervisor of Teti’s cult personnel. The son to his father, was written for him reportedly, although
of the noble Nedjetempet, Mereruka married Princess the authorship has not been proven. The text concerns
SESHESHET, also called Idut. She was Teti’s daughter. His the events of Khety III’s reign, a period in which the Iny-
son was Meryteti. Mereruka constructed the royal tomb otefs were beginning their assaults on the Herakleopoli-
of Teti as part of his duties as vizier. tans. Khety III regrets many events that took place, and
he speaks of the ideals and the spirit that the rulers
Mereruka’s own tomb in SAQQARA is a magnificent and subjects should adopt in order to attain spiritual
monument, shared by his royal wife and son. The tomb maturity.
contains more than 30 chambers and was designed as a
vast mastaba. A FALSE DOOR and a chapel with six pillars, Merikaré appears to have been middle-aged when
including a statue of Mereruka, are part of the splendid Khety bequeathed him the Herakleopolitan throne. He
architectural elements of the mastaba. There are painted faced growing tensions with THEBES in an uncertain polit-
scenes in corridors and in three of the chambers. A ical era of change, but he died before the armies of MON-
SERDAB was also part of the design. Scenes of gardening, TUHOTEP II advanced upon his capital. ITY was his
fishing, fowling, hunting, harp playing, scribes, banquets, successor. Merikaré’s mortuary pyramid was constructed
pets, and dwarves provide historical data of the period. near MEMPHIS.

Meresger (1) (Meretseger) A cobra goddess of an- Merimda Beni Salama This is a predynastic site in
cient Egypt’s Theban necropolis, also called Meretseger, the western Delta of Egypt, dating to c. 4750 B.C.E., the
she was worshiped as “the Lady of Heaven” and the first known settlement in the Nile Valley. Located 15
“Peak of the West” in Egyptian religious texts. Meresger miles northwest of modern Cairo, Merimda had an esti-
was noted as a goddess who chastised the evildoer. The mated population of 16,000 in some historical periods,
Egyptians depicted her as a “Savage Lion” to all who per- although the average was probably smaller. Graves found
formed sinful acts until they called upon her name for in the site contained mostly children, possibly the victims
forgiveness. The goddess lived on the rocky spur of of a famine or an epidemic. Houses at Merimda were
SHEIKH ABD’ EL-QURNA, at the necropolis site of THEBES, mostly windbreaks, or pole-framed structures with
where she was called “the Lover of Silence,” an allusion pitched roofs. Granaries and grid street patterns are evi-
to her mortuary role. She was popular throughout many dent. The Faiyum A culture pottery was discovered there,
eras of Egyptian history but declined in the Twenty-first as well as stone MACEHEADS, polished black pottery, and
Dynasty (1070–945 B.C.E.). fishing tools. The Merimda phase was contemporaneous
with Upper Egypt’s Badarian and Amratian phases.

See also EGYPT.

240 Merit style of that time and was surrounded by 41 other
gravesites. These Egyptians, including artisans and crafts-
Merit (1) (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) Noblewoman of the men, possibly died as part of her mortuary ceremonies.
Eighteenth Dynasty Merneith died in the reign of Den. A STELA erected in her
She was the wife of MAYA, the treasurer for TUT’ANKHAMUN honor depicts her name entwined with the SEREKH (2)
(r. 1333–1323 B.C.E.) and HOREMHAB (r. 1319–1307 symbol, normally reserved for pharaohs. Merneith’s coffin
B.C.E.). Maya protected the tomb of Tut’ankhamun when bore similar royal insignias. Her Abydos tomb was a brick
Horemhab set about destroying the surviving monuments lined pit with a wooden floor. Some 77 additional graves
of AKHENATEN (r. 1353–1335 B.C.E.) and the ’AMARNA were discovered nearby. Her Saqqara tomb contained a
Period. Also called Maia in some records, he built an boat pit.
elaborate tomb in SAQQARA. Merit is depicted in exquisite
reliefs in the tomb with Maya, and the artistic splendor of Merneith (2) (fl. 28th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of
her portraits and other scenes symbolize the high degree the First Dynasty
of skill evident in that period of Egyptian history. Merneith was the consort of DEN (date of reign
unknown). She was probably his sister, born to Queen
Merit (2) She was an Egyptian divine being, called MERNEITH (1) and DJET.
“the Goddess of the Inundation.” Egypt was named Ta-
Mera, or Ta-Merit, “the Land of the Inundation.” Meroë A site on the eastern bank of the Nile in NUBIA
(modern Sudan), north of modern Kabushiyah, it con-
Meritites (1) (fl. 26th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of tains royal remains and unique monuments dating to the
the Fourth Dynasty Twenty-fifth Dynasty (712–657 B.C.E.) and other histori-
A consort of KHUFU (Cheops; r. 2551–2528 B.C.E.), Meri- cal periods. In the fifth century B.C.E., the great Kushite
tites was the mother of Prince KEWAB and Princess HET- Empire was seated in Meroë. Vital and energetic, the peo-
EPHERES (2), Princess MERYSANKH (2), and Princess ple of Meroë remained powerful even in the Greco-
DJEDEFHOR and BAUFRÉ. She was buried in GIZA. The royal Roman Period on the Nile. The necropolis of Meroë,
family of Khufu was divided between two factions, and Begarawiga, was filled with Kushite pyramids and royal
Meritites’ son Kewab, who was the rightful heir, was killed burials. A temple to ISIS dates to the Napatan Period (c.
in a questionable manner. His successor represented the 1000–300 B.C.E.) at Meroë, and lavish palaces were
opposing side of the family and did not manage to keep erected there as well. A temple of AMUN was built in the
the throne for long or to raise his own sons as heirs. second century B.C.E., as well as a temple of APEDEMAK, a
Nubian lion deity.
Meritites (2) (fl. 23rd century B.C.E.) Royal woman of
the Sixth Dynasty Suggested Reading: Priese, Karl-Heinz. The Gold of
She was the daughter probably of PEPI I (r. 2289–2255 Meroe. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993.
B.C.E.). A small step PYRAMID, recording her as a queen,
was discovered in SAQQARA. It is recorded that Meritites’ Mersa Matruh This was a site 185 miles west of
pyramid became a pilgrimage site after her death. ALEXANDRIA that served as a port of entry into Egypt. Pil-
grims arriving to visit the oasis of SIWA during the Ptole-
merkhet This was an astral gauge used by the ancient maic Period (304–30 B.C.E.) used the port and erected a
Egyptians for architectural surveys and construction pro- city called Ammonia (later called Paraetonium). Modern
jects. Much like the modern plumb line, the merkhet pro- Bates Island served as another trading port in the area.
vided relatively accurate measurements, something Siwa Oasis, called also Jupiter Ammon, was well known
required for the construction of massive monuments that throughout the Mediterranean region, and many came
not only had to be based on secure foundations but were from distant lands to worship AMUN in that vast desert site.
positioned according to astronomical configurations
deemed appropriate. Merti See MERRHET.

Merneith (1) (Merynit, Mereneith, Meryneith) (fl. Meryamen (fl. 12th century B.C.E.) Prince of the Twenti-
c. 29th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the First Dynasty eth Dynasty
She was the consort of DJET or Wadji (date of reign A son of RAMESSES III (r. 1194–1163 B.C.E.), he was
unknown). Merneith was the mother of DEN, and clay depicted as a “Fan-bearer,” in reliefs, apparently not hold-
seals bear her name as “the King’s Mother.” She served as ing any other known official position. Meryamen was
regent for her son, who obviously inherited the throne also portrayed on the walls of MEDINET HABU with 19 of
before reaching his majority. Merneith’s mortuary com- his brothers, listed there as Ramesses-Meryamen.
plexes at ABYDOS and SAQQARA attest to her rank as a ruler
in that period. The Abydos tomb follows the pharaonic

Meryatum (1) (fl. 13th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of Meryré 241
the Nineteenth Dynasty
Meryatum was the daughter of RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224 fer, and there are statues of the deceased and his son and
B.C.E.) and Queen NEFERTARI. She is depicted with her other male relatives. IDU, Merynénefer’s father, was buried
parents at the Queen’s Temple at ABU SIMBEL. in an adjoining tomb in ABUSIR. He was the overseer of
priests in the pyramidal complexes of Khufu and also
Meryatum (2) (fl. 13th century B.C.E.) Royal priest of Khafre (r. 2520–2494 B.C.E.). Elaborate paintings beautify
Ré of the Nineteenth Dynasty this gravesite.
The sixteenth son of RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.)
and NEFERTARI, he served as the high priest of RÉ at Meryptah (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) Official of the Eigh-
HELIOPOLIS. Prince Meryatum is depicted at the Queen’s teenth Dynasty
Temple at ABU SIMBEL, and the temple of NUT at KARNAK Meryptah served AMENHOTEP III (r. 1391–1353 B.C.E.) as a
bears his name. Meryatum officially visited the Egyptian royal treasurer. He was buried at THEBES and was honored
turquoise mining operations in the SINAI. for his faithful service to the nation.

Meryatum (3) (fl. 12th century B.C.E.) Royal priest of Meryré (1) (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) Priestly official of
Ré of the Twentieth Dynasty the Eighteenth Dynasty
The son of RAMESSES III (r. 1194–1163 B.C.E.), he served He served AKHENATEN (Amenhotep IV; r. 1353–1335
as the high priest of RÉ at Heliopolis. Meryatum outlived B.C.E.) at ’AMARNA as the high priest of ATEN. Meryré held
his father and was possibly buried at el-MATARRIYAH the position of the Great Seer of Aten when Akhenaten
necropolis, in modern Cairo. decided to share his powers with others near the end of
his reign. Akhenaten’s death resulted in the abandonment
Meryet (1) (Merit, Mereret) (fl. 19th century B.C.E.) of ’Amarna and the end of Aten’s cult. Meryré and his
Royal woman of the Twelfth Dynasty wife, Tener, disappeared and their beautifully adorned
She was the consort of SENWOSRET III (r. 1878–1841 tomb at ’Amarna remained unfinished. Meryré reportedly
B.C.E.). Meryet was buried in the mortuary complex of was buried somewhere in ’Amarna, probably deposited in
Senwosret III at DASHUR. a secret cache in order to preserve his remains from the
agents of HOREMHAB (r. 1319–1307 B.C.E.).
Meryet (2) (fl. 19th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the
Twelfth Dynasty Many of the ’Amarna officials made arrangements to
She was a consort of AMENEMHET II (r. 1929–1892 B.C.E.). have their remains hidden when they died, as they wit-
Little is known of her, as she was a lesser-ranked queen. nessed the destruction turned loose on Akhenaten’s capi-
tal after his death. The unused tomb of Meryré depicts
Merymose (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) Viceroy of the Eigh- him receiving decorations from the pharaoh and visiting
teenth Dynasty, called the “King’s Son of Kush” Aten’s temple. The paintings at this site record events and
Serving AMENHOTEP III (r. 1391–1353 B.C.E.), he was the personalities of the ’Amarna Period and display the viva-
VICEROY of Kush, or the governor of NUBIA (modern cious artistic styles of the era.
Sudan). Merymose was responsible for trade routes and
fortifications of the Egyptians south of Aswan. The Meryré (2) (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) Official of the Eigh-
region of Nubia was highly active during Merymose’s teenth Dynasty at ’Amarna
term of office as the “King’s Son of Kush,” and he had to He served AKHENATEN (Amenhotep IV; r. 1353–1335
maintain garrisoned stations and navigable waterways B.C.E.) as superintendent of Queen NEFERTITI’s royal
along the Nile. His tomb at THEBES contained outstand- household. Meryré was the son of the high priest of ATEN,
ing statuary. Meryré (1), and Tener. His unfinished tomb at ’Amarna
depicts Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and SMENKHARÉ. Meryré (2)
Merynénefer (Qar) (fl. c. 23rd century B.C.E.) Official disappeared after Akhenaten’s death, probably hiding to
of the pyramidal complexes of the Sixth Dynasty avoid the vengeance of HOREMHAB and other Amunites,
He was the overseer of the pyramidal complexes of who sought to obliterate all traces of the ’Amarna inter-
KHUFU (Cheops) and MENKAURÉ (Mycerinus). Merynéne- lude. His burial site has not been identified.
fer was also a tenant of the pyramid complex of PEPI I and
the inspector of priests in the pyramid of KHAFRE (Che- Meryré (3) (fl. 13th century B.C.E.) Prince of the Nine-
phren). He served in several reigns. His tomb in GIZA is teenth Dynasty
elaborate, with two FALSE DOORS and decorations. A por- He was the eleventh son of RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224
tico displays pillars carved as the likenesses of Merynéne- B.C.E.). Meryré is depicted in a LUXOR temple relief as part
of Ramesses II’s KADESH military campaign. He is shown
leading prisoners during that encounter, which took
place in Ramesses II’s fifth regnal year.

242 Merysankh Meryt-Amun (2) (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Royal woman
of the Eighteenth Dynasty
Merysankh (1) (fl. 26th century B.C.E.) Royal woman She was a daughter of TUTHMOSIS III and a consort of
of the Third Dynasty AMENHOTEP II (r. 1427–1401 B.C.E.). Meryt-Amun died at
She was a lesser consort of HUNI (r. 2599–2575 B.C.E.) age 50 and was depicted as delicate, with brown wavy
and the mother of SNEFRU, the founder of the Fourth hair. She was buried at DEIR EL-BAHRI in two coffins, one
Dynasty. Probably a commoner by birth, she was report- fashioned out of cedar. PINUDJEM (1), the high priest of
edly deified in later dynasties. AMUN in the Twenty-first Dynasty, usurped Meryt-Amun’s
tomb for his daughter, Princess Entiu-nywas.
Merysankh (2) (fl. 26th century B.C.E.) Royal woman
of the Fourth Dynasty Meryt-Amun (3) (fl. 13th century B.C.E.) Royal woman
A daughter of KHUFU (r. 2551–2528 B.C.E.) and Queen of the Nineteenth Dynasty
MERITITES (1), Merysankh’s life is not detailed. She was the eldest daughter of RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224
B.C.E.) and Queen NEFERTARI. When Nefertari died or
Merysankh (3) (Meresankh, Mersyankh) (fl. 26th retired to the harem palace near the FAIYUM, Meryt-Amun
century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the Fourth Dynasty became a queen, ranking second to BINT-ANATH, her sis-
Merysankh was the daughter of Prince KEWAB and Queen ter. A statue of Meryt-Amun, colossal in size and beauti-
HETEPHERES (2) and granddaughter of KHUFU and Queen fully made, was unearthed recently at AKHMIN. The lips of
MERITITES (1). She was the consort of KHAFRE (Chephren; the statue have retained the original red paint.
r. 2520–2494 B.C.E.). Merysankh was called “the King’s
Beloved Wife,” “the Mistress of DENDEREH,” “the Priestess Meryt-Atum (fl. 13th century B.C.E.) Prince of the Nine-
of Bapefy,” “the Priestess of THOTH,” and “the Priestess of teenth Dynasty
HATHOR.” She inherited Prince Kewab’s estate when he The son of RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.) and Queen
died in mysterious circumstances and was at court when NEFERTARI, he became the high priest of Ré in HELIOPOLIS.
her mother, Hetepheres (2), married RA’DJEDEF (r. 2528– Meryt-Atum was depicted in reliefs as campaigning with
2520 B.C.E.). Marrying Khafre, Ra’djedef’s successor, Ramesses II in the SINAI.
Merysankh became the mother of Prince Nebemakhet,
Prince Khenterka, Prince Duwanera, and Princess Shep- Meryt-Ré-Hatshepsut (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Royal
setkau, along with other children. woman of the Eighteenth Dynasty
She was the consort of TUTHMOSIS III (r. 1479–1425
She died suddenly in the reign of MENKAURÉ B.C.E.). Possibly the daughter of the God’s Wife, Huy,
(2490–2472 B.C.E.), and her mother gave her the magnifi- Meryt-Ré-Hatshepsut was not the first “Great Wife,” hav-
cent GIZA tomb that she had prepared for her own use. ing been preceded by two others. She was, however, the
The MASTABA at Giza’s eastern cemetery has a subter- mother of the heir, AMENHOTEP II. Meryt-Ré-Hatshepsut
ranean rock-cut chapel, a main chamber, false doors, and outlived Tuthmosis III and was honored in her son’s
a shaft. Statues and reliefs within the tomb depict the reign. She was buried at THEBES, in the VALLEY OF THE
royal family. Merysankh’s embalming process was QUEENS. The tomb designated as hers, however, does not
recorded as lasting a record 272 days. Her son Prince appear to have been used. A quartzite, unfinished SAR-
NEBEMAKHET is among those portrayed in reliefs. COPHAGUS was found in that tomb. She was also the
mother of MERYT-AMUN (2) and Nebetiunet.
Meryt-Amun (1) (Meryt-Aten) (fl. 14th century B.C.E.)
Royal woman of the Eighteenth Dynasty Meseket It was a sacred bark used by the god RÉ in his
She was the wife of SMENKHARÉ (r. 1335–1333 B.C.E.). nightly descent from the heavens. Ré rode on the MANDET
Meryt-Amun was the daughter of AKHENATEN (Amen- in the morning to ascend into the sky on his appointed
hotep IV) and Queen NEFERTITI. When Nefertiti left rounds. These sacred barks were accompanied by other
Akhenaten’s palace in ’AMARNA and took up residence in divine beings and by the deceased souls who were not
her own mansion, Meryt-Amun became queen in her deemed worthy of eternal paradise but were allowed to
place, even though she was married to Smenkharé. The survive in ETERNITY in the retinues of the gods.
death of Akhenaten in 1335 B.C.E. brought about
Smenkharé’s coronation. He had been Akhenaten’s atten- See also BARKS OF THE GODS.
dant for two years and had assumed many administrative
duties. Mesentiu The name of an ancient Egyptian group that
originated in EDFU, a site south of THEBES, in Upper
Smenkharé and Meryt-Amun returned to THEBES to Egypt. The Mesentiu are featured in early accounts of the
placate the priests of AMUN and the military faction led by unification of the nation. They are part of “the Sons of
General HOREMHAB. She was the mother of Merytaten-
Tasherit and Merytaten the Younger. She died before

HORUS.” The Mesentiu were reportedly skilled in metal- “Mighty Bull Appearing in Thebes” 243
lurgy and battle.
He served RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.) as VICEROY of
mesenty This was an ancient Egyptian term that meant Kush, the governor of the territories south of ASWAN in
“the Lord of All Creation.” Most cults assumed that title NUBIA (modern Sudan). In this role he was addressed as
for their particular deities as part of the cosmogonic tra- the “King’s Son of Kush.” Messuy constructed a temple at
ditions fostered in the various cults, including AMUN and KALABASHAH, in a region called BEIT EL-WALI. A rock-cut
RÉ. From the earliest historical periods, however, PTAH shrine, the temple erected by Messuy was designed with
was the true mesenty. columns and elaborate reliefs of the pharaoh. A causeway
connected the temple to the Nile.
meska This was a sacred symbol, fashioned out of the
hide of a BULL and used as part of the costume of Mesthi-Imsety See CANOPIC JARS; IMSETY.
NOMARCHS and some PHARAOHS. The term “Bull of his
Mother” was sometimes attached to the royal titles in cer- mesu-heru They were the guardians of the CANOPIC
emonies. The meska was a symbol of power and rebirth, JARS, “the Four Sons of Horus.” The jars contained the
as bulls were popular THEOPHANIES of the gods. vital organs of the deceased, removed during the rituals of
Meskhent (Meshkhent, Meskhenit) She was an
Egyptian goddess of childbirth, depicted as a birthing mesut This was the ancient word for evening, actually
brick with a woman’s head or as a woman with a brick on meaning “the Time of Birth.” The cosmological traditions
her head. Egyptian women sat on bricks designed to pro- of Egypt promoted the idea that the stars were actually
mote labor during childbirth. Meskhent assumed four swallowed by a divine sow at each sunrise. At eventide the
forms and predicted the future of newborns. Meskhent is stars were given birth by the sow and appeared in the sky.
mentioned in the WESTCAR PAPYRUS, and she reportedly
predicted the role of the first three pharaohs of the Fifth metals See EGYPTIAN NATURAL RESOURCES.
Dynasty (2465–2323 B.C.E.). She was associated with
HATHOR in some eras. Methen (Metjen) (fl. 27th century B.C.E.) Governor
and biographer of the Third Dynasty, serving several
In MORTUARY RITUALS, Meskhent was an attendant in pharaohs
the JUDGMENT HALLS OF OSIRIS, where she aided the He served DJOSER (r. 2630–2611 B.C.E.) as a regional gov-
deceased. She provided the magical powers so that the ernor but was famous as well as a biographer. Methen
dead could be reborn in paradise. She was the divine sis- started his career in the reign of SNEFRU (r. 2575–2551
ter of Anit and Tanenit. Her husband was SHAI, who rep- B.C.E.) and rose in the ranks. He administered the Delta
resented destiny, fate, or luck. NOMES and the FAIYUM’s eastern zone. Methen was buried
in a brick MASTABA in SAQQARA, the royal necropolis, a
Meshwesh They were a people dominating the region sign of his rank. The tomb had a cruciform chapel and
of modern LIBYA in many historical periods. Uniting with contained a small granite statue of Methen. His father
other Libyan groups and at times joined to the confeder- was Anibesemonek.
ation known as the SEA PEOPLES, the Meshwesh at-
tempted many assaults on the western Delta. MERENPTAH Migdol (1) This was a site in the SINAI, near TCHARU,
(r. 1224–1214 B.C.E.) and RAMESSES III (r. 1194–1163 where the Egyptians maintained a fortified tower with
B.C.E.), among others, had to defeat such invasion massive walls. When the Persian ruler CAMBYSES (r.
forces. 525–522 B.C.E.) attacked Egypt, he destroyed the site,
which was later rebuilt. Tell el-Her, to the south, was also
With the fall of the New Kingdom in 1070 B.C.E., the destroyed and rebuilt.
Libyans began to enter the Nile Valley and the Meshwesh
settled at BUBASTIS. Reportedly, HERIHOR of the Twenty- migdol (2) This was a type of fortress, Syrian in design,
first Dynasty (1070–945 B.C.E.) belonged to a collateral heavily fortified. MEDINET HABU, the vast complex erected
family of the Meshwesh. The most famous of these by RAMESSES III (r. 1194–1163 B.C.E.) was a migdol-style
Libyans was SHOSHENQ I (r. 945–924 B.C.E.), the founder structure.
of the Twenty-second Dynasty. The Libyans reinvigorated
Egypt with their presence and served as military leaders “Mighty Bull Appearing in Thebes” An epithet
of note and as administrators. used by TUTHMOSIS III (r. 1479–1425 B.C.E.) and other
strong New Kingdom pharaohs, the title was usually pre-
Messuy (fl. 13th century B.C.E.) Governor of Kush in the ceded by the phrase “Life to HORUS.” The two epithets
Nineteenth Dynasty

244 Miliku pharaoh of the Second Dynasty, probably secured Egypt’s
unification, indicating continual or at least sporadic war-
were combined to notify the Egyptians that a human fare on the Nile up to that era. It is possible that the first
form of Horus had risen again in THEBES to protect the settlement at BUHEN, in NUBIA (modern Sudan), was made
nation from all enemies. The BULL was always a symbol of in his reign, as Kha’sekhemwy and his successors had
strength and tenacity for the Egyptians and was used in started to penetrate the territories below the first cataract
several royal titles. of the Nile.

