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Preceded by:
Siptah
Pharaoh of Egypt
19th Dynasty
Succeeded by:
Setnakhte
Tausret
Alternative Spelling: Tawosret
Manetho: Thuris
Tausret

Tausret on a wall relief in her tomb, KV14.

Reign
1191-1189 BC (2 years)
Praenomen
M23
t
L2
t
<
C2H8
t
C12U6ii
>
Sitre-Meritenamun
Daughter of Re,
Beloved of Amun
Nomen
G39N5<
t&AF12sr
X1
U21
n
>
Tausret-Setepenmut
Mighty Lady, Chosen of Mut
Horus name
G5E1
D40
C10U6iiO33
Kanakhte-Merymaat
Strong Bull, Beloved of Ma'at
Nebty name
G16U17
Y1
I6
Aa13
t
O49
wD40
f
N25
t
Z3
Geregkemet-Wafkhasut
Founder of Egypt, who
vainquishes foreign countries
Legacy
Father Merenptah (?)
Mother Takhat (?)
Consort(s) Seti II
Issue Seti (?)
Died 1189 BC
Burial KV14 (?)
Monuments Mortuary temple

Sitre-Meritenamun Tausret (also Tawosret) was the last known ruler and the final Pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. She is recorded in Manetho's Epitome as Thuris and said to have ruled Egypt for seven years, but this figure included the nearly six-year reign of Siptah, her predecessor.[1] Tausret simply assumed Siptah's regnal years as her own.

Name[]

Tausret is known as Thuris (Θουωρις) in Manetho's Epitome. Upon coronation, Tausret adopted the throne name (or prenomen) Sitre-Meritenamun (ancient Egyptian: zꜣ.t-rꜥ mry.t-n-ỉmn, "Daughter of Re, Beloved of Amun"). She added the epithet Setepenmut (ancient Egyptian: stp-n-mwt, "Chosen of Mut") to her birth name (or nomen). Her name is thus realised as Sitre-Meritenamun Tausret-Setepenmut.

Family[]

See also: 19th Dynasty Family Tree.

Tausret is known to have been the Queen of Seti II. She may well have been the mother of Seti II's only known child Seti. However, tomb KV56 might represent the burial of their daughter as well.[2] Although her parentage remains uncertain, she has been speculated to have possibly been a daughter of Pharaoh Merenptah and his secondary wife Takhat, thereby potentially making her sister to Amenmesses and half-sister to her husband Seti II. Alternatively she has been suggested to have been a late daughter of Ramesses II. However, Tausret is not attested with the title "King's Daughter" (zꜣ.t-niswt), which she would use if she was the daughter of either pharaoh. Her queenship and subsequent rise to kingship indicate that Tausret must have been an important member within the royal family and therefore at least probably a granddaughter of Ramesses II, which could explain the absence of the title King's Daughter.

For many years, a certain Tiaa was accepted as the principal wife of Seti II – over Tausret – and mother of the later pharaoh Siptah.[3] This was based on a number of funerary objects found in the KV47 tomb of Siptah bearing the name of Tiaa as King's Wife and King's Mother. However, recent research showed that all these artifacts belonged to Tiaa, the Eighteenth Dynasty wife of Thutmose IV, and washed into Siptah's tomb from her nearby KV32 tomb as the result of an accidental breakthrough.[4]

Prior to Accession[]

Tausret was the queen consort of Seti II throughout his reign. After her husband's death, she would rule as co-regent for his successor Siptah, jointly with Bay, and subsequently become pharaoh in her own right after siptah's early demise.

Bay, however, later fell out of favor at court presumably for overreaching himself and last appears in public in a dated Year 4 inscription from Siptah's reign. He was executed in the fifth year of Siptah's reign, on orders of the king himself, a decision that might have been influenced by Tausret as she ultimately benefitted the most from Bay's demise. News of his execution was passed to the Workmen of Deir el-Medina in Ostraca IFAO 1254, which has been translated and published by Pierre Grandet.[5] Callendar notes that the reason for the king's message to the workmen was to notify them to cease all work on decorating Bay's tomb since Bay had now been deemed a traitor to the state.[6]

Meanwhile, Egyptian territories in Canaan seem to have become effectively independent under the overlordship of a man called Irsu. Papyrus Harris I, the main source on these events, seems to claim that Irsu and Tausret had allied themselves, leaving Irsu free to plunder and neglect the land.[7]

Dates and Length of Reign[]

Tausret's highest known date is II Shemu 29 Year 8, a hieratic inscription found on one of the foundation blocks (FB 2) of her mortuary temple at Gournah in 2011.[8] Since this was only a foundation inscription and Tausret's temple, although never finished as planned, was at least partially completed, it is logical to assume that some time must have passed before her downfall and the termination of work on her temple project. Richard Wilkinson stressed that Tausret's mortuary temple was "largely structurally completed," although bearing minimal decoration;[9] therefore, she would have ruled for several more months beyond II Shemu 29 of her Year 8 for her temple to reach completion. Further study by Pearce Paul Creasman has concluded that the temple was "functionally complete."[10] She could, hence, have possibly ruled for 6 to 20 more months after the inscription date to achieve these levels of completion, thus starting her 9th regnal year around the interval of IV Akhet/I Peret — when her husband died (since she assumed Siptah's reign as her own) or perhaps longer — before Setnakhte's rule began. Or she could have had a nearly full nine-year reign, including the six-year reign of Siptah.

