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Pharaoh Horemheb

The Pharaohs - The People

Born: Unknown
Died: 1292 BC
Name means: “Horus is in Jubilation”
Married to: Amenia, probably before and when he was General: when he became Pharaoh, he married the previous Pharaoh’s daughter, Princess Mutnedjmet, to sure up his link and legitimacy to the Throne: the previous Pharaoh was Ay
Reigned as Pharaoh: Approx. 1306 – 1292 BC

 

Family

Historians cannot be certain but Horemheb is believed to have been born in Hnes, located on the West Bank of the Nile near Faiyum, which was later known as Herakleopolis. To learn more about this area, click here. Hnes was dedicated to the God Horus and this is whom Horemheb is named after and later the Deity who he credits with allowing him to rise to Pharaoh-hood. We do not know who his parents were, and it is thought that at birth he did not have any connection to the Royal Family.

 

Early Career

Again, Historians do not know a lot about Horemheb’s earliest career. He does appear in the Court records, but we can extrapolate from the clues provided in the earliest Tomb that Horemheb built for himself that he would have attended into Scribal School at a young age, maybe around 5 years old, and then went on to Military Training, perhaps when he became a teenager. Within his Saqqara Tomb he frequently has himself shown in the Reliefs as a Scribe and being closely aligned with God Thoth, God if knowledge and wisdom. The Titles that he relates here are for his Scribal career are:

  • “Scribe of Recruits”
  • “Royal Scribe”
  • “Overseer of all Overseers of Scribes of the King”

And then for his Military career:

  • “General”
  • “Overseer of the Generals of the Two Lands”

On becoming Pharaoh, Horemheb began his own campaign to remove Akhenaten’s religious claims, capital city, and reign from living memory. Pharaoh Tutankhamun had already begun his own restoration campaign and had erected his own Restoration Stelae’s to realign the Priesthood, Deities and Temples. Pharaoh Horemheb went further and looked to give back everything that Atenism had taken away. So how did he do this?

  1. Dated the start of his Reign to the end of Pharaoh Amenhotep III’s reign
  2. Returned all properties that had been owned by the Temples back to them
  3. Integrated Priests into the Army to ensure that a divide between the Army and Priesthood could not occur again
  4. Restored discipline to the Government and its administration by dividing the rule of Upper and Lower Egypt between 2 Ministers who reported to him directly: Upper Egypt being run by the Vizier of Thebes and Lower Egypt being run by the Vizier of Memphis; and diverted the army into 2 to support the Viziers in their work
  5. Developed legislation and laws to regulate public life. Why? To regulate the way that individuals and the ruling authority worked together; appointed judges; preventing abuses of power by holding those in charge accountable; breaking down the unfair privileges of top officials; restored centralisation of administration. 
    We know this because he made an Edict that was found at Pylon 10 in Karnak Temple on a broken Stelae. It stated that legal abuses were allowed to take place during Pharaoh Akhenaten’s lax rule

6. Began his own Building Programs, such as:

  • Broke into Pharaoh Ay’s Tomb and removed all the Pharaonic references inside – later Pharaoh’s in the Ramesside Era would remove and further desecrate the Tomb. Click here to visit Pharaoh Ay’s Tomb
  • Began his own Tomb in the Valley of the Kings and updated the hieroglyphs and reliefs in his tomb in Saqqara
  • Usurped and enlarged Pharaoh Ay’s Mortuary Temple which Ay had usurped himself from Pharaoh Tutankhamun. He added 3 Pylons with their associated Courts and a small Palace area. Some of these additional areas have survived at the very least as a floor plan
  • Destroyed Pharaoh Akhenaten’s Capital City, at modern day Amarna
  • Removed Akhenaten’s additions to Karnak Temple and used them as “filler” inside the Pylons he then erected there; Pylons 2, 9 and 10. Click here to learn more about these
  • Temple to Ptah
  • Shrines in Nubia
  • Usurped Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s Restoration Stelae. Click here to learn more about the Stelae and what it said

Pharaoh Horemheb would go on to rule for 28 years. He did not have any surviving male heirs to take the Throne on his death. His first wife, Amenia died before he became a Pharaoh, and his second wife, Pharaoh Ay’s daughter, Princess Mutnedjmet, died in childbirth with their baby not born, so they also did not have any living children. Pharaoh Horemheb appointed his trusted Vizier and Army General, Paramessu, who when he inherited the Throne, changed his name to Ramses I and founded Dynasty 19. To learn more about Pharaoh Ramses I, click here

KV57: Pharaoh Horemheb

Click on the Image to visit the King’s Valley Tomb of Pharaoh Horemheb

General Horemheb

Click on the Image to learn about Pharaoh Horemheb as a Scribe and General

General Horemheb's Tomb

Click on the Image to visit the Saqqara Tomb of General Horemheb