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Akhenaten and Nefertiti - the Play!

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:40 pm    Post subject: Akhenaten and Nefertiti - the Play! Reply with quote

I thought to continue Agatha Christie’s play Akhenaten (1973), but I adjust her conclusion: her play ended with Akhenaten’s death.

The Scene: Serabit Al-Khadim The Year: around 1328 BC
Dramatis Personae: Akhenaten and Nefertiti. It’s six years after the seventeen-year reign of the former ended, and a month after the three-year reign of the latter ended. Akhenaten will soon change into Moses, but doesn’t know it yet.

Akh: I’m a failure! My whole life is over! Even my beloved city of Akhen-taten is being dismantled as we speak!
Nef: I did try to warn you. Tiye your wonderful Mother always liked to tell me, just keep him off the subject of religion. Egypt has had its gods for two thousand years, and you just thought … what was it?
Akh: Listen, beloved, Ra-Aten is the One, he’s the real God. There was far too much clutter of different gods in Egypt, with each region having its own creation-story! Also there were too many priests of Amun, most of them fixated upon Death.
Nef: And you what? You tried to chisel the names of gods from the temples, you tried to get rid of Isis and Osiris?
Akh: (slowly and deliberately) There is one God.
Nef: At times you frighten me, even me, Akhenaten. But listen, your life isn’t over, in fact it’s only just beginning. I can feel it. There must be some important future for us.
Akh: What are you doing here anyhow? We had six daughters, shouldn’t you be looking after them? I’m in exile, I can’t do it. In fact I’m lucky to be still alive, if it weren’t for dear old Horemheb, he somehow managed this. But people tell me you are now the queen, surely you can’t just leave all that?
Nef: You must have heard that five of our daughters died. If your Aten is so powerful, could He not have managed it better, and given you an heir to the throne. Instead, we had six daughers! How unlikely is that?
Akh: (in anguish, tears his shirt).
Nef: Frankly I didn’t have the stamina to keep going. My daughters dying, with only the one left, our Ankhesenamun. Then your brother Smenkhare the heir to the throne dies, plus my mother also died, it was all too much!
Akh: You could have ruled Egypt for the next twenty years, what more could you possibly want? I don’t get it, a queen can’t resign!
Nef: Well, just think what happened to your younger brother Smenkhare, who became Pharaoh after you. He only survived for one year, didn’t he?
Akh: Yes he died tragically.
Nef: Very tragically. You see he was an outright Atenist, he could never disguise the fact. He named his two children after Aten. I often wonder if you two brothers absorbed this new attitude while a-sailing in your father’s splendid barge, Gleam of Aten on that new lake, which he made for his Queen Tiye.
Akh: You’d be perfectly safe, everyone loved you.
Nef: I did build them a big new Amun temple, but they were not convinced. They kept suspecting I was really an Atenist.
Akh: And were you?
(She looks at him without answering)
Nef: I was only put there until your nephew Tutenkhaten was old enough to accept the crown of Egypt. The priests do not want another queen. He’s a fragile little kid but maybe he’ll make it. He reveres Aten like his Father did but maybe they can change that.
Akh: that awful plague seems to be still around, I guess that must have got to our daughters. At least we’re safe from that, out here in the desert.
Nef: (dries her eyes) Anyhow, for whatever the future holds for us, you’d better beef up a bit. Look at you, all skin and bones! Did you say you had a shepherd friend nearby, what was his name?
Akh: Jethro. Well maybe, but My Father Aten did not cut me out to be a shepherd. Sometimes I walk out to that mountain over there, Mount Sinai, where I talk to God. I’m still a royal Pharaoh you know.
Nef: No, you’re not! In fact your name is being deleted everywhere.
Akh: Look Nefertiti, here is my royal wand. See these fine, bronze serpents turning around it? I used to use this in the solemn Sed-festival rituals - only a real pharaoh can do that.
Nef: I hate to be the one who has to tell you this, but … you must grow a beard.
(Akhenaten walks around in shocked silence)
Akh: Me? A beard? By Aten, that will not happen! Beards are uncouth, only barbarians wear them.
Nef: Exactly, and you need to start looking like one, if you want to stay alive. You have a few loyal servants around here, but they won’t be much use if a posse of soldiers arrive, to take you back to the priests of Amun. Two pharaohs cannot be allowed to co-exist, in their view. Never has there been a situation like this, in the history of Egypt.
Our nephew Tutenkhaten will become the boy-king, Horemheb will look after him. You must not ever turn up, in his court.
Akh: They’ve just held a funeral for you, so you’d better not either! (They both laugh)

(Don't miss the next exciting episode!)
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrong forum, we deal with questions about the history of ancient egypt. Your contribution probably belongs more in a forum for amateur authors ...
Ägyptologie Forum (German)
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But, am I not presenting a view about the history of ancient Egypt?
I don't want to cause trouble, just delete it if you don't want it.

