(Thenenet, Tjenenyet, Tenenet, Tanent) Tjenenet is depicted as a woman wearing either the solar disk and uraeus, in the manner of Hathor, or the symbol of a cow’s uterus, like Meskhenet. It has been argued (Derchain-Urtel 1979) that Tjenenet wears this latter symbol in her role as the guarantor of the king’s rebirth at his coronation, marking his entry into the cosmic and eternal sphere of activity as Meskhenet presided over his entry into the mundane realm. Tjenent also engages in all the activities associated with the Eye of Re and with the “Distant” or “Wandering” Goddess cycle.

In CT spell 939, the operator states “I am one who is in front of Tjenenet, one greater than my father,” implying the second birth. The same formula recurs in CT spell 112, “for not letting a man’s heart sit down against him,” this phrase perhaps meaning to be struck by depression. The spell refers to wailing at the sight of Seth—i.e., at the murder of Osiris—and warns that “this heart of mine sits down against me and it weeps for itself,” before affirming that “this heart of mine has not forsaken me, I am he who is in front of Tjenenet.” The disposition ‘in front of Tjenenet’ perhaps refers to being reborn in her presence. On account of her name, Tjenenet is speculated to have been originally regarded as the feminine counterpart of Tatenen, but her attested consort is typically Montu. Tjenenet’s name also resembles that of a sanctuary glossed at BD spell 17 as “the tomb of Osiris.” The place where the sun sets is “the gate of the tjenenet-sanctuary” (BD spell 1B), and in BD spell 100 the tjenenet-sanctuary is the place where the soul of the deceased “disembarks or embarks in the bark of Re, while the corpse remains on its seat.” In BD spell 17 those who reside in the tjenenet-sanctuary are said to be brought “suppers of faïence,” which the ancient commentator identifies with “sky and earth.”

At Tod, Tjenenet presided over certain ritual spaces which featured only Goddesses, no Gods, and which, other than the king himself, only women could enter; as one text states, “(There) she is hidden and completely inaccessible; the female priests perform her rituals, and initiated women sanctify her secret image. Take care that men do not see her images!”, and again, “She is too secret to be known by any men, it is only her initiated women who may see the form of her hidden statue,” (Klotz 2012, p. 219).

Tjenenet is considered sometimes as the daughter of Atum and Mut, and sometimes as the mother of Iunyt.

Derchain-Urtel, Maria-Theresia. 1979. Synkretismus in ägyptischer Ikonographie. Die Göttin Tjenenet.
Faulkner, R. O. 1973-8. The Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts. 3 vols. Warminster: Aris & Phillips Ltd. [CT]
Klotz, David. 2012. Caesar in the City of Amun: Egyptian Temple Construction and Theology in Roman Thebes. Turnhout: Brepols.

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One Response to “Tjenenet”

  1. Charles Herzer said

    Are you aware of any other references to the Tjenenet sanctuary (Tnnt-pr) or can you direct me to other possible sources? Thank you in advance.

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