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Widows of Kings

 
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karnsculpture
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:26 am    Post subject: Widows of Kings Reply with quote

A few recent Amarna threads have included speculation about what happened to Amenhotep III and Akhenaten's wives and daughters after the Pharoah's deaths.

Is there any evidence to suggest what usually happened to wives following the King's death?

It's obvious that if a Queen's son became Pharoah she is shown on his monuments, but what about all of the others?

I can only think of one example of a widow Queen staying in power without having a son on the throne as Pharoah and that is Hatchepsut. She is unique because there was a male heir to inhereit the throne (Tuthmosis III), so strictly speaking, what aside from her documented intelligence and knowledge, gave her the right to rule?

Hatchepsut's mother was also prominent but her example is a little like that of Tiye or Mutemweia in that her child did go on to rule.

Were widow queens or daughters of deceased Pharoahs allowed to marry?

What was their status at court?
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kylejustin
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i get the impression most lesser wives lived out their days in the harem. there was one large complex in the fayum. but i do not know much about it.

i guess most previous great royal wives would have predeceased their husbands, and any that didn't had a high chance of being the mother of the next king. a place on the king's council i think would be a possibility, they would know the reigns of government, and might even train the next queen.
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Meretseger
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For all we know Royal Widows remained at court, they just no longer figured on monuments. There is however evidence of queens retiring to so-called 'haren palaces after the death of their husband. Queen Tiye seems to have spent some time at Gurob.

Hatshepsut became regent for her infant nephew/stepson because the boy's mother was of much lower rank and non-royal. It is possible that challenges to her regency from Iset's family or others is what caused her to declare herself co-regent and pharaoh in her own right.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do believe that the Amarna letters do imply that Tadukhepa was transferred to AKhenaten's harem.
So maybe the younger wives would just move on to the next king?

I am not aware of any examples of women who left the royal harem. But then again they did not comment a whole lot on the roles of the women.

There are some interesting examples of mothers of courtiers who are never associated with a husband. The courtiers (and priests) would mention their mother in their tomb, but the father is notably absent.
Could the inscription mentioning the father just have gone missing? Sure.
But the examples are rather interesting:
Min, Mayor of Thinis mentions his mother Sent but no father (TT 109)
Khaemheribsen, Third prophet of Amun mother was a nurse of the King but the father is never mentioned (TT 9Cool
Ramose, called Amy, First herald of the king, Fan-bearer on the right of the King, mentions his mother Sent (TT 94)
etc.

Concubines of the King with their offspring, or just sons who failed to mention their actual father?
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Frater0082
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is some really good stuff you guys might think this funny but i assumed that the case was different for the amarna harem i thought that no one would want to deal with them due do to them being connected with Akhenaten.
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Naunacht
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These are of course very interesting questions and ones which we don't have answers to. There seems to have been something of a prohibition in some periods, the 18th dynasty is one, on mentioning any family relationship to the king aside from mother, daughter, son & sister. As far as I know, kings whose fathers were not kings, e.g. Thutmose I, Horemheb & Ramses I, for example, don't give us the names of their birth fathers.

Anneke's suggestion that some of the prominent men who do not tell us the names of their father's may have been king's sons is interesting.

Another interesting example is Senemen, one of Neferure's tutors. His mother was probably a lady named Senmiah. He was a child of the Kap, the royal nursery, and was a priest in the cult of Ahmose I. Both he and Senmiah appear in the tomb of Senenmut--there might have been some sort of family relationship thing going on there.

Unfortunately, the Egyptians had their own agenda in recording family relationships. Sadly they were not thinking of the interests of people several thousand years in the future who really, really want to know just who Min, Mayor of Thinis' dad was or how former royal wives and concubines spent their golden years. Wink
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Nefer-Ankhe
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is side tracking a bit, though I have always wondered? Idea Were the minor wives and women of the pharaoh's harem allowed to involve themselves with other men, sexually? Or was that simply out of the question, being a wife of the pharaoh and all? Even if that wife had never seen her husband (the king that being) or that husband had passed away, being a widow? Idea
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Frater0082
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nefer-Ankhe wrote:
This is side tracking a bit, though I have always wondered? Idea Were the minor wives and women of the pharaoh's harem allowed to involve themselves with other men, sexually? Or was that simply out of the question, being a wife of the pharaoh and all? Even if that wife had never seen her husband (the king that being) or that husband had passed away, being a widow? Idea


i thought the samething silly me.
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karnsculpture
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do wonder if Harem women were allowed to leave after their King died, and if they were able to re-marry, as the widow of any other man would be able to.
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Robson
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe it would be possible for those who were never sought or were impregnated by the Pharaoh, as happened to Ottoman Harem girls. It reminds me the issue on the "Royal Ornments".
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I propose, first, for term clarifying. The "jpt nswt / pr xnrt" in Ancient Egypt has not really something to do with the image that we have in our Western mind when we hear "Oriental Harem"...

Silke Roth : Harem. - UCLA - Encyclopedia of Egyptology, 2012. - 17 p.

Gianna Carotenuto : Domesticating the Harem. - UCLA - Encyclopedia of Egyptology, 2008. - 7 p.

Greetings, Lutz.
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Meretseger
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Harem' normally contains not only wives and concubines but mothers and stepmothers, unmarried or widowed sisters and daughters, and in some cases nieces, aunts, cousins and any other woman the man may choose to give a home, not to mention all the women servants! Generally it isn't all that erotic or glamourous a place.

Frankly we know very little about the 'harems' or more accurately the women's quarters of pharaoh and those elite AEs who could afford to support large numbers of women. We have no idea if royal women were sequestered or not, though since Purdah was not an AE custom they probably weren't. In one of the Amarna letters Amenhotep III tells a concerned brother that his sister was present at the audience when he recieved his ambassador and it wasn't his fault the man had failed to recognize her! Which suggests secondary and foreign King's Wives were free to attend court functions. The famous three Syrian wives of Thutmose III were lavishly equipped with Egyptian style Jewelry including circlets featuring gazelle heads rather than uraei and weighty jeweled wig covers (the ladies seem to have been equipped identically though not all their possessions were recovered by archaeologists).

Joyce Tydesley points out that the ladies quartered in the so-called Harem palaces apparently ran a large scale linen production industry and may have been responsible for the estates that supported the establishment as well. Idle they were not and only a minority were 'King's Wives'.
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Nefer-Ankhe
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for that Meretseger, I do remember reading not that long in a book, I seem to have forgotten the name of now Idea about the harems, who were in them and the roles the women partook.

I think it was "Women of Ancient Egypt" --- By gay Robins.

Appears the harems weren't so pleasant, as one would first think.
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Meretseger
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the women's point of view they may have been MORE pleasant than the stereotype of idle waiting for their master's notice. Work not only occupies one's time but gives opportunity for advancement. The Ottoman Seraglio for example had a class of female administrators who were not and had never been concubines but had apparently been promoted from the ranks of women servants.
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Nefer-Ankhe
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meretseger wrote:
From the women's point of view they may have been MORE pleasant than the stereotype of idle waiting for their master's notice. Work not only occupies one's time but gives opportunity for advancement. The Ottoman Seraglio for example had a class of female administrators who were not and had never been concubines but had apparently been promoted from the ranks of women servants.


I see, so the harem accounted for many things, as well as containing the royal women of the pharaoh. When I return to Australia, I'll look back through "women of ancient Egypt" and find the chapter dedicated to the women of the harem and take more in from that specific chapter. Smile
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