Who Was Menna?

The tomb of Menna is one of the most beautiful in Egypt. But who was he?

UV-light reveal different pigments (2009-03) by Katy DoyleAmerican Research Center In Egypt (ARCE)

Meet Menna

Menna lived during Egypt’s New Kingdom, over 3,000 years ago when Amenhotep III was pharaoh.   

Monumental Statues of Amenhotep III (2015-05) by MusikAnimalAmerican Research Center In Egypt (ARCE)

Under the reign of Amenhotep III, Egypt enjoyed a peaceful period of expanding international influence and a flourishing artistic tradition.   

False door Stela in the Broad Hall (2009-03) by Katy DoyleAmerican Research Center In Egypt (ARCE)

Most of what we know about Menna’s life comes from the texts and images in his tomb.  

Family Matters

As part of the Egyptian elite, Menna and his family held important positions within the state and temple administration and must have enjoyed a comfortable life in Egypt’s upper class society.    

Menna (left) working as an overseer (2009-03) by Katy DoyleAmerican Research Center In Egypt (ARCE)

The Life of Menna

Menna’s titles tell us that he made his career as overseer of fields and plowlands, as well as a scribe.    

As Overseer of the Fields, Menna inspected the field work, directed the measuring of the fields...

supervised scribes who recorded the yearly crop yield...    

and brought defaulters to justice.

Defacing the Tomb

Here you can also see that Menna’s face has been cut out of the wall. The intentional removal of Menna’s face occurs throughout the tomb and means that someone was trying to destroy his memory or had a vendetta against him, symbolized by this destruction.  

Menna and his wife venerated (left), heading a festival procession (right) (2009-03) by Katy DoyleAmerican Research Center In Egypt (ARCE)

An Ancient Egyptian Family

His wife and children are also identified in the tomb, along with their titles, painting the picture of a prominent family, active in the state, religious, and royal realms of Egyptian society.     

Henuttawy, Menna’s wife, appears in many of the tomb scenes. She was a “Chantress of Amun”, a popular title among noble women, and she even owned property.       

Menna had three daughters: Kasy, Amenemweskhet, a lady-in-waiting to the royal court, and Nehemet also a lady-in-waiting. In the text, Nehemet is also called “justified” or “true of voice”, meaning she had probably died by the time the chapel decoration was complete.  

Deceased receiving offerings from their son (2009-03) by Katy DoyleAmerican Research Center In Egypt (ARCE)

Menna also had two sons: Se, who followed in his father’s footsteps as a “Scribe of Counting Grain of Amun”, and Kha, a wab-priest who would have participated in daily rituals at the temple.   

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Credits: Story

The conservation and documentation of the tomb of Menna was sponsored by American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) Egyptian Antiquities Conservation Project with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Georgia State University in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.

Created by Elisabeth Koch and Tessa Litecky, ARCE 
 Visit ARCE at www.arce.org

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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