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Names of Semenchkare
Throne name
Hiero Ca1.svg
N5 S34 L1 Z2
Hiero Ca2.svg
ˁnḫ-ḫpr.w-Rˁ The appearances of Re are alive
Proper name
Hiero Ca1.svg
N5 O34
D28 D45 L1
Hiero Ca2.svg

( possibly later renaming )
(Semench ka Re djeser cheperu)
Smnḫ k3 Rˁ ḏsr ḫpr.w
Consolidated with Ka forces of Re (and) holy apparitions
for Manetho
Rhathos, Rathotis

Semenchkare was probably an ancient Egyptian king ( Pharaoh ) of the 18th Dynasty ( New Kingdom ), who lived around 1336-1333 BC. BC ( Helck : 1324-1319, Rolf Krauss : 1335-1332 BC) ruled.

Akhenaten's possible successor

According to some researchers, Semenchkare was Akhenaten's successor . However, no king of the 18th dynasty has so little archaeological evidence and is so difficult to classify as Semenchkare.

In the 19th dynasty , Seti I and Ramses II in particular tried to erase the epoch since Akhenaten's reign and his direct successors from history ( Damnatio memoriae ). Thus, in the list of kings of Abydos in the temple of Seti I there, Haremhab appears as the direct successor of Amenophis III. The missing years between the pharaohs Akhenaten, Semenchkare and Tutankhamun were simply attributed to the reign of Haremhab, who would thus have a reign of 59 years. But haremhab is only documented by inscriptions up to his 27th year of reign, so up to 32 years should be set for any missing kings. The later ostracized Akhenaten probably died in the 17th year of his reign, Tutankhamun again in his 10th year of reign and his successor Eje in his fourth year of reign. This ultimately results in a gap of up to three and a half years for other possible kings who are differently cast in Egyptological research.


The following theories are being discussed today by well-known Egyptologists about the passage of time after Akhenaten :

  1. Semenchkare was co-regent of Akhenaten for about three years and died shortly before or after Akhenaten. This theory is supported today by most Egyptologists ( Nicolas Grimal , Aidan Dodson , Mika Waltari ) and is mainly based on:
    1. The disappearance of the references to Nefertiti in the 14th year of Akhenaten,
    2. A relief of a king named "Semenchkare" with his great royal wife Meritaton in the tomb of Merire II in Amarna,
    3. A graffito from the 3rd year of a King Ankh-Chepru-Re in the grave of Pairi / Pawah ( TT139 ) in West Thebes.
  2. Semenchkare became the legitimate successor of Akhenaten through his marriage to Meritaton (Akhenaten's eldest daughter) and outlived his predecessor by 1–5 years ( James H. Breasted , Wolfgang Helck , Jürgen von Beckerath ). The evidence: as above.
  3. Meritaton becomes Akhenaten's successor, marries Semenchkare, who inherits the throne through this marriage ( Rolf Krauss ). Today this theory is mostly rejected because it is inconceivable that a godlike regent after her marriage is only satisfied with the title “Great Royal Wife” and can be put back into the second member.
  4. Semenchkare is identical to Nefertiti ( James R. Harris , Richard H. Wilkinson , Nicholas Reeves ). According to this theory, Nefertiti was raised to co-regent in the 14th year of Akhenaten's reign, was given the throne name Semenchkare and continued to rule as pharaoh for a few years after Akhenaten's death. Her name was later removed from the list of kings, as kingship was inherited only in the male line and the pharaoh took over the role of Osiris on earth. Hence female pharaohs were considered sacrilege , which would explain a condemnation of memory .

supporting documents

Limestone relief "Walk in the Garden" in the Egyptian Museum Berlin (No. 15000)

It is questionable which finds can be assigned to Semenchkare and which prove his position as an actual king. To this day there is no known grave, no clearly identified mummy, no statue, no stele with the name of this king. Its origin is still in the dark, as is its end.

