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The statue, No. 633, in the Cairo Museum, represents Merenptah with his son Seti by his side ;' a stela of Seti's son was usurped by Siptah, who, moreover, used old winejars of Seti in his temple deposit. These facts seem to make reasonable the supposition that Merenptah's son and successor was Seti II., who numbered in his family, besides Amenmeses, the other kings whose brief reigns concluded the dynasty.
TA-KHAT, who was Seti's wife, was the mother of Amenmeses, in whose tomb she appears as, “ Divine Mother, the Great Royal Mother."
A red granite colossus of Seti gives the name of his queen, accompanied by the titles, “Royal Daughter, Great Royal Wife, united to her Horus." An ostrakon in the Louvres contains a list of Ramses' daughters, one of the last names being Ta-khat; from which evidence it has been supposed that this young daughter of Ramses married her nephew Seti II., and is the same as the queen Ta-khat, mentioned on his statue.
The queen's parentage, however, is not stated, and she may as well have been the child of Merenptah as of Ramses, There would seem to be good reasons for supposing her parents to have been Merenptah and Ast-nefert. Ta-khat is the only known queen of Seti II. His daughter was probably Tausert, a great “ Heiress Queen,” a heritage which by law she must have had from her mother. This mother in turn must have been of full royal blood in order to transmit such rights; but neither of Ramses' sister-queens married in his youth could well have been the mother of a 58th daughter of that king.
If, then, Ta-khat was the child of Ramses, her mother would have been a secondary wife or slave, and would have
· MASPERO, Q.G., p. 163; NAVILLE, Bubastis, 45. 2 P., S.T., 15.
* L., D., iii, 202. - Cairo M., North Portico, 392. 5 No. 2261 ; Rec. xvi, 67.
6 P., H.E., iii, 120.
had no rights to bequeath to her daughter. If, on the other hand, Ta-khat was born of Ast-nefert and Merenptah, she would be the legal heiress, and the subsequent royal claims of her daughter Tausert would be the natural result of her position. In the light of the only evidence at present available, the demands of the Egyptian rule of female succession seem to make Ast-nefert the daughter of one of Ramses' queens; Ast-nefert's daughter being Ta-khat and Ta-khat's heiress, Tausert.
The only son definitely recorded as born of Ta-khat is Amenmeses, who succeeded Seti II. The queen of Amenmeses was
BAKT-URNURO, who has left no trace in the annals of the house, except the record of her name and position in her husband's tomb.
The confusion in the history of the reigns of Seti's heirs seems to have been due to difficulties which arose regarding the succession. A family quarrel apparently resulted, which, as Petrie remarks, was almost the tale over again of the Thotmes and Hatshepsut. That queen's counterpart in the later feud was
“ Lady of both Lands, Princess of the
“ North and South, The Great Royal Lady." This heiress of the kingdom claimed the crown of the Pharaohs as her birthright. The sovereigns who succeeded
L., D., iii, 202 g; M.A.F., iii, pl. 56. 2 P., H.E., iii, 123.
Seti II. were Amenmeses, Siptah and Tausert ;' the assumption of royal authority by the princess, may possibly be the clue to the troubles which followed, and which soon brought the country to a state bordering on anarchy.
Like the queen Hatshepsut, Tausert seems to have been associated with her father on the throne. Upon Seti's death, his son Amenmeses apparently succeeded in thrusting the queen temporarily from the throne, and in gaining the sole power. His triumph was but short lived ; for whether Tausert's cause was too strong for his resistance, or whether he was conveniently removed by death, it seems that after a reign of only about a year's duration, the queen's rival disappeared.
She then re-assumed control of the government, in connection with her younger brother Siptah, whom she probably married. She revenged herself on Amenmeses, whom she must have regarded as a usurper, by erasing the cartouches from his tomb.
At Thebes, the queen began the building of a temple, which was left unfinished, if indeed anything more than the foundations were ever constructed. On the site, nine foundation deposits were found. These consisted of stone tablets having Tausert's cartouches; scarabs and pottery; glazed figures of ducks, fish, lotus-flowers, bullocks and bulls' heads, etc.; besides rings and copper models of tools.
The only dated record of Tausert's reign is an ostrakon of her eighth year. Her husband's last known date is in a sixth year; Tausert may, then, have reigned alone for two years after Siptah's death, or she may have reckoned her
· The conclusions drawn by Petrie, from existing evidence, make Tausert, Amenmeses and Siptah all children of Seti II. P., H.E., iii, 120.
? P., H.E., iii, 126.
own reign from the time of its association with that of her father. In the latter case, Tausert and Siptah would have ceased to rule at the same time.
Manetho's list names the queen Thuoris, and attributes to her a reign of seven years, an additional proof of the early disappearance of Seti's heiress.
In these few data are all the elements of a stirring drama, not without a suggestion of tragedy. Within the short space of eight years,' we find no fewer than four reigns: a dominating princess who claims the right to active government; an elder brother who wrenches the sceptre from her grasp; his speedy exit by fair means or foul; the queen's restoration, and a joint rule with a second brother lasting only a few years, when they are both superseded by a fourth claimant.
We have in the erased cartouches of Amenmeses, Siptah, and Tausert, the evidences of hatred and revenge ; and finally there is the suggestion of a violent end, in the abrupt termination of the joint reign of Tausert and Siptah, both sovereigns being in the prime of life, and both leaving temples which were only in the early stages of construction.
The last act in this unknown drama was performed by Setnekht, or Ramses III., who usurped their tomb and erased the cartouches. The tomb of Queen Tausert was not made in that valley where lay the earlier queens of her house, but was situated among the tombs of the kings of Egypt, with whom she had claimed a place in life, and with whom she chose to rest after death. The tomb is known as No. 14, in the Bibân el Molûk. It originally consisted of a hall and two chambers, sculptured with representations of the queen and Siptah. A scarab exists which also unites the names of the two sovereigns.
1 P., H.E., III, 122. · L., D., iii, 201 a; L., D.T., ii, 212 ; C., N., i, 448, 806; M.A.F.,
The foundation plan of Siptah's temple,' shows it to have been less than a third the size of that of his queen. It is perhaps a significant sign of the spirit of a degenerating age, that the builder of a small and unimportant temple should have provided for its foundation, eight lavish deposits, consisting of “about 150 glazed plaques and
scarabs, 230 rings, 100 gold and silver foil plaques ; over " 1,200 glazed models and rings; about 150 copper models of tools, besides pottery, stone mortars, etc."
The last one of the personages engaged in the family feuds of Seti II. was Setnekht, who ascended the throne on the death or disappearance of Tausert and Siptah.
THYI-MERENAST was the queen of Setnekht. Her name suggests the old royal line of the XVIIIth dynasty; but her descent is unknown.
She was the mother of Ramses III., the founder of the XXth dynasty. Her relationship to these two kings is established by the stela of a priest, Merenatef, found at Abydos. The sculpture shows this priest in adoration before Setnekht and Thyi-merenast, with their son Ramses III., making offerings. In tomb No. II of the Queens' Tombs, the figure of the queen-mother of Ramses III. appears, followed by her son. The tomb was, therefore, probably that of Thyi-merenast, although the name of the owner can no longer be deciphered from the inscriptions.*
In Ramses' laudatory memorial of his father Setnekht, he speaks of that king as a saviour of his country, and gives a dark summary of the state of Egypt during the troubled years when the heirs of Seti II. were struggling for the throne. “The land of Egypt was overthrown. Every man
was his own guide, they had no superiors. From the abundant
years of the past we had come to other times.
· The remains of the temples of Tausert and Siptah were excavated by PETRIE in 1896. They are described by him in Sir Temples, etc. 2 P., H.E., III, 132.
• M., A., ii, 52. • L., D., iii, 217 e, f.