We do know, however, that at least one of Ramesses' secondary queens was not prepared to leave things to chance. A collection of contemporary court papers preserves the details of a plot masterminded from the 'harem of the accompanying' by the secondary queen Tiy, and supported by a number of courtiers close to the king. Ramesses was to be killed, the people were to rebel, and the throne was to pass to Tiy's otherwise insignificant son, a youth named as Pentaweret. The name Pentaweret translates as 'The [male] One of the [female] Great One', the female Great One presumably being his mother, Tiy. This was almost certainly not the prince's real name. Records of criminal trials tended to replace 'good' Egyptian names - names incorporating the name of a god, for example - with more appropriate descriptive 'bad' names, and this is likely to be the New Kingdom equivalent of the Old Kingdom Queen 'Great of Sceptre' whom we met in the Pepi I harem case.
The unthinkable crime
putting to the
wood'. Death by
impaling meant a
Regicide should, of course, have been the unthinkable crime. Ramesses III was untouchable, a semi-divine being, the only mortal capable of maintaining the maat that was so crucial for Egypt's survival. The assassination of such an important individual was not only an act of treason, but also a dangerous act of heresy that threatened the whole world. His wife, however, did not see things that way.