(Amenophis, Amenotes) Amenhotep son of Hapu was born in Athribis in the fifteenth century BCE and served in the local government and in the priesthood of Khenty-khety before being called to the royal court at Thebes in his early fifties. He had an extraordinarily distinguished career under Amenhotep III, holding the positions of chief architect (he is credited with the temple of Soleb), chief scribe and secretary in charge of recruiting, as well as steward to the king’s daughter. Amenhotep son of Hapu died at the age of around eighty. After his death he acquired a cult as a healer and an intermediary of the God Amun, and was often worshiped alongside his fellow deified architect and healer Imhotep, surpassing the latter in popularity in the vicinity of Thebes. In a hymn inscribed on the temple of Ptah at Karnak, it is said of Amenhotep son of Hapu and Imhotep that they have a single ‘body’ and a single ba, ‘soul’ or ‘manifestation’, as if Amenhotep son of Hapu were a veritable reincarnation of his colleague who had lived one thousand years prior. The spell Pleyte 167 of the Book of the Dead is labeled as having been found by “the King’s chief scribe Amenhotep the son of Hapu … He used it for him [the king] as protection for his body.” Amenhotep son of Hapu and Imhotep are mentioned in the Papyrus Boulaq (first century CE) as welcoming the soul of the deceased: “Your soul will go to the royal scribe and chief scribe of the recruits Amenhotep; your soul will be united with Imhotep … you will feel like a son in the house of his father,” (Wildung, p. 105). Amenhotep son of Hapu is depicted as a scribe, often with palette and scroll, somewhat older and corpulent, with a fuller hairstyle or wig than the standard kind, a short beard, and often wearing a long apron. Votive inscriptions from a Ptolemaic chapel behind the upper mortuary temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari show that Amenhotep son of Hapu was still worshiped in the second century CE, more than 1,500 years after his death.

Perhaps due to the similarity in name, Amenhotep’s father Hapu is sometimes identified in later texts with “the living herald Apis,” that is, the Apis bull, while his mother, Idit, is referred to as “Hathor-Idit, the justified, the mother of the helpful God who issued from her on this beautiful day, the 11th of Phamenoth, in her name ‘rejoicing’,” (Wildung, pp. 98-99). In addition to the divinization of his mortal parents, Amenhotep is often characterized as the son of Amun, or of Ptah, or of Seshat and Thoth. A text dating from the time of Tiberius refers to him as the “youthful repetition of Ptah … You give a child to the sterile; you release a man from his enemy; you know the hearts of men and what is inside; you increase the lifetime; there is no distress in you. You renew what has fallen down; you fill up what was found destroyed,” (ibid., p. 105).

Wildung, Dietrich. 1977. Egyptian Saints: Deification in Pharaonic Egypt. New York: New York University Press.

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One Response to “Amenhotep, Son of Hapu”

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