Personal Names in Ancient Egypt

Nefertiti. The Beautiful has Come.

Babies were named by their mother immediately after birth to ensure that that every child, no matter how-lived, had a name to be remembered by.

All but the shortest of Egypt's personal names had meanings. We have already met Nefertiti 'A Beautiful Woman has Come'; her very specific name may be compared with Neferwaty 'The Beautiful One is Unique', Neferteni 'The Beautiful One is for Me', Aneski 'She Belongs to Me' and Senetenpu 'She is Our Sister'. Other children were named after their parents, grandparent, favored deities, or members of the royal family.

Bintanath's unusual Canaanite name translates as 'Daughter of the (Canaanite) Goddess Anath'. Could Isetnofret's choice of an exotic foreign name for her daughter indicate that she was a foreign bride? We have no information at all about Isetnofret's birth family, but her daughter's name may well be a red herring. None of her other children had foreign names, although at least two of Ramesses' other children did; Meheranath 'Child of Anath', and Astarteherwenernef 'Astarte is on his Right'. The cult of the foreign goddesses Anath and Astarte enjoyed a surge in popularity during the reign of Ramesses II.

Personal Names in Ancient Egypt

Nefertiti. The Beautiful has Come.

Babies were named by their mother immediately after birth to ensure that that every child, no matter how-lived, had a name to be remembered by.

All but the shortest of Egypt's personal names had meanings. We have already met Nefertiti 'A Beautiful Woman has Come'; her very specific name may be compared with Neferwaty 'The Beautiful One is Unique', Neferteni 'The Beautiful One is for Me', Aneski 'She Belongs to Me' and Senetenpu 'She is Our Sister'. Other children were named after their parents, grandparent, favored deities, or members of the royal family.

Bintanath's unusual Canaanite name translates as 'Daughter of the (Canaanite) Goddess Anath'. Could Isetnofret's choice of an exotic foreign name for her daughter indicate that she was a foreign bride? We have no information at all about Isetnofret's birth family, but her daughter's name may well be a red herring. None of her other children had foreign names, although at least two of Ramesses' other children did; Meheranath 'Child of Anath', and Astarteherwenernef 'Astarte is on his Right'. The cult of the foreign goddesses Anath and Astarte enjoyed a surge in popularity during the reign of Ramesses II.

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