God's Wife of Amun

The God's Wife of Amun was the highest ranking priestess in the cult of Amun. She was associated with the temple of Amun in Karnak. When Queen Ahmose Nefertari was given the position of God's Wife, land and property was endowed for this priestly position. See Donation Stela of Ahmose I.

History of the Position
The God's Wife of Amun title originated with the 18th dynasty. The shorter version of the title: God's Wife (Hemet Netjer) goes back to at least the 12th dynasty. Among the earliest known God's Wives are Iy-meret-nebes and Neferu. (Miriam Ayad's book about God's Wife of Amun)

 
 
 Iymeretnebes, 12th dynasty,  now in Leiden  Close-up of the inscription 

Divine Adoratrix and God's Hand
The Divine adoratrix was a priestess ranking slightly below the God's Wife and she may have served as a deputy or stand in for the God's Wife. The position of God's Wife of Amun was  reserved for royal women. The position was usually given to the mother of the king (in the earlier part of the new kingdom) or to the daughter of a king.
The position of divine adoratrix could be held by non-royal women as well.

God's Wife (of Amun) - hmt ntjr (en imn)
Divine Adoratrix - dwat ntjr
God's Hand - djrt ntjr

God's Wives of the 18th dynasty

 Image Name Time Comments
 

 Sit-ir-bau

Early 18th or late 17th dynastyTitles: God's Wife (hmt-ntr),  Lady of The Two Lands (nbt-t3wy
Depicted in the tomb of Khabeknet (TT2) who was a "Servant in the Place of Truth" (Craftsman in Deir el-Medina) from the reign of the 19th dynasty of Ramesses II.
Sit-ir-bau is one the the royals depicted in two rows of seated individuals.


  Ta-khered-qa
 
Early 18th or late 17th dynasty Titles: God's Wife (hmt-ntr),  Lady of The Two Lands (nbt-t3wy
Depicted in the tomb of Khabeknet (TT2) who was a "Servant in the Place of Truth" (Craftsman in Deir el-Medina) from the reign of the 19th dynasty of Ramesses II.
Ta-khered-ka is one the the royals depicted in two rows of seated individuals.
 
 Ahhotep I 

Late 17th and early 18th dynasty.

Ahhotep was the wife of Seqenenre Tao II and mother of Ahmose. 
Her titles include: King’s Great Wife,  King’s Daughter, King’s Sister, King’s Mother, God’s Wife of Amun. 

The title God’s Wife only appears on her coffin

  Ahmose Nefertari

Early 18th dynasty. 
Possibly held the title from the reign of Ahmose until the reign of Tuthmosis I.
ca 1520 - 1485 B.C. ?

Ahmose-Nefertari was a daughter of Seqenenre Tao II and Ahhotep I Sister-wife of King Ahmose.
A stela commemorates her installation as God's Wife of Amun.

Her many titles include (but are not limited to) King’s Mother (mwt-niswt), Great King’s Wife (hmt-niswt-wrt), God’s Wife (hmt-ntr), King’s Daughter (s3t-niswt), King’s Sister (snt-niswt)

 
 Sit-Kamose Early 18th dynasty.  Sit-kamose may have been a daughter of Pharaoh Kamose. 
She may have become a God's Wife only posthumously. A lady called Kamose is depicted in the tomb of Khabeknet. She is named: God's Wife, Lady of Both Lands, Kamose, may she live. [Kitchen: Ramesside Inscriptions Vol III]
  MeryetamunDaughter of Ahmose and sister-wife of Amenhotep I Her tomb was found in the hills of Thebes. An inscription on her coffin identifies her as King's Daughter and Sister, the God's Wife, the King's Great Wife, joined to the Crown of Upper Egypt. Mistress of the Two Lands, Meryet-Amun true of voice with Osiris.
  (Ahmose-)-Sitamun: Daughter of Ahmose 

Possibly (?) represented as a colossal statue in front of the eight pylon at Karnak. A bracelet inscribed for "The God's Wife Sitamun, beloved of Amun" on one side and "The God's Wife, Ahmose Nefertari, beloved of Amun-Ra" on the other side is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  Hatshepsut ca. 1490 - 1478 B.CDaughter of Tuthmosis I and Queen Ahmose. 
Hatshepsut was the first attested God's Wife of the Thutmosis family. She would eventually pass on the position to her daughter Neferure.
 
