Parental Puzzle: Piecing Together the Lineage of the 19th Dynasty’s Last Few Pharaohs
Egypt’s 19th dynasty is one of the more celebrated periods of Egyptian history, and its monumental record attests to its remarkable legacy in both military accomplishments and architectural feats. The dynastic line began with the general Ramses I, an ephemeral ruler who nonetheless ensured that his bloodline would continue on the throne by way of his son Seti I and his grandson Ramses II. This family’s pedigree would continue to hold power in Egypt for at least a century, with Ramses II being succeeded by his son Merneptah, who would in turn be followed by his son Seti II. At this point in the dynasty, however, it becomes less clear as to the exact nature of the familial relationship between these aforementioned rulers and those that would complete the remainder of the dynasty. Amenmesse was a usurper during the reign of Seti II, and though it is generally accepted that he was royal offspring, his specific parentage is much debated. Equally enigmatic is Seti II’s successor Siptah, who inscriptions tell us was “placed on the throne of his father,” though this father is nowhere named. Lastly, Tausret, the final ruler of this dynasty, was the wife of Seti II, but her ancestry also a mystery. This talk will examine the genealogical evidence available in the archaeological record for these three individuals, with Siptah serving as the primary pivot point for the discussion.
Kevin Johnson is Assistant Professor of History at Taylor University in Upland, IN. His research agenda centers on the late 19th and early 20th dynasties, a pivotal point in Egyptian history. Within the context of this period, he has addressed the global issues of legitimacy, political machinations of figures behind the throne and problems of succession and transition of power. Additionally, he was the lead author of an article published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Egyptian History and the popular-level book The Names of the Kings of Egypt. Dr. Johnson has led a number of academic tours to Egypt, primarily in Cairo and Luxor, and participated in an archaeological season for the University of Arizona at the mortuary temple of one of Egypt’s few female rulers, Tausret. You can read more about him here.
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