People - Ancient Egypt: Psusennes II
THIRD INTERMEDIATE PERIOD 21st Dynasty (959-945) Northern King. The capital moves from Tanis to Libyan, to Nubia, to
Thebes, to SAIS, and then back to Nubia and Thebes.
Psusennes II in Tour Egypt
Psusennes II was the seventh and final king of the Twenty-
first Dynasty. He is believed to have ruled for 14 years.
There are inscriptions on monuments which are the only
information showing his reign.
Psusennes II in Wikipedia
Titkheperure or Tyetkheperre Psusennes II [Greek Ψουσέννης] or Hor-Pasebakhaenniut II [Egyptian ḥr-p3-sb3-ḫˁỉ--nỉwt], was the
last king of the Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt. His royal name means "Image of the transformation of Re" in Egyptian. Psusennes
II is often considered the same person as the High-Priest of Amun known as Psusennes III. The Egyptologist Karl Jansen-Winkeln
notes that an important graffito from the Temple of Abydos contains the complete titles of a king Tyetkheperre Setepenre
Pasebakhaenniut Meryamun "who is simultaneously called the HPA (ie. High Priest of Amun) and supreme military commander." This
suggests that Psusennes was both king at Tanis and the High Priest in Thebes at the same time meaning he did not resign his office
as High Priest of Amun during his reign. The few contemporary attestations from his reign include the aforementioned graffito in
Seti I's Abydos temple, an ostracon from Umm el-Qa'ab, an affiliation at Karnak and his presumed burial – which consists of a
gilded coffin with a royal uraeus and a Mummy, found in an antechamber of Psusennes I's tomb at Tanis. He was a High Priest of Amun
at Thebes and the son of Pinedjem II and Istemkheb. His daughter Maatkare was the Great Royal Wife of Osorkon I.
Items which can be added to this list include a Year 5 Mummy linen that was written with the High Priest Psusennes III's name. It
is generally assumed that a Year 13 III Peret 10+X date in fragment 3B, line 6 of the Karnak Priestly Annals belongs to his
reign. Unfortunately, however, the king's name is not stated and the only thing which is certain is that the fragment must be
dated after Siamun's reign whose Year 17 is mentioned in lines 3-5. Hence, it belongs to either Psusennes II or possibly
Shoshenq I's reign. More impressive are the number of objects which associate Psusennes II together with his successor, Shoshenq I,
such as an old statue of Thutmose III which contains two parallel columns of texts – one referring to Psusennes II and the other to
Shoshenq I – a recently unearthed block from Basta which preserves the nomen of Shoshenq I together with the prenomen of Psusennes
II, and a now lost graffito from Theban Tomb 18.
Recently, the first conclusive date for king Psusennes II was revealed in a newly published priestly annal stone block. This
document, which has been designated as 'Block Karnak 94, CL 2149,' records the induction of a priest named Nesankhefenmaat into the
chapel of Amun-Re within the Karnak precint in Year 11 the first month of Shemu day 13 of a king named Psusennes. The preceding
line of this document recorded the induction of Nesankhefenmaat's father, a certain Nesamun, into the priesthood of Amun-Re in king
Siamun's reign. Siamun was the predecessor of Psusennes II at Tanis. The identification of the aforementioned Psusennes with
Psusennes II is certain since the same fragmentary annal document next records—in the following line—the induction of Hor, the son
of Nesankhefenmaat, into the priesthood of the chapel of Amun-Re at Karnak in Year 3 the second month of Akhet day 14 of king
Osorkon I's reign just one generation later.--with Shoshenq I's 21 year reign being skipped over. This would not be unexpected
since most Egyptologists believe that a generation in Egyptian society lasted a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of 30 years.
Therefore, the Year 11 date can only be assigned to Psusennes II and constitutes the first securely attested date for this
Unlike his immediate predecessor and successor – Siamun and Shoshenq I respectively– Psusennes II is generally less well attested
in contemporary historical records even though various versions of Manetho's Epitome credits him with either a 14 or a 35 year
reign, (generally amended to 15 years by most scholars including the British Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen). However, the German
scholar Rolf Krauss has recently argued that Psusennes II's reign was 24 years rather than Manetho's original figure of 14
years. This is based on personal information recorded in the Large Dakhla stela which dates to Year 5 of Shoshenq I; the stela
preserves a reference to a land-register from Year 19 of a 'Pharaoh Psusennes'.
In Year 5 of Shoshenq I, this king and the founder of the 22nd Dynasty dispatched a certain Ma (i.e. Libyan) subordinate named
Wayheset to the desert oasis town of Dakhla in order to restore the king's authority over the western oasis region of Upper Egypt.
