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Sitamun as Tutankhamun's Mother?

 
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Seshat
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:23 pm    Post subject: Sitamun as Tutankhamun's Mother? Reply with quote

In Amarna Letter's 4, there's an article entitled Sitamun: Royal Heiress. To tell the truth, I couldn't read the article all the way through because the entire theory the author was constructing was based on an understanding of the inheritance of the Egyptian throne that has been long dismissed (but is apparently pervasive in some circles): namely that the throne was passed through the royal heiress in the female line, and that in order to legitimize himself, a king had to marry his sister or mother or the current royal heiress.
It has been known that this cannot be true for a very long time now, so the author's theory that Sitamun must have been Amenhetep III's sister and not his daughter and therefore he must have had to marry her as a secondary wife to secure access to the throne is based on faulty premises. (Also, it fails to explain why a secondary queen would have been giving objects for the burial of Yuya and Thuyu, the parents of her rival).
The author does however, throw out an interesting proposition: Perhaps Tutankhamun was the son of Sitamun.
I'm sure most of you have read the press reports on the DNA testing of Tutankhamun today, which have revealed that Tutankhamun's mother was probably also his aunt. This doesn't clear up many questions about his parentage. Smenkhare and Merytaten are still both in the running if they were brother and sister. Who knows if Nefertiti and Kiya were sisters of Akhenaten. If they were, theyr'e not among the recorded daughters of Amenhetep III. They may be yet unknown younger daughters. There's no reason to suppose this, though unless we're working backward from a conclusion we've already made.
Let's do another thought experiment and guess that Nefertiti is a sister of Akhenaten who has changed her name. She would have had to change her name before Akhenaten then, because she's shown in reliefs with Amenhetep IV.
Who is a sister of Akhenaten that we do know of? Baketaten, Sitamun, Henuttaneb, Isis, and Nebetah. The identity of Baketaten to my knowledge is still hazy.
Sitamun, to my knowledge is not known after Akhenaten ascends to the throne. If she was alive, might we assume she had to change her name? None of the other sisters would have had to. There's a songstress of Aten with the name Isis that we know of, and she did not have to change her name. (Although perhaps different rules applied to royalty.)
Perhaps Sitamun is Tut's mother...but not for any reason having to do with her being the royal heiress.
Granted, I'm still rooting for Kiya as Tuts mum because I like Kiya, but it's looking like that's not the case.
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Seshat
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh and also, it seems like I'm proposing Sitamun as Nefertiti. Sorry. My mind got ahead of my typing fingers there. I'm not. I'm saying she's probably not Nefertiti because Nefertiti was Nefertiti before the king renamed himself, and I don't buy that she would have been leading the king in religious reform. (Although Anne Boleyn gave it a go, so who knows...)
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is an issue here:
Sitamun became a Great Royal Wife by the year 30. In the year 34 Isis also became a Great Royal Wife. It isn't too much "greatness"? Or Sitamun died between year 30 and 34 and was replaced by her sister? Idea
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:34 pm    Post subject: Sitamun = Nefertiti Reply with quote

I've long believed that Akenaten married a close relative to seal his ascension to the throne. And I've never believed that Sitamun simply disappeared or conveniently died at the beginning of his reign. She was the full blood daughter of AIII and Tiye. She's prominently featured at Malkata. She's not going to just vanish. She became Nefertiti just as Amenhotep IV became Akenaten. To speculate that Tut's mother was one of Tiye's other daughters in the absence of any positive confirmation of Sitamun's death is to ignore the obvious.

The political significance is immense because this would mean all the power of the throne was being concentrated into one incestous family. A family that, for at least one generation, was able to produce viable offspring from a full blood brother/sister marriage. And enough children overall to at least attempt to do so for one more generation (if Tut did father the two stillborn daughters with his own full sister).

It might also go a long way to explaining the exclusivity of Akenaten's new religion.

