Senenmut

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

Senenmut was the most important person in Egypt for whole twenty years. A mysterious man, who was an advisor and architect of Queen Hatshepsut, was always in the middle of historians' interest. What probably was his relation with Queen like and how did he get such a huge power?

Senenmut - educator and architect

The successor of Thutmose II., Thutmose III., wasn't old enough for reigning after Thutmose II. death. So Queen Hatshepsut, who was an aunt and step mother of Thutmose III., became a regent. But she let herself crowned by the Pharaoh in the 5th or 7th year of her reign to be able to rule without limits. It was an isolated event in Egypt and Senenmut played a significant role in it.

Senenmut's family likely came from the city Armant. His father Ramose was a rather insignificant official, so Senenmut had a humble background. None of his siblings had got such a position as him. He probably wasn't married in his whole life, because the ceremony of Mouth opening did his brother Amenemhet in his tomb.

Senenmut on the way up

Senenmut got to the service in the royal house under Thutmose II rule and soon he got important information there. Senenmut is mentioned as the "Steward of the King's daughter Neferure", the daughter of then royal regent Hatshepsut on the first buildings he let build. The places of royal educators were in great demand, because the significance of an educator rose after the heir came to the throne.

Senenmut, "the main spokesman of the Queen" and "administrator of royal family and Amun house", proved exceptional administrative abilities, so his titles accrued very quickly. At first he was the "head of all royal buildings" and then also the "Great Amun's administator". This title gave him the main word for choice of prospective priests of powerful Karnak sanctuary.

Senenmut led buildings construction in Mut's temple precinct in the southern part complex in Karnak. He also paraded with a title "Head of Amun's work in Djeser-Djeseru". It was a name of large Mortuary temple, which Queen Hatshepsut let build on the western Nile bank (the place is known as Deir el-Bahri today). Senenmut led erecting of two big Amun-Ra's obelisks and constructing of one of the most beautiful and most original Mortuary temples - Deir el-Bahri.

Tomb of Senenmut in Sheikh Abd el-Qurna

The proof of Senenmut's increase in society was construction of the rock tomb that Senenmut let sculpt into the hillside of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Which dominates these part of Theban necropolis. The temples in Karnak and Luxor on the other bank of the Nile are visible from there. Senenmut let build a second tomb on the edge of a quarry fitting closely to Hatshepsut's temple, which is actually a long corridor sinking 60 meters under the ground level.

A lot of statues reminded the years of Hatshepsut's reign, which were favourable for Senenmut. He even got some of them as a gift from the royal family. The statues are surprising because of their originality and postures of the queen's favourite. About ten statues depicted Senenmut as a Neferure's steward.

Senenmut's fall

Senenmut was at all important events for three quarters of Hatshepsut's reign, but he apparently fell into disgrace after death of her daughter Neferure. He might become too close to young Thutmose III. and so earned the anger of Queen Hatshepsut. It's hard to say what was the relationship of a later great conqueror Thutmose III. with a man, who was helping his aunt so much to rid him of the power. Senenmut's name as well as name of Queen Hatshepsut was hewed away of many buildings. It is a proof of Thutmose's effort to re-write the history in favour of himself.  There are several versions of Senenmut's relationship with Queen Hatshepsut - the two following are mentioned most often.

The first version sees Senenmut as a self-confident and ambitious architect, who conspired with the king's widow to overtake the power together. The second version describes him as an excellent administrator, who had the Queen tender feelings for and both of them became the victims of the vengeful Pharaoh. However, there is no evidence for any of these versions and so Senenmut stays a mysterious person in Egyptian history.

Message from the Nile

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    The Czech egyptology founder is Frantisek Lexa, the author of up to now evaluated work about ancient Egypt magic and Demotic grammar. Seminar for egyptology started thanks to him in Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of Charles University in Prague in 1925. Two years later Lexa became the first regular professor of egyptology in then Czechoslovakia.

  • Abusir - outstation of Czech egyptology expedition

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