Imhotep1, god's father, beloved of the god, sm-priest, prophet of Ptah, High Priest of Letopolis, master of the secrets of the Great Place, master of secrets of Rosetau, who knows the secrets of the hidden chamber, wab priest of the gods of the temple of Memphis, prophet of Amun-Re who presides over the temples of the Gods2; paternity unknown3, mother Isitweret4, chronology unknown, probably late third or early second century BC5.

[1] PP IX 5356a. Gr: Imouthes. Ý

[2] Louvre sarcophagus D12. Ý

[3] Imhotep is only known from Louvre sarcophagus D12, see M-L Buhl, The Late Egyptian Anthropoid Stone Sarcophagi 104 (F, a 17). Neither Imhotep nor his mother appear in any other documentation related to the Ptolemaic HPLs. Several bear the name "Horemhotep", which has widely been misread as "Imhotep", and the name of the mother of Horemhotep III is unknown. However, D. Devauchelle (pers comm 2002) confirms the reading "Imhotep" on Louvre sarcophagus D12, so there is no possibility that he can be identified with one of the Horemhoteps.

The chronological indications, such as they are, suggest that he was a predecessor of Ahmes. Possibly he was a brother or uncle of that priest, making his father either Heriu I or Ankh-hapi. Ý

[4] Louvre sarcophagus D12. Ý

[5] M-L Buhl, The Late Egyptian Anthropoid Stone Sarcophagi, argued for a date in the late 3rd century or early 2nd century BC on stylistic grounds.

The possibility of achieving an accurate dating through such means, given the data at our disposal, was severely criticised by H. de Meulenaere, BiOr 17 (1960) 32. Nevertheless, I think Buhl is likely to be correct, primarily because the surviving sarcophagi of Ankh-hapi, Heriu I, Wennefer, Ahmes and Heriu II are all datable, with differing degrees of certainty, to this period on genealogical grounds, and their titulary is comparable to that of Imhotep. Further, there is no mention of the cult of Arsinoe II on his sarcophagus, which suggests that he preceded Ahmes, the first member of the family known to have been associated with the cult.

The close association in time of the known sarcophagi suggests they were all found in a family vault, possibly established by Horemhotep I. The sarcophagus of Imhotep may well have been found in the same cache. Ý

Update Notes:

8 December 2002: Created page

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