„Prayer and Power“

Conference about the God’s Wives of Amun in Egypt during the First Millenium BC

Conference about the God’s Wives of Amun in Egypt during the First Millenium BC
© Sammlung Diehl

The God’s Wife of Amun was the highest-ranking priestess in Ancient Egypt. Since the New Kingdom, about 1550 BC, it was an important religious institution centered in Thebes. Several queens are attested holding the title of a God’s Wife of Amun. But with the religious changes in the Amarna-Period the title fell out of favour.

During the 10th-8th centuries BC the title of the God’s Wife of Amun was revived, and in the following 200 years (8th-6th centuries) the institution gained in religious, political and economic influence. The princesses were expected to remain unmarried and to adopt a daughter of a next king as their heiress. Therefore the choice of the sacerdotal successor had a political dimension: as the royal palace and capital was in the northern part of Egypt, the God’s Wife acted as the substitute of the king in the southern part of Egypt. She took a royal titulary with names in two cartouches and had the authority to build chapels in Karnak and mortuary edifices in Medinet Habu. As the head of Theban theocracy, she controlled one of the largest economic centers in Egypt of that time. Within this economic network she integrated the top-level families of the Theban aristocracy. But her major duty was her active involvement in the temple ritual: she performed offerings in front of Amun. Moreover, she participated in rituals that asserted the king’s territorial authority as well as Amun’s universal power.

The conference will focus on the heyday of the institution of the God’s Wives, the influence and power of these women, as well as their social and economic context. It combines contributions from current research on the God’s Wives of Amun in the Third Intermediate Period as well as the early Late Period in Egypt. Individual personalities as well as the influence of femininity in general will be addressed. Moreover, questions concerning their artistic representation and their building activities will be discussed. The aim of the conference is to enhance dialogue about different religious, political and social aspects of the God’s Wives of Amun and to shed light on this powerful institution.


Thursday, 25.06.2015

18:15-18:30 Greetings Angelika Lohwasser, Anke I. Blöbaum, Meike Becker, Münster
18:30-19:30 Gender, Ritual, and the Manipulation of Power: The God’s Wife of Amun (Dynasty 23-26) Mariam Ayad, Cairo

Friday, 26.06.2015

09:00-09:15 Introduction Angelika Lohwasser, Münster
09:00-09:45 The Relationship Between the Libyan Period Rulers and Thebes Raphaële Meffre, Paris
9:45-10:15 Female influence during the Third Intermediate Period besides the God’s wives Meike Becker, Münster
10:45-11:15 Karomama revisited Claus Jurman, Vienna
11:15-11:45 A God’s Wife at Heracleopolis Olivier Perdu, Paris
11:15-11:45 Discussion
14:00-14:30 The sphinxes of Shepenwepet II Wienke Aufderhaar, Münster
14:30-15:00 The iconography of prayer and power: portrayals of the God’s Wife Ankhnesneferibre in Osiris chapels at Karnak Aleksandra Hallmann, Warsaw
15:00-15:30 Discussion
16:00-16:30 Between Amun and Osiris: Reassessing the place of the God’s wives in the decorative scheme of the Osiris chapels at Karnak Laurent Coulon, Lyon
16:30-17:00 Between tradition and innovation: the Hw.t-kA of the God‘s Wives Carola Koch, Würzburg
17:00-17:30 Discussion

Saturday, 27.06.2015

09:00-09:30 Historical and art historical questions: late Libyan and Kushite God’s Wives Robert Morkot, Exeter
09:30–10:00 “Nubianess” and the God’s Wives of Amun: Institution, Persons, Reflections Angelika Lohwasser, Münster
10:30-11:00 Family affairs: Relations between the family of Monthemhet, the clergy of Amun and the God’s Wives Anke I. Blöbaum, Münster
11:00-11:30 The God’s wife at the beginning of the 26th Dynasty: A religious function to assert political power Claudia Maderna-Sieben, Heidelberg
11:30-12:00 Research in TT 391 Erhart Graefe, Münster
12:00-12:30 Discussion
14:00-15:00 Discussion