|Chentkaus I. in hieroglyphics|
|vulture hood and possible ceremonial beard|
Ḫnt k3.w = s That
is in front of her Kas
King of Upper and Lower Egypt
and mother of the King
of Upper and Lower Egypt /
mother of two kings
of Upper and Lower Egypt
The unusually long cult of the dead around this queen as well as her titulatures aroused the suspicion in Egyptology that she herself might have been the independent ruler of Egypt for a short time. What is certain is that it must have had a significant influence on historical events during the change from the 4th to the 5th dynasty .
mw.t nsw-bi.tj nsw-bi.tj
mw.t nswt.wi bjt.wj
|King of Upper and Lower Egypt and mother of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt
mother of two kings of Upper and Lower Egypt
|s3.t no||Daughter of god|
|ḏd.t jḫ.t nb (.t) nfr.t jrj (.t) = tw n = s||That says something perfect that will be done for her|
On the tomb of Chentkaus I was the title Mut-nesutju-bitju ( mw.t nsw-bi.tj nsw-bi.tj ), which can be translated into two different grammatical forms. On the one hand, according to the translation by Vladimir Wikentiev , it can mean "mother of two kings of Upper and Lower Egypt". On the other hand, as suggested by Hermann Junker , the title can also be translated as "King of Upper and Lower Egypt and mother of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt", which may indicate that she herself ruled as king. That would have made her the first or second Egyptian ruler. According to a further suggestion by Miroslav Verner, the title could also be translated as “Mother of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt (acting as or for the King of Upper and Lower Egypt”). It would thus indicate that Chentkaus ruled as regent for a still underage son.
Origin and family
The origin of Chentkaus I. is unclear. Since she had neither the title of a “king's daughter” nor a “ king's wife ”, she probably did not come directly from the royal family of the 4th dynasty or at most from a side line. An inscription remnant from the valley temple of Mykerinos with the title of a king's daughter and a name remnant was viewed by Selim Hassan as an indication that Chentkaus was a daughter of this ruler. Silke Roth doubted this, however, and considered the reading of the remainder of the name as "... kau ..." to be unlikely, which would mean that the inscription could be assigned to another person. In addition to their descent, the marriage to one of the rulers of the 4th dynasty (Mykerinos, Schepseskaf and Thamphthis were proposed ) is not guaranteed.
Their descendants are also not clearly identified. According to the tradition of the Westcar papyrus , which describes the legendary descent of the pharaohs Userkaf , Sahure and Neferirkare , they are said to have been the sons of the Chentkaus. With the discovery of some new relief blocks from the path of the Sahure pyramid in 2002, the family relationship between the three kings has become a little clearer. On them, Queen Neferhetepes is clearly identified as the mother of Sahure. Userkaf had a small pyramid complex built for them next to his own tomb in Saqqara . So she was his wife and Sahure his son. The position of Neferirkare has also been secured. He was a son of Sahure and his sister wife Meretnebty and thus a grandson of Userkaf. Thus only Userkaf remains as a possible son of the Chentkaus, for which there is, however, no direct evidence. It was also considered the possibility that he was a consort of the Chentkaus, who enabled him to ascend to the throne through her rank as "Hereditary Princess".
An important role in researching the transition from 4th dynasty to 5th dynasty is played by a ruler named " Thamphthis " who is not documented at the time . It has been suggested several times that the figure of "Thamphthis" Queen Chentkaus I could hide herself, that both are therefore identical to one another. The background to this assumption are representations in her mortuary temple that show Chentkaus as the ruling pharaoh with a Nemes headscarf and a ceremonial beard . An assumption of the throne for a still underage Userkaf as the founder of a new dynasty would also explain the unusually long cult of the dead around this queen.
However, her name was not shown in a cartouche on the epitaph . In addition, there was confusion until the discovery of their temple inscription, because in later tradition there was talk of a “mother of two kings”, but apparently there had to be two queens with the name “Chentkaus”: One who gave birth to Userkaf and Sahure and another another, Chentkaus II , who was the mother of the pharaohs Raneferef and Niuserre . Apparently both personalities merged into a single legendary figure in the later reception due to the similar family circumstances.
→ Main article: Tomb of the Chentkaus I.
Chentkaus I had a peculiar tomb erected in Giza , which combines the peculiarities of pyramids , mastabas and rock tombs . It was erected in two construction phases and in its final form had the appearance of a two-tier step pyramid with a base area of 45.8 m × 43.7 m and a height of 18.5 m. Because of its shape, it was often referred to as the fourth pyramid of Giza . The base consists of a rock block left in the quarries, which was provided with a substructure carved out of the rock with the spatial program of a pyramid. A mastaba-like step was then built up afterwards. The tomb was finally Tura - limestone covered. Around the tomb there were elements such as a ship's grave and a pyramid settlement, which otherwise only appeared in the case of royal pyramids, which confirms the assumption that she was the ruler of Egypt.
