|Queen consort of Egypt
Great Royal Wife
Ring of Ahhotep I, Louvre Museum.
|Spouse||Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao|
|Dynasty||17th of Egypt|
|Religion||Ancient Egyptian religion|
Ahhotep I (alternatively spelled Ahhotpe or Aahhotep, meaning "Iah (the Moon) is satisfied"), was an Ancient Egyptian queen who lived circa 1560- 1530 BC, during the end of the Seventeenth dynasty of ancient Egypt, she was the daughter of Queen Tetisheri (known as Teti the Small) and Senakhtenre Ahmose, and was probably the sister, as well as the wife, of pharaoh Seqenenre Tao. Ahhotep I had a long and influential life.
The naming / numbering of these queens named Ahhotep has changed during the years. Outlining the different naming and numbering conventions over the years:
Late nineteenth century: Ahhotep I was thought to be the wife of Seqenenre Tao. The coffins of Deir el Bahari and Dra' Abu el-Naga' were both thought to be hers by some experts. Ahhotep II was thought to be the wife of Amenhotep I. Some thought the coffin from the Deir el Bahari cache belonged to the queen called Ahhotep II in this scheme.
Late 20th Century: In the 1970s, it was commented on that the Deir el Bahari coffin bears the title King's Mother and Amenhotep I has no son. The title must refer to the mother of Ahmose I. In 1982, Robins suggests that Ahhotep I is the owner of the gilded coffin from Dra' Abu el-Naga', Ahhotep II is the queen mentioned on the Deir el Bahari coffin and Ahhotep III is the Queen mentioned on the statue of a prince Ahmose.
Present (21st century): Following Dodson and Hilton (2004), Ahhotep I is the wife of Seqenenre Tao and mother of Ahmose I. Ahhotep II is the queen known from the gilded coffin found at Dra' Abu el-Naga' and possibly a wife of Kamose. (There is no Ahhotep III).
In this article, the modern (21st century) interpretation has been used.
Ahhotep was probably the mother of Pharaoh Ahmose I. Her exact relationship to Pharaoh Kamose is not known, but he may have been her brother-in-law (the brother of Tao) or her son. Other children of Queen Ahhotep I include the later Queen Ahmose-Nefertari who was married to her brother Ahmose I. There were also Prince Ahmose Sipair, Prince Binpu, Princess Ahmose-Henutemipet, Princess Ahmose-Nebetta, and Princess Ahmose-Tumerisy.
A stela from the reign of Ahmose I states that Ahhotep I may have rallied the troops and played a role in defending Thebes. It is not known when these events took place. They may have occurred after the death of Tao or Kamose.
She is the one who has accomplished the rites and taken care of Egypt... She has looked after her soldiers, she has guarded her, she has brought back her fugitives and collected together her deserters, she has pacified Upper Egypt and expelled her rebels.
Ahhotep is mentioned on the Kares stela (CG 34003) which dates to year 10 of Amenhotep I, and her steward Iuf mentions her on his stela (CG 34009). Iuf refers to Ahhotep as the mother of King Ahmose I, and would later be the steward of Queen Ahmose, the wife of Thutmose I. This suggests Ahhotep I may have died at a fairly advanced age during the reign of Thutmose I.
David Rohl argues that Ahhotep can be associated with the mythical Io. The glyph 'Ah' in her name is the same as Canaanite/Pelasgian moon goddess Io or Ya(h) (which may have become masculinised as Yahweh). The Aegean region was known to the ancient Egyptians as Yawan (Iaones) (written in Linear B Ia-wo-ne). Yawan is also given as among the Indo-European descendants of Japeth in Genesis. Her unique title hnwt idbw h3w-nbwt 'Mistress of the Shores beyond the Islands', the Egyptian term for lands bordering the Aegean Sea, also points to an Aegean connection.
Manfred Bietak has also hypothesized on a possible Greek Origin for Aahotep. "Bietak has suggested the way (or a way) ahead. The Thebans, and not the Hyksos, were in contact with Knossos, where it is possible (but not proven) that a woman, the Mistress of Animals, occupied the throne of Minos. He suggests that Aahotep, the Egyptian born wife of Sekenenre Tao, and mother of Kamose and Ahmose, may hold the key to the Minoan wallpaintings at Avaris."
Ahhotep I's outer coffin was eventually reburied in TT320 in Deir el Bahari. The coffin shows the queen with a tripartite wig and a modius. The body is covered in a rishi-design (feathers) and is similar to the outer coffins of Ahmose-Nefertari and Ahmose-Meritamon.
Ahhotep I's original tomb is not known, unless this queen is identical to Ahhotep II. Measurements of the coffin found in Dra' Abu el-Naga' however show that it is too large to have belonged with the Deir el Bahari coffin. This has been used to argue that Ahhotep I cannot be identical to Ahhotep II.
- Ahhotep I, who was the mother of a Prince Ahmose (not the future pharaoh) and several princesses named Ahmes.
- Sitdjehuti, who was the mother of a princess named Ahmes.
- Tetisheri, who was the mother of Kamose, Ahhotep II and Ahmose-Henuttamehu.
- Aidan Dodson & Dyan Hilton, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, Thames & Hudson (2004)
- W. Grajetzki, Ancient Egyptian Queens: a hieroglyphic dictionary, 2005
- Ann Macy Roth, The Ahhotep Coffins, Gold of Praise: Studies of Ancient Egypt in honor of Edward F. Wente, 1999
- Robert Graves: The Greek Myths
- David Rohl: The Lords of Avaris. London, Arrow Books, 2007.
- Eaton-Krauss, Marianne. 2003. "Encore: The Coffins of Ahhotep, the wife of Seqeni-en-Re Tao and mother of Ahmose". Pages 75–89 in E. Graefe and other editors. Ägypten-Münster. Otto Harrassowitz.
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