No image

The Role of the Chantress (Šmyt) in Ancient Egypt

Suzanne Lynn Onstine


This study looks at what is meant by the term ‘Smyt’, or ‘chantress’, in ancient Egypt (including New Kingdom, Third Intermediate Period, Middle Kingdom, Late and Ptolemaic Periods). Very little is known about the specifics of the title or the types of people who held it. Both men and women could hold the title, but the female version is by far the more prevalent and they form the focus of this research. Studies investigating the status of non-royal women are a fairly recent phenomenon, but the abundanceof data from private tombs and monuments concerning the women who held the title Smyt makes these women ideal subjects for a study of non-royal women within their cultural and historical contexts.