Horemhotep I


Horemhotep I1, god's father, beloved of the god, sm-priest, prophet of Ptah, High Priest of Letopolis, priest of the temples of Memphis, prophet of king Sneferu, assistant to every fourth phyle of the temple of Memphis, master of secrets of the sacred place, master of secrets of the temple of Ptah, purifier of the god in the secret chamber, master of secrets of Rosetau, who enters the sacred place, prophet of Semenmaat, prophet of the gods of Senenmaat2; also father of the god, prophet, who sees Serapis in the palace of the horizon3, paternity unknown4, probably identical with Horemhotep son of Sekhmet-neferet5, father of Ankh-hapi6 by Seta-irt-bint7.

[1] PP III 5356. Gr: Harimouthes. The name was originally read as "Imhotep", see e.g. P. Kaplony, MIO 11 (1966) 137, 142 n. 4, however all recent discussions agree on the reading "Horemhotep". Ý

[2] Sarcophagus Louvre D 13 (Reymond: A 13). See PP IX 5356. Ý

[3] Sarcophagus Louvre D 13 (Reymond: A 13). These are titles not also held by Ankh-hapi. See PP IX 5356. Ý

[4] On Wildung's proposal to identify him with Horemhotep II, see discussion under Ankh-hapi. Ý

[5] Relief Talbot, a relief fragment in the Fox Talbot Museum at Laycock, published in J. Quaegebeur & A. Rammant-Peeters, GM 148 (1995) 71, names a Horemhotep, god's father, beloved of the god, sm-priest, prophet of Ptah, High Priest of Letopolis, wAb-priest of the temples of Memphis, master of secrets of the sacred place, master of secrets of Rosetau, prophet of Semenmaat, born to Sekhmet-neferet. Quaegebeur & Rammant-Peeters note that this combination of titles is shared with Ahmes and Heriu II. This, together with the scarcity of mentions of the cult of Semenmaat, suggests we are looking at a Ptolemaic HPL. The post of wnrw, usually translated as High Priest of Letopolis (whether or not it was in fact a pontificate), appears to have been held by a single occupant. There are three known Horemhoteps who held this post in the Ptolemaic epoch. Horemhotep II can be ruled out since his mother is known. Of the three, Horemhotep I is the only one who is also attested as active in the cult of Semenmaat. While the argument is not conclusive, it is plausible.

It seems to me that another consideration argues for an early date. The members of this family, as with the HPMs, appear to have been buried in a family vault, whose location is unknown. This relief presumably comes from the walls of the vault itself. Horemhotep should therefore be no later than the earliest known burial in the vault, i.e. probably Ankh-hapi, in the mid 3rd century. The proposed assignment is consistent with this and therefore implies that the vault was created around the beginning of the Ptolemaic era.

J. Quaegebeur & A. Rammant-Peeters, GM 148 (1995) 71, 76(l) draw attention to Stele Bib. Nat. 126 = Louvre E 13074 (not E 7819 as written), the funerary stele of Ankhmaatre-Hor (PP III 5510) son of Heriu, prophet of Min and Sokar (PP III 5530), and Sekhmet-neferet (W. Spiegelberg, RT 30 (1908) 144). They imply, though do not explicitly suggest, that the two Sekhmet-neferets can be identified, which would lead to the following genealogy.

The stele is clearly Ptolemaic in date. It records the death of Ankhmaatre-Hor at age 62. An exact date is given, but is unclear. Discrepancies in the scholastic commentary don't help -- the following is the interpretation that seems most likely to me. The hieroglyphic text reads 1 Mecheir year 30, the demotic either 1 Mecheir year 31 or 1 Tybi year 32; the first choice seems more likely. The possibilities identified by Spiegelberg are Ptolemy II (256/5 or 255/4), Ptolemy VI (152/1 or 151/0) or Ptolemy VIII (141/0 or 140/39); he does not explain why Ptolemy IX (88/7 or 87/6) should not be added to this list.

P. Munro, Die spätägyptischen Totenstelen 341, selects Ptolemy VIII on stylistic grounds. J. Quaegebeur, CdE 49 (1974) 59, 71(29), notes that Ankhmaatre-Hor bears, amongst others, the title "scribe accountable to the king", suggesting a senior position on the economic bureaucracy, and proposes to identify him with an Ankhmaatre (PP III 7391) described as an oikonomoV of the Serapeum of Memphis in 164-161; on this basis he most likely died in 151/0.

Both these choices imply that the difference in year numbers between the hieroglyphic and demotic texts reflects an error. P. W. Pestman, Chronologie égyptienne d'après les textes demotiques (332 av. J.-C. - 453 ap. J.-C.) 127 n. 6, supposes the difference is significant, and interprets the demotic date to be the first day in financial year 31 of Ptolemy II. This is a neat solution, but it seems a little odd for a funerary stele to reflect the financial year, even in a demotic text. There is no other similar document amongst those listed by Pestman as being dated this way. On the whole, I think its unlikely, and that the discrepancy is most likely to be an error. However this does not preclude a date in the reign of Ptolemy II.

If we suppose for the sake of argument that the suggested genealogy is correct, a date of 255/4 clearly matches Horemhotep I. In favour of Horemhotep III is the fact that his father is known to be a Heriu and his mother his unknown. However, his probable younger brother, Ahmes, died in 183, so it seems unlikely that Ankhmaatre-Hor was a brother of this priest. Therefore, the first possibliity is to be preferred.

That being said, while the possiblility of a match to Horemhotep I is intriguing, the circumstantial evidence, such as it is, appears to me to point away from it. Ý

[6] Sarcophagus Louvre D 13 (Reymond: A 13). Ý

[7] Sarcophagus Louvre D 13 (Reymond: A 13). Ý

Update Notes:

20 March 2002: Created page

Website © Chris Bennett, 2001-2011 -- All rights reserved