Only in the grave of Merire II in Amarna ( Amarna grave 2 ) there is a relief with the proper name Semenchkare as well as a graffito in the Theban grave of Pairi and a few unrolled seals with the throne name, as well as two chests from the grave of Tutankhamun . These finds are often cited as evidence for this king, but none of them explicitly mention the name Semenchkare with his throne name, but predominantly only the throne name of a ruler called Ankh-cheperu-Re . However, the thin evidence has led to the attribution of all royal objects from the Amarna period that cannot be identified due to the complete lack of inscriptions to Semenchkare. Examples are “Walk in the Garden” and “Statue Head of a King” in the Museum Berlin.

Grave KV55

In January 1907 Edward R. Ayrton discovered a previously unknown grave, grave KV55, in the Valley of the Kings . Due to parts of a grave shrine with the name of Teje and the female mummy, it was initially wrongly assigned to this queen.

It is undisputed that this is a tomb from the Amarna period , which is located in the Valley of the Kings. The grave goods found come exclusively from the Amenhotep III period. to Akhenaten: from these two kings themselves as well as from Teje, Kija , Sitamun and Tutankhamun. The unlabeled canopic jugs were originally made for a woman (probably Kija), but have been reworked for a king. The same seems to apply to the coffin which is now held for Akhenaten's coffin after the restoration of the coffin lid.

The mummy from KV55 is a male skeleton. The mummy ribbons with which it was wrapped bore the name Akhenaten ( Arthur Weigall ). The face of the mummy mask was badly damaged and the cartridge on the breast ornament was unfortunately cut out.

The physical resemblance of the body and skull to Tutankhamun and the identical blood group suggested that these were the remains of Akhenaten.

However, one fact speaks against it: Investigations by pathologists have shown that the skeleton of a 20 to 25-year-old man was found here. Since Akhenaten was certainly older when he died, there would only be one left: Semenchkare. But this statement is again controversial, because according to the latest reports from the Egyptian Antiquities Service, it is now about a 45-60-year-old man, as the latest CT examinations have shown. After that, DNA tests were planned for 2009 in order to obtain further data. The results were published in 2010 and strongly suggest that the mummy in KV55 is Akhenaten and not Semenchkare, as he was the son of Teje and Amenhotep III. was identified. Nevertheless, the man's identity remains highly controversial. It should be noted that the CT scan gives only one indication (a degenerative change in the spine) that makes a higher age at death likely. Eugen Strouhal even denies that this spinal column change can be detected at all. Many therefore continue to assume that the mummy from KV55 is Semenchkare, who would then be an unproven brother of Akhenaten or Tutankhamun.

In the case of epochs in Egyptian chronology that are not scientifically proven, reference is repeatedly made to Manetho . But that wasn't done here. For the pre-Amarna period Jürgen von Beckerath writes ( Lit .: MÄS 46, p. 125):

"Manetho's time indications do not deviate from the chronological reality at all, they deserve trust, ... the numbers obtained from Manetho would improve the chronology given."

This author sees the Amarna period "falsified, largely through the penetration of popular stories, ... the rule of foreigners and enemies of God as well as the salvation by a young pharaoh" and "that the transition between the two dynasties (18th / 19th) can hardly be determined ". The otherwise obligatory comparison of the historical names with those of Manetho is omitted.

Name considerations

According to von Beckerath ( Lit .: MÄS 46), the following names are assigned to seminars:

Throne names

  1. Ankh-cheperu-Re meri wa-en-Re
  2. Ankh-cheperu-Re meri nefer-cheperu-Re
  3. Ankh-cheperu-Re

A queen already bears the throne name of the king: "Anchet-cheperu-Re merit wa-en-Re" ( ˁnḫ.t-ḫpr.w-Rˁ mrj.t wˁ n Rˁ ), whereby the T-endings of "anchet" and “Merit” are the feminine forms.