The above narrative is based on the fact that no body of Akhenaten can be found: ‘the mummy from KV55 – the father of Tutankhamun … is Smenkhare, Akhenaten’s younger brother… age of death around 20-21 years, which excludes Akhenaten’ (Nile Magazine, Jan. 2019, p.44). (2) Also, Nefertiti became the Pharaoh Neferneferuaten at 31 years, which lasted 3 years, then she allegedly met an ‘unexpected death,’ but ‘her mummy has not been genetically identified to date.’ Experts surmise that she was buried behind the ‘North Wall’ of Tut’s tomb, which shows how anxious they are to find her remains: ‘But still her mummy is lacking!’ (Ibid Nile Magazine p.49) The tomb KV62 was prepared for her but not used by her. So the two of them had lavish tombs prepared but no mummies found.

For the location of Serabit-al Khadim for Akhenaten’s exile, see Ahmed Osman Moses and Akhenaten (2002); also surmised by Flinders Petrie, see A History of Sinai by Linda Eckenstein his assistant (1920): ‘Signs of a connection of Sinai with the reforming king himself were not wanting, for among the work found inside the temenos of the temple was an inscribed limestone tablet, partly broken which showed a figure carefully wrought in the peculiar style of art which was favoured by Akhenaten as we know at Amarna.’ (p.60.).

For Nefertiti saying ‘five of our daughters died’ - ‘All the many other members of her family, including her mother, her husband, and five of her daughters, had died prior to Nefertiti’ (Dr Huber ‘Finding Nefertiti’ Dec-January Nile Magazine, 2019 p.45)
For Smenkhare (brother of Akh.) as ‘an outright Atenist’ - ‘All of the evidence we have of Smenkhare suggests that he was an Atenist, through and through.’ Dr Huber, ‘The Enigmatic Mummy from KV 55’ Nile Magazine June 2019, p.14. Thus Smenkhare ‘named his two children after Aten.’ – these would be (he reckons) Meritaten and Tutenkhaten.

For ‘[Akh’s] nephew Tutenkhaten’ – DNA shows Tutenkhamun was the son of the person put into mummy KV55, who died in their early twenties: believed to have been Smenkhare, Akhenaten’s brother. Tut could not be the son of Akhenaten because (a) Akhenaten never hinted that he had a son, he only displayed his six daughters, and (b) Tut married Akhenaten's daughter Ankhesenamun, and no royal marriage could be allowed between full brother and sister. Hence, Tut was Akhenaten's nephew.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Day 2: Akhenaten is in front of a crucible, trying to make copper. Ores of turquoise and malachite lie around.

Nef: It was so shocking that new sculpture you commissioned, it just shocked everyone.
Akh: (grins) Well it was meant to. I wanted to break the mould of millennia.
Nef: You certainly did that! … But I mean, to have you and me kissing together, under the beams of Aten, not to mention the see-thru negligée outfits your sculptor gave me … wasn’t that going too far? [1]
Akh: Aten is a god of love, we tried to show that. Maybe in some future epoch …
Nef: In the meantime his name is being hacked out everywhere, and replaced by Amun.
Akh: That old ***-god Amun. [2] Listen, as the royal couple, we were channelling the new god-energy to the people. People were happy in our city, weren’t they?
Nef: But what about the rest of the Empire, still the greatest ever in the world - from the Nile to the Euphrates? Your mighty great-great grandfather established It. Did we look after that?
Akh: I have never taken a life - unlike my predecessors.
Nef: Some day we could make the journey up north when things have quietened down a bit, and visit those Hebrew relatives of yours. [3] But it’s damp around that Nile delta, I hate it there.
Akh: I am slow of speech in that Hebrew language of theirs, [4] I learnt it in my childhood but doubt if I could manage it now.
Nef: You may have to. I believe those Hebrew relatives of yours might be receptive to your one-god belief. No-one else is going to want to hear about it, I can assure you.
Akh: (pacing up and down) Things will have to be different in the future. All this in-breeding of brothers and sisters, that has to stop! Look at how the young Tutenkhaten is so weak and sickly, why I doubt he’ll make it up to twenty. I bet that’s why our daughters died.
Nef: But darling, what about you and me? You don’t mean …
Akh: Yes, afraid so: you and me we are brother and sister, and that’s it! If there cannot be royalty without incest, then better not to have it.
Nef: It looks like they want Tutenkhaten to marry our daughter Ankhesenpaten. He’s the son of our first child Meritaten. So his wife will be the sister of his mother! [5]
Akh: Poor chap, marrying his aunt. It’s all so wrong, this incest has to stop.
Nef: Well I’m coming with you anyway. I might change my name to Myriam, I’ve always liked Myriam. [6]
Akh: What do you mean, coming with me? Where are we going? We’re not going anywhere, Nefertiti!
Nef: O yes we are. You can’t stay here forever you know.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Note to Day 2
1. “A Sex Goddess and a Queen: The Discovery and Analysis of the Lost Temple of Nefertiti,” Jacqueline Williamson, Harvard Divinity School, lecture November 2013.
2. “Amun created by his masturbation in Heliopolis, he put his phallus in his fist to excite his desire. Thereby the twins were born Shu and Tefnut” Pyramid Text Utterance 527.
3. This alludes to Ahmed Osman's thesis (Moses and Akhenaten,2002), that the Hebrew Joseph and his family came to interbreed with the 18th Dynasty pharaohs, so that the 'Amarna kings' had some Hebrew blood.
4.. Exodus 4:10 has Moses describing the difficulty he would have in communicating with the Hebrew tribes, then living around Goshen in the Nile estuary (Genesis Ch.47): ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent… I am slow of speech and of tongue.'
5. No-one knows Nefertiti's parentage. Ahmed Osman surmised that she and Akhenaten were siblings, of the same father Amenhotep III, ‘not by Tiye but by one of his other wives’: Moses and Akhenaten, p.181. (NB this view is not accepted in Nile Magazine ‘Finding Nefertiti’ Jan 2019, which reckons that Ay the last 18th -dynasty king, was her father.) A.O. explains: ‘Akhenaten, himself rejected on account of the non-royal origins of his mother, would not have married someone other than the heiress, the eldest daughter of Amenhotep III.’ (p180)
6. Myriam in Exodus is Moses’ sister, and came from Goshen, where the Hebrews dwelt. But NB she became jealous when he married a Cushite woman (Numbers 12) 'Myriam the prophetess' (Exodus 15;20) sounds like Nefertiti. Her key role in the Exodus is given in the Book of Micah, Ch. 6: 'For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.’
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Day III: The two sit outside the temple, gazing at the panorama of mountains.
Nef: So remind me, did your god Aten create the universe, alone and unaided?
Akh: Yes, of course He did. Why are you laughing? My great Hymn explained it all.
Nef: I love that hymn, it was the best thing you did:
And each eye looks back and beholds you
to learn from the day’s light perfection.
O God, you are in the Sun disk of Day

