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Royal Cousins?
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chillie
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:03 pm    Post subject: Royal Cousins? Reply with quote

It always seems that Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun were very alone, but wouldn't they have had a whole mess of royal relatives? What happened to the women in Amenhotep and Akhenaten's harems? Did they have children who had govt careers or anything like that?

Do people know how many of Ay's family worked in govt?
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Royal Cousins? Reply with quote

chillie wrote:
It always seems that Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun were very alone, but wouldn't they have had a whole mess of royal relatives? What happened to the women in Amenhotep and Akhenaten's harems? Did they have children who had govt careers or anything like that?


We know nothing of the royal harems or how children not of the immediate royal family were treated. Such children remain silent in the history, as was the custom of the 18th Dynasty (Dodson 1990). Based upon the familial intimacy exhibited during the Amarna period, it's very possible that Akhenaten did not have children beyond the ones we know about. It would be unusual, if true, but a distinct possibility.

Of the 6 daughters - Meritaten, Maketaten, Ankhsenpaaten, Neferneferuaten-tasherit, Neferure, and Setepenre - only Ankhsenpaaten is known to have survived until the reign of Tutankhamun, when she married her (half-)brother Tutankhaten and both reverted their names to -amun extensions. It's not clear how all of the other sisters fared, but we do know that Maketaten died about Year 12, but Neferure and Setepenre seem to have died about the same time as Akhenaten (Year 17), and possible excavated tomb sites have been located for them at Amarna. However, there is little or no evidence of burials so we're faced with the fact they appear to "disappear" about the same time as Akhenaten in Year 17.

As for the eldest daughter, Meritaten, we know she served as her father's chief queen after the "disappearance" of Nefertiti about Year 12. But Meritaten also shows up again in the tomb of Meryre (de Garies Davies 1905), in a scene showing Smenkhkare as regent with Meritaten as his Great Royal Wife. The implication seems to be that Meritaten survived at least until the reign of Smenkhkare, but perhaps no longer than that.

The daughter of which we know almost nothing about is Neferneferuaten-tasherit. There is no evidence of her life or death beyond what few references we have of her at Amarna.

The preceding king to Smenkhkare, known in Egyptology as "King Neferneferuaten," could have been one of the possibilities:

1) Nefertiti (Samson 1978; Harris 1973);
2) Meritaten (Gabolde 1998)
3) Neferneferuaten-tasherit (Allen 2007)

Whatever the case, this individual did not survive through the reign of Tutankhamun.

So, there could not have been much in the way of "family" for Tutankhamun and Ankhsenamun. Both parents were probably dead by the time of the acession by Tutankhamun, and all of Ankhsenamun's sisters also appear to have disappeared from the record, and are assumed to have died. As part of the immediate royal family, they may not have even know any of the harem of the father, and possibly none of the secondary children of the king.

These individuals from the harem, if such existed at Amarna, if they do not have a chance of ascending the throne, may have been married off to noble families. That was not an unusual practice, for men or women of the royal household, as we have records from the Old and Middle Kingdom periods onwards showing such marriages (Ward 1986).

chillie wrote:
Do people know how many of Ay's family worked in govt?


We actually know very little about Ay, except that he was married to a woman named Tiy, who served as "nurse" to Nefertiti - and that he became prominent in the Amarna court. It's thought that Ay may have come from the city of Akhmim, but that isn't certain (Schaden 1977). That is pretty much it.

One thing we can there is is no basis in actual evidence is the following:

a) That Ay was Nefertiti's father: a popular but speculative theory but there is no evidence for the statement. Most modern Egyptologists do not adhere to this speculation these days.

b) That Ay was related to Queen Tiye - again a speculative theory, popular in the first half of the 20th century, but unfounded as to actual information. Ay never claims a filiation with the queen (Schaden 1977), and considering her brother and her parents did so at certain times during their lives, it would be expected that were he related to Tiye, Ay surely would have listed it.

c) That Ay murdered Tutankhamun and/or is the "servant" referred to in the "Egyptian Queen" correspondence. Both come from popular books, which claim a somewhat deceitful and murderous man in Ay, but when facts are presented you are faced with one insurmountable problem:

Tutankhamun was not murdered.

End of story.

Rather Tutankhamun was most likely killed by gangrene brought upon by an injury in a fall from a chariot, either while hunting or riding. The injury to his left leg was found during a CT scan in 2005, and the evidence of gas gangrene shows the king likely expired from a bacterial infection probably within 5 days of the initial injury (Williams 2005).

As for the presumption that Ay was the "servant" of the "Egyptian queen" correspondence with the Hittites: this seems more a biased assumption as there were, after all, at least two known possible candidates who would have fit the description - Ay and Horemheb - and possibly even more. If Ankhsenamun is the queen of the correspondence, her position alone would have made her vulnerable to any number of unscrupulous courtiers who wished to advance their position by marrying the widowed Egyptian queen.

However, during Tutankhamun's lifetime, Ay was named as vizier and as /it nTr/, a respected mentor position to the king. In short, Ay probably would have been highly trusted by the king and possibly the queen, which may explain why her cartouche is briefly associated with Ay at the beginning of his reign. This is not to say that Ay was not the person referred to as the "servant" which the Egyptian queen did not wish to marry, but I think it's important to recall that Ay was not the only possible person who fits the "servant" decription - Horemheb does as well, and there may have been others. Horemheb was definitely politically ambitious, as his Coronation Decree, some years later, indicates.

Reference:

Allen, J. 1007. The Amarna Succession. In Causing His Name to Live: Studies in Egyptian Epigraphy and History in Memory of William J. Murnane. (Online PDF).

de Garies Davies, N. 1905. The Rock Tombs of El Amarna, Part II: The Tombs of Panehesy and Meryra II. Archaeological Survey of Egypt. F. L. Griffith. London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

Dodson, A. 1990. Crown Prince Djhutmose and the Royal Sons of the Eighteenth Dynasty. JEA 76: 87-96.

Gabolde, M. 1998. D'Akhenaton à Tutânkhamon. Collection de l'Institut d'Archaeologie et d'Histoire de l'Antiquite 3. Lyon/Paris: Universite Lumiere-Lyon 2, Institut d'Archaeologie et d'Histoire de l'Antiquite/Diffusion de Boccard.

Harris, J. R. 1973. Nefertiti rediviva. AcOr (Copenhagen) 35: 5-13.

_________. 1973. Nefernefruaten. Göttinger Miszellen: 15-17.

Samson, J. 1978. Amarna. City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Nefertiti as Pharaoh. Warminster: Aris & Phillips Ltd.

Schaden, O. J. 1977. The God's Father, Ay. Ph.D. Dissertation (Unpublished). History. Minneapolis:University of Minnesota.

Ward, W. A. 1986. Essays on Feminine Titles of the Middle Kingdom and Related Subjects. Beirut: American University of Beirut.

Williams, A. R. 2005. Modern Technology Reopens the Ancient Case of King Tut. National Geographic/June 2005: 2-19.

HTH.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That seems very strange that we know of none of Tut's half brothers or sisters. I can't imagine that Akhenaten avoided his harem, since he didn't have problems taking his own daughters to bed, never mind his concubines. Would there be some reason for them not to be mentioned?
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

there is no evidence akhenaten slept with his daughters. he married a few it seems, to replace nefetiti, but there is no evidence he actually consummated these marriages. ramses II also married his daughters, and there are no known offspring with them either.

there are two small princesses names known from amarna that imply meketaten and ankhsenamun are their mothers, but current opinion i think, is they are the daughters of akhenaten and kiya.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chillie wrote:
That seems very strange that we know of none of Tut's half brothers or sisters. I can't imagine that Akhenaten avoided his harem, since he didn't have problems taking his own daughters to bed, never mind his concubines. Would there be some reason for them not to be mentioned?


Akhenaten seems to have broken the mould in many ways from his predecessors, and his emphasis upon his GRW Nefertiti and his children from that marriage seems very clear. Kiya, OTOH, wasn't even known about in Egyptology until the 1970's, when Perepelkin wrote about her and the evidence for her existence in the following publication

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

The fact that Chamber Alpha on the Royal Tomb at Amarna seems to reflect the death of Kiya, with the GRW Nefertiti in attendance at the death of Kiya implies to many that Akhenaten may have not had too many secondary wives.

Many times, harems were political constructs - in other words, ways for vassal kings to assure their prominence in royal courts of Egypt by sending daughters and sisters to the king of Egypt to gain influence. This does not mean that necessarily the king had anything to do with all of these women. To him, they may have seemed like ladies in waiting to his mundane needs or those of his Great Royal Wife - in short, a non-sexual interaction.

I am not trying to imply that Akhenaten did not have other wives, but if his iconography is anything to base an idea of family upon, one would think that if he had royal sons with whom he intended to pass on his throne, we might have read about or seen representations of them at Amarna. However, we don't have this. Akhenaten was rather clear about showing his daughters in royal iconography, and one would think that as he aged, a son might be shown, just as Crown prince Thutmose was shown with Amenhotep III, or sons of Thutmose IV (including Amenhotep III) are show with their tutor in the royal tombs.

But, for example, the only representation we have of Tutankhamun in such a fashion is with his nurse Maia. and we can tell, from the scene's elements, this was made after the reign of Akhenaten had ended and Tutankhamun was already a reigning king, and thus was not an example of an Amarna period representation of the young prince.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been offered suggestions (on this forum) that Tut was not depicted with his father because there was some sort of tradition against showing the royal princes for their own safety. I'm not saying I agree or disagree with that, but he is named as a king's son, and unless there was a very long co-regency between Akhenaten and his father, it is unlikely that Tutankhamun's father was Amunhotep 3. Were he a child of anyone else, such as a nobleman, it doesn't make sense that he would be elevated to Pharaoh.
With the "Junior" girls, it seems fairly improbable that anyone other than Akhenaten would be the father, and there is indication that Meketaten died in childbirth around age 13, which supports the fact that the junior girls were not Kiya's or Nefertiti's (also... was Nefertiti still in the picture this late?), but daughters of the girls whom they were named after. There would be no other possible father for Meketaten's child, because for another man to have fathered the princess' daughter, she would have been married to this person and they would have titles and a high position in the govt. I think that, as ugly as it is, the evidence is fairly strong that these children are from incestuous relationships.

I'm interested in finding out how women would have been selected for the harem, specifically Egyptian women. The foreign women were put in the harem for diplomatic reasons. I suspect that the Egyptian women were also selected strategically, to cement bonds between the royal family and other powerful families. I am under the opinion that when Amunhotep died, his women went to Akhenaten, and so likely when Akhenaten died, Tutankhamun would have inherited those of his women who weren't too old.
I would think that these family connections would be very important, and that Tut's half-brothers and sisters, and even Akhenaten's, would have been given a place in the "family business" because it would have helped them retain power.
What would have happened to these children when Tutankhamun took over? Would they live, and identify with their mother's or father's families? This is why it's so important for me to know how the harem women were selected.
I'm searching for anything showing the structure of power in this time, because I think that's where the answers to all the questions around this time might lie. Family seems to have been very important then, and it's very important for monarchies (like in Saudi Arabia, for example. Family was one of King Abdul Aziz's greatest assets, "He built his kingdom with a sword of steel and a sword of flesh" Robert Percy, The Kingdom).
At this point I am not convinced that there wasn't something shady in the days between Tutankhamun's death and Ay's coronation. If it were possible to know how Ay's family was positioned in the land, and what was the extend of Tutankhamun's family, and how much they were connected, that might be revealing.
It would also be interesting to know where the priests of Amun came from (because I recall that by this time, priesthoods were passing father to son or brother or cousin, whether unofficially or not). Did Wennefer have connections to the pre-Akhenaten Karnak, was he kin to Ay or anyone else (I think I read that he may have been Maya's brother??), were his daughters in Tutankhamun's harem...?
I imagine that Akhenaten intentionally or accidentally created a great power vaccuum with his Atenism, and how it filled up is essential to understanding this period! I am very grateful for everyone for adding to my understanding!
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chillie wrote:

I've been offered suggestions (on this forum) that Tut was not depicted with his father because there was some sort of tradition against showing the royal princes for their own safety.


i think it was mentioned that if the public knew how many sons there were, they could be targets of assassination. the 18th dynasty practised hiding the sons, why would akhenaten do any different? most of his changes seem to be a religious motive. abiding by tradition if it gave a good point, wouldnt hurt him, especially if it was of a political not a religious nature. ramses II is the first king i believe to boast of how many sons he had. with around 50, who wouldnt? it does remind me of how his descendants intermarried and probably fought for the throne at the end of the 19th dynasty, similar to edward III and the wars of the roses.

chillie wrote:
With the "Junior" girls, it seems fairly improbable that anyone other than Akhenaten would be the father, and there is indication that Meketaten died in childbirth around age 13, which supports the fact that the junior girls were not Kiya's or Nefertiti's (also... was Nefertiti still in the picture this late?), but daughters of the girls whom they were named after.


just because there is know name of the father does not mean that they are a royal princesses. meketaten could have married, or maybe like any teenager, she experimented, possibly with a serving boy? there is no evidence of akhenaten fathering children with his own children. i dont know if these junior's had any titles, maybe neseret can clarify that, but i think those children were named after their older half sisters, and are daughters of a minor wife. the theory that kiya is their mother seems plausible, or else people wouldnt run with it.

chillie wrote:
I would think that these family connections would be very important, and that Tut's half-brothers and sisters, and even Akhenaten's, would have been given a place in the "family business" because it would have helped them retain power


the point is tutankhamun had no known half siblings apart from nefertiti's daughters, and maybe the junior girls. who knows, those junior girls maybe the daughters of tutankhamun and ankhsenamun? i dont know much about them. but i do agree that there would be male line descendants of the 18th dynasty kings. that makes me wonder if ay and horemheb, possibly the rammesides, were of royal blood, in a legal position to take the throne. i find it hard to believe there would be living descendants of the earlier pharoahs who could take the throne.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kylejustin wrote:
but i do agree that there would be male line descendants of the 18th dynasty kings. that makes me wonder if ay and horemheb, possibly the rammesides, were of royal blood, in a legal position to take the throne. i find it hard to believe there would be living descendants of the earlier pharoahs who could take the throne.


IF these men were in fact relatives, you would have had no "Egyptian queen" correspondence. Period. Whether you want to think the author was Nefertiti, Meritaten or Akhsenamun, the result is the same. Yet, the queen, the ambassador Chani, and eventually Suppiluliumas were clear that there were no male relatives from whom an Egyptian king could be found. Had Ay or Horemheb been relatives, blood being thicker than water, the "Egyptian Queen" would have married one of them long before asking for a Hittite prince.

Ay is clearly a noble, even at Amarna. But as Schaden noted in his 1977 dissertation about Ay, the fact was he was a high-ranked military officer (/imy r ssmt/, 'overseer of the horses' - a chariot officer title), and this seems to be his main connection to the royal court at the beginning (Schaden 1977: 8 ). This position implies no direct crelationship to the royal house, as it was not one of the higher ranking positions within the army. Later, Ay acquired tutor status to the royal household, as /it nTr/, 'father of the god' (Schaden 1977: 9), which is a mentor position assumed by statesmen to princes of the royal house (Janssen and Janssen 2007: 107-109; 211-219). Such positions were usually chosen within the royal court, possibly by the reiginng king, for tutelage of his children. This position made Ay, without a doubt, a close intimate within the royal household, probably first as a tutor to Akhenaten and later, to Tutankhamun.

But this did not mean Ay was a relative. Later, Ay calls Tutankhamun his "son" but this is always interpreted by most Egyptologists as Ay's method of justifiying his position on the throne of Egypt, as a means of filiating himself with his predecessor, Tutankhamun, who in no way ever claimed any relationship with Ay as a relative whatsoever.

Horemheb, on the other hand, acknowledges in his Coronation Decree that he was appointed Deputy Regent by the king (assumed to be Tutankhamun, though he does not name him - in keeping with his later wiping out of Tutankhamun's memory and Horemheb claiming his reign begins after Amenhotep III). However, at no time does Horemheb ever claim direct relationship with any king - as a son, brother, uncle, nephew, etc. Rather he claims that he is acknowledged by a deity, called the "Lord of Hnes", which is a localised form of Horus from Horemheb's home district, in a ritual ceremony, and is told that he is chosen by the deity to be the next king.

Now, these forms of "oracular decrees" are usually used by kings whose actual claim to the throne is tenuous, and they are used as a means of justifying their assumption to the throne. These "oracular decrees" comes in various forms:

a) deity formally naming/acknowledging the individual as king: This occurred in the case of both Horemheb and Thutmose III, who claimed at his coronation that he was chosen king when the image of Amun "bowed" to him during a ritual ceremony.

b) Divine Birth cycle decree: in this form of "oracular" decree, a myth is told that a prince (or princess) is actually not only a member of the royal household, but that he/she is physically conceived by the god, which means he/she is chosen above all other siblings to rule. The "Divine Birth cycle" myth is first used, as I recall, by Hatshepsut, but is also utilised by Amenhotep III (this seemed to be used during one of his Heb Seds, probably as a means to creating him as a god on earth).

c) Finally, there is the oracular decrees style of a specific event which appears as a woundrous event or miracle involving the individual, which means he is favoured by the gods from his less than royal position to become king. This is known to have been utilised successfully by two kings - Amenemhat I, who claimed that when he was the vizier of Mentuhotep III, while on an expedition to find stone for the king's sarcophagus, a gazelle appeared in the midst before him and found the stone he sought, and blessed it further by giving birth upon it. Such an event this was that the expedition team saw this as Amenemhat being chosen by the gods as the next king.

The other best-known example of "specific event" which elevated an individual to kingship would be, of course, Thutmose IV who, as a prince, clamed to sleep under the shadow of the buried Sphinx at Giza, and was told in a dream that if he cleared away the sand from the structure, he would become king. So he cleared away the sand, and later he became king, memorializing this dream bargain by a stela which stood between the paws of the Sphinx. In Thutmose's case, he was considered to have been a minor son of Amenhotep II, and not in line for the throne, so it's assumed the crown prince who preceded him may have died or was disgraced, leaving the opening for him to assume the throne, but this "dream" story was created to say that, of course, he was always meant to be king.

The Ramessides always acknowledged that they owed their dynastic position as kings to Horemheb, and that they were chosen by him as his successor. They never claimed, as far as I can see, that they were related to the preceding dynasty (except in the way that all Egyptian kings tended to look at their predecessors as part of a very exclusive club of sorts).

The Ramesside origins were humble, as they appear to have been rank and file military family located in the Delta. The first of their line, Ramses I, was a stable master during the reign of Tutankhamun (Cruz-Uribe 1978), who eventually worked his way up the line to become comrade in arms with Horemheb during the latter's military days, later to scribe to Horemheb as general of armies under Tutankhamun, and eventually as vizier under Horemheb during his years as king (particularly after the disappearance of another scribe attached to Horemheb called Sementawy, whose image Ramses replaces on Horemheb's Saqqara tomb (Martin 1991: 72-73)).



So, while it seems to be a penchant of many to want certain non-royal rulers to "somehow" be related to royalty, in the case of Ay, Horemheb and the Ramessides this is particularly known from texts and iconography not to be true.

Reference:

Cruz-Uribe, E. 1978. The Father of Ramses I: OI 11456. JNES 37/3: 237-244.

Janssen, R. M. and J. J. Janssen 2007. Growing Up and Getting Old in Ancient Egypt. London: Golden House Publications.

Martin, G. T. 1991. The Hidden Tombs of Memphis: New Discoveries from the Times of Tutankhamun and Ramesses the Great. New Aspects of Antiquity. C. Renfrew. New York: Thames and Hudson.

Schaden, O. J. 1977. The God's Father, Ay. Ph.D. Dissertation (Unpublished). History. Minneapolis:University of Minnesota.

HTH.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks neseret. i know that they never claimed blood with the ruling house, but when i say possibly related, i mean maybe a drop of royal blood from the ahmosid or early thutmosid pharoahs. but then again, if a noble was a descendant of a king, have they been known to publicize it? european nobility always showed off royal lineage, is it something known in ancient egypt?

and thank you for the info on ramses I before pharoah. i always wondered about him pre horemheb.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

with all the harem women i can't imagine that the ruling family would have been too small!
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chillie wrote:
with all the harem women i can't imagine that the ruling family would have been too small!

Life conditions in AE were radically different from how "easy" life and survival is now.
Not talking about the occasional getting-eaten-by-a-crocodile, but the way fewer means of medicine and hygiene.
You have to consider a very high percentage of infant mortality, an average life expectancy of about 25...
Not to mention that a simple fall or breaking of bones could result in infections, fever and death.
If you take a look at how hard life was only a century ago, you get a small impression of how hard it must have been millennia ago.
The royal houses may have had easier access to better care, but they weren't spared of life's hardship.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kylejustin wrote:
thanks neseret. i know that they never claimed blood with the ruling house, but when i say possibly related, i mean maybe a drop of royal blood from the ahmosid or early thutmosid pharoahs. but then again, if a noble was a descendant of a king, have they been known to publicize it? european nobility always showed off royal lineage, is it something known in ancient egypt?


If a newly seated king were related to the immediate royal family, he would have stated something along the line of, "I am the son/grandson/brother (which could be a broad term, BTW) with X king..." Claiming a family relationship - even by marriage - was a far better way of justifying your position on the throne rather than claiming an "oracular decree" of a god, or even a decree from the king himself (which was how Hatshepsut first justified her position as pharaoh, by claiming her father had named her as the next pharaoh after Thutmose I's death, and not her husband, Thutmose II).

Note that Tutankhamun, for example, never claims direct relationship with Akhenaten, but with Amenhotep III. Of course, the term he uses might translate as "father" or "grandfather," so we don't know the exact relationship, but the fact he makes the statement of family relationship means he was claiming a very strong rationale which justified his position on the throne.

So, had Ay or Horemheb wanted to claim they were related to Amenhotep III, who was considered the greatest king of living memory, they would have done so. Both tended to ignore Akhenaten, although Ay claimed a "relationship" of sorts with Tutankhamun. Horemheb ignored Tutankhamun, Akhenaten and the other post-Amarna kings, including Ay, and dated his reign as beginning right after Amenhotep III. This is historical revisionism at its best.

Even Thutmose I, who probably was not related directly to Amehotep I, but to whom he owed his accession to the throne, continued to honour the Ahmosid king Amenhotep I as the "founder" of his (Thutmosid) dynastic line, and probably cared for Amenhotep I's mother, Ahmose-Nefertari, until her death. Afterwards, Thutmose I appears to have been instrumental in getting these two royals deified and promoted their worship as deities during his reign.

HTH.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That isolated inscription of Tutankhamen mentioning his (either) father or grandfather being Amenhotep III is the basis of the belief in a long co-regency between Amenhotep III and Akhenaten, (Amenhotep IV) making Amenhotep III his father. (which I believe is correct)
Even if it was a common practise for Egyptian kings not to refer to their sons, if Akhenaten were his father, I would think that there would be SOME mention of such a fact, if not in Akhenaten's inscriptions/statuary/reliefs, then in Tutankhamen's.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Osiris II wrote:
That isolated inscription of Tutankhamen mentioning his (either) father or grandfather being Amenhotep III is the basis of the belief in a long co-regency between Amenhotep III and Akhenaten, (Amenhotep IV) making Amenhotep III his father. (which I believe is correct)


The Tutankhamun inscription is actually not considered evidence of a co-regency between Akhenaten and Amehotep III. As Murnane noted in his work on Egyptian co-regencies (1977), there are a number of items which can argue a co-regency (and yet, even against it), which makes it a rather vague proposition over all:

a) Amarna Letter EA 27, a letter from Tushratta, king of Mitanni, to Akhenaten, presumably right after the death of Amehotep III, which is docketed as occurring in either "regnal Year 2" of "regnal Year (1)2".

However, as Murnane noted, the context of the letter has been interpreted as a "festival of mourning" implying the time it was written was directly after the death of the elder regent. However, in more recent understanding of the Akkadian, in which the letter was written, has brought into doubt whether the term "festival of mourning" /kimri/ was a correct translation of the phrase in EA 27, as other uses of the term /kimr(um)/ do not imply mourning at all. Thus, if the reference in EA 27 is to a festival (to a deity, to a season/agricultural event, etc.), and not to a mourning period for the death of the elder king, then a reading of Year 12 or year 2 would not imply any form of co-regency (Murnane 1977: 125).

b) Graffito from Meidum dated to Year 30 of Amenhotep III's reign which implied the establishment of a coregency - this interpretation is also disputed (Murnane 1977: 126-127);

c) An alleged Amarna residence for Amenhotep III at Amarna: as Murnane notes, this could argue more for a residence for Tiye than Amenhotep III along with a mortuary cult for Amenhotep III at Amarna (Murnane 1977: 127-130), as well as representations of the elder king within various Amarna noble tombs being worshipped. Considering, as Murnane notes, that Amenhotep III was deified during his lifetime, worship of the king by Amarna residents does not necessarily give credence to the idea that he is actually alive at Amarna, as deified humans are also worshipped more extensively after their death (Murnane 1977: 130-156).

d) Speculation of co-regency (long and short) has arisen from a review of legal and business documents dating from Year 27 of Amehotep III to years 2-3 of Akhenaten, which to some scholars seem to imply that since the parties in these transactions are the same, that perhaps the dates were actually evidence of a co-regency. As Murnane notes, "...much ingenuity has been expended in trying to show that the transactions must have taken place over a decade or more..." (Murnane 1977: 156-157). However, Murnane wisely notes, without knowing the cirumstances of the transactions, the affluence of the parties (as to number of transactions and intent), any such arguments on either side (co-regency evident or not) is merely speculative; and finally

e) various iconographic representations and inscriptions of the cartouches of the two kings in noble tombs, and monument fragments at Aswan, Athribis and Karnak against can argue for a co-regency, or, contra, for a fully developed mortuary cult for the deified Amenhotep III(Murnane 1977: 157-169).

Of these examples, only the Arthribis block to Murnane held any credibility of a possible co-regency, but even he admits that the juxtaposition of the images and cartouches of the two kings together has no architectural context (it's a freestanding block, not part of any structure) and could have been part of a larger dado of a procession of kings, as in a kinglist fashion (Murnane 1977: 162).

Harris (1975) noted three more possible items which argued for a co-regency: a passage from the earlier boundary stelae (Urk. IV, 1975, 9-13), and an offering table and a wooden stela from Gurob (Urk. IV, 1769-1770), both mentioning an apparently dead dead Amenhotep III.

Murnane took all of these items into account within his review of the co-regency question of Akhenaten and Amenhotep III and found that no one item could definitely prove a co-regency, such that he concluded that

...I have attempted to isolate the particular burden of proof borne by each piece of evidence and to distinguish the concrete from the merely speculative. Many of the proofs advanced for this coregency fall into the latter category, and only one piece—the block from Athribis—has, in my opinion, much plausibility. Precisely how much weight is to be attached to juxtapositions of names or figures is one of the questions to be investigated in Chapter 4, and a final decision on the coregency of Amenophis III and his son must necessarily wait until then.

When one gets to his discussion in Chapter 4, one finds that even there the Arthribis block, which Murnane claimed as the best evidence, could also be interpreted merely as a commemorative piece and that "...none of (the proposed evidence of co-regency) could be reckoned as convincing proof..." (Murnane 1977: 231).

Osiris II wrote:
Even if it was a common practise for Egyptian kings not to refer to their sons, if Akhenaten were his father, I would think that there would be SOME mention of such a fact, if not in Akhenaten's inscriptions/statuary/reliefs, then in Tutankhamen's.


I'm not sure why you think a reference to one's father has to be made. It wasn't that common for a king to refer to a preceding king, even if a father, as a father, but only as preceding regent before the present king. Here, Tutankhamun does not even reference Akhenaten at all during his lifetime, as a preceding king, much less as a father.

The only evidence we have in which Tutankhamun is named as a "son of the king's own body" is upon a block at Hermopolis, and it is merely assumed that king is Akhenaten because a) most blocks found at Hermopolis came from Amarna, and ergo, b) the reigning king at Amarna was Akhenaten.

However, this is jumping to assumptions, IMO. For one, more kings than Akhenaten ruled at Amarna, including (possibly) Amenhotep III, 'King Neferneferuaten', Smenkhkare - and most importantly - Tutankhaten/Tutankhamun.

Like the Arthribis block, the Hermopolis block has no context, and so we don't know how the inscription was meant to be read and who is making the statement: which king, for example? Is it a contemporaneous inscription of Tutankhamun's youth, or, as has been argued, is a proleptic* statement possbly made by Tutankhamun himself? Such statements are not unknown in Egyptian inscriptions, where a king will claim something occurred or a relationship claimed, but after the fact as a means to justify his position on the throne.

* A prolepsis is an assigning of a person, event, etc., to a period earlier than the actual one; the representation of something in the future as if it already existed or had occurred; a prochronism.

Reference:

Harris, J. R. 1975. Contributions to the History of the Eighteenth Dynasty. SAK 2: 95-101.

Murnane, W. J. 1977. Ancient Egyptian Coregencies. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilizations (SAOC) 40. Chicago: Oriental Institute.

HTH.
_________________
Katherine Griffis-Greenberg

Doctoral Candidate
Oriental Institute
Oriental Studies
Doctoral Programme [Egyptology]
Oxford University
Oxford, United Kingdom
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Read my post more carefully. You will note, that I began it with "if". In no way did I suggest that Egyptian kings had to refer to any sons. The question of a co-regency has, as you say, been long debated, with both pro and con conclusions. In my opinion, and only in my opinion, the evidence points to there being a co-regency.
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