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Amarna, Before and After


Wistman

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3 hours ago, Wistman said:

This is interesting and useful yes though I hardly ever like these forensic portrait reconstructions/approximations.  I work with portrait drawings and paintings fairly often and for me the absence of specific unique characteristics in any facial feature (here they are only averaged from some number of common facial specimens/data) renders them rather un-lifelike (as with, say, Peter Lely's late portraits, with their 'generalized' faces) - but I suppose that's just me.   However I would quibble over your use of the term 'normal' instead of average, which is what the article uses.  Tut's actual endocranial volume is shown to be outside the average but within the standard deviation, ie +1.58SD being less than +2SD [Statisticians have determined that values no greater than plus or minus 2 SD represent measurements that are are closer to the true value than those that fall in the area greater than ± 2SD ], so I suppose we could say that, technically, it is within the 'normal' range; however the suggested volume of the approximated brain is 2.01SD, and therefore slightly outside the 'normal', for what it's worth. And also we should note that the skull's closer affinity to the population of reshaped skulls is based on mid-face measurements only, and the clusters themselves represent statistical averages.  Tut's mid-face measurements are evidently anomalous to the common Egyptian standard in this regard. 

And their reconstruction, yet again, looks zero like the two guardian statues, the mannekin or any of the best shabti, though their frontal view does have some resemblance to Thutmose IV, sort of, maybe, perhaps.

Yes, his skull in overall terms in within normal range, for instance it comes within the parameters to be brachycephalic, though outside due to the greater volume, and I wonder if he really did have a big brain.

I think the authors have introduced a complication though in talking about what population he falls in. This is determined by his DNA. I know what they mean, but the terminology and graphic they used could make it seem they were putting him into a population by haplogroup. They don't of course, but head binding, if this is the case, and I'm not sure on this at all, does not put you into a "population". They would not I think describe Chinese women from past times with bound feet as being part of a population distinct from everybody around them. I'm probably being pedantic, but when it comes to populations and Ancient Egyptians I think it's needed.

I always use "normal" by habit, even though I think that in the Uk, at least, the term is now illegal :)

Edited by Wepwawet
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On 6/22/2023 at 4:39 PM, Wepwawet said:

I think the authors have introduced a complication though in talking about what population he falls in. This is determined by his DNA. I know what they mean, but the terminology and graphic they used could make it seem they were putting him into a population by haplogroup. They don't of course, but head binding, if this is the case, and I'm not sure on this at all, does not put you into a "population". They would not I think describe Chinese women from past times with bound feet as being part of a population distinct from everybody around them. I'm probably being pedantic, but when it comes to populations and Ancient Egyptians I think it's needed.

An excellent point.  :yes:

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  • 1 month later...

So, following on from some posts on the "flipping Earth" thread, is it possible to look at all the tales about Khufu, and see if traces of Akhenaten can be found in them. To the best of my knowledge nobody has previously taken this approach to investigating Akhenaten, hm...

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An interesting notion for sure.  And if so, an historical irony - that by suppression of Akhenaten's name and place in the Royal lists, his deeds (or misdeeds if you will) nevertheless would unexpectedly survive somewhat and resonate, but would be ascribed wrongfully to another Pharaoh with a mighty name and accomplishment, tarring him undeservedly.

 

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I don't know why this has not occured to me before. Perhaps it's easy to just absorb that he was remembered as "The Great Criminal" or "Rebel" and leave it at that. But memory of him, and this huge event in their history, would surely have lasted some time, and as his monuments were not dismantled until at least a generation had passed, and I reckon from his death to Seti I is about a generation, and longer for those not dismantled until the reign of Ramesses II, even when living memory of his had gone, the stories would still remain, but without his "official" presence, ie on any monument visible to the population, becoming more garbled, and more fanciful.

Maybe Freud has for us in modern times caused us to divert our gaze from the possibility of Akhenaten suriving in some form in Egyptian tales, the ones told to Herodutus, because he has convinced some people that Akhenaten was Moses, and compounded by Ahmed Osman who agrees with Freud and adds to this by saying that Yuya was the Biblical Joshua.

The more I think about this, the more it seems that something, no matter now faint or garbled, must have survived of the memory of those times, it was just too dramatic, and hardly in deep prehistoric times. I doubt now anything could be unravelled with any degree of confidence, but it will be worth the look I think.

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On 8/5/2023 at 2:42 PM, Wepwawet said:

I don't know why this has not occured to me before. Perhaps it's easy to just absorb that he was remembered as "The Great Criminal" or "Rebel" and leave it at that. But memory of him, and this huge event in their history, would surely have lasted some time, and as his monuments were not dismantled until at least a generation had passed, and I reckon from his death to Seti I is about a generation, and longer for those not dismantled until the reign of Ramesses II, even when living memory of his had gone, the stories would still remain, but without his "official" presence, ie on any monument visible to the population, becoming more garbled, and more fanciful.