Miliku (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) Prince of Gaza (Gezer) OLD KINGDOM
and a vassal of Egypt
He held the throne of his city-state in the reign of AKHEN- The rulers of the Old Kingdom were militarily active. The
ATEN (Amenhotep IV; r. 1353–1335 B.C.E.) and was men- Egyptian interest in the SINAI territory led them to con-
tioned in the ’AMARNA LETTERS, the correspondence duct punitive expeditions against the local Bedouins, the
concerning land disputes among the Egyptian vassal Asiatic nomads who roamed the region and resented
states and other pertinent topics of the era. Miliku was Egyptian efforts to set up mines and quarries there. In the
accused of land grabbing by other princes, and he wrote reign of SNEFRU at the start of the Fourth Dynasty
to Akhenaten asking for defenses against another vassal (2575–2465 B.C.E.), Egypt had a rather large fleet of naval
state. Akhenaten did send troops to Miliku, and slave vessels as well, supposedly sent to the Levant on trading
women were given to Egypt in return for Egyptian goods. expeditions.

military An institution that evolved over the centuries Buhen, at the second cataract of the Nile in Nubia,
as a result of Egypt’s expansion and contact with outside became a base for southern trade and was fortified with
elements. Egypt’s military forces had a definitive role in stone walls and a dry moat. All of the rulers of Snefru’s
maintaining the sovereignty of the country from the earli- dynasty, including the pyramid builders of GIZA, are rep-
est historical periods and in obtaining natural resources resented at Buhen by seals. Snofru is said to have con-
and new lands. ducted a massive raid in the vicinity of Buhen, and it is
probable that other Nubian settlements were begun in

Internal warfare led to the provisional unification of The rulers of the Fifth Dynasty continued the war-
Egypt in 3000 B.C.E. and continued during the eras before fare. In that period the Egyptian army is recorded as hav-
the dynastic age. SCORPION, NARMER, and their military ing started the campaigns in Palestine and other
predecessors conducted campaigns in Lower Egypt in Mediterranean coastal regions. UNIS, the last ruler of the
order to establish a unity of independent regions and Fifth Dynasty, claimed to have made five expeditions into
provincial clans. The palettes and maceheads that docu- Syria. The Canaan reliefs from the Sixth Dynasty depict
ment the events of this period portray the legendary uni- assaults on Palestinian walled cities, and a true military
fiers in personal combat, and images of fallen foes and leader other than the pharaoh emerged from the period:
divine intervention place their military activities in the General WENI, in service to PEPI I (r. 2289–2255 B.C.E.).
context of national unification.
Weni, as commander of the royal armies, levied
Warfare must have been a continuing process troops from the local nomes when any military campaign
throughout the Predynastic Period, as conflicting groups seemed imminent. Nomarchs were responsible for a cer-
carved out their territories and established the perimeters tain number of troops, to be supplemented by Nubian
of their influence. It is interesting that the totems of mercenaries under command of caravan leaders or trade
many of the Upper Egyptian nomes, or provinces, were supervisors. Many of these troops were veterans of militia
depicted in documents about Narmer, indicating that training or active duty in previous campaigns. The basic
these warrior groups were already established to some unit of the army at the time was the battalion, although
extent and used as military units. its exact size and functions are not documented. The
militia-levy system had its obvious drawbacks. Troops
EARLY DYNASTIC PERIOD brought from the various nomes held allegiance only to
their own leaders. The extra levies used as support for the
The early rulers of Egypt did not preside over a united militias were even less nationalistically oriented. For this
land in the First Dynasty (2920–2770 B.C.E.). There is reason there must have been some core units of the Egyp-
evidence of resistance on the part of various regions. AHA tian army that were maintained as a regular force. There
(Menes) recorded adding territories in the south (proba- is evidence of so-called household units at the time. Weni
bly the area between GEBEL EL-SILSILEH and ASWAN). DJER commanded a well-trained military force, which suggests
(r. c. 2900 B.C.E.) recorded a campaign against the Asiat- the presence of a regularly maintained core unit responsi-
ics in the eastern desert. PERIBSEN, during the Second ble for training the nome recruits. Weni’s position was
Dynasty (2770–2649 B.C.E.), made raids into Palestine, that of commander of troops, but he also performed other
probably exploratory expeditions or raids for cattle and tasks for the ruler. Some generals served as caravan lead-
other loot. KHA’SEKHEMWY (r. 2649 B.C.E.), the last

A relief depicting Ramesses II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.) in battle military 245
array, displayed on a Karnak wall. (Hulton Archive.)
ern outposts and began marching on their capital. Nubian
ers as the expansion of trade warranted a military pres- troops were employed in the battles in the place of the
ence in remote regions. These positions appear to have ruler. In 2040 B.C.E., the armies of MONTUHOTEP II took
been hereditary, the beginnings of a military caste. Ordi- Herakleopolis, and the internal wars of Egypt were com-
nance and other logistical and provisionary departments ing to a close.
were already functioning, and there were reserves and
supplies mandated for the military units. THE MIDDLE KINGDOM

In Nubia there was a decided shift in Egyptian activi- The fall of Herakleopolis ended the Tenth Dynasty and
ties. Men like Weni used Nubian mercenaries, particu- started the Middle Kingdom. The land was united, but
larly when he served as the governor of Upper Egypt, but there were standing armies in some nomes, and aristo-
trade was the key to Egypt’s relationship with Nubia. crats did not hesitate to use their forces to exact
HARKHUF and his famous expedition for the child ruler vengeance or to consolidate holdings. Such nobles were
PEPI II (r. 2246–2152 B.C.E.) indicate a limited role in free to act on their own behalf as long as they provided
Nubia, mostly economic, not military. Buhen and the the required number of troops to the royal campaigns.
other forts were no longer invested with troops, and Such petty feuds between the nomes were ended in the
Nubia was comparatively free of Egyptian forces. Twelfth Dynasty.

The soldiers of the Old Kingdom were depicted as There was a standing army in this period, composed
wearing skullcaps and carrying clan or nome totems. of conscripts. There was a minister of war and a com-
They used maces with wooden heads or pear-shaped mander in chief of the army, or an official who worked in
stone heads. Bows and arrows were standard gear, with that capacity. Frontier units were on duty at the borders,
square-tipped flint arrowheads and leather quivers. Some and troops accompanied many of the mining and quarry-
shields, made of hides, were in use but not generally. ing expeditions.
Most of the troops were barefoot, dressed in simple kilts
or naked. Montuhotep and his successors continued vigorous
campaigns against LIBYA and the SINAI and are reported as
FIRST INTERMEDIATE PERIOD having expanded their operations even into Syrian lands.
The rulers of the Twelfth Dynasty (1991–1783 B.C.E.), the
With the collapse of the Old Kingdom in 2134 B.C.E., mil- Amenemhets, started their reigns with military cam-
itary activities in Egypt were confined once again to the paigns. AMENEMHET I (r. 1991–1962 B.C.E.) was a usurper
regions within the nation’s borders. The KHETY clan of and was skilled in military affairs, having served in mar-
HERAKLEOPOLIS moved against their northern and western tial and administrative affairs for the last Montuhotep.
neighbors to carve out a new royal realm. The rulers of Upon staking his claims, he took an armada of ships up
the Ninth and Tenth Dynasties (2134–2040 B.C.E.) were and down the Nile to discourage any rebellions from
vigorous warriors, aided by nome allies. They could not nome clans. He also erected a series of garrisoned
penetrate into Upper Egypt because of the Theban resis- fortresses on the northern borders, called the WALL OF
tance, and eventually the Thebans attacked their south- THE PRINCE. When Amenemhet I died, his son and heir,
SENWOSRET I, was on a campaign in Libya, having a small
unit of bodyguards with him.

A vast army of scribes and administrators served the
military forces of Egypt in this period. The frontier fortifi-
cations were manned, and there were even “shock
troops” used in campaigns. There are some indications
that professional soldiers were in the ranks of the Egyp-
tian army at this time, called “the Brave” or “the Valiant.”
Officers could be denoted in reliefs by the feathers that
they wore in their caps.

In NUBIA the Middle Kingdom had considerable
impact. The Montuhoteps continued their raids, and the
Amenemhets made a policy of fortifying trade settlements
as part of their dynastic goals. Senwosret I (1971–1926
B.C.E.) erected several fortresses and kept them fully
staffed with troops. Ikkur, ANIBA, and QUBAN date to this
era, and the region around Buhen was more stiffly forti-
fied. The Twelfth Dynasty rulers may have erected
fortresses as far south as SEMNA.

The term Kush came into being here, to designate a
region of Nubia that had its capital at KERMEH. During the

246 military The chariot force was divided into squadrons of 25
men each, and the infantry contained two types of sol-
last part of the Old Kingdom and the First Intermediate diers, the veterans and the conscripts of the campaign.
Period, the Nubians had built a relatively strong state in The kings had their own elite corps, serving as body-
the area. SENWOSRET III completed the pacification of guards and special shock troops. There were alien merce-
Kush and established the southern borders of Egypt as far nary units in the army in this period as well. Some, like
south as Semna and URONARTI. the SHERDEN PIRATES, were pressed into service after cap-
ture, and others, like the Libyans and Nubians, were
The military gear of the Middle Kingdom was much long-established units of mercenaries. A definite officer
the same as that of the Old Kingdom, although troops corps existed, with the lowest grade commanding 50 men
now carried axes and copper blades, bound to wooden and the highest, led by the “standard-bearers,” in charge
hafts with leather thongs. A long bronze spear became of as many as 250 men. The troop commander was in
popular, and the soldiers wore leather shirts and kilts. charge of several brigades or commanded entire
fortresses. Above this level were the various administra-
THE SECOND tive officer staffs. In many instances the princes of Egypt
INTERMEDIATE PERIOD led units into action, as in the case of two of Ramesses II’s
sons, who went to war in Nubia while still lads.
There was warfare throughout much of Egypt during the
period following the collapse of the Middle Kingdom in Pack animals were used for the various supplies, but
1640 B.C.E. Asiatics began to consolidate their holdings, boats were important in this period as well. A great naval
after having penetrated Egypt and established their own station was located at PERU-NEFER, near Memphis. AMEN-
domains. The HYKSOS, as these Asiatics were called, intro- HOTEP II, the son of TUTHMOSIS III (r. 1479–1425 B.C.E.),
duced horses into the Nile Valley, using the animals to commanded that depot and a shipbuilding site while still
pull chariots and to carry loads. The horses of that era a prince. Ox-drawn carts were also used in the field.
were not actually heavy enough to carry the weight of a
man for long distances, something that the Egyptians The pharaohs of the New Kingdom started with the
remedied rather quickly. war against the Hyksos and continued campaigns
throughout that period. ’Ahmose’s successor, AMENHOTEP
After a brief period of tolerance, the Thebans began I, maintained the military structures, but it was TUTHMO-
to assault the southern outposts of the Hyksos, as Seke- SIS I (r. 1504–1492 B.C.E.) who took the armies of Egypt
nenre’-TA’O II (r. c. 1560 B.C.E.) began a full-scale war to to the Euphrates River and began the empire. His grand-
oust the aliens from the Nile. When he died, his son son, Tuthmosis III, fought at AR-MEGIDDO and then con-
KAMOSE took the field in his place. Under his command ducted 20 more campaigns in order to put down
the Egyptians fielded cavalry units, having lightened the rebellions among the occupied or vassal states of the
Hyksos chariot and also having trained special units for Mediterranean region. Tuthmosis III also took hostages
such tactics. He also commanded an unusual fighting from the royal families of conquered states and cities and
force, called the MEDJAY, a group of Nubians who had trained them in Egypt so that they were ready to rule in
allied themselves with Egypt’s cause. The Medjay served their own time as allies.
as scouts for the main units and then as light infantry.
Kamose used the LIBYAN DESERT oases as effective hiding In NUBIA, meanwhile, tribes had risen again, and
places in his assaults on the Hyksos, and he was within ’Ahmose I and his successors had to campaign there.
striking distance of AVARIS, the Hyksos capital, when he Under Tuthmosis I the Egyptian fleet made its way south
died or was slain in battle. and established a fort at Tombos, which enabled the
Egyptians to assault the regions easily. Tuthmosis I went
THE NEW KINGDOM as far as the fourth cataract. When he withdrew to Egypt,
the body of the king of the warring tribe hung upside
’AHMOSE (r. 1550–1525 B.C.E.), his younger brother, took down on the prow of his ship. The interest in Nubia was
up the cause and surrounded Avaris, using both land and mostly economic, and Egypt did little to respect the ways
sea forces. The Hyksos were forced to withdraw from of the Nubians.
Egypt, and the New Kingdom began. Egypt’s army was no
longer a confederation of nome levies but a first-class HOREMHAB, the last ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty
military force. The ruler was the commander in chief, but (1319–1307 B.C.E.) was a trained military commander. He
the vizier and another administrative series of units han- conducted campaigns to maintain the empire, which had
dled the logistical and reserve affairs. Apparently the diminished during the ’AMARNA Period and with the fall
senior officers of the army could debate campaign events of the MITANNIS, Egypt’s allies. Before he died he placed
with the ruler while on tours, and others were consulted RAMESSES I on the throne, a military comrade in arms, and
for their experience. the Ramessids began their military exploits.

The army was organized into divisions in the New The Ramessids, experts in campaigns and enthusias-
Kingdom, both chariot forces and infantry. Each division tic about the empire, warred constantly to maintain a bal-
numbered approximately 5,000 men. These divisions car- ance of power. They faced the mighty HITTITES, and in the
ried the names of the principal deities of the nation.
When Egypt was not at war, the army served as a reserve
force, stationed in both Upper and Lower Egypt.

Tuthmosis III was one of the greatest warrior kings of Egypt; he military 247
expanded the empire founded by his grandfather, Tuthmosis I,
until it stretched from modern Sudan to the Euphrates (1070–945 B.C.E.) were confined to the efforts of the
River. (Hulton Archive.) crown and the high priests of Amun, working together, to
put down the rebellions taking place in Upper Egypt.
battle of KADESH both the Egyptians and Hittites escaped These Amunite priests resided at el HIBA, a fortified site.
disaster narrowly. An alliance was the result of the con- The rise of the Twenty-second Dynasty (945–712 B.C.E.),
flict, which divided lands between them. The great mili- founded by SHOSHENQ I, a Libyan, started new military
tary leader of Egypt in this period was RAMESSES II expansion, especially in Canaan and Palestine. The
(1290–1224 B.C.E.). His son, MERENPTAH, had to fight the Twenty-third Dynasty (c. 828–712 B.C.E.) was a period of
SEA PEOPLES and the Libyans, and conducted his cam- small city-states, with no national military agenda. The
paigns with cunning and fervor. The last great warrior Twenty-fourth Dynasty (745–712 B.C.E.) at Sais was
pharaoh of this era was RAMESSES III (1194–1163 B.C.E.), equally inactive, eventually attacked by the Twenty-fifth
who maintained Egypt’s military prowess, which gave Dynasty (770–712 B.C.E.) of Nubia, modern Sudan.
way eventually to dynastic weakness and the avarice of PIANKHI (1) (r. 750–712 B.C.E.), the son of KASHTA, the
the priests of AMUN, which brought an end to the New dynastic founder, ruled in Thebes and Nubia and north-
Kingdom. ward, gaining control of Egypt by 712 B.C.E.

In the Twenty-fifth Dynasty (712–657 B.C.E.), the Assyri-
The military activities of Egypt after the fall of the New ans invaded Egypt, destroying the reign of TAHARQA
Kingdom and the rise of the Twenty-first Dynasty (690–664 B.C.E.). The Twenty-sixth Dynasty (664–525
B.C.E.) fostered Hellenic alliances and conducted revolts
within the ranks of vassal states.

Egypt also conducted campaigns in Palestine, Nubia,
and Syria. APRIES (r. 589–570 B.C.E.) involved Egypt in a
Libyan war as well, and he lost his throne and his life as a
result. His royal line was destroyed by the Persian inva-
sion led by CAMBYSES (r. 525–522 B.C.E.) and the found-
ing of the Twenty-seventh Dynasty (525–404 B.C.E.).

AMYRTAIOS (r. 404–393 B.C.E.) led a revolt and insti-
tuted the Twenty-eighth Dynasty, but the line ended at
his death. The Twenty-ninth Dynasty (393–380 B.C.E.)
found itself involved in affairs of the entire region, and
Greek mercenaries fought Egypt. Usurpation was another
source of conflict in this period, and HAKORIS fought bat-
tles on the side of the Greeks in their battles against the
Persians. NECTANEBO I, who founded the Thirtieth
Dynasty (380–343 B.C.E.), put the successors of Hakoris

The Second Persian Period (343–332 B.C.E.) brought
the Thirty-first Dynasty to Egypt, but the Persians ruled
through satraps, who had to put down rebellions. The
Persians ended with DARIUS III CODOMAN, who was
defeated by ALEXANDER III THE GREAT (332–323 B.C.E.).


At the death of Alexander the Great, PTOLEMY I SOTER (r.
304–284 B.C.E.) declared himself the ruler of Egypt and
engaged the Nile Valley’s armies in a series of campaigns.
His successors fought among themselves and involved
Egypt in Hellenic military campaigns. The Seleucids also
attacked Egypt until the powerful Romans began to adopt
a protective stance concerning the Ptolemaic reigns.
Defeating CLEOPATRA VII in 30 B.C.E., AUGUSTUS (Octa-
vian) made Egypt a part of the Roman Empire.

Suggested Readings: Carman, John, and Anthony Hard-
ing, eds. Ancient Warfare: Archaeological Perspectives.

248 Min THEBES was designed as a single rectangular chamber with
a statue niche.
London: Sutton Publishing, 2000; Ferrill, Arthur. The
Origins of War: From the Stone Age to Alexander the Great Mirgissa A site near the second cataract of the Nile, in
(History & Warfare). Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, NUBIA (modern Sudan), this was the largest of a series of
1997; Hasel, Michael. Domination and Resistance: Egyptian fortified stations erected by SENWOSRET III (r. 1878–1841
Military Activity in the Southern Levant, Ca. 1300–1185 B.C.E.) to protect Egyptian TRADE and to control traffic on
B.C. Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 1998; Kern, Paul the river. Troops were garrisoned at the site, and storage
Bentley. Ancient Siege Warfare. Bloomington: Indiana Uni- chambers were available for trade goods in transit.
versity Press, 1999; Shaw, Ian. Egyptian Warfare and
Weapons. London: Shire Publications, 1999. Mitannis A powerful people who spoke the Hurrian
language and invaded Mesopotamia and Syria, they
Min (1) (Menu, Amsi, Khem) An Egyptian fertility emerged as a unified state during the Middle Kingdom
god, Min was depicted in the ithyphallic form and served (2040–1640 B.C.E.) or earlier, ruled by an Indo-Aryan
as the patron of desert travels and guardian of harvests. royal line of kings. The Mitanni capital was Washukania
He was worshiped in AKHMIN and KOPTOS from the earli- or Washukanni, believed to be the modern Tell al-
est eras. Min was then the patron of hunters and nomads. Fakhiriyeh in northern Syria. Coming from the Caspian
Sea originally, the Mitanni had Indo-European connec-
The god was normally shown as a man with an erect tions and worshiped Indian deities. During their imperial
penis, wearing a plumed crown with a streamer. In some period, they ruled from Assyria to the Levant.
eras his statues resembled mummies. Originally such
statues were painted blue-black, symbolizing divinity, and The rise of the militaristic Eighteenth Dynasty
Min had a human head or a hawk’s head. He held his (1550–1307 B.C.E.) brought Egypt into conflict with the
phallus in his left hand. In that pose he was called “the Mitannis, who were expanding their own imperial
God of the Lifted Hand.” domain. This expansion aided TUTHMOSIS I (r. 1504–1492
B.C.E.) and TUTHMOSIS III (r. 1479–1425 B.C.E.) in their
The ancient deity of Koptos, a god called A’ahes or successful campaigns, and the Mitannis suffered defeats
Rahes, was absorbed by the cult of Min early on. The at the hands of the Egyptians at Aleppo and CARCHEMISH.
temples of Min were round in design. LETTUCE was his AMENHOTEP II (r. 1427–1401 B.C.E.) led an army into
symbol, and his festivals were joyous occasions. In time, Mitanni domains, capturing KADESH on the Orontes River.
Min was worshiped as Min-Horus. The PALERMO STONE TUTHMOSIS IV (r. 1401–1391 B.C.E.) asked ARTATAMA, the
gives an account of Min, and there were three colossal Mitanni king, for his daughter, to seal an alliance
statues of the deity at Koptos. He was depicted on a bowl between the two states. Tuthmosis IV had to make this
of KHA’SEKHEMWY, dating to c. 2650 B.C.E. In some eras he request seven times before the Mitanni princess arrived
was called Min-Isis-Horus. on the Nile. The Assyrians captured the Mitanni capital
in the reign of the Assyrian king Adad-nirari (1305–1274
Min (2) (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Priestly official of the B.C.E.), and made the state a vassal. Shalmanesser I
Eighteenth Dynasty (1273–1244 B.C.E.) annexed the Mitanni lands, ending
Min served TUTHMOSIS III (r. 1479–1425 B.C.E.) as the the empire. Egypt’s alliance with the Mitannis would
mayor of THINIS and overseer of the priests of ANHUR. His prove costly in time, as Tuthmosis IV’s preference for the
most important position, however, was as archery Mitannis over the rising HITTITES would spark political
instructor for AMENHOTEP II, Tuthmosis III’s son and heir. and military problems for the Ramessids of the Nine-
A veteran of military campaigns, Min supervised the teenth Dynasty (1307–1196 B.C.E.).
prince’s military training and served as well as treasurer
of Lower Egypt and judge. He was buried with honors in Mit Rahinah A temple site of the god PTAH, located
THEBES. near MEMPHIS, the shrine is half covered with water at the
present time. A temple of Ptah dominated the site and
Minkhaf (fl. 26th century B.C.E.) Prince of the Fourth contained an elaborate shrine and colossal statues of
Dynasty RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.). Stone blocks from the
A son of KHUFU (Cheops; r. 2551–2528 B.C.E.), Minkhaf Old Kingdom (2575–2134 B.C.E.) and New Kingdom
assumed powerful court roles, as this dynasty maintained (1550–1070 B.C.E.) were salvaged from an older shrine.
a firm grip on the various government agencies, not shar- Ramesses II also erected a pylon in the western part of
ing the offices with outsiders. He was not the heir to the the temple and northern and southern gates.
A smaller temple at MIT RAHINAH included an
Min-Nakhte (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Agricultural offi- embalming house of APIS, erected by SHOSHENQ I (r.
cial of the Eighteenth Dynasty 945–924 B.C.E.), with chapels added by SHABAKA (r.
Min-Nakhte served TUTHMOSIS III (r. 1479–1425 B.C.E.) as
the inspector of granaries for the throne. His tomb near

712–698 B.C.E.) and AMASIS (r. 570–526 B.C.E.). This com- months 249
plex is west of the remains of an earlier temple dating to
the reign of TUTHMOSIS IV (1401–1391 B.C.E.). At nearby of the area. MERENPTAH (r. 1224–1214 B.C.E.) buried a
Kom el-Rabi’a is a temple to HATHOR erected by Ramesses Mnevis bull during his reign, building a limestone sar-
II and a temple to Ptah from the reign of MERENPTAH cophagus for the internment. The various reliefs and
(1224–1214 B.C.E.). This has a palace compound as well. sacred paintings portrayed the Mnevis bull with a sun
Tombs from the First Intermediate Period (2134–2040 disk and the uraeus on its horns. Mnevis was associated
B.C.E.) and the Middle Kingdom (2040–1640 B.C.E.) are at with OSIRIS in some historical periods and remained pop-
Mit Rahinah. There are also priest tombs nearby, built ular throughout the Late Period (712–332 B.C.E.).
during the Twenty-second Dynasty (945–712 B.C.E.).
Moalla, el- This is a necropolis south of THEBES, dating
Mitry (fl. 24th century B.C.E.) High-ranking legal official to the First Intermediate Period (2134–2040 B.C.E.). Two
of the Fifth Dynasty (2465–2323 B.C.E. of the tombs at el-Moalla are famous for their decorations
He served in the early periods of that royal line as a and paintings. These are the tombs of ANKHTIFY and
provincial administrator of royal territories. Mitry was SOBEKHOTEP. El-Moalla was a necropolis serving the area
also one of “the MAGNATES OF THE SOUTHERN TEN,” a known as TOD. The Egyptians called it Hefat.
high-ranking position as counselor and judge. His tomb
in SAQQARA contained 11 wooden statues, extremely rare Moeris, Lake A vast water deposit in the FAIYUM
in ancient Egypt, life-sized portraits of the official and his region of Egypt, now represented by Birkat Qarun. Dur-
wife. ing the Predynastic Period (before 3000 B.C.E.), the lake
stood about 120 feet above sea level. The lake rose and
Mi-wer This is a site near modern KOM MEDINET GHUROB sank periodically, and during the Middle Kingdom
in the FAIYUM region that served as a royal retirement estate (2040–1640 B.C.E.) efforts were made to halt the silting of
for elderly or indisposed queens of the Eighteenth the channel that connected Lake Moeris to the Nile.
(1550–1307 B.C.E.), Nineteenth (1307–1196 B.C.E.), and Refurbished, the lake served as a flood route and as a
Twentieth (1196–1070 B.C.E.) Dynasties. The complex at reservoir. The area around the reduced Lake Moeris
Mi-wer was started by TUTHMOSIS III (r. 1479–1425 B.C.E.) became popular in the Ptolemaic Period (304–30 B.C.E.).
and was a vast estate with royal residences and educational
institutions. RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.) used Mi-wer Mokattem This was a site near modern Cairo used in
during his reign, and Queen NEFERTARI Merymut report- many periods of Egyptian history as a source of fine qual-
edly retired there after attending the dedication of her tem- ity limestone. DJOSER (r. 2630–2611 B.C.E.) used the
ple at ABU SIMBEL. The complex did not survive the end of QUARRY for the construction of the STEP PYRAMID in
the New Kingdom in 1070 B.C.E. SAQQARA. Other pharaohs employed Mokattem’s limestone
in several eras.
Mnevis A deity of Egypt, originally called Mer-wer or
Nem-ur, “the Living Sun God,” Mnevis was associated See also EGYPTIAN NATURAL RESOURCES.
with RÉ, and called “the Soul of Ré.” Mnevis was symbol-
ized in rituals by a bull that was worshiped at HELIOPOLIS. Momemphis A site in the Delta, probably at one time
This BULL was second in rank to APIS and was considered located near Terana on the Canopic branch of the Nile,
a true oracle. The mother cow giving birth to a Mnevis Momemphis was the scene of a battle between AMASIS (r.
bull, which had to be entirely black and had to have tufts 570–526 B.C.E.) and APRIES (r. 589–570 B.C.E.) for the
of hair on its body and tail, was believed to have been throne of Egypt. Apries had been removed from power by
transformed into Hesat, a cow goddess. The Mnevis bull the mutiny of his Egyptian troops. He fled from the Nile
was so popular as part of the solar cult of Ré-Atum that and returned with Greek mercenaries who did not sup-
AKHENATEN (r. 1353–1335 B.C.E.) declared that such ani- port him with enthusiasm. Apries lost the battle and was
mals should be buried at ’AMARNA (Akhetaten), his capi- taken prisoner. He was given to the Egyptian soldiers,
tal. who killed him.

