Smendes in Tour Egypt

SMENDES, THE FIRST KING OF THE 21ST DYNASTY AND THE THIRD INTERMEDIATE PERIOD by Jimmy Dunn -- The founders of Egyptian Dynasties frequently worked to establish their legitimacy to the throne, and yet, in later years were just as frequently honored by their successors as great men. Fables came to surround these men, but at the same time, it is not uncommon for us to know little of their background, because they often rose from non-royal or at least obscure circumstances. Smendes (Smedes), who we believe founded the 21st Dynasty, ending the New Kingdom at the beginning of the Third Intermediate Period, is a very difficult individual with almost intractable origins and affiliations. His reign, which Manetho assigns 26 years, produced only a tiny handful of monuments and we have never discovered either his tomb or his mummy (though many believe his tomb to be NRT-I at Tanis, this structure offers up no clues concerning Smendes). Smendes is a Greek rendering of this king's name. His birth name and epithet were Nes-ba-neb-djed (mery-amun), meaning "He of the Ram, Lord of Mendes, Beloved of Amun". His throne name was Hedj-kheper-re Setep-en-re, meaning "Bright is the Manifestation of Re, Chosen of Re". In fact, most of what we know of Smendes predates his rise to the throne. From the Report of Wenamun, dating to Year 5 of the "Renaissance Era" during the last decade of the reign of Ramesses XI, we learn much of what we know of this future king. While on the way to Lebanon to obtain wood for the renewal of the divine barque of Amun-Re, Wenamun stopped at Tanis, which he describes as "the place where Smendes and Tentamun are". Smendes is specifically described as being the one to whom Wenamun gave his letters of credence from Herihor, the High-Priest of Amun and a powerful general in the south. Wenamun was then sent in a ship by Smendes to Syria. Smendes, along with Herihor and others, was cited as having contributed money to this expedition. Smendes, together with Tentamun, are therefore shown to be of great importance in Egypt's Delta, equals at least of the High-Priest of Amun in the south. Consider the fact that Ramesses XI at this time presumably lived at Piramesses, only about 20 kilometers to the southwest of Tanis, and yet Wenamun came to Smendes for assistance rather than to the king. In fact, Herihor assumed some royal titles even while Ramesses XI was still alive, and the implication would seem to be that Smendes had a similar standing in the north. Nevertheless, we can only guess at Smendes' origins. It has been suggested that he was a brother of Nodjmet, the wife of Herihor, but it has also been suggested that Nodjmet could have been a sister of Ramesses XI. However, Tentamun, who was presumably Smendes' wife, may have been a member of the royal family. She could have been a daughter of another woman named Tentamun, who may have been the wife of Ramesses XI (or possibly another Ramesside king). The older Tentamun was certainly the mother of Henttawy, who later became the wife of the High-Priest of Amun, Pinedjem I, who also acquired kingly status in the south. As a royal son-in-law, Smendes' status is more easily understood, though perhaps not his total eclipse of the king. Obviously there is a great deal of confusion concerning the origin of Smendes. Nevertheless, it is very probable that the families of Smendes and Herihor, or at least their descendants, were linked. Whatever his original status, after the death of Ramesses XI, Smendes became a king of Egypt, and is recorded as such in most reference material. However, only two sources specifically name him as pharaoh, consisting of a stela in a quarry at Dibabia near Gebelein (Jebelein), and a small depiction in the temple of Montu at Karnak. Interestingly, while there are no known unambiguously dated documents from his reign, the contemporary High-Priests of Amun used year numbers without a king's name, and it is generally believed that, at least through year 25, these refer to Smendes' reign. In fact, Smendes probably never ruled over a united Egypt as such, a condition which probably also existed at the end of the reign of Ramesses XI. During much of what we refer to as the 21st Dynasty, there was also a dynasty of High-Priests of Amun at Thebes who effectively ruled Upper Egypt, while the kings at Tanis ruled the north. However, there appears to have been a rather delicate balance of powers, and perhaps even a formal arrangement for this division of Egypt. The Priests at Thebes seem to have held sway over a region which stretched from the north of el-Hiba (south of the entrance to the Fayoum) to the southern frontier of Egypt, and their aspirations became apparent around year 16 of Smendes' reign, when Pinedjem I apparently began to take on full pharaonic titles, yet at all times he continued to defer to Smendes as at least a senior king. Hence, to the outside world, Egypt appears to have been a united entity during this period, and in a certain respect, it was. While Egypt was effectively divided between the north and south by powerful men, the government of Egypt became a theocracy, with the supreme political authority being vested in the god Amun himself. In a hymn to Amun on a papyrus from Deir el-Bahri, which has been dubbed the "credo of the theocracy", the god's name is written in a cartouche and he is addressed as the superior of all the gods, the fountainhead of creation, and the true king of Egypt. In fact, Wenamun also says in his tale that Smendes and Tentamun are "the pillars which Amun has set up for the north of his land. Apparently, Tanis was developed as a northern counterpart to Thebes, and therefore a principal cult center for Amun in Lower Egypt. However, there is also evidence that Memphis functioned as a residence for the northern kings, for a decree of Smendes is recorded as having been issued there. The city may have once more served as a major administrate base at this time. During this period, the High-Priesthood of Amun at Thebes was passed on from father to son, more or less, so that Pinudjem's heirs inherited both the position of High-Priest and control of southern Egypt. Intriguingly, however, it was also one of Herihor probable sons, Amenemnisu, who succeeded Smendes on the throne for a brief period.

