famous courtier during the reign of Amenhotpe III of the eighteenth dynasty. Amenhotep, son of Hapu, was born into a modest family during the reign of Thutmose III, in Athribis (in the Nile Delta). There were three phases to his career, which were described in his funerary inscriptions. They included “royal scribe under the king's [Amenhotpe III's] immediate supervision”; “royal scribe at the head of the recruits,” a position concerned with logistics, not with war; and “chief of all the king's works.” There was a logic to those steps in his career: first with intellectual development; then with experience in calculating, organizing, and leading men; and finally with ability to run large-scale works. This last included supervision of the carving, transporting, and erecting of huge statues, among them the Colossi of Memnon and the 20-meter (62-foot) colossus in front of the Tenth Pylon at Karnak.

Nothing is known of him during his first fifty years, which preceded Amenhotpe III's reign. In fact, the documentation concerning him begins in Year 30 of Amenhotpe III, when he was already in his late seventies. He never had important titles, such as vizier or “first prophet of Amun,” yet he was the person closest to the king because of his intellectual and moral qualities. He did play an important part in the king's first sed-festival (ḥb-sd; the thirty-year jubilee for renewing the king's potency), and he was steward to Satamon, Amenhotpe III's daughter and wife. His funeral temple, built among those of the pharaohs, is the most obvious sign of his outstanding position. In Karnak, two statues represented him at the time of his death as a mediator between humans and the gods. During the Ramessid era, he was depicted in two tombs at the end of a line of famous kings, queens, and princes. Thousands of years later, he was worshiped as a healing god, comparable to Asklepios, with a principal shrine at Deir el-Bahri.


  • Murnane, William J. “Power behind the Throne: Amenhotep son of Hapu.” K.M.T.: A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt 22 (Summer, 1991), 8–13, 57–59.
  • Varille, Alexandre. Inscriptions concernant l'architecte Amenhotep fils de Hapou. Bibliothèque d'études, 44. Cairo, 1968.
  • Wildung, Dietrich. Egyptian Saints: Deification in Pharaonic Egypt. New York, 1977.

Claude A. P. Vandersleyen