Relief of Amenhotep I as Amun-Re

A limestone lintel from the Temple of Amun-Re at Karnak depicts the deified King Amenhotep I, shown wearing the headdress of the god Amun-Re.

Shown here a remain of a wall that has a niche that probably housed a statue. It’s topped by the Egyptian cavetto cornice and we can see the Niswt Bity title of the king Senusert I and his birth name. It’s followed by the representation of the royal placenta, one of the King’s insignia followed by another one that lost its upper part. Then we see a relief of the god Amun-Re giving the Ankh sign to a lost figure probably that of the king Senusert.

Relief of the deified King Amenhotep I depicted as Amun-Re
Relief of the deified King Amenhotep I depicted as Amun-Re

He is credited with the consolidation of Egyptian power following his father’s (King Ahmose I) expulsion of the Hyksos from Lower Egypt. The King is shown wearing the headdress of Amun-Re with its characteristic two plumes, and holding the ankh (symbol of life) in his left hand. He was deified after his death and became a source of law and order.

In in ancient Egypt, there were two ways people could seek justice. The first was through the use of divine oracles, including a statue of the deceased and deified Amenhotep I, and a statue of the god Amun-Re. Priests would carry an oracular statue out of the temple, and litigants would present their cases to the statue. The divine answers were interpreted by the statue’s swaying movements.

The second way of seeking justice was through secular courts. Two major courts were located in Thebes and Memphis, and functioned like a high court. Lesser courts sat in smaller towns; they would handle local cases. If a serious crime originated in a lower court, it would be moved up to a major court.

Middle Kingdom, early 18th Dynasty, reign of Amenhotep I, ca. 1526-1506 BC. Karnak Temple Complex.