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Amarna Sunset

Amarna Sunset: Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, Ay, Horemheb, and the Egyptian Counter-Reformation

Aidan Dodson
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Amarna Sunset
    Book Description:

    This new study, drawing on the latest research, tells the story of the decline and fall of the pharaoh Akhenaten’s religious revolution in the fourteenth century bc. Beginning at the regime’s high-point in his Year 12, it traces the subsequent collapse that saw the deaths of many of the king’s loved ones, his attempts to guarantee the revolution through co-rulers, and the last frenzied assault on the god Amun. The book then outlines the events of the subsequent five decades that saw the extinction of the royal line, an attempt to place a foreigner on Egypt’s throne, and the accession of three army officers in turn. Among its conclusions are that the mother of Tutankhamun was none other than Nefertiti, and that the queen was joint-pharaoh in turn with both her husband Akhenaten and her son. As such, she was herself instrumental in beginning the return to orthodoxy, undoing her erstwhile husband’s life-work before her own mysterious disappearance.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-050-4
    Subjects: History, Archaeology, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xiii)
  4. MAPS
    (pp. xiv-xviii)
    (pp. xix-xx)
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
    (pp. 1-10)

    The middle of the fourteenth century bc saw Egypt at the height of her powers. The conquests of the Thutmoside kings of the earlier part of the Eighteenth Dynasty (fig. 1) had created a network of client states stretching some six hundred kilometers up into Syria, while her Nubian possessions stretched a similar distance south of Aswan (maps 1 and 3). From these areas poured tribute and traded goods that made the cosmopolitan court of King Amenhotep III probably the most opulent in Egyptian history, the wealth from which financed great new building projects throughout the country. These included major...

    (pp. 11-26)

    “Year 12, IIprt, day 8: [the king and queen] appeared on the great carrying-chair of gold to receive the tribute of Kharu [Syria-Palestine: map 2] and Kush [Nubia], the West and the East. All countries collected together at one time, and the lands in the midst of the sea, bringing offerings to the king upon the great throne of Akhet-Aten for receiving the goods of every land, granting to them the breath of life.” This text appears as a caption to a tableau occupying the whole of the west wall of the first hall of the tomb-chapel of Huya,...

    (pp. 27-52)

    The construction of tombs for the nobility of Akhenaten’s court began soon after Amarna was occupied, but the sheer amount of work required of the city’s craftsmen meant that this work seems to have progressed in fits and starts, as and when labor could be spared. As a result, all the tombs are more or less unfinished (fig. 19). Their order of construction is not wholly clear, although the version of the Aten-name found in their decoration highlights the earlier-commenced monuments, and the number of daughters shown may have some chronological significance.¹

    However, two tombs (TA1 and TA2, of Huya...

    (pp. 53-60)

    During the internally momentous years of Akhenaten’s reign Egypt was one of the great powers of the ancient world and a key node in a complex of diplomatic links. As such, it was the pharaoh’s role to correspond both with his fellow monarchs—an exclusive band that called each other “brother” (appendix 1)¹—together with a large swath of vassal princes of Syria-Palestine. The latter were an inheritance from the conquests of the earlier kings of the Eighteenth Dynasty, in particular Thutmose III (map 3).² There is no direct evidence for any campaigning in this area under Akhenaten,³ although some...

    (pp. 61-88)

    The reason for the disappearance of Neferneferuaten from the scene will probably always remain unknown. However, the change of the names of the king and queen at almost the same time makes it difficult to doubt that, whether she left the scene from natural causes or through the machinations of others, the result was a far more explicit return to orthodoxy.

    The degree to which the king’s titulary (appendix 3) was changed—other than switching the nomen from “Tutankhaten” to “Tutankhamun-heqaonshemay”—is unclear, as no examples of Tutankhaten’s full titulary are currently known. However, in its definitive form, the king’s...

    (pp. 89-94)

    The key document for the death of Tutankhamun is the account quoted at the end of Chapter 3. Over the years there has been considerable debate as to the identity of “Nipkhururiya,” and thedakhamanzuwho wrote so dramatically to Shuppiluliumash as he prepared to besiege Carchemish.¹ It has long been recognized thatdakhamanzuis simply an Akkadian transcription of the Egyptiantꜣ ḥmt-nsw, “the king’s wife”: but which one? The majority view has generally been that she was Ankhesenamun, the widow of Tutankhamun, not only on circumstantial grounds, but also because it is his prenomen that is properly transcribed...

    (pp. 95-108)

    One of the most prominent figures of the late Eighteenth Dynasty is Ay, who first appears in the records early in Akhenaten’s reign. His tomb TA25 at Amarna gives him the titles Fan Bearer on the Right Hand of the King (tꜣy ḫw wnm n nsw), Overseer of all the Horses of his Person (ἰmἰ-r ssmt n ḥm.f), Real Royal Scribe, his beloved” (sš nsw mꜣʿ mr.f), and God’s Father (ἰt-nṯr). The most widely used was the last—indeed Ay was ultimately to incorporate it into his royal cartouche.

    The Fan Bearer title marked out Ay as one of the...

    (pp. 109-134)

    While the career of his erstwhile colleague Ay can be traced back to the early years of Akhenaten, Horemheb first appears unequivocally on the scene during the reign of Tutankhamun. Some have wondered whether he might previously have served Akhenaten under another name, although Horus was never unacceptable at Amarna. Nevertheless, General Paatenemheb, who began tomb TA24 there,¹ has sometimes been proposed to be Horemheb in an earlier guise. That there may have been some stages of promotion is suggested by the clear series of four constructional phases seen in Horemheb’s Saqqara tomb (fig. 80), which ultimately doubled the size...

  15. 8 SUNSET
    (pp. 135-138)

    Whether the vizier Paramessu took royal titles only on the death of Horemheb or in advance of this is not wholly clear. The remains of a miniature obelisk bear names of both Horemheb and Rameses I,¹ but whether this marks a coregency, a memorializing by Rameses I of his predecessor, or a monument whose manufacture spanned the change of reign, is unclear.

    Either way, the short reign of Rameses I and the accession of his son Sethy I marked the beginning of a new era, with a royal family not apparently linked to the now discredited Eighteenth Dynasty line. Lavish...

  16. NOTES
    (pp. 139-162)
  17. Appendix 1 Chronology of Ancient Egypt
    (pp. 163-165)
  18. Appendix 2 Relative Chronology of Egyptian and Foreign Kings of the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Dynasties
    (pp. 166-169)
  19. Appendix 3 Royal Names of the Late Eighteenth Dynasty
    (pp. 170-171)
  20. Appendix 4 Tentative Genealogy of the Late Eighteenth Dynasty
    (pp. 172-173)
    (pp. 174-197)
  22. INDEX
    (pp. 198-208)