Akh: Over-Seer of all creation
–your legacy
passed on to all who shall every be

Nef: For you fashioned their sight, who perceive your universe,
that they praise with one voice
all your labors

Akh: And you are in my heart;
there is no other who truly knows you
but for your son, Akhenaten

Nef: May you make him wise with your inmost counsels,
wise with your power,
that earth may aspire to your godhead

Akh: its creatures fine as the day you made them.
Once you rose into shining, they lived;
when you sink to rest, they shall die

Nef: For it is you who are Time itself,
the span of the world;
life is by means of you

Akh: Eyes are filled with beauty
until you go to your rest;
All work is laid aside
as you sink down the western horizon

Nef: Well it sounded fine but I guess the people didn’t really like it. There was no story to it … plus, it had nothing to do with the Night or the Moon. How could people die, without, having Thoth or Osiris or Maat to help them on their journey into the Great beyond? Anyhow, it is all over now – finished and gone forever!
Akh: You made heaven far away just to rise in it, to see all you make,
Being unique and risen in your aspects of being

Nef: That will do! A religion of one God is fine for a centralised power-system, where any despot can take control once you’ve gone and claim to be the spokesman of it. Whereas, Egypt has its many gods maintaining a balance of different powers, with Maat the goddess of cosmic equilibrium maintaining the peace.
Egypt has gold and silver a-glittering on its glorious temples, which helped us to believe in its happy gods. But now we have to stay here, where it’s all copper. I love this turquoise head of your mother Tiye. Who made it? I guess there has been a special temple here for centuries. We’re so high up here in the mountain it was exhausting to climb up. But I can see here the veins of turquoise.

Akh (abstractly) In the future, the making of graven images will have to be banned. The people of Egypt have gotten far too fixated on divine powers as embodied in huge stone statues. The Divine Presence does not have form as such, it is without form.
Nef: You are so dogmatic, I can’t bear it! You don’t want any sculptures? But surely a divine power must have some image? Egyptian buildings are covered in such sculptures. Has not every pharaoh made them? You’ve lost me now. Nobody’s going to like that.
… If I may come back to your predicament here … I don’t know how to say this.
Akh: Out with it!
Nef: You must abandon your name ‘Akhenaten’.
Akh: What! That is my royal name, it means ‘Beloved of Aten.’ That is who I am.
Nef: Of course you are, and you always will be. But, not in your name. You were safe here as long as I was queen, but your young nephew Tutenkhaten will not have such control over things. From now on do not use that royal name – Egypt has held its funeral for Akhenaten. Just grow a beard and look a bit different, you will be OK.
Akh: My name! What will I be without my name! I can’t …
Nef: O yes you can. You will always have the aura of royalty, of being a real pharaoh, everyone around you will feel that. I’m sure the Aten has something in store for us. Something unexpected, where we’ve never been before.
Akh: Let’s hope so. But for now, and to help us admire this lovely sunset, I have here a bottle of your favourite pomegranate wine.
Nef: Perfect!
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