Most Mnevis bulls were interred in Heliopolis, in a mongoose See ICHNEUMON.
necropolis under the modern site of Cairo’s Arab el-Tawil.
A stela of Prince ’Ahmose, believed to be the princely son months They were the ancient Egyptian periods of 30
of AMENHOTEP II (r. 1427–1401 B.C.E.), was discovered days each, incorporated into the calendar by the priests
there. RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.) began the custom of early historical periods. The months were part of three
of erecting stone structures over rectangular pits, and seasons and are as follows:
each bull was buried in a large chamber decorated with
reliefs. The pits were necessary because of the flat terrain Season of akhet—the inundation—winter

250 Montu the throne. Montuhirkhopshef was buried in the reign of
RAMESSES X in a beautiful tomb containing his portraits.
Khoiak Montuhotep (fl. 20th century B.C.E.) Military official of
the Twelfth Dynasty
Season of proyet or peret—the sowing—spring Serving SENWOSRET I (r. 1971–1926 B.C.E.) as a general of
Tybi (or Tobe) the armies, Montuhotep led the Egyptian forces into
Mekhir NUBIA (modern Sudan), and there he erected a stela at
Pnamenoth WADI HALFA to commemorate the expedition. It is
Parmuthi believed that Montuhotep penetrated deeply into the
area, seeking auspicious sites for forts and garrisoned
Season of shemu or shomu—the harvest—summer TRADE centers and for stations in which the Egyptians
Pakhons could control Nubian traffic on the Nile. The next
Paoni dynasty would promote the trade efforts of Montuhotep.
Mesore Montuhotep I (d. c. 2134 B.C.E.) Ruler of Thebes of the
Eleventh Dynasty
The use of only 30 days in each month caused a He ruled Thebes from an unknown date until his death,
gradual alteration between the true rotation of the earth in the era before Upper and Lower Egypt were unified.
and the seasons based on lunar calculation. The Egyp- Montuhotep I was listed on tomb fragments found in
tians attempted to remedy that situation by adding GEBELEIN and is recorded in the TURIN CANON. His con-
EPAGOMENAL DAYS at the end of the year. sort was SIT-SHERYET, probably the mother of the heir, INY-
OTEF I (r. 2134–2118 B.C.E.), and documents from the
Montu (Mont) He was a war deity dating to the Mid- period depict him as “the Son of HATHOR,” the slayer of
dle Kingdom (2040–1640 B.C.E.). The pharaohs of the Nubians, Asiatics, and Libyans. Montuhotep, as the heir
Eleventh Dynasty (2040–1991 B.C.E.) were particularly of a Theban nomarchy, proclaimed pharaonic powers for
dedicated to this god. Montu originated in THEBES and himself and his line and established the patterns for
had two consorts, Tjenenyet and Ra’ttawy. He was nor- reunification of Egypt, under MONTUHOTEP II.
mally depicted as a man with a hawk’s head, adorned
with plumes and a sun disk. The BUCHIS bulls were wor- Montuhotep II (Nebhepetré) (d. 2010 B.C.E.) Fourth
shiped as theophanies of Montu. In the New Kingdom ruler of the Eleventh Dynasty and the unifier of Upper and
(1550–1070 B.C.E.), Montu was associated with the god Lower Egypt
RÉ and was addressed as Montu-Ré. The deity was origi- Montuhotep was the son of INYOTEF III and Queen AOH,
nally part of the cult of HORUS at Thebes. also called Yah. Assuming power in THEBES in 2061 B.C.E.,
he began the process of restoring Egypt after the chaotic
Montuhirkhopshef (1) (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Royal First Intermediate Period (2134–2040 B.C.E.) and
official of the Eighteenth Dynasty famous for his tomb attacked the KHETY rulers and their allies. In 2040 B.C.E.,
He served TUTHMOSIS III (r. 1479–1425 B.C.E.) and was a Montuhotep II’s armies took the cities of ASSIUT and HIER-
noble with ranks and titles. He was also related to the AKONPOLIS, putting an end to the Ninth and Tenth Dynas-
royal family. Montuhirkhopshef’s tomb is famous at ties and the First Intermediate Period.
Thebes. The site contains a relief depicting the mortuary
object called a TEKENU. He even led a force to DAKHLA Oasis in the LIBYAN
DESERT to slay enemies seeking sanctuary there. This vic-
Montuhirkhopshef (2) (fl. 12th century B.C.E.) Prince tory not only established the Eleventh Dynasty from
of the Twentieth Dynasty Thebes as the rulers of a united Egypt but also ushered in
He was the son of RAMESSES III (r. 1194–1163 B.C.E.) but the Middle Kingdom (2040–1640 B.C.E.). Montuhotep
not the heir to the throne. His wife was probably TAKHAT consolidated Egypt’s borders, fought the Libyans who had
(2), who was buried in the tomb of AMENMESSES. Mon- infiltrated the Delta, and campaigned against the Asiatics
tuhirkhopshef may have been the father of RAMESSES IX (r. in the SINAI.
1131–1112 B.C.E.). He was buried in Thebes, and his
tomb in the VALLEY OF THE QUEENS depicts him making He is also recorded as having conducted expeditions
offerings. in NUBIA (modern sudan), where he levied tributes and
promoted exploration of the area’s natural resources,
Montuhirkhopshef (3) (fl. 12th century B.C.E.) Prince including mines and quarries. Montuhotep II had
of the Twentieth Dynasty Nubians and Libyans in his army, using their expertise
He was the son of RAMESSES IX (r. 1131–1112 B.C.E.) and and knowledge of the terrains involved in the various
probably Queen BAKETWEREL, but he was not the heir to campaigns. His assault on Nubia started at ABU SIMBEL,

and he cleared the Nile of foes all the way to the second mortuary rituals 251
cataract on the Nile. One of his chancellors, Khety, took a
large fleet south to reopen trade as a result of these mili- were destined to share rewards with him in paradise. The
tary actions. Montuhotep II also used the services of BEBI, tomb was robbed during the Second Intermediate Period
DAGI, and Ipy, talented men of the era who served in turn (1640–1550 B.C.E.) but then covered by a landslide,
as his viziers. Montuhotep II built on the ELEPHANTINE which sealed it effectively.
Island, restoring temples there. He then restored and
added to shrines and temples at DEIR EL-BAHRI, DENDEREH, Montuhotep III (S’ankharé) (d. 1998 B.C.E.) Fifth ru-
ELKAB, ABYDOS, el-TOD, and ERMENT (Hermonthis). ler of the Eleventh Dynasty
He reigned from 2010 B.C.E. until his death. Montuhotep
Upon completing the unification of Egypt, Mon- III was the son of MONTUHOTEP II and Queen TEM (2) or
tuhotep II was given the name Sank-ib-tawy, “He- possibly NEFERU (1). He ascended the throne at an
who-Makes-the-Heart-of-the-Two-Lands-to-Live.” Admin- advanced age, and he is recorded on the ABYDOS and
istratively, Montuhotep II set about centralizing power by SAQQARA Ruler Lists and in the TURIN CANON. A veteran
receiving the resignations of local governors and NO- of his father’s military campaigns, Montuhotep III rebuilt
MARCHS. He left many of them in place, but they owed fortresses in the eastern Delta and sent an expedition to
their allegiance to him as a result. The defeated enemy PUNT. He also had wells dug along expedition routes and
leaders were pardoned when they supported his rule over reopened the quarries at WADI HAMMAMAT.
the Two Kingdoms.
His mortuary temple was built at DEIR EL-BAHRI, on
He married TEM (2), possibly the mother of MON- the western shore at Thebes, but it was not completed.
TUHOTEP III; HENHENIT, who died in childbirth; and a Montuhotep also erected a temple to the god THOTH on a
group of lesser wives or concubines, including NEFERU hill overlooking the Nile. The letters of an official named
(1), KHEMSIT, KAWIT (2), SADEH, AMUNET, NUBKHAS (1), Hekanakhte, a mortuary priest in Thebes, provided con-
INHAPI, and ASHAIT. He also had a rather vast harem of siderable information about Montuhotep III’s reign. The
lesser wives and concubines. heir, Montuhotep IV, was born to Queen IMI. Another
consort was Queen AMUNET.
DEIR EL-BAHRI was the site of the mortuary complex
of Montuhotep II, erected on the western shore of the Montuhotep IV (Nebtawyré (d. 1991 B.C.E.) Sixth
Nile at Thebes, his clan home. The funerary temple is ruler of the Eleventh Dynasty
now almost destroyed but was originally designed with He reigned from 1998 B.C.E. until his death. The son of
columned porticoes, terraces, and courtyards, where MONTUHOTEP III and Queen IMI, he initiated expeditions
sycamore and tamarisk trees complemented the statues of to mines and quarries and had an immense sarcophagus
the pharaoh. A sloping passage led to a burial chamber, lid quarried in WADI HAMMAMAT and then sailed down the
made of blocks of sandstone and containing an alabaster Nile to his tomb site. This mortuary monument was
sarcophagus. Montuhotep’s several wives and consorts, as loaded onto a barge and carried north from the quarry
well as members of his court, were buried in Deir el- with the aid of an army of 3,000 workers who were
Bahri. The site included BAB EL-HOSAN, the Gate of the involved in the transportation.
Horse, where a shaft contained boat models.
Montuhotep IV founded a harbor town (KUSER) on
His mortuary temple was designed to mirror the the Red Sea for the shipbuilding operations conducted by
primeval mound and served as a model for later monu- the Egyptians in preparation for journeys to PUNT. Kuser
ments erected on that site. Montuhotep II was buried at would become important to Egypt in the New Kingdom
the end of a long passage. The tomb was vandalized in (1550–1070 B.C.E.) when expeditions to Punt were con-
later periods, and only his skull fragments and a piece of ducted regularly. Montuhotep IV also mined at Wadi el-
his jaw remain. A funerary monument depicting a seated Hudi and elsewhere. AMENEMHET I, Montuhotep’s vizier,
Montuhotep II and six queens was recovered. His sister conducted many of the ongoing royal projects and
Neferu (1), and a five year old child, MUYET, were also usurped the throne.
buried at Deir el-Bahri.
mortuary rituals These were the ceremonies and elab-
Montuhotep II’s army This is a remarkable collection orate processes evolving over the centuries in the burial
of bodies discovered at DEIR EL-BAHRI, on the western of ancient Egyptians. Such rituals and traditions were
shore of the Nile at THEBES, beside the mortuary complex maintained throughout the nation’s history, changing as
of the ruler. Almost 60 Egyptian soldiers were entombed various material and spiritual needs became manifest. In
there in ritual burial. All of them had died of battle the Predynastic Period (before 3000 B.C.E.), the Egyp-
wounds taken during the siege of the city of HIERAKONPO- tians, following the customs of most primitive cultures of
LIS in a battle to unify the nation, and they wore shrouds the area, buried their dead on the fringes of the settle-
marked with the cartouche and seals of Montuhotep II, ment region, in this case the surrounding deserts. This
identifying them as the pharaoh’s comrades-in-arms who custom was maintained for some time in Upper Egypt,

252 mortuary rituals His veneration added moral impetus to the daily lives of
the people, common or noble, because he demanded, as
but in Lower Egypt the people appear to have buried did RÉ and the other deities, conformity to the will of the
their dead under their houses as well. gods, a mirroring of cosmic order, and the practice of
MA’AT, a spirit of quietude and cooperation throughout
Cemeteries in the MA’ADI cultural sequence life. Osiris also served as the god of the dead, thus linking
(3400–3000 B.C.E.) contained human and animal graves. the living to those who had gone before them.
Unborn infant remains were found in graves inside the
settlements. In the Badarian period (4500–4000 B.C.E.), The impact of such philosophical and religious aspi-
the graves were oval or rectangular, roofed, and contained rations was great and lasting. The shallow graves, dug
food offerings—the beginning of mortuary regalias. The under the houses or in the fringe areas of the desert, were
corpses of this period were covered with hides or reed abandoned as a result of the new spiritual approach, and
mats, and some were positioned ritually and dusted with MASTABAS, the tombs made out of dried brick, were
sacred powders. Rectangular stone palettes, used as part devised to provide not only a burial chamber but a place
of the first grave offerings, were placed alongside the bod- for offerings and rituals. Mastabas thus offered not only a
ies, accompanied by ivory and stone objects introduced safe receptacle for the corpse but served as abodes for the
in the Badarian necropolis areas. In the Naqada II sites ka, and the ba, which accompanied it through eternity.
(3500–3000 B.C.E.) there is evidence of definite mortuary The necropolis sites of the Early Dynastic Period
cults, as funerary pottery is evident. The graves were (2920–2575 B.C.E.) were filled with mastabas that had
linked with wooden planks in some instances, plastered upper, ground-level chambers, shafts, and hidden burial
and painted, with niches designed to hold the ritual offer- rooms. The mortuary ritual began to evolve at the same
ings provided at burials. time, and offerings were provided and gifts laid in front
of the deceased each day, especially when the corpse was
The corpses of the Predynastic Periods were nor- of royal status.
mally placed in the graves on their left sides, in a fetal or
sitting position. The religious texts of later eras contin- The desert graves had provided a natural process for
ued to extort the dead to rise from their left sides and to the preservation of the dead, something that the mastabas
turn to the right to receive offerings. The graves were also altered drastically. Corpses placed away from the drying
dug with reference to the Nile, so that the body faced the sands, those stored in artificial graves, were exposed to
West, or AMENTI, the western paradise of OSIRIS. the decaying processes of death. The commoners and the
poor, however, conducted their burials in the traditional
By the time Egypt was unified in c. 3000 B.C.E., the manner on the fringes of the desert and avoided such
people viewed the tomb as the instrument by which damage. The priests of the various religious cults provid-
death could be overcome, not as a mere shelter for cast- ing funerary services and rituals discovered the damage
off mortal remains. The grave thus became a place of that was being done to the corpses and instituted cus-
transfiguration. The A’AKH, the transfigured spiritual toms and processes to alter the decay, solely because the
being, emerged from the corpse as a result of religious ka and the BA could not be deprived of the mortal
ceremonies. The A’akh, the deceased, soared into the remains if the deceased was to prosper in the afterlife.
heavens as circumpolar stars, with the goddess NUT. As RESERVE HEADS (stone likenesses of the deceased) were
the PYRAMID TEXTS declared later: “Spirit to the sky, placed just outside the tombs so that the spiritual entities
corpse into the earth.” All of the dead were incorporated of the deceased could recognize their own graves and
into cosmic realms, and the tombs were no longer shal- return safely, and so that a head of the corpse would be
low graves but the “houses of eternity.” available if the real one was damaged or stolen.

The first dynasties of Egypt became sophisticated The elaborate mastabas erected in SAQQARA and in
about death and the rituals of preparation. The need for a other necropolis sites and the cult of Osiris, the Lord of
receptacle for the KA, the astral being that accompanied the Westerners, brought about new methods of preserva-
the mortal body throughout life, led the Egyptians to tion, and the priests began the long mortuary rituals to
elaborate on burial processes and rituals. They began to safeguard the precious remains. In the early stages the
speak of death as “going to one’s ka.” The dead were bodies were wrapped tightly in resin-soaked linen strips,
“those who have gone to their kas.” Through the interces- which resulted only in the formation of a hardened shell
sion and guidance of these astral beings, the dead were in which the corpses eventually decayed. Such experi-
believed to change from weak mortals into unique ments continued throughout the Early Dynastic Period, a
immortal spiritual beings, exchanging life on earth for time in which the various advances in government, reli-
the perfect existence in paradise. gion, and society were also taking place. Funerary stelae
were also introduced at this time. The tombs of the rulers
The cult of Osiris also began to exert influence on and queens were sometimes surrounded by the graves of
the mortuary rituals and introduced the ideals of contem- servants as well, as courtiers may have been slain to
plating death as a “gateway into eternity.” This deity, hav- accompany them into eternity. Such burials took place in
ing assumed the cultic powers and rituals of older gods of
the necropolis, or cemetery sites, offered human beings to
prospects of salvation, resurrection, and eternal bliss.
Osiris would remain popular throughout Egypt’s history.

the cemeteries around tombs, such as the tomb of mortuary rituals 253
MERNEITH (1), an important woman of the First Dynasty
(2920–2770 B.C.E.). The custom was abandoned rather cal procedures on the corpses being embalmed was
abruptly. reportedly shunned by his fellow priest and embalmers.
He was trained to cut from the left side of the abdomen in
The embalming of the dead, a term taken from the order to expose the cavity there. Puncturing the
Latin word which is translated as “to put into aromatic diaphragm he pulled out all of the internal organs except
resins,” was called ut by the Egyptians. The word mummy the heart, an essential aspect of the embalming process in
is from the Persian, meaning pitch or bitumen, which all ages. The mortuary spells and rituals demanded a
was used in embalming during the New Kingdom union between the heart and the body. Care was taken to
(1550–1070 B.C.E.) and probably earlier. In later eras preserve the heart from injuries and to keep it in its right-
corpses were coated or even filled with molten resin and ful place. When a heart was accidentally moved or dam-
then dipped in bitumen, a natural mixture of solid and aged, the priests stitched it carefully again. Mummies
semisolid hydrocarbons, such as asphalt, normally mixed studied have shown evidence of such surgical care. All of
with drying oil to form a paint-like substance. the other organs in the abdomen (with the exception of
the kidney, which was normally left intact and in place)
In the beginning, however, the processes were differ- were removed. The lungs were placed in a canopic jar
ent. Corpses dating to the Fourth Dynasty, those of protected by HAPI. The stomach was placed in a canopic
QUEENS HETEPHERES (2) and MERYSANKH (3), for example, jar protected by Duamutef, the intestines were given to
show indications of having been embalmed with the old the care of QEBEHSENNUF, and the liver placed in the jar
methods, which were cruder and less extensive. In order assigned to IMSETY. These were the Sons of Horus, the
to accomplish the desired preservation, the early priests designated patrons of the organs of the deceased.
of Egypt turned to a natural resource readily available and
tested in other ways: NATRON, called net-jeryt as it was Each period of ancient Egypt witnessed an alteration
found in the Natron Valley (or WADI NATRUN), near mod- in the various organs preserved. The heart, for example,
ern Cairo. That substance was also called hesinen, after was preserved separately in some eras, and during the
the god of the valley, or heshernen tesher, when used in Ramessid dynasties the genitals were surgically removed
the red form. Natron is a mixture of sodium bicarbonate and placed in a special casket in the shapes of the god
and sodium carbonate or sodium chloride. It absorbs Osiris. This was performed, perhaps, in commemoration
moisture called hygroscopic, and is also antiseptic. The of the god’s loss of his own genitals as a result of the
substance had been used as a cleansing agent from early attacks by the god SET, or as a mystical ceremony.
eras on the Nile and then was used as a steeping sub- Throughout the nation’s history, however, the CANOPIC
stance that preserved corpses. JARS (so named by the Greeks of later eras) were under
the protection of the MESU-HERU, the Four Sons of
The priests washed and purified the bodies and then Horus. These jars and their contents, the organs soaked
began to prepare the head of the corpse. The brain was in resin, were stored near the SARCOPHAGUS in the special
sometimes left intact in the skull but more often, the containers.
priests inserted hooks into the nose, moving them in cir-
cular patterns until the ethmoid bones gave way and The reason that the priests cleansed the abdomens of
allowed an entrance into the central cavity. A narrow rod the corpses so quickly was that decay and putrefaction
with a spoon tip scooped out the brains, which were started there instantly. With the organs removed, the cav-
discarded. ity could be cleansed and purified, handled without
infection, and embalmed with efficiency. The use of
In some eras the brain was surgically removed from natron was involved in the next step of the process. The
the bodies, a rather sophisticated operation because it Greeks reported that the mummies of the ancient eras
involved the atlas vertebrae and entrance through the were soaked in a bath of natron. It has been established,
neck. Once cleared of brain matter, by use of the hook or however, that the liquid form of the crystals would not
by surgical means, the skull was packed with linens, only hinder the drying process but would add to the
spices, and Nile mud. On at least one occasion (as exem- bloating and decay. The bodies were thus buried in
plified by a mummy available for modern forensic mounds of natron in its dry crystal form. When the
research) the head was packed with too much material natron bath had dried the corpse sufficiently, the nails
and was swollen and split apart. The mouth was also were tied on and finger stalls placed on the corpse. The
cleansed and padded with oil-soaked linens, and the face natron bath normally lasted 40 days or more, producing a
was covered with a resinous paste. The eyes were some- darkened, withered corpse. The temporary padding in the
times filled with objects to maintain their shape and then cavities was removed and stored in containers for use in
covered with linen, one pad on each eyeball, and the lids the afterlife.
closed over them. The corpse was then ready for the
“Ethiopian Stone,” a blade made out of obsidian. The corpse was washed, purified, and dried, and
then wads or pads of linen, packages of natron or saw-
Peculiarly enough, the mortuary priest who used the dust, were used to fill the various empty portions of the
blade called the “Ethiopian Stone” and performed surgi- remains. Aromatic resins were also used to make the

254 mortuary rituals placed on the mummies last. The mask, called a CARTON-
NAGE, developed from earlier periods. Linen sheets were
Mummy wigs, the human hair adornment found on Egyptian glued together with resins or gum to shape masks to the
mummified remains, used by men and women and changing contours of the heads of the corpses, then covered in
in style in the various historical eras. (Hulton Archive.) stucco. These masks fitted the heads and shoulders of the
deceased. Gilded and painted in an attempt to achieve a
corpse fragrant. The outer skin of the mummy, hardened portrait, or at least a flattering depiction of the human
by the natron, was massaged with milk, honey, and vari- being, the masks slowly evolved into a coffin for the
ous ointments. The embalming incision made in the entire body. The entire process took from 70 to 90 days,
abdomen was closed and sealed with magical emblems although one queen of the Old Kingdom was recorded as
and molten resin. The ears, nostrils, eyes, and mouth of having been treated for 272 days. When it was ended, the
the deceased were plugged with various wads of linen, body was placed within its coffin, and the funerary rituals
and in the case of royal corpses the tongue was covered could begin.
with gold. The eyes were pushed back with pads and
closed, and the body was covered with molten resin. The funeral processions started from the valley tem-
ple of the ruler or from the embalming establishment
The cosmetic preparations that were part of the final early in the morning. Professional mourners, called KITES,
stages of embalming included the application of gold leaf, were hired by the members of the deceased’s family to
the painting of the face, and the restoration of the eye- wear the color of sorrow, blue-gray, and to appear with
brows. Wigs were placed on some corpses, and they were their faces daubed with dust and mud, signs of mourn-
dressed in their robes of state and given their emblems of ing. These professional women wailed loudly and pulled
divine kingship. In some periods the bodies were painted, their hair to demonstrate the tragic sense of loss that the
the priests using red ochre for male corpses and yellow death of the person being honored caused to the nation.
for the women. Jewels and costly AMULETS were also Servants of the deceased or poor relatives who owed the
placed on the arms and legs of the mummies. deceased respect headed the funeral procession. They car-
ried flowers and trays of offerings, normally flowers and
The actual wrapping of the mummy in linen (called foods. Others brought clothes, furniture, and the per-
“yesterday’s linen” in the case of the poor, who could sonal items of the deceased, while the SHABTIS and funer-
only provide the embalmers with used cloth), took more ary equipment were carried at the rear. The shabtis were
than two weeks. This was an important aspect of the small statues in the image of the deceased placed in the
mortuary process, accompanied by incantations, hymns, tomb to answer the commands of the gods for various
and ritual ceremonies. In some instances the linens taken work details or services. With these statues available, the
from shrines and temples were provided to the wealthy or deceased could rest in peace.
aristocratic deceased, in the belief that such materials had
special graces and magical powers. An individual Boxes of linens and the clothes of the deceased were
mummy would require approximately 445 square yards also carried to the tomb, along with the canopic jars,
of material. military weapons, writing implements, papyri, etc. The
TEKENU was also carried in procession. This was a bundle
Throughout the wrappings semiprecious stones and designed to resemble a human form. Covered by animal
amulets were placed in strategic positions, each one guar- skins and dragged on a sled to the place of sacrifice, the
anteed to protect a certain region of the human anatomy tekenu and the animals bringing it to the scene were ritu-
in the afterlife. The linen bandages on the outside of the ally slain. The tekenu would have symbolized the actual
mummy in later eras were often red in color. Later eras courtiers and servants sacrificed in the mortuary rituals
provided royal bodies with glass net coverings or beaded of the Early Dynastic Periods royal clans. The sem, or
blankets. The mummy mask and the royal collars were mortuary priests, followed next, dressed in a panther or
leopard skin and wearing the traditional white linen robe
of his calling. The sem priest would be accompanied by a
retinue of other priests, such as the ka priests and oth-
ers, the actual embalmers. The coffin and the mummy
arrived on a boat, designed to be placed on a sled and
carried across the terrain. When the coffin was to be
sailed across the Nile to the necropolis sites of the west-
ern shore, two women mounted on either side. They and
the kites imitated the goddesses ISIS and NEPHTHYS, who
mourned the death of Osiris and sang the original

