Hrere

Hrere (sometimes spelled as Hrēre or Herere) was an ancient Egyptian noble lady of the late 20th-early 21st dynasties of Egypt. Although during her life she must have been an influential person, not much is known for certain about her family relationships. The names of her parents have not come down to us and the identity of her husband is not beyond dispute. She is often seen as either the wife or grandmother of the High Priest at Thebes, Piankh, but it has also been suggested that she may have been the wife of the High Priest Amenhotep.

As will be explained below buy glass water bottle, Hrere’s exact place in the family of Theban High Priests ultimately depends on two factors, neither of which has yet been resolved:

[1] the identity of her daughter Nodjmet

[2] the relative order of Herihor and Piankh

The only thing which can be established beyond doubt is that she was the mother of the lady Nodjmet whose mummy and funerary outfit have been found in the Great Royal Cache near Deir el Bahri. With the mummy of this Nodjmet two Books of the Dead, were found. One of them, Papyrus BM 10490, now in the British museum, belonged to “the King’s Mother Nodjmet best metal water bottle, the daughter of the King’s Mother Hrere”. Whereas the name of Nodjmet was written in a cartouche, the name of Hrere was not. Since mostly this Nodjmet is seen as the wife of the High Priest Herihor, who is also attested with royal titles childrens drinks bottle, Hrere’s title is often interpreted as “King’s Mother-in-law”, although her title “who bore the Strong Bull” suggests that she actually must have given birth to a king.

However, recently, the common opinion that there was only one Queen Nodjmet has been challenged and the old view that the mummy found in the Royal Cache was that of the mother of Herihor rather than his wife has been revived. Although it is beyond dispute that Herihor had a queen called Nodjmet (this was already recognised by Champollion), Édouard Naville postulated in 1878 that Herihor must have had a mother called Nodjmet. He did so on the basis of Papyrus BM 10541, the other Book of the Dead found with her mummy. It is indeed remarkable that, although Herihor figures in P. BM 10541, Nodjmet nowhere in either of her two Books of the Dead is designated as “King’s Wife”. All the stress is on her position as “King’s Mother”, as if this was her only title relevant in relation to Herihor. The ruling family from the transitional period from the 20th to the 21st dynasty is notorious for the repetitiveness of names, so Herihor having a homonymous wife and mother would in itself not be impossible or unlikely. If the Nodjmet from the Royal Cache was indeed the mother of Herihor, it follows that Hrere must have been the grandmother of Herihor rather than his mother(-in-law). In this position she could well have been the wife of the High Priest Amenhotep. However, the debate on this issue is still going on.

One of the “Late Ramesside Letters”, letter no.2, written by the Scribe of the Necropolis Dhutmose, mentions Hrere as being in Elephantine during a military expedition of Piankh. Since this seemed to imply that Piankh had his grandmother accompany him on the first part of a dangerous campaign, M. Bierbrier suggested that besides a Hrere A, the mother of Nodjmet, there may have been a Hrere B, the daughter of Nodjmet and the wife of Piankh. The need for a second Hrere more or less ceased to exist when Karl Jansen-Winkeln proposed to put the pontificate of Piankh before that of Herihor. In his model there was only one Hrere, who was both the wife of Piankh and the mother-in-law of Herihor. Her title “who bore the Strong Bull” now became related to her being the mother of the High Priest Pinuzem, who is believed to have taken on semi-royal status later in his career.