Who's Who of Egyptian people, queens and family: Sanehet


Twelfth Dynasty

A popular story, well known from a variety of texts and which originated in the Middle Kingdom, purports to tell of Sanehet (more widely known as Sinuhe), an official in the royal household, evidently favored and well trusted. By some ill chance, he learned something of the circumstances attending the assassination of King Amenemhet I and, fearing that he might be implicated, fled the court and ultimately, Egypt.

He made his way to Sinai, where he was befriended by a powerful Badu sheikh. Sanehet married the sheikh's daughter and prospered exceedingly, becoming the owner of many flocks and herds.

He hankered for Egypt, however, and, as he grew older, he evidently put out feelers to know if he might return. The king, Senwosret I, indicated that he would be entirely welcome, and Sanehet went home, to be welcomed by the king's children who, it was reported, jumped about and shouted with joy at his return.

The story ends with the death of Sanehet and his burial in a tomb given to him by the king. His story gained wide currency, though whether or not it is entirely fictional is still disputed.

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Last Updated: June 20th, 2011