 Neferureca. 1478 - 1456 B.C.Daughter of Tuthmosis II and Queen-Pharaoh Hatshepsut
Neferure became God's Wife after her mother became regent. She kept the position until the time of her death. 
Neferure had the titles King’s Daughter (s3t-niswt) and God’s Wife (hmt-ntr).
 
 Isis Posthumous?; likely never held the title during her life.Mother of Tuthmosis III. Isis likely received the title of God’s Wife (hmt-ntr) after her death. Her other titles include: Hereditary Princess (iryt-p`t), Great of Praises (wrt-hzwt), King’s Mother (mwt-niswt), Great King’s Wife (hmt-niswt-wrt), Great King’s Wife, his beloved (hmt-niswt-wrt meryt.f), Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt (hnwt-Shm’w T3-mhw) (Grajetzki)
  SitiahWife of Tuthmosis III 
Possibly ca 1456 - 1435 B.C ?
 Sitiah was the wife of Thutmosis III during the early part of his reign. She may have been Neferure's successor as God's Wife.
  Merytre-HatshepsutPossibly ca 1435 - 1420 B.C ?Wife of Tuthmosis III.  Merytre- Hatshepsut was the daughter of the Divine Adoratrix Huy. She may have held the position of God's Wife during the latter part of the reign of Tuthmosis III.
Titles: Hereditary Princess (iryt-p`t), Sole One, Great of Praises (wrt-hzwt-w’tit), King’s Mother (mwt-niswt), Lady of The Two Lands (nbt-t3wy), King’s Wife (hmt-nisw), Great King’s Wife (hmt-niswt-wrt), God’s Wife (hmt-ntr), God’s Hand (djrt-ntr). 
 
 MerytamunDaughter of Tuthmosis III and Merytre-Hatshepsut. Depicted in the Hathor shrine behind her father Tuthmosis. It is not clear when she served as God's Wife. 
 
 TiaaWife of Amenhotep II and mother of Tuthmosis IV.Great King’s Wife, King’s Mother,Great Wife. Tiaa is mentioned as chief wife only after her son takes the throne as Tuthmosis IV. The suggestion is made that in stead of being royal, she belonged to the Akhmin family that would ultimately include Yuya, Tuya, Tiye, Aye, and maybe Mutemwiya. But this is speculative at best.
 
 [...]  Unidentified God's Wife and God's Hand depicted in Luxor.  A priestess - only described as God's Wife and God's Hand - appears with a priest behind a scene depicting Amenhotep III.
 
 [...Mut...]Unidentified God's Wife known from a statue from the temple of Hathor at Dendera.  Her titles include God's Wife, King's Chief Wife, His Beloved, and Mistress of the Two Lands.
Other epithets include: 'causing hearts to be joyful', 'Sovereign Lady exalted with the Two Feathers', 'soothing her Lord (or Horus, i.e. the King) with her voice'. Her name includes the glyphs for Mut and speculation about her identity ranges from Mutemwia, to Mutnodjemet, to Mut-Tuya, to Nefertari-Merytmut. Aldred suggested this might be Mutnodjemet, Horemheb's Queen. He based his theory on the fact that the style of dress points to a post Amarna period Queen, which excludes Mutemwia. The titles and epithets are closer to those of the Amarna period and would then point to Mutnodjemet. There is no other evidence that Mutnodjemet served in the capacity of God's Wife. (See also Cyril Aldred: Two Monuments of the Reign of Horemheb, The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 54. (Aug., 1968), pp. 100-106. )


