|Reign||774 B.C. -759 B.C.|
|Consorts||Irtiubast, Kakat, Betjet|
Usermaatre Setepenamun Takelot III Si-Ese (reigned 774–759 BC) was Osorkon III's eldest son and successor. Takelot III ruled the first five years of his reign in a coregency with his father, according to the evidence from Nile Quay Text No.13 (which equates Year 28 of Osorkon III to Year 5 of Takelot III), and succeeded his father as king the following year. He served previously as the High Priest of Amun at Thebes. He was previously thought to have ruled Egypt for only 7 years until his 13th Year was found on a stela from Ahmeida in the Dakhla Oasis in 2005.
Takelot is attested by several documents: a donation stela from Gurob which calls him "The First Prophet of Amun-Re, General and Commander Takelot," a stone block from Herakleopolis which calls him 'the Chief of Pi-Sekhemkheperre' and king's son by Tentsai, Quay Text No.13, as noted above, and Quay Text No.4 which records his Year 6.
A graffito on the roof of the Temple of Khonsu which records his Year 7, was long believed to be his Highest Year date. However, in February 2005, a hieratic stela from Year 13 of his reign was discovered by a Columbia University archaeological expedition in the ruins of a Temple at the Dakhla Oasis. Their subsequent analysis of this dated document conclusively established this king's identity as Takelot III. This document—which measures "between 42-48 cm wide; between 47-51 cm high; [and] between 10-16 cm thick"—has now been published in JEOL 39 (2006) by Dr. Olaf Kaper and Robert Demarée. Part of the abstract for their article is given below:
The governor mentioned here is Nes-Djehuti or Esdhuti who appears as the Chief of the Shamin Libyans in both the aforementioned Year 13 stela of Takelot III and also in the Smaller Dakhla Stela. The smaller Dakla stela dates to Year 24 of the Nubian king Piye. This could mean that Takelot III and Piye were near contemporaries during their respective reigns. It suggested that an important graffito at Wadi Gasus—which apparently links the God's Wife Amenirdis I (hence Shabaka here) to Year 19 of a God's Wife Shepenupet—is a synchronism between a Nubian ruler and an Upper Egyptian Libyan king thereby equating Year 12 of Shabaka to Takelot III (rather than the short-lived Rudamun). This graffito would have been carved prior to Piye's Nubian conquest of Egypt in his 20th Year—by which time both Takelot III and Rudamun had already died. However, new evidence on the Wadi Gasus graffito published by Claus Jurman in 2006 has now redated the carving to the 25th dynastic Nubian period entirely—to Year 12 of Shabaka and Year 19 of Taharqa rather than to the 23rd dynastic Libyan era—and demonstrates that they instead pertain to Amenirdis I and Shepenupet II respectively based on palaegraphic and other evidence collated by Jurman at Karnak rather than the Nubian Amenirdis I and the Libyan Shepenupet I, daughter of Osorkon III. The God's Wife Shepenupet II was Piye's daughter and Taharqa's sister. Jurman notes that no evidence from the innermost sanctuary of the chapel of Osiris Heqadjet at Karnak shows Shepenupet I associated with Piye's daughter, Amenirdis I. The Wadi Gasus graffiti were written in 2 separate handstyles and the year date formulas for '12' and '19' were also written differently which suggests that they are unlikely to have been composed at the same time. This means that the Year 19 date cannot be assigned to Takelot III and likely belongs to the Nubian king Taharqa instead.
Frederic Payraudeau once noted that Takelot III likely ruled Egypt for a minimum of 14 Years and was presumably the unknown Year 19 Egyptian monarch recorded at Wadi Gasus. He based his interpretation on the evidence of Papyrus Berlin 3048, the only surviving administrative document on papyri for the entire Libyan period. This document, which is explicitly dated to Year 14 of a Takelot Si-Ese Meryamun (i.e., either Takelot II or III), records a marriage contract which was witnessed by Vizier Hor, and 2 Royal Treasurers: Bakenamun and Djedmontuiufankh, respectively. The papyrus has traditionally been assigned to Takelot II since this ruler's highest date is his Year 25, whereas Takelot III's highest unequivocal date was only thought to be his Year 7. The author observed 3 pieces of evidence which, taken together, could have supported the attribution of this papyrus to Takelot III instead.
