The Genealogy of Ankhefenkhonsu I
A few months ago, a coffin was unearthed in Egypt that belonged to someone named Ankhefenkhonsu; there were a number of assumptions made that the coffin was that of the Ankhefenkhonsu depicted on the Stele of Revealing, which made me curious how many individuals with that name there were, and if they were related.
In The Egyptian Museum In Cairo, item 181 is the coffin of Ankhefenkhonsu, which dates to the 21st dynasty; the Stela of Ankhefenkhonsu is item 184, and dates to the 26th dynasty; based on this evidence the owner of the stela is a likely descendant of the owner of the coffin.
There is a bust in Ismailia of an Ankhefenkhonsu that dates to 300 BCE.
There is also a coffin that belonged to woman named Ankhefenkhonsu that resides in a museum in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Much of what is known about the priestly lineages as they pertain to the temple of Khonsu was learned from graffiti inscribed on the rooftop of the temple by apprentice priests, who were assigned the task of making celestial observations from the roof. The graffiti consists of images of their feet, and descriptions of their noble lineages. There are several graffito that mention or were inscribed by individuals named Ankhefenkhonsu.
There are two publications worth reading for those interested in the Khonsu roof genealogies. The first is a PDF available online: The Graffiti On The Rooftop Temple At Karnak, by Helen Jaquet-Gordon, The document provides a brief description of each graffito. The graffito of specific interest are those numbered 85, 104, 106, 129, 187, 332, 333, 334.
The other publication is called The Libyan Anarchy, by Robert K. Ritner, much of which is available online. On page 11 of the book, Ritner provides the translated rooftop genealogy of Ankhefenkhonsu I, which is impressive. The lineage begins with Menkheperre, who was the first prophet of Amen-Ra, a position second only to that of the King of Egypt, and that served as the King in the event he died or was usurped for some reason. Menkheperre served as the King of lower Egypt, while his brother served as the King of upper Egypt.
There are other mentions of individuals named Ankhefenkhonsu and their sons in the book that pertain to exchanges in property and valuables.
Very interesting. Your word "ancestor" might not imply a lineal, genetic great-great-etc-grandparent. It might be the title of a position, inherited or appointed. Or it might be a name like Michael Smith, of which there are many, most of whom are not related. And then you found a woman with that name! Very interesting.
herupakraath: "... the first prophet of Amen-Ra, a position second only to that of the King of Egypt, and that served as the King in the event he died or was usurped for some reason."
Did one have to become a priest first, before one could become "the first prophet of Amen-Ra"?
Or was every priest in Ancient Egypt, commonly understood to be somebody akin to, or similar to, a prophet?
Was "prophet" a word that was in common use in Ancient Egypt, or is this word used here, in the above quote from herupakraath, only as as a synonym for the word "priest"?
Aleister Crowley’s poetic rendition of the Stèle text, from The Temple of Solomon the King in Equinox I, describes the Ankhefenkhonsu depicted on the Stele of Revealing, as a prophet.
Very interesting. Your word “ancestor” might not imply a lineal, genetic great-great-etc-grandparent. It might be the title of a position, inherited or appointed. Or it might be a name like Michael Smith, of which there are many, most of whom are not related. And then you found a woman with that name! Very interesting.
The following excerpts are taken from A Prosopographical Study of the 21st Dynasty:
"Even though the scope of this dissertation does not permit an in-depth discussion about onomastics and nomenclature, it needs to be mentioned that political and religious circumstances, as for instance the influence of a local cult, certainly determine the composition of proper names. In this concern, theophoric names were extremely popular in all periods of Egyptian history, including the TIP."
"In the Theban area, many names refer to the Theban triad. Looking at the PDB, names with the elements Amun, Mut or Khonsu make up almost 66 percent of the individuals from Charts 1 to 3 (30 of the 44 men): 14 examples include Amun, 13 Khonsu and only 3 Mut as part of their names. Indeed, private names with Khonsu, such as Ankhefenkhonsu, Nesikhonsu, Padikhonsu or Djedkhonsuiuefankh, became quite popular from the end of the Ramesside Period, concurrently with the construction of sanctuaries for this deity in Thebes."
