Ankhesenamun (ˁnḫ-s-n-imn, "Her Life Is of Amun"; c. 1348 – after
1322 BC) was a queen of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Born as
Ankhesenpaaten, she was the third of six known daughters of the
Akhenaten and his
Great Royal Wife
Great Royal Wife Nefertiti, and
Great Royal Wife
Great Royal Wife of her half-brother Tutankhamun. The
change in her name reflects the changes in Ancient Egyptian religion
during her lifetime after her father's death. Her youth is well
documented in the ancient reliefs and paintings of the reign of her
Ankhesenamun shared the same father but
Tutankhamun's mother has recently been established by genetic evidence
as one of Akhenaten's sisters, a daughter (so far unidentified) of
She was most likely born in year 4 of Akhenaten's reign and by year 12
of her father's reign she was joined by her three younger sisters. He
possibly made his wife his co-regent and had his family portrayed in a
realistic style in all official artwork.
Ankhesenamun was definitely married to one king; she was the Great
Royal Wife of
Pharaoh Tutankhamun. It is also possible that she was
briefly married to Tutankhamun's successor, Ay, believed by some to be
her maternal grandfather. It has also been posited that she may
have been the
Great Royal Wife
Great Royal Wife of her father, Akhenaten, after the
possible death of her mother, and co-regent of Akhenaten's immediate
DNA tests released in February 2010 have also speculated that
one of two late
18th dynasty queens buried in
KV21 could be her mummy.
Both mummies are thought, because of DNA, to be members of the ruling
1 Early life
2 Later life
3 Hittite letters
4 Mummy KV21A
6 In popular culture
7 Ancestry and family
9 Further reading
Ankhesenpaaten was born in a time when Egypt was in the midst of an
unprecedented religious revolution (c. 1348 BC). Her father had
abandoned the old deities of Egypt in favor of the Aten, hitherto a
minor aspect of the sun-god, characterised as the sun's disc.
She is believed to have been born in Waset (present-day Thebes), but
probably grew up in her father's new capital city of Akhetaten
(present-day Amarna). The three eldest daughters – Meritaten,
Meketaten, and Ankhesenpaaten – became the "Senior Princesses" and
participated in many functions of the government and religion. Her
birthdate is not known.
Partially restored alabaster jar with 2 handles. It bears the
cartouches of pharaoh
Tutankhamen and Queen Ankhesenamun. 18th
Dynasty. From Gurob, Fayum, Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian
Tutankhamun receives flowers from Ankhesenpaaten as a sign of love.
She is believed to have been married first to her own father. This
was not unusual for Egyptian royal families. She is thought to have
been the mother of the princess
Ankhesenpaaten Tasherit (possibly by
her father or by Smenkhkare), although the parentage is unclear.
Ankhesenamun in hieroglyphs
Ankhesenpaaten (anḫ s n pa itn)
Translation, Living for Aten
Ankhesenamun (anḫ s n imn)
Translation, Living for Amun
Great Royal Wife
Great Royal Wife of
Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt
After her father's death and the short reigns of
Neferneferuaten, she became the wife of Tutankhamun. Following
their marriage, the couple honored the deities of the restored
religion by changing their names to
Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun.
The couple appear to have had two stillborn daughters. As
Tutankhamun's only known wife was Ankhesenamun, it is highly likely
the fetuses found in Tutankhamun's tomb are her daughters. Some time
in the ninth year of his reign, at about the age of eighteen,
Tutankhamun died suddenly, leaving
Ankhesenamun alone without an heir
at about age twenty-one.
A ring discovered is thought to show that
Ankhesenamun married Ay
shortly before she disappeared from history, although no monuments
show her as a royal consort. On the walls of Ay's tomb it is Tey
(Ay's senior wife), not Ankhesenamun, who appears as queen. She
probably died during or shortly after his reign and no burial has been
found for her yet.
A document was found in the ancient Hittite capital of
dates to the
Amarna period; the so-called "Deeds" of Suppiluliuma I.
