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