Khnumhotep I (ẖnmw-ḥtp, “Khnum is pleased”) was an ancient Egyptian Great Chief of the Oryx nome (the 16th nome of Upper Egypt) during the reign of pharaoh Amenemhat I of the 12th Dynasty, Middle Kingdom (early 20th century BCE).
Khnumhotep I is the earliest known member of a powerful family of nomarchs and officials, housed in Men’at Khufu, which lasted for most of the 12th dynasty; many of Khnumhotep’s descendants were named after him, the most notable of them being his grandson Khnumhotep II, well known for his tomb’s remarkable decorations. Some biographical information about Khnumhotep I came from his tomb at Beni Hasan (BH14) as well as from that of his grandson Khnumhotep II (BH3).
Khnumhotep’s mother was a lady called Baqet whilst his father’s name is unknown. His family apparently replaced an earlier family of nomarchs who were active at Men’at Khufu during the second part of the 11th Dynasty, whose members were usually named Khety or Baqet (a prominent member of this family was Baqet III).
From the inscriptions in Khnumhotep’s tomb is known that early in his career he accompanied Amenemhat I in a military expedition aimed to expel a foe from Egypt. The name of this enemy is deliberately omitted in order to prevent his unintended “immortality”, but was undoubtedly one of Amenemhat’s rivals for the crown, possibly Segerseni. Ultimately, Amenemhat emerged victorious over “Nubians and Asiatics” and Khnumhotep was rewarded for his loyalty with the title count of Men’at Khufu. Khnumhotep I later was granted other titles such as great lord of the Oryx nome, hereditary prince and count, wearer of the royal seal, sole companion, and was also in charge of an important office at Nekhen.
He married a woman named Zatipi. After Khunmhotep’s death, his titles passed to his son Nakht, then to a seemingly unrelated man called Amenemhat and then again to one of his relatives, Netjernakht. Khnumhotep I also had a daughter, Baqet, herself mother of the aforementioned Khnumhotep II who inherited the title of nomarch after Netjernakht. See “Nomarchs of the Oryx nome” for further notes about his genealogy.