Burial and Succession[]

Tausret's reign ended in a civil war, which is documented in the Elephantine stela dated to Year 2 her successor Setnakhte, who became the founder of the Twentieth Dynasty. The stela touches on this chaotic period and looting of gold from Egyptian temples by Asiatics. It is not known if Tausret was overthrown by Setnakhte or whether she died peacefully in her own reign; if the latter is the case, then a struggle may have ensued among various factions at court for the throne in which Setnakhte emerged victorious. However, it appears more likely that Setnakhte overthrew Tausret from power in the unfolding civil war.

Setnakhte and his son Ramesses III described the late 19th dynasty as a time of chaos. Ramesses III later excluded Tausret and Siptah from his Medinet Habu list of Egyptian kings, thereby delegitimizing their kingship in the eyes of the public.[11]

Setnakhte usurped the joint KV14 rock-cut tomb of Seti II and Tausret in the Valley of the Kings. He reburied Seti II in tomb KV15, while deliberately replastering and redrawing all images of Tausret in tomb KV14 with those of himself. Setnakhte's decisions here may demonstrate his dislike and presumably hatred for Tausret since he chose to reinter Seti II but not her.[12]

Mummy[]

Main article: Unknown Woman D

Unknown Woman D

Mummyhead of Unknown Woman D (Smith 1912).

The whereabouts of Tausret's mummy remains unknown. However, a mummy found in a cache of royal mummies in KV35 and known as Unknown Woman D has been identified by some scholars as possibly belonging to Tausret, but the only evidence in favor of this identification is the late Nineteenth Dynasty style of mummification and the close proximity to Seti II and Siptah's mummies in KV35.[13] Unknown Woman D was the body of a frail, emaciated woman who had probably been elderly at the time of her death. Smith reported that the wrappings had been very carelessly applied by the embalmers who had not even bothered to individually wrap the fingers and toes.[14] Alternatively, Tiye-Mereniset, the principal wife of pharaoh Setnakhte, has also been proposed as the identity of the Unknown Woman D mummy.

References[]

  1. Hornung et al. 2006, p. 214.
  2. Dodson & Hilton 2004.
  3. Aldred 1963, p. 41-48.
  4. Dodson 2010, p. 91.
  5. Grandet 2000, p. 339-345.
  6. Callender 2006, p. 54.
  7. Goedicke 1979, p. 1-17.
  8. Wilkinson 2011a, p. 8, fig. 4.
  9. Wilkinson 2011b, p. 166.
  10. Creasman 2013, p. 15.
  11. Epigraphic Survey, Medinet Habu IV: Festival Scenes of Ramesses III, University of Chicago Oriental Institute Publications, vol. 51 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1940), pl. 203.
  12. Altenmüller 2001, p. 222-231.
  13. Tyldesley 2006.
  14. Smith 1912.

Bibliography[]

  • Altenmüller, H., 2001: The Tomb of Tausert and Setnakht, in Valley of the Kings (ed. Kent R. Weeks). Friedman/Fairfax Publishers, New York.
  • Callender, G., 2006: The Cripple, the Queen & the Man from the North. KMT Vol. 17, No. 1.
  • Creasman, P.P., 2013: Excavations at Pharaoh-Queen Tausret's Temple of Millions of Years: 2012 Season. Journal of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities. Vol. 39.
  • Dodson, A./Hilton, D., 2004: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson.
  • Goedicke, H., 1979: Irsu the Khasu in Papyrus Harris. Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes. Vol. 71.
  • Hornung, E./Krauss, R./Warburton, D., (editors) 2006: Handbook of Ancient Egyptian Chronology. Brill.
  • Smith, G.E., 1912: The Royal Mummies. (2000 reprint ed.). Bath, UK: Duckworth.
  • Tyldesley, J., 2006: Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London.
  • Wilkinson, R.H., 2011a: History of the Temple. in The Temple of Tausret: The University of Arizona Egyptian Expedition Tausret Temple Project.
  • Wilkinson, R.H., 2011b: Tausert Temple Project: 2010-11 Season. The Ostracon: The Journal of the Egyptian Study Society, Vol. 22.
Predecessor:
Siptah
Pharaoh of Egypt
Nineteenth Dynasty
Successor:
Setnakhte
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