The family and friends of the deceased, an entire
populace if the mummy was that of a ruler or queen,

followed on land or on separate barges across the mortuary rituals 255
river. The hearse boat used for the crossing had a shrine
cabin adorned with flowers and with the palm symbols ilies or clans of priests conducted such services, particu-
of resurrection. During the crossing the sem priest larly in the pyramidal complexes of the rulers. Such pyra-
incensed the corpse and the females accompanying it. mid rituals were paid by the state, as part of the royal
The professional mourners sometimes rode on top of the cult. Mortuary offerings were brought every day. These
cabin as well, loudly proclaiming their grief to the gifts were listed first in the LIST OF OFFERINGS, started in
neighborhood. the Old Kingdom, and evolved into the LITURGY OF THE
The procession landed on the opposite shore of the
Nile and walked through the desert region to the site, In return, the priests performing these rites were
where the sem priest directed the removal of the coffin so given estates, ranks, and honors that could not be turned
that it could be stood at its own tomb entrance for the rit- over to other priests, except in the case of a son inherit-
uals. In later eras a statue of the deceased was used in its ing his father’s priestly rank and position. A legal system
place. A ka statue was often used in the same ceremony, emerged from these contracts, which protected the
an image of the deceased with upraised arms extending deceased against rivalry or disputes among the priests
from the head. The priest touched the mouth of the endowed to perform perpetual offerings. If a mortuary
statue or the coffin and supervised the cutting off of a leg priest sued another for more rights or properties, he lost
of an ox, to be offered to the deceased as food. All the every rank and honor that he possessed. If a particular
while the MUU DANCERS, persons who greeted the corpse priest stopped the mortuary services that had been
at the tomb, performed with harpists, the hery-heb requested and paid for, his order instantly assumed all of
priests, and ka priests, while incensing ceremonies were his benefits and material goods.
A symbol of the contracts made by the mortuary
The mummy was then placed in a series of larger priests and the deceased were the TOMB BALLS, discovered
coffins and into the sarcophagus, which waited in the in ancient Egyptian burial chambers. Such balls, made or
burial chamber inside. The sarcophagus was sealed, the bits of papyrus and linen, were marked with the hiero-
canopic jars put carefully away, and the doors closed with glyph for “seal” or “contract.” They are believed to be
fresh cement. Stones were sometimes put into place, and symbols of the contracts drawn up between the priests
seals were impressed as a final protection. A festival fol- and the family of the deceased or the person himself.
lowed this final closing of the tomb. They were deposited by the priests as tokens of good
faith, binding their agreements by placing them before
These rituals did not apply to all Egyptian burials. the ka of the dead.
The poor conducted similar ceremonies on the desert
fringes, sometimes using cliff sites for tombs. Another The daily mortuary liturgies that were performed
custom that originated in the Early Dynastic Period and each morning by the priests, in keeping with their con-
remained popular throughout Egypt’s history was the tracts, involved a greeting of the deceased. The mummy,
burial at ABYDOS, the city of the god of the dead, Osiris. or in most cases a statue, was placed on a small stand.
Burial in Abydos assumed such importance, in fact, that The Opening of the Mouth ceremony was then per-
various rulers had to designate certain areas of the city’s formed. This involved touching the lips of the deceased
necropolis as reserved and had to limit the number of with a special instrument designed to emit magical prop-
interments allowed on the various sites. erties, the UR-HEKA. The statue was then purified and
given gifts of food and adornments. The Liturgy of the
Once the body was entombed, the mortuary rituals Offerings contained more than 114 separate ceremonies.
did not end. The royal cults were conducted every day, The purpose of the ritual was to change meat, bread, and
and those who could afford the services of mortuary wine into divine, spiritual substances for the deceased
priests were provided with ceremonies on a daily basis. and the gods. This transmutation of offerings was docu-
The poor managed to conduct ceremonies on their own, mented in tombs as far back as the Fifth Dynasty
this being part of the filial piety that was the ideal of the (2465–2323 B.C.E.). It was also believed that the ritual
nation. A daily recitation of prayers and commemorations could revitalize the senses and the various organs of the
was based on the Egyptian belief that any nameless crea- deceased. All was based on the resurrection of Osiris and
tures, unknown to the gods or people, ceased to exist at on the basic creed that no human life was obliterated at
all. Thus the name of the deceased had to be invoked on the moment of death but transformed into shapes that
a daily basis in order for that person to be sustained even accommodated the eternal environment. The ritual of
in eternity. mortuary sacrifice followed, as food and drink were
offered to the deceased. This followed the custom of the
Documents dating to the Middle Kingdom (2040– early eras, when the ruler was obliged to present such an
1640 B.C.E.) indicate that members of the royal family offering for each citizen.
and the nome aristocrats endowed mortuary priests for
rituals to be conducted on a perpetual basis at their The mortuary rituals thus embraced all aspects of
tombs, providing stipends and expense funds. Entire fam- death among the Egyptian people. The preparation for
the tomb, in keeping with spiritual aspirations and

256 mortuary temples The golden mortuary mask of King Tut’ankhamun. (Hulton
religious doctrines, provided each Egyptian with the nec-
essary physical properties to ensure eternal bliss. The Mound of the Pharaohs This is the modern name for
funerary rituals were conducted with great dignity and the ruins of the ancient city of BUTO, called Tell el-Fara’un
earnestness, in order to deliver the corpse to the ap- in Arabic. This site had profound connections with the
pointed site, where transformations could take place. The first eras of dynastic Egypt.
mortuary ceremonies secured for the Egyptians a guaran-
tee that they would not be forgotten. mummies See MORTUARY RITUALS.

Suggested Readings: David, Rosalie, and Rick Archbold. mummy caches The deposits of royal and court mum-
Conversations With Mummies: New Light on the Lives of mies discovered in 1881 and 1898, and the deposit of
Ancient Egyptians. New York: HarperCollins, 2000; priestly remains found in 1830, 1858, and 1891, these
Hodel-Hoenes, Sigrid, and David Warburton, transl. mummies, rewrapped and reburied because of vandalism
Life and Death in Ancient Egypt: Scenes from Private and tomb robberies, were placed in secure sites in the
Tombs in New Kingdom Thebes. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Twenty-first Dynasty (1070–945 B.C.E.) or in later eras.
Univ. Press, 2000; Hornung, Erik, and David Lorton, The high priests of AMUN in THEBES undertook this task
transl. The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife. Ithaca, out of piety and respect for the pharaonic ancestors of
N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press, 1999; Perl, Lila, and Erika Egypt.
Weihs. Mummies, Tombs, and Treasure: Secrets of Ancient
Egypt. New York: Clarion, 1990; Taylor, John H. Death The mummies discovered in a tomb in DEIR EL-BAHRI,
and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt. Chicago: Univ. of on the western shore of Thebes in 1881, possibly were
Chicago Press, 2001; Thomas, Thelma K. Late Antique originally stored in the tomb of Queen ’AHMOSE-IN-HAPI
Egyptian Funerary Sculpture. Princeton: Princeton Univ. or Queen IPUT, an unknown Middle Kingdom queen.
Press, 1999. They were some of the greatest pharaohs of Egyptian his-
tory. An inscription declares that they were reburied there
mortuary temples Religious structures used in pyra- in “the twentieth day of the fourth day of winter in the
mid and tomb complexes as part of the royal cults, these tenth year of PINUDJEM (1), the High Priest of AMUN.”
temples were not made for the mummified remains of the
deceased pharaohs but for the daily rituals of the royal
funerary cultic ceremonies. By the era of the Third
Dynasty (2649–2575 B.C.E.), the mortuary temple was
joined to the tombs. These cultic shrines were linked to
the pyramids and then to the VALLEY TEMPLES by cause-

AMENHOTEP I (r. 1525–1504 B.C.E.) of the Eighteenth
Dynasty was the first pharaoh to understand that such
temples drew attention to the royal tomb and promoted
robberies and the vandalism of mummies during the loot-
ing. The custom of erecting mortuary temples at a dis-
tance from the tombs was followed by Amenhotep I’s
successors. Royal mortuary cults, especially those associ-
ated with Amenhotep I and his mother, Queen ’AHMOSE
NEFERTARI, both deified, lasted well into the next dynastic
periods. The mortuary temples of the rulers of the New
Kingdom (1550–1070 B.C.E.) and that of MONTUHOTEP II
(r. 2061–2010 B.C.E.) have been examined by modern
archaeologists and cataloged.

The mortuary temple of KHAFRE (r. 2520–2494
B.C.E.) at GIZA represents the typical architectural design
of these structures. Connected to the pyramid or standing
directly beside the monument, the temple also had a
causeway linking it to the Nile. Two pillared halls led to
an elaborate court of statues. These monuments were
placed in separate chambers. Storerooms, shrines, and a
chapel completed the temple design. A FALSE DOOR, an
offering table, and other ritual materials were discovered
in the chapel.

The cache contained the coffins and mummies of the Mut 257
official Nebseni, ’Ahmose-In-hapi, Duathathor-HENUT-
TAWY, SETI I, TUTHMOSIS I (now in dispute), AMENHOTEP I, I’s reign (1306–1290 B.C.E.), but the major battles and
and TUTHMOSIS II. subsequent treaty would come in the reign of RAMESSES II
(1290–1224 B.C.E.), Seti I’s heir.
Also discovered in the cache were the mummies of
TUTHMOSIS III, RAMESSES II, RAMESSES III, RAMESSES IX, musical instruments Recreational and religious in-
Sekenenre TA’O II, SIAMUN (2) and ’AHMOSE and the struments were integrated into every aspect of Egyptian
remains of Queens ’AHMOSE HETTINEHU, ’AHMOSE MERTA- life. The god Ibi was considered the patron of such
MON, ’AHMOSE NEFERTARI, ’Ahmose Sitkamose, MA’ATKARÉ, instruments, but other deities, such as HATHOR, were
NESKHONS, NODJMET, and TAWERET. The princes and involved in the playing of music in all eras. Hymns and
princesses found in the cache include ’AHMOSE HETEMPET, processional songs were part of all religious rituals, and
’AHMOSE SIPAIR, NESITANEBTISHRU (2), and SITAMUN (1). the Egyptians enjoyed musical groups and bands at festi-
Also discovered were Djedptahaufankh, MASAHARTA, PIN- vals and at celebrations. On certain feasts the queen and
UDJEM I, PINUDJEM II, RAI, and anonymous remains. royal women, accompanied by musicians and dwarfs,
danced and sang to the god and to the ruler.
The cache discovered in the tomb of AMENHOTEP II
in 1898 was accompanied by an inscription that de- In the Old Kingdom (2575–2134 B.C.E.) and proba-
clares that these royal remains were placed there “on the bly in Predynastic Periods, flutes, including the double
sixth day of the fourth month of winter in the twelfth flutes, and clarinet-type instruments were played. Men
year of Pinudjem (1).” The mummies found there played large portable versions of the harp, an instrument
include, TUTHMOSIS IV, AMENHOTEP III, SETI II, MERENPTAH, that evolved into immense and highly decorated pieces.
SIPTAH, RAMESSES V, RAMESSES IV, and RAMESSES VI. The The first harps were held in the hands or on the musi-
mummy of an unknown woman was also discovered in cian’s lap, but later harps were freestanding and weighty.
the cache. She was placed in a coffin bearing the name of Trumpets appeared in the Old Kingdom as well.
Middle Kingdom (2040–1640 B.C.E.) harps were
In TANIS, the mummies of PSUSENNES I, AMENEMOPET, accompanied by the SISTRUM. Rattles, tambourines, clap-
OSORKON I, TAKELOT II, and SHOSHENQ II were found. BAB pers, and a type of guitar were played as well. Cymbals
EL-GUSUS, near DEIR EL-BAHRI, contained the sarcophagi of and castanets remained popular from the Old Kingdom
153 high priests and lesser personnel of the temple of onward. The lute and lyre appeared during the Second
Amun. This discovery was made in 1891. In 1830 some Intermediate Period (1640–1532 B.C.E.), the era of the
60 mummies were found in the same area. An entire field HYKSOS domination, and were probably introduced by the
of mummies from the Roman era of Egypt has been Asiatics when they invaded the Nile region. New King-
uncovered at BAHARIA OASIS, an area now called the VAL- dom (1550–1070 B.C.E.) tombs have reliefs depicting the
LEY OF THE GILDED MUMMIES. use of such instruments. The angular and arched harps
were in vogue during the empire, as well as the large and
Mursilis I (d. c. 1600 B.C.E.) Ruler of the Hittites small drums and oboe pipe. Sistrums added a certain
He was the grandson and successor of Hattusilis, who tonal variation to performances, especially in tombs, and
was on the throne during the last decades of Egypt’s Mid- the heads of MENAT (1) necklaces were struck to maintain
dle Kingdom (2040–1640 B.C.E.). Militarily active, Mur- certain tempos. Other instruments came into Egypt as a
silis destroyed Aleppo, then an Amorite city, and ended result of the various foreign invasions after the fall of the
the dynasty of Hammurabi at Babylon. His activities New Kingdom.
endangered Egypt’s trade systems and caused alarms as
the Nile rulers recognized the growing power of the HIT- The musical tones achieved by the musicians were
TITES. Withdrawing to the capital, Hattusas, Mursilis was dependent upon the instrument used. Horns were
murdered by a brother-in-law. adapted for royal or military purposes, and the Egyptians
appear to have relished a clamorous noise on such occa-
Mursilis II (d. c. 1306 B.C.E.) Ruler of the Hittites sions. In private gatherings, the music was soft and quite
The son of SUPPILULIUMAS I, he reigned from c. 1334 melodic. The sistrum and the CLAPPER were designed as
B.C.E. until his death. He was the brother of ZANNANZA, instruments to be used in cultic ceremonies. The clapper
who had been invited to Egypt by Queen ANKHESENAMON denoted alterations in the rhythm of such rites, and the
and then murdered while nearing Egypt. As a result, sistrum was sacred to the goddess Hathor and used in
Mursilis II had no affection for Egyptians. Mursilis II sta- other rituals as well.
bilized his empire by controlling Syria, a prize desired by
the Ramessids. There were also confrontations between Mut A highly revered goddess of Egypt, whose name is
the Egyptians and HITTITES in the border areas at the translated as “Mother,” she was normally portrayed as a
close of the Eighteenth Dynasty and the beginning of SETI handsome woman wearing a patterned sheath dress and
the double crown. Her cult dates to the early eras, and
she was honored as the consort of the god AMUN in

258 Mutemwiya Mutnofret (1) (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of
the Eighteenth Dynasty
THEBES. Before this union she was believed to have given She was the mother of TUTHMOSIS II (r. 1492–1479 B.C.E.).
birth to the deities and to humans with her tears. Serving possibly as a lesser-ranked consort of TUTHMOSIS
I, Mutnofret appears to have possessed some royal stand-
Mut nurtured the pharaohs and was reported to ing in her own right. She was honored as the “King’s
have promised the rulers “Millions and Millions of Years Mother,” after bearing Tuthmosis II.
and Jubilees.” She was called “the Lady of Asheru,” the
name of her temple at KARNAK, “the Mighty and the Mutnofret (2) (fl. 13th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of
Great.” In Thebes, she was the self-created mother of the Nineteenth Dynasty
the god KHONS (1). The VULTURE was her hieroglyph, She was a lesser-ranked consort of RAMESSES II (r.
and she was “the Mistress of the Double Crown of 1290–1224 B.C.E.). Mutnofret was depicted in the temple
Egypt.” At KHARGA OASIS, Mut was depicted with a lion’s site at ABU SIMBEL.
head. She was also hailed as “the Mistress of the
House,” marking her a patroness of children and moth- Muu Dancers Ritual performers who served in mor-
erhood. tuary ceremonies from the earliest times in Egypt, the
Muu Dancers were viewed as delegates from the realms
In the earliest historical periods, Mut took the form beyond the grave and were honored during their perfor-
of a cow at HELIOPOLIS, to carry the newly emerged Amun mances as demi-gods. They were also associated with the
on her back. Also called “the Eye of Ré,” Mut could be SOULS OF PE, the legendary rulers before the unification
revered in all historical periods in this form. In time she of Egypt, c. 3000 B.C.E. These performers did not speak
became the guardian deity of the GOD’S WIFE OF AMUN or during their appearances but gestured to be understood.
the Divine Adoratrices of Amun. There were three types of Muu Dancers involved in
Mutemwiya (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of
the Eighteenth Dynasty The first group met or intercepted the funerary pro-
She was a secondary wife of TUTHMOSIS IV (r. 1401–1391 cessions in progress in order to give permission for
B.C.E.) and the mother of AMENHOTEP III (r. 1391–1353 entrance into the necropolis area. These performers wore
B.C.E.). She is believed to have been a member of a pow- high green crowns made of reeds, fashioned into cones.
erful family of AKHMIN. When Tuthmosis died, Amen- They also wore elaborate kilts. The second group stood as
hotep III was young and Mutemwiya stood as regent. She watchers in the Muu halls positioned in major necrop-
was buried at THEBES. olises and decorated as beautiful parks. BUTO, along with
SAIS and HELIOPOLIS, were considered sites leading to par-
Mutnodjmet (1) (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) Royal woman adise and had extensive Muu halls. The Muu Dancers
of the Eighteenth Dynasty who attended funerals being conducted in the designated
She was the consort of HOREMHAB (r. 1319–1307 B.C.E.). halls were accompanied by small orchestras when they
Possibly the sister of Queen NEFERTITI, Mutnodjmet was performed. These dancers were also crowned with reeds
depicted in the tomb of PANHESI, an official of the era, and wore kilts. They performed in pairs as the agents of
with her DWARF attendants. Maya’s tomb also portrays her the god OSIRIS.
and her retinue. Her mummy was recovered in
Horemhab’s original tomb at MEMPHIS, and there is evi- The third group represented the pre-dynastic ances-
dence that she gave birth, although Horemhab had no tors at Pe or Dep, a part of the city of Buto, in the central
heirs. Delta, where they were called “the People of Pe.” These
dancers wore floral crowns of papyrus fronds or were
She died in her mid-40s, probably in childbirth. The bareheaded. Deemed sacred while performing, the Muu
newborn was buried with her. Mutnodjmet was buried in Dancers of this group also served as “the Souls of Pe,” in
SAQQARA in the original tomb constructed by Horemhab royal ceremonies. At every funeral the chief priest or
before his coronation. AMENIA, Horemhab’s first wife, a steward called to them: “Come! Oh Muu!” The Muu
commoner, was also buried there. A black granite statue Dancers sang and performed ancient and intricate dances,
of Mutnodjmet, depicted with Horemhab, is in Turin. sanctioned by their unique roles.

Mutnodjmet (2) (fl. 10th century B.C.E.) Royal woman Muwatallis (Muwatallish) (d. c. 1282 B.C.E.) Hittite
of the Twenty-first Dynasty ruler in the reign of Ramesses II (1290–1224 B.C.E.)
The consort of PSUSENNES I (r. 1040–992 B.C.E.), Mutnod- He was born c. 1306 B.C.E., the son of MURSILIS II, and
jmet was the mother of AMENEMOPE (r. 993–984 B.C.E.), reigned from c. 1306 B.C.E. until his death. When
SIAMUN (r. 978–959 B.C.E.), and Prince ANKHEFENMUT. The RAMESSES II reconquered Palestine and made the Orontes
tomb built for her was not used but served as a receptacle
for the remains of Amenemope. Mutnodjmet was buried
with Ankhefenmut in Psusennes I’s tomb in TANIS.

River the new Egyptian imperial frontier, Muwatallis was Mysteries of Osiris and Isis 259
compelled to defend his realm. He fought Ramesses II at
KADESH, modern Syria, near Lake Homs, and the outcome Mycerinus See MENKAURÉ.
was indecisive, although both sides claimed victory. The
tensions and campaigns continued throughout his reign. myrrh Called anti by the ancient Egyptians, the aro-
Muwatallis was succeeded on the Hittite throne by his matic plant was brought to Egypt from PUNT. The trees
son, Mursilis III (Urshi-Teshub). Hattusilis, another son were planted on temple grounds, and the gum resin prod-
of Muwatallis, revolted and took the throne. uct of the plant was used in rituals as incense and as a
perfume for the gods, available in several forms.
Muyet (fl. 21st century B.C.E.) Very young royal female
of the Eleventh Dynasty Mysteries of Osiris and Isis A series of so-called
She was a member of the court in the reign of MON- miracle plays staged at ABYDOS at certain times of the
TUHOTEP II (2061–2010 B.C.E.). Muyet was only five years year, the mysteries were performed in conjunction with
old when she died and was buried in a tomb provided for festivals honoring OSIRIS and ISIS and were popular in all
her in the vast mortuary complex at DEIR EL-BAHRI. She historical periods. The plays depicted the life, death,
was buried with five necklaces of great beauty and value. mummification, resurrection, and celestial enthronement
Her limestone sarcophagus did not proclaim her actual of Osiris, as well as the faithful services of Isis. Special
status, and it is assumed that she was a princess of the chapels were erected for the mysteries at DENDEREH, ESNA,
line or an intended bride of the ruler. EDFU and PHILAE. Similar productions were staged solely
for Isis in some eras.


Nagada (Naqada) This is a site north of THEBES, amounts of pottery were found at Nagada, representing
sometimes called Ombos or Nukt, and a vital resource of styles in use for some 1,500 years. These wares clearly
the Predynastic Period of Egypt, dating to 4000–3000 define historical and artistic changes. Both the elite and
B.C.E. The Predynastic necropolises of el-Ballas and Nukh commoners were buried at Nagada.
depict the evolutionary patterns of this historical period,
which is studied as Nagada I (Amratian), Nagada II See also EGYPT.
(Gerzean), and Nagada III. More than 3,000 graves were
discovered in this area. Nakare-Aba (fl. 22nd century B.C.E.) Ruler of the
obscure Eighth Dynasty
The Nagada I culture is evidenced at the sites where His pyramid was discovered in the southern SAQQARA
warriors were buried in simple oval pits with maceheads, complex of PEPI II. The dates of his actual reign are
grave goods, and symbols of hierarchical authority. In use unknown, but his rule would have been brief, consider-
from 4000 to 3500 B.C.E., these sites contained examples ing the era. Nothing else has been documented about
of pottery advances, including red-polished and painted him, as this dynasty ruled in the midst of unrest and
varieties. Statuettes, palettes, and metalwork show a political change and held only limited territories.
social diversity in this region.
Nakhsebasteru (fl. sixth century B.C.E.) Royal woman
The Nagada II culture, from 3500 to 3200 B.C.E., is of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty
displayed in elaborate grave sites, including coffins, mor- She was the consort of AMASIS (r. 570–526 B.C.E.) and sec-
tuary regalia, and multiple burials. New pottery forms are ond in rank to Queen LADICE, the Great Wife of the reign.
evident, and there are depictions of boats on the site. Possibly a daughter of APRIES, who was overthrown by
Copper, gold, and silver were used, and there is an Amasis in a military coup, she was not the mother of the
increase of stonework evident. intended heir but added credence to Amasis’s reign.

The Nagada III culture, 3200–3000 B.C.E., shows elite Nakht (1) (fl. 19th century B.C.E.) Mortuary official of
burial sites and the rise of cities. The SCORPION MACE- the Twelfth Dynasty
HEAD and other artistic treasures date to this period. He served as the mayor of the mortuary complex of SEN-
Some 2,000 graves dating to the First Intermediate Period WOSRET III (r. 1878–1841 B.C.E.) at ABYDOS. The son of
(2134–2040 B.C.E.) are also at Nagada, which is located Khentikheti, Nakht, along with other members of his
across from KOPTOS and WADI HAMMAMAT. A tomb from family, including Neferhor, Amenisoneb, and Sehetepibe,
the Early Dynastic Period (2920–2575 B.C.E.) is on the resided at the site called “Enduring Are The Places of
site as well. Jar sealings bearing the names of AHA Kha’kauré (Senwosret III) Justified in Abydos.”
(Menes; 2920 B.C.E.), NARMER (3000 B.C.E.), and NEI-
THOTEP were discovered there. A step PYRAMID was con- Nakht supervised the temple complex of the dead
structed at Tukh, with a trapezoidal nucleus and a thick pharaoh, maintaining the royal cult ceremonies there and
base. No temple was erected with the pyramid. Vast


providing the required daily offerings and commemora- naos 261
tions. This task was assumed by the family and fulfilled
until the close of the Middle Kingdom Period with gener- Nakhtmin was a military general and was chosen by
ations of caretakers and mortuary priests involved. The Aya as his heir but did not succeed him. He was put aside
mayoral residence provided for Nakht was vast, with a by HOREMHAB and not allowed to inherit the throne.
columned hall, chambers, a courtyard, and a granary. Horemhab became the last pharaoh of the dynasty. A
Large towns developed at the mortuary structures of the beautiful statue of a woman, dating to this period, has
rulers in order to sustain the vast number of priests and been identified as the wife of General Nakhtmin, presum-
servants committed to the continuation of service in the ably this official.
royal cults.
Nakhtmin (2) (fl. 13th century B.C.E.) Military official
See also MORTUARY RITUALS. of the Nineteenth Dynasty
Serving RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.), he was a noble
Nakht (2) (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Priestly official and of ABUSIR. Nakhtmin was the chief of military chariots
court astronomer of the Eighteenth Dynasty and an ad hoc foreign ambassador. His TOMB, located in a
He served TUTHMOSIS IV (r. 1401–1391 B.C.E.) as a priest- cliff necropolis dating to the fifth century, is near Abusir.
astronomer and as the chief steward of the royal granaries This tomb was designed as a multileveled gravesite. The
and vineyards. Nakht charted astronomical changes that structure had a large courtyard with nine roof supports
related to the agricultural seasons on the Nile. Such and a limestone floor. Four small chambers were also dis-
astronomical observances were vital to the inundation covered near the main hall. The walls were painted blue
preparations each year, as the flooding Nile inundated and green and depicted scenes from the Book of the Gates,
entire regions of the valley and displaced countless num- a mortuary document.
bers of Egyptians.
names An aspect of Egyptian life with magical implica-
His tomb at SHEIKH ABD’EL-QURNA in THEBES is noted tions in all periods of the nation’s history, names were
for its paintings, although the structure is small. Tawi, essential to continued existence on the earth or beyond.
Nakht’s wife, was a chantress in the temple of AMUN, and Anyone without a name did not survive. The recitation of
she shared Nakht’s tomb. The painting of the “Blind a name provided continued existence, especially to the
Harper” makes Nakht’s tomb noteworthy. Other paintings dead. Thus, many annual festivals were held to honor
depict banquets and daily routines. The eyes of Nakht in ancestors and to recite their names aloud in rituals.
such portraits were scratched out, an act that the Egyp-
tians believed would render him blind in the realms Priests were also contracted to perform rituals at the
beyond the grave. This vandalism indicates Nakht’s fall tomb sites that included the recitation of the names,
from power or the presence of a powerful enemy in the ranks, and honors of the deceased. This reliance upon
region. continued recognition on the earth for eternal survival
was especially true for the royal Egyptians, who had a
Nakhthoreb (d. c. 343 B.C.E.) Probably the last ruler of series of ROYAL NAMES with mystical powers.
the Thirtieth Dynasty
He was slain or deposed by the Persians, who started See also VALLEY FESTIVAL.
their second period of occupation on the Nile in 343
B.C.E. A magnificent SARCOPHAGUS intended for Nanefer-ka-Ptah (fl. 13th century B.C.E.) Royal prince
Nakhthoreb’s burial was discovered in ALEXANDRIA. Dur- of the Nineteenth Dynasty
ing his reign he erected a temple honoring OSIRIS and A son of MERENPTAH (r. 1224–1214 B.C.E.), Nanefer-ka-
served APIS in the SERAPEUM territory at SAQQARA. The Ptah was made famous by an Egyptian magical tale con-
Persians ended this royal line but were fated to meet cerning the prince’s discovery of the magical book of the
ALEXANDER III THE GREAT (r. 332–323 B.C.E.) and to lose god THOTH. He made a copy of the book, washed off the
Egypt and their other imperial domains forever. ink with beer, and then drank the brew. This allowed him
to absorb the wisdom of the erased words. The Book of
See also EGYPT. Thoth was supposedly a repository of vast amounts of
occult and magical texts, revered by the priests. Nanefer-
Nakhtmin (1) (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) Military officer ka-Ptah’s wife was Princess Ahura, and his son was
and possible prince of the Eighteenth Dynasty Merab. The family was buried in KOPTOS.
Nakhtmin may have been the son of AYA (2) (r.
1323–1319 B.C.E.) and Queen TEY. Aya, the successor of See also MAGIC.
widow of Tut’ankhamun, but she disappeared soon after, naos This was a Greek word that denoted a small shrine
and Tey, a commoner, assumed the role of Great Wife. Tey or sanctuary intended to house the image or symbols of a
was married to Aya before his ascension. particular deity. In Egypt such shrines were made out of
stone or wood and were not open to general worshipers. A
naos was normally rectangular in shape and could be used

262 Napata or for grinding antinomy, the popular cosmetic. Narmer
is depicted wearing the war CROWN of Upper Egypt and
for mortuary statues and the mummified remains of ani- the red wicker crown of Lower Egypt on this palette, sig-
mals deemed as theophanies or symbols associated with nifying that he had conquered the territory in the north.
the particular god. Only high-ranking priests of the cults Narmer is also shown as a BULL (a royal symbol), destroy-
could enter these sacred precincts. ing a city with his horns and trampling the enemy troops
under his hooves.
Napata This is a site below the third cataract of the
Nile, in modern Dongola, in the Sudan, where the river On the reverse side of the palette two fallen figures
makes dramatic loops in its progress. Napata is the site of lie before him, probably representing the cities of SAIS and
a spectacular flat-topped mountain, called “the Holy MEMPHIS. The god HORUS is shown coming to the king’s
Mount” or “the Table of Amun.” aid by bringing prisoners to him. The palette, made of
schist, is an important historical and artistic text and is
See also GEBEL BARKAL. now in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford.

