10 Intriguing Facts about Horemheb

In this post, I wrote 10 facts about Horemheb in order to describe his life and explain his personality. From historians perspective, Horemheb is considered to be one of the most mysterious rulers of Egypt. In fact, he was as mysterious as Queen Nefertiti who was suspected of disguising herself as a male in order to rule the Kingdom.

In our day and age, we can recognize Horemheb from his edgy beard because most of his surviving wall images and sculptures depict him with that appearance. In my opinion, a person’s outer appearance does not reflect his or her inner world. Therefore, let’s learn what kind of person he was in reality and how fairly he ruled the Kingdom of Egypt

Facts about Horemheb

Horemheb was the last pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt.

Total of thirty-two dynasties has existed in Ancient Egypt, each leaving the significant traces in human history. During this periods, pharaohs carried out several religious revolutions and built temples for their gods.

Horemheb was an experienced leader.

Before becoming a pharaoh, he was the commander of the army under Tutankhamun and Ay. There are also speculations that suggest that he might have also served under the Akhenaten’s rule as a high ranking official. Historians came to such conclusion because historical records show the existence a general named Paatenemheb during that period. And, some historians think that he and Horemheb was the same person.

Most historians, however, believe that Horemheb thrived under the King Tut’s reign, during which he was believed to serve as a royal spokesman to conduct communications with nearby kingdoms such as Nubians.

There is no record about Horemheb’s ancestors.

Almost no information survived about his childhood years. It is not a surprise though. Most family lineages of Pharaohs are not clearly traceable. We can trace them only if their parents were noble people like pharaohs, generals or people with high rankings. In the case of Horemheb, none of the historic records show that he was descendant of a predominant parent.

Horemheb was one of a few leaders who became a pharaoh without having a direct relation to a preceding royal family.

Although there is no rock solid proof, he was considered an outsider to the preceding royal lineage. For instance three Pharaohs, Akhenaten,Tutankhamunand Ay, who reigned before him, somehow related to each other. For instance, Tutankhamun was a son of Akhenaten, and Ay was the father of Nefertiti who was the royal wife of Akhenaten. Some speculations, however, suggest that Horemheb’s great royal wife Mutnedjmet was Ay’s daughter.

Horemheb lost his throne to Ay.

While serving under Tutankhamun, Horemheb was appointed as a crowned prince of Egypt. That title should have paved the way towards the throne after Tutankhamun’s death. However, the story takes a different turn. After Tutankhamun’s unexpected death, Ay became the next pharaoh instead of Horemheb.

There are two speculations to explain why Horemheb did not succeed Tutankhamun. The first claim suggests that he might have been abroad with a military mission during Tutankhamun’s death. (Some historians believe that it was Ay who has murdered Tutankhamun. So, it is probably that Ay took the chance to establish himself on the throne). The second theory suggests that Tutankhamun’s wife Ankhesenamun refused to marry Horemheb trying not to give the throne to a commoner. So, Ay became the next Pharaoh and ruled Ancient Egypt for about 4 years, taking widowed Ankhesenamun as a wife. Eventually, Horemheb gained a power thanks to his military ranking and became the last pharaoh of the 18thdynasty.

Horemheb ruled the Kingdom of Egypt close to 28 years.

He is considered to be one of the longest-serving pharaohs in Egyptian history. But his ruling period was still short compared to Thutmose III who ruled the kingdom for 54 years and compared to the longest-serving Pharaoh of all time Ramses II who sat on the throne for 67 long years.

Horemheb conducted religious reforms and destroyed the religion that Akhenaten left behind.

Akhenaten was known for his radical religious reforms, during which he forbade his nation from worshipping most of the ancient Egyptian gods. He replaced all of those gods with a single god called Aten (son disc-shaped deity). He accepted Aten as the ultimate god of Egypt. He did not even stop there, he also proclaimed himself the incarnation of Aten, so Egyptians would treat him and his wife Nefertiti as true gods. Horemheb, however, proscribed any religious practices relating to Aten and literally dismantled their temples in order to construct new ones so Egyptians could worship the god Amun and others.

Horemheb did not have any heirs

Like Tutankhamun, Horemheb also did not leave behind any heir to continue his kingdom and legacy. He appointed his vizier named Paramesseas the crowned prince. Currently, we recognize Paramesse as Ramses I who founded the 19thdynasty of Egypt.

 Horemheb had two tombs.

The question is why. One explanation is that nobody had expected him to become Pharaoh since he was a commoner. It is probably that when he elevated himself up to the high ranking positions, he could afford to build his own civil tomb at Saqqara, not knowing that one day he would rule Egypt and be buried in Valley of the Kings.

His second tomb which located in Valley of the Kings was found by British Egyptologist Edward Ayrton in 1908. Archeologists found several wooden images, sculptures, figures, chairs, pots, boats, and several religious artifacts in his tomb. One interesting thing about his royal tomb is that it contains the inscriptions from the Book of Gates. It is unusual because none other pharaohs had these inscriptions in their tombs.

Horemheb had two wives.

Amenia and Mudnejmet were the names of his wives. It is believed that Amenia was his first wife who did not survive to see the Horemheb’s ruling days. His second wife Mudnejmet, however, was beside him as the great royal wife when ruled the kingdom as Pharaoh. Mudnejmet, which means the sweet mother, believed to be one of the daughters of Ay.

Both of Horemheb’s wives were buried in his unused tomb in Memphis. Researchers could determine that Mudnejmet had passed away in childbirth. 

By Arslan Batyrovich

Founder of
Writer, Researcher, Fact-finder, and All-in-one
Loves nature, Likes history, and Adores anything interesting
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