Amenhotep III Cattle Hunt Scarab

Cover of George Fraser's scarab collection catalog

The cover of George Fraser's catalog features Amenhotep's hunting scarab 3

a carved scarabAmenhotep III advertised his royal milestones on steatite commemorative scarabs, a novel approach for a pharaoh. These three-dimensional "business card" sized oversized scarabs dissemminated royal feats during his reign. The least common of his 200 scarabs celebrate the wild cattle hunt. George Fraser featured one of those from his private collection in his 1900 catalog, which he describes as "Steatite, green, gone white." 3 Twenty-some years later Budge published a nearly identical piece from the British Museum (catalog No. 55585). 1 2

a carved scarabAmenhotep III commissioned this scarab early in his reign probably to establish his credentials as a new ruler. He glorifyied a hunting extravaganza to showcase his sportsman skills. Most of his later scarabs focus on the lion hunts that he accomplished through year ten of his reign without mention of support from his army and citizens. Unlike the lion hunt scarabs, the wild bull hunt records the king's accomplishment from horseback or chariot. Right in the center of the scarab a single horse hieroglyph leaves it open for speculation exactly which vehicle the king used.

Amenhotep II's Scarabs of Commemorative events In Descending Order by Quantity

a scarab beetleAmenhotep was a young teenager in the second year of his rein when the hunting event took place. He was already married to Tiye. Word came to the pharaoh that a herd of wild cattle had been spotted in the district of Shetep in Wadi Natrun. 4 His majesty traveled by boat down the Nile during the night. Upon the king's orders, the townspeople herded the cattle into a stockade and counted 170 head. The king killed 56 of the cattle that day. After four days' rest for the horses, the king mounted up and slew 40 more, making his total tally 96 head of cattle slain.

Transcription of the wild cattle hunting scarab

[v.1-6] Hunting Scarab [1 | 2 | Continued]


  1. Sir Wallis Budge, The Dwellers on the Nile Dover 1977 reprint of 1926 edition totally rewritten from an 1885 book of the same title.
  2. Sir Wallis Budge, Tutankhamen: Atenism and Egyptian Monotheism Bell Publishing, N.Y. ca. 1923.
  3. George Fraser, A Catalogue of the Scarabs Belonging to George Fraser London. Bernard Quaritch. 1900. Reprinted many times in PB, 1979 reprint available from Allen G. Berman Publications.
  4. Joann Fletcher, Chronicle of a Pharaoh The Intimate Life of Amenhotep III Oxford, New York. 2000.

This page has been written to the Web standards drafted in the 1990s using CSS for layout. If you can see this message, then you undoubtedly are seeing some unintended effects and missing some layout features. The content is accessible to most browsers, even if you do not see the intended layout. You may upgrade to a standards compliant browser with a free download. See the webscribe's standards page for some solutions.

arrowhead - scroll up
arrowhead - scroll down