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QUEENS OF THE XIXTH DYNASTY.
Thebes, about 1328 to 1202 B.C. IN the obscure closing of the XVIIIth dynasty it is difficult to trace the beginning of the XIXth, or the origin of the famous Ramesside family, its sovereign house. The founder of the dynasty, Ramses I., whatever his claim may have been, ascended the throne about 1328 B.C.
Judging from the supremacy of the Egyptian women, and from the instances where other new dynasties were founded on the rights of heiresses of the preceding one, it is probable that Ramses I. claimed his crown through marriage with a descendant of one of the XVIIIth dynasty sovereigns. On the threshold of the new era appears a queen with the titles which usually represented royal inheritance :
SITRA, “the Lady of both Lands, Royal Consort, Royal Mother, Divine Wife."! It is quite probable that this princess brought the sovereign rights to the XIXth dynasty, in the same way that Queen Aah-hetep I. bequeathed them to the XVIIIth. Sitra has the title of "Royal Mother" in her own tomb, but the name of her son is not stated. She appears, however, in a second tomb,' that of Seti, the son of Ramses, where she is represented as following immediately after Ramses, and must therefore have been closely related to both kings.
· BRUGSCH and BOURIANT, Livre des Rois. 2 M., A., i, 32.
: For various opinions of Sitra's identity, see M.'s P.S.B.A., xi, 190.
From her presence in Seti's tomb, she is probably to be regarded as the mother of that king, and the queen
of Ramses I. It is possible that she was a grand-daughter of Khuenaten, but at present no evidence exists by which her descent may be traced. Seti is the only son known of Ramses I., and presumably of Sitra. In the Valley of the Queens' Tombs at Thebes, Sitra's tomb is found ; her portrait is traced on its walls, and her only other appearance is on the monuments of her son Seti.3
A second descendant of the old royal line of the XVIIIth dynasty, who was connected with the rise of the Ramesside house, was
TUAA, “Great Heiress, Great Royal Wife, Royal Mother."
Her descent, like that of the older queen Sitra, is unknown. Both were probably members of the great Amen-hetep family, of which there must have been many collateral branches.
Tuaa was the queen of Seti, and the mother of his famous son, Ramses the Great. It seems that Ramses I. had held high offices under Horemheb, last king of the XVIIIth dynasty, and had received from that monarch the hand of a royal princess for his son Seti.'
If, therefore, Seti's own birth did not entitle him to full royal claims, he at least secured unquestioned sovereign rights to his son Ramses (II.) by marriage with the “great heiress " Tuaa. She is the only queen who appears as the wife of Seti, and is always called the "royal mother” of his son Ramses.
There are several portraits of Tuaa, the best one probably being a statue which is now in the Vatican. A second statue of the queen was found at Medinet Habu ;* she accompanies the colossi at the rock temple of Abu Simbel ;' and is portrayed on a recut statue from Tanis, which is now in the Cairo Museum. Mr. Petrie says of it: “ An old seated figure of a XIIth dynasty princess at Tanis
1 C., N., i, 394 ; L., D.T., iii, 235. 2 R., S., V, 19. : M., A., i, 32 ; M.A.F., ii, iii, 178-81. + M.'s S.N., 369, n. 3. • Mon. Inst., ii, 40 ; Annales, ix, 167. • L., D.T., iii, 148.
was reworked, the face altered, the head-dress recut, and the thumbs narrowed, while the re-attribution of it to “ Tuaa was put on the side.”
The queen's name also occurs at the Ramesseum, at Tanis ;" on stelæ with her son Ramses ;5 and on a granite paint palette in the British Museum. Queen Tuaa was the mother of at least two of Seti's children, Ramses, and a princess Hent-ma-ra, who appears with her mother on the Vatican statue.
The tomb of Seti's queen is unknown, and her mummy was not found with those of her husband and son in the great cachette of Deir el-Bahari. It is a curious fact that the body of so important a person as this ancestress of the Ramessides should not have been hidden away by those care-takers whe were at such pains to conceal the other members of her family. The absence of Tuaa's mummy suggests that it had already disappeared at the time when the royal dead were removed to the obscure tomb at Gurnah.
On the death of Seti, the crown was assumed by Ramses II., who took possession of the land with a thoroughness never before displayed by any king of Egypt. There is scarcely an important site in the country which does not show the monuments of Ramses, either as an original builder, a restorer, or, as in many cases, a mere usurper of the works of his predecessors.
The nature of his exploits as they appear in contemporary records, and the importance of his many monuments
· L., D., iii, 297, 55; B., E., 373.
• Rec., ix, 18. • MIRAMAR, 1152.
6 P., H.E., iii, 9. A mutilated statue of this queen is in the portico of the Cairo Museum.