God's Wife

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Prior to the XXIst Dynasty of ancient Egypt the title God's Wife was given to Pharaoh's wife. During the XXIst Dynasty it was transferred to Pharaoh's daughter, who was consecrated as an oblate to Amun and forbidden to have relations with mortal men.  When the Nubians (Ethiopians from Upper Egypt) under Kashta conquered Lower Egypt under Osorkon III in the 8th century BCE and began the XXVth Dynasty, the institution was changed from a religious one to a political position, and a parallel succession of pharaohs and God's wives was established.

A form of adoption was also instituted, whereby each God's wife adopted her successor. Often this amounted to aunt-niece adoption, since the God's wife would be adopting her brother's (Pharaoh's) daughter. The God's wife was a very powerful position, and had its own court, civil service and estates, even though the power was confined to Thebes. The best-known women to hold this position were:

  • Shepenwepe I, who was the daughter of Pharaoh Osorkon III, and probably not adopted
  • Amonortais I, who was the daughter of Pharaoh Kashta, sister of Pharaoh Pi'ankhy, and adopted by Shepenwepe I
  • Shepenwepe II, who was the daughter of Pi'ankhy and adopted by Amonortais I
  • Nitocris, who was the daughter of Pharaoh Psammetichus I and adopted by Shepenwepe II
  • Ankhnasneferibre, who was the daughter of Pharaoh Psammetichus II and adopted by Nitocris


"The Adoption Stele of Nitocris." Available at: http://www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classics/jjtexts_V1.html
Egyptian Tourism Ministry. "Twenty-Fifth Dynasty." Available at: http://www.interoz.com/egypt/hdyn25.htm
Egyptian Tourism Ministry. "Twenty-Sixth Dynasty." Available at: http://touregypt.net/hdyn26.htm
Egyptian Tourism Ministry. "Amonortais." Available at: http://interoz.com/egypt/who/amonorta.htm
Egyptian Tourism Ministry. "Kashta." Available at: http://interoz.com/egypt/who/kashta.htm


Rulers, Nobles, Chiefs, Presidents, Prime Ministers
Other Religions
Adoptees/fosterees Who Are/were Also Adopters or Foster Parents
Oblates, Dedicated to God
To Provide Heirs, As Protégés, etc.
Uncles and Aunts, Parents' Uncles and Aunts
Priest, Religious, Teacher, Coach, Mentor, Patron, Apprentice Master or Owner
Wealthy, Famous, Noble or Divine Adoptive or Foster Families
Customary or Traditional Adoption, Informal and Extra-Legal Care
Adoptees/Fosterees from Wealthy, Famous, Noble or Divine Birth Families
Birth Sibling(s) Remained With or Returned to Birth Family
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