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The shapely figure of Akhenaten


kmt_sesh

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Thank you, Kmt_Sesh and Nefer-Ankhe,

I get a headache reading the various theories around Smenkhare and Nefertiti et al.

I know you must get tired of replying to ignoramuses like myself, but I appreciate it very much.

 

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On 3/4/2017 at 11:39 AM, Kenemet said:

Technically not true, as the king was considered to be THE high priest for all of Egypt.

 

14 hours ago, kmt_sesh said:

Probably that was never more so the case than with Akhenaten, considering he believed he and he alone could directly address the Aten.

I've always pictured him just about to walk into the Great Temple of the Aten and telling all the other priests: "No, you stay out. It's my temple!"

The ironies abound.  Following my theory from above, sometime during Amunhotep III's reign, Ptahmose got himself appointed High Priest over all of Egypt.  Of course the Pharaoh technically was already that...but here the Amun HP has been deputized with that authority, which would (or might) include authority over the High Priests of, say, Ptah and Re.  Now that's a plumb.  And, at some point, that would have made Crown Prince Thutmose (as High Priest of Ptah) possibly a subordinate of Ptahmose!  What would be the predicament if Ptahmose demanded a 'loan' from the treasury in Memphis...  And the further predicament was: Ptahmose looking at the possibility of becoming, on the death of the current king, a subordinate to Thutmose.  Who might have revenge in mind.  Somehow that problem was surmounted...er, avoided.

And of course the ultimate irony in this 'theor'y is as Kmt-sesh noted; Akhenaten would himself then become the very bogeyman Ptahmose dreaded, only on steroids.

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15 hours ago, kmt_sesh said:

Oh, gosh, thanks. Now, whenever I see statues of Akhenaten, I'll think of this:

AkhenaBinks_zpsfnn0rwv6.jpg

Oh great ! Give it a month or two and this is gonna start popping up on woo sites as  proof of  .... something  ! 

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9 hours ago, Jon101 said:

Thank you, Kmt_Sesh and Nefer-Ankhe,

I get a headache reading the various theories around Smenkhare and Nefertiti et al.

I know you must get tired of replying to ignoramuses like myself, but I appreciate it very much.

 

You're most welcome. And there was nothing at all "ignorant" about your question. It was related to this topic and was worth clarification, so thanks for asking it.

I know what you mean about the headache. That's why we call it the Amarna tar pits. You can get sucked down into its murky, unforgiving depths. Kings starting with Horemheb were so effective at wiping evidence of the Amarna Period that lots and lots of questions remain to us. It can be extremely vexing to research this stuff, and highly interesting at the same time.

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12 hours ago, Black Monk said:

Akhenaten most likely had at least one disease which caused physical abnormalities.

One theory is that he suffered from Frohlich's Syndrome, which causes physical abnormalities and impotence. But considering the king had nine children, including Tutankhamen, this is unlikely, unless he developed the disease later in life.

Thanks for posting this. Aside from Marfan syndrome, Frolich's is another theory that's been tossed around. The main sinking point is, as you mentioned, the disorder's tendency to render the victim sterile. That really doesn't fit Akhenaten, who had plenty of kids and probably died in his mid-thirties. We can see how kept adding daughters during his years at Amarna, well into the period of the weird-looking statues, so it's unlikely Frolich's was in play.

Before more advanced scientific testing was applied to that bushel of Amarna Period mummies, I was one of those who figured Akhenaten was Tut's father. But aside from what Hawass still wants to believe about the KV55 mummy, and based on what the genetic findings can tell us, KV55 is Tut's father but cannot realistically have been Akhenaten. The most plausible candidate is now Smenkhkare.

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3 hours ago, back to earth said:

Oh great ! Give it a month or two and this is gonna start popping up on woo sites as  proof of  .... something  ! 

I'll be proud. Very proud!

giphy.gif

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20 hours ago, kmt_sesh said:

Oh, gosh, thanks. Now, whenever I see statues of Akhenaten, I'll think of this:

AkhenaBinks_zpsfnn0rwv6.jpg

All Hail the mighty Pre-dynastic Pharaoh JarJar-Hotep.  He who hears all, who sees all and who mangles all languages betcha, betcha. :w00t:

cormac

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4 hours ago, kmt_sesh said:

You're most welcome. And there was nothing at all "ignorant" about your question. It was related to this topic and was worth clarification, so thanks for asking it.

