Iti (c. 2563–2424 BCE)

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Iti (c. 2563–2424 bce)

Egyptian singer, believed to be the first songstress chronicled in the annals of history. Lived around the time of the reign of Neferefre, 2563–2424 bce.

Like many ancient Egyptians, Iti's tomb as well as numerous references to her in writing and in pictures document her celebrity during her lifetime. Hers is a beautiful grave near the Chefren (Khafren) pyramids in the Necropolis of Giza. She performed during the reign of Pharaoh Neferefre (2563–2424). Iti is also depicted in the Necropolis of Saqqarah which was part of Memphis, the former capital of Ancient Egypt. A noble Egyptian had Iti's picture put in his tomb wishing to enjoy her music in the next life as well as to memorialize her art. In this tomb, Iti holds one hand to her ear and makes a cheironomic sign with the other to signal her accompanist as to which note she wishes played. In this depiction, Iti is accompanied by the harpist, Hekenu. Iti is the first chronicled songstress in Egyptian history. The careful records left in her memory document the importance of Iti and women like her throughout history.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia