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Why Names of Akhenaten's Children ?
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SaintGermain
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once again, the names of the princesses:

1. Meritaten
2. Meketaten
3. Ankhesenpaaten
4. Neferneferuaten Tasherit
5. Neferneferure
6. Setepenre

As one might expect, the first four names were chosen to indicate a close relationship of the child with the Aten. Meritaten, of course, means "Beloved of the Aten". That one is easy but the name of her sister, transliterated "makt-itn" is not. Wiki claims the name could mean "Behold the Aten" or "Protected by Aten" but I don't think the first translation is allowed by the fact that "makt" has a feminine ending and should be a kind of noun the same as "mryt" or "Merit" as we often write it. There are hardly any Egyptian words that have the signs that make up "mak" together. Hannig's dictionary doesn't even have the verb "mak", meaning "to protect" but Gardiner's grammar has it. Faulkner doesn't have such a verb, either, but only "makA" meaning "brave", which Hannig also contains. Regardless, I don't think "protected by the Aten" can be right because such a name would require a preposition. But "of" is often omitted in names so perhaps "Protectress of the Aten" can be there. That would certainly indicate a powerful relationship with the Aten--but I am unsure of the actual existence of a noun "makt" [protectress] as it is not in the dictionary nor is there even "mak" meaning to protect as a verb. I wish Gardiner was still alive so I could ask him where he saw it.

The next name "anx=s n pA-itn" is more straightforward again. It means "she lives for the Aten" or perhaps "through the Aten" because the preposition "n" has more than one meaning. Neferneferuaten is certainly grandiose, meaning "Beauty of the beauties of the Aten", this time all prepositions being deemed unnecessary, and then "the younger" .

I think because their names are so alike, Neferneferuaten the Younger and Neferneferure might have been twins, those two little girls seen sitting on pillows in a scene from somewhere at Amarna. I doubt the sudden use of Re in a name is any more significant than that. Ra is the sun and so is the Aten. It is just a different aspect because one specifically means "disc". After that all the most grandiose names associated with the Aten have started to get used up. There is also a princess living at court named Baketaten ["handmaiden of the Aten"] so that name has been taken, as well. stp-n-ra means "Chosen by Ra". Easy, that one. But the best name of all is yet to come and it wasn't given to a girl. It was "twt-anx[w]-itn", or "The Living Image of the Aten. Really, the Aten and Ra are like enough in concept so there really is no great change in their usage and too much should probably not be read into it.
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Ikon
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to come at what Meketaten may mean by a slightly different route and look at what the general trend of the meaning of the other Aten names may show.

We have Meritaten Beloved of the Aten, which is the most straight forward name and I cannot think of any deeper meaning.

Then Ankhesenpaaten She lives for the Aten, which I think needs expanding on. At face value it says something obvious, but I would say that it could be read as something deeper, that her whole life, her being, is for the Aten, rather in the way that the life of a person of profound religious conviction today could be entirely for the service of their God.

Then Neferneferuaten Beauty of the beauties of the Aten Which I would read as meaning that she expresses all that is good about the Aten, that she is the embodiment of these qualities.

Now Tutankhaten The living image of the Aten I pointed out more than once on the 001K thread that this name, as SaintGermain also makes very clear, is a very strong name, the strongest of all of them. Does it though mean that he was the visible image of the Aten, or that he was to be seen as so. It looks good as Amunhotep III was also the "Dazzling Aten", but does tut actually mean image in such straight forward terms, or does it mean that the holder of the name, while not being the actual god, has the qualities of the god.

What Meketaten actually means I could not say as it looks ambiguous. Protected could be a thing, and it would fit with Meritaten being Beloved, but the name also gets translated in languages other than English as not just beholder but also as "Here is the Aten" and "The one who looks at the Aten", with perhaps the nickname, "The blinded one", well, come on. But more seriously, perhaps the name is saying that this is a person who looks to the Aten in the same way that any religious person looks to their God, for guidance, and yes, for protection as well.

It seems to me that what most of these Aten names are saying is that the holder of the name is bound to the Aten in religious devotion and is to live their lives in the service of the god, and in a manner doing honour to the god. Our names have meaning to us of course, but they don't really have such depth of meaning, and it seems that Akhenaten and Nefertiti were placing a burden of expectation on a new born child that other names, such as Thutmose, do not have. They seem to be not so much names, as religious doctrine, and that's why I've looked at Meketaten in a slighly different way. It all may seem obvious, but the meaning of their names doesn't really ever seem to get a proper airing, and I've just done not much more than think aloud.
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SaintGermain
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2021 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ikon wrote:
Now Tutankhaten The living image of the Aten I pointed out more than once on the 001K thread that this name, as SaintGermain also makes very clear, is a very strong name, the strongest of all of them. Does it though mean that he was the visible image of the Aten, or that he was to be seen as so. It looks good as Amunhotep III was also the "Dazzling Aten", but does tut actually mean image in such straight forward terms, or does it mean that the holder of the name, while not being the actual god, has the qualities of the god.


Yes, the noun "twt" is image and sometimes has the determinative of a statue. But it is not going to have the connotation of "statue" in the name of a person and, besides, there cannot be an image of the Aten in statue form because he is neither humanoid nor animal. However, a person is not going to resemble a heavenly body except in a metaphoric fashion. So, probably, the aspect of the Aten to which the child can be the "image" is radiance. Something like ladies' faces in bygone days being compared to the Milky Way because they were fair. Eyes like stars, etc. Luminous as the moon.

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What Meketaten actually means I could not say as it looks ambiguous. Protected could be a thing, and it would fit with Meritaten being Beloved, but the name also gets translated in languages other than English as not just beholder but also as "Here is the Aten" and "The one who looks at the Aten", with perhaps the nickname, "The blinded one", well, come on. But more seriously, perhaps the name is saying that this is a person who looks to the Aten in the same way that any religious person looks to their God, for guidance, and yes, for protection as well.


When it comes to "beholding", that is one of the ways the imperative "mak" has been translated--"See" and another way is antiquated "Lo". But nobody really knows what the most precise translation of "mak" should be. "Mak" is how the phrases that make up the Duties of the Vizier in the tomb of Rekhmire are begun. Naturally, "mak" is not at the start of every phrase in every text, so perhaps it was something to emphasize the importance of what was being said. After all, Rekhmire has something written or said to him by Thutmose III copied in his tomb. Gardiner discusses "mak" in paragraph 322 [page 246] of his grammar. The example he gives is "Behold, we have reached home." This is confusing because when somebody says this they might be exhorting someone to look at something, perhaps in the distance. But not every phrase beginning with "mak" would be telling someone to look at something and I don't see "mak" as a verb meaning "to see" or "to look at". So I think, in other cases, a more suitable translation would be the Biblical "Lo"--which means exactly what? Fot sure, "mak" is not a noun so would not have the feminine ending, as "makt" does. Far more likely to have something to do with protection.
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