Fascinating new stuff. Glad to see that (finally) DNA testing is being done to remove the speculation as to familial relationships and give us a better factual base to work from in understanding Armarna.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Sitamun = Nefertiti Reply with quote

RobertStJames wrote:
I've long believed that Akenaten married a close relative to seal his ascension to the throne. And I've never believed that Sitamun simply disappeared or conveniently died at the beginning of his reign. She was the full blood daughter of AIII and Tiye. She's prominently featured at Malkata. She's not going to just vanish. She became Nefertiti just as Amenhotep IV became Akenaten.

At this point I wouldn't be surprised if you were right.


RobertStJames wrote:
To speculate that Tut's mother was one of Tiye's other daughters in the absence of any positive confirmation of Sitamun's death is to ignore the obvious.

I don't agree with you on that one. Sitamun was already a great royal wife in year 30 of Amenhotep. For her to have died in her early twenties in year 12 or later she would have practically been a newborn at the time of that first sed festival during which she she seems to have been given her new title.

And if Sitamun is Nefertiti, then she is active and bearing children by the early years of his reign. And Nefertiti seems to still be alive by year 14 (death of Meketaten). So Nefertiti must have been in her very late twenties, but more likely early thirties (or even older) when she died. So I don't see Sitamun as an obvious candidate at all. Her age just doesn't work.

I think Sitamun could be Nefertiti, but I don't think she's KV 35YL and the mother of Tut.


Last edited by anneke on Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:46 am    Post subject: Re: Sitamun = Nefertiti Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't agree with you on that one. Sitamun was already a great royal wife in year 30 of Amenhotep. For her to have died in her early twenties in year 12 or later she would have practically been a newborn at the time of that first sed festival during which she she seems to have been given her new title.


But we don't know which pharaoh is the Great Royal Husband. I don't have her dying in her early twenties, more like in her mid to late 30s.


Quote:
And if Sitamun is Nefertiti, then she is active and bearing children by the early years of his reign. And Nefertiti seems to still be alive by year 14 (death of Meketaten). So Nefertiti must have been in her very late twenties, but more likely early thirties (or even older) when she died. So I don't see Sitamun as an obvious candidate at all. Her age just doesn't work.


Not sure I see the objection here. We don't know how old Sitamun was when she died, just as we don't know for Nefertiti.


Quote:

I think Sitamun could be Nefertiti, but I don't think she's KV 35YL and the mother of Tut.


Whoever KV 35YL is, she's Tiye's daughter and was mummified with a flexed arm. That puts her on a very short lilst. She's Akhenaten sister, so she can't be Kiya. Unless Akhenaten had another wife/consort we don't know about, one that produced the heir to the throne while remaining completely anonymous despite having the exact same royal blood as Akhenaten, that mummy almost has to be Nefertiti.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Sitamun = Nefertiti Reply with quote

RobertStJames wrote:
Whoever KV 35YL is, she's Tiye's daughter and was mummified with a flexed arm. That puts her on a very short lilst. She's Akhenaten sister, so she can't be Kiya. Unless Akhenaten had another wife/consort we don't know about, one that produced the heir to the throne while remaining completely anonymous despite having the exact same royal blood as Akhenaten, that mummy almost has to be Nefertiti.


This does not compute, IMO. For one, Nefertiti never claimed to be a /sAt nsw/ which all known daughters of Amenhotep III and Tiye prominently claimed (Satamun, Isis, Henuttaneb, Nebtah and Baketaten). While Akhenaten changed his name, he surely did not give up his titles, and I see no reason why any royal daughter of Amenhotep III and Tiye, assuming she later "became" Nefertiti would have done so either.

There would be no reason for it, and if "justification" of the reign was on Akhenaten's mind, having a queen with these titles would have been paramount to show continuity of the lineage.

Note that I do not believe in the "heir princess" theory, and it has been thoroughly rebutted (Mertz 1952; Robins 1983, and Troy 1986). The title of "The Heiress" is normally attested to a deceased female who acquired her husband's property as widow, not as "heiress" of the throne as a right of birth that she "passes on" to her royal husband.

As for "...Akhenaten (having) another wife/consort we don't know about...", recall that it's been only about 30 years since we discovered Kiya - a secondary wife that no one knew about until 1978 (Perepelkin 1978). There are, for example, unplaced queens in the 18th Dynasty we don't know where they go, such as Nebetnehat, whose titulary argues for a late 18th Dynasty placement (Troy 1986: 166, 18.40). Could this be another daughter of Amenhotep III and Tiye? Who knows?

