God's Wife of Amun
To be in conformity with the "Maat", the old-Egyptian
"Order" of the world, the king required an authentication of
his kingship. This essential
condition could be fulfilled by the three following circumstances:
The Political authentication
achieved by the following alternatives, the
patrilineal authentication, i.e. the new king was the bodily son of the
deceased king (i.e. of royal
the matrilineal authentication, i.e. the new king
married the hereditary
princess (king's bodily daughter)
is achieved via adoption by the ruling king or via the determination by the predecessor
is derived by divine descent or by divine election (Oracle; Dream).
Obviously during the reign of the Ahmosid kings (possibly already under Seqen-En-Ra
Tao) the institution of the "God's Wife of the Amun at Ipet Isut"
gained special importance in the royal ideology to prevent illegitimate rulers. This is probably a reaction to
the confusing circumstances at or after the end of the Middle Kingdom.
|The institution of the "God's Wife of Amun" (=
Hmt nTr n
probably based on the idea that the king was the "bodily" Son of God. This
idea is testified since the 4. Dynasty, formulated in the royal title
"Son of Ra (Sa Ra)", which supposed that God in shape (or
guise) of the ruling king fathered with the "God's and King's Wife"
the - divine - heir and successor to the throne.
In a certain way terrestrial rulers and their way of
life "are reflecting" some of the Egyptian Gods and vice versa. The main God
of the New Kingdom, Amun, and his wives of Amaunet and Mut confirm that
Thus, Amun gained importance together with the dynasty of Thebes.
When Thebes became the capital of the Middle Kingdom, Amun got the surname
"Lord of the Thrones of the Two Lands" and became, in dependence
on the power of the terrestrial king, "King of Gods" and "Ruler of the
[Company of the] Nine Gods".
Amaunet and Mut with whom he
is presented in the New Kingdom as a married couple both showed a comparable development.
His older female "counterpart" Amaunet took her seat together with
him in the temple of Amun at Karnak as the "Divine Couple", however in contrast to
Mut she did not have an own temple or cult (Kees, 1977).
Mut, the old local goddess of Thebes who carried the title
"Mut of the holy lake Ascheru (ISrw)",
"developed" rather lately in religion history of Egypt. At the
time of Hatshepsut Mut gained with the help of Amun the position of a
"Lady" as the "Lady or Mistress of the Sky" - and like the terrestrial queen
who was called "Lady of the Two Lands" since the beginning of the New
Kingdom - "Mistress of the Gods". From this also the
representations of Mut with the double crown were derived. In a
"playing" with the other meaning of her name (mwt
= mother) she was the female part of the triad of Thebes together with Amun
as the "father" and "Khons" as their common son.
Beside the goddess Mut as his "queen" in the realm of the gods Amun is
married on earth with terrestrial wife, the "God's Wife [of Amun]",
with her he produced the next king. How this procreation between Amun and the
terrestrial wife happened is shown by the examples of the birth myths of
Hatshepsut (regarding her mother, Ahmose; in Djeser djeseru) and of Amenhotep
III (regarding his mother, Mut-em-wia; in Luxor temple). Thus, the heir to the throne was
derived only from the "divine" marriage of Amun with his
Thus, the institution of the "God's Wife" seems to be - so Grimm and Schoske, 1999, -
in a way an addition or advancement to 3. - the divine - authentication specified
above and possibly should ensure for the
Ahmosid house their legitimate claim for the throne. An survey about
the "History of the God's Wifes of Amun in the 18.
Dynasty" is presented on an own page.
Therefore the office the "God's Wife" was
reserved exclusively to daughters and
sisters of the king. The oldest daughter of the king, in the case that
he had none, also the highest-ranking sister of the king was introduced
into this offices and thereby chosen to become the wife of her brother
or half-brother. Obviously, the young girl was introduced into the
office by a incumbent "God's Wife" - most likely her
mother (this is only the case in the beginning 18th dynasty; later the
office was passed on by adoption and finally conferred) . By marriage with her
brother or half brother she guaranteed his authentication as a new ruler.
Among other things
the determination of the "God's Wife of Amun" to become
the "King's Wife" of
the next ruler means nothing less than that she took the terrestrial role
Mut, the wife of Amun in the realm of gods. Therefore, here are to be drawn clear
connections to the Myth of
Birth of Egyptian kings.
From the early period of the 18. Dynasty are known the following daughters ("sat nesu"),
sisters ("senet nesu") of the kings and God wives - all from
the house of the Ahmosids:
Ah-hotep, Ahmose-Nefertari, Sat-Amun, und Ahmose-Merit-Amun I, Sat-Kamose.
| In contrast, for her mother, Ahmose, the title of a "God's Wife"
is not testified - this is also true for the title "King's Daughter"
(the only one certified for her is that of a "King's Sister"). Since this
again speaks against a royal descent of Ahmose, she actually
could not have provided the required authentication for the accession of
her husband Thutmosis I.
|The first "God's Wife" from the Thutmosid family was therefore the "King's
Daughter" and "King's Sister" Hatshepsut.
|In connection with Hatshepsut this further means that she, since she
was not the daughter of a "God's Wife" must have been
appointed into the office! The last "God's Wife" - perhaps her
grandmother - Ahmose
Nefertari could have had "adopted" Hatshepsut and so appointed her into
vacant office of a "God's Wife".
|As the preceding
"God's Wife" had transferred
the office to their presumed daughters, Hatshepsut also transferred this office during
her lifetimes to her own daughter Neferu-Ra. Thereby, Neferu-Ra would have been
determined at the same time to become in future the "Royal Wife" of Thutmosis