Narmer (fl. c. 3000 B.C.E.) One of the last Predynastic See also ART AND ARCHITECTURE.
rulers associated with the unification of Upper and Lower
Egypt Narmouthis (Narmonthis, Medinet Wadi) This is
Narmer is believed to have come from HIERAKONPOLIS, a a site on the southern edge of the FAIYUM, now modern
capital and shrine city of the god HORUS in the Predynas- Medinet Wadi. A temple dating to the Twelfth Dynasty
tic Periods of Egypt. He followed in the footstep of SCOR- was discovered at Narmouthis, erected in honor of the
PION and others who tried to subdue the Delta. The deities SOBEK and RENENUTET by AMENEMHET III (r.
actual unification of Egypt was not accomplished until 1844–1797 B.C.E.). The temple is rectangular and con-
sometime around the close of the Second Dynasty (c. tains HYPOSTYLE HALLS and papyrus COLUMNS, as well as a
2640). sanctuary with three chapels and a central shrine dedi-
cated to Renenutet. The Twelfth Dynasty pharaohs were
A PALETTE discovered at Hierakonpolis depicts also honored there in deified forms.
Narmer’s efforts. A ceremonial MACEHEAD, also discovered
in that city, depicts Narmer as capturing 120,000 men, The Ptolemaic Dynasty (304–30 B.C.E.) refurbished
400 oxen, 1,422,000 goats, and the standards of the Delta the temple at Narmouthis and added a processional way
nomes. After this victory, Narmer is believed to have mar- with lions and sphinxes, a kiosk, a portico, and trans-
ried a Memphite female aristocrat in order to consolidate verse vestibule. Sandstone is the main material used
his gains. Queen NEITHOTEP was possibly that noble throughout.
heiress. She is named in some lists as the mother of AHA
(called Menes), the first ruler. natron A mildly antiseptic substance that has the abil-
ity to absorb moisture, it was used in all periods of
Narmer sent an expedition into the eastern desert, ancient Egypt, associated especially with the processes of
and his inscription was discovered on the rocks of WADI embalming and mummification. It was called net-jeryt,
QASH, on the KOPTOS TRADE route. He was probably “Belonging to the God”; besmen, the name of a local god;
buried in SAQQARA or in the necropolis at TARKHAN. A or besmen desher, denoting a red variety of natron that
CENOTAPH bearing his insignia was discovered in ABYDOS. was hygroscopic. It was found in WADI NATRUN, near
modern Cairo, also called the Natron Valley, and in Upper
See also EGYPT. and Lower Egyptian sites. Natron is a mixture of sodium
bicarbonate and sodium carbonate or sodium chloride.
Narmer macehead A symbolic weapon, dating to the
unification of Egypt, c. 3000 B.C.E., and signifying victory The substance was originally used as a detergent and
and power, the macehead of Narmer was found in HIER- as a tooth cleaner, and in some eras as a glaze for early
AKONPOLIS and now is in the Ashmolean Museum at craft wares. In time natron was used as the main preserv-
Oxford. The Narmer macehead was probably used by the ing agent for mortuary rituals. The basic ingredient for
unifier of Upper and Lower Egypt in celebrations of the embalming, natron was the steeping substance for drying
heb-sed ceremonies, the anniversary rituals popular in all corpses and preventing decay. It was used in its dry crys-
historical eras as part of the state royal cults. Narmer is tal form, and mummy linens were sometimes soaked in
depicted in a tight cloak, wearing the red crown of Lower natron before wrapping. Natron was also formed into
Egypt, a symbol of military victory over the northern ter- balls and chewed at certain religious ceremonies by the
ritories. A woman, possibly NEITHOTEP, is shown being rulers or their priest representatives. When the substance
brought to Narmer in a palanquin as a tribute of the con- was used in these rituals, natron represented the trans-
quered Delta. formed state assumed by the dead in the paradise beyond
the grave.
Narmer palette A ceremonial vessel, also called
Narmer’s Victory Palette, that was discovered in HIER- See also MORTUARY RITUALS.
AKONPOLIS, the palette was designed for ceremonial use

Natron Lakes They were series of water deposits in Nebenteru 263
the WADI NATRUN, near modern Cairo. The Wadi Natrun
served as a source of NATRON, a major element in the wounds, the removal of a criminal’s nose, or exile to the
embalming processes of MORTUARY RITUALS in all times of LIBYAN DESERT or beyond.
ancient Egypt.
neb (1) An Egyptian symbol, it represents the act of
natural resources See EGYPTIAN NATURAL RESOURCES. obeisance or prostration performed by people before a
ruler or the image of a deity.
Naukratis (el-Nigrash, Kom Gi’eif) This is a site on
the Canopic branch of the Nile in the western Delta, the neb (2) A hieroglyph translated as the word all, it was
modern Kom Gi’eif. The site originated in the Twenty- used on AMULETS and ANKH insignias to denote unity
sixth Dynasty as the result of the trading privileges that under the pharaoh and the gods.
PSAMMETICHUS I (r. 664–610 B.C.E.) gave Greek mer-
chants, mostly Milesians, including permission to estab- Nebamun (1) (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) Theban police
lish a trade center at Naukratis. AMASIS (r. 575–526 B.C.E.) official of the Eighteenth Dynasty, possibly a Medjay
granted these Greeks a series of trade monopolies during He served TUTHMOSIS IV (r. 1401–1391 B.C.E.) and AMEN-
his reign, further enhancing Naukratis. The city was actu- HOTEP III (r. 1391–1353 B.C.E.) as a commander of the
ally founded c. 630 B.C.E., and the name of the site meant Theban police force. Nebamun was probably a MEDJAY, a
“ship power.” Temples were erected to Greek deities and member of the mercenary unit that served the New King-
to the Egyptian gods AMUN and THOTH. Naukratis flour- dom (1550–1070 B.C.E.) pharaohs in military campaigns.
ished until ALEXANDER III THE GREAT (r. 332–323 B.C.E.) In times of peace the Medjay served as POLICE units in the
founded the new capital of ALEXANDRIA. capital and major cities. Nebamun was buried in THEBES.
His STELA depicts Queen NEBETU’U (2), a lesser-ranked
Greek silver and Greek slaves were popular wares in consort of TUTHMOSIS III (r. 1479–1425 B.C.E.).
Naukratis, and courtesans, taverns, and other amuse-
ments were plentiful. Coins minted in Naukratis aided in Nebamun (2) (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) Official royal
modernizing Egypt’s financial system, and the Greeks court sculptor of the Eighteenth Dynasty
conducted a large SCARAB industry in the city, becoming He served AMENHOTEP III (r. 1391–1353 B.C.E.) as a sculp-
adept at producing a variety of fetish tokens and amulets. tor and was held in high esteem for his contributions to
Recovered deity figures and pottery provide information the ongoing building projects of the ruler. Nebamun’s
about Greek imports and trade systems in the city. tomb was erected on the western shore of THEBES near
DEIR EL-BAHRI and was shared with a fellow artist, IPUKI.
See also EGYPT; TRADE.
Nebamun (3) (fl. 13th century B.C.E.) Royal vizier of
Nauri Decree A document issued by SETI I (r. the Nineteenth Dynasty
1306–1290 B.C.E.) in the fourth year of his reign, this He served SETI I (r. 1306–1290 B.C.E.) as VIZIER, a
decree was promulgated on behalf of the workers at demanding role as Seti I was revitalizing the nation and
Osiris’s holy city of ABYDOS, where the king was in the bringing stability to the land. Nebamun was buried on
process of constructing his great mortuary complex. The the western shore of THEBES with royal honors in grati-
Nauri Decree incorporated prior legal codes, particularly tude for his loyalty and services to the throne.
the laws of HOREMHAB (r. 1319–1307 B.C.E.), serving as a
charter for the temple and for its various estates, and it Nebemakhet (fl. 25th century B.C.E.) Princely vizier of
was designed to ensure the maintenance of the king’s the Fourth Dynasty
mortuary cult after his death. The workers were subject The son of KHAFRE (r. 2520–2494 B.C.E.) and Queen
to a stern code of behavior while they built the tomb, MERYSANKH (3), Nebemakhet did not succeed his father
with penalties for crimes clearly delineated. but became a priest for the royal cult. His tomb was built
in the royal cemetery, and he is depicted in his mother’s
The decree points to a troubled time during Seti I’s rock-cut tomb in GIZA. He is also recorded as serving for a
reign that reflected earlier dynastic weaknesses. Normally, time as vizier for MENKAURÉ (r. 2490–2472 B.C.E.). Nebe-
workers on the mortuary complexes of the rulers would makhet’s tomb is noted for paintings depicting jewelry
not have required warnings or threats in order to regulate workers of the era, already capable of using a variety of
their behavior. Construction sites of early periods were metals and gemstones.
deemed places of spirituality and dedication. In this
period, however, conformity to the ideals of the nation Nebenteru (Ter) (fl. 13th century B.C.E.) Priestly offi-
had partially lessened and the impact of the mortuary rit- cial of the Nineteenth Dynasty
uals had declined. Severe physical punishments were He served both SETI I (r. 1306–1290 B.C.E.) and RAMESSES
included in this code. Certain crimes brought the punish- II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.) as high priest of AMUN. Nebenteru
ment of 100 blows by a lash, the creation of five open

264 Nebertcher Nebhepetré See MONTUHOTEP II.

was a NOME aristocrat who was appointed high priest in Nebireyeraw (Swadjenré, Nebiryaw I) (fl. 17th cent-
the seventeenth year of Ramesses’ reign. He was a descen- ury B.C.E.) Ruler of the Seventeenth Dynasty
dant of the KHETY clan of the Ninth and Tenth Dynasties. Nebireyeraw controlled THEBES and Upper Egypt and
Nebenteru’s son, PASER (2), became vizier in the same was a contemporary of the Hyksos ruler KHIAN, whose
period. In some lists Nebenteru is simply called Ter. He capital was at AVARIS. Nebireyeraw, also listed as
was the successor of NEBWENEF as high priest. Nebiryaw I, is noted for his stela at KARNAK. This monu-
ment commemorates the sale of a hereditary governor-
Nebertcher A divine being of Egypt, believed to be a ship at ELKAB (Nekheb) and deals with legal matters
personification of the deities RÉ and OSIRIS, Nebertcher concerning the role of the vizier. The dates of his
was viewed as embodying the eternal aspects of these reign are uncertain, but he probably succeeded SOBE-
deities involved in the elaborate MORTUARY RITUALS of the KEMSAF I.
Nebka (Zanakht, Neferkaure, Nebku, Sanakht,
Neberu (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Prince and military offi- Zanakhte) (d. 2630 B.C.E.) Founder of the Third Dynasty
cial of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt
He served TUTHMOSIS III (r. 1479–1425 B.C.E.) as chief of He ruled from 2649 B.C.E. until his death. The name
the royal stables, a high-ranking post in this era of cav- Zanakht means “Strong Protection.” A brother of his suc-
alry units, military campaigns, and imperial expansion. cessor, DJOSER, Nebka had a reign that was militarily
His tomb is in the VALLEY OF THE QUEENS on the western active. He exploited the SINAI, mining there for copper
side of the NILE at THEBES. The portrait of him on the lid and turquoise, and his name was found inscribed at WADI
of his coffin bears a striking resemblance to Neberu’s MAGHARA. His royal seals were also found on ELEPHAN-
actual mummified remains. TINE Island, and he was mentioned in a tomb at BEIT
Nebet (fl. 24th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the Fifth
Dynasty Nebka was probably buried to the west of Djo-
A consort of UNIS (r. 2356–2323 B.C.E.), she was buried ser’s STEP PYRAMID at the vast mortuary complex at
with Queen KHENUT near the mortuary temple of Unis’s SAQQARA. He was mentioned in the WESTCAR PAPYRUS,
pyramidal complex at SAQQARA. Nebet’s MASTABA tomb was and his mortuary cult was popular for decades in the
beautifully decorated and contains a painted scene depict- region.
ing her in a seated position, smelling a lotus blossom.
Nebseni Papyrus This is an Egyptian mortuary text,
Nebetku (fl. c. 29th century B.C.E.) Court official of the older than the famed ANI PAPYRUS. Now in the British
First Dynasty Museum, Nebseni’s Papyrus is 76 feet long by one foot
Nebetku served DEN (reign uncertain) as a court steward. wide. It is a mortuary commemorative document, a
His tomb in the northern section of SAQQARA was altered revised version of the original, following the Theban
twice during its construction, reflecting the emerging changes of the later periods, called a RECENSION. The
styles of the period. The tomb was designed as a pyramid texts included in the papyrus are sometimes outlined in
originally but eventually became a MASTABA, indicating black. An address of the god HORUS to his father, the god
architectural aspirations that could not be accomplished OSIRIS, is included in the document. The papyrus was dis-
at the time. covered in DEIR EL-BAHRI in 1881.

Nebetu’u (1) A goddess worshiped in ESNA, she was Nebt (fl. 21st century B.C.E.) Noblewoman and heiress of
considered a form of the popular deity HATHOR. Nebetu’u the Eleventh Dynasty
was addressed as “the Mistress of the Territory.” Her cult Nebt was the heiress to the estates of the ELEPHANTINE
was not long-standing or well known in the Nile Valley. Island at ASWAN. The mother of Princess NEFERU-KHAYET
(2), who become a consort of MONTUHOTEP II (r.
Nebetu’u (2) (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of 2061–2010 B.C.E.), Nebt held a unique position in her
the Eighteenth Dynasty own right. She was a patroness of the arts and retained
She was a lesser-ranked consort of TUTHMOSIS III (r. librarians and scholars on her estates. Nebt held the rank
1479–1425 B.C.E.). Nebetu’u died at a young age. She was of NOME princess and was commemorated on a STELA
depicted on a mortuary stela discovered in the tomb of an erected in her territory.
official of a later reign, NEBAMUN (1), perhaps denoting
some sort of familial relationship. She was possibly the Nebti Name See also ROYAL NAMES.
daughter of Prince Setum of the royal family.

Nebt-Tawy (1) (fl. 13th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of Necho II 265
the Nineteenth Dynasty
A lesser-ranked consort of RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224 provides details of his life, and a statue was erected in
B.C.E.), she was probably the mother of Nebt-Tawy (2). THEBES in his honor. Another stela honoring Nebwawi
Nebt-Tawy was buried in the VALLEY OF THE QUEENS. was found in ABYDOS.

Nebt-Tawy (2) (fl. 13th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of Nebwenef (fl. 13th century B.C.E.) Priestly official of the
the Nineteenth Dynasty Nineteenth Dynasty
She was the daughter of RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.) He served in the reign of RAMESSES II (1290–1224 B.C.E.).
and probably Queen NEBT-TAWY (1). Nebt-Tawy was Nebwenef was the high priest of AMUN and the first
buried in the VALLEY OF THE QUEENS on the western shore prophet of HATHOR and ANHUR, an exalted rank in the
of Thebes. She was interred in the tomb of an unknown temple system. Priests were often required to assume
royal woman named Tanedjemy. positions beyond their original offices, especially if they
were competent. His mortuary temple was built near Seti
Nebuchadnezzer (d. 562 B.C.E.) Chaldean ruler of I, whom he had served at the beginning of his career.
Babylon and a foe of Egypt Nebwenef’s tomb depicted Ramesses II and Queen NEFER-
He was the son of Nabopolassar and was born c. 630 TARI making the announcement of his appointment as
B.C.E. Nebuchadnezzer defeated NECHO II (r. 610–595 high priest. Nebwenef retired at an advanced age and was
B.C.E.) of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty in the Battle of CAR- succeeded in his office in the temple and in the royal
CHEMISH in Syria. This defeat ended Egypt’s involvement court by NEBENTERU.
in that region. Nebuchadnezzer was a prince when he
defeated Necho II and the Egyptian forces. Nebyet (fl. 22nd century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the
Eighth Dynasty
He succeeded his father and expanded his influence The daughter of NEFERKU-HOR (reign uncertain), she was
and dominance in the region until his death in 562 B.C.E. the wife of SHEMAY, the vizier of the reign. Documents
He is viewed as the greatest member of his dynasty, as from the ancient city of KOPTOS relate the power of She-
Babylon flourished during his reign because of his mili- may and the marriage. Another text attests to the
tary skills. appointment of a new man named Kha’redni as her body-
guard. He was given the rank of commandant of soldiers.
Nebusemekh A character in an Egyptian short story Shemay’s power outlived the reign of Neferku-Hor.
that was discovered on a number of OSTRAKA and dated to
the Ramessid Period (1307–1070 B.C.E.). The tale con- Necho I (Nekau I) (d. 664 B.C.E.) Founder of the
cerns a meeting between the ghost Nebusemekh and the Twenty-sixth Dynasty
high priest of AMUN, Khomsehab, at Thebes. Nebuse- He ruled from 672 B.C.E. until his death in SAIS and was
mekh relates his earthly status in the service of a ruler of called Nekau in some lists. Necho I was possibly a descen-
the Seventeenth Dynasty, RAHOTEP (2) (c. 1640 B.C.E.). dant of a Libyan prince of an earlier era and assumed royal
This ruler supervised Nebusemekh’s burial, but his tomb titles for himself and his line. ASSURBANIPAL, the Assyrian
was eventually destroyed. king who invaded the territory c. 667 B.C.E., found Necho I
to be a cultured, realistic individual. As a result, Assurbani-
The tale is not complete in the ostraka, but Khomse- pal spared him and his son, PSAMMETICHUS I.
hab appears to have found a new tomb site for Nebuse-
mekh at DEIR EL-BAHRI, on the western shore of Thebes. Necho I remained the ruler in SAIS even as TAHARQA
The work is called a “ghost story” in modern collections, (r. 690–664 B.C.E.) won Egypt’s independence. When
but it is not chilling or eerie. The Egyptians did not fear TANUTAMUN (r. 664–657 B.C.E.), the Nubian leader, began
the spirits of the dead and made efforts to communicate a campaign of his own to establish his rule in Egypt,
with them in all historical periods. Necho I became the Nubian’s main target for revenge.
When the two met in battle, Necho I was slain.
Necho II (Wehemibré) (d. 595 B.C.E.) Third ruler of
Nebwawi (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Priestly official of the the Twenty-sixth Dynasty
Eighteenth Dynasty He reigned from 610 B.C.E. until his death. The son of
Nebwawi was the high priest of OSIRIS at ABYDOS in the PSAMMETICHUS I and Queen MEKHTEMWESKHET (2), Necho
reigns of TUTHMOSIS III (1479–1425 B.C.E.) and AMEN- II supported the Assyrians as buffers to the Persian
HOTEP II (1427–1401 B.C.E.). He served HATSHEPSUT (r. advances. He also sponsored military programs and refur-
1473–1458 B.C.E.) in several capacities but managed to bished the Egyptian navy with Greek mercenaries and
stay in favor with her successors. On occasion, Nebwawi vessels. Necho II even sent a fleet of hired Phoenicians to
was summoned to the court to serve as a counselor to the successfully circumnavigate Africa.
pharaohs, as his advice was valued. His mortuary STELA

266 Nectanebo I ARTAXERXES III OCHUS attacked Egypt in 350 but was
repulsed by Nectanebo II’s armies. Nectanebo II then
Necho II had military successes until c. 605 B.C.E., turned his attention to the Nile Valley and refurbished
when Prince NEBUCHADNEZZER, the heir to the throne of and rebuilt cities and temples. He rebuilt at BEHBEIT EL-
Babylon, defeated the Egyptians at CARCHEMISH. Necho II HAGAR, ERMENT, BUBASTIS, and SAQQARA. He also built a
withdrew from his military interventions and built a gate at PHILAE. Nectanebo II was active in the bull cults of
grain TRADE system with Greece to spur the Nile Valley his era. He buried the sacred animals at Erment and
economy. He dug a canal, called the SWEET WATER CANAL, rebuilt the BUCHEUM.
at WADI TIMULAT through the Pelusiac Nile, to link the
Nile to the Red Sea. He also built Per-Temu-Tjeju, mod- In 343, Artaxerxes III Ochus attacked Egypt again,
ern Tell el-Mashkuta, on the canal. Necho II also con- defeating Nectanebo II at Pelusium. He fled to NUBIA but
trolled all of the western OASES. Necho II was buried in a then returned to SEBENNYTOS. When he died he was to be
tomb in SAIS by his son and heir, PSAMMETICHUS II. buried at Sebennytos or at Rhakotis, the future city of
ALEXANDRIA. A tomb prepared in SAIS was never used, but
Nectanebo I (Kheperkaré) (d. 362 B.C.E.) Founder of his black granite SARCOPHAGUS was later taken to Alexan-
the Thirtieth Dynasty dria to be used as a public bath.
He ruled from 380 B.C.E. until his death. Nectanebo I was
a military commander from SEBENNYTOS, the son of Gen- A legend developed about Nectanebo II after his
eral Djehor. Named Nakhtnebef at birth, he served HAKO- death. It was stated that he went to Macedonia and
RIS (r. 393–380 B.C.E.) and NEPHRITES II (r. 380 B.C.E.) and attracted OLYMPIAS, the wife of King Philip, seducing her.
assumed the throne when the latter died. He also married ALEXANDER III THE GREAT was supposedly the offspring of
PTOLEMAIS (1), the daughter of the Greek General that affair, thus making him eligible to rule Egypt as a
KHABRIAS, and a woman named Audjashu, who was his true pharaoh.
Great Wife.
Nefat This is a site south of THEBES, probably modern
Egypt was almost invaded by the Persian army dur- el-Mu’allah. Located near TOD, Nefat served as a necropo-
ing Nectanebo I’s reign, led by PHARNABAZUS, the Persian lis area for the First Intermediate Period (2134–2040
satrap of the region, but the Nile armies proved victori- B.C.E.) nomarchs of the region. The tombs of ANKHTIFY
ous. Nectanebo I’s son, TEOS, led a campaign in Syria and and SOBEKHOTEP were cut into the rocky cliffs at Nefat.
Palestine during this military action. Actually, the Per-
sians and their Greek mercenaries had the advantage in Nefer (1) This was the hieroglyphic symbol for both
this confrontation, but Pharnabazus and the Greek gen- “good” and “beautiful,” in both the material and spiritual
eral Iphikrates quarreled and lost the campaign in the sense.
eastern Delta.
Nefer (2) This was an AMULET used by ancient Egyp-
Nectanebo I built in KARNAK and PHILAE, revived the tians to promote happiness and good fortune. Nefer
sacred animal cults, and constructed or refurbished mon- amulets were placed on the areas of the stomach and
uments at EDFU, HERMOPOLIS MAGNA, and MENDES. A windpipes of mummies in order to protect these organs.
STELA discovered in ABYDOS depicts him offering to the
gods MA’AT and THOTH. He also built an avenue of Neferefré (Ra’neferef) (d. 2416 B.C.E.) Ruler of the
sphinxes at the temple of THEBES. A black granite stela Fifth Dynasty
from NAUKRATIS documents Nectanebo I’s decree granting The successor of SHEPSESKARÉ (Ini; 2426–2419 B.C.E.),
the temple of the goddess NEITH the right to collect one- Neferefré reigned from 2419 B.C.E. until his death. He
tenth of all goods brought into the city from other coun- was possibly the son of KAKAI (Neferirkaré) and Queen
tries. Nectanebo I also erected a black granite NAOS, a KHENTAKAWES (2). He is also listed in some records as a
small shrine, to the goddess Neith (1) in DAMANHUR in son of SAHURÉ. Neferefré built a sun temple at ABU
the Delta. Teos served as coruler for the last three years of GHUROB and sent an expedition to the SINAI. His unfin-
Nectanebo I’s reign and buried his father in Sebennytos. ished pyramid at ABUSIR contained a cache of papyri and
plaques. Wooden boats, statues of prisoners, and sculp-
Nectanebo II (Senedjemibre’setepenahur) (d. 343 tures were also uncovered there. The papyri discovered
B.C.E.) Third ruler of the Thirtieth Dynasty dealt with cultic rituals and the personnel serving the
He usurped the throne from his uncle TEOS, who was pyramid.
considered unfit by the royal family, and reigned from
360 B.C.E. until his death. Nectanebo II, who was named Neferhent (1) (fl. 19th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of
Nakhthoreb at birth, is believed to be the last native ruler the Twelfth Dynasty
of Egypt. He was the grandson of NECTANEBO I and a She was a consort of SENWOSRET II (r. 1897–1878 B.C.E.).
nephew of Teos. When Teos was on a military campaign, Her tomb in el-LAHUN contained two MACEHEADS, fash-
Nectanebo II’s father, Tjahepimu, declared him the right-
ful ruler. The Spartan ruler AGESILAUS aided Nectanebo II
in overthrowing Teos, who fled to the Persians.

