Amenhotep Son of Hapu Most Like Senenmut

Statue of Senenmut and Neferure 

 

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

 

The career of Amenhotep son of Hapu seems to have been

closely modelled on that of Senenmut.

 

 

Amenhotep son of Hapu was a highly influential figure, whose fame reached down even into Ptolemaïc times. Horemheb, for one, may have been stylistically influenced by Amenhotep. For according to W. Smith and W. Simpson (The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt, 1998, p.195): “The large grey granite statue of Horemheb in the pose of a scribe … is related stylistically to those of Amenhotep son of Hapu … Horemheb has the same plump, well-fed body and wears a long wig similar to that of the aged wise man …”.

Who really was this Amenhotep son of Hapu, upon whom there were bestowed “unprecedented” honours, investing him with virtually regal status?

 

Statuary and Privileges

 

Joann Fletcher offers us a glimpse of his extraordinary power (Egypt’s Sun King. Amenhotep III, Duncan Baird, 2000, p. 51):

 

In an unprecedented move, Amenhotep III gave extensive religious powers to his closest official and namesake, Amenhotep son of Hapu, not only placing the scribe’s statuary throughout Amun’s temple, but also granting his servant powers almost equal to his own: inscriptions on the statues state that Amenhotep son of Hapu would intercede with Amun himself on behalf of those who approached. The king’s chosen man, who was not a member of Amun’s clergy, could act as intermediary between the people and the gods on the king’s behalf, bypassing the priesthood altogether.

[End of quote]

 

In light of what we learned, however, in:

 

Solomon and Sheba

 

https://www.academia.edu/3660164/Solomon_and_Sheba

 

the powers accorded by pharaoh Amenhotep III to his namesake, the son of Hapu, were not “unprecedented”. All of this – and perhaps even more – had already been bestowed upon Senenmut, the ‘power behind the throne’ of Pharaoh Hatshepsut. I have identified this Senenmut as King Solomon in Egypt.

 

We read in that article of Senenmut’s quasi-royal honours (compare son of Hapu’s “virtually regal status” above):

 

  1. SENENMUT IN HATSHEPSUT’S

KINGSHIP (REGNAL YEARS 7-16)

Hatshepsut’s Coronation

 

In about the 7th year of Thutmose III, according to Dorman [52], Hatshepsut had herself crowned king, assum­ing the name Maatkare or Make-ra (‘True is the heart of Ra’). In the present scheme, this would be close to Solomon’s 30th regnal year. From then on, Hatshepsut is referred to as ‘king’, sometimes with the pronoun ‘she’ and sometimes ‘he’, and depicted in the raiment of a king. She is called the daughter of Amon-Ra – but in the picture of her birth a boy is moulded by Khnum, the shaper of human beings (i.e. Amon-Ra) [53].

According to Dorman, Senenmut was present at Hatshep­sut’s coronation and played a major rôle there [54]. On one statue [55] he is given some unique titles, which Berlandini-Grenier [56] identifies with the official responsible for the ritual clothing of the Queen ‘the stolist of Horus in privacy’, ‘keeper of the diadem in adorning the king’ and ‘he who covers the double crown with red linen’. Winlock was startled that Senenmut had held so many unique offices in Egypt, including ‘more intimate ones like those of the great nobles of France who were honored in being allowed to assist in the most intimate details of the royal toilet at the king’s levees’ [57]. The rarity of the stolist titles suggested to Dorman [58] ‘a one-time exercise of Senenmut’s function of stolist and that prosopographical conclusions might be drawn’, i.e., he had participated in Hatshepsut’s coronation.

….

 

And, even more startling:

 

…. of special interest is the astronomical information in tomb 353, particularly the ceiling of Chamber A [75]. Senenmut’s ceiling is the earliest astronomical ceiling known. We are reminded again of Solomon’s encyclopaedic knowledge of astronomy and calendars (Wisdom 7:17-19). The ceiling is divided into two parts by transverse bands of texts, the central section of which contains the names ‘Hatshepsut’ and ‘Senenmut’ [76]. The southern half contains a list of decans derived from coffins of the Middle Kingdom period that had served as ‘a prototype’ for a family of decanal lists that survived until the Ptolemaïc period; whilst ‘The northern half is decorated with the earliest preserved depiction of the northern constellations; four planets (Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn) are also portrayed with them, and the lunar calendar is represented by twelve large circles’. [77]

In tomb 71 at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, · the sarcophagus itself is carved of quartzite in a unique oval form adapted from the royal cartouche shape. Dorman [78] says ‘… the sarcophagus seemed to be yet another proof … of the pretensions Senenmut dares to exhibit, skirting dangerously close to prerogatives considered to be exclusively royal’. Winlock [79] would similarly note that it was ‘significantly designed as almost a replica of royal sarcophagi of the time’,

  • one of the painted scenes features a procession of Aegean (Greek) tribute bearers, the first known representation of these people [80] – the only coherent scene on the north wall of the axial corridor portrays three registers of men dragging sledges that provide shelter for statues of Senenmut, who faces the procession of statues.

Senenmut had presented to Hatshepsut ‘an extraordinary request’ for ‘many statues of every kind of precious hard stone’, to be placed in every temple and shrine of Amon-Ra [81]. His request was granted. Meyer [82] pointed to it as an indication of his power.

