Detail of a statue of Horemheb, at the
|1306 BC (most likely) or 1319 BC until 1292 BC (|
Horemheb (sometimes spelled Horemhab or Haremhab and meaning
Before he became pharaoh, Horemheb was the commander in chief of the army under the reigns of
Horemheb demolished monuments of
Horemheb is believed to have originated from
His parentage is unknown but he is believed to have been a commoner. According to the French (Sorbonne) Egyptologist
In the earliest known stage of his life, Horemheb served as "the royal spokesman for [Egypt's] foreign affairs" and personally led a diplomatic mission to visit the Nubian governors. This resulted in a reciprocal visit by "the Prince of Miam (
When Tutankhamun died while a teenager, Horemheb had already been officially designated as the rpat or
... cartouches, although later usurped by Horemheb as king, have been found on a block which adjoins the famous gold of honour scene, a large portion of which is in Leiden. The royal couple depicted in this scene and in the adjacent scene 76, which shows Horemheb acting as an intermediary between the king and a group of subject foreign rulers, are therefore to be identified as Tut'ankhamun and 'Ankhesenamun. This makes it very unlikely from the start that any titles of honours claimed by Horemheb in the inscriptions in the tomb are fictitious.
The title iry-pat (Hereditary Prince) was used very frequently in Horemheb's Saqqara tomb but not combined with any other words. When used alone, the Egyptologist
There is no indication that Horemheb always intended to succeed Tut'ankhamun; obviously not even he could possibly have predicted that the king would die without issue. It must always have been understood that his appointment as crown prince would end as soon as the king produced an heir, and that he would succeed Tut'ankhamun only in the eventuality of an early and/or childless death of the sovereign. There can be no doubt that nobody outranked the Hereditary Prince of Upper and Lower Egypt and Deputy of the King in the Entire Land except the king himself, and that Horemheb was entitled to the throne once the king had unexpectedly died without issue. This means that it is Ay's, not Horemheb's accession which calls for an explanation. Why was Ay able to ascend the throne upon the death of Tut'ankhamun, despite the fact that Horemheb had at that time already been the official heir to the throne for almost ten years?
The aged Vizier
After Ay's reign, which lasted for a little over four years, Horemheb managed to seize power, presumably thanks to his position as commander of the army, and to assume what he must have perceived to be his just reward for having ably served Egypt under Tutankhamun and Ay. Horemheb quickly removed Nakhtmin's rival claim to the throne and arranged to have Ay's