Firstly, Payraudeau stressed that P. Berlin 3048 specifically mentions two Royal treasurers. The fact that 2 treasurers served Pharaoh at the same time is inconsistent with the known facts for the period from the reign of Osorkon II until the early years of Osorkon III at Thebes, when only a single person from one influential family served in this office. They were the descendants of Djedkhonsuiufankh A, who was the Fourth Prophet of Amun under Takelot I: Nakhtefmut A, Harsiese C and Djedkhonsuiufankh C. Djedkhonsuiufankh A's son, Nakhtefmut A, first assumed the office of Royal Treasurer under Osorkon II; then Nakhtefmut A's son, Harsiese C, in turn succeeded him (likely under Takelot II). Finally, Harsiese C's son, Djedkhonsuiufankh C, occupied this office from the end of Takelot II's reign until the early years of Osorkon III's reign under whom he is attested. Since three direct descendants of one powerful family held the office of Royal Treasurer in the period around Takelot II's reign, it is unlikely that Djedmontuiufankh could have intervened in office as early as Year 14 of Takelot II since he was not even connected to this family. Hence, the only other viable candidate for Djedmontuiufankh's master is Takelot III for whom no Royal Treasurer is known with certainty. Secondly, the Vizier Hor who is mentioned in Papyrus Berlin 3048 was thought to be the same person who is named as the father of Vizier Nebneterou in several Nubian and Saite era genealogical documents. This also makes it far more plausible that P. Berlin 3048 belongs to Takelot III since Hor would have served as Vizier only a few years prior to the start of the Nubian Dynasty in Egypt under Piye and would explain his son's later attestations in Nubian and Saite documents. In contrast, Takelot II died long before Piye conquered Egypt in his 20th Year.
Finally, the author noted that the Royal Treasurer Djedmontuiufankh, son of Aafenmut II, lists his family genealogy on the opposite side of this papyrus. (Payraudeau: 84-85) This specific list of his family tree is given: Harsiese-->Bakenkhonsu-->Harsiese-->Aafenmut I-->Merkhonsu-->Harsiese--> (name lost) -->Harsiese-->Aafenmut II-->Djedmontuiufankh-->Harsiese. An Aafenmut, a scribe of the Chief Treasurer, was buried under Osorkon I (bracelets on his Mummy bore this king's prenomen). Frederic notes that an identification of this person with one of the listed predecessors of Djedmontuiufankh is certain here since this person functioned as a 'scribe of the Treasury'--a state office with which Djedmontuiufankh's family was intimately linked. However, this Aafenmut was probably Aafenmut I rather than Aafenmut II, Djedmontuiufankh's father, since this person's son could not have lived beyond three family generations (under Takelot I, Osorkon II and the High Priest Nimlot C) from the reign of Osorkon I into Year 14 of Takelot II, as the author notes. Payraudeau also highlights the existence of the funerary stela of a certain Harsiese, son of Merkhonsu, which was found at the Ramesseum and has been stylistically dated to the 9th Century BC in the period around Takelot I or Osorkon II's reign to support his hypothesis that both Aafenmut I and Merkhonsu were direct ancestors of Djedmontuiufankh.
As an aside, the author believed that Nile Quay Text No.45—which, according to Gerardus Broekman in JEA 88(2002), records either Year 17, 18 or 25 of an anonymous Theban king who ruled after Shoshenq III—may perhaps be ascribed to Takelot III based on the evidence of Papyrus Berlin 3048. Since Year 13 of Takelot III is now attested, it was possible that the Year 14 date in this document also belongs to his reign, rather than that of Takelot II. However, Payraudeau has since changed his views here and instead assigns this papyrus to Takelot II based on the mention of a certain Harsiese—designated the fourth prophet of Amun—in this document, who is known to have served in office during king Takelot II's reign. This means that Takelot III's highest date is his 13th year. The fact that the chief of the Shamin-Libyans, a Nes-Djehuti, is attested in the same office in both Year 13 of Takelot III and Year 24 of Piye also shows that the interval between these two kings' dates was close in time; also, it is unlikely that Takelot III ruled Egypt for 19 years since his brother Rudamun succeeded him at Thebes and Rudamun, in turn, was succeeded in this city by king Ini who ruled here for at least 5 years before Thebes fell permanently under Kushite control during Piye's reign.
Takelot III was the husband of Irtiubast who is named "as a King's Daughter on the coffin of their son, Osorkon G." Another Irtiubast ("B") appears to be a daughter of the king. He was ultimately succeeded in power by his younger brother Rudamun, who was another son of Osorkon III rather than by any of his 3 known sons: the Prince/High Priest Osorkon F, a Prince Ihtesamun who is known from the stela of his grandson Ankhfenmut in Croydon Central Library and, finally, the Second Prophet of Amun, Djedptahefankh D who is attested in statue Tübingen 1734 and in stela CG 41006 of his great-granddaughter Nakhtbasteru. This development suggests that Takelot III must have reached an advanced age to have outlived all of his sons since it was unusual for a brother of a king to assume the throne if the king still had a son who was living. Traditional Egyptian custom required that the son of a king directly succeed his father.