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Title: Wepwawetemsaf  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Abydos Dynasty, Pantjeny, Pharaohs, Sixteenth Dynasty of Egypt, Mekh
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Sekhemraneferkhau Wepwawetemsaf was an Egyptian pharaoh during the Second Intermediate Period. According to the Egyptologists Kim Ryholt and Darell Baker, he was a king of the Abydos Dynasty, although they leave his position within this dynasty undetermined.[5][6] Alternatively, the egyptologist Jürgen von Beckerath sees Wepwawetemsaf as a king of the late 13th Dynasty, while Marcel Marée proposes that he was a king of the late 16th Dynasty.[4][7]


The only contemporaneous attestation of Wepwawetemsaf's reign is a limestone stele "of exceptionally crude quality"[6] discovered in Abydos and now in the British Museum (EA 969).[8][9] The stele shows the king before the god "Wepwawet, lord of Abydos" and is generally described as of poor worksmanship.[5] The stela was produced by a workshop operating in Abydos. Other stelae produced by this workshop belong to king Rahotep and king Pantjeny. The egyptologist Marcel Marée therefore concludes that these three kings reigned quite close in time. He believes that the stela of Pantjeny was made by a different artist, while the stelae of Rahotep and Wepwawetemsaf were carved by the same man. He argues that Wepwawetemsaf reigned directly after king Rahotep. He does not assign single kings to specific dynasties, but comes to the conclusion that these kings belong to the late 16th or very early 17th Dynasty,[4]

Another possible attestation of this king is a graffito discovered in the tomb no. 2 at Beni Hasan belonged to the 12th Dynasty nomarch Amenemhat and located about 250 km North of Abydos, in Middle Egypt. The graffito has been tentatively read by Beckerath as "Sekhemreneferkhau" but this remains uncertain as the original is now lost.[5][6][10]


Graffito from Beni Hasan, possibly attributable to Wepwawetemsaf.[11]

In his study of the second intermediate period, Kim Ryholt elaborates on the idea originally proposed by Detlef Franke that following the collapse of the 13th Dynasty with the conquest of Memphis by the Hyksos, an independent kingdom centered on Abydos arose in Middle Egypt.[12] The Abydos Dynasty thus designates a group of local kinglets reigning for a short time in central Egypt. Ryholt notes that Wepwawetemsaf is only attested in central Egypt and that his name comprises the theophoric reference to the Abydene god Wepwawet. Thus he concludes that Wepwawetemsaf most likely ruled from Abydos and belongs to the Abydos Dynasty.[6] This conclusion is shared by Darell Baker but not by Beckerath, who places Wepwawetemsaf in the late 13th Dynasty.[7]

The egyptologist Marcel Marée also rejects Ryholt's hypothesis and instead holds that Wepwawetemsaf is a king of the late 16th Dynasty. Indeed Marée notes that the workshop which produced Wepwawetemsaf's stele is also responsible for the production of the stelae of Pantjeny and Rahotep, the latter most often assigned to the early 17th Dynasty. Marée therefore concludes that Rahotep, Pantjeny and Wepwawetemsaf reigned quite close in time. This reasoning also precludes the existence of an Abydos Dynasty c. 1650 BC.[4]


  1. ^ Wallis Budge: Hieroglyphic texts from Egyptian stelae, &c., in the British Museum, Part IV, London: Printed by order of the Trustees [by] Harrison and Sons, 1913, available copyright-free online
  2. ^ Wallis Budge: Hieroglyphic texts from Egyptian stelae, &c., in the British Museum, Part IV, London: Printed by order of the Trustees [by] Harrison and Sons, 1913, available copyright-free online
  3. ^ Jürgen von Beckerath, kings of the second intermediate period, available online
  4. ^ a b c d Marcel Marée: A sculpture workshop at Abydos from the late Sixteenth or early Seventeenth Dynasty, in: Marcel Marée (editor): The Second Intermediate period (Thirteenth-Seventeenth Dynasties, Current Research, Future Prospects, Leuven, Paris, Walpole, MA. 2010 ISBN 978-90-429-2228-0. p. 245, 261-275
  5. ^ a b c Darrell D. Baker: The Encyclopedia of the Pharaohs: Volume I - Predynastic to the Twentieth Dynasty 3300–1069 BC, Stacey International, ISBN 978-1-905299-37-9, 2008, p. 496-497
  6. ^ a b c d K.S.B. Ryholt: The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, c. 1800 – 1550 BC, Carsten Niebuhr Institute Publications, vol. 20. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 1997
  7. ^ a b Jürgen von Beckerath: Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen, Münchner ägyptologische Studien 49, Mainz 1999.
  8. ^ Janine Bourriau: Pharaohs and Mortals: Egyptian art in the Middle Kingdom, Cambridge University Press, 1988, see p. 72-73, fig. 58
  9. ^ Stele of Wepwawetemsaf
  10. ^ Jürgen von Beckerath: Untersuchungen zur politischen Geschichte der Zweiten Zwischenzeit in Ägypten, Glückstadt, 1964
  11. ^ Drawing by Karl Richard Lepsius (1810 – 1884) published in 1897 source available online copyright-free, Text Band II Mittelaegypten mit dem Faiyum, see p. 76
  12. ^ Detlef Franke: Zur Chronologie des Mittleren Reiches. Teil II: Die sogenannte Zweite Zwischenzeit Altägyptens, in Orientalia 57 (1988), p. 259
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