The Hittite ruler receives a letter from the Egyptian queen, while
being in siege on Karkemish. The letter reads:
My husband has died and I have no son. They say about you that you
have many sons. You might give me one of your sons to become my
husband. I would not wish to take one of my subjects as a husband... I
This document is considered extraordinary, as Egyptians traditionally
considered foreigners to be inferior.
Suppiluliuma I was surprised and
exclaimed to his courtiers:
Nothing like this has happened to me in my entire life!
Understandably, he was wary, and had an envoy investigate, but by so
doing, he missed his chance to bring Egypt into his empire. He
eventually did send one of his sons, Zannanza, but the prince died,
perhaps murdered, en route.
The identity of the queen who wrote the letter is uncertain. She is
Dakhamunzu in the Hittite annuals, a possible transliteration
of the Egyptian title Tahemetnesu (The King's Wife).[not in
citation given] Possible candidates are Nefertiti, Meritaten, and
Ankhesenamun seemed once likely since there were no
candidates for the throne on the death of her husband, Tutankhamun,
Akhenaten had at least two legitimate successors. but this
was based on a 27-year reign for the last 18th pharaoh
Horemheb who is
now accepted to have had a shorter reign of only 14 years. This makes
the deceased Egyptian king appear to be
Akhenaten instead rather than
Tutankhamun. The phrase regarding marriage to 'one of my subjects'
(translated by some as 'servants') is possibly a reference to the
Grand Vizier Ay or a secondary member of the Egyptian royal family
Nefertiti was depicted as powerful as her husband in
official monuments smiting Egypt's enemies, she might be the
Dakhamunzu in the
Amarna correspondence as Nicholas Reeves
Ankhesenamun may have been pressured by Ay to marry him
and legitimise his claim to the throne of Egypt (which she eventually
did) This also might explain why she describes herself as
'afraid', especially considering the popular (but not widely accepted)
theory that Ay had a hand in her husband's death. A CT scan taken
in 2005 shows that he had badly broken his leg shortly before his
death, and that the leg had become infected.
DNA analysis conducted in
2010 showed the presence of malaria in his system. It is believed that
these two conditions, malaria and leiomyomata, combined, led to his
Ankhesenamun was not as powerful as
be able to choose her spouse from a foreign state.
DNA testing announced in February 2010 has speculated that her mummy
is one of two
18th Dynasty queens recovered from
KV21 in the Valley of
The two fetuses found buried with
Tutankhamun have been proven to be
his children, and the current theory is
Ankhesenamun is their mother.
DNA was able to be retrieved from the mummies in
make positive identities of the queens. Enough
DNA was pulled to show
that the mummy known as KV21a fits as the mother of the two fetuses in
Tutankhamun's tomb. The assumption that she is
with her being the only known wife of
Tutankhamun in the historical
There is however one problem with this identification: if KV21a is
Ankhesenamun, then the
KV55 mummy probably is not Akhenaten, known to
be her father from historical records. The
DNA retrieved of the KV21a
mummy fits with her being the mother of the fetuses, but not the
daughter of KV55. Therefore:
this mummy is not Ankhesenamun, but another, unknown wife of
KV55 mummy is not Akhenaten, but another brother of his, possibly
the ephemeral Smenkhare, or
KV55 mummy is
Akhenaten and KV21a is Ankhesenamun, but he was not
the biological father of his daughter.
Nevertheless, the KV21a mummy has
DNA consistent with the 18th dynasty
royal line, therefore making it likely she was a member of the
Thutmoside ruling house and supporting her identification with
After excavating the tomb
KV63 it is speculated that it was designed
for Ankhesenamen due to its proximity to the tomb of Tutankhamun's
KV62. Also found in the tomb were coffins (one with
an imprint of a woman on it), women's clothing, jewelry and natron.
Fragments of pottery bearing the partial name Paaten were also in the
tomb. The only royal person known to bear this name was Ankhesenamen,
whose name was originally Ankhesenpaaten. However, there were no
mummies found in KV63.
