Chapter 12 - The Chief Steward


Hatshepsut's right hand man was Senenmut, her Chief Steward. He held numerous important titles, such as Chief Steward of the Estates of Amun, Overseer of all Royal Works, and Tutor to Princess Neferure (Hatshepsut's daughter who died young). In the picture right he is shown holding Neferure. Several such statues have been found. It is unusual for a nobleman to have so many statues of himself, indicating his importance to the King.

In fact Senenmut as far as we know never married, and some have suggested that he was Hatshepsut's lover. She must have been lonely after her husband died, after all. But there is no real evidence for this. His picture does appear in Djeser Djeseru, which the king must have known about. But it was later defaced, along with many of his other images. Perhaps he was a victim of Thutmose III's attempt to remove Hatshepsut from history, along with her main advisor?

Senenmut is known as the architect of Djeser Djeseru, and I present him as such in the book. However, he is not given this title in any inscriptions, rather 'overseer', and several others are known to have been involved in the project, including Puyemre, second prophet of Amun. Senenmut was also in charge of getting the king's obelisks put up at Karnak.

Senenmut is also famous for having a series of constellations (star patterns) painted on the ceiling of his tomb. You can see a drawing of this below. His tomb is right next to Djeser Djeseru, again showing how important he was.








This picture, from Senenmut's tomb, shows what he looked like when he was older - wrinkles around his cheeks and under his chin. On the bottom right you can see his name in hieroglyphs.



Scorpion Charming

In ancient Egypt venomous creatures like scorpions and cobras were a constant threat. Some Egyptians, known as magicians (heka'u), would be employed to cast spells to protect people from such beasts. They might use a magic wand made from a hippo tusk and inscribed with mystical creatures. You can read more on this page from Ancient Egypt magazine.

yellow scorpion


The Book of the Dead also contained spells to ward off dangerous beasts in the afterlife, including crocodiles, beetles, and snakes. Here is an example:


'O Rerek snake, take yourself off, for Geb protects me; get up, for you have eaten a mouse, which Re detests, and you have chewed the bones of a putrid cat.'



To read about Hatshepsut's obelisk fresco, go to chapter 7