"A number of Khonsu’s servants were characterised as qbHw n 2nsw n Bnnt, a title that occasionally appears before the 25th Dynasty. As usual, these individuals also held certain positions in relation to other gods; however, and even though Amun and Mut are still present, another deity emerges notably through their titularies: Montu, the original main Theban god whose servants became a really prominent group of clergy by the later TIP."
"In this respect, it should be highlighted that all these Libationers of Khonsu were Hm-nTr priests of Montu, although just a few of these Hm-nTr priests of Montu were Libationers of Khonsu; otherwise they do not have a relation to Khonsu’s cults. As already mentioned, personal names compounded with Khonsu, such as Ankhefenkhonsu, Neskhonsu or Djedkhonsiuefankh, are quite popular in the TIP. Although many priests of Montu and their spouses adopted names of these types, only anx.f-n-2nsw (i) –a notable member of the Besenmut family–was also
Libationer of Khonsu."
For those inexperienced in Egypt-speak, anx.f-n-2nsw (i) is Ankhefenkhonsu.
Reading the above paragraphs, which are from the doctoral thesis of Alba Maria Villar Gomez, I'm inclined to think the owner of the Stele of Revealing is related to Ankhefenkhonsu I given the stated connection to Besenmut, which is also found in the inscriptions on the stele.
@wellreadwellbred: Among other functions, Ankhefenkhons I was a Kher-heb priest, responsible for reciting sacred texts and serving as oracle. To this extent, the Ker-heb role could be said to have been 'prophetic.' By the way, you quoted the bit about 'second only to that of the King' - remember, though, that this was a reference to Menkheperre, not to Ankhefenkhons I.
@herupakraath: Thank you so much for transcribing your notes to start this thread. As someone who has long held an interest in the life and times of Ankhefenkhons I, I welcome the creation of a new thread to discuss his genealogy. You're right about the nonsense that circulated online connecting 'our' Ankhefenkhons (referred to in the egyptological literature somewhat misleadingly as 'Ankhefenkhons I') with another from a previous dynasty. In face that was reported on this very site in an attempt to calm down some of the over-indulgence of other commentators: http://www.lashtal.com/ankh-af-na-khonsu-coffin-discovered-but/
I note that you date the stele to the 26th Dynasty (as did Crowley in 'Across The Gulf' and elsewhere), although most modern experts date it to the 25th Dynasty. Also, that you place Ankhefenkhons I around 1000 BCE in your forum post that led to this thread but this doesn't fit with your 26th Dynasty assertion. This is more important/significant than it might appear, an Ankhefenkhons I living between 760 BCE and 656 BCE (approx.) - i.e during the commonly accepted 25th Dynasty - would have done so when the country was ruled by the leaders of the Nubian Kush kingdom. Again, this has significance for reasons too complex to go into here.
I'm pleased to see your mention of the excellent The Graffiti On The Khonsu Temple Roof At Karnak, by Helen Jaques-Gordon, (your memory of the actual title is at odds with its real title and is here corrected). It has been mentioned previously on this site and during my various lecture on Ankhefenkhons I. If memory serves, the most important piece of graffiti (outlined sandals scratched by 'our' Ankhefenkhons is included in the LAShTAL Galleries, along with photographs of a delightful statuette of the same chap from the collection at Macclesfield.
You mentioned that the work is available online and it is, having been made available by the University of Chicago: https://oi.uchicago.edu/research/publications/oip/temple-khonsu-volume-3-graffiti-khonsu-temple-roof-karnak-manifestation
I have climbed onto the roof of Khonsu Temple at Karnak many times to take photographs for my personal archives. It's an extraordinary place and I strongly recommend a visit if you've not been there yet.
