Pentu

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Pentu

Flourished Circa 1353-1322 b.c.e .

King’s physician, vizier

Sources

Priest and Chamberlain . Little is known about Pentu’s life, but by the reign of Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) (circa 1353-1336 b.c.e.) this priest and physician had achieved the high status of Chief Servitor—the private doctor and chamberlain to the king. Despite his close proximity to the royal family, which earned him official praise from the king, as well as the placement of his picture on the walls of the temple to Aten, Pentu did not agree with the religious and social changes Akhenaten and his wife, Nefertiti, were instituting, especially the elimination of references to the god Amen and the placement of Aten in his place. Pentu appeared outwardly loyal to his king; yet, at the same time, he developed firm relationships with officials who opposed the changes.

Survivor . Pentu was one of only a few of Akenaten’s officials to maintain a position of importance after the death of the king. Most likely because of his orthodox religious views and his friendship with Ay, a court official who may have actually been running the kingdom while Akhenaten concentrated on religion and who later served as pharaoh (circa 1322-1319 b.c.e.), Pentu was made the Southern Vizier during the reign of Tutankhamun (circa 1332-1322 b.c.e.). He helped overthrow the worship of Aten and return the former status of Amen. There is evidence that Pentu survived this king as well and even participated in his funerary procession. When the physician died, he was buried in a tomb that he had been granted in Amarna.

Sources

Cyril Aldred, Akhenaten: King of Egypt (London: Thames & Hudson, 1988).

Ian Bolton, “Pentu: Chief Physician to the King,” Egypt: Land of Eternity, <http://members.tripod.com/ib205/pentu.html.>

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