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Smendes in Wikipedia

Hedjkheperre Setepenre Smendes was the founder of the Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt and succeeded to the throne after burying Ramesses XI in Lower Egypt – territory which he controlled. His Egyptian nomen or birth name was actually Nesbanebdjed[4] meaning "He of the Ram, Lord of Mendes"[5] but it was translated into Greek as Smendes by later classical writers such as Josephus and Sextus Africanus. While Smendes' precise origins remain a mystery, he is thought to have been a powerful governor in Lower Egypt during the Renaissance era of Ramesses XI and his base of power was Tanis[citation needed]. Family - Nesibanebdjedet (Smendes) may have been a son of a lady named Hrere. Hrere was a Chief of the Harem of Amun-Re and likely the wife of a high priest of Amun. If Hrere was the mother of Nesibanebdjedet, then he was a brother of Nodjmet and through her brother in law of the High Priests Herihor and Piankh. Nesibanebdjedet (Smendes) was married to Tentamun B, likely a daughter of Ramesses IX. They may have been the parents of his successor Amenemnisu.[6] Report of Wenamun - Smendes features prominently in the Report of Wenamun, dated to Year 5 of the Renaissance or Whm Mswt era (or Year 23 proper of Ramesses XI), as a person of the highest importance. Wenamun states here that he had to visit Tanis and personally present his letters of accreditation to Smendes in order to receive the latter's permission to travel north to modern Lebanon and procure precious cedar wood for use in the Great Temples of Amun at Thebes. Smendes responded by dispatching a ship for Wenamun's travels to Syria and the Levant. Reign - Smendes' nominal authority over Upper Egypt is attested by a single inscribed stela found in a quarry at Ed-Dibabiya, opposite Gebelein on the right bank of the Nile as well as a separate graffito inscription on an enclosure Wall of the Temple of Monthu at Karnak dating from the reign of Tuthmose III.[7] The quarry stela describes how Smendes "while residing in Memphis, heard of danger to the temple of Luxor from flooding, gave orders for repairs (hence the quarry works), and received news of the success of the mission."[8] Smendes is assigned a reign of 26 Years by Manetho in his Epitome and was the husband of Tentamun. This figure is supported by the Year 25 date on the Banishment Stela which recounts that the High Priest Menkheperre suppressed a local revolt in Thebes in Year 25 of a king who can only be Smendes because there is no evidence that the High Priests counted their own regnal years even when they assumed royal titles like Pinedjem I did.[9] Menkheperre then exiled the leaders of the rebellion to the Western Desert Oases. These individuals were pardoned several years later during the reign of Smendes' successor, Amenemnisu. Smendes ruled over a divided Egypt and only effectively controlled Lower Egypt during his reign while Middle and Upper Egypt was effectively under the suzerainty of the High Priests of Amun such as Pinedjem I, Masaharta and Menkheperre. His prenomen or throne name Hedjkheperre Setepenre/Setepenamun--which means 'Bright is the Manifestation of Rê, Chosen of Rê/Amun'[3]--became very popular in the following 22nd Dynasty and 23rd Dynasty. In all, five kings: Shoshenq I, Shoshenq IV, Takelot I, Takelot II and Harsiese A adopted it for their own use. On the death of Smendes in 1051 BC, he was succeeded by Neferkare Amenemnisu, who may have been this king's son.

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