I suspect it's far too early to claim that Satamun = Nefertiti, but only that the KV 55 individual, a son of Amenhotep III and Tiye, produced Tutankhamun with a daughter from Amenhotep III and Tiye. That seems clear.

But I think we still have too many unanswered questions about the JAMA study before one can say definitively that KV 55 = Akhenaten and that KV 35 YL = Satamun = Nefertiti. There are other possibilities.

Reference:

Mertz, B. 1952. Certain Titles of the Egyptian Queens and Their Bearing on the Hereditary Right to the Throne. Oriental Languages and Literature. Ph. D. Dissertation (Unpublished). Chicago: University of Chicago.

Perepelkin, G. 1978. The Secret of the Gold Coffin. Moscow: Nauka Publishing House/USSR Academy of Sciences.

Robins, G. 1983. A Critical Examination of the Theory of the Right to the Throne of Ancient Egypt Passed Through the Female Line in the 18th Dynasty. Göttingen Miszellen 62: 67-77.

Troy, L. 1986. Patterns of Queenship: in ancient Egyptian myth and history. BOREAS 14. Uppsala: ACTA Universitatis Upsaliensis.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To RstJ: I was wrong about the age of KV35 YL. She is said to be 25-35 in the article from JAMA.

In looking at the numbers again I think just looking at the ages it may just work. If Nefertiti=Sitamun=YL then the Queen died when she was say 35 or so years old. This must have happened sometime after say year 15 of Akhenaten (but could be as late as during the reign of Tut for all we know). But that means she was at most 20 when Akhenaten became pharaoh. That means she was at most 12 in year 30 of Amenhotep III when she became GRW.
[If she died later or was younger at the time of her death, she was younger than these ages and you quickly come up with scenarios that IMO are just not that believable]

So assuming top end of the age and a relatively early death it is possible.

There is a bit of a glitch though. If KV21 A is really Ankhesenamun, which seems entirely plausible, then there is a problem. Looking at the DNA it does not seem possible that the mother of the babies was also the daughter of Akhenaten and YL = Nefertiti=Sitamun.

Looking at the markers in the second column the babies inherit a 6 and a 13, and those do not come from Tutankhamen, so they have to come from the mother. And if the mother is Ankhesenamun, she must have inherited them from her mother because she did not get them from Akhenaten. But YL does not have those markers.

So I have serious questions about the identification of KV35 YL as Nefertiti.

It could be that KV21A is some other wife of Tut, but since the lady is buried as a GRW (arm position) I think that chances are this really is Ankhesenamun.

Another fact that gives me some pause is that Sitamun is followed in year 34 by her sister Isis. And later possibly by Henuttaneb.

I have wondered if KV35YL could be Sitamun (or Isis) and that she may have been murdered because as the mother of the heir(s) to the throne she became a serious threat to Nefertiti and the people surrounding Nefertiti.
People like Aye and Tey and for instance her steward (I think that was Meryre?) derived their standing at court from their association with Nefertiti. If now a daughter of Amenhotep not only had her rank as King's Daughter, but also a son to boost her importance, then the power structure at court could change rather drastically. It's pure speculation of course, but who knows?

Just some thought ....
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

anneke wrote:
<..> That means she was at most 12 in year 30 of Amenhotep III when she became GRW.


I'd go a little older, maybe late teens. At the age when would be able to have children. 16, 17, perhaps. I've heard it was actually later for the ancients since they didn't consume our steady diet of growth hormones.

Quote:

Looking at the DNA it does not seem possible that the mother of the babies was also the daughter of Akhenaten and YL = Nefertiti=Sitamun.


That's where we go into the cloudy haze. The team wasn't able to produce profiles for those four mummies (KV21a & b, and KV62 daughters). Not that they could rule anyone out or in, just that they didn't have enough information to make the call. Which is hard to understand given that they were able to determine the DNA links between all the rest, even Akhenaten, himself little more than a pile of bones.

