his head of indurated limestone is a fragment from a group statue that represented Amun seated on a throne, and Tutankhamun standing or kneeling in front of him. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Hunt for Ankhesenamun: A Murderess, Vixen or Helpless Child in this Ancient Egyptian Soap Opera? Part II

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Ankhesenamun, wife of the boy-king Tutankhamun, is portrayed in many ways; as a terrified and hapless youngster; a power-hungry murderess; or a loathsome vixen who will stop at nothing to achieve her devious ends. Very few characterizations concentrate on the real person, sans the hype. This once-powerful queen surely deserves a closer look.

[For the beginning of this story, read Part I here…] 

Eclipsing the Sun

The religious revolution of Akhenaten failed miserably and the empire was under great threat. Therefore, in Year 3 of his reign, Tutankhaten’s regents who controlled the country on his behalf decided that Atenism had run its course. The royal couple altered their names to Tutankh-amun and Ankhesen-amun, signaling a complete return to orthodoxy, and the court deserted the Sun City and subsequently, Malqata palace in Waset (Thebes) that was abandoned by Akhenaten may have been re-inhabited when the traditional religion and administrative capital were restored. Inscriptions of the boy king, such as the Restoration Stela at Karnak Temple, commemorate the end of iconoclasm and record his deep anguish at being bequeathed a country in economic and spiritual ruin.

Even though little remains in Akhetaten, the once-bustling, defiant capital of Pharaoh Akhenaten; its allure remains unchanged. A restored column in front of the Sanctuary of the Small Aten Temple in Akhetaten. Tell el-Amarna.

Even though little remains in Akhetaten, the once-bustling, defiant capital of Pharaoh Akhenaten; its allure remains unchanged. A restored column in front of the Sanctuary of the Small Aten Temple in Akhetaten. Tell el-Amarna.

These tectonic shifts and proclamations were surely not the doing of either Tutankhamun or Ankhesenamun; but in all probability, that of Grand Vizier Aye believed to be the latter’s grandfather or great-uncle (son of Yuya and Thuya, hence, brother of Queen Tiye). This exceedingly powerful man had served under Amenhotep III, Akhenaten, Smenkhkare/Neferneferuaten, and now Tutankhamun. One of Aye’s many coveted titles under Akhenaten was “it-netjer” or “Father of the God”. Equally competent was Horemheb, the Generalissimo who had served as the Commander-in-Chief of the army of Akhenaten and Smenkhkare, and now, that of Tutankhamun. The child pharaoh officially designated him “iry-pat” (“Hereditary or Crown Prince”) and “idnw” (“Deputy of the King” in the entire land).

The entrance to KV62, the tomb of Tutankhamun (Bottom right) in the Valley of the Kings – that lay undisturbed for millennia beneath debris from the tomb of Ramesses VI (Nineteenth Dynasty) over which ancient workmen’s huts were built.

The entrance to KV62, the tomb of Tutankhamun (Bottom right) in the Valley of the Kings – that lay undisturbed for millennia beneath debris from the tomb of Ramesses VI (Nineteenth Dynasty) over which ancient workmen’s huts were built.

However, for one so young, Tutankhamun clearly could not have understood the full import of these titles, let alone grant them willfully. It could well be that Horemheb arrogated these appellations unto himself, with the active support of his coterie. This surely would not have sat well with Aye; and proof of this can be found in the fact that he named his son or grandson, Nakhtmin, as generalissimo and heir when he became pharaoh.

Tutankhamun’s burial chamber, looking in from the Antechamber. Straight ahead, the north wall shows various funerary scenes involving the deceased pharaoh. The modest size of KV62 and its sparse and hurried decoration have for long baffled Egyptologists.

Tutankhamun’s burial chamber, looking in from the Antechamber. Straight ahead, the north wall shows various funerary scenes involving the deceased pharaoh. The modest size of KV62 and its sparse and hurried decoration have for long baffled Egyptologists.

Since no secondary wives of Tutankhamun are known, it must follow that in a desire to perpetuate the bloodline, it was Ankhesenamun who conceived two girls. Howard Carter posited that they were “without doubt” the unfortunate daughters of the boy pharaoh and his consort Ankhesenamun. Sadly, the mummified fetuses revealed they were stillborn.

Dr Robert Connolly, a leading anatomist who analyzed the mummified remains of Tutankhamun and the stillborn children in 2008 observed: “The two fetuses in the tomb of Tutankhamun could be twins despite their very different sizes, and thus fit better as a single pregnancy for his young wife. This increases the likelihood of them being Tutankhamun’s children.”

A statuette of Horemheb shows the King holding a pillar that is decorated with inscriptions, notably his coronation name. Horemheb launched the destruction of all vestiges of the Amarna interlude; and was particularly harsh with the memory of Akhenaten, Aye and Ankhesenamun. Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

A statuette of Horemheb shows the King holding a pillar that is decorated with inscriptions, notably his coronation name. Horemheb launched the destruction of all vestiges of the Amarna interlude; and was particularly harsh with the memory of Akhenaten, Aye and Ankhesenamun. Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

End Game in Sight

Aye had tasted power at the highest echelons for a great many years. His proximity to the royal family meant that his word was writ. But, even if he nursed a secret desire to lay claim to the throne, he could never have gotten very far as he was not of royal lineage. But the political climate had changed dramatically post the Amarna interlude, and the aging Vizier must have fancied his chances. Tutankhamun died suddenly at the tender age of nineteen, and the days of Aye playing second fiddle finally ceased.

As it shows an elderly individual, this limestone or calcite head of a statuette has been identified as Pharaoh Aye. The royal uraeus would have probably been added after completion. Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

As it shows an elderly individual, this limestone or calcite head of a statuette has been identified as Pharaoh Aye. The royal uraeus would have probably been added after completion. Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

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Comments

I hope that they find Nefertiti’s tomb soon and can fll in many of the blanks. 

I never liked Akhenaton very much for attempting monotheisem. I understand that there were plenty of reasons why he would do it but, still it was too much change too quickly. 

--Still learning--

The cult of the god Aton there since the time of the pharaoh Amenophis III
His not religious revelations are likely mystic delirium crisis, caused by ultrareligious his education.
Hymn of the Aton is plagiarism after e composed by the pagan priests of Amon .
When colonies in Asia were attacked by Hittites and hapiri refused to grant military aid requested (see Sosenbal the Syrian prince and the prince in Jerusalem Hiba Abdi)
In conclusion Akhenaton was a monarch on the throne unworthy Egyptulu

Then i wonder if Nefertiti is thus hidden, entombed somewhere to not be found, if so she was smart to for see her demise by being with akhenaten, She just may be inside that hidden chamber in tuts tomb :)

From Amarna period is a fateful period in the history of the people egiptean..The two monarchs, Akhenaton and Nefertiti are two triggers bigoted religious persecution in Egypt, demolished temples and tombes.He profanes the cult of the god Aton impose by force ..
It comes as even the plural word god be banned.
Akhenaten was not a visionary mystic ,,no prophet of a new religion, because it already exists.
The cult of the god Aton there since the time of the pharaoh Amenophis II... See more

Nefertiti will be found behind that wall that just got sonared, feel good about that :) I strongly wonder though how that statue got broken of queen tire and Amenhotep III. There just may be another like it, strange guess, depicted painting inside nefertiti's hidden tomb. :), well i doubt that myself.
But the details on that statue are Awesome ! It is a grand thing, to read stories of paradisaical life so long ago, as we gather more and more from new discoveries, the past's story Grows, a stronger, truer light of what went on, how they believed, in what they believed.

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