Grave mask of pharaoh Amenemope in the Cairo Museum
|Reign||1001 – 992 BC (21st Dynasty)|
|Successor||Osorkon the Elder|
|Burial||Tanis, NRT III|
Pharaoh Amenemope (prenomen: Usermaatre) was the son of Psusennes I. Amenemope/Amenemopet's birth name or nomen translates as "Amun in the Opet Festival." He served as a junior co-regent at the end of his father's final years according to the evidence from a mummy bandage fragment. All surviving versions of his Manetho's Epitome state that Amenemope enjoyed a reign of 9 years. Both Psusennes I and Amenemope's royal tombs were discovered intact by the French Egyptologist Pierre Montet in his excavation at Tanis in 1940 and were filled with significant treasures including gold funerary masks, coffins and numerous other items of precious jewelry. Montet opened Amenemope's tomb in April 1940, just a month before the German invasion of France and the Low Countries in World War II. Thereafter, all excavation work abruptly ceased until the end of the war. Montet resumed his excavation work at Tanis in 1946 and later published his findings in 1958.
The Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen states that there are few known monuments of Amenemope. His tomb at Tanis was barely 20 feet long by 12–15 feet wide, "a mere cell compared with the tomb of Psusennes I" while his only other original projects was to continue with the decoration of the chapel of Isis "Mistress of the Pyramids at Giza" and to make an addition to one of the temples in Memphis. Amenemope was served by two High Priests of Amun at Thebes—Smendes II (briefly) and then by Pinedjem II, Smendes' brother. Kitchen observes that
- "in Thebes, his authority as king was undisputed--no less than nine burials of the Theban clergy had braces, pendants or bandages inscribed with the name of Amenemope as pharaoh and of Pinedjem as pontiff. Pen-nest-tawy, captain of the barge of Amun in Thebes, possessed a Book of the Dead dated to Year 5 of this king's reign."
In the introduction to the third (1996) edition of his book on The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (TIPE), Kitchen notes that Papyrus Brooklyn 16.205 which mentions "a Year 49 followed by a Year 4 must now be attributed to the time of Psusennes I and Amenemope, [and] not to Shoshenq III and Pami. (cf.103, §83 below)" due to the discovery of a new Tanite king named Shoshenq IV who ruled for a minimum of 10 years between Year 39 of Shoshenq III and Year 1 of Pami. Consequently, the creation of this papyrus document must be dated to Year 4 of king Amenemope.
Four objects from king Amenemope's royal tomb preserve the name of his illustrious father Psusennes I including a collar and several bracelets. His funerary mask, now located in Egypt's Cairo Museum, renders a youthful depiction of the king. Unlike Psusennes I, Amenemope was buried with much less opulence since "his wooden coffins were covered with gold leaf instead of being of solid silver" while "he wore a gilt mask rather than one of solid gold." He was later reburied in the tomb of his father Psusennes I during the reign of king Siamun, more precisely inside the vault of Amenemope's mother Mutnedjmet. The analysis of his mummy revealed that Amenemope likely died of meningitis around his fifties, and that he in life had to walking with a limp.
- Peter Clayton, Chronicle of the Pharaohs, Thames & Hudson Ltd, 1994. p.178
- K.A. Kitchen, The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (c.1100-650 BC), Warminster, 3rd ed: 1996, p.272
- Kitchen, p.271
- Kitchen, p.xxvi
- Edward Wente, "On the Chronology of the Twenty-First Dynasty," Journal of Near Eastern Studies 26 (1967), p.156
- Kitchen, pp.272-273
- Georges Goyon, La Découverte des trésors de Tanis, Éditions Perséa, 1987, pp.163-164
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