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Senenmut in hieroglyphics
T23 N35

brother of the mother
Ostracon-ThoughtToDepictSenenmut02 MetropolitanMuseum.png
Ostracon with the image of Senenmut

Senenmut († around 1460 BC) was a high ancient Egyptian civil servant and builder of the New Kingdom . He was one of the most influential officials under the ruling queen ( pharaoh ) Hatshepsut and probably responsible for major construction projects during her reign.


Ramose (left), Senenmut (middle) and Hatnofer (right) on the false door of Senenmut

He was the son of Ramose and Hatnofer from Armant , about 25 km south of Thebes , and came from a middle-class background. His father only bears the title zab on the surviving monuments , which is more of a posthumous designation of honor. His mother holds the title of mistress of the house . Three brothers are known by name. They are Amenemhat, Minhotep and Pairy. The names of two sisters have been handed down: Ahhotep and Nofrethor. There is no evidence that Senenmut was ever married.

Career start

Under Amenhotep I and Thutmose I , he was probably first a priest student and then an officer , before becoming a civil servant. In the further course of his life, Senenmut achieved many high positions and titles. So he was z. B. the “Asset Manager of Amun”. He was thus responsible for the entire property of the Amun temple in Karnak and also all the temples connected with it, with all supplies of precious metals and stones, land, cattle herds and other commercial operations. According to Dorman (1988), a total of 88 other titles are occupied, although it can be assumed that Senenmut did not always perform the associated functions at the same time. Impressive self-portrayal was not unknown in ancient Egypt either.

Under Hatshepsut

Senenmut's cube stool with Hatshepsut's daughter Neferu-Re in front of him, Thebes / Karnak, around 1475 BC BC ( Egyptian Museum Berlin )

Under Hatshepsut he became their chief architect, builder, chief asset manager and thus also their closest confidante. He was also responsible for bringing up her only surviving daughter, Neferu-Re . He probably built most of their buildings for Hatshepsut. During the construction of their famous mortuary temple in Deir el-Bahari , he copied the ramp of another nearby temple on the one hand, but also created the fantastic figures of the colonnades and inside the temple a unique ceiling construction so that the temple could withstand the weight of the rock above.

His relationship with Hatshepsut

Senenmut was certainly one of Hatshepsut's favorites, but there is no evidence that he and the queen were lovers. However, some researchers are of the opinion that this was the case and that Senenmut could also have been the biological father of Neferu-Re. At least one statue shows him together with Neferu-Re in a protective, embracing, paternal intimacy that surpasses the role of educator, which together with other references of this kind allow such an interpretation.

Sarcophagus of Senenmut ( Metropolitan Museum , New York)

As an award and proof of her favor, he was allowed to build a grave ( TT353 ) next to Hatshepsut's mortuary temple . In this grave complex a long corridor leads directly under the central area of ​​their mortuary temple and one can see from many representations and inscriptions in his burial chamber the desire to perpetuate his great veneration and deep devotion to Hatshepsut.

The ceiling of his burial chamber is also adorned with an astronomical calendar , the astronomical constellations of which date back to 1463 BC. Could be dated. The " Star of the King and Osiris " mentioned in this context culminated in 1463 BC. BC in ancient Egypt on 23rd and 24th Achet III at the 7th hour of the night ( midnight ) and symbolized the rebirth of the deceased. This representation often served as a copied template for grave ceiling representations on the Ramesside star clocks at least until the Ramesside period . The astronomical constellations depicted in Senenmut's tomb were adopted to the exact day, although the astronomical events in the Egyptian calendar had meanwhile shifted.

The grave had no above-ground cult facility, which he had built in Sheikh Abd el-Qurna ( TT71 ). This complex is poorly preserved and was decorated with paintings. Remnants of depictions of Cretan tribute-bringers were still found .

His end

Around the time that Hatshepsut's daughter Neferu-Re died, Senenmut was also relieved of all his offices and disappeared from the scene in the 16th year of Hatshepsut's rule. To this day we still don't know what became of him. He probably had adversaries and envious people who were jealous of his career and achievements. It is therefore not surprising that at some point after Senenmut's death almost all images of him were destroyed. His mummy is also missing to this day.


  • Peter F. Dormann: The Monuments of Senenmut. Kegan Paul International, London / New York 1988, ISBN 0-7103-0317-3
  • Eberhard Dziobek / Peter F. Dorman: Additional Name Stones of Senenmut. In: Göttinger Miscellen . 119, Göttingen 1990, pp. 7-12.
  • John AR Legon: nbj-Rod Measures in the Tomb of Senenmut. In: Göttinger Miscellen. 143, Göttingen 1994, pp. 97-104.
  • Christian Leitz : Ancient Egyptian star clocks. Peeters, Leuven 1995, ISBN 90-6831-669-9 .

Web links

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

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Bertha Porter , Rosalind LB Moss , Ethel W. Burney: Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings. I. The Theban Necropolis. Part 1. Private Tombs. 2nd revised and expanded edition. Griffith Institute / Ashmolean Museum , Oxford 1970, p. 139 ( PDF file; 21.9 MB ); Retrieved from The Digital Topographical Bibliography .
  2. ^ Dormann: The Monuments of Senenmut. , P. 165.
  3. ^ Dormann: The Monuments of Senenmut. , Pp. 165-66.
  4. November 14th and 15th July
  5. In the texts of the Book of the Dead, the 7th hour of the night symbolized the time of rebirth.
  6. Christian Leitz: Ancient Egyptian star clocks . Pp. 136 and 263-264.