I know what you mean about the headache. That's why we call it the Amarna tar pits. You can get sucked down into its murky, unforgiving depths. Kings starting with Horemheb were so effective at wiping evidence of the Amarna Period that lots and lots of questions remain to us. It can be extremely vexing to research this stuff, and highly interesting at the same time.

Well .... in the future they may see this current phase of US history was mostly erased .... and who will believe that the 'King'   'back then'       REALLY  looked and posed  like that  ?  ! 

 

Related image

 

 

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On 3/5/2017 at 7:20 AM, kmt_sesh said:

Oh, gosh, thanks. Now, whenever I see statues of Akhenaten, I'll think of this:

AkhenaBinks_zpsfnn0rwv6.jpg

Oh God...hahaha! Now I'm starting to feel compelled to ask you if I can use this picture as my avatar: not only am I (probably?) the only Egyptian on UM, but my family's origin is close to Amarna! Guess that might also make me the only alien around here. Does JarJarette sound nice? :P:D. ..

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55 minutes ago, meryt-tetisheri said:

Oh God...hahaha! Now I'm starting to feel compelled to ask you if I can use this picture as my avatar: not only am I (probably?) the only Egyptian on UM, but my family's origin is close to Amarna! Guess that might also make me the only alien around here. Does JarJarette sound nice? :P:D. ..

LOL Considering the Akhenaten picture and the Jar Jar picture I used were both pulled randomly from Google images, this is hardly my intellectual property. I was just having fun. So by all means, feel free to use it.

In other words, betcha betcha!

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2 hours ago, Khaemwaset said:

Ancient_Alien_President_Donald_Trump_Statue-388x310.jpg

That is just awesome! And frightening at the same time. What's its name? Hor-em-Trump-et? :tu:

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2 hours ago, meryt-tetisheri said:

Oh God...hahaha! Now I'm starting to feel compelled to ask you if I can use this picture as my avatar: not only am I (probably?) the only Egyptian on UM, but my family's origin is close to Amarna! Guess that might also make me the only alien around here. Does JarJarette sound nice? :P:D. ..

Hey ... do you have big thighs  ?    

...  and the pot belly and the weird looking head and big lips and stuff   ?      

 

;)  

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I think Akhenaten adopting the symbolism of Hapi, taking the sympathetic magic role for himself, makes a good amount if sense. Magic and symbolism were very important. 

 Anyway, I had one idea. Off to irrelevance. 

 Real pharaohs have curves!

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tumblr_naopqpSRqi1sbleazo1_500.jpg.fc6da0b9bd77edfed28f3d49fb153f27.jpg

Oops...evidently a late Amarna representation.  Here:

akhenatenandfriend.jpg.cd55ed7986bdfc4780516bbee3218816.jpg

...shapely, no?

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But is there any particular reason why he was depicted that way? As apposed to the more "perfected" depictions of Egyptian kings? 

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36 minutes ago, AustinHinton said:

But is there any particular reason why he was depicted that way? As apposed to the more "perfected" depictions of Egyptian kings? 

This is why I brought up Hapi. He was a god depicted with hermaphroditic qualities to symbolize fertility, representing his role as the god of the Nile flooding and restoring the soil. 

 Akhenaten could have taken that symbolism for himself, to reinforce his own position.

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10 minutes ago, ShadowSot said:

This is why I brought up Hapi. He was a god depicted with hermaphroditic qualities to symbolize fertility, representing his role as the god of the Nile flooding and restoring the soil. 

 Akhenaten could have taken that symbolism for himself, to reinforce his own position.

Hapi was one of the few gods Akhenaten could never really abolish (at least at court; plenty of common people still went on worshiping the traditional pantheon right through this king's reign). Maat was another, and in fact I recall a stela depicting Akhenaten standing before this goddess and venerating her. I believe the stela was from early in his reign. As for Hapi, in religious texts from Amarna Hapi is mentioned by name but, in Akhenaten's theology, as an aspect of the Aten.