Maybe Freud has for us in modern times caused us to divert our gaze from the possibility of Akhenaten suriving in some form in Egyptian tales, the ones told to Herodutus, because he has convinced some people that Akhenaten was Moses, and compounded by Ahmed Osman who agrees with Freud and adds to this by saying that Yuya was the Biblical Joshua.

The more I think about this, the more it seems that something, no matter now faint or garbled, must have survived of the memory of those times, it was just too dramatic, and hardly in deep prehistoric times. I doubt now anything could be unravelled with any degree of confidence, but it will be worth the look I think.

You'd have to look at the change in status of Khufu over time.

I think the connection to Akhenaten is not very likely.  One thing to examine is "how widely was Khufu known" (an example would be that Americans really don't remember presidents such as Martin Van Buren and it's been much less time.)  There would have undoubtedly been tales about Akhenaten, though how well they were known is another question.  To the farmer in a tiny village, the pharaohs were probably very distant figures and it didn't matter much who was in charge at the top -- what was more important is who the local bigwig was.

An interesting question could be explored about where the story of Evil Khufu comes from - but given the lack of texts, I think that the question has to remain open and unsolved at least for now.

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2 hours ago, Kenemet said:

An interesting question could be explored about where the story of Evil Khufu comes from - but given the lack of texts, I think that the question has to remain open and unsolved at least for now.

The most important question I think.

It's curious that the Westcar papyrus tales about Khufu do not cast him as "evil", and they date from the Middle Kingdom, so tales passed down about Akhenaten have not influenced them. Herodotus has Khufu as a heretic and that he closed the temples, a good description of Akhenaten. If Khufu was a heretic, what was his heresy, I cannot see one at all, for instance, Khafre continued from Khufu in developing the Giza necropolis, and Sun worship even, I would contend, expanded into the 5th Dynasty with all the Sun temples appearing, so just what temples was Khufu closing in his time that singled him out for these bad tales, when apart from the internal structure of G1, he is no different to those OK kings preceding him in the 4th Dynasty and following him into the 5th Dynasty, very unlike Akhenaten who was unique, even in his own words.

Khufu appears on the king lists, his name of course appears in these MK tales, and that his name appears at all mitigates against him being guilty of the same crimes as Akhenaten, who does not appear in the king lists and his name eradicated wherever it was found. It's all circumstantial and the truth could not be unravelled, barring new finds, but I do think there is a case here to suggest that for reasons unknown tales passed down about Akhenaten have ended up attached to Khufu, and have passed to us via one source, Herodutus. Perhaps the priests who told Herodutus these tales had access to surving papyrus records about Akhenaten, and have spiced up the story of the Great Pyramid for the gullible foreigner, maybe for some baksheesh.

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52 minutes ago, Wepwawet said:

The most important question I think.

It's curious that the Westcar papyrus tales about Khufu do not cast him as "evil", and they date from the Middle Kingdom, so tales passed down about Akhenaten have not influenced them. Herodotus has Khufu as a heretic and that he closed the temples, a good description of Akhenaten. If Khufu was a heretic, what was his heresy, I cannot see one at all, for instance, Khafre continued from Khufu in developing the Giza necropolis, and Sun worship even, I would contend, expanded into the 5th Dynasty with all the Sun temples appearing, so just what temples was Khufu closing in his time that singled him out for these bad tales, when apart from the internal structure of G1, he is no different to those OK kings preceding him in the 4th Dynasty and following him into the 5th Dynasty, very unlike Akhenaten who was unique, even in his own words.

Could it also have been taken from criticism of a conqueror pharaoh?  The temple prostitution of a daughter seems more similar to something rumored about the Persians than it does anything truly Egyptian.  Herodotus would have heard the tale in Alexandria or Cairo, I think... the average Egyptian south of there might never have heard the story.

 

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14 hours ago, Kenemet said:

Could it also have been taken from criticism of a conqueror pharaoh?  The temple prostitution of a daughter seems more similar to something rumored about the Persians than it does anything truly Egyptian.  Herodotus would have heard the tale in Alexandria or Cairo, I think... the average Egyptian south of there might never have heard the story.

 

It could, and the accusation does seem to fit more as a description of a Persian king, Cambyses II springs to mind. Herodotus says that said daughter charged one stone for her services, these stones then being used to build the middle of the three queens pyramids, GI-b. With a gap of two thousand years this is entirely fanciful, and I would think has just been added to these late tales of Khufu in order to further blacken his reputation, or this probable composite king who we view as Khufu, but I don't think is. Cambyses II had killed the Apis bull, an extraordinary act of sacrilege, but as he was very recent in the time of Herodotus, I doubt that the AE would have needed to add any stories about Cambyses II to either further blacken his already appalling reputation, or conflate him with one or more kings much further away in time.