Several Divine adoratrices were known as well from this time period

 Name Time Comments 
 SenisenebTime of Hatshepsut. divine adoratrice of Amun and a temple singer. Seniseneb was the daughter of the High Priest of Amun and Vizier Hapuseneb and his wife Ahhotep. Seniseneb married the second priest of Amun Puyemre.
 Huy Time of Thutmosis III. Mother of Queen Merytre Hatshepsut. Known from a statue depciting Huy with several of her grand-children. On the statue the inscription reads:
Favorite Loved one of the Lord of the Two Lands, Superior of the harem in the Temple of [Amen], Superior of the harem in the Temple of Re, Divine adoratrix of [Amen], Divine adoratrix in the Temple of Atum, She Who Bore the God's Wife and the King's Principal Wife
 Maetka Divine Adoratrix of Amun Time of Amenhotep III. Maetka was the wife of Senena, Head goldsmith of Amun. She is mentioned inTheban Tomb TT169, the tomb of her husband. [Porter and Moss]

God's Wives from the 19th and 20th Dynasty

The God's wife mentioned above, whose statue was found in Dendera is the only indication there may have been a God's Wife during the latter part of the 18th dynasty. If this lady is to be identified however as Nefertari-Merymut, then we have no God's wife at all from the time of Akhenaten until the start of the 19th dynasty. The God's wives here are again the wives or mothers of reigning kings, starting with Sitre the wife of Ramesses I.

The last known God's wife of the 20th dynasty is Princess Isis, the daughter of Ramesses Vi.

 ImageName  Time Comments 
  Sitre Sitre was the wife of Ramses I and the mother of Seti I.  Her titles include: God’s Wife (hmt-ntr), Great King’s Wife, his beloved (hmt-niswt-wrt meryt.f), Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt (hnwt-Shm’w-mhw)
 
 (Mut-)Tuy Wife of Seti I and mother of Ramesses II.  Her title of God's Wife is mentioned on her Vatican Statue, blocks from Tanis, a statue from Medinet Habu (originally the Ramesseum), an inscription from the Ramesseum, and the inscriptions from the great temple of Abu Simbel. [Kitchen, Ramesside Inscriptions, Vol II]
 
 Nefertari-Merymut Wife of Ramesses II. Nefertari may have been the de facto God's Wife. This theory is based on epithets in her tomb, on scarabs, on a fragment of a statue from Dendara (PM V, 115), her insignia, and the designation of the royal couple as incarnations on earth of the divine couple Amun(-Re) and Mut(-Hathor). Kichen mentions she is attested twice as God's wife in her tomb QV66. [Kitchen, Ramesside Inscriptions, Vol II]
 
 Tawosret End of the 19th dynasty. Tawosret ruled in her own right after the reign of Siptah. King’s Great Wife, Lady of the Two Lands, Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt, God’s Wife.
Tawosret is depicted in the temple of Amada on one of the doorjambs and her titles are God’s Wife and Great King’s Wife.
 
 Tyti Wife of Ramesses III King’s Daughter, King’s Sister, King’s Wife, King’s Mother, God’s Wife.
Buried in QV 52 in the Valley of the Queens [Dodson-Hilton]
 
 Isis
(Ta-Hemdjert)
 Wife of Ramesses III and mother of Ramesses IV. King’s Great Wife, King’s Mother, God’s Wife.
Participated in the installation of her grand-daughter Iset as God’s Wife of Amun. [Dodson-Hilton, pg 192]
 
 (Dua)Tentopet Tentopet was the wife of Ramesses IV.  Adoratrix, King’s Daughter, King’s Wife, King’s Mother. Only seems to have been an adoratrix and never a God’s Wife. Buried in Queens valley tomb QV74. [Dodson-Hilton, pg 192]
 
 IsisDaughter of Ramesses VI.  King’s Daughter, Adoratrix, God’s Wife of Amun. Depicted as an adoratrix on a stela from Koptos. The title is incorporated into her cartouche on this monument, rendering her name as Duat-Netjer-Iset. [Dodson-Hilton, pg 190] Her installation as God’s Wife of Amun is mentioned on a block from Karnak. [Dodson-Hilton, image of inscription on pg 193

God's Wives from the 21st dynasty and later

 ImageName  TimeComments 
 
Maatkare 
Prenomen: Mutemhat
Daughter of Pinudjem I and Queen Henuttawy. King’s Daughter of his body, Adoratrix, God’s Wife of Amun. 
 