Wayheset's titles include Prince and Governor of the Oasis. His activities are recorded in the Large Dakhla stela. This stela
states that Wayheset adjudicated in a certain water dispute by consulting a land-register which is explicitly dated to Year 19 of a
"Pharaoh Psusennes" in order to determine the water rights of a man named Nysu-Bastet. Kitchen notes that this individual made
an appeal to the Year 19 cadastral land-register of king Psusennes which belonged to his mother which historians assumed was made
some "80 years" ago during the reign of Psusennes I. The land register recorded that certain water rights were formerly owned
by Nysu-Bastet's mother Tewhunet in Year 19 of a king Psusennes. This ruler was generally assumed by Egyptologists to be Psusennes
I rather than Psusennes II since the latter's reign was believed to have lasted only 14–15 years. Based on the land register
evidence, Wayheset ordered that these watering rights should now be granted to Nysu-Bastet himself. However, if the oracle dated to
Year 19 of Psusennes I as many scholars traditionally assumed, Nysu-Bastet would have been separated from his mother by a total of
80 years from this date into Year 5 of Shoshenq I—a figure which is highly unlikely since Nysu-Bastet would not have waited until
extreme old age to uphold his mother's watering rights. This implies that the aforementioned king Psusennes here must be identified
with Psusennes II instead—Shoshenq I's immediate predecessor and, more significantly, that Psusennes II enjoyed a minimum reign of
The term "mother" in ancient Egypt could also be an allusion to an ancestress, the matriarch of a lineage whereby Nysu-Bastet may
have been petitioning for his hereditary water rights that belonged to his grandmother, whose family name was Tewhunet. However,
this argument does not account for the use of Pharaoh as a title in the Dakhla stela—a literary device which first occurs late
during the reign of Siamun, an Egyptian king who ruled between 45 to 64 years after Year 19 of Psusennes I.
The most significant component of the Great Dakhla stela is its palaeography: the use of the title Pharaoh Psusennes. A scholar
named Helen Jacquet-Gordon believed in the 1970s that the large Dakhla stela belonged to Shoshenq III's reign due to its use of the
title 'Pharaoh' directly with the ruling king's birth name—i.e.: "Pharaoh Shoshenq"--which was an important palaeographical
development in Egyptian history. Throughout the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms of Ancient Egypt, the word pharaoh was never employed
as a title such as Mr. and Mrs. or attached to a king's nomen such as Pharaoh Ramesses or Pharaoh Amenhotep; instead, the word pr-
`3 or pharaoh was used as a noun to refer to the activities of the king (i.e., it was "Pharaoh" who ordered the creation of a
temple or statue, or the digging of a well, etc.). Rolf Krauss aptly observes that the earliest attested use of the word pharaoh as
a title is documented in Year 17 of the 21st Dynasty king Siamun from Karnak Priestly Annals fragment 3B while a second use of
the title '[Pharaoh] [birth name]' occurs during Psusennes II's reign where a hieratic graffito in the Ptah chapel of the Abydos
temple of Seti I explicitly refers to Psusennes II as the "High Priest of Amen-Re, King of the Gods, the Leader, Pharaoh
Psusennes." Consequently, the practice of attaching the title pr-`3 or pharaoh with a king's royal birth name had already
started prior to the beginning of Shoshenq I's reign, let alone Shoshenq III. Hence, the Shoshenq mentioned in the large Year 5
Dakhla stela must have been Shoshenq I while the Psusennes mentioned in the same document likewise can only be Psusennes II which
means that only 5 years (or 10 years if Psusennes II ruled Egypt for 24 years) would separate Nysu-Bastet from his mother. The
additional fact that the Large Dakhla stela contains a Year 5 IV Peret day 25 lunar date has helped date the aforementioned king
Shoshenq's accession to 943 BC and demonstrates that the ruler here must be Shoshenq I, not Shoshenq III who ruled a century
later. Helen Jacquet-Gordon did not know of the two prior examples pertaining to Siamun and Psusennes II.
The editors of the recent 2006 book on titled 'Handbook on Ancient Egyptian Chronology'--Erik Hornung, Rolf Krauss and David
Warburton—accept this logical reasoning and have amended Manetho's original figure of 14 years for Psusennes II to 24 years instead
to Psusennes II. This is not unprecedented since previous Egyptologists had previously amended the reign of Siamun by a decade
from 9 years—as preserved in surviving copies of Manetho's Epitome—to 19 years based on certain Year 16 and Year 17 dates attested
for the latter. Psusennes II ruled Egypt for a minimum of 19 years based on the internal chronology of the Large Dakhla stela.
However, a calculation of a lunar Tepi Shemu feast which records the induction of Hori son of Nespaneferhor into the Amun
priesthood in regnal year 17 of Siamun, Psusennes II's predecessor—demonstrates that this date was equivalent to 970 BC. Since
Siamun enjoyed a reign of 19 years, he would have died 2 years later in 968/967 BC and been succeeded by Psusennes II by 967 BC at
the latest. Consequently, a reign of 24 years or 967-943 BC is now likely for Psusennes II; hence, his reign has been raised from
14 to 24 years.
Psusennes II's royal name has been found associated with his successor, Shoshenq I in a graffito from tomb TT18, and in an ostracon
from Umm el-Qa'ab.
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