Amenhotep, Son of Hapu

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Amenhotep, Son of Hapu

Circa 1479-1353 b.c.e .

Royal scribe, priest, and overseer

Sources

Special Status . Amenhotep, son of Hapu, was born during the reign of pharaoh Thutmose III (circa 1479-1425 b.c.e.) in the town of Athribis, in the Delta. Like Imhotep, the vizier of the Dynasty 3 (circa 2675-2625 b.c.e.) ruler Djoser, he attained netjer (god) status. His father was Hapu, and his mother was Itu. As a young man he attended the temple school and learned “the words of Thoth” (hieroglyphs). Amenhotep served as an official during the reign of King Amenhotep III (circa 1390-1353 b.c.e.) of Dynasty 18 (circa 1539-1295/1292 b.c.e.). He was first appointed as a royal scribe and priest in the temple of Horus-Khentikheti. He was later promoted to the office of “Scribe of Recruits,” where he was responsible for organizing the manpower of Egypt for the king. From there he rose to the position of “Overseer of all the works of the King.” In this position he was responsible for the construction of the king’s temples at Soleb and Karnak, and for the monumental statues of the king set up at Thebes. As a reward for his services, Amenhotep was allowed to erect statues of himself throughout the processional way in the temple of Karnak. There, he could serve as an intermediary between visitors to the temple and the gods worshiped therein. When he died, he was buried at Qurnet Murai, near his king’s funerary temple. He was given the honor of having his own funerary temple, built near that of his sovereign. From there, the cult of Amenhotep, son of Hapu, grew in renown until he was revered as a local saint at Thebes. A Dynasty 26 (664-525 b.c.e.) statue of Amenhotep dedicated by Merit-Neith, daughter of Pharaoh Psammetichus I, asks him to heal her of an unnamed affliction of the eyes. By the Ptolemaic period Amenhotep had entered the pantheon of the gods and was revered as a god of wisdom and a healer, with major cult centers at Deir el Bahri and Deir el Medina.

Sources

Eric Cline and David O’Connor, eds., Amenhotep III: Perspectives on His Reign (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998).

Rosalie and Antony E. David, A Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt (London: Seaby, 1992).

Dietrich Wildung, Egyptian Saints: Deification in Pharaonic Egypt (New York: New York University Press, 1977).