I would call the odd Amarna figural art not so much hermaphroditic as deliberately gender-ambiguous. Yes, both male and female are present but this is to do more with the nature of the Aten than to actual physical characteristics.

AustinHinton asked if there was another explanation for the appearance of the figural art. Yes, there is. We've touched on medical disorders and diseases and I've done my best to explain why, although it was once considered possible, the idea is no longer considered valid in Egyptology. So, what else is there?

Well, I want other people to continue to offer ideas. I hog Egypt-themed threads too much the way it is.

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12 minutes ago, kmt_sesh said:

Hapi was one of the few gods Akhenaten could never really abolish (at least at court; plenty of common people still went on worshiping the traditional pantheon right through this king's reign). Maat was another, and in fact I recall a stela depicting Akhenaten standing before this goddess and venerating her. I believe the stela was from early in his reign. As for Hapi, in religious texts from Amarna Hapi is mentioned by name but, in Akhenaten's theology, as an aspect of the Aten.

I would call the odd Amarna figural art not so much hermaphroditic as deliberately gender-ambiguous. Yes, both male and female are present but this is to do more with the nature of the Aten than to actual physical characteristics.

AustinHinton asked if there was another explanation for the appearance of the figural art. Yes, there is. We've touched on medical disorders and diseases and I've done my best to explain why, although it was once considered possible, the idea is no longer considered valid in Egyptology. So, what else is there?

Well, I want other people to continue to offer ideas. I hog Egypt-themed threads too much the way it is.

Yes, well to be fair its because you actually know the stuff. 

 Still wonder, Hapi os an aspect of the Aten and you know, I'm an aspect of Aten. My wife, she's an aspect of Aten...*

 Which would make for an interesting bit of narcissism.

 

*Meant for humor

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8 minutes ago, ShadowSot said:

Yes, well to be fair its because you actually know the stuff. 

 Still wonder, Hapi os an aspect of the Aten and you know, I'm an aspect of Aten. My wife, she's an aspect of Aten...*

 Which would make for an interesting bit of narcissism.

 

*Meant for humor

Oh, I have no doubt whatsoever that Akhenaten was a narcissist. And more than likely a despot. I'm always amused by the New Agers who like to see this 3,300-year-old king as a visionary and pacifist. To accomplish the religious proscriptions and reforms he carried out, Akhenaten had to have exercised martial law and more than likely used his own military like a fascist against his people. But that's another argument.

Akhenaten actually did depict himself as a god, but the god was Shu; Nefertiti took the place of Tefnut. Both of these deities were part of the Ennead of Heliopolis (the main solar cult of Re), and so as solar-related deities Akhenaten was comfortable with them. Their father was, of course, the Aten, even though in the Heliopolis myth Shy and Tefnut's father was Atum. But Atum was the original main solar deity, to whom Re was eventually attached, and the Aten was traditionally an aspect of Re even though Akhenaten elevated the Aten above all others, but you can see how it all came together in Akhenaten's mind. As confusing as it can be.

Hapi was always an important god but his place and cult stemmed from the Elephantine region. I've also read the theory that Hapi was not a threat to Akhenaten because he was one of those deities, similar to Maat, who represented more of an intellectual concept than a physical god. An embodiment or personification, if you will. 

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47 minutes ago, kmt_sesh said:

Hapi was one of the few gods Akhenaten could never really abolish (at least at court; plenty of common people still went on worshiping the traditional pantheon right through this king's reign). Maat was another, and in fact I recall a stela depicting Akhenaten standing before this goddess and venerating her. I believe the stela was from early in his reign. As for Hapi, in religious texts from Amarna Hapi is mentioned by name but, in Akhenaten's theology, as an aspect of the Aten.

I would call the odd Amarna figural art not so much hermaphroditic as deliberately gender-ambiguous. Yes, both male and female are present but this is to do more with the nature of the Aten than to actual physical characteristics.

