Page images
PDF
EPUB

which they can be placed. Horemheb has been supposed a descendant of Thotmes III.; but it is a significant fact that his records appear to base his claim not on this descent, but on some tie connecting him with Mut-nezemet, whose name signifies “the sweet mother.”

This evidence does not determine the relationship, and may with equal probability make her his mother or his wife. In the sculptures of Khuenaten's time, a sister of Queen Nefertiti is sometimes included in the family group; she is called Mut-nezemet, and may be the same as the queen of Horemheb's reign.

In such a case she would have been of equal royal birth with Nefertiti, possibly grand-daughter of Thotmes IV., and it would be plain that her husband or her son would inherit her rights to the crown. Mutnezemet has been the subject of much discussion.' At first she was looked upon as an independent queen, the daughter and successor of Horemheb; later readings of the monuments concerning her afforded evidence to some writers that she was this king's mother, and to others that she was his wife.3

The mysterious inscription which proves her importance to Horemheb's succession, and yet withholds her exact position, is unfortunately mutilated. It is written on a granite statue of the king and Mut-nezemet, now in Turin." The inscription gives a rather puzzling account of Horemheb, which seems to imply that he claimed a divine parentage, as in the cases of Hatshepsut and of Amen-hetep III. After a laudatory notice of the young prince, his creation and approval by the gods, and his divine appointment to the throne, the following passage occurs

· ROSELLINI ; CHAMPOLLION.
? BIRCH ; MASPERO.
3 LEPSIUS ; WILKINSON ; BRUGSCH ; WIEDEMANN.
• L., T., 1379 ; R., S., xliv, 5, A.; T.S.B.A., iii, 486.
5 M.'s S.N., 342, n. 3.

[ocr errors]

.

“ Behold this noble Horus desired in his heart to “ establish his son upon his throne of eternity. Horus

proceeded in rejoicing to Thebes, the city of the eternal " lord, with his son (i.e., Horemheb) in his embrace, even to “ Karnak, until he came into the presence of Amen, in order “ to give him his office as king, to make his length of days. “Behold Amen appeared in his noble feast in Southern

Thebes, and when he saw the majesty of this god, even “ Horus and his son with him in the royal entry to give “ him his office and his throne, then behold Amen-Ra met “ him in rejoicing

he conveyed himself to this chief " heir and prince of both lands, Horemheb; he went to the “ house of the king, going before him to the palace of his

great and noble daughter (Mut-nezemet). She made

obeisance, she embraced his beauties, she placed herself " before him, and all the gods rejoiced at his appearing."

This passage implies that Mut-nezemet was under the protection of Amen. As Horemheb was devoted to the restoration of this god's service, the priesthood probably favoured him as a candidate for the crown, and may have bestowed on him as wife, or even as official wife, the heiress-princess who was Amen's priestess. Or it is possible that Mut-nezemet, being of royal descent, was the wife of a priest of Amen and the mother of Horemheb; and in the scene described on the statue, she perhaps performed some ceremony by which her sovereign rights were formerly conveyed to her son.

If the queen is the same as Nefertiti's sister, Mut-nezemet, a vast change had taken place since the time when the little princess raised her praises to Aten in Khuenaten's devoted groups, to the day when she appears as a devotee of Amen, and the probable wife of his high priest. Many years had passed since Amen's rival had his short-lived triumph, and Mut-nezemet, if identical with Nefertiti's sister, must have been nearly sixty at the time of Horemheb's accession."

· P., H.E., II, 233.

She is the only known queen of this reign. Beyond the inscription of the Turin statue, no detailed evidence concerning Mut-nezemet is found, and her representations are few. Her figure is shown with Horemheb on the Turin group, and on the side of the statue she is depicted as a female sphinx. Her name is on a scarab in the Berlin Museum, on a ring in the Petrie collection, and on the figure of a frog in the Cairo Museum.

The chief interest centering in this queen's personality is her identification with a certain colossal head in the Cairo Museum. This magnificent fragment of sculpture was found at Karnak, and was thought by Mariette to be a portrait of Queen Thịy, for some years being so labelled in the Museum. Miss Amelia B. Edwards made the suggestion that the head came from some great statue of Queen Hatshepsut. Subsequent excavations at Karnak brought to light some fragments which were believed to be pieces of the body to which this head belonged; the statue is said to represent the goddess Mut.

M. Maspero called attention to its similarity to the fine work of Horemheb's time, and thought it was intended for a likeness of the only queen who appears in his reign. It might still be a portrait of Mut-nezemet, even though under the attributes of a goddess.

This head, whether queen or goddess, is one of the most beautiful productions of Egyptian art. It possesses the dignity, power and repose which are characteristic of the great works of the age. The modelling of the face, the low brows, the long eyes and well-formed nose, and above all the keen vitality of the mouth curved into a haunting smile, make this portrait one of the most distinguished of antiquity. The head is in fine limestone, of a creamy white tint, which gives it a peculiar purity and softness. A second head of the same type was found at Karnak by M. Legrain, in 1904.

i Cairo M., Room M, 312.

[merged small][graphic][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »