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"Ramesses is Strong"

Statue of Ramessesnakhte presenting the Theban Triad.©

Bakenkhonsu II
High Priest of Amun Successor:
Dynasty 20th Dynasty
Pharaoh(s) Ramesses IVRamesses IX
Titles High Priest of Amun
Nomarch of Waset
Mayor of Thebes
Father Merybastet
Spouse(s) Adjedet-Aa
Issue Amenhotep, Nesamun, Tamerit
Burial TT293
For other pages by this name, see Ramessesnakhte.

Ramessesnakhte (ancient Egyptian: rꜥ-ms-s-nꜣḫt.w, "Ramesses is Strong") was an ancient Egyptian high official of the Twentieth Dynasty during the New Kingdom, serving approximately three decades as High Priest of Amun.


Ramessesnakhte was the son of Merybastet, who was Chief Steward of the pharaoh. Ramessesnakhte was married to Adjedet-Aat, the daughter of Setau, High Priest of Nekhbet at Eileithyiaspolis (modern el-Kab). Ramessesnakhte is depicted in his father-in-law's tomb at Eileithyiaspolis.

Ramessesnakhte and Adjedet-Aat had at least two sons; Amenhotep and Nesamun, and a daughter named Tamerit. His son Amenhotep would succeed him in office and there is evidence that, at least for a while, his son, the Second Prophet of Amun Nesamun also acted as High Priest of Amun.[1] His daughter Tamerit married Amenemopet, the Third Prophet of Amun and grandson of the High Priest of Amun Bakenkhonsu I who served under Ramesses II, tying these two prominent priestly families through marriage.


As High Priest, Ramessesnakhte personally led a massive mining expedition to the rock quarries of Wadi Hammamat in Year 3 of Ramesses IV. According to a rock-cut stela recording the event,[2] the expedition consisted of 8,368 men alone; including 5,000 soldiers, 2,000 personnel of the Amun temples, 800 Apiru and 130 stonemasons and quarrymen.[3] Ramessesnakhte also secured gold and galena (for eye paint) under Ramesses VII and IX.[4]

Theban Graffito 1860a[]

For a time it was believed that there might have been two High Priests of Amun called Ramessesnakhte.[5] This was based on an incorrect reading of Theban graffito 1860a. This graffito was dated to an anonymous Year 8 and seemed to mention, besides Ramessesnakhte, a Royal Butler and the Mayor of Thebes Amenmose, a Chief Workman of the Necropolis called Amennakhte. Bierbrier suggested to identify this Amennakhte with the Chief Workman of that name who was active in Year 3 of Ramesses X.[6] This would make the Ramessesnakhte of the graffito into the second High Priest of this name. However, Bierbrier's hypothesis would also imply that Ramesses X reached a hitherto unattested Year 8. At the time this seemed to be confirmed by a theory of Richard Parker who, on solely astronomical grounds had postulated a Year 9 for Ramesses X.[7][8] Parker's theory has since been abandoned, and Lanny Bell has shown that the graffito actually mentioned a certain "Pamose, son of the Chief Workman Amennakhte" and not the workman himself.[9] Bell suggested that Theban graffito 1860a actually belonged to Year 8 of the reign of Ramesses VI. Although his hypothesis introduces a hitherto unknown Chief Workman Amennakhte, this is a far more economical solution than having to postulate a second High Priest Ramessesnakhte, a new Mayor Amenmose and some five otherwise unattested years for Ramesses X.[10]

Death and Burial[]

Surrounding the date of his death and burial there is some controversy. The highest attested date for Ramessesnakhte so far stems from Year 2 of Ramesses IX.[11] In a text stemming from the reign of Ramesses XI,[12][13] the High Priest of Amun, Amenhotep, refers to the burial of his father "in year ..... [year lost] of Pharaoh".[14] Since, during this period, in official texts the mere term "Pharaoh" was normally used only to refer to the living king,[15][16] and since Amenhotep is first attested in office in Year 9 of Ramesses IX,[17] Ramessesnakhte must have died under this king.

Ramessesnakhte was buried in his TT293 rock-cut tomb at Dra' Abu el-Naga', which forms part of the greater Theban Necropolis.


  1. Thijs 2009.
  2. Hayes 1978, p. 371.
  3. KRI, VI, 12-14.
  4. Peden 1994.
  5. Bierbrier 1972, p. 195-199.
  6. Bierbrier 1972, p. 197.
  7. Parker 1951, p. 163-164.
  8. Bierbrier 1975, p. 251.
  9. Bell 1980, 7-27.
  10. Bell 1980, 8.
  11. Helck 1967, p. 135-151.
  12. Wente 1966, p. 73-87.
  13. Polz 1998, p. 283.
  14. Wente 1966, p. 78.
  15. Wente 1966, p. 82
  16. Thijs 2004, p. 90-92.
  17. Helck 1984, 245


  • Bell, L., 1980: Only One High Priest Ramessenakht and the Second Prophet Nesamun his Younger Son. Serapis, Vol. 6.
  • Bierbrier, M.L., 1972: A Second High Priest Ramessesnakht? Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 58.
  • Bierbrier, M.L., 1975: The Length of the Reign of Ramesses X. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 61.
  • Hayes W.C. 1978: The Scepter of Egypt: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. II.
  • Helck, W., 1967: Eine Briefsammlung aus der Verwaltung des Amuntempels. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, Vol. 6.
  • Helck, W., 1984: Der Anfang des Papyrus Turin 1900 und 'Recycling' im Alten Ägypten. CDÉ 59.
  • Parker, R.A., 1951: The Length of the Reign of Ramesses X. RdÉ 11.
  • Peden, A.J., 1994: Egyptian Historical Inscriptions of the Twentieth Dynasty. Aegyptiaca. Paul Åströms förlag, Jonsered.
  • Polz, D., 1998: The Ramsesnakht Dynasty and the Fall of the New Kingdom: A New Monument in Thebes. Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur (SAK), Vol. 25.
  • Thijs, A., 2004: "My father was buried during your reign", The burial of the High Priest Ramessesnakht under Ramses XI. Discussions in Egyptology, Vol. 60.
  • Thijs, A., 2009: The Second Prophet Nesamun and his claim to the High-Priesthood. Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur (SAK), Vol. 38.
  • Wente, E.F., 1966: The Suppression of the High Priest Amenhotep. Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 25.
Bakenkhonsu II
High Priest of Amun
20th Dynasty