ioned out of granite and quartz. Neferhent was the Neferhotep I 267
Neferhotep’s life and ability were memorialized on a small
Neferhent (2) (fl. 19th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of but beautifully carved mortuary stela that was donated by
the Twelfth Dynasty a friend, Nebsumenu. The stela was discovered in the
She was a consort of SENWOSRET III (r. 1878–1841 B.C.E.) tomb of a powerful courtier, Iki. Neferhotep is described
but was not the mother of the heir. Neferhent was buried on the monument as “True of Voice, Born of the House-
in DASHUR in a MASTABA tomb in the vast royal complex of wife Henu.” The funerary monument depicts Neferhotep
the reign. as a rather stout harpist enjoying bread, beer, meat and
fowls, alabaster, and linen, all anticipated aspects of life
Neferhetepes (1) (fl. 26th century B.C.E.) Royal woman beyond the grave.
of the Fourth Dynasty
She was the daughter of RA’DJEDEF (r. 2528–2520 B.C.E.) See also MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
and possibly Queen HETEPHERES (2). Neferhetepes is
believed to have been the mother of USERKHAF, the Neferhotep (2) (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) Official of the
founder of the Fifth Dynasty. A beautiful bust of Nefer- Eighteenth Dynasty
hetepes is in the Louvre in Paris. She is recorded as hav- He served both AYA (2) (r. 1323–1319 B.C.E.) and
ing married a priest of Ré, “the Lord of Sokhebu,” near HOREMHAB (r. 1319–1307 B.C.E.) as the chief scribe of
ABU ROWASH. Neferhetepes was mentioned in the WEST- AMUN and superintendent of the royal domain. Nefer-
CAR PAPYRUS. She was called “the King’s Daughter of His hotep’s tomb near DEIR EL-BAHRI on the western shore of
Body, Prophetess of Ra’djedef.” THEBES is magnificently decorated and contains com-
pelling images. He is greeted there as one “intent upon
Neferhetepes (2) (fl. 25th century B.C.E.) Royal woman eternity, as you go to the land where all is changed.”
of the Fifth Dynasty
The daughter of KAKAI (Neferirkaré; r. 2446–2426 B.C.E.), Neferhotep (3) (fl. 13th century B.C.E.) Official of arti-
she married an official named Ti. Neferhetepes’s sons sans at Deir el-Medina in the Nineteenth Dynasty
were allowed to inherit the rank of prince, despite their Neferhotep was the chief workman at DEIR EL-MEDINA on
commoner father. the western shore of Thebes, in the reign of AMENMESSES,
who usurped the throne in the reign of SETI II (r.
Neferhetepes (3) (fl. 25th century B.C.E.) Royal woman 1214–1204 B.C.E.). Deir el-Medina was a community ded-
of the Fifth Dynasty icated to providing the necropolis called the VALLEY OF
She was a consort of USERKHAF (r. 2465–2458 B.C.E.) and THE KINGS with skilled artisans and craftsmen. During
probably his sister. Neferhetepes was possibly the mother this period, the community was led by Neferhotep and
of SAHURÉ. A tomb inscription depicts Neferhetepes as prospered until his son, Paneb, threatened him.
receiving offerings from the temple of PTAH.
Unable to control his son, who had some power in
Nefer-Hor He was an ancient form of the god PTAH, the court of Amenmesses, Neferhotep went before Vizier
worshiped in MEMPHIS and honored as “the Fair of Face.” Amenmose, who judged the case. As a result, Amenmose
The name was associated with certain cultic rituals of was removed from office, and Paneb was given Nefer-
other deities in later times. hotep’s position as chief worker at Deir el-Medina by
Amenmesses. Paneb raped, stole, and took bribes until
Nefer-Horen-Ptah (fl. 24th century B.C.E.) Official of Amenmesses died and Seti II was restored to the throne.
the Fifth Dynasty whose tomb has become famous because of Paneb was then dismissed from Deir el-Medina.
its paintings
He was buried in a small rock-cut site below the cause- Neferhotep I (Kha’sekhemré) (d. c. 1730 B.C.E.) Ruler
way of the burial complex of UNIS (r. 2356–2323 B.C.E.) of the Thirteenth Dynasty
in SAQQARA. Called the TOMB OF THE BIRDS, Nefer-Horen- He reigned from c. 1741 B.C.E. until his death or possible
Ptah’s resting place was never completed or used. The retirement. Neferhotep I was the son of one Ha’ankhaf
structure, however, contains magnificent friezes depict- and the Lady Kemi. His father is portrayed in an ASWAN
ing the capture and caging of the wild birds of the Nile rock inscription as a priest, and his mother is described
Valley. as “royal.” Neferhotep I’s consort was Queen SENEBSEN.
He was the brother of SOBEKHOTEP IV and SAHATHOR (1).
Neferhotep (1) (fl. c. 18th century B.C.E.) Noted His cartouche was discovered in BYBLOS, modern
harpist in the late Twelfth or Thirteenth Dynasty Lebanon, and Prince Yantin of that city was a vassal of

Neferhotep I ruled the entire Delta region, with the
exception of XOIS and the HYKSOS territories of AVARIS. An
Aswan inscription describes Neferhotep’s search for a
proper stone for a statue of OSIRIS. Such a statue was

268 Neferhotep III western shore of THEBES provides documentation of his
accomplishments and his honors as a servant of the
carved and taken to ABYDOS. Neferhotep I then closed the court. Also honored are his wife, Ren-nefer, and his son,
necropolis to more public burials and erected a STELA Amenenhet.
declaring his intent. People from all across Egypt brought
their deceased loved ones to Abydos to inter them in the Neferku-Hor (Neterybau, Kapu-Yeby) (fl. 22nd cen-
god OSIRIS’s domain in order to provide them with eternal tury B.C.E.) Fourteenth ruler of the obscure Eighth Dynasty
bliss. The crown finally had to control the number of Neferku-Hor issued four decrees in one afternoon during
individual burials in the area, and Neferhotep was one of his first year of rule, the dates of which are unknown.
several rulers who made such restrictions over the cen- One decree lists the titles of his eldest daughter, NEBYET; a
turies. His portrait statue is in the museum in Bologna, second orders the construction of a solar bark for the
Italy. He also participated in the Osirian Passion Plays. deity Horus-Min; and another provides honors for the
Neferhotep I’s son was Wahnefer-Hotep, whose SHABTIS, house of SHEMAY, the vizier who married Nebyet. She-
miniature tomb figures believed to act as proxies for the may’s family outlived Neferku-Hor.
deceased in the Underworld, were found in el-LISHT.
Another son, Ha’ankhaf, died young. Records indicate Neferku-Min (Neferes) (fl. 22nd century B.C.E.) Ob-
that Neferhotep I was succeeded by SAHATHOR and then scure ruler of the Eighth Dynasty
by SOBEKHOTEP IV. Listed in the TURIN CANON, Neferku-Min ruled less than
two and one half years, but the dates of his reign are
Neferhotep III (Sekhemre’sankhtawy) (fl. 17th cen- unknown.
tury B.C.E.) One of the last rulers of the Thirteenth Dynasty
His date of reign is unknown. A stela in KARNAK mentions Neferkuré (fl. 2150 B.C.E.) Founder of the Eighth
his aid to the temples and shrines of Thebes. He is sup- Dynasty
posed to have worn the khepresh, the war CROWN made of Neferkuré reportedly was a son or grandson of PEPI II and
ELECTRUM. This appears to be the first reference to that Queen ANKHNES-PEPI. He is listed in the TURIN CANON as
particular style of royal headdress. Neferhotep III con- having a reign of four years and two months, but the
ducted military campaigns against the HYKSOS, but the actual dates are not documented. Neferkuré built a small
Asiatics were in full control of their Delta territories by PYRAMID in SAQQARA. He also buried Queen Ankhnes-
that time. Pepi in a borrowed sarcophagus. His pyramid was named
“enduring is the life of Neferkuré.”
Neferirkaré See KAKAI.
Neferma’at (fl. 26th century B.C.E.) Royal prince of the
Neferkara (fl. c. 27th century B.C.E.) Obscure ruler of Fourth Dynasty
the Second Dynasty He was the son of SNEFRU (r. 2575–2551 B.C.E.) and
He was possibly the seventh in that line, but his date of Princess NEFERT-KAU, Snefru’s daughter, who became her
reign is unknown. MANETHO, the Ptolemaic Period father’s consort. Neferma’at married Princess Itet or Atet,
(304–30 B.C.E.) historian, states that Neferkara ruled for a and their son was HEMIUNU, the vizier of KHUFU. Nefer-
quarter of a century. He is also on the Abydos KING LIST. ma’at was buried at MEIDUM. The famous Meidum Geese,
The contemporary comment on Neferkara was that “the the exquisitely painted fowls, were discovered in Princess
Nile flowed with honey for eleven days during his Itet’s tomb. Neferma’at also served as the vizier of Khufu
reign. . . .” and supervised the construction of the Great Pyramid at
GIZA. The Fourth Dynasty maintained control by only
Neferkau (fl. 21st century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the using royal family members in positions of authority.
Eleventh Dynasty
She was probably a consort of INYOTEF II (r. 2118–2069 Neferperet (fl. 16th century B.C.E.) Building official of
B.C.E.), who ruled only Thebes and Upper Egypt at the the Eighteenth Dynasty
time. Neferkau’s name was discovered on a shaft dug in He served ’AHMOSE (r. 1550–1525 B.C.E.) as the superin-
the tomb of Inyotef II at el-TARIF, on the shore at THEBES. tendent of royal building projects. Neferperet directed the
quarrying of stone at MASARA, south of modern Cairo. He
Neferkhewet (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Highly skilled also brought limestone to THEBES from HYKSOS ruins in
artistic official of the Eighteenth Dynasty the Delta. Used for the temples of PTAH and AMUN at
He served HATSHEPSUT (r. 1473–1458 B.C.E.) as royal OPET, the stone was carried on sledges. In an inscription
architect. Her reign sponsored tremendous building pro- on the walls of a Masara quarry, Neferperet announced
jects in both the north and the south, and many talented that ’Ahmose opened the site in the 22nd year of his
individuals worked to provide splendid monuments
throughout the Nile Valley. Neferkhewet’s tomb on the

reign. He also describes himself as a hereditary prince Nefertari 269
and as a “Sole Companion of the King.” Neferperet was
buried in Thebes. discovered. One shows her wearing a headdress of the
goddess HATHOR. She was the daughter of AMENEMHET II
Neferrenpet (fl. 13th century B.C.E.) Vizier of the Nine- and was praised as “the ruler of all women.” Nefert was
teenth Dynasty buried in the royal cemetery complex at el-LAHUN.
He served RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.) as a treasury
scribe and VIZIER. Neferrenpet’s name and portrait were Nefertari (Nefertari Merymut) (fl. 13th century
discovered in the Speos of HOREMHAB at GEBEL EL-SIL- B.C.E.) Beloved royal woman of the Nineteenth Dynasty
SILEH. His tomb in THEBES depicts him as tallying pieces She was the consort of RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.)
of jewelry. This relief is the last detailed account of the and his favorite wife. Nefertari is believed to have been
manufacture of jewelry in the New Kingdom Period the daughter of BAKENKHONSU or some other official of
(1550–1070 B.C.E.), a time of exquisite workmanship, the court. She married Ramesses II when he was 15 and
using a variety of metals and gemstones. Neferrenpet she died in the 24th year of his reign. A tomb fragment
traveled throughout Egypt to maintain order in his role of also connects Nefertari to the family of AYA (2)
vizier. (1323–1319 B.C.E.), and she is believed to have come
from Thebes. Her brother, Amenmose, was the mayor of
Nefer-rohu’s Prophecy An Egyptian text attributed to Thebes.
a sage in the reign of SNEFRU (2575–2551 B.C.E.) but actu-
ally dating to the Twelfth Dynasty (1991–1783 B.C.E.), it Nefertari was the mother of Princes Amenhirwon-
is contained in the Leningrad Papyrus. Nefer-rohu, seeing mef, Prehirwonmef, and Meryré, as well as Princesses
the chaos engulfing Egypt at the end of the Old Kingdom, Meryatum and Hentawi. None of her sons succeeded
announced: “A king shall come from the south (Upper their father, as he outlived them, but they served in vari-
Egypt) . . . called Ameni. . . .” This prophecy was proba- ous capacities.
bly a propaganda device for AMENEMHET I (r. 1991–1962
B.C.E.), a usurper of the throne. He is described as a sav- A temple in ABU SIMBEL honored Nefertari, who was
ior of Egypt and reportedly the son of a “Woman of deified while she lived. The temple was dedicated to the
Nubia.” goddess HATHOR. Nefertari probably retired to the harem
palace at MI-WER in the FAIYUM soon after the Abu Simbel
Nefer-rohu also predicted the raising up of the WALL temple was dedicated. While serving as the Great Wife,
OF THE PRINCE, the series of fortresses on the eastern and she took an active role in court affairs and corresponded
western borders of the Delta, to defend Egypt from with the families of foreign rulers. She was the constant
marauding nomadic tribes, especially in the northeast. companion of Ramesses II throughout their marriage,
The prophecy has also been found on tablets and ostraka, and he honored her in life and in death.
indicating that it was used in Egypt’s educational system
for centuries after it was first made public on the Nile. Her tomb in the VALLEY OF THE QUEENS at Thebes is
Nefer-rohu was a lector priest at BUBASTIS in the reign of one of the largest and most beautifully decorated sites in
Amenemhet I. that necropolis. The tomb has an entry stairway and a
central ramp. The interior is bi-level, and reliefs and
Nefersekheru (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) Court official of
the Eighteenth Dynasty The monument honoring Queen Nefertari Merymut, the
He served AMENHOTEP III (r. 1391–1353 B.C.E.) as a stew- favorite consort of Ramesses II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.). This tem-
ard of the royal palaces. Amenhotep III had several royal ple is at Abu Simbel. (Courtesy Steve Beikirch.)
residences in THEBES, including MALKATA, the great plea-
sure complex on the western shore. Malkata was a small
city made of palaces and shrines and boasted a man-made
lake. Nefersekheru was buried at Thebes. The royal fami-
lies of that historical period used Thebes and MEMPHIS as
capitals, but Amenhotep III preferred Thebes and his
pleasure palaces there.

Nefert (Nofret, Nefertet) (fl. 19th century B.C.E.)
Royal woman of the Twelfth Dynasty
She was a consort of SENWOSRET II (r. 1878–1841 B.C.E.).
Two black granite statues portraying Nefert have been

270 Nefertem In the fourth year of Akhenaten’s reign, she
appeared with him at the site of Akhetaten (el-’AMARNA),
paintings are elaborate and beautiful, depicting Nefertari the city dedicated to the god ATEN. In the sixth year of
in mortuary rituals and in daily routines of life. The Akhenaten’s reign, Nefertiti’s name was changed again to
burial chamber has pillars and annexes. The entire tomb reflect the cult of Aten. Nefertiti lived with Akhenaten in
is now being restored, having suffered considerable dam- ’Amarna, where he conducted religious ceremonies to
age over the centuries. Aten. They raised six daughters, but no sons. One of the
daughters, Maketaten, died giving birth to a child, prob-
Nefertem An Egyptian deity, called “the Lord of the ably sired by her father, and the couple’s grief was
Lotus Blossoms,” and “the Protector of the Two King- depicted in wall paintings. Nefertiti disappeared from
doms,” Nefertem was a sun god whose cult was estab- the court after that. There is some evidence that she
lished early in MEMPHIS. His name indicates that he was remained in ’Amarna, living in a villa called HAT-ATEN,
the personification of TEM (1) at HELIOPOLIS, the solar but another daughter replaced her as the pharaoh’s prin-
cult center. He was the son of PTAH and SEKHMET, forming cipal wife. SMENKHARÉ, who became Akhenaten’s succes-
the Memphite trinity. At HELIOPOLIS he was considered sor in 1335 B.C.E., reportedly assumed Nefertiti’s
the son of BASTET, and in BUTO he was called the son of religious name, leading to the speculation that Nefertiti
WADJET. Nefertem was portrayed as a young man wearing actually played this role at the ’Amarna court. She was
an open LOTUS flower crown with feathers and orna- called Neferneferu-Aten, “the Exquisite Beauty of the
ments. The lotus was a symbol of creation and resurrec- Sun Disk.”
tion and played a role in the cosmogonic traditions of
Egypt. In Heliopolis, Nefertem was depicted as the setting A granite head and other unfinished portraits of
sun, and at other sites he was shown as a lion. The lotus Nefertiti have survived. In the Aten temple at KARNAK,
was his symbol and perfumes were sacred to him. Nefer- Nefertiti is shown smiting Egypt’s enemies. Her funerary
tem was associated with RÉ in some cultic rituals. regalia, along with the remains and effects of other
’Amarna royal family members, were removed from
Nefertiabet (fl. 26th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the ’Amarna burial sites during the reign of Tut’ankhamun,
Fourth Dynasty but her remains have not been identified. She outlived
She was a princess of the royal family, a daughter of Akhenaten but probably did not have political power
KHUFU (r. 2551–2528 B.C.E.). Her mastaba at GIZA con- because she represented a period that was being reviled
tains her portrait depicting her in the leopard skin of a across Egypt. When Smenkharé died, Nefertiti may have
priestess. A stela also commemorated Nefertiabet’s service served as a counselor for the young Tut’ankhamun during
to Egypt in the cultic ceremonies maintained by the royal his brief reign. She remains a symbol of Egypt’s beauty
court. and mystery.

Nefertiru (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the Nefert-kau (fl. 26th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the
Eighteenth Dynasty Fourth Dynasty
A daughter of TUTHMOSIS III (r. 1479–1425 B.C.E.), Nefer- She was both the daughter and consort of SNEFRU (r.
tiru died young. She was commemorated in her father’s 2575–2551 B.C.E.). Nefert-kau bore Snefru a son, Prince
tomb in the VALLEY OF THE KINGS on the western shore of NEFERMA’AT, who served later pharaohs in the high offices
THEBES. of the court restricted to the royal family during this
period. She was probably the daughter of Queen HET-
Neferti’s Prophecy See NEFER-ROHU’S PROPHECY. EPHERES (1).

Nefertiti (fl. 14th century B.C.E.) One of the most famous Neferu (1) (fl. 21st century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the
royal women of the Eighteenth Dynasty Eleventh Dynasty
She was the consort of AKHENATEN (r. 1353–1335 B.C.E.) She was the consort of MONTUHOTEP II (r. 2061–2010
and a leading figure at ’AMARNA. Her name meant “the B.C.E.) and his sister, being the daughter of MONTUHOTEP I
Beautiful Woman Has Come,” and she is one of the most and Queen AOH (Yah). With Queen TEM (2), Neferu
beloved and famous of all ancient Egyptians. Nefertiti’s served as a Great Wife. She was buried just north of the
sculpted bust in the Egyptian Museum in Berlin is one of main DEIR EL-BAHRI complex of the pharaoh, and her
the best known of all Egyptian treasures. Little informa- gravesite was covered by HATSHEPSUT’s (1473–1458 B.C.E.)
tion is available concerning her origins, although there has structures.
been a great deal of speculation about her family ties. She
may have been the daughter of AYA (2), the successor of Neferu’s tomb contained a chapel, sloping corridor,
TUT’ANKHAMUN. Her sister was possibly MUTNODJMET (1), and a burial chamber. The walls were decorated with
who married HOREMHAB, the last pharaoh of the dynasty. limestone and reliefs. The site became an ancient pilgrim-
age destination during the New Kingdom era. Hatshep-

sut’s builders opened a passageway to Neferu’s tomb Nefru-Sobek 271
chapel, which was visited by many devout Egyptians of
the period. She was the daughter of SENWOSRET I (r. 1971–1926
B.C.E.). An ivory wand bearing her name was discovered
Neferu (2) (fl. 20th century B.C.E.) Trade official of the in Senwosret I’s tomb. Neferu-ptah was buried near her
Twelfth Dynasty father’s pyramid at el-LISHT.
Neferu served SENWOSRET I (r. 1971–1926 B.C.E.) as over-
seer of transportation and TRADE in NUBIA (modern Neferu-Ré (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the
Sudan), particularly in the region surrounding the Eighteenth Dynasty
fortress at BUHEN, south of the first cataract of the Nile. She was the daughter of TUTHMOSIS II (r. 1492–1479
Buhen was fortified and served as an important garrison B.C.E.) and Queen-Pharaoh HATSHEPSUT (r. 1473–1458
for protecting the expanding trade of the Middle King- B.C.E.) and possibly the consort of TUTHMOSIS III (r.
dom (2040–1640 B.C.E.) during Neferu’s term of office. 1479–1425 B.C.E.). Her most important role, however,
His mortuary STELA provides information about this his- was as the GOD’S WIFE OF AMUN, and she was educated to
torical period and is in the British Museum in London. be a political partner to Hatshepsut when she assumed
the throne as a female ruler.
Neferu-Khayet (1) (fl. 21st century B.C.E.) Royal wo-
man of the Eleventh Dynasty SENENMUT, the powerful temple ally of Hatshepsut,
She was the consort of INYOTEF II (r. 2118–2069 B.C.E.) and ’AHMOSE-PEN NEKHEBET were her official tutors.
and the mother of INYOTEF III. Neferu-Khayet was the Senenmut was also named as her steward and as “Great
grandmother of MONTUHOTEP II, the unifier of Egypt in Father Nurse.” Six statues of Senenmut and Neferu-Ré
2061 B.C.E. The Inyotef line ruled THEBES before Mon- have been discovered, as well as a statue of her as a
tuhotep II marched on the Delta clans to end their pow- young woman. A SINAI tablet refers to her as “King’s
ers. Neferu-Khayet was buried at Thebes. Daughter, King’s Wife.” She reportedly gave birth to a son
and heir, Amenemhet, but the child died in infancy.
Neferu-Khayet (2) (fl. 21st century B.C.E.) Royal wo-
man and nome heiress of the Eleventh Dynasty Neferu-Ré aided Hatshepsut’s reign and remained in
She was a consort of MONTUHOTEP II (r. 2061–2010 B.C.E.) the palace, even as Tuthmosis III was overshadowed by
and a powerful nome aristocrat in her own right. Neferu- his stepmother and moved to MEMPHIS to maintain the
Khayet was the daughter of Princess NEBT, an heiress of great naval base there, called PERU-NEFER. Neferu-Ré died,
ELEPHANTINE Island. A learned woman with considerable however, in the 16th year of Hatshepsut’s reign, weaken-
wealth, Neferu-Khayet maintained libraries and artworks ing the queen-pharaoh.
as the Elephantine Island ranking woman.
Her tomb in a high cliff area on the western shore of
Neferukheb (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of Thebes contained a yellow quartzite sarcophagus but was
the Eighteenth Dynasty never used. Neferu-Ré’s body has not been found, but a
The daughter of TUTHMOSIS I (r. 1504–1492 B.C.E.) and CARTOUCHE was discovered near the site. She was
Queen ’AHMOSE (1), Neferukheb was the elder sister of depicted on the walls of a small temple as a God’s Wife of
HATSHEPSUT, outranking her in the court. She died, how- Amun and was being trained as Hatshepsut’s successor.
ever, before she could become politically powerful.
Neferukheb was buried in THEBES. Nefret (fl. 20th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the
Twelfth Dynasty
Neferu-ptah (1) (fl. 19th century B.C.E.) Royal woman The mother of AMENEMHET I (r. 1991–1962 B.C.E.), Nefret
of the Twelfth Dynasty was a commoner, supposedly of Nubian descent and from
She was probably the sister of AMENEMHET III (r. THEBES. When Amenemhet I usurped the throne upon the
1844–1797 B.C.E.). Neferu-ptah was buried in a mud- death of MONTUHOTEP IV, founding the Twelfth Dynasty,
brick pyramid in the HAWARA royal mortuary complex Nefret received the title of King’s Mother. She was men-
near the LABYRINTH. Her mortuary regalia, including jew- tioned in NEFER-ROHU’S PROPHECY.
elry and silver pieces, have been recovered, although her
tomb was flooded and her sarcophagus was destroyed. Nefrusheri (fl. 20th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the
Twelfth Dynasty
Neferu-ptah (2) (fl. 20th century B.C.E.) Royal woman She was the consort of SENWOSRET I (r. 1971–1926 B.C.E.)
of the Twelfth Dynasty and the mother of AMENEMHET II. Nefrusheri was the
daughter of AMENEMHET I and probably Queen NEFRU-
SOBEK (2). She was buried in el-LISHT, having a small
pyramid in Senwosret I’s mortuary complex. A black
granite statue was found in her tomb.

