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Eygptian Queens
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Hathorhotep
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://witcombe.sbc.edu/menkaure/menkaurematriliny.html

This is a great mystery - the question of identity of Menkaure's queen - Khamerernebti II or Meresankh III, his aunt-cousin?
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Tez
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reading Wircombe's piece, and some of the other articles regarding who Menkaure's queen might be, I wonder if they push the evidence a little too far.

It's conceivable that it is Meresankh represented in that statue, but it doesn't mean that she is his queen. When you look at the slate triads, they all appears to share the theme of presenting and legitimizing Menkaure. They all show gods and goddesses providing their sanction to him in his aspect as Pharaoh.

So perhaps, the statue in question might be a representation of his aunt, but since she had royal blood and was herself a descendant of Hetepheres, she could also be part of the same theme - presenting the new Pharaoh and providing validation and authentication.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first sentence about the heiress queen is a red flag to me.

I think this is a load of nonsense. I would expect that the woman is either his wife or his mother. And presenting his mother in a place where a goddess would be would do more to ligitimise his reign than marrying him off to some elderly aunt.
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Hathorhotep
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, we don't know actually is this really statue of Khamerernebty II, Menkaure's wife. It could be statue of his mother or some other wife (Bunefer).
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neseret
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anneke wrote:
The first sentence about the heiress queen is a red flag to me.

I think this is a load of nonsense. I would expect that the woman is either his wife or his mother. And presenting his mother in a place where a goddess would be would do more to ligitimise his reign than marrying him off to some elderly aunt.


The idea of matrlinealism is problematic, but the idea of a "heiress queen" definitely an old and rebutted theory. This theory has been discount since the mid 1980's. Here are the main works which rebut the theory of "heiress queen/princess" :

Gitton, M. 1984. Les divine éspouses de la 18e dynastie. Centre de Recherches d'Histoire Ancienne 61/Annales Littéraires de l'Université de Besançon 306. Paris: Les Belles-Lettres. (showing the title of "wife of the god" is a sacral title and does not relate to being an "heiress" to the throne.)

Mertz, B. 1952. Certain Titles of the Egyptian Queens and Their Bearing on the Hereditary Right to the Throne. Oriental Languages and Literature. Ph. D. Dissertation (Unpublished). Chicago: University of Chicago. (Minute exanination of all titles, historical and biographical accounts, etc. of queens and found no relationship alongst these to signify a "heiress" queen or princess.)

Robins, G. 1983. A Critical Examination of the Theory of the Right to the Throne of Ancient Egypt Passed Through the Female Line in the 18th Dynasty. Göttingen Miszellen 62: 67-77. (In her recapitulation of this problem, Robins clearly states the facts which are found in the documentation:

Not all kings marry women of royal birth, or have mothers of royal birth, and this makes no difference to the position of the king or his queens on the monuments. Indeed, with the presumably high rate of mortality, any form of inheritance which was rigidly formulated on the existence of a particular person would be impracticable. (Robins, 1983, 71 ff.).

Troy, L. 1986. Patterns of Queenship: in ancient Egyptian myth and history. BOREAS 14. Uppsala: ACTA Universitatis Upsaliensis.

(On the idea of a "heir princess/queen" Troy noted:

The position of the women of the royal family is interpreted as related to the line of succession to the throne. The king, it is surmised, must be the son of the woman whose status endowed his succession with legitimacy. A specified daughter of the king is designated the 'great wife' and regarded as the only legitimate bearer of the right of inheritance...This theory was tested by Mertz (1952, 167) in an examination of the titulary of queenship, concluding:

'...It is certain that the chief wife need not be an heiress princess, and if each king had an heiress wife in his harim, these women are not known.' (Troy 1986: 104)

Troy concluded:

There is no documentary basis for the theory of the heiress princess as an element of a matriarchal [or matrilineal - KG] society. What has been perceived is, instead, the projection of the status of the royal women as complementary to their male counterparts. Their role is formulated to express the mythic function of the eye [of Ra -KG] as daughter and mother, as a medium of the continuity of the kingship. This is accomplished through the manipulation of the royal kinship designations. (Troy 1986: 104)

As to the idea of matrilineal inheritance, this is based upon a combination of facts and faulty reasoning. Troy cited the following examples:

a) maternal filiation found on the stelae of the Middle Kingdom;
b) the uncle-nephew conflict of Seth and Horus, suggesting descent
through the mother (1);
c) the posited transmission of the kingship through the wife of the
king as the royal "heiress", and
d) the high position (legal and culturally) of Egyptian women.

Troy's note: (1) "The Mother's Brother in Ancient Egypt", E.Leach, Royal Anthropological Institute News, London, 1976 (pp. 19-21).


Troy found no evidence these issues caused a "matrlineal inheritance" aspect to kingship; rather the relationship of royal women to the king is far more complex. Troy proposes there are three types of royal women in relation to the king which are important: daughter, wife and mother. They are important for cultic and political reasons, but not as "heiresses."

Troy writes:

a) Daughter titles: /sA<t> nsw/ "daughter of the king from the first and second dynasties until its evolution to the term /sAt nsw nt Ht.f/ "daughter of the king's body", which indicated that hierarchies existed in the ranks of the title "daughter of the king", with individuals Such as Sitamun and Aahotep I given such titles as /sAt nsw wrt / "great daughter of the king" as a special status;

b) the progression of similar hierarchial status in the "wife" designations from /Hmt nsw wrt/ "great wife of the king" to the eventual use of the title /Hmt nsw wrt tpt n Hm.f/ "the first great wife of his majesty" in the Third Intermediate Period; and

c) the evolution of the titles of the mother of the king, beginning with /mwt nsw/ "mother of the king" to the Middle Kingdom designation of /mwt nsw-bit/ "mother of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt" to /mwt nsw n nsw-bit/ "mother of the king of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt". By the Eighteenth Dynasty, the reaffirmation of the importance of the king's mother showed again through the addition of the new titles, /mwt nTr/ "mother of the god" and /mwt nsw wrt/ "great mother of the king."


In all, these titles seem to imply that it was a hierarchy among royal women that seems to have indicated whose child was in line for royal
succession. Troy however, notes that the issue was far more complex:

...The organizational principles of such a system may be found in the individual status of the royal women as members of either the royal or other distinguished families. Traditionally, however, within the female collective, it is seniority which plays the largest part in determining the internal ranking of the members of the harem.
<...>
The use of seniority, the precedence given e.g. the mother of the king, as a factor in determining rank within the harem and in the formulation of queenship, follows this pattern.

The distribution of kinship designations repeats the theme of the generational sequence of daughter-sister-wife-mother. This sequence is a statement of social, as well as mythical, ranking. The advancement of favored royal women in the hierarchy of the harem, through generational roles representing the continuity of the life cycle, as the role of the mother is passed to the daughter, is juxtaposed to the mythic pattern, in the manipulation of the terminology of kinship.
(Troy 1986: 104-107; emphasis mine)

So, as you can see, Troy (and others as well) seem to indicate that the roles of royal women were tied to a mythological base of identifying these women with the overall life-giving functions of the feminine, as expressed in facets of such goddesses as Hathor, Isis, Neith, etc. Further, as these designations became more complex due to multiplicity of daughters, sisters and wives, with additional hierarchies and functional designations becoming necessary, which made the question of which female was the primary "king-bearer" a matter of some political and mythological importance. Troy indicates that such titles may also be accumulative (with females holding more that one relationship designation), which makes the idea of a simple matrilineal succession somewhat impossible.

HTH.
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Hathorhotep
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is nice to see that there was some rescpect for women and some of them enjoyed quit comfort as queens.
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