I suspect that the prostitution tale was just added to this Khufu composite, or the actual bad part of it, in order to spice it up, and infer that this king was dishonest, as prostitution, apart from the moral aspect, was viewed as a sign of inherent dishonesty. Had any of the images from Amarna showing Akhenaten and his daughters been available that many years after his death, very unlikely, I'm sure much could have been made of them to further blacken his reputation. Maybe a memory of seeing these images during the Amerna period and before the palaces and monuments were torn down, had remained and been past down. While the images are of normal familt life, they were not suitable for depictions of a god-emperor king, and could potentially inspire tales of degenerate behaviour about Akhenaten, long before Freud and his oedipidus complex, but it's impossible to tell.

Edited by Wepwawet
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  • 2 months later...

I think I briefly touched on this before, but perhaps something more substantial is needed as it is a bit of a mystery.

The pectoral in the picture is known as the "Lunar and solar breast ornament" Carter object 267D. The question is what does this show, what is it's meaning, is it straight forward, or is it's meaning something difficult for us to understand.

0dcd4d7ca233acf6e44f0389aaad7b47.jpg

 

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With about five papers having emerged recently, including mine which is "Neferneferuaten the Ruler", there seems to be a mighty effort going to define this pharaoh.  The biggest shakeup was by Reeves in his argument that, in the graffito of Pawah in TT139, there never was supposed to be a mention of a mortuary temple of Ankhkheperure but of Aakheperure Amenhotep II, instead.  As a result, Reeves concluded that there was also never a male named Smenkhkare.  In a response, "The Phantom Temple of N. Reeves and Scribal Errors", I said that I could readily accept the error as the "Hwt anxxprwra" had never made a lot of sense to me under the known circumstances--but from that one can't simply assume that Smenkhkare had never existed.

Because I am not about to pay over $100 every time I want to read a paper in a Festschrift book, I was not able to read the Neferneferuaten paper of N. Kawai prior to writing my own--but did get a chance to read it afterward.  The first thing I did in my paper was to show a photo of a sequin of "Neferneferuaten the Ruler", which Kawai also addresses [he knew where they were kept and I couldn't previously find out, although I had the image for years] and these sequins were thought to have come from KV62 but uncertainly.  Instead of merely "nfrnfrwitn HqA" [Neferneferuaten the Ruler] Kawai sees there Neferneferuaten Heqa Maat--or Neferneferuaten Ruler of Truth.  I have to accept this because Kawai wrote that Thutmose III was the first to use this epithet--even though I really cannot justify this reading grammatically.  I can justify Nebmaatre [Lord of the truth of Re] and Heqamaatre [Ruler of the truth of Re] but Ruler of Truth??  One usually existed "in truth" [m mAat] like Akhenaten's epithet 'anx m mAat" [lives in truth]--so what does HqA mAat" really mean?  It can't be "the true ruler" as that would be "HqA mAa" and not be written with a figure [sign] of the goddess, Maat.  "The Ruler is Truth" perhaps?  The verb "to be" is usually omitted in names and epithets--but I really don't know,  

Anyway, a picture is forming of Neferneferuaten first being a coregent of her husband, Akhenaten, and then acting as place holder for Tutankhaten, still a tiny boy when his father died.  But with those who claim she changed her name to Smenkhkare in the second phase, I cannot agree.  There is no real proof that Neferneferuaten and Tutankhaten/Tutankhamun were ever coregents but I feel sure that she was expected to step down once he became a man, reached puberty and was at no point supposed to be a permanent ruler.  When a prince of the dynasty exists, no female can bypass him. [That was the crime of Hatshepsut, although she tried to overcome this by pretending that she and Thutmose III ruled as equals once he got older] But, as Tut became pharaoh around his age eight, Neferneferuaten must have simply died and he carried on, depending upon advisors, like Ay. [The authors, as far as I have read them, are Dodson, Reeves, Kawai, Myself and Huber.]

 

sequinofneferneferuaten.JPG

Edited by Aldebaran
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1 hour ago, Aldebaran said:

 But, as Tut became pharaoh around his age eight, Neferneferuaten must have simply died and he carried on, depending upon advisors, like Ay.

 

 

I would agree with your post. The sequin is not so easy to interpret, rather like the pectoral in my post above. Is there some subtle cryptography involved here, not unusual for them. She ruled into her year 3, but how long, no idea, when was she made co-ruler with Akhenaten, after the year 16 graffito and before he died in his year 17 is all that can be said. When in his year 17 did he die, no idea. Potentially she could have ruled alone for almost 3 years, so I take a middle line and suggest 18 months. No evidence that I know of, but it's better than taking an extreme position. Was she also Smenkhkare, of course not, a fantasy by Reeves I think, though I think his thoughts on the gold throne being originally for Akhenaten and Nefertiti look reasonable, though debateable, as is everything. I also doubt that she was ever a co-ruler with Tutankhaten, though he would have dated his reign from the death of Akhenaten I'm sure, just as Thutmose III dated his reign from the death of his father, not Hatshepsut.

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23 hours ago, Wepwawet said:

I also doubt that she was ever a co-ruler with Tutankhaten, though he would have dated his reign from the death of Akhenaten I'm sure, just as Thutmose III dated his reign from the death of his father, not Hatshepsut.

The most interesting thing about the wine dockets from KV62 is that they seem to include some from both the beginning of his reign and the very end, as there is one that bears “Year 10”.   Yet none of the dockets go back beyond Year 4—except one that mentions Year 31 [?] and can only be from the reign of Amunhotep III. So one could conclude Tutankhamun, as the rightful male successor,  did not have a sole reign until four years had passed from the death of his father, [all of which he claimed]when he was about eight or nine years old.  Therefore,  the dockets mentioning a Year 1 from Amarna should refer to  Smenkhkare or the woman-king, Ankh[t]kheperure Neferneferuaten.  Maybe.

The problem is the wine jar docket from KV62 says "Year 4, from the estate of Tutankhamun"--so why is there a throne from the same tomb with the original name given as "Tutankhaten"?  The Year 1 on the Restoration Stela doesn't count for me because it is only a restoration from a lacuna.  As Horemheb usurped the monument, no one can know what the original date was.  I brought up the significance of Year 4 in a paper and I see now that Dodson and Reeves mention it, too.  I don't know....In my "Neferneferuaten the Ruler" I once again suggest that the Year 3 of Nefeneferuaten could have included the time she was a coregent with Akhenaten--and that she hadn't actually ruled, on her own for the three years in the graffito that is the only dated text from her reign.  But there is a time table to be followed, even if it is a bit vague.  Tut was probably born in his father's Year 13, around the time of the death of Meketaten, and was four in Year 17, Akhenaten's last.  That makes sense to me, so four years pass until Tut is king in his own right at age eight, no matter what happened in those four years, who else was on the throne in the interim.  But a lot can also happen in the space of one year.  One can be called something one day and something else the next--if one was king.  In a way, all the wine jars from this entire period from Akhenaten to Tutankhamun are dated to a month as well as whatever year because the wandering Civil Calendar didn't travel through the naturally occurring seasons very quickly.  It so happened that the wine ripened in late August and, at the time, that was I Akhet.  So that was really the date from KV62, "Year 4 [I Akhet] from the estate of Tutankhamun".  We don't actually know the month the boy became king.  It can have been in the season of Shomu, just previous.  All we know is it was already his Year 10 when the new wine was made once again.  Maybe the mourners at his funeral drank most of the new wine and left the older Year 9 vintage for the afterlife,  Wine doesn't age as well in pottery as it does in glass bottles.

Edited by Aldebaran
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On 11/1/2023 at 12:32 PM, Aldebaran said:

That makes sense to me, so four years pass until Tut is king in his own right at age eight, no matter what happened in those four years, who else was on the throne in the interim.  But a lot can also happen in the space of one year.  One can be called something one day and something else the next--if one was king.

Just this morning I read a paper from last year by N. Kawai that I somehow missed [he is probably my favorite Egyptologist for sheer common sense thinking and superior knowledge].  It is here: 

https://www.academia.edu/77718182/The_Time_of_Tutankhamun_What_New_Evidence_Reveals,

Kawai proposes that, at the beginning of his kingship, Tut went by both the names of Tutankhaten and Tutankhamun.  He shows an image of a piece of gold from the pharaoh's chariot that includes both names--although I can't make out what the glyphs are just from the image.  Now I am wondering about the names on the golden throne.  I can tell things were changed about the queen shown with Tut but was his cartouche on the back ever changed?  Not sure now.  Is it possible even this item carried both names?

I checked Reeves' "Complete Tutankhamun", page 184, and he says that both names of the king and queen on the back of the chair "appear to have been altered".

Edited by Aldebaran
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1 hour ago, Aldebaran said:

Just this morning I read a paper from last year by N. Kawai that I somehow missed [he is probably my favorite Egyptologist for sheer common sense thinking and superior knowledge].  It is here: 

https://www.academia.edu/77718182/The_Time_of_Tutankhamun_What_New_Evidence_Reveals,

Kawai proposes that, at the beginning of his kingship, Tut went by both the names of Tutankhaten and Tutankhamun.  He shows an image of a piece of gold from the pharaoh's chariot that includes both names--although I can't make out what the glyphs are just from the image.  Now I am wondering about the names on the golden throne.  I can tell things were changed about the queen shown with Tut but was his cartouche on the back ever changed?  Not sure now.  Is it possible even this item carried both names?

There is certainly some odd stuff going on during the early years of his reign. No Nebti and Golden Falcon name while he is still Tutankhaten, what seems to be a lunar prenomen, Nebkheperuiah,only, or predominantly in use in the early years of his reign, though only seen as a rebus on personal jewelry, never in a cartouche. The golden throne has both versions of his nomen. The names on the back are the Aten names for him and Ankhesenpaaten/amun. The scene on the backrest carries the Amun versions, but is a mess anyway, though the Aten and Amun versions of his name on the side rest look to me to be intended, a deliberately matching pair with Aten on the right and Amun on the left, a point that Reeves oddly misses. The "Ecclesiastical throne", Carter 351, has the Aten and Amun versions, and again by the placing it looks like this was intended. What does not get commented on much with this throne is that at the center top is a sundisc, without the rays of the Aten, but underneath the disc are two empty cartouches, which presumably were intended to have had the names of the Aten. It does seem that against what is commonly believed, Kawai has a point. And what I see here is not the sharp cutoff we see when Akhenaten changed his nomen, but rather a gradual change if he did not have both names from the start, and then a sharp cutoff after a few years.

Edited by Wepwawet
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12 hours ago, Wepwawet said:

What does not get commented on much with this throne is that at the center top is a sundisc, without the rays of the Aten, but underneath the disc are two empty cartouches, which presumably were intended to have had the names of the Aten.

The two cartouches are not empty, not sure why I said they were as I made this post last year saying that they contain the later names of the Aten.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The key to some problems is the mysteries of Princess Meritaten--whom she married and when.  Since she seems to already have been around when her father, Akhenaten, became a coregent with Amenhotep III at age 15, the princess was likely already 17 at the end of the reign of Akhenaten.  But to envision Meritaten as remaining unmarried for all that time would be strange for ancient [and even much more modern] Egypt when 12 was considered an ideal age for a bride.  So, when it comes to Meritaten and her husband, Smenkhkare [whoever he was] becoming a royal couple with Akhenaten around his Year 12--that is Dodson's theory [or at least was] with the coregent, Smenkhkare, dying within a short time after.  The odd thing is that, in the two instances that the names of Smenkhkare and his queen are seen together [tomb of Meryre II and on sequins] her name is written as "Meryaten".

But I can't see this coregency happening so early--although Meritaten being married is another thing.  There seems to be an agreement now that box 001K from KV62 was made for another coregent, Neferneferuaten,  There Meritaten is seen as a queen.  But whose queen?  I think the notion of a female pharaoh having a queen should be forgotten--especially while Akhenaten was still alive.  In a recent paper, "Neferneferuaten the Ruler", I wrote there is not a shred of evidence that a female pharaoh ever needed a "consort".  Hatshepsut reigned for many years without one,  I feel sure the ancient Egyptians would have laughed at such an idea. So only two other possibilities remain--that Meritaten had assumed Nefertiti's former role of Great Royal Wife vis a vis Akhenaten [probably only nominally] or that she was present on the box as a queen due to now being the widow of King Smenkhkare, former coregent.  What a pity nobody knows when either coregency happened in the reign of Akhenaten.  But a coregency always has a purpose--a good way of making someone who was not really first in the line of succession [or even in line] a king for the present and, more important, the future.  This is the Amarna Era and its frustrations--there are options but nobody knows which is correct.

But nothing is fatal.  Even if Meritaten had been a nominal GRW of her father at some point, she can still have been married to someone else later.  That may have happened.  Tadukhipa had been sent from Mitanni as a wife for Amenhotep III but she, presumably still virginal, had been given to a younger man, Akhenaten, instead.  And the father had married some of his own daughters while their mother, Tiye, was still living and one assumes that they were too old for the next heir presumptive and there was no one else of sufficient status for them.  After all, with his numerous wives and concubines, their father had no other reason to make them queens.  

A reason that I think Meritaten did not become a queen of Smenkhkare until late in the reign of Akhenaten is the altered text on the foot of the KV55 coffin.  For me, it was 100% intended for Akhenaten and the text was, at first, a speech by his wife, Nefertiti, due to feminine signs there.  Allen addressed this, opining that Smenkhkare had the text changed as an address by himself.  In a paper, "Akhenaten as Ra-Horakhty the Father God" I oppose this, saying that the text became a dialogue. to all appearances, of a man and a woman--and the woman seems to have been a queen from whom the male [Akhenaten] is asking for life in the after life--if that makes sense--because the glyphs are changed to male signs only in the first part of what some have termed a "prayer".  But the woman no longer called Akhenaten by her original address but by "pAy it ra-HrAxty" or "my father Ra-Horakhty" in an alteration.  

I am a firm believer in that the entire Amarna episode came about due to one man, Amenhotep III, claiming to be the incarnation of the sun god and, therefore, needing a Shu and a Tefnut [the holy trinity of the sun] roles filled by Akhenaten and Nefertiti until Akhenaten's Year 8 when the older king and coregent died.  Then Akhenaten changed the cartouches of the Aten, removing Ra-Horakhty and Shu from them.  And also began the persecution of Amen and the other gods.  However, according to that altered coffin tex there was eventually a new Ra-Horakhty.  That's what Allen pointed out--the name Ra-Horakhty being on that coffin when it was banned from the Aten cartouches.  That may have been, but Ra-Horakhty was a manifestation of the sun, just like the Aten, and could never really be banned.  None of the manifestations could be separated from the sun, the Aten was merely the currently preferred one while Akhenaten lived, at least.  Maybe that's why the later daughters had names containing Ra--because Akhenaten decided to emulate his father.