AustinHinton asked if there was another explanation for the appearance of the figural art. Yes, there is. We've touched on medical disorders and diseases and I've done my best to explain why, although it was once considered possible, the idea is no longer considered valid in Egyptology. So, what else is there?

Well, I want other people to continue to offer ideas. I hog Egypt-themed threads too much the way it is.

Errrmmmm   I  DO believe you missed some  of the  other explanations  ! 

 

( Harumph ! ) 

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8 minutes ago, back to earth said:

Errrmmmm   I  DO believe you missed some  of the  other explanations  ! 

 

( Harumph ! ) 

There are definitely other explanations. I'm chomping at the bit. But at the same time I'm sure people get tired of my tendency to prattle on like a pedantic. I'm hoping other people will contribute.

So far, as I see it, we've eliminated disease or disorder as a possible explanation. Other explanations exist. I will give the hint that ShadowSot is closer to the modern academic consensus than anyone else has come in this discussion. But I'm trying to restrain myself. It hurts. Like I posted earlier:

rrr.gif

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59 minutes ago, back to earth said:

Errrmmmm   I  DO believe you missed some  of the  other explanations  ! 

 

( Harumph ! ) 

I just thought of something else. How far are you from Gosford?

image-3.jpg

Why not hop over there and see if the glyphs can solve this puzzle of ours?

(Tee-hee!)

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Another explanation was brought up in that thread that gave me the idea for this one. The poster in question believes the Egyptians practiced skull binding, which would explain the odd shapes to Amarna heads. The poster also referenced the shape of Tutankhamun's skull.

Why is this not correct? First and most obviously, it addresses only the skull but ignores the rest of the proportions: the pouty lips, long neck, breasts, spindly limbs, long digits, and wide hips. Skull deformation cannot affect all of those body parts, of course.

Second, while Tut's head does indeed have an odd shape to it, forensic experts who've examined this mummy's CT scans have a consensus that the skull still falls within normal, natural human parameters. The shape of the skull is very similar to that of the KV55 mummy, which genetically has been identified as Tut's father. In the CT scan image below, the top belongs to KV55 (likely Smenkhkare) and the bottom to Tutankhamun:

d02f05633e6a9618dbdecdc96e58506b.jpg

So the likelier explanation is the shape to the skull is genetically influenced. Other Amarna mummies possess more naturally formed skulls. None present evidence for skull deformation. In fact, I remember when I went into the Army and had my head shaved, I was surprised by my odd-looking head. Today I'm mostly bald, so there's no hiding it. Some of us are just born that way.

And third, when examining the sum total of ancient Egyptian human remains, there is simply no evidence from the pharaonic period that skull deformation was practiced by this culture. It's a common misconception that because it was practiced by some African peoples, it must've been done in Egypt, too. It was not. There is no evidence to support this. Skull deformation comes in different forms within the societies that practiced it, but examination of human remains by properly trained forensic anthropologists will usually readily confirm whether it is present. And in some societies, such as in ancient Peru, it's just obvious:

elongated-skulls.jpg

So, no, skull deformation has nothing to do with Amarna figural art.

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I do have to bring up one more explanation, if just for fun. I know I recently mentioned this but can't remember if it was in this thread or in another. Whatever the case, it deserves its own brief post.

I was working in our Egyptian exhibit a couple of weekends ago when a man approached me with a question. This was a perfectly decent and likable person, but it wasn't the first time I've been asked this by a museum visitor. The man couldn't remember the names of the Egyptians in question, but he was wondering if there was any truth to the idea that those ancient Egyptians with the really long heads were aliens themselves or the product of humans reproducing with aliens.

Naturally he was talking about Akhenaten and kin. I've gotten very good at fielding such questions with tact and diplomacy, so I explained reality to him. When he left I wasn't sure if I'd convinced him, but he was very nice about it. And at least I'd planted something credible in his head.

genetic_study_alien_pharaoh.jpg

So in explaining Amarna art, we can discount medical disease or disorder and we can likewise scratch skull deformation off the list. It goes without saying that we needn't take aliens seriously. To this day I'm surprised adults even believe this.

So, then, what else can explain the odd appearance of Amarna art?

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