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Prince Khaemwaset - Son of Ramesses II - short bio

 
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anneke
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:38 pm    Post subject: Prince Khaemwaset - Son of Ramesses II - short bio Reply with quote

I was trying to figure out what Khaemwaset's life was like in rough outline. He has always fascinated me.

There are of course no birth or marriage certificates from AE so some of the dates are speculative.

I thought some of you might enjoy it Smile

Here's Part I - Khaemwaset from birth to age about 50

I hope to later write up something about the latter part of his life. I think he died in his seventies.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In ca 1286 BC Prince Khaemwaset is born as the second son of Ramesses II and his wife Isetnofret. Khaemwaset has an older brother Ramesses and a sister Bintanath who must have been born during roughly the same time period. Khaemwaset would also have grown up with his half-brothers and half sisters from the marriage between Ramessses and Nefertari as well as possibly some children of other wives.

One of the earliest records of Prince Khaemwaset dates to 1281 BC. Khaemwaset is shown as accompanying his father Ramesses and his brother Amenhirwenemef on a campaign to Nubia. One scene shows the young princes in chariots behind their father on the battlefield. Khaemwaset and his brother are also shown taking part in the tribute scenes. Both princes must have been quite young. Children under four were considered to be “of extreme youth”, and children between four and sixteen were considered youths. From the scenes at the temple of Beit el Wali it appears that even as youths some of the royal princes would accompany their father. It is not clear if this means their mothers were present as well, or if the princes were accompanied by a tutor.

In 1279 BC Khaemwaset's grandfather Sety I dies and the throne passes on to Ramesses II. At an age of approximately 9 years old Khaemwaset would have witnessed the burial of his grand father and the coronation of his father. Nefertari becomes great Royal Wife, possibly due to the fact that she was the mother of the eldest living prince – Amenhirwenemef. At the time that Ramesses II becomes Pharaoh, prince Amenhirwenemef's name is changed to Amenhirkhepeshef. Khaemwaset will spend the next several years accompanying the army and receiving military training.

In year 5 of Ramesses the Great the battle of Kadesh takes place and Khaemwaset is possibly present during the battle and is depicted in the ceremonies afterwards. It's interesting that at this time Khaemwaset is listed simply as a King's Son, while his three older brothers are given titles that indicate they may have played a slightly bigger role in the campaign. It is entirely possible that the titles of the older princes are largely ceremonial, and it may just indicate that they were slightly older than Khaemwaset and had received honorary positions in the army. Amenhirkhepeshef is a fan bearer on the King's right hand (an advisor), Royal scribe, and Generalissimo. Ramesses – Khaemwaset's older brother - is a royal scribe and Generalissimo, And Prince Pre-hirwenemef – a son of Nefertari – is a first charioteer of His Majesty, a royal scribe and Superintendent of the Horse. Khaemwaset was about 14 years old and it may be that his brothers had reached the age of 16 which seems to have been an age of majority in Ancient Egypt. Khaemwaset's role in the reliefs is to present the sons of chiefs of the Hatti-land as tribute to his father.

Five years later, when Khaemwaset must have been about 19 years old, he accompanies his father and the rest of the army on another Syrian campaign. No detailed titles are given, but one of the scenes shows Prince Khaemwaset striking down an enemy with a dagger or sword.
After his return to Egypt he may have married, if he had not married even before going on this last campaign. The name of his wife is not known. In the later story of Setne Khaemwese, his wife's name is Merusekhne. From this the name Meryt-Sekhmet is a wild guess. There is a royal princess by this name, but Khaemwaset's wife could also have been a commoner. It is known that sometime in his late teens or early twenties Khaemwaset fathered his first son, who he named Ramesses after his own father.

In ca 1264 BC Khaemwaset is appointed as Sem Priest of Ptah in Memphis. He would have been in his early twenties at this time. He must have set up a household in Memphis. One of the first big events was likely the death of one of the Apis bulls in year 16 (1263 BC). Scenes show Khaemwaset and his father before the Apis bull.

For the next 14 years or so it seems that Khaemwaset was serving as Sem-Priest of Ptah in Memphis. During this period Khaemwaset and his wife would have expanded their family. Young prince Ramesses was joined by a prince named Hori and a princess named Isetnofret after her grandmother. Khaemwaset would have heard about the war treaty with the Hittites and would have seen his (half-) brother Amenhirkhepeshef change his name to Sethhirkhepeshef and serve as ambassador to his father.

In year 25 of the reign of Ramesses II (1254 BC), both Queen Nefertari and Prince Amenhirkhepeshef died. During roughly this time his brother Ramesses became crown prince and his sister Binthanath was raised to the position of Great Royal Wife. As the mother to the crown prince and the remaining senior wife, Queen Isetnofret would have risen in prominence.

In year 30 (1249 BC) another Apis bull dies and Khaemwaset presides over the burial of another bull. In the same year Khaemwaset is also given the responsibility of announcing his father's first Heb-Sed festival across the country. Announcements from Silsila for instance were preserved. Khaemwaset would later renew the announcements in years 34, 37, 40 and 42. Khaemwaset erected stelae in which he depicted his immediate (royal) family. In a stela from West Silsila for instance King Ramesses appears with Queen Isetnofret, Princess-Queen Bintanath and the princes Ramesses, Khaemwaset and Merenptah.
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Robson
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some sources (I don't know with which basis) inform that Khaemwaset's Lady of House was called Nubnofret and they had other children among who a son called Hori who also High Priest of Ptah by the final 2 years of the Ramesses II's reing until the beginning of Seti II's, and a daughter called Isetnofret (III?), who was one of the of two Merneptah's Great Royal Wives, alongside with Bintanath (II?), and was also Seti II's mom. Ramesses, their eldest brother possibly died not much after his father. Prince Hori's son, also called Hori enjoyed a long career as Vizier of the North, from the reign of Merneptah until Ramesses III's. In his cousin's (Seti II) Year 6, Hori apparently acumulated the vizierate of North and South.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had not heard of the lady Nubnofret.

The careers of Khaemwaset's children is quite interesting.
The eldest - Prince Raesses - was a Sem Priest of Ptah. I can imagine him taking over some of the duties of his father when he was busy with the announcements of the festivals etc.

Hori and his son Hori "Jr" managed to stay in the highest circles. The grandson of Khaemwaset named Hori remained in power until the reign of Ramesses III. He must have been quite a character himself to remain in power during those days of upheaval during the latter part of the 19th dynasty.
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