Proper names

  1. Nefer-neferu-Aton meri wa-en-Re
  2. Nefer-neferu-Aton meri Ach-en-Aton
  3. Semench-ka-Re djeser-cheperu
  4. Semench-ka-Re djeser-cheperu, without cartridge

One of these proper names also already exists: Nefertiti is called Neferet-iti nefer-neferu-Aton in official inscriptions and is written in a cartouche . In Beckerath ( Lit .: Chronologie des Pharaonischen Egypt… MÄS 46, p. 113.) the following is written: “According to this, Anchet-chepru-Re can only be considered as the throne name of Nefertiti; she seems to have been made co-regent by Ach-en-Aten ( Akhenaten ) in the later years of his government ”.

Name translations

The surnames ( epithets ) of the throne names and proper names listed above are translated as follows:

  • T1: Ankh-chepru-Re loved by the "only one of the Re"
  • T2: Ankh-chepru-Re loved by "beautiful (are the) figures of Re"
  • E1: Nefer-neferu-Aton loved by the "only one of the Re"
  • E2: Nefer-neferu-Aton loved by Akhenaten

Anch-cheperu-Re, Nefer-neferu-Aton is loved by Akhenaten, because all epithets belong to the titular of Akhenaten.

According to Peter Munro , this name is the former name of Semenchkare (loosely translated as "Semenchkare, loved by Akhenaten" ). The main evidence for this theory are the above-mentioned chests from the tomb of Tutankhamun with the inscriptions T1 to E2 (interpreted as Semenchkare), the titular Akhenaten and a Great Royal Wife (GKG) Meritaton, who is his eldest daughter. Furthermore, the missing feminine-T in the name indicates a man. Viewed in isolation, this theory appears to be conclusive, from which a homosexual connection between Akhenaten and Semenchkare was quickly constructed. However, it contradicts other facts. Merit-Aton was named as GKG under Akhenaten. The feminine T is also often omitted, for example in Hatschepsut Maat-ka-Re and elsewhere in the spelling of the Njsw.t-Bj.t name for Njsw-Bj and is therefore not clearly to be classified as male in titles. Ultimately: the name “Semenchkare” does not appear on the chests.

The graffito in the grave of Pa-iri / Pa-wah comes from the 10th day of the III. Month of the 3rd year of Ankh-chepru-Re and shows the king worshiping Amun, thus already turning away from Aten. The inscription refers to a mortuary temple of the king that has not yet been localized and contains the partially destroyed titular T1-E2, but not the name Semenchkare (even if the titular is often translated as "Semenchkare" in literature - here one probably copies the other) . "Semenchkare" it should be written here, because according to popular opinion it has been renamed for a long time!

His name is Semenchkare in the last relief in the grave of Merire II in Amarna, where he is supposed to be represented with the great royal consort Meritaton, but the cartouches are completely destroyed. Christine el Mahdy writes:

“In the grave of Merire II, for example, both Nestor L'Hote and Achille Prisse-d'Avennes copied the same relief in the main chamber. It is badly damaged, but shows a king and a queen, whose cartouches were destroyed. Research by scientists in recent times has shown that they were originally "Semench-ka-Re Djeser-chepru-re" and "The Great King Wife Meritaton". When the British inscribers Nina and Norman de Garis Davies later faithfully copied the images from the grave walls, they reinserted these cartouches in a corner of the illustration. ”( Lit .: El-Mahdy, p. 346)


Tutankhamun, whose birth name was Tutanchaton, was accepted as the successor to this obscure pharaoh Semenchkare. However, there is no evidence for this direct succession, or whether Semenchkare ruled alone at all.