 

 

Edited by Aldebaran
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@Aldebaran  Thoughtful and insightful post, thanks

Quote

... her father, Akhenaten, became a coregent with Amenhotep III at age 15, ...

I'm wondering, your reasons for assigning him that particular age?

Edited by Wistman
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On 11/15/2023 at 8:34 PM, Wistman said:

@Aldebaran  Thoughtful and insightful post, thanks

Quote

... her father, Akhenaten, became a coregent with Amenhotep III at age 15, ...

I'm wondering, your reasons for assigning him that particular age?

I used to assign it lower but then I started thinking more about the ages that Julius Sextus Africanus assigns some of the pharaohs, probably from his Egyptian source, Ptolemy of Mendes.  [not Manetho, who never gave the ages at death except in the "Tale of the Polluted Ones"].  Africanus, for example, has "Sethos" [Seti I] for 51years.  Although this king cannot possibly have reigned that long, that can certainly have been his age at death.  In Dynasty 18 Africanus [and BTW he always rounds off the years of reign, never has them ending in a certain month like Manetho, according to Josephus] seems to do more or less okay and agrees with Manetho for the most part, as did his source, Ptolemy.  Ptolemy of Mendes lived much later than Manetho but was sometimes confused with him.  Anyway, as Manetho was considered a great authority, Ptolemy surely consulted him.  He rounds off what is surely the sole reign of Amenhotep III to 31 years [while Manetho has 30 yrs and 10 mos] and does the same for "Orus" [which I hold to be a second mention of A III as "Horus-Aten" in conjunction with Akhenaten] but then gives an "Acherres" for 32 years.  Here he seems to intend Akhenaten because nobody after AIII reigned that long.

So it looks like when Ptolemy of Mendes did not know the length of someone's duration and could not get that from Manetho, he used the age at death which he did have from somewhere, some list.  Akhenaten could certainly have died at age 32.  The first to examine his bones, Prof. Smith, told Arthur Weigall he saw a man who passed on at around the age of 30.  No greater authority than Smith has looked at these remains thus far.  Besides, 32 makes very good sense mathematically.  If Ajhenaten reigned for 17 years it would also compute that he was 15 when he began, especially if he had Meritaten at around the same time.  She seems to be with Nefertiti from the beginning.  The thing is, only archaeology was able to figure out anything about how long Akhenaten sat on the throne from wine jar dockets.  The latest date in any of the Amarna tombs is Year 12.  I think Manetho did know how long Akhenaten had a "sole reign" [9 years] but calls him by the nickname of "Rathotis" [which I think is some reference to his foot or leg, "rd" being the word for both in older Egyptian and this survived as "rat" in Coptic].  But Africanus probably didn't recognize this as being Akhenaten so had no clue--and just gave his age at death.  It's not a peg on which one can hang one's hat per se--but it still makes sense.

 

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No one suspected that Akhenaten became a cripple at some point but a CT-scan of his remains confirms it.  KV55 [and any argument that this is anyone but Akhenaten is weak] had a very bad hip. It is explained in "Scanning the Pharaohs" and I think that is why the radiologists were tempted to assign an age to the person in his 40's--because degenerative hip problems tend not to occur until middle or old age.  But they didn't seem to take into consideration that it also occurs in younger people who have sustained an injury to the area--and motorcycle accidents are a prime cause.  The chariot could also be a dangerous vehicle.  For some reason, this unofficial slab has mostly been judged to represent Smenkhkare and Meritaten but the queen is obviously not young.  She wears the same crown in which Nefertiti is shown.  The pharaoh opposite her leans on a staff and has one foot off the ground, the Egyptian way of depicting crippled individuals.

 

Akhenatenmandrake.jpg

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@Aldebaran  So you've given us a lot to chew on; permit me to explore some of your points:

On 11/11/2023 at 1:58 PM, Aldebaran said:

The key to some problems is the mysteries of Princess Meritaten--whom she married and when.  Since she seems to already have been around when her father, Akhenaten, became a coregent with Amenhotep III at age 15, the princess was likely already 17 at the end of the reign of Akhenaten.  But to envision Meritaten as remaining unmarried for all that time would be strange for ancient [and even much more modern] Egypt when 12 was considered an ideal age for a bride.(1)  So, when it comes to Meritaten and her husband, Smenkhkare [whoever he was] becoming a royal couple with Akhenaten around his Year 12--that is Dodson's theory [or at least was] with the coregent, Smenkhkare, dying within a short time after.  The odd thing is that, in the two instances that the names of Smenkhkare and his queen are seen together [tomb of Meryre II and on sequins] her name is written as "Meryaten".(2) 

[...]

But nothing is fatal.  Even if Meritaten had been a nominal GRW of her father at some point, she can still have been married to someone else later.  That may have happened. (3)  Tadukhipa had been sent from Mitanni as a wife for Amenhotep III but she, presumably(4) still virginal, had been given to a younger man, Akhenaten, instead.  And the father had married some of his own daughters while their mother, Tiye, was still living and one assumes(4) that they were too old for the next heir presumptive and there was no one else of sufficient status for them.  After all, with his numerous wives and concubines, their father had no other reason(4) to make them queens.  

