Khonsu and the Princess of Hatti – Mythology of Ancient Egypt

In the late second millennium BCE, Egypt waged a long war with the Hittite empire. The conflict was ended finally in 1256 BCE by the marriage of Ramesses II to the daughter of the Hittite ruler, the king of Hatte. Ramesses bestowed upon his wife the name of Nefrure.


Shortly after the wedding a messenger arrived from the king of Hatti. He brought news that Nefrure’s sister, Bentresh, was seriously ill. The Pharaoh summoned his top physicians and magicians to ask them their opinion on what this disease might be. When they were unable to reach a diagnosis, he dispatched the royal doctor himself.

Three years later this doctor returned home. The princess, he announced, was possessed by evil spirits and only a god could cure her. Ramesses consulted the priest at The Shrine of Khonsu in Thebes. The priests in turn put the question to Khonsu, The statue nodded his head as a sign that he agreed to be taken to cure the princess.

However, in his role as protector of Thebes, the moon god khonsu had to stay in his city. The priest therefore sought help from the other subsidiary form of the god — Khonsu the Expeller of Demons.

After a journey of 17 months Khonsu the Expeller of Demons reached the Hittite capital and cured Bentresh on the spot. Bentresh’s father, however, was so impressed by the statue’s power to heal that he refused to let it go and made a shrine for it in his own kingdom. For almost four years the statue stayed where it was until the king of Hatti was visited by a prophetic dream. In it the statue of Khonsu rose from its shrine in the form of a golden falcon and swooped down at the king before rising into the sky and heading for Egypt.

Realizing his error, the king sent the statue back to Thebes along with a huge tribute. The statue presented the senior Khonsu with the entire Hittite booty, without having even removed any items of treasure as recompense for the priests of its own shrine in Hatti.