son of Pediese, whom he followed in office as “Shipmaster of Herakleopolis” (an important city in northern Middle Egypt, near the Faiyum) during at least the fourth to thirty-first years of the reign of Psamtik I of the twenty-sixth dynasty, or c.661–643 BCE, and perhaps a little longer. His father, Pediese, son of a Theban priest, had been appointed by a Kushite ruler (probably Taharqa), and lived on in retirement during Years 4 to 18 of Psamtik I. Pediese became allied to the local dynasty at Sais, marrying a princess of their line (Takhered-en-ta-ihet-weret). She bore Somtutefnakht, his son, who was possibly brought up at Sais. Thus, Necho I and Psamtik I bound in alliance to themselves the main princedom of northern Middle Egypt.

When in Year 9 (656 BCE) Psamtik I induced the authorities in Thebes to recognize his rule, he sent his daughter Nitokris there to be the future “God's Wife of Amun.” It was to Somtutefnakht that he entrusted her and the impressive fleet that went with her, as is clear from the wording of a magnificent granite stela (the Nitokris Stela), and from a series of damaged scenes (the “Piankhy blocks”) found at the temple of the goddess Mut in southern Karnak, in which Somtutefnakht appears. Two statues that Somtutefnakht dedicated in the eastern Nile Delta attribute to him the important title of governor of Upper Egypt. A younger Pediese, Somtutfnakht's cousin, is said to have served as assistant to both Pediese senior and Somtutefnakht.


  • Bakry, H. S. K. “Two Saite Statues of Samtowetefnakhte from the Delta.” Kêmi 20 (1970), 19–36.
  • Benson, M., and J. Gourlay. The Temple of Mut in Asher. London, 1899. Photographs of scenes showing Somtutefnakht, pp. 257–258 and plates 20–22.
  • Caminos, Ricardo A. “The Nitocris Adoption Stela.” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 50 (1964), 71–101. A definitive study of the stela recording the transfer of Psamtik I's daughter to Thebes as “God's Wife of Amun,” in care of Somtutefnakht.
  • Griffith, F. Ll. Catalogue of the Demotic Papyri in the John Rylands Library, vol. 3. Manchester, 1909. Includes the basic publication of Papyrus Rylands IX, which offers a useful but lopsided account of the Pedieses and Somtutefnakht (stressing the former at the expense of the latter).
  • Kitchen, K. A. The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100–650 B.C.). 2d ed. with suppl. Warminster, 1996. Essential study of Pediese and Somtutefnakht, with appropriate sources and further references.

Kenneth A. Kitchen