Osorkon III

Osorkon III, whose full name was Usermaatre Setepenamun Osorkon III Si-Ese. He was an Egyptian Pharaoh who ruled in the 8th century BC/BCE. There are many evidences of his reign found on various stelae (stone monuments) and other stones, but scholars still debate the exact date to which he acceded to the throne. It was probably somewhere between the middle of the 790s to around 787 BC.

What we do know is that Osorkon III conquered the Theban king Shoshenq VI. We know this from the chronicles or records of Osorkon B, whom most scholars now agree is identical to Osorkon III. Osorkon B wrote that he and his brother, who was a general, defeated Thebes. He may have waited for a while, however, before fully claiming the throne in order to quell any last remnants of people who may have supported Shoshenq, hence the hesitancy about naming the exact start date of his reign. He is generally considered to be a part of the 23rd dynasty, which is part of what Egypt scholars refer to as the Third Intermediate Period.


Osorkon was the oldest son of Takelot II, who ruled Middle and Upper Egypt. (At the time, the rule of Egypt was divided and other rulers controlled Lower Egypt.) He was also known to have held the position of a high priest as the worship of the God Amun was prevalent during this time. Osorkon III’s mother was Karomama II.

Osorkon III’s main consort, or chief wife, was Karoadjet. His second, or lesser wife, was named Tentsai. It was Tentsai who gave birth to the son who would succeed Osorkon II, Takelot III.
Osorkon lived to be a relatively old man, and he ruled Egypt for 28 years. During the last five years of his reign, his son Takelot III was his coregent. Interestingly, their dual reign is the last coregency that historians have found evidence of in ancient Egypt. Tentsai was also the mother of his son Rudamun, who reigned very briefly as the final Pharaoh of the 23rd dynasty. Karoadjet was the mother of Shepenupet, Osorkon III’s daughter, who became the “god’s wife” and a high priestess during her father’s reign.

Most of what is known about Osorkon III has been found in records on the Bubastite Portal gate in the temple-complex in Karnak. Some Pharaoh’s reigns are not well attested, but a good amount has been discovered about Osorkon III.

A well-known image of Osorkon III exists in the statute of the pharaoh which was also found at Karnak in the early 20th century. In this statute, made of limestone, Osorkon III is kneeling and pushing a barque (a type of sailing vessel) which was a sacred boat of Amun. His royal names are inscribed on the base of the statue, which can now be found in the Egyptian Museum.