Web links

Commons : Semenchkare  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Baker: The Encyclopedia of the Egyptian Pharaohs. London 2008, p. 435.
  2. Rolf Krauss: Meritaten as Ruling Queen of Egypt and successor of Akhenaten Her Father Nipkhururia-Acts. First International Congress of Egyptology (= Cairo writings on the history and culture of the ancient Orient. 14). Berlin 1979, pp. 403-406; Rolf Krauss: A regent, a king and a queen between the death of Achenaten and the accession of Tutanchaten. In: Ancient Near Eastern Research. 34, Munich 2007, pp. 294-318
  3. James R. Harris: Apropos Nefertiti (1): Hvem var Nefertiti? In: Papyrus. Aegyptologisk Tijdsskrift. Volume 28, No. 1, Copenhagen 2008, pp. 12-17
  4. The Mystery of the Mummy from KV55 (English)
  5. Carsten Pusch, Albert Zink, Ashraf Selim, Yehia Zakaria et al .: Ancestry and Pathology in King Tutankhamun's Family. In: Journal of the American Medical Association. (JAMA) February 17, 2010, Vol. 303, No. 7, pp. 638-647.
  6. ^ A b Strouhal, E. "Biological age of skeletonized mummy from Tomb KV 55 at Thebes" in Anthropologie: International Journal of the Science of Man Vol 48 Issue 2 (2010), pp 97-112.
  7. ^ News from the Valley of the Kings: DNA Shows that KV55 Mummy Probably Not Akhenaten . March 2, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  8. Nature 472, 404-406 (2011); Published online April 27, 2011; Original link
  9.; January 2011; Royal Rumpus over King Tutankhamun's Ancestry
  10.; January 2011; Royal Rumpus over King Tutankhamun's Ancestry
  11. JAMA 2010; 303 (24): 2471-2475. "King Tutankhamun's Family and Demise"
  12. ^ Bickerstaffe, D. The King is dead. How Long Lived the King? in Kmt vol 22, n 2, Summer 2010.
  13. Duhig, Corinne. "The remains of Pharaoh Akhenaten are not yet identified: comments on 'Biological age of the skeletonized mummy from Tomb KV55 at Thebes (Egypt)' by Eugen Strouhal" in Anthropologie: International Journal of the Science of Man , Vol 48 Issue 2 (2010 ) pp 113-115. (subscription) "It is essential that, whether the KV55 skeleton is that of Smenkhkare or some previously-unknown prince ... the assumption that the KV55 bones are those of Akhenaten be rejected before it becomes" received wisdom ".
  14. Who's the Real Tut? retrieved Nov 2012
  15. a b J. DS Pendlebury : The City of Akhenaten. Vol. III, No. 2: The Central City and the Official Quarters. Egypt Exploration Society (EES), London 1951, p. 44, plate 108.
  16. ^ A b c William Matthew Flinders Petrie : Tell el-Amarna. With chapters by AH Sayce , Francis Llewellyn Griffith and FCJ Spurrell. Methuen & Co, London 1894, plate 16, pp. 92-93.
  17. ^ A b Walter Wreszinski , Carl Richard Lepsius : Monuments from Egypt and Ethiopia. According to the drawings of the a.o. sent to these countries by His Majesty the King of Prussia Friedrich Wilhelm IV. in d. Expedition carried out between 1842 and 1845. Volume III: Thebes. Berlin 1849-1859, p. 99.
  18. Wolfgang Helck : Documents of the 18th Dynasty. Section IV, Book 22: Inscriptions of the kings of Amenhotep III. to Haremhab and her contemporaries. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1958, p. 2024.
  19. Peter Munro : The names of Semenech-ka-Re's. A contribution to the liquidation of the Amarna period. In: Journal for Egyptian Language and Antiquity . (ZÄS) No. 95, Akademie-Verlag, Leipzig 1969, pp. 109-16.
  20. ^ Letter from the Prince of Byblos. In: Jørgen Alexander Knudtzon: The El-Amarna-Tafeln. Hinrich, Leipzig 1909; WF Albright: The Egyptian Correspondence of Abimilki, King of Tire. In: The Journal of Egyptian Archeology. (JEA) 23, 1937, pp. 190-203, here specifically pp. 190-193.
predecessor Office successor
Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV.) Pharaoh of Egypt
18th Dynasty