Kemet Klub

Words spoken by: Andrew Fulton ‘ The lion hunt of Amenhotep III’

Amenhotep III’s reign saw the production of over 200 commemorative scarabs, much larger than the ones we associate with mummies or as amulets. There are various categories of scarab  and they
can be classified  under five headings as follows:

1)The lion hunt (capturing 102 lions)

2)The queen and her parents (sometimes called the ‘limits of the Egyptian Empire’)

3)The wild bull hunt (capturing 96 Bulls)

4)The construction of a lake (for his Great Wife Tiye)

5)The arrival of a princess from Naharin (to marry the king)

 Fig 1 &2. Recto and verso. Blue glazed steatite lion Hunt Scarab      
Metropolitan Museum Art 26.7.264



 The majority of the scarabs were of the lion hunt variety.  

All the scarabs start with several lines of epithets and names of the king. Indeed these take up about half of the whole text and are fairly standardised. Here is my suggested translation of the lion  scarab in full  from the example in the Metropolitan Museum in New York (fig.1 & 2).


“Living Horus, strong bull appearing in truth (Maat) , the Two Ladies, establishing laws, pacifying the two lands; Golden Horus – strong foreleg, smiting Asiatics, King of Upper and Lower Egypt (Sedge and Bee)
Nebmaatra (“Lord of Truth is Re”), Son of Re, Amenhotep ruler of Thebes, given life ; Great Royal Wife Tiye; The number of lions brought by his majesty from his own shooting, beginning from Year 1 and ending in Year 10, fierce lions: 102 .”

Ramesside pharaoh hunting a lion.

26.7.1453 Metropolitan Museum of Art

 The question that arises with all these hunting scarabs Is the contrast that we see between the king killing lions and the great devotion the king had for the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet  whose statues dominated his funerary temple on the West Bank at Kom el- Hetan. Lions of course were seen as representing strength and dominance which no doubt the king wished to compare with himself but one wonders how the  killing of lions and worship of Sekhmet might not be seen as contradictory.       

Amenhotep III in lion (sphinx) form.

1972.125 Metropolitan Museum of Art 


Further reading Percy Newberry – Ancient Egyptian Scarabs (1905) where there is a comprehensive account of seals and rings and translations of the larger ones.




Andrew Fulton: Career in Banking and HR, MA (Theology ) Cambridge University,  Certificate in Egyptology 2003 Manchester University. Regular contributor to Ancient Egypt Magazine. Interested in Egypt since 1997 after Nile cruise. Particular interests include names of pharaohs, the nomes/administrative districts and Roman Egypt.


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