In popular culture
This article appears to contain trivial, minor, or unrelated
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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2017)
Ankhesenpaaten/Ankhesenamum appears as a fictionalized character in
in the Belgian series, Het Huis Anubis, as The Vengeful Wife of
as the main character in Christian Jacq's novel La reine soleil, and
in the animated film adaptation of the same name
as a main character in The Twelfth Transforming by Pauline Gedge
in the manga series Red River by Chie Shinohara, in relation to the
Hittite Letters event[clarification needed]
a character in
Nefertiti by Michelle Moran, as the third of her six
the main character in the novel
Tutankhamun and the Daughter of Ra by
Her name is used as the love of Imhotep, the titular mummy in the
original 1932 film The Mummy, which was made after the publicity
surrounding the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. She is portrayed by
Zita Johann. In the 1999 remake The Mummy and its sequel The Mummy
Returns she is played by Patricia Velásquez. In the 1932 film, her
name is spelled Ankh-es-en-amon. In the 1999 film, it is spelled
The novel Pillar of Fire by
Judith Tarr deals in large part with the
life of Ankhesenamun.
in P.C. Doherty's
Akhenaten trilogy where she is implicated in
Tutankhamun's death and is to marry a Hittite prince
as a major character in The Murder of King Tut, a murder mystery based
on speculation about her husband's death by
James Patterson and Martin
as a major character in Tutankhamun: the Book of Shadows, by Nick
in Tut on Spike she is played by Sibylla Deen
Ancestry and family
See also: Family tree of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt
The Younger Lady
2 Stillborn Foetuses
^ a b Dodson, Aidan; Dyan Hilton (2004). The Complete Royal Families
of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. p. 148.
^ a b Grajetzki, Wolfram (2000). Ancient Egyptian Queens; a
hieroglyphic dictionary. London: Golden House. p. 64.
^ a b c Lorenzi, Rosella. "King Tut Felled by Malaria, Bone Disease."
Discovery News, February 16, 2010. Retrieved from
^ Reeves, Nicholas (2001). Akhenaten: Egypt's False Prophet. Thames
^ a b c Manley, Suzie. "
Ankhesenamun - Queen of
Daughter of Akhenaten". Egypt * Pyramids * History.
^ a b c "Queen Ankhesenamun". Saint Louis University.
^ Dodson, Aidan; Dyan Hilton (2004). The Complete Royal Families of
Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. p. 153.
^ "The Deeds of Suppiluliuma as Told by His Son, Mursili II". Journal
of Cuneiform Studies. 10 (2). 1956. JSTOR 1359041.
^ Amelie Kuhrt (1997). The Ancient Middle East c. 3000 – 330 BC. 1.
London: Routledge. p. 254.
^ William McMurray. "Towards an Absolute Chronology for Ancient Egypt"
(pdf). p. 5.
^ Nicholas Reeves,Tutankhamun's Mask Reconsidered BES 19 (2014),
^ Christine El Mahdy (2001), "Tutankhamun" (St Griffin's Press)
^ Brier, Bob (1999) "The Murder of Tutankhamen" (Berkeley Trade)
^ Roberts, Michelle (2010-02-16). "'Malaria' killed King Tutankhamun".
BBC News. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
Akhenaten, King of Egypt by Cyril Aldred (1988), Thames & Hudson.
"The Younger Lady" (mother)
Amenhotep III (grandfather)
KV62 (Tutankhamun's tomb)
Meteoric iron dagger blade
Curse of the pharaohs
Steve Martin song
Of Time, Tombs and Treasures
Of Time, Tombs and Treasures (1977 documentary)
The Curse of King Tut's Tomb (1980 film)
Mysteries of Egypt
Mysteries of Egypt (1998 film)
Tutenstein (2003 series)
The Curse of King Tut's Tomb (2006 film)
Tut (2015 miniseries)
Tutankhamun (2016 miniseries)
"The Younger Lady"
Amarna Art Style