Your reference to The Libyan Anarchy by Robert K Ritner is interesting. I'm obviously familiar with it from Google Books - https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=AA7TsL3jlgkC&pg=PA11&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false - but I haven't compared the full book with the definitive Third Intermediate Period In Egypt by K A Kitchen.
Thanks again for restarting this conversation.
Owner and Editor
By your reference to A prosopographical study of the 21st dynasty I gather you're referring to Alba María Villar Gómez's The Personnel of Khonsu During the Third Intermediate Period at Thebes: A Prosopographical Study of the 21st Dynasty. It's a very impressive piece of work - which focuses on 21st Dynasty, of course, and not the 25th Dynasty of the stele - and is freely available in full here: https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc ="s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0ahUKEwiL7IeiyZbMAhXLWBoKHZteBvcQFggqMAI&url=https%3A%2F%2Frepositorio.uam.es%2Fxmlui%2Fbitstream%2Fhandle%2F10486%2F667617%2Fvillar_gomez_alba_maria.pdf%3Fsequence%3D1&usg=AFQjCNGRglg7cIORLvUJd0Nvz46M1YxqYA&sig2=KoZiO_6fIPrxSdRtwfSnRA" I recommend that readers of this site study the thesis which gives some interesting detail.
Owner and Editor
It's all a bit confusing as far as dates go: Is Ankhefenkhonsu I the owner of the Stele of Revealing? The doctoral thesis of Alba Gomez specifies the 21st dynasty as the time period Ankhefenkhonsu I lived, likewise for the period the coffin of Ankhefenkhonsu is attributed to, housed at the Cairo Museum, the owner of which was the chief metallurgist of the temple of Amun. We need clarification.
If anyone is contemplating a visit to Egypt this year, do be carefull - the terrorist situation is very fluid, a russian airliner was shot down over Sinai last year, there were terrorist incidents at Sharm and Cairo. It would be a shame to watch a Thelemite being beheaded on one of their videos by a Wahabist fanatic....if they dont do it themselves, they will sell you to a group that will
This from the FCO website, travel advice for Egypt..
"There is a high threat from terrorism.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:
the Governorate of North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and continued terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:
the Governorate of South Sinai, with the exception of the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes the airport and the areas of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq; however, we advise against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh;
the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, excluding the coastal areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh (as shown on the map).
The areas to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel do not include the tourist areas along the Nile river (eg Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings) or the Red Sea Resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada."
Travelling in an area where the FCO advise against all travel will also invalidate your travel insurance
@herupakraath: It is all very confusing, isn't it, especially to us amateur enthusiasts?! If I may be so bold, I think you're making an error in leaping in to the genealogies of the priesthood because you immediately bump into the many priests named Ankhefenkhons. Several are referred to as Ankhefenkhons I, which makes things even more head-scratchingly complex: one of them, I believe, was the cousin of the wife of our Ankhefenkhons, for example! Far better, in my humble opinion, to start with the literature regarding the stele and head on from there.
@frater_anubis: Good, sensible advice, thank you. If you look in the Galleries here you'll find a photograph I took several years ago of a mosaic pentagram in the coach parking area of Karnak, together with a coach with the amusingly synchronistic prominent logo of the holiday company, 'Tarot Tours'. It turns out to have been taken at almost the exact location that one of last year's suicide bombers detonated his belt...
Having said all this, the FCO hasn't advised against travel to Luxor: if it had, I wouldn't have purchased my own flights for May.
Owner and Editor
Thanks to both of you for the links and for the informative notes. Looks like I've some reading to do!
Lashtal, Keymaster: "Among other functions, Ankhefenkhons I was a Kher-heb priest, responsible for reciting sacred texts and serving as oracle. To this extent, the Ker-heb role could be said to have been ‘prophetic.’"
Was the Ankhefenkhonsu depicted on the Stele of Revealing, a Kher-heb priest, responsible for reciting sacred texts and serving as oracle?
Also, was it common - or something exceptional - for priests in Ancient Egypt to serve as oracles?