Neithhotep

Bone label mentioning the name of queen Neithhotep.

Neithhotep is the earliest known named royal lady of Ancient Egypt. She bore the titles Foremost (of women)” and “Consort of the Two Ladies”, indicating that she was a queen.
Her name has been found on several other seal impressions and labels, most of them dated to the reign of Horus Aha.

Because her name includes the name of the goddess Neith, who is often represented wearing the Red Crown that is traditionally linked with Lower Egypt, it has often been assumed that Neithhotep was of Lower Egyptian origin. This assumption is probably contradicted by the fact that she was buried in the Upper Egyptian city of Naqada in a tomb so impressive that its excavators initially thought they had found of the tomb of the near-legendary king Menes.

That most of the sources mentioning Neithhotep are dated to the reign of Horus Aha, points to a very close relationship between the two. Her name is often shown behind Aha's, a position traditionally used for the queen or, in case of an unwed king, the queen-mother. Her tomb contains material referring to Horus Aha as well, which makes it likely that she died during his reign. This may indicate that she was Aha's mother rather than his wife.
That material bearing her name has also been found in the tomb of Djer is probably the result of the disturbance of the archaeological context at Umm el-Qa'ab caused by the earliest surveys of the necropolis. 

Although there are no sources that mention her in connection with Horus Narmer, it is often assumed that she was his wife. This is, in part, based on the assumption that the succession to the throne went from father to son, making Aha Narmer’s son, and on the assumption that Neithhotep was Aha’s mother.
She is sometimes also assumed to have been the mother of
Benerib, Aha’s assumed wife, but here too, there are no sources to confirm this hypothesis.


© Jacques Kinnaer 1997 - 2015