 [...]

  1. If so, this would pertain as well to Princess Sitamun, yes?   It occurs to me that as far as we know she was not married by age 12.  The hereditary daughter of the king (long before AIII considered himself to be the god Aten) would have been the most prized and important bride in the kingdom, even more so than Nefertiti.  Who would have been the perfect consort for her I wonder?  Why would she, say, have been named a potential concubine for AIII at such an early age, when her role would naturally have been to extend the dynasty?
  2. What significance do you think the anomalous 'spelling' in these two instances has?
  3. As could Princess Sitamun.  She could have married another high ranking male after the death of AIII.  Maybe even changed her name to accommodate the religious zeitgeist.
  4. Yes these ideas are possibly true, but evidence is so limited.  Were there really no other high ranking men or princes available for a royal marriage?  Not even from Tiye's family?  Do you think AIII and Tiye had no other sons, and if they did how would we know about them?  And, are you supposing Tadukhipa was identical to Kiya?

I'll come back and add to this later, my time is very limited right now but I appreciate the dialectic and am always interested in your views.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a quick post.  I hadn't seen this photo before of AIII's mummy in situ, from KV35.  In case others haven't as well.  Note how badly decomposed the mummy is:

image.thumb.png.fd10853a700a2b3a95e28ef1e2314876.png

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7 hours ago, Wistman said:

Just a quick post.  I hadn't seen this photo before of AIII's mummy in situ, from KV35.  In case others haven't as well.  Note how badly decomposed the mummy is:

image.thumb.png.fd10853a700a2b3a95e28ef1e2314876.png

A possible consequence of him not being buried, at least initially, according to an idea by Fletcher, with his body being encased in gold and used as a statue for worship in the royal household ?.

Seems that the weird stuff going on starts with him. Apart from Fletcher's idea, the only reason for the condition of his mummy that I can see is that he had partially decomposed before mummification, with the question being in what circumstances did this happen with no known wars occuring at the end of his reign, unlike with  Seqenenre Tao with his body needing to be recovered a little while after death, and potentially Tutankhamun, as even without the charring of his corpse, his face looks to have decomposed somewhat, and I'm thinking here the way the lips have drawn back. This can be seen on other royal mummies from the 18th Dynasty, Thutmose III for instance, but, to my eyes, the way Tut's lips are drawn back seems more like the product of decomposition than just the lips parted a bit, debatable of course. Then with him there's also the issue of him at one stage of the mummification process being hung upside down for resin to be poured into his skull.

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Speaking of AIII, here's an informative but dated (1996) article by W. Raymond Johnson entitled "THE REVOLUTIONARY ROLE OF THE SUN IN
THE RELIEFS AND STATUARY OF AMENHOTEP III".  Perhaps everybody has read this, though I never had.  Johnson utilizes his long work at Karnak and its environs to show that carving styles differ greatly during AIII's reign, and some conclusions and inferences can be drawn by analyzing these styles and coordinating that data with what was at that point (1996) known about AIII and Akhenaten via other evidences. 

These following points were of some interest - to me at least:

Quote

Everything about Amenhotep's last style of relief carving is unusual. When the carving is in raised relief, it is carved considerably higher than ever before, and his sunk relief is cut unusually deeply into the stone. Amenhotep's complex costumes with their long pleated kilts, overgarments, and multiple sashes are festooned with solar and funerary symbols never utilized in his earlier monument decoration. Pendant cords tipped with sedge-plant blossoms and papyrus umbels, gold-disc shebyu necklaces, associated armbands and bracelets, broad floral wah-collars, falcon-tail sporrans (aprons), and sporran cobras crowned with sun discs all make their appearance together on figures of the king in royal temple decoration for the first time and become standard thereafter; Amenhotep's earlier figures look absolutely spare in comparison. Further, Amenhotep 's face in these reliefs is now more youthful looking, with an exaggerated, overlarge eye that dominates his face. His body is often bent forward slightly at the waist. His legs are longer at the expense of his midsection, which is shorter and thicker, and his belt is often three times its normal width at the back.  [...] 

With a little study, I was able to pin down the source of Amenhotep's new iconography . In private tombs starting from the time of Amenhotep Ill's grandfather Amenhotep II, the king was often depicted on the tomb walls enshrined and wearing the very same costumes and solar iconography. The king in these tomb scenes is shown in eternal time after his eventual death and is identified in the accompanying inscriptions as the sun god Re.  [,,,]  Before the time of Amenhotep III these elaborately costumed figures of the king were only found in private tomb scenes, and never in royal temple decoration.

