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Senenmut

Senenmut

Unknown–1466 b.c.e.

Chief Steward of the god Amun

High Ranking Commoner.

Senenmut was the son of Ramose and Hatnofer, who were commoners. Several of his earliest titles link him to the town of Armant, perhaps his birthplace. His career probably began in the reign of Thutmose II (1481–1479 b.c.e.) when he became the tutor of Princess Neferure, daughter of the king and his chief wife, Hatshepsut. When Thutmose II died, he was succeeded by his son Thutmose III, a child. One year later Hatshepsut declared herself coking. Senenmut's relationship with the princess must have helped him secure new positions with the new coking. He held many positions, the most important being Chief Steward of the god Amun. In the course of his career, he was an important patron of the visual arts. His two tombs are unusual because artists decorated them with the Book of the Dead, an unusual practice for non-royal officials in the Eighteenth Dynasty. He also commissioned at least 25 statues, many of unusual types. His statues with Princess Neferure draw on the tradition of the Old Kingdom statue of Ankhnes-meryre II and Pepi II. A cube statue of Senenmut depicts the princess's head emerging from the top. Senenmut was also the first commoner to commission statues depicting him making offerings, formerly a royal pose. For example, one statue depicts him offering Hatshepsut's name in the form of a royal standard to the god Montu. In fact scholars' interpretations of Senenmut's role in history depend on his tomb depictions, his statues, and the inscriptions on them. Many scholars have speculated that his relationship with Hatshepsut might have been romantic since his works of art suggest he had privileges denied to most commoners. These theories remain unsupported speculation. Senenmut disappeared from history in Year Sixteen of Hatshepsut's reign. His end remains unknown other then his death date of 1466 b.c.e.

sources

Peter Dorman, The Monuments of Senenmut: Problems in Historical Methodology (London: Kegan Paul International, 1988).

Peter Dorman, The Tombs of Senenmut: The Architecture and Decoration of Tombs 71 and 353 (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1991).

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