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God's Wife of Amun (ancient Egyptian: ḥmt-nṯr n jmn) is an ancient Egyptian religious occupational title. It was created for the chief priestess of the ancient Egyptian deity Amun, thus being the female equivalent of the High Priest of Amun. During the first millennium BCE, the God's Wife of Amun exercised her largest measure of influence, facilitating the transfer of power from one pharaoh to the next, adopting his daughter as heir to her own office. The God's Wife of Amun ruled over the extensive temple duties and domains, controlling a significant part of the ancient Egyptian economy.

God's Wife of Amun

The title "God's Wife of Amun" might have shared a similar purpose to that of the titles "God's Wife" (of which it is the extended version) and "God's Mother". The latter two titles served as propaganda to emphasize the king's divine conception by Amun,[1] thus conveying that the Pharaoh was a (demi)god. Previously the pharaoh was considered to become divine only after death. While the God's Wife of Amun title was theoretically sacred, it was essentially wielded as a political tool by the pharaoh to ensure "royal authority over the Theban region and the powerful priesthood of Amun" there.[1]

However, the extended title God's Wife of Amun also extended its purpose in not merely conveying a message, but as a functional office. Unlike the God's Wife and God's Mother, the God's Wife of Amun held a priestly post of importance in the temple of Amun at Thebes and thus effectively became the female counterpart of the High Priest of Amun.


The title "God's Wife of Amun" is first used during the Eighteenth Dynasty.[2] The first God's Wife of Amun was Ahhotep I, who was succeeded by her daughter, Ahmose-Nefertari.[3] The latter's appointment to this function was recorded on a stele in the temple of Amun at Karnak. She was succeeded in this office by her daughter Ahmose-Meritamun, who in turn handed it to Hatshepsut, before the latter ascended the throne as pharaoh. Both Ahmose-Nefertari and Hatshepsut sometimes used the title as an alternative to that of "King's Great Wife", which shows the importance of the role. Upon becoming king in her own right, Hatshepsut passed the title on to her daughter Neferure.[4] Under Thutmose III and Amenhotep II the title and its powerful office had fallen into disuse, presumably a deliberate attempt to limit female power and to guarantee that another 'Hatshepsut case' would not occur in the future.

However, as the authority of the reigning king declined while that of the High Priest of Amun kept rising at Thebes towards the end of the New Kingdom, the office of God's Wife of Amun was resurrected by Ramesses VI and the title given to his daughter Iset. Additionally she was the first to hold the new title "Divine Adoratrice of Amun", to accompany a resurgence of the title God's Wife of Amun.

The office of the God's Wife of Amun reached the very height of its political power during the late Third Intermediate Period, when Shepenupet I, Osorkon III's daughter, was first appointed to this post at Thebes. The Nubian king Kashta, in turn, appointed his daughter, Amenirdis I, as her successor. The high status of this office is illustrated by the tomb of Amenirdis at Medinet Habu.[1]

Later, during the Saite Twenty-sixth Dynasty, Psamtik I would forcibly reunite Egypt in March 656 BC under his rule and compel the God's Wife of Amun serving at the time, Shepenupet II, daughter of Piye, to adopt his daughter Nitocris I as her chosen successor to this position.

The office continued in existence until 525 BC under Nitocris' successor, Ankhnesneferibre, when the Persian Empire overthrew Egypt's last Saite ruler, Psamtik III (526–525 BC), and enslaved his daughter. Thereafter, the powerful office of God's Wife of Amun disappears from history.

List of God's Wives of Amun[]

The following God's Wives of Amun are known:

New Kingdom[]

God's Wife Dynasty Pharaoh Comment
Ahhotep I 18th Dynasty Ahmose IIAmenhotep I Possibly the first God's Wife of Amun.
Ahmose-Nefertari 18th Dynasty Amenhotep IThutmose I
Ahmose-Meritamen 18th Dynasty Amenhotep I
Hatshepsut 18th Dynasty Thutmose IThutmose III Succeeded by her daughter Neferure when she became Pharaoh.[4]
Neferure 18th Dynasty Hatshepsut God's Wife of Amun office gets dissolved during the reign of Thutmose III and/or Amenhotep II.
Iset 20th Dynasty Ramesses VI God's Wife of Amun office revived, first God's Wife attested with the additional title of Divine Adoratrice of Amun.

Third Intermediate Period[]

God's Wife Dynasty Pharaoh Comment
Mutemhat Maatkare 21st Dynasty Smendes ISiamun (?) Daughter of High Priest of Amun Pinedjem I.
Henuttawy 21st and 22nd Dynasty Siamun (?) – Osorkon II Daughter of High Priest of Amun Pinedjem II.
Tashakheper 22nd Dynasty Osorkon II Daughter of Osorkon II. Mentioned as God's Wife of Amun in the Genealogy of Ankhefenkhonsu.
Mutemhat-Sitamun Karomama-Meritmut 22nd and 23rd Dynasty Osorkon II – Osorkon III Possibly a daughter of Osorkon II.
Khnemetibamun Shepenupet I 23rd and 25th Dynasty Osorkon III – Shabataka Daughter of Osorkon III.
Khaneferumut Amenirdis I 25th Dynasty Shabataka – Shabaka Daughter of Kashta.
Henutneferumut-Iryetre Shepenupet II 25th and 26th Dynasty Shabaka – Psamtik I Daughter of Piye.

Late Period[]

God's Wife Dynasty Pharaoh Comment
Nebetneferumut Neithiqret I 26th Dynasty Psamtik IWahibre Daughter of Psamtik I.
Heqaneferumut Ankhnesneferibre 26th Dynasty Wahibre – Psamtik III Daughter of Psamtik II. Last attested God's Wife of Amun, since the office gets dissolved under Persian rule.

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Wilkinson 2005, p. 93.
  2. Ayad 2009.
  3. Troy 1986, appendix A, 18.2 and 18.3.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Tyldesley 1996, p. 101–103.


  • Ayad, M.F., 2009: God's Wife, God's Servant. Routledge.
  • Troy, L., 1986: Patterns of Queenship in Ancient Egyptian Myth and History. Vol. 98. BOREAS 14. Uppsala: ACTA Universitatis Upsaliensis.
  • Tyldesley, J., 1996: Hatchepsut: the female pharaoh. Viking.
  • Wilkinson, T., 2005: The Thames and Hudson Dictionary of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London.