Sitamun

Sitamun (also Sitamen, Satamun; c. (1370 BCE–unknown) was an Ancient Egyptian princess and queen consort during the 18th dynasty. She is often described as the eldest daughter of Pharaoh Amenhotep III and his Great Royal Wife Tiye who was later married to her father by Year 30 of Amenhotep III's reign, by whom she might have been the mother of Smenkhkare. [O'Connor, David & Cline, Eric. Amenhotep III: Perspectives on His Reign, University of Michigan Press, 1998, p.7] However, it is more likely that Sitamun is Amenhotep III's half sister. Sitamun was probably the daughter of Thutmose IV and Iaret.

The suggestion that she was a daughter of Amenhotep and Tiye are the presence of objects found in the tomb of Yuya and Thuya, Queen Tiye's parents. [Aidan Dodson & Dyan Hilton, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, Thames & Hudson (2004), pp.146] especially a chair bearing her title as king's daughter. [http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/sitamun.html]

Biography

Sitamun is very well attested in several contexts, most notably in the tomb of Yuya and Thuya where a series of three finely made chairs was discovered. As these chairs were used, and are of progressively larger size, it is assumed they belonged to Sitamun herself as she was growing up. They were then placed in her grandparents' tomb in the tradition of placing objects which had meaning in the deceased's life. She is also depicted on the stele of her nurse Nebetkabeny. [Dodson & Hilton, op. cit., p.157.]

Almost nothing is known of her life beyond being the oldest daughter of a powerful (and long-lived) queen. In the last decade of her father's reign, she was promoted to the status of Great Royal Wife. The evidence for this marriage consists of a blue-faiance kohl-tube with the cartouches of Amenhotep III and Sitamun, an alabaster bowl found at Amarna with the same cartouches and jar-label inscriptions from Malkata palace. Sitamun's elevation to her role as Great Royal Wife of her father, Amenhotep III, is attested as early as Year 30 of the latter from jar label inscription No.95 discovered from the royal palace. [O'Connor & Cline, op. cit., p.7]

She maintained her own estate in the Malkata palace complex, and Amenhotep, son of Hapu was appointed as the steward of her properties here. She is attested on a Karnak statue of Amenhotep, son of Hapu (now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo) where she is mentioned as the king's Great Royal Wife. She also appears on a relief from Amenhotep III's mortuary temple, found by William Matthew Flinders Petrie, currently in Petrie museum. [W.M. Flinders Petrie: "Six Temples at Thebes 1896," London 1897, pl. VI.8] Sitamun is among a handful of figures that appear near the end of the reign of Amenhotep III. This was an era of Egyptian history in which women assumed far more prominent and powerful roles than ever before; Amenhotep III's wife Tiye, Sitamun's mother, is the obvious example. Prior to Tiye's reign, "no previous queen ever figured so prominently in her husband's lifetime"." [O'Connor & Cline, op. cit., p.6] Tiye regularly appeared besides Amenhotep III in statuary, tomb and temple reliefs, and stelae while her name is paired with his on numerous small objects, such as vessels and jewellry, not to mention their large commemorative scarabs. [Arielle Kozloff and Betsy Bryan, "Royal and Divine Statuary in Egypt’s Dazzling Sun: Amenhotep III and his World", (Cleveland, 1992) nos. 1, 2, 12, 22, 27, 29, 56, 60, 100 & 129] Sitamun herself, as the eldest daughter of a powerful queen would have been groomed for a political role but never fulfilled this potential, despite having her own estate at Malkata and her high position at court. One possibility is that she was married to an heir who never assumed the throne. Another is that she died prematurely or went into seclusion after her brother Akhenaten became king.

She vanishes at the end of Amenhotep III's reign and is not mentioned in the reign of the next Pharaoh, Akhenaten. A separate chamber was carved for her in Amenhotep III's tomb in the Valley of the Kings, but there is no evidence she was ever buried there.

Titles

* Singer of the Lord of the Two Lands
* King’s Wife
* King’s Great Wife
* King’s Daughter
* King’s Daughter Whom He Loves
* Eldest Daughter of the King
* Great Daughter of the King Whom He Loves

References

Significant books on Sitamun:
* H. Schäfer's "Amarna in Religion und Kunst", Leipzig 1931.
* E. Riefstahl "Thebes in the Time of Amenhotep III", NY 1964.


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