Posted by: imalqata | February 14, 2014

A Valentine from Amenhotep III

Friday, February 14, 2014

Amenhotep III created a series of large scarabs inscribed to record important events in his reign. There are more than 200 of these commemorative scarabs made of faience or blue-glazed steatite. Although one type is called “Marriage Scarab,” the text does not record an actual ceremony, but instead records Amenhotep’s titles and those of Queen Tiye along with her parents, and concludes by recording all the lands under the king’s control.

Marriage scarab of Amenhotep III. Gift of Helen Miller Gould, 1910 (10.130.1643)

Marriage scarab of Amenhotep III. Gift of Helen Miller Gould, 1910 (10.130.1643)

The text begins with the king’s five royal names: the Horus name; the Two Ladies Name (for the titular goddesses of Upper and Lower Egypt); the Golden Horus Name; the throne name (taken when the king is crowned); and the personal name.

HORUS: Strong Bull who appears in the glory of Maat. TWO LADIES: One who establishes the laws and who pacifies the Two Lands. GOLDEN HORUS: Great of Strength, who defeats the Asians. King of Upper and Lower Egypt Nebmaatre (Ra is the Lord of Maat). Son of Re Amenhotep (Amun is satisfied), the ruler of Waset (ancient Thebes and modern day Luxor), given life. The King’s principal wife, Tiye, may she continue living, her father’s name is Yuya, her mother’s name is Tjuyu, she is the wife of a strong king.
His southern boundary extends toward Kary (Napata in Kush, modern Sudan), the northern boundary toward Naharyna (the Euphrates river in northeastern Syria).”

Although, like other Egyptian pharaohs, Amenhotep III had a number of wives, Tiye was the principal queen, “The Great Royal Wife,” and the mother of his son and heir Amenhotep IV (later Akhenaten). A stela, now in the British Museum, depicts them as an old, married couple and celebrates what must have been one of ancient Egypt’s great love stories.

Peter Lacovara


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