Nefru-Sobek (1) See SOBEKNEFERU.

272 Nefru-Sobek I have not stolen the property of a god.
I have not said lies.
Nefru-Sobek (2) (fl. 20th century B.C.E.) Royal woman I have not cursed.
of the Twelfth Dynasty I have not copulated with another man.
She was a consort of AMENEMHET I (r. 1991–1962 B.C.E.), I have not copulated with another man’s wife.
becoming queen when another favorite was involved in I have not caused anyone to weep.
an ongoing HAREM plot, or when the older consort died. I have not eaten my heart (indulged in despair).
Another harem plot did succeed, taking the life of the I have not led anyone astray.
pharaoh. I have not gossiped.
I have not slandered.
See also SINUHE THE SAILOR. I have not been contentious in affairs.
I have not caused terror.
Nefru-Sobek (3) (fl. 20th century B.C.E.) Royal woman I have not become heatedly angry.
of the Twelfth Dynasty I have not eavesdropped.
A daughter of SENWOSRET I (r. 1971–1926 B.C.E.), Nefru- I have not made anyone angry.
Sobek was buried in el-LISHT. A granite bowl bearing her I have not made anyone hungry.
name was discovered in Senwosret I’s tomb.
Such confessions covered the scope of the average
Nefrusy (Nefrussy) This was a site north of HER- person’s life in Egypt in all eras. The regulation of per-
MOPOLIS MAGNA that was involved in the military cam- sonal conduct was a constant theme in didactic LITERA-
paigns of KAMOSE (r. 1555–1550 B.C.E.). The HYKSOS and TURE on the Nile, including admonitions against petty
their Asiatic allies maintained a garrison at Nefrusy. acts and minor bad habits, which were consistently con-
Kamose, who adapted the Hyksos CHARIOT and formed an sidered important to the social and spiritual well-being of
effective Egyptian cavalry for his campaigns, attacked the the nation. The spirit of cooperation and quietude are
garrison with a contingent of MEDJAY troops, the warriors also evident in the confessions. The length of the Nega-
of the south who were feared by the enemy. The defenders tive Confessions varied, and in some periods each one of
of Nefrusy were stunned by the arrival of Kamose’s units the affirmations was accompanied by an address to a par-
and fled northward, relinquishing the outpost. This was ticular judge.
one of the first military episodes undertaken by Kamose in
his efforts to oust the Hyksos from Egypt. APOPHIS (2), the See also MORTUARY RITUALS.
Hyksos king at AVARIS, died soon after this assault.
Kamose did not live long enough to complete his efforts, a Nehah-ré A serpentine being associated with the elab-
task that fell to his brother, ’AHMOSE (r. 1550–1525 B.C.E.). orate cultic traditions of the god RÉ, Nehah-ré attacked
Ré on his nightly round through the TUAT, or the Under-
Nefru-totenen (fl. 20th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of world, but failed to halt the divine travels. The serpent
the Twelfth Dynasty was slain each night, only to rise again to continue his
The consort of AMENEMHET I (r. 1991–1962 B.C.E.), she deadly assaults.
was the mother of SENWOSRET I. Nefru-totenen was a
commoner who probably married Amenemhet I before he See also APOPHIS (1).
usurped the throne. She was buried in a small pyramid at
el-LISHT. Nehem-awit She was a divine form of the goddess
HATHOR, called “the Deliverer from Violence,” “the
Negative Confessions Part of the mortuary rituals of Sweeper Away of the Oppressed,” and “the One Who
ancient Egypt now called the “Declarations of Inno- Serves the Deprived.” Depicted as a woman wearing a
cence,” this text was developed by the various priests of solar or lunar disk crown, Nehem-awit was also associ-
the temples to aid the deceased when in the presence of ated with the musical instrument called the SISTRUM, or
the FORTY-TWO JUDGES in the JUDGMENT HALLS OF OSIRIS. seses. She used the sistrum to repel evil spirits. Nehem-
The confessions were to be recited to establish the moral awit was sometimes shown wearing a sistrum crown or
virtue of the deceased and his or her right to eternal bliss. the pillar of Hathor on her head. The goddess was
The Negative Confessions detail some of the ethical and invoked by Egyptians of all eras as one who could repel
moral concerns of the various eras of Egypt, expressing curses and evil spirits.
the aspirations and the acknowledgment of personal
responsibility for actions. The confessions included Nehes A divine being, a form of the sun god RÉ, his
name was translated as “the Awakened One,” “the Awak-
I have not stolen. ened,” or “the Alert One.” Nehes was a companion of
I have not plundered. Ré in the nightly journey through the TUAT, or the
I have not slain people. Underworld, one of a retinue of spirits that guarded Ré’s
I have not committed a crime.

bark as the god visited waiting souls and restored the Neka-’ankh 273
light of day.
from a term describing the weaving of flax or spells. Orig-
Nehesy (1) (fl. 16th century B.C.E.) Obscure ruler of the inally she was depicted as a cow goddess and was hon-
Fourteenth Dynasty at Xois ored as the Mother Goddess of the Western Delta. She
He was a contemporary of the HYKSOS Fifteenth Dynasty was also the patroness of the Libyans who ruled Egypt in
(1640–1532 B.C.E.) and ruled his small city at the same the Twenty-second Dynasty (945–712 B.C.E.). Neith was
time that the last rulers of the Thirteenth Dynasty (c. depicted as a woman wearing the crown of Lower Egypt
1640 B.C.E.) and the Theban Seventeenth Dynasty and holding bows and arrows.
(1640–1550 B.C.E.) were active. Nehesy, whose name
meant “Nubian,” was listed in the TURIN CANON. The Her hieroglyph name was believed to represent a
dates of his reign are unknown. loom shuttle, and the goddess became the patroness of
weavers as well as hunting and warfare. In hymns she was
He served as an official at XOIS and then assumed addressed as “the Opener of the Ways.” By the time of the
royal status locally. His name has been discovered in Old Kingdom Period (2575–2134 B.C.E.), Neith was wor-
inscriptions at TELL EL-HABUA and at other eastern Delta shiped as the consort of the god SET and the mother of
sites, indicating some prominence in the region. Nehesy SOBEK. She was also associated with the goddess NUN, the
ruled only Xois but kept it out of the Hyksos domain. symbol of primeval chaos. The PYRAMID TEXTS honor her
as guarding OSIRIS and ISIS. She was also linked to the
Nehesy (2) (Nehsi) (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Treasury linen wrappings used in the mummification process.
and royal court official of the Eighteenth Dynasty
Nehesy also served HATSHEPSUT (r. 1473–1458 B.C.E.) as Neith (2) (fl. 23rd century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the
chancellor. He served as well as the chief treasurer and as Sixth Dynasty
“the Guardian of the Royal Seal.” Nehesy accompanied She was a lesser-ranked queen of PEPI II (r. 2246–2152
SENENMUT and Prince THUITY on an expedition to PUNT as B.C.E.). The daughter of PEPI I and ANKHNESMERY-RÉ (1),
part of Hatshepsut’s TRADE ventures. He was buried on she was reportedly the widow of MERENRÉ I, Pepi II’s prede-
the western shore of Thebes. His tomb had inscriptions cessor. A pair of OBELISKS was recovered, bearing her name,
concerning the reigns of Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III. and her tomb in Pepi II’s pyramidal complex in south
He was also honored with a shrine at GEBEL EL-SILSILEH in SAQQARA was found to be quite elaborate. A wall that was
NUBIA (modern Sudan). designed with an entrance surrounds this gravesite.
Vestibule walls are covered with reliefs at the opening of
Nehi (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) High ranking official of the the tomb, leading to a colonnaded court with more reliefs.
Eighteenth Dynasty This court has square pillars and is a cult chamber with
Nehi served TUTHMOSIS III (r. 1479–1425 B.C.E.) as the three niches, a SERDAB, and a FALSE DOOR. The actual burial
viceroy of Kush, or NUBIA (modern Sudan). He was given chamber is decorated, and the ceiling is lined with star
the title of “King’s Son of Kush,” a rank that accompanied designs. The PYRAMID TEXTS of the epoch are on the walls,
the office of the VICEROY of that territory in most histori- which also have the traditional “palace facade” design.
cal periods. Nehi erected a victory STELA for Tuthmosis III
at WADI HALFA. His residence was on the ELEPHANTINE Neithotep (fl. 30th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the
Island at ASWAN, where he ruled over the regions of the First Dynasty
south. Nehi brought tribute to the royal court each year, She was probably the consort of NARMER and the mother
calling himself “a Servant Useful to His Lord, Filling His of AHA, the Menes honored as the first pharaoh, c. 2920
House With Gold.” His governorship of Nubia extended B.C.E. Her name meant the “goddess Neith is Content.”
as far south as the third cataract of the Nile. Some scholars believe that Neithotep was the consort of
Aha. Others believe that she is the woman depicted on
Neith (1) (Nit) A goddess, sometimes called Nit by the MACEHEAD of Narmer, the original heiress being pre-
the Egyptians, whose cult dates to Predynastic Periods sented to the unifier of Upper and Lower Egypt.
(before 3000 B.C.E.) on the Nile, she was the archer god-
dess of the Delta region, with a shrine at Basyun, on the Neithotep was provided with a large tomb in ABYDOS
Rosetta branch of the river. Another large temple dedi- by Aha. Her tomb is one of the earliest monuments in
cated to Neith was erected in SAIS, and she was popular in Egypt, designed as a brick mastaba with recessed panels
the FAIYUM and then in Upper Egypt. on the exterior walls. The burial chamber was not subter-
ranean but arranged at ground level. Objects bearing the
A war goddess, Neith was depicted on an elaborate names of Narmer and Aha were found in this tomb.
stela that dates to c. 2900 B.C.E. in the reign of AHA, the
first ruler, also called Menes. Aha reportedly erected Neka-’ankh (fl. 25th century B.C.E.) Cultic official of the
Neith’s temple at Sais. Her name seems to have originated Fifth Dynasty
He served as the mortuary priest for the pyramid of
USERKHAF (r. 2465–2458 B.C.E.). Such priests performed

274 Nekau Nekhebu served PEPI I (r. 2289–2255 B.C.E.) as an archi-
tect and engineer and was involved in court building pro-
cultic rituals for the deceased pharaohs, often residing in jects. He also directed state-sponsored royal programs,
the actual pyramid complex. Neka’ankh’s tomb was dis- including the construction of canals and temples.
covered in SAQQARA, and a part of it was removed and Nekhebu and his son were buried at GIZA.
taken to the British Museum in London.
Nekau See NECHO I.
Nekonekh (fl. 25th century B.C.E.) Royal official of the
Nekauré (fl. 25th century B.C.E.) Prince of the Fourth Fifth Dynasty
Dynasty known for his last will and testament He served USERKHAF (r. 2465–2458 B.C.E.) in the royal
The son of KHAFRE (Chephren; r. 2520–2494 B.C.E.), court and was a nobleman, possibly related to the royal
Nekauré was a mature adult when he died, and he family. Nekonekh received many endowments of land
inscribed a will on the walls of his tomb at Giza that and honors from the pharaoh, some dating originally to
announced that while “Living on His Two Feet, Without the reign of MENKAURÉ (r. 2490–2472 B.C.E.).
Ailing in Any Respect” he was stating his testament for
his death. This phrase was the model for the modern nemes A striped cloth headdress worn only by the
term “Being of Sound Mind and Body.” The will pharaohs, in some historical periods, the nemes, which
bequeathed 14 towns and two estates in the pyramidal was distinguished by distending front panels, supported a
complex of Khafre to his daughter, but her premature full CROWN or simple URAEUS symbols. The nemes were
death made it revert to Nekauré again and eventually to fashioned out of stiff linens or leather.
his wife. Other properties were given to the mortuary
priests in order to secure an endowment of his funerary See also DRESS.
cult. This will is a rare find, being the only document of
its kind from that era in Egyptian history. Nemtyemzaf See MERENRÉ I.

Nekheb See ELKAB. Nenekhsekhmet (fl. 25th century B.C.E.) Medical offi-
cial of the Fifth Dynasty
Nekhebet The white VULTURE goddess, the patroness He served SAHURÉ (r. 2438–2446 B.C.E.) as the chief
of Upper Egypt, whose name meant “She of Enkhab, or physician of the court and held that high-ranked position
Nekheb,” modern ELKAB, Nekhebet was part of the for decades. Because of his service, he was given honors
primeval cosmogonic traditions and symbolized nature at his death. Sahuré provided two FALSE DOORS for
and childbirth. In Upper Egypt she was honored as “the Nenekhsekhmet’s tomb, and in this burial site the ruler is
Lady of the Valley.” Her cult dated to the earliest periods depicted as praising the physician for his wisdom and
of Egyptian history. She was also depicted as a woman age. Nenekhsekhmet’s name is derived from his devotion
with a vulture headdress and a white CROWN. A long- as a medical man to the goddess SEKHMET.
stemmed flower, a water lily with a serpent entwined, was
her symbol. ’ADJIB of the First Dynasty (2920–2770 See also MEDICINE.
B.C.E.) used her name in his royal titles. Then she was
shown as a white vulture with wings outspread, holding Nenwif (fl. 15th century B.C.E.) Military official of the
the ANKH, the cross of life. She was also addressed as “the Eighteenth Dynasty
Great White Cow of Nekheb.” Nenwif served TUTHMOSIS III (r. 1479–1425 B.C.E.) as a
military commander and as the ranking officer of the
AMENHOTEP II (r. 1427–1401 B.C.E.) erected a temple newly formed cavalry units. In this capacity he accompa-
to Nekhebet at Elkab. RAMESSES II (r. 1290–1224 B.C.E.) nied Tuthmosis III on many of his prolonged and far-
enlarged the shrine and added a PYLON. There are crypts reaching campaigns. Nenwif was commemorated for his
under her temple that have elaborate reliefs and painted loyalty and skills on a mortuary stela at THEBES. His wife,
scenes. A SACRED LAKE was part of the architectural Irenana, his son, Meru, and his daughter, Demiwedja,
design. In the mortuary traditions, Nekhebet played a shared his mortuary honors. The names of the family
role in the saga of OSIRIS and inhabited the primeval members indicate possible MEDJAY origins, from Nubia
abyss, NUN, the waters of chaos before creation. In this (modern Sudan).
capacity she was revered as a patroness of nature and cre-
ation. Nekhebet was also revered as a consort of HAPI (1) See also TUTHMOSIS III’S MILITARY CAMPAIGNS.
in some eras.
Neper He was an Egyptian grain deity dating to the
Nekhebu (fl. 23rd century B.C.E.) Construction official early eras and associated with the annual harvests. Popu-
of the Sixth Dynasty lar from the Predynastic Period, before c. 3000 B.C.E.,

Neper was incorporated into the cult of OSIRIS soon after Neskhonsu 275
the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. Many Osirian
traditions and cultic rituals involved beds of grain and The god’s rituals were popular in the Early Dynastic
harvest observances, probably stemming from Neper’s Period (2920–2575 B.C.E.) but then disappeared.
prior ceremonies.
Neshi (fl. 16th century B.C.E.) Multitalented official of
See also OSIRIS BEDS; OSIRIS GARDENS. the Seventeenth Dynasty
Neshi served KAMOSE (r. 1555–1550 B.C.E.) in a remark-
Nephrites I (Baenre’merynetjeru) (d. 393 B.C.E.) able number of capacities. He was the treasurer of the
Founder of the Twenty-ninth Dynasty court, the overseer of royal companions, and the overseer
He ruled from 399 B.C.E. until his death. Nephrites I’s of ships, as well as the commander of the Egyptian fleet
capital was at MENDES, but he controlled a good portion used by Kamose against the HYKSOS at AVARIS.
of the Nile Valley. He captured AMYRTAIOS of SAIS (r.
404–393 B.C.E.) and executed him at MEMPHIS. He also Neshi is recorded as being “the Vibrant One” on the
fought off ARTAXERXES III and the Persians. As ruler, he KARNAK Stela that gives an account of Kamose’s cam-
erected monuments throughout Egypt, refurbished exist- paigns. He possibly served ’AHMOSE (r. 1550–1525 B.C.E.),
ing sites, and also served as a patron of the APIS bull cult. the brother of Kamose and the founder of the Eighteenth
Nephrites I was probably buried in Mendes. His SHABTI, Dynasty, or he was honored by the new pharaoh in retire-
the tomb figurine, was found in a sarcophagus there, and ment. Neshi received a plot of land in MEMPHIS from
a tomb chapel on the site is believed to have been part of ’Ahmose. This land grant ended up as an element of a
his mortuary complex. At his death, PSAMMETICHUS (4) lawsuit by Neshi’s descendant in the reign of RAMESSES II
vied with Nephrites I’s son and heir and usurped the (1290–1224 B.C.E.).
Nesitanebetashru (1) (fl. ninth century B.C.E.) Royal
Nephrites II (fl. 380 B.C.E.) Deposed ruler of the Twenty- woman of the Libyan Twenty-second Dynasty
ninth Dynasty The consort of SHOSHENQ II (r. 883 B.C.E.), she was the
He inherited the throne in 380 B.C.E. from his father mother of HARSIESE, the ill-fated prince of that royal line.
HAKORIS but was threatened by the rise of a new royal Nesitanebetashru was a Libyan noble woman.
line. Nephrites ruled only four months, being deposed by
NECTANEBO I (r. 380–362 B.C.E.). Nesitanebetashru (2) (fl. 11th century B.C.E.) Royal
woman of the Theban branch of the Twenty-first Dynasty
Nephthys (Nebt-het) The ancient Egyptian goddess, She was the daughter of PINUDJEM (2), the high priest of
called the consort and female counterpart to SET, origi- Amun, in the reign of PSUSENNES I (1040–992 B.C.E.) and
nally addressed as Nebt-het, she was the sister of ISIS, his successors. She married Djeptahiufankh, another
OSIRIS, and SET and tricked Osiris into siring her son, Amunite priest, and remained in Thebes. Nesitanebe-
ANUBIS. When Osiris was slain, Nephthys aided Isis in tashru’s mummy was discovered in the DEIR EL-BAHRI
finding his body and resurrecting him. She was part of cache in 1881. Her remains are one of the finest mum-
the revered LAMENTATIONS OF ISIS AND NEPHTHYS. mies to survive over the centuries. Her body is lifelike,
complete with artificial eyes made of stone and black
Nephthys was a patroness of the dead and was asso- pupils.
ciated as well with the cult of MIN. She was also a mem-
ber of the ENNEAD of HELIOPOLIS. The goddess took the See also MORTUARY RITUALS.
form of a kite, a bird displayed in funerary processions,
and she was the patroness of HAPI, one of the CANOPIC JAR Neskhonsu (fl. 11th century B.C.E.) Royal woman and
guardians. Her cult at Kom-Mer in Upper Egypt contin- God’s Wife of Amun of the Twenty-first Dynasty
ued throughout all historical periods. She was called “the She is recorded as being the wife of PINUDJEM (2), the
Lady of the Mansions” or “the Lady of the Books.” She high priest of AMUN at THEBES in the reign of PSUSENNES I
was also identified with the desert regions and was skilled (1040–992 B.C.E.) and his successors. Neskhonsu was
in magic. Nephthys is depicted as a woman wearing the installed as the GOD’S WIFE OF AMUN or the Divine Adora-
hieroglyph for “Castle” on her head. trice of Amun, at Thebes. She was the niece of Pinudjem.
A royal-style sarcophagus from her tomb provides an
Nesbenebded See SMENDES (1). elaborate lists of her titles and privileges.

Neser (Neres) He was an ancient Egyptian fish deity Neskhonsu was buried in the cliffs at DEIR EL-BAHRI
whose cult dates to Predynastic Periods in Egypt, before on the western shore of Thebes. Her blue faience cup was
the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, c. 3000 B.C.E. also discovered there. Her SARCOPHAGUS was apparently
usurped in a later historical period. She was beautifully
depicted in her mortuary regalia as an aristocratic, ele-
gant woman with long dark hair.

276 Nesnimu who understood the role of the PHARAOH as being both
human and divine while he lived. In many cases, how-
Nesnimu (fl. seventh century B.C.E.) Sage and official of ever, the pharaohs were deified after death and in some
the Twenty-sixth Dynasty instances even during their lifetime. RAMESSES II (r.
He served PSAMMETICHUS I (r. 664–610 B.C.E.) as a valued 1290–1224 B.C.E.) was made a god at ABU SIMBEL before
counselor and as the mayor of various cities. Nesnimu he died in 1224 B.C.E.
started his career as a priest of the cult of Horus in EDFU
but became well known for his wisdom and administra- neterui An instrument used in the MORTUARY RITUALS
tive skills. Psammetichus I appointed him as the mayor of of Egypt, called “the Opening of the Mouth,” the neterui,
eight separate Egyptian cities, one after another, and Nes- used with the UR-HEKA in such ceremonies, was also
nimu continued in these roles until his retirement. placed in the mummy wrappings to secure the protection
of the gods. It was a simple angle form made of stone or
Nessumontu (fl. 20th century B.C.E.) Military official of metal. The neterui was considered capable of summoning
the Twelfth Dynasty the gods for protection in the realms beyond the grave.
He served AMENEMHET I (r. 1991–1962 B.C.E.) and SEN-
WOSRET I (r. 1971–1926 B.C.E.) as a military commander. net spells They were magical formulas used by the
Nessumontu led an expedition against the Asiatic Egyptians in mortuary rituals to provide mummies with
Bedouins in the SINAI, probably with Nubian (modern needed protection on the last journey into the TUAT, or
Sudanese) mercenary units. He was there to protect mines Underworld. They were included in the BOOK OF THE
and QUARRIES, possibly reopening some sites. His mortu- DEAD. These incantations allowed the deceased to avoid
ary stela, now in the Louvre in Paris, recounts his career. the snares of demons. Hraf-hef, called “HE-WHO-LOOKS-
BEHIND-HIMSELF,” the ferryman on the Lake of Eternity,
See also EGYPTIAN NATURAL RESOURCES. could also be placated by the net spells. Hraf-hef was
reportedly an irritable being who had to be cajoled into
netcher This was the ancient Egyptian name for the carrying the dead to the various paradises on the opposite
deity symbol used on totems and pennants. When a shore.
netcher was displayed on the FLAGSTAFF at the entrance to
a temple or shrine, it denoted the presence of the deity in Niankh-amun (fl. 24th century B.C.E.) One of the Fifth
the structure. The netcher was visible when the pennants Dynasty court officials buried in the tomb of the Two Broth-
were flown by the wind. Flagstaffs and pennants were ers in Saqqara
part of all religious buildings, dating to the displays of A royal manicurist in life, Niankh-amun shared his tomb
clan and NOME cult totems in the earliest periods in the with a fellow courtier named Khnumhotep. The tomb of
Nile Valley. the Two Brothers was an elaborate MASTABA located near
the pyramid of UNIS (r. 2356–2323 B.C.E.). The families of
neter This was the ancient Egyptian word for a deity, both courtiers were also buried in the tomb.
translated as “power” or “strength,” as well as “renewal”
or “renovation.” A NETERIT was a site or town dedicated Nibamon (Nibamun, Nebamon) (fl. 15th century B.C.E.)
to a GOD. In the truly archaic periods, the word was trans- Military official of the Eighteenth Dynasty
lated as “possessing the power to renew life indefinitely,” He served TUTHMOSIS III (r. 1479–1425 B.C.E.) as a stew-
and was translated as well as “strong of arm.” ard and military officer. Nibamon was on the staff of a
Queen NEBETU’U (2), a lesser-ranked consort of Tuthmo-
neterit This was the ancient Egyptian word for a sacred sis III. He then entered military service and became a cap-
domain or a divine site, a building or a town dedicated to tain in the royal navy. His mortuary stela, discovered in
a particular deity or group of gods. Thebes, contains details of his career.

