« PreviousContinue »
been sacrificed to the greatness of her house. Her personality is quite lost in those of the three individuals with whom her life was passed ; a younger daughter of Queen Hatshepsut, wife of a king, and mother of a king; these are the only details concerning her which remain. As she was probably Hatshepsut's only surviving daughter, she was through her mother the heiress of the throne. She seems to have inherited nothing else from that royal parent, or if she did, any tendency towards the exercise of her sovereign rights must have been promptly suppressed by her husband.
It was glory enough that she brought the crown of Egypt as a gift to Thotmes III., who has been aptly termed by Brugsch,“ the Alexander the Great of Egyptian history.” Through the stirring records of his reign, there is never the slightest suggestion that the power was shared with Meryt-ra Hatshepset ; the king alone is lord and arbitrator of the destinies of the land, and his queen is only “Great Royal Wife, Beloved of Ra."
The old peaceful days were over, and the land was soon plunged into the tumults and alarms of war. Thotmes always returned victorious from his campaigns, and under his ambitious reign the kingdom was increased until it became a great empire. It is then no wonder that in the highly coloured pictures of the two reigns which included all the young life of Meryt-ra Hatshepset, she should appear as a figure drawn in but faint lines. Her name is occasionally mentioned in the sculptural records still surviving from her time.
At Thebes in the temple of Medinet Habu, the queen accompanies her husband, while a representation of her in the form of a sphinx, has the name of Thotmes engraved upon it. This statue was found in the ruins of the temple of Isis, at Rome, and is now in the Barocco collection. In
I L., D., iii, 38, 26 b, C., 64 a ; LORET, Les Tombes Thoutmôsis, etc., pl. 6; M.'s S.N., 243, 290 ; NAVILLE, T.H., 19.
the “Chapel of the Cow," found at Deir el-Bahari and removed to the Cairo Museum, Thotmes III. is represented as performing ceremonies connected with the worship of the goddess Hathor. He is assisted by his queen Meryt-ra, and by a "Royal Daughter, Royal Sister, Meryt-amen.”
It is just possible that Meryt-ra had some influence on the early reign of her son Amen-hetep II., who ascended the throne when he was still a youth ; his name is coupled with that of the "Royal Mother Meryt-ra," on a scarab found at Abydos, and in one or two tombs she likewise appears with her son. A scarab with the title “Great Royal Wife,” and a second one of lapis-lazuli set in gold, are engraved with the name of Meryt-ra.”
When the tomb of Thotmes III. was opened, it was found to contain amid the debris of its original funeral furnishings, two black uninscribed wooden coffins, each containing the mummy of a woman. It was thought by M. Loret, who discovered them, that they were perhaps a wife and daughter of Thotmes.
SAT-AAH, “ The Great Royal Wife,” was also a queen of Thotmes III. Her name was first noticed by Mariette, on a fragment of limestone at Abydos, and on a block found by Wilkinson at Karnak ;t but her position was only established on the opening of the tomb of Thotmes III., in the inscriptions of which, Sat-aah appears as the wife of that king
A limestone table of offerings in the Cairo Museum gives further information regarding her. From this monument it appears that she was the daughter of Thotmes' nurse; the inscription reads, “The Great Royal Wife, Sat"aah, justified, born of the great nurse the neter shed, Apu "justified.”5
i Room M, 338.
· N., Sc., pl. xxviii, 35, 36.
• Ibid., 109 (1828). The insc. pub. by NEWBERRY, P.S.B.A.
This queen is further recorded on a bas-relief found at Karnak, where she is shown with name and titles, standing before Thotmes I.;' a scarab naming her is also known.” The tomb inscriptions of Thotmes, prove that Sat-aah died during the lifetime of her husband. She appears as “Great Royal Wife," with the same titles as those borne by Meryt-ra. This princess was, as we have seen, the royal heiress, who by marrying Thotmes bestowed on him her rights. It is not likely that she was passed over in favour of the daughter of the prince's nurse, since her position as heiress made Meryt-ra of great importance to the claims of the young Thotmes.
The two queens were, therefore, Great Royal Wives at the same time. That this title could be assumed by two contemporary queens, is proved by the instance of the princess Sat-amen, who was called “Great Royal Wife" during the life of her mother, the famous Queen Thry.
A small temple at Thebes, north of the Ramesseum, was built by Thotmes III., presumably in honour of a queen whose broken statue was found on the site. Only the lower half of the figure remained, the fragment recording a "Royal Wife."
NEB-S-MA. The inscription contains the hieroglyphic sign which represents a foreigner, although the name is purely Egyptian. It frequently happened that the Egyptian kings, marrying foreign women, bestowed on them Egyptian names, and this was probably the case with Queen Neb-s-ma. The style of cutting recalls the XIIth dynasty work, but from its position in the ruins of Thotmes' temple, the statue was supposed to belong to some hitherto unknown queen of Thotmes III.S
TIAA. “Royal Daughter, Royal Mother, Chief Royal Wife."
· LEGRAIN, Bul. de l'Inst. Eg., 3rd series, 9, pl. VII, 96.