The family role of Chentkaus I as mother of the first kings of a new dynasty could have had an inspirational influence on the legends of the Westcar papyrus . In the fourth and fifth story, Rudj-Djedet, the wife of a Ra priest, is mentioned, who is said to have been the mother of the first three kings of the 5th dynasty.
- Hartwig Altenmüller : The position of the king mother Chentkaus at the transition from the 4th to the 5th dynasty (= Chronique d´Egypte. Vol. 45). 1970. ( online )
- Michel Baud : Famille royale et pouvoir sous l'Ancien Empire égyptien. Tome 2 (= Bibliothèque d'Étude. Volume 126/2). Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale, Cairo 1999, ISBN 2-7247-0250-6 , pp. 546–552 ( PDF; 16.7 MB ).
- Ludwig Borchardt : Xnt-k # ws, the ancestor of the 5th dynasty. In: Annales du Service des Antiquités de l'Égypte. (ASAE) No. 38, Le Caire 1938, pp. 209-215.
- Christiane Desroches Noblecourt : La femme au temps des Pharaons. Stock, Rottach-Egern 1986.
- Nicolas Grimal : Histoire de l'Egypte Ancienne (= le Grand livre du mois. ). Descamps, Paris 1988.
- Selim Hassan : Excavations at Giza. Volume IV: 1932-193. Government Press, Cairo 1943 ( full text as PDF file ).
- Jean-Philippe Lauer : Le Temps des Pyramides, L'Univers des Formes. Edition Gallimard, Paris 1978.
- Paule Posener-Kriéger : The Abusir Papyri . Trustees of the British Museum, London 1968.
- Silke Roth: The royal mothers of ancient Egypt from the early days to the end of the 12th dynasty. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2001, ISBN 3-447-04368-7 .
- Hermann A. Schlögl : Ancient Egypt: History and culture from the early days to Cleopatra. Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-54988-8 , p. 99, ( online version ).
- Silke Roth: The royal mothers of ancient Egypt from the early days to the end of the 12th dynasty . P. 397ff.
- Dilwyn Jones: An Index of Ancient Egyptian Titles, Epithets and Phrases of the Old Kingdom , Volume 1, 427, No. 1578, Oxford, 2000, ISBN 1-84171-069-5
- Miroslav Verner: Die Pyramiden , p. 291 ff The step grave of the Chentkaus I.
- Meritneith (1st Dynasty) could possibly also have been a ruling queen.
- Miroslav Verner: The "Chentkaus Problem". In: Ancient Egypt and Kush. In memoriam Mikhail A. Korostovtsev. Nauka, Moscow 1993, pp. 129-130.
- Hartwig Altenmüller: The position of the king mother Chentkaus in the transition from the 4th to the 5th dynasty. In: Chronique d'Égypte. Volume 45, 1970, pp. 223-235 ( online )
- Selim Hassan: Excavations at Giza. Volume IV, p. 58 (4).
- Silke Roth: The royal mothers of ancient Egypt from the early days to the end of the 12th dynasty . Pp. 92-93.
- Silke Roth: The royal mothers of ancient Egypt from the early days to the end of the 12th dynasty . P. 91.
- Adolf Erman: Die Märchen des Papyrus Westcar I. Introduction and Commentary . In: Messages from the Oriental Collections . Book V, National Museums in Berlin, Berlin 1890
- Tarek El Awady: The royal family of Sahure. New evidence. In: Miroslav Bárta, Filip Coppens, Jaromír Krejčí (eds.): Abusir and Saqqara in the Year 2005. Prague 2006, pp. 192–198.
- Tarek El Awady: The royal family of Sahure. New evidence. In: Miroslav Bárta, Filip Coppens, Jaromír Krejčí (eds.): Abusir and Saqqara in the Year 2005. Prague 2006, pp. 198–213.
- Jürgen von Beckerath : Chronology of the Pharaonic Egypt . von Zabern, Mainz 1997, ISBN 3-8053-2310-7 , p. 159.
- Hermann Alexander Schlögl : The old Egypt (= Beck'sche series 2305 CH Beck knowledge ). Beck, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-406-48005-5 , pp. 99-101.
- Mark Lehner : Mystery of the pyramids: new knowledge about the most important monuments of ancient Egypt. ECON, Berlin 1997, pp. 138f.
Pharaoh of Egypt
4th Dynasty (end)
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Chentekaues I.|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||ancient Egyptian queen of the 4th dynasty|
|DATE OF BIRTH||26th century BC Chr.|
|DATE OF DEATH||26th century BC Chr.|