Henuttawy God’s Wife of Amun and Adoratrix. Possibly a daughter of Pinudjem II and Isetemkheb.  Her name is written with the adoratrix title In the cartouche as Duat-netjer-Henuttawy. Only known from several shabtis. [Dodson-Hilton, pg 205]
 
Karomama Meryetmut prenomen: Sitamen Mutemhat 870 - 840 B.C Possibly a daughter (or wife) of Osorkon II. 
Titles: God’s Wife of Amun, Lady of the Two Lands, Adoratrix. Karomama served as God’s Wife of Amun under Osorkon II and his successors. [Dodson-Hilton pg 217, 219-20]
 Tashakheper ca. 770 B.C.She may be a daughter of Osorkon II. [Dodson-Hilton, pg 223] 
 The God’s Wife Tashakheper is mentioned in grafitto in the temple of Khonsu under Takelot III. She may have served for only a very short time. A possible date would be ca. 770 BC [Kitchen]
 
Shepenwepet I 
prenomen: Khnemet-ib-amun
 754 - 714 ? B.C.Daughter of Osorkon III and Queen Karoatjet.
 Titles: King’s Daughter, Adoratrix, God’s Wife of Amun. Served as God’s Wife from the beginning of her father’s reign [Dodson-Hilton, pg 231].
 
Amenirdis I 
Prenomen: Khaneferumut
 740 - 700 B.C.Daughter of Kashta and Queen Pebatjma
 Sister of Shabaka and likely sister of Piye, Queen Khensa, Queen Peksater and princess Neferukakashta. (Dodson-Hilton, Pg 238)
 
Shepenwepet II 
Prenomen: Henut-neferumut-iryetre
  710 - 650 B.C.
Divine Adoratrix  from 710 to 700 B.C.
God's Wife 700  to 650 B.C.
Daughter of King Piye.
 She was a (half-)sister of King Taharqa, Queen Qalhata (wife of Shabaka) as well as sister to several of Taharqa’s wives. [Dodson-Hilton, pg 240] Served as God’s Wife from the reign of Taharqa until after year 9 of Psamtik I.
 
Amenirdis II 670 - 640 B.C.
Divine Adoratrix  from 670 to 650 B.C.
God's Wife 650  to 640 B.C.
Daughter of Taharqa.
 Titles: King’s Daughter, Adoratrix, God’s Hand.
 
 Neitiqert (Nitokris) (Shepenwepet III )
prenomen: Nebetneferumut
 656 - 586 B.C.
Divine Adoratrix  from 656 to 640 B.C.
God's Wife 640  to 586 B.C.
 Daughter of Psamtik I and Queen Mehytenweskhet
 
 Ankhenesneferibre (Prenomen: Hekaneferumerymut) 595 - 525 B.C.
Divine Adoratrix  from 595 to 586 B.C.
God's Wife 586  to 525 B.C.
 Daughter of Psamtik II and Queen Takhuit.
Titles: King’s Daughter of his Body, Great of Sceptre, God’s Wife of Amun, High Priest(ess) of Amun.
  Nitokris II Daughter of Ahmose II and Ankhenesneferibre’s intended successor.  Probably never served due to the Persian invasion.


References
  1. Betsy Bryan, Property and the God’s Wives of Amun, Johns Hopkins University.
  2. Dodson and Hilton: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, London 2004
  3. Grajetski, Ancient Egyptian Queens: a hieroglyphic dictionary.
  4. Kitchen: Ramesside Inscriptions Vol III
  5. Porter and Moss, Topographical Bibliograpy of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings: The Theban Necropolis, Part One: Private Tombs. Second Edition. Griffith Institute. Oxford. 1994
  6. Schmidt, Heike C., Ein Fall von Amtsanmassung? Die Gottesgemahlin Nefertari-Meritenmut, GM 140 (1994), 81-92.