Neterka (Chairés) (fl. 27th century B.C.E.) Obscure Night of the Tear This was an ancient Egyptian FESTI-
pharaoh of the Second Dynasty VAL, called Qork en-Hatiu or Gerh-en-Hatiu to depict the
Neterka was reportedly the seventh ruler of his line. He tears of the goddess ISIS, shed as commemoratives of
was mentioned in the TURIN CANON. No other informa- OSIRIS’s death. Actually an agricultural or calendric festi-
tion has been documented about him. val, the celebration honored the annual inundations of
the NILE River. The Night of the Tear was celebrated on
neter nefer A title used by the pharaohs of Egypt to the eleventh day of Paoni, considered by many scholars
affirm their divine status, neter signified a deity. The use to be the modern June 17. The feast was also called the
of the qualifying nefer, meaning good or beautiful, less- Night of the Drop.
ened the divine status to some extent, designating a
human element that modified the godlike qualities on
earth. This definition was acceptable to the Egyptians,

Nile It was the “Gift of the Gods” to Egypt, the world’s Nile 277
longest river and the source of all life and abundance in
the ancient Nile Valley. The Nile flows approximately deposits of mud and fertile silt but leached the soil of
4,665 miles out of Africa’s heart on a unique northward harmful salts as well. When the Nile began to recede at the
journey to the Mediterranean Sea and taps two separate end of the inundation, the Egyptians used dams and reser-
climatic resources in order to come bounding into Egypt: voirs to store water for the dry seasons of the year. The
the summer monsoons of Ethiopia and the Sudan, which inundation of the river was gradual, heralded by the arrival
feed the river with storm waters, and Central Africa’s two of SOPDU, the Greek Sirius or the Dogstar, in the sky.
annual rainy seasons, which nurture the Nile with gentle
downpours and overflowing lakes. By July the first waters came rushing into the land,
increasing every day until the fields and orchards were
The Nile flows from two sources. The White Nile flooded. The inundation lasted through October, when
rises from the deep pools of equatorial Africa, and the the Nile receded again. It is estimated that Egypt received
Blue Nile sweeps down from the Abyssinian highlands. as much as 30 feet of mud as part of the inundation. For
These combine with many tributaries, including the this reason the Egyptians called their land Khem, the
Atbara, which joins the Nile at the fifth cataract, bringing Black Land. The deserts on either side of the river were
vast quantities of effluvium and red mud. called the DESHRET, the Red Lands. The stark contrast
between the two regions is still very much evident.
The cataracts of the Nile, the progression of rocky,
white-rapid regions, formed the southern border of Along its banks the Nile sustained a variety of fish
ancient Egypt since the earliest historical periods. The and fowl. Ducks, geese, waterbirds, and nesting birds
first cataract at ASWAN demarcated the border of Egypt for could be caught in the marshes with clap nets or with
centuries. The other cataracts provided rocky peaks upon throwing sticks. The Nile nurtured the sacred LOTUS,
which the Egyptians built a series of fortresses and gar- reeds, and the PAPYRUS plant, which scribes used to make
risoned trading posts and towns to command traffic on papyri. The river was endless in its bounty, and the peo-
the NILE in the area that is now Sudan. ple sang its praises continually. Surviving hymns to the
Nile reflect a true spirit of joy and celebration. The peo-
Just above Aswan, at EDFU, the great Nile Valley ple of Egypt understood from the charts of the
begins. Limestone cliffs parallel the river for more than astronomer-priests when to anticipate the rising floods,
400 miles, marching beside the shoreline, sometimes taking appropriate steps to prepare for the inundation
close to the water and sometimes swinging back toward and conducting rituals to celebrate the religious signifi-
the deserts. The cliffs reach heights of 800 feet in some cance of the event. Nile festivals remained popular in
areas, with mesas and plateaus glistening against the sky. every historical period.
The cliffs on the west stand like sentinels before the
LIBYAN DESERT, and the eastern slopes withdraw into the The river was always “the Father of Life” to the
Arabian or Red Sea Desert. This valley provided a true ancient Egyptians, or the “Mother of all Men” to some
cultural and geographical shelter for the emerging people generations. The Nile was also the manifestation of the
of the region. god HAPI (1), the divine spirit that unceasingly blessed
the land with rich silt deposits from the continent’s core.
The Delta of Lower Egypt is a watery fan of seven The religious texts of ancient times link the Nile to a
major tributaries emptying into the Mediterranean Sea: celestial stream that emptied out of the heavens on the
the Pelusiac, Tanite, Phatnitic (Damietta), Sebennytic, Elephantine, or in the caves thought to be in that region.
Bolbitinic (Rosetta), Mendesian, and Canopic branches. The annual flooding in Hapi’s lands was thus called the
The waters of the BAHR YUSEF, a stream dedicated to “Libation,” made in the honor of HORUS in the south and
Joseph (an Islamic hero and not the biblical patriarch), in honor of SET in the Delta.
flow out of the Nile and into the FAIYUM, a natural
depression alongside the river, about 65 miles south of The name for the river is Greek in origin, a version of
modern Cairo, at ASSIUT. They are trapped in the depres- the Semitic Nakhl, or “river.” The Egyptians called the
sion and form a rich marshland region of wetlands and river HEP-UR, Great Hapi, or “sweet water.” Each genera-
moist fields made available to the ancient Egyptian farm- tion addressed the Nile with its own special name and
ers. The site was also inhabited by CROCODILES, which hymn of praise. The river was Egypt’s life’s blood, not
were honored with a shrine. only sustaining the people but imposing on them a sense
of stewardship and a seasonal regimen, prompting the
The river’s annual floods deposited a ribbon of fertile spirit of cooperation, called MA’AT, that was to become the
soil along its banks that enriched the farmlands and made hallmark of the nation for centuries.
agriculture the economic basis of the nation. In time, the
Egyptians would use canals, irrigation ditches, and sophis- Suggested Readings: Midant-Reynes, Beatrix, and Ian
ticated hydraulic systems to reclaim lands and expand Shaw, transl. The Prehistory of Egypt. London: Blackwell
their agricultural base. When the Nile inundated the land Publishers, 1999; Roberts, Timothy Roland. Gift of the
the benefits were twofold. The river not only left rich Nile: Chronicles of Ancient Egypt. New York: Barnes &
Noble Books, 1998.

278 Nile festivals Nima’athap (Hapnima’at) (fl. 27th century B.C.E.)
Royal woman of the Second and Third Dynasties
Nile festivals These were the celebrations of the river She was the consort of KHA’SEKHEMWY (r. c. 2640 B.C.E.)
and the god HAPI (1), its divine manifestation in ancient and the mother of DJOSER (r. 2630–2611 B.C.E.). Her titles
Egypt, held throughout all historical periods. The NIGHT included “Mother of the King’s Children,” and her name
OF THE TEAR was the June holiday, dedicated to the god- was found in Kha’sekhemwy’s tomb. In Djoser’s reign she
dess ISIS at the beginning of the annual inundation. It bore the title “King’s Mother.” Nima’athap was deified
was believed that the goddess Isis shed tears over the after her death and worshiped as the ancestress of the
body of her husband, OSIRIS, and these tears multiplied Third Dynasty.
and caused the Nile to overflow its banks. The Night of
the Tear honored Isis as the goddess of nurturing and Nimlot (1) (Nemrot) (fl. 10th century B.C.E.) Libyan
mortuary powers, associating her with the basic life-giv- chieftain of Bubastis
ing function of the river. He resided in Egypt in the region of the city of BUBASTIS
and was the father of SHOSHENQ I (r. 945–924 B.C.E.).
The Night of the Dam or the Night of the Cutting of Called Nemrot in some lists, he was the husband of
the Dam was celebrated when the inundation had Princess Mehetemwashe. When Nimlot died, Shoshenq I,
reached its highest levels. Earthen dams were built to then a military commander, appealed to PSUSENNES II (r.
measure the height of the water, and then the upper lev- 959–945 B.C.E.) for permission to establish a mortuary cult
els were thinned and broken by boats. The ceremony sig- for his father and was allowed to make this filial gesture.
nified the completion of the river’s nurturing duties. The
festival remained popular in all eras, and a version was Nimlot (2) (fl. 10th century B.C.E.) Prince of the Libyan
performed in modern times at various sites in Egypt until Twenty-second Dynasty
the building of the dam at Aswan. He was the son of SHOSHENQ I (r. 945–924 B.C.E.) and
Queen PENRESHNAS, the daughter of a Libyan noble. Nim-
Nile level records Inscriptions marking the heights of lot served as a commander of the army and is recorded as
the various annual inundations of the Nile River were being “a great chief of the foreigners, the Meshwesh.” He
discovered on the rocks at SEMNA dating to the reign of contributed 60 BULLS to the shrine at HIERAKONPOLIS. As
AMENEMHET III of the Twelfth Dynasty (r. 1844–1797 governor of Hierakonpolis, Nimlot controlled Middle
B.C.E.). These records continued through the close of the Egypt and the nomes of Upper Egypt.
Seventeenth Dynasty (1550 B.C.E.) and were part of the
annual recording of the river’s inundation levels, similar Nimlot (3) (fl. ninth century B.C.E.) Prince of the Lib-
to the Nilometers. yan Twenty-second Dynasty
He was the son of OSORKON II (883–855 B.C.E.), serving as
Nilometers Pillars or slabs were positioned at var- a military commander at HERAKLEOPOLIS and then as high
ious strategic locations on the river to determine the priest of AMUN in THEBES. His daughter, KAROMANA (5)
height of the annual inundations or floods of the Nile. Merymut, married TAKELOT II. His sons were Ptahwed-
It was important for the Egyptians to determine the jankhaf of Herakleopolis and Takelot. Nimlot restored
flow of the river each year, so they positioned the pillars order at Thebes after the rebellion prompted by HARSIESE.
far south of the first cataract at ASWAN to give early
warning of any variation in the Nile’s flood levels. In- Nimlot (4) (d. c. 712 B.C.E.) Obscure ruler of the Twenty-
formation concerning the projected flood levels was third Dynasty
sent to the ruler and his administrators by messenger. He ruled from c. 828 B.C.E. and then was reduced to the
The various regional governors were also informed so status of a vassal governor of his city-state. Nimlot ruled
that any necessary preparations could be made for the HERMOPOLIS only and joined the coalition started by TEF-
event in their territories. Two such measuring devices NAKHTE of SAIS and including OSORKON IV, PEFTJAU’ABAST
were used in the Delta and at the first cataract in ancient of HERAKLEOPOLIS, and IUPUT of LEONTOPOLIS. The coali-
times, and subsidiary pillars were positioned in the sec- tion faced PIANKHI (1), and his army of Nubians (modern
ond and fourth cataracts during the period of the Sudanese) at Herakleopolis and surrendered to his supe-
empire. rior forces. Nimlot was allowed to remain the ruler of
Hermopolis as a vassal of Piankhi after he surrendered to
The pillars were inscribed with a scale cut into cubit the Nubian ruler.
measurements: 1 cubit equals 18–20.6 inches. Other
measurements were inscribed on later pillars. The Nine Bows This was a term used to signify the ene-
Nilometers not only provided information on the level of mies of Egypt in all eras, normally depicting the foreign
the floods but also allowed the priests and governors to
determine the crops that would thrive as a result of the
amount of silt being deposited. Prospective harvests were
thus assessed and the tax bases of the crops determined
in advance.

nations already subdued. In one Ramessid (1307–1070 Nodjmet 279
B.C.E.) relief the Nine Bows were portrayed as Libyans,
NUBIANS, HITTITES, Syrians, Mesopotamians, Philistines, Nitocris (1) (Nitigret) (fl. c. 2153 B.C.E.) Fabled queen-
Dardanians, Lycians, Sardinians, and Silicians. The actual pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty
composition of the Nine Bows varied from one historical HERODOTUS listed her and related a fable concerning her
period to another, as nations rose and fell while Egypt activities. Nitocris reportedly came to power after her
endured. The enemies designated as the Nine Bows were brother, MERENRÉ II (r. c. 2152 B.C.E.), was slain. In
sometimes depicted on the inner soles of the pharaoh’s vengeance she supposedly invited hundreds of officials
sandals so that he could tread upon their persons. They she believed responsible for her brother’s death to a ban-
were also used on statues and reliefs that celebrated quet in a subterranean chamber and then flooded it. She
Egypt’s military prowess. had a one-year reign and was listed in the TURIN CANON.
Nitocris was the royal consort of Merenré II.
Ninetjer (fl. 27th century B.C.E.) Third ruler of the Sec-
ond Dynasty Nitocris (2) (fl. 7th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the
His capital was MEMPHIS, and he is listed on the PALERMO Twenty-sixth Dynasty
STONE and recorded as appearing “God-Like.” The dates She was the daughter of PSAMMETICHUS I (r. 664–610
of his actual reign are unknown. Ninetjer erected a royal B.C.E.), and Queen MEKHTEMWESKHET (2). Nitocris was
residence and conducted the APIS festivals. An alabaster “adopted” by SHEPENWEPET (2) and became a GOD’S WIFE
statue of him has survived, and vases bearing his name OF AMUN, or a Divine Adoratrice of Amun, at Thebes. She
were discovered in the STEP PYRAMID. He was possibly lived into her 70s and in 595 B.C.E. “adopted” the daugh-
buried under the causeway of UNIS (r. 2356–2323 B.C.E.), ter of PSAMMETICHUS II (595–589 B.C.E.). ANKHESNEFERI-
which was built over the site at SAQQARA. His seals were BRÉ thus became her successor. Nitocris was buried in a
found there. red granite SARCOPHAGUS in THEBES and was given a tomb
chapel in KARNAK.
Another tomb, near the gravesite of HOTEPSEKHEMWY
in SAQQARA, has also been identified as his resting place. Niuserré (Izi) (d. 2392 B.C.E.) Sixth ruler of the Fifth
This burial site has corridors, storerooms, and three main Dynasty
galleries. The burial chamber collapsed, but Late Period He reigned from 2416 B.C.E. until his death. Niuserré was
(712–332 B.C.E.) coffins were discovered there in 1938. probably the son of NEFEREFRÉ or KAKAI. His queens were
This tomb contained other passages and side chambers as KHENTIKUS, REPUTNEB, and NUB. He is also famed for his
well as a labyrinth. Ninetjer apparently put down a major sun temple in ABU GHUROB, a structure made entirely of
rebellion in his thirteenth regnal year. His successor was stone. Once called the Pyramid of Righa, the TEMPLE was
possibly SENDJI, an obscure ruler listed as “the Fearful designed with a large square base and a tapering plat-
One.” form, with an open court and ALTAR. This altar was fash-
ioned out of a monolithic slab of travertine marble,
Nineveh It was the capital of the ASSYRIAN or Agade surrounded by four adornments, carved with the hiero-
nation situated on the eastern bank of the Tigris River glyph of offering. Niuserré sent an expedition to the
near modern Mosul in northern Iraq. The city had seven mines on the SINAI.
and one half miles of defensive walls, erected on two
mounds: Nebi Yunus and Kuyunjik. ASSURBANIPAL, an Niya It was a small nation existing during Egypt’s New
Assyrian king, built a palace and established a cuneiform Kingdom Period (1550–1070 B.C.E.). A client state of
library there. When he entered Egypt in the reign of Egypt, Niya was situated on the banks of the Orontes
TAHARQA (690–664 B.C.E.), ESSARHADDON, another Assyr- River, bordering Nuhashe and Barga. The HITTITES con-
ian ruler, captured the queen, AMUN-DYEK’HET, and crown quered the region, ending Niya’s ties with Egypt. The
prince of the land, USHANAHURA, and took them back to small nation was absorbed into other cultures and ceased
Nineveh as slaves. to exist in the area.

Nisankh-Pepi-Kem (fl. 23rd century B.C.E.) High rank- Nodjmet (fl. 11th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the
ing official of the Sixth Dynasty Twentieth Dynasty
He served PEPI I (r. 2289–2255 B.C.E.) as VIZIER of Lower She was the wife of HERIHOR, the high priest of AMUN at
Egypt. Nisankh-Pepi-Kem was buried at Deir el-Muhar- THEBES, in the reign of RAMESSES XI (1100–1070 B.C.E.),
rak, near ASSIUT. A large pillared chamber in his tomb and was depicted in reliefs in the temple of Khonsu at
leads to a small, undecorated burial shrine. An unfin- KARNAK. Her mummified remains, recovered in Thebes,
ished FALSE DOOR was also part of his tomb. had her heart within her body. Her hair was braided,
and she had artificial eyes and packed limbs and cheeks.
Nit See NEITH (1). Nodjmet’s mummy reflects new embalming techniques

280 Nofret empire, as the nome system and the spirit of cooperation
and joint projects were continued successfully.
introduced into the mortuary rituals in that era. She was
discovered in an adzed coffin. nome This was a province or administrative region of
ancient Egypt, called sepat or the qah in Egyptian and
Nofret (1) (fl. 26th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the nomos by the Greeks. Some nomes date to Predynastic
Fourth Dynasty (before 3000 B.C.E.) times, and all were governed by a
She was the wife of Prince RAHOTEP (1), a son of SNEFRU heri-tep a’a, or NOMARCH, a “Great Overlord,” a hereditary
(r. 2575–2551 B.C.E.). A limestone statue of Nofret, one title roughly equivalent to a prince or count. Such over-
of a pair surviving as portraits of the couple, was found in lords were responsible for military levies demanded by
their mastaba tomb in MEIDUM. The statue, realistic and the rulers and for taxes and tributes assessed for their ter-
lifelike, depicts a prosperous, amiable woman in the ritories. Each nome had a capital city and a cult center
court dress of the time. dedicated to the god of the region, as well as totems, but
these changed in the course of Egyptian history. The total
Nofret (2) (fl. 19th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the number of nomes was altered as well, standardized only
Twelfth Dynasty in the Greco-Roman Period, A grid, called a spat, was
A consort of SENWOSRET III (r. 1878–1841 B.C.E.), Nofret used to designate the nomes.
was buried in the pyramidal complex at el-LAHUN. A
black quartzite statue of her survives. The first recorded mention of such nomes dates to
the reign of DJOSER (2630–2611 B.C.E.), although the
nomarchs The hereditary aristocracy of the Egyptian armies marching with NARMER (c. 3000 B.C.E.) carried
nomes, or provinces, called the heri-tep a’a, these nobles totems depicting nome symbols. By the reign of NIUSERRÉ
raised their own armies, served as representatives of the (2416–2392 B.C.E.), Egypt was divided into the standard
pharaoh, and defended their borders. The nomarchs of 22 nomes in Upper Egypt and 20 nomes in Lower Egypt.
ASSIUT and BENI HASAN were famed for their military
prowess as well. In historical periods of weak rulers, the noon meal This was a repast called “time to perfume
nomarchs became more independent and involved them- the mouth” by the ancient Egyptians.
selves in provincial feuds. Most nomarchs were heredi-
tary princes or counts. Nub (fl. 24th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the Fifth
When ’AHMOSE (r. 1550–1525 B.C.E.) undertook the She was a consort of NIUSERRÉ (r. 2416–2392 B.C.E.). Nub
reorganization of Egypt after the expulsion of the HYKSOS was not the ranking queen of the reign and not the
(Asiatics), he punished the nomarchs that had served the mother of the heir.
foreigners. In time, ’Ahmose invited many such nome
aristocrats to reside in the royal residence at Thebes, the Nubhotepti (fl. 17th century B.C.E.) Royal woman of the
capital. This deprived the nomarchs of their indepen- Thirteenth Dynasty
dence and made them hostages for the continued loyalty She was called “the Child” in mortuary inscriptions.
of their provinces. The nomarchs were also called djadjet. Nubhotepti was provided with a royal tomb at DASHUR,
They and their expanded families maintained their own near the funerary complex of AWIBRÉ HOR. Her mummi-
lifestyles and traditions, even in eras of strong centralized fied remains indicate that she was 44 years of age or older
rule. The cliff tombs of Assiut and Beni Hasan and other when she died, and her portrayal as “the Child” remains
monuments testify to the continuing strength and a mystery.
dynamism of the nomes.
Nubia This was the land composing modern Sudan
In the later eras of Egypt, the nomes assumed impor- below the first cataract of the Nile, called Ta-seti, WAWAT,
tance again as the people centered on their homelands and Kush in reference to specific regions over the various
and strengthened their territories. During the Ptolemaic historical eras. The prehistoric period (c. 6000–3100
Period (304–30 B.C.E.), for example, the legal systems of B.C.E.) culture of the area was based at modern Khar-
the nomes became paramount in maintaining judicial toum. Nomadic cattle herders settled there, and evidence
order, as the Ptolemies used one set of laws for the of pottery and other industries demonstrate a cultural
Greeks and Hellenized populations and another system development. From 4000 to 3100 B.C.E., the culture
for the native Egyptian populations. The Ptolemies relied of Nubia was contemporaneous with Egypt’s Nagada I
upon the traditions of the nomes to clarify and conduct and II.
the legal requirements within the various provinces. The
system proved effective, as the nomes carried on their The A Group of Nubia is evident c. 3100–2800 B.C.E.
normal court and council routines and proved stable in in some areas. The rulers buried by this culture had elab-
all instances. When the Romans occupied Egypt, the
nation proved one of the most reliable provinces of the

orate tombs and funerary regalia. The A Group were ene- Nubia 281
mies of southern Nubians and were colonized by the
Egyptians. The C Group, prospering c. 2100–1500 B.C.E., tion to some extent, but MONTUHOTEP II (r. 2061–2010
were linked to the B Group and resided in the area called B.C.E.) of the Eleventh Dynasty is credited with recon-
Wawat by the Egyptians. They farmed, herded animals, quering the original Egyptian holdings in Nubia after
and traded goods. During the Twelfth Dynasty uniting Upper and Lower Egypt.
(1991–1783 B.C.E.), the C Group was viewed as a threat,
and the Egyptians began to fortify the second cataract During the Middle Kingdom (2040–1640 B.C.E.), the
installations. QUARRIES and mining operations were reopened, and car-
avans from southern domains traded with the Egyptians
The Kermeh culture in Nubia dates to c. 1990–1550 at the fortresses maintained on the Nile. These fortresses
B.C.E. Kermeh became an Egyptian colony under ’Ahmose stretched along the river from cataract to cataract, with
(r. 1550–1525 B.C.E.), and many nobles of this culture each garrison positioned to send messages north or south
were educated in Thebes as a result. The area was of vital in case the Nubians demonstrated widespread migrations
concern to Egypt from the start of the dynastic period, or threatened the trade routes. In the Middle Kingdom
and as early as the First Dynasty (2920–2770 B.C.E.) the the term Kush identified the lower territories of Nubia, a
Egyptian rulers were active to some extent in that region. designation that was used throughout the New Kingdom
AHA (Menes; 2920 B.C.E.) recorded the taking of two vil- as well.
lages below GEBEL EL-SILSILEH during his reign, and the
ruler DJER’S name appears in a mutilated battle scene at When the Middle Kingdom collapsed, the Egyptians
WADI HALFA. Trade with Nubia was also considered essen- withdrew from Nubia, and the region around KERMEH
tial to most dynastic ambitions and resulted in explo- became a capital for the people of Kush. The Kushites,
ration and occupation of Nile sites, although the however, were not able to assist the HYKSOS, or Asiatics,
Egyptians did not penetrate deeply into the lands beyond when the rulers of the Seventeenth Dynasty at Thebes
the Nile shoreline. began their northern assault in c. 1560 B.C.E. KAMOSE,
the last pharaoh of that line, and the older brother
The Egyptians representing throne interests ex- of ’AHMOSE, the founder of the New Kingdom, appears
changed pottery and stone for ivory, gold, ebony, ostrich to have had a viceroy of Nubia. He may have taken pos-
feathers and eggs, leopard skins, copper, amethyst, car- session of the former Egyptian territories before march-
nelian, feldspar, oils, gum resins, cattle, dogs, and a vari- ing against APOPHIS (2), the Hyksos king, using the
ety of exotic wild animals. In time the Nubians MEDJAY, the veteran Nubian troops in service to Thebes.
manufactured additional goods in wood, leather, hide, When Kamose did go into battle he used these Nubians
and various types of metals, using these wares to trade as who had taken up residence in large numbers in the
well, and accepting copper tools, jewelry, and amulets in Egyptian Eastern Desert. The Medjay are believed to be
exchange. The various Nubian cultures were also learn- the PAN-GRAVE people. The necropolis areas designated
ing about the Egyptian cultic traditions and studying as pan-grave sites appear in southern Egypt at this time,
their architectural endeavors. as well as in Lower Nubia. The Medjay remains found
below the first cataract probably belonged to those
At the end of the Second Dynasty, KHA’SEKHEMWY (r. troops who served as an occupying force for the Egyp-
2640 B.C.E.) led a military campaign into Nubia, starting tians there.
colonies, fortifying the major mining sites, and building
garrisons at the trading posts already in existence. The ’Ahmose had viceroys of Nubia and rehabilitated the
Egyptians maintained these posts but did not attempt to fortresses there. In time the Egyptians would control the
penetrate into the hinterland. The first such trading set- Nile down to the fifth cataract. They did not venture far
tlement known was at BUHEN, near the second cataract, inland at any given point but were content to conduct
founded as early as the Second Dynasty. extensive trading operations, along with their usual min-
ing and quarrying systems.
SNEFRU (r. 2575–2551 B.C.E.), the founder of the
Fourth Dynasty, invaded Nubia and reported bringing During this period the Egyptians displayed little
back prisoners and cattle. The gold and copper mines of interest in the customs, religion, or national ideals of the
the region were probably being worked by then, and Nubian people. Their god, DEDUN, received some royal
FORTRESSES and garrisoned positions were becoming patronage, as during the reign of TUTHMOSIS III (1479–
more extensive. Nubians were already serving as merce- 1425 B.C.E.), but in general the region was viewed simply
naries in the Egyptian army. General WENI, the comman- as an occupied territory and was extended none of the
der of the military forces for PEPI I (r. 2289–2255 B.C.E.), courtesies offered the Levantine city-states that were also
attached various units of Nubian warriors to his forces part of the empire.
when he conducted campaigns in the SINAI and Canaan-
ite regions. Nubia was administered by Egyptian officials accord-
ing to accepted procedures. It was divided into an Upper
The extent of Egyptian activity in Nubia during the Nubia and a Lower Nubia, each under the control of a
First Intermediate Period (2134–2040 B.C.E.) is in ques- governor. The northern province probably included the
lands as far south as SEMNA, was called Wawat, and was
administered at ANIBA. Upper Nubia was governed from

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