Quote:

Looking at the markers in the second column the babies inherit a 6 and a 13, and those do not come from Tutankhamen, so they have to come from the mother. And if the mother is Ankhesenamun, she must have inherited them from her mother because she did not get them from Akhenaten. But YL does not have those markers.


The ancient Egyptians weren't fools and no matter what kind of familial purity a royal family was trying to maintain, they wouldn't have intentionally inbred themselves into non-existence. By Tut's generation it must have been clear that the genetic defects were worsening, so the logical reponse would be to get some royal wives who were not such direct blood relatives. Doesn't appear to have worked, but the DNA says they were going further afield than the previous generation.

Quote:

So I have serious questions about the identification of KV35 YL as Nefertiti.


Given the history of Amarna studies, skepticism would be a wise stance. javascript:emoticon('Very Happy')

Quote:

It could be that KV21A is some other wife of Tut, but since the lady is buried as a GRW (arm position) I think that chances are this really is Ankhesenamun.


Yes, and the other one is going to be Meritaten.

Interesting point about Meriaten (the eldest daughter) Meritaten also may have served as pharaoh in her own right under the name, Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten. (from Wiki). Name change, a radical one, and incorporating "nefer."


Quote:

I have wondered if KV35YL could be Sitamun (or Isis) and that she may have been murdered because as the mother of the heir(s) to the throne she became a serious threat to Nefertiti and the people surrounding


Now don't let Zahi catch you talking like that!

RstJ
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Sitamun657
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:26 am    Post subject: Sitamun Reply with quote

There has been a lot of speculation on sitamun. After many hours of research this what I found and know to be true: sitamun was the eldest daughter of amenhotep III and tiye.
Something u should know about sitamuns mother: she was a very intelligent and a very powerful woman. She wasn't a pretty little thing who sat by her husband; she ruled with him. Sitamun was born and raised to be the next queen of Egypt, and she held that same mentality as her mother. She was the woman who rescued Moses from the Nile, ignoring and intentionally disobeying her fathers orders to have all the Hebrew babies killed. She hated the slavery that was required to build all these 'great' monuments. And yes, she honestly could just 'disappear.' just because she was royalty didn't mean she could get away with everything. Her father murdered her. Notice how her body was never found? If u look into the story of Moses, ull notice that after he runs away into the desert, sitamun is never mentioned again. I'm aware that people think that sitamun faked her death and switched into Nefertiti. I don't believe this. I personally believe it was her daughter. She was a great woman as well, no doubt following in the same footsteps as her mother and grandmother. There's also (my own) speculation that yuya or thuya (can't remember which is the grandfather), (sitamuns grandfather) was Joseph. Are u seeing a pattern of the same moral standards? Anyway. That's my belief.[/b]
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The assumption that Sitamun became GRW to Akhenaten and changed her name into Nefertiti alongside her husband is not quite right due to the timing.
There are representations of the new royal couple - for example in the tomb of Ramose and others - in which the king is still called Amenhotep but his GRW is called Nefertiti.
Why should Sitamun have changed her name when the king himself was still happy to call himself Amenhotep? She would most certainly have changed her name at the earliest at the same time as her husband did.
The second reason why I don`t believe in this name change is why she did not rather chose a name to honour the Aten as Akhenaten did but chose a name which shows no religious devotion at all.

On the other hand the "real" Nefertiti extended her name to become "Neferneferuaten Nefertiti" after her husband`s name change to make her own devotion to the Aten clear to everyone.

This is what name changes of kings and queens -if they happened at all- were all about: to announce a change in the religious/political agenda, not to change identities or just for fun.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry seshat, I just realized that you basically said all that in your first two posts - I must have been carried away by the later posts in which the possibility Nefertiti=Sitamun was discussed.

At least you know now that someone else completely agrees with you on that one Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tiye and Amenhotep III had at least four daughters - possibly five depending on whether Baketaten was the same as Nebet'ah or not. Personally I favor Baketaten as the mother of Tut since she is the only daughter of Tiye and Amenhotep firmly attested to at Akhetaten.
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