 

[End of quotes]

Titles

 

Amenhotep son of Hapu, likewise, had some most imposing titles

(http://euler.slu.edu/~bart/egyptianhtml/kings%20and%20Queens/Amenhotep-Hapu.html):

 

Hereditary prince, count, sole companion, fan-bearer on the king’s right hand, chief of the king’s works even all the great monuments which are brought, of every excellent costly stone; steward of the King’s-daughter of the king’s-wife, Sitamen, who liveth; overseer of the cattle of Amon in the South and North, chief of the prophets of Horus, lord of Athribis, festival leader of Amon. ….

Several inscriptions outline his career and show how he rose through the ranks.

Amenhotep started off as a king’s scribe as mentioned on his statue:

 

I was appointed to be inferior king’s-scribe; I was introduced into the divine book, I beheld the excellent things of Thoth; I was equipped with their secrets; I opened all their [passages (?)]; one took counsel with me on all their matters.

 

After distinguishing himself, Amenhotep was promoted to the position of Scribe of Recruits.

 

… he put all the people subject to me, and the listing of their number under my control, as superior king’s-scribe over recruits. I levied the (military) classes of my lord, my pen reckoned the numbers of millions; I put them in [classes (?)] in the place of their [elders (?)]; the staff of old age as his beloved son. I taxed the houses with the numbers belonging thereto, I divided the troops (of workmen) and their houses, I filled out the subjects with the best of the captivity, which his majesty had captured on the battlefield. I appointed all their troops (Tz.t), I levied ——-. I placed troops at the heads of the way(s) to turn back the foreigners in their places.

 

Amenhotep mentions being on a campaign to Nubia.

 

I was the chief at the head of the mighty men, to smite the Nubians [and the Asiatics (?)], the plans of my lord were a refuge behind me; [when I wandered (?)] his command surrounded me; his plans embraced all lands and all foreigners who were by his side. I reckoned up the captives of the victories of his majesty, being in charge of them.

 

Later he was promoted to “Chief of all works”, thereby overseeing the building program of Pharaoh Amenhotep III

His connections to court finally led to Amenhotep being appointed as Steward to Princess-Queen Sitamen.

[End of quotes]

 

Official Relationship to Amon

 

The son of Hapu was, as we read above, “overseer of the cattle of Amon in the South and North … [and] festival leader of Amon”. ….

Now regarding Senenmut, as I wrote in “Solomon and Sheba”:

 

Historians claim ‘Steward of Amon’ was the most illustri­ous of all Senenmut’s titles. This would be fitting if he were Solomon, and Amon-Ra were the Supreme God, the ‘King of Gods’, as the Egyptians called him. Senenmut was also ‘overseer of the garden of Amon’ (see Appendix A). Like Solomon, a king who also acted as a priest, Senenmut’s chief rôle was religious. He was in charge of things pertaining to Amon and was ‘chief of all the prophets’. Solomon, at the beginning of his co-regency with David, had prayed for wisdom and a discerning mind (I Kings 3:9). On the completion of the Temple, he stood ‘before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, [he] spread forth his hands towards heaven’ (I Kings 8:22). Likewise, Senenmut is depicted in Hatshepsut’s temple with arms up-stretched to heaven, praying to Hathor, the personification of wisdom.

 

Thomas C. Hamilton has provided this most perceptive comment about Amonism (Amunism) in a revised context (http://kabane52.tumblr.com/post/132812715270/amunism-and-atenism):

 

Amunism and Atenism

 

Akhenhaten is widely known as the “monotheistic Pharaoh” and his cult of the Aten has absurdly been described as the “first monotheism.” This ignores the abundant evidence that monotheism is the earliest religion of the human race, as was documented in detail by Wilhelm Schmidt in his twelve volume work on the subject, popularly summarized lately by Winfried Corduan. My intent, however, is not to complain about that. Instead, it is to present a revised view of what Atenism was on a revised chronology, largely drawing on the fascinating work of traditional Catholic scholar Damien Mackey.

 

I have pointed out in the past that the descriptions of Amun in Egyptian literature converge in fascinating ways with the biblical description of God. Amun-Re is a sun-god. The sun, of course, is one of the Lord’s chief symbols in Scripture, and the nations worshiped God as the “God of Heaven.” This is why the phenomenon of original monotheism is called the “sky-god” phenomenon. That a god was associated with the sun does not mean that he had always been identified with the sun. Indeed, I think the “fusion” of Amun and Re was the recovery of a pristine monotheistic religion. Just as Yahweh and El were two titles for one God, so also Amun and Re. Imhotep, whom I have identified with Joseph, served as High Priest of Re at Heliopolis.

[End of quote]

 

The career of Amenhotep son of Hapu in relation to Egypt reminds me in many ways of that of that other quasi-royal (but supposed commoner), Senenmut, or Senmut, at the time of Pharaoh Hatshepsut. Amenhotep son of Hapu is in fact so close a replica of Senenmut that I would have to think that he had modelled himself greatly on the latter.

Senenmut was to pharaoh Hatshepsut also a Great Steward, and he was to princess Neferure her mentor and steward.

So was Amenhotep son of Hapu to pharaoh Amenhotep III a Great Steward, and he was to princess Sitamun (Sitamen) her mentor and steward.

Again, as Senenmut is considered by scholars to have been a commoner, who, due to his great skills and character, rose up through the ranks to become scribe and architect and steward of Amun, so is exactly the same said about Amenhotep son of Hapu.

Each seemed to be a real ‘power behind the throne’.

Son of Hapu, like Senenmut, is thought not to have (married or to have) had any children.

 

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