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What happened to Pharaoh's lesser wives when he died?

 
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Serket72
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:40 pm    Post subject: What happened to Pharaoh's lesser wives when he died? Reply with quote

A bit of a random question!

Many Pharaohs seemed to amass a collection of secondary/lesser wives and concubines but what happened to them when he died? Were some of them inherited by his successor or were they just discarded? Or, in the case of foreign princesses etc., allowed to return home?
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Robson
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They become wives of his successor
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karnsculpture
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finds in KV40, still yet to be fully published, show that there was a crossover between the harems of Tuthmosis IV and Amenhotep III, with one lady named as the daughter of the royal son i.e. the daughter of a prince. This shows that the harems were really for the extended royal family and could include more than one generation. We just don't know much about them because they were very much background figures, with the exception of wives whose sons became a king e.g. Mutemweia, who was a minor wife.
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Montuhotep88
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My impression is that "wives"... or, as I would suggest, perhaps "the king's female courtiers"... continued to live in the household, though not necessarily in the immediate vicinity of the king. I believe there was a 'palace' uncovered near the Faiyum district that appeared to have some connection to the "harem" (which term I use with hesitation because it carries connotations that do not seem to have been representative of the Egyptian way of doing things, but it is well-ensconced within the literature) and it seemed to be a multi-residential unit, with some sort of concentration on linen/cloth production. It wasn't a convent, as the residents were not nuns in our sense... maybe "sorority house"?

Anyway, I have never heard that any existing members of the household (k3p?) were regularly turned out into the street at the death of a king.

(Of course, back in the 1st Dynasty, there's a strong possibility the household were "invited" to join their ruler in the Afterlife; but that custom seems to have dwindled later in the Early Dynastic Period...)
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karnsculpture
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It’s interesting that at least one sister of Ramesses II married outside of the family during her brother’s reign, so perhaps after the death of the king (in this case Sethy I) they were able to have more freedom if they chose.

The princess Tadukhipa was also initially married to Amenhotep III but became a wife of his son - as attested from the Amarna letters.

More about the Gurob residence referred to above -

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.world-archaeology.com/features/gurob-unlocking-a-royal-harem/
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A competent and compact definition of development, tasks and function of this institution ...

Silke Roth : Harem. - In: Encyclopedia of Egyptology. - [Elizabeth Frood / Willeke Wendrich (eds.)]. - Los Angeles : UCLA, 2012. - [PDF - 1,4 MB].

Quote:
Abstract: In Egyptological research, the term “harem” (harim) comprises a conglomerate of phenomena, which can be distinguished as: 1) the community of women and children who belonged to the royal household; 2) related institutions, including administrative organizations and personnel; and 3) associated localities and places, like palaces and royal apartments, as well as agricultural land and manufacturing workshops. Key functions of this so-called royal harem can be identified as the residence and stage for the court of the royal women, the place for the upbringing and education of the royal children and favored non-royal children as the future ruling class, the provision of musical performance in courtly life and cult, as well as the supply and provisioning of the royal family. Related Egyptian terms include jpt (from Dynasty 1 onwards), xnr(t) (from the Old Kingdom), and pr xnrt (New Kingdom). The compounds jpt nswt and xnrt (n) nswt, commonly “royal harem,” are attested as early as the Old Kingdom. Only a few sources testify to the existence of the royal harem after the 20th Dynasty.

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