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God's Wife (ancient Egyptian: ḥmt-nṯr) is an ancient Egyptian honorific title which was often allocated to royal women during the Eighteenth Dynasty. The title indicates an inherited sacral duty, in which the role of "God's Wife" passed from mother to daughter. The role could also exist among siblings, as in the case of the role of "God's Wife" being shared or passed by daughters of Ahmose-Nefertari, Ahmose-Sitamun and her sister, Ahmose-Meritamen.[1]

God's Wife
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The title "God's Wife", as well as the similar queenly title "God's Hand", may "hint at a duty to provide the necessary feminine element in rituals designed to physically stimulate male gods".[2] The title was held exclusively by the King's Mother, thus emphasizing an important sacred and symbolic duty as the earthly female companion of the creator god, who impregnated the queen with the Pharaoh. Ultimately serving as propaganda for the king to legitimize his claim to the throne.

The title "God's Wife" is in use by the time of the Twelfth Dynasty, when the title is attested for the non-royal women Iy-meret-nebes and Neferu.[3] The "God's Wife of Amun" is the extended version of the title, which is first used during and mainly after the Eighteenth Dynasty.[3] The God's Wife of Amun is involved in the "Divine Cycle" myth of the deity Amun[4][5] and the highest ranking priestess in the cult of Amun. Only two Eighteenth Dynasty queens held this extended title; Ahhotep I and Ahmose-Nefertari.[6]

List of God's Wives[]

The following God's Wives are known:

New Kingdom[]

God's Wife Dynasty Pharaoh Comment
Sitirbau 17th Dynasty (?) Unknown Shown with the title in the TT2 tomb of Khabekhnet.
Takheredqa 17th Dynasty (?) Unknown Shown with the title in the TT2 tomb of Khabekhnet.
Ahhotep I 17th and 18th Dynasty Tao IIAmenhotep I Possibly the first God's Wife of Amun.
Ahmose-Nefertari 18th Dynasty Amenhotep IThutmose I
Ahmose-Sitkamose 18th Dynasty Ahmose II Probably received the title God's Wife posthumously.
Ahmose-Meritamen 18th Dynasty Amenhotep I
Ahmose-Sitamun 18th Dynasty Amenhotep I Probably received the title God's Wife posthumously.
Hatshepsut 18th Dynasty Thutmose IThutmose III
Neferure 18th Dynasty Hatshepsut
Iset 18th Dynasty Thutmose III
Sitiah 18th Dynasty Thutmose III
Meritre-Hatshepsut 18th Dynasty Thutmose IIIAmenhotep II
Meritamen 18th Dynasty Thutmose III
Tiaa 18th Dynasty Thutmose IV
Sitre 19th Dynasty Ramesses I
Tuya 19th Dynasty Seti I
Nefertari 19th Dynasty Ramesses II
Meritamen (?) 19th Dynasty Ramesses II Possibly inherited the office of God's Wife of Amun from her mother.
Tausret 19th Dynasty Seti IISiptah
Tyti 20th Dynasty Ramesses III
Iset Tahemdjeret 20th Dynasty Ramesses III
Iset 20th Dynasty Ramesses VI First God's Wife attested with the additional title of Divine Adoratrice of Amun.

Third Intermediate Period[]

God's Wife Dynasty Pharaoh Comment
Maatkare 21st Dynasty Smendes I - Osorkon (?) Daughter of High Priest of Amun Pinedjem I.
Henuttawy 21st Dynasty Osorkon - Shoshenq I (?) Daughter of High Priest of Amun Pinedjem II.
Sitamun-Mutemhat Karomama-Meritmut 22nd Dynasty Osorkon IIShoshenq III Possibly a daughter of Osorkon II.
Tashakheper 23rd Dynasty Takelot III (?) Daughter of Osorkon II.
Khnemetibamun Shepenupet I 23rd Dynasty Osorkon III Daughter of Osorkon III.
Khaneferumut Amenirdis I 25th Dynasty PiyeShabaka Daughter of Kashta.
Henutneferumut-Iryetre Shepenupet II 25th and 26th Dynasty TaharqaPsamtik I Daughter of Piye.

Late Period[]

God's Wife Dynasty Pharaoh Comment
Nebetneferumut Nitocris I 26th Dynasty Psamtik IPsamtik II Daughter of Psamtik I.
Hekatneferumut Ankhnesneferibre 26th Dynasty Psamtik IIPsamtik III Daughter of Psamtik II. Last attested God's Wife.

See also[]

References[]

  1. Troy 1986.
  2. Tyldesley 2011, p. 44.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ayad 2009.
  4. Gitton 1984.
  5. Robins 1983, p. 65-78.
  6. Troy 1986, appendix A, 18.2 and 18.3.

Bibliography[]

  • Ayad, M.F., 2009: God's Wife, God's Servant. Routledge.
  • Gitton, M. 1984: Les divine éspouses de la 18e dynastie. Centre de Recherches d'Histoire Ancienne 61/Annales Littéraires de l'Université de Besançon 306. Paris: Les Belles-Lettres.
  • Robins, G. 1983: The God's Wife of Amun in the 18th Dynasty in Egypt. In A. Cameron and A. Kuhrt, Eds., Images of Women in Antiquity. Cranberra: Croom Helm.
  • Troy, L., 1986: Patterns of Queenship in Ancient Egyptian Myth and History". Vol. 98. BOREAS 14. Uppsala: ACTA Universitatis Upsaliensis.
  • Tyldesley, J., 2011: Myths & Legends of Ancient Egypt. Penguin Books, London.
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