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Poisoned Legacy

Poisoned Legacy: The Fall of the 19th Egyptian Dynasty

Aidan Dodson
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Poisoned Legacy
    Book Description:

    After the death of RamesesII, the Nineteenth Dynasty, soon fell into decline and familial conflict, culminating in a final civil war that ended with the accession of a new dynasty. Sethy I and Rameses II’s promotion of a concept of a wider ‘royal family’ may have sown the seeds for the conflicts among their descendants. Aidan Dodson explores the mysteries of the origins of the usurper-king Amenmeses and the career of the ‘king-maker’ of the period, the chancellor Bay. Having helped to install at least one pharaoh on the throne, Bay’s life was ended by his abrupt execution, ordered by the woman with whom he had shared the regency of Egypt for the young and disabled King Siptah. Finally, the author considers how that woman—Tawosret—became the last true female pharaoh, and how she finally lost her throne to the founder of the Twentieth Dynasty, Sethnakhte.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-071-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xx)
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  6. MAPS
    (pp. xxiii-xxvi)
    (pp. 1-12)

    At some point during his reign of probably three decades,¹ Horemheb appointed as vizier one Paramessu, of whom two scribal statues were found just inside the gateway of Pylon X at Karnak.² From these we learn that he was the son of a Troop Commander (ḥry-pḏt) Sethy (A),³ and that as well as being vizier he was Deputy of His Person in Upper and Lower Egypt (ἰdnw n ḥm.f m šmʿw tꜣ-mḥw), Overseer of the Priests of All the Gods (ἰmy-r ḥmw n nṯrw nbw), and Noble in the Entire Land (ἰry pʿt m tꜣ r-ḏr.f). These titles closely mirror...

    (pp. 13-30)

    At one level, the accession of Merenptah was marked by the addition of a uraeus to the brow of a number of his princely representations,¹ and of a new column of text with his kingly titles to the monumental processions of the royal sons in the Ramesseum (fig. 5).² At another, it provided the world with its first new king of Egypt for nearly seven decades—a world that was changing fundamentally from that which had existed at the accession of Merenptah’s father.

    Merenptah adopted the wholly new prenomen Baenre (bꜣ n Rʿ, “Soul of Re”), plus the alternate epithets...

    (pp. 31-46)

    There seems little doubt that crown prince Sethy-Merenptah A was Merenptah’s intended successor, as proclaimed visually in his numerous representations on his father’s monuments (see pp. 14–15, above); likewise, his equation with king Sethy II seems incontrovertible.¹ As crown prince, he held the full range of titles that went with such a status during the Ramesside Period: Noble, Chief of the Two Lands, King’s Scribe, generalissimo, and Eldest King’s Son.

    However, it is also clear that a considerable number of the surviving monuments of Sethy II (see below, pp. 40–41, 50–55) were usurped from a king Amenmeses...

    (pp. 47-68)

    As we have seen in the last chapter, it seems likely that Amenmeses raised his standard of revolt first in Nubia; it is thus appropriate that it is here that his earliest memorial as king survives, in the form of the stela from Buhen (fig. 41). Dated to the second month of a now lost season in Year 1, it showed the king offering to a deity.¹ However, almost all Amenmeses’ remaining monuments seem to derive from the period during which he controlled Thebes. From these, the following titulary can be seen (see Appendix 3 for hieroglyphic forms):

    This whole...

    (pp. 69-82)

    It is unclear whether the titulary of the restored Sethy II differed substantively from that used in his first years. Only one full titulary is formally dated (to Year 1),¹ and while the king had a number of variant Horus and Nebti names and orthographies of his cartouche names, they cannot at present be shown to be chronologically significant.² The range of names used by the king is as follows (see also Appendix 3):

    On III ꜣḫtt 14 of Year 5 of the restored Sethy II a burial was made in Theban Tomb 26, constructed for the Overseer of the...

  12. 5 SIPTAH
    (pp. 83-110)

    The report of the death of Sethy II on Iprt19 of the king’s Year 6 is repeated a few lines later in the same ostracon, but with the year now written as “1”: there could be no break in the pharaonic succession.¹ The name of the successor seems to have been unknown to Nakhtmin when he made his report to the Deir el-Medina crew, but three months later, IVprt21 saw the commissioning of the tomb of “Sekhaenresetepenre, son of Re, lord of appearances, Rameses-Siptah.”²

    This same king is represented or named in a number of other...

    (pp. 111-118)

    The last dated mention of Siptah is the Year 6 Buhen text of Webekhusen (fig. 99f). Unfortunately, no day/month is included, but it is possible that it was Siptah’s burial that was recorded in the Valley of the Kings on IV ꜣḫt22 of an unknown year.¹ If the record is indeed his, and dates to Year 6,² this would place Siptah’s death earlier by at least the seventy traditional days of embalming, although there are significant numbers of cases where a longer period was involved for this process.³ Siptah would have then been dead within not much more than...

    (pp. 119-132)

    The end of the reign of Tawosret remains enveloped in a thick mist. All that is certain is that a certain Sethnakhte, a man of unknown origins but most probably a descendant of Rameses II, ultimately followed her on the throne.¹ Also, it is clear that the new king’s advent was accompanied by violence. A stela from the island of Elephantine at Aswan preserves Sethnakhte’s celebration of his victory (fig. 113):²

    The great assembly of the gods is pleased with his plans like Re, since the land had been in confusion…. [The great god] stretched out his arm and selected...

  15. Appendix 1 Chronology of ancient Egypt
    (pp. 133-135)
  16. Appendix 2 Correlation of the reigns from the end of the reign of Merenptah to the beginning of the reign of Rameses III
    (pp. 136-137)
  17. Appendix 3 Royal names of the late Nineteenth Dynasty
    (pp. 138-139)
  18. Appendix 4 Tentative genealogy of the late Nineteenth Dynasty
    (pp. 140-142)
  19. NOTES
    (pp. 143-164)
    (pp. 165-186)
  21. INDEX
    (pp. 187-196)