Pindjem I in the Third Intermediate Period

Pinedjem I in the Third Intermediate Period

by Jimmy Dunn

The name cartouches Pindjem

We see at the beginning of the 21st Dynasty and what Egyptology refers to as the beginning of the Third Intermediate Period, two individuals officially rising to power almost simultaneously in about 1070 BC. They were Smendes in the north at Tanis and Pinedjem in the south at Thebes. By "officially rising", we mean that, at least in the case of Smendes, he seems to have been a very powerful individual some years before, at least as implied in the Record of Wenamen.

While we are really unsure of Smendes' claim to the Egyptian throne, Pinedjem I's pedigree is better known, as he was the son of the preceding High-Priest of Amun, Piankh, who ruled southern Egypt for only a short time after the death of Herihor.

While we know something of Pinedjem, this is nevertheless a very complicated period in Egyptian history, in appearances, we have a divided Egypt with Smendes controlling the North, and Pinedjem I the south, yet there seems to have been little conflict, and even cooperation between the two men. This period is frequently referred to as a theocracy, because we are told essentially that the real ruler of Egypt at this time was actually the god Amun himself. This situation might be easier to visualize were Smendes the High-Priest of Amun in the north just as Pinedjem was in the south, but that does not seem to be the case and the situation appears to have been much more complicated. More probably the underlying reason for this almost disturbing peace was family relations. It seems likely that either by marriage or ancestry, these rulers of north and south were related. Pinedjem apparently married Henuttawy (I), a daughter of Ramesses XI, and it also seems every possible that Smendes' wife, could have also been a daughter of the same king.

Box holding funerary figurines of Pindjem

Essentially, Smendes took on, to the outside world, all the attributes of a king ruling over a united Egypt, but in fact he only ruled in the north, as far south as el-Hiba (just south of the Fayoum). Pinedjem I, on the other hand, sends us mixed signals, writing his name in a royal cartouche, for example, but dating material such as the restoration dockets on the royal mummies to the reign of Smendes.

Pinedjem was this king's birth name, and together with his ephithet, mery-amun, his name may be translated as "He who belongs to the Pleasant One {Horus or Ptah, Beloved of Amun. He chose a throne name of Kha-kheper-re Setep-en-amun, which means "The Soul of Re appears, Chosen of Amun".

There may have been an upheaval of the Tanis-Thebes relationship around year 16 of Smendes' reign. For a period of time, although claiming no more than his military and priestly titles, Pinudjem executed a number of monuments showing him in full pharaonic regalia. Although in one case a representation was altered back to showing him in priestly garb, as if to hint at some hesitation on Pinudjem's part, from year 16, we find him bearing full pharaonic titles. His Horus name was "Powerful bull, crowned in Thebes and beloved of Amun", and from this point on his name was written in a cartouche and is found in inscriptions at Thebes, Koptos, Abydos and even Tanis. However, the dating system continued to reference Smendes' reign.

A ushabti of Queen Henuttawy I, wife of Pinedjem

Beyond Henuttawy (I), he apparently had a second wife named Maatkare, and by his wives, several sons including Psusennes I, who perhaps surprisingly became a successor of Smendes in the North,. and Masaherta and Menkheppere, who became successive High-Priests of Amun at Thebes, and therefore rulers of the south. His second wife, Maatkare, was probably also a daughter, who became the "Divine Adoratice': God's Wife and chief of the Priestesses of Amun.

In the Temple of Amun at Karnak in Thebes, Pinedjem can be found on the outer face and entrance of the pylon beyond the first court, and his name is on a number of scattered blocks. He also usurped a colossal standing statue of Ramesses II, in the first court of the temple of Amun at Karnak.

Apparently, Pinudjem I passed on the office of High-Priest of Amun to his son, Masaharta, while still alive, though he apparently continuing to hold sway over southern Egypt until his death in about 1032 BC. Pinedjem I's mummy and a large number of his bright blue faience funerary figurines wee found in the royal cache at Deir el-Bahari (DB 320) in six boxes.

Like the mummy of Nodjmet, the wife of Herihor, Pinedjem appears to have been moved to this cache of mummies from a previous cache. He may have attempted to take over the tomb of Ramesses XI (KV4), but never did so, for unknown reasons. In fact, none of the original burials of any of the High-Priests form this period are currently known.






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