Nodjmet, Nedjmet, or Notmit was an ancient Egyptian noblewoman of the late 20th-early 21st dynasties of Egypt. Mainly known for being the wife of High Priest of Amun at Thebes, Herihor.
Life of Nodjmet
Nodjmet may have been a daughter of the last ramesside pharaoh, Ramesses XI, and likely even Piankh’s wife. If the latter really was Herihor’s predecessor as supported by Karl Jansen-Winkeln. Early in her life, she held titles such as Lady of the House and Chief of the Harem of Amun.
According to the two Egyptologists Aidan Dodson and Dyan Hilton, Nodjmet had several children with her first husband Piankh. Such as: Heqanefer, Heqamaat, Ankhefenmut, Faienmut (a female) and. The most famous of all, the future High Priest of Amun/Pharaoh Pinedjem I. Nodjmet became Piankh’s most trusted confidant, and every time he had to fulfill his business in Nubia, the management of Thebes left to her. When around 1070 BCE Piankh died, Herihor was proposed as his successor; Nodjmet, however, managed to keep her prerogatives marrying this man. Later, Herihor claimed “kingship” – although only inside the borders of the Temple of Amun at Karnak – Nodjmet effectively became his “queen”: her name inscribed inside a cartouche and later she bore titles such as Lady of the Two Lands and King’s Mother.
Nodjmet outlived even her second husband, and finally died in the first years of pharaoh Smendes (c. 1064 BCE).
Her mummy discovered in the Deir el-Bahari cache (TT320). The body is that of an old woman. She had been embalmed with a new mummification technique which involved the use of fake eyes and the packing of the limbs. The heart was still in place inside her body.
With her mummy two Books of the Dead found. One of them, Papyrus BM 10490, now in the British museum, belonged to “the King’s Mother Nodjmet, the daughter of the King’s Mother Hrere”. Whereas the name of Nodjmet written in a cartouche, the name of Hrere was not. Since mostly this Nodjmet is seen as the wife of the High Priest Herihor, Herere’s title is often interpreted as “King’s Mother-in-law”. Although her title “who bore the Strong Bull” suggests that she actually must have given birth to a king. The other Book of the Dead from her tomb is in the British Museum’s collection (BM 10541). It is one of the most beautifully illustrated papyri from ancient Egypt.