Saturday, April 11, 2009

Queen Seshestet - Part II

Further to my posts: Queen Sesheshet and Noblewomen's Tomb In Saqqara, and from
The pyramid in which the queen, Sesheshet, was buried, was discovered in November 2008 - it is the 118th found in Egypt. Its discovery in Teti's burial compound surprised the researchers to some extent, since the site had been thoroughly combed through over the past 150 years. In addition to the pyramid where the king himself was buried, two "satellite pyramids" were found, the tombs of his two principal wives: The one belonging to Iput I was discovered about 100 years ago; the second, of Khuit, was discovered in 1994.

In a papyrus document that includes medical prescriptions, her name is mentioned alongside a request for a preparation that was supposed to strengthen thin hair. Nevertheless, it is possible that the "pharmacists" used her name to lend a bit of prestige to the prescription, and did not necessarily prepare it for her. Another inscription mentions her as being the mother of the king, and in several reliefs of the same area the name "Sesheshet" appears. However, these do not contribute substantial information about the king's mother. Scholars believe she played a very important role in her son's ascent to the throne, thanks, among other things, to her success in mediating between two rival factions within the royal family.

Dr. Deborah Sweeney, an expert on ancient Egypt from the archaeology department of Tel Aviv University, says researchers assume that Sesheshet belonged to the close circle of the last king of the Fifth Dynasty, Unas. He had no sons to inherit the throne and Teti may have been his grandson. Since it is not known when she died, researchers can only guess that the pharaoh's mother was alive during almost 20 years of his reign, which extended from 2323 to 2291 B.C.E.

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