To wit, some background to what we now know about his self-deification:

Quote

It is probably no coincidence that Amenhotep III's new artistic style with its solar symbolism and exaggerated youthfulness appeared at the very time he celebrated his three Heb Sed or jubilee celebrations in the last decade of his reign, in his regnal years 30, 34, and 37. The Heb Sed was a great rejuvenation ceremony which Egyptian kings traditionally celebrated after their first thirty years of rule and then every three or four years thereafter. The exaggerated youthfulness of Amenhotep's facial features in the new style must have been intentionally designed to reflect the king's symbolic rejuvenation at the culmination of his jubilee rites. But the new costumes of the king with their solar and funerary iconography go another unprecedented step further. According to the tomb parallels, the costume iconography indicates that Amenhotep III is to be identified with the sun god Re. Providentially for us, another key piece of the puzzle is preserved in the Theban tomb of the high official Kheruef, who supervised 'lmenhotep's jubilees. Reliefs there, dated to Amenhotep's first jubilee in year thirty, depict a jubilee ritual where Amenhotep III and his wife Queen Tiye are being towed by members of the court in the evening and morning barks of Re. [...] The ritual that is depicted in Kheruef's tomb is found in Pyramid Text 222 from the Old Kingdom, which describes the union of the king and the sun god in the solar barks of the day and night, after the king's death. Yet Amenhotep III clearly is represented enacting this ritual alive, eight to nine years before he actually died!    

Year 30, the long planned Heb-Sed festival, the permanent move of the royal palace and administration from Memphis to Malkata, the recent death (?) of Crown Prince Thutmose, the king's 'marriage' to his daughter Sitamun, his self-deification as Re/Atum/Aten.  Question is when and how did this shift toward the notion of living god begin for AIII?  How long had it been planned?

Here's a bit about AIII and Ptah:

Quote

During the past two years I was able to make several study trips to Cairo for research and photography at the Egyptian Museum, and also to the site of ancient Memphis, administrative and political capital of Egypt from the First Dynasty. Texts tell us that this was the spot where Amenhotep III built his "Temple of Nebmaatre (Amenhotep III)-United-with-Ptah," the temple where the deified Amenhotep was worshiped as the Memphite god Ptah. [...]  The decoration, some of it unfinished, and architectural details of the blocks suggest that they were once part of a small bark shrine of the god Ptah Sokar, undoubtedly a part of Amenhotep Ill's vanished Ptah temple complex.

This then would have been built post yr30 and the Heb Sed of that year, and after his son Thuthmose (as HPP) had died.  I believe there's no record to indicate that a successor HPP was appointed by AIII.  Not sure what that signifies, if anything, but it's interesting to glean what was then going on at Memphis with its own creator god and that AIII also identified himself, living, with that god: Ptah. 

There's more, if interested:

https://isac.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/uploads/shared/docs/nn151.pdf

Edited by Wistman
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I neglected to show these 2 excerpts in the above post and think they should have been included, just to illustrate Johnson's initial (1996) points wrt Atenism:

Quote

The Kheruef reliefs tell us that Amenhotep III's solar-bedecked costumes in his last-decade monument decoration represent an official statement that Amenhotep III had united with the sun god while still alive as a consequence of his first jubilee rites in year thirty. I believe that this theological event was the underlying principle behind what we refer to as Amenhotep III 's "deification while alive."   [...]   Textual and artistic evidence, which I am still in the process of gathering, indicate that for the rest of his life Amenhotep III, as deified king, was venerated as a living manifestation of all of Egypt's great gods with a marked emphasis on his role as the Sun God Re and his radiant disc, the Aten. Inscriptions from his jubilee palace in western Thebes and elsewhere tell us that, among his numerous epithets, from this time on the king was actually referred to as Aten Tjehen, the Dazzling Aten.

and...

Quote

Considering what came after, the influence of this theological event on Amenhotep Ill's son Akhenaten must have been enormous. It is certain that the artistic changes which occurred at the end of Amenhotep Ill 's reign influenced his son Akhenaten's own artistic innovations, which took a similar form, shifting from a traditional style to an exaggerated style that emphasized his role as the sun god's firstborn, Shu (who is both male and female in one body). It is quite suggestive that Amenhotep III and Akhenaten took on the identities of father/son deities, Atum-Re and Shu, who in Egyptian mythology are co-dependent on each other (and actually cannot exist without each other). If the artistic changes of the father and son occurred simultaneously, Akhenaten's famous cult of the Aten may have been an integral part of the deification program of Amenhotep III. This model suggests that the joint rule of father and son was perhaps theologically dictated by Amenhotep's deification, patterned after the unique relationship of the creator god Atum-Re (= the sun/Aten/Amenhotep III) and his firstborn child, Shu (= sunbeams/air/Akhenaten), father/son deities who, according to ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts, recreate each other at dawn each day. It is interesting to note that the costumes of Queen Tiye from this time depict her in the role of the goddess Hathor, divine consort of Re, while Akhenaten's wife Nefertiti takes on the attributes of Tefnut, twin sister/wife of Akhenaten/Shu. The evidence suggests that Amenhotep's whole family played specific divine roles in his deification program, taking on the attributes of the creator god 's divine "family."

Edited by Wistman
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