Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Queen Tiye, mother of Akhenaten/Amenhotep IV.

Queen Tiye, mother of Akhenaten/Amenhotep IV.

Tiye was not of royal blood but it seems that her parents were of some significance within the court of Tuthmosis IV. Her father Yuya had the position of Kingís Lieutenant of Chariotry and Master of the Horse and her mother was Superintendent of the Harem of Min of Akhmim and of Amun of Thebes. Both parents were important enough to be buried in The Valley of the Kings.
Tiye became the Great Royal Wife of Amenhotep III during the second year of his reign, which made her his most important wife. In those days Kings could have many wives with one being the most important and given the title of “Great Royal Wife”.
This was not her only title, other titles she had reflect the might and status Queen Tiye had in these days. Her titles were: The Heiress, Great Favored Mistress of All Countries, Lady of Delight who Fills the Palace with Love, Lady of the Two Lands and Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt.

Tiye had six children. Two sons: Tuthmose V and Amenhotep IV. She also had four daughters: Sitamun, Isis, Henut-taneb, and Beketaten. It has been said that Tiye’s oldest daughter Sitamun also married her father and also became the Great Royal Wife of Amenhotep III. This seems to have been a symbolic marriage with mostly many religious and administrative duties but no offspring.
Although Tiye is thought of as being the mother of Beketaten, the father of this daughter has never been confirmed.

Tiye was not only influential during the 38 years long reign of Amenhotep III but she continued to have influence on politics during the reign of her second son Amenhotep IV. She even moved along when Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten and left Thebes to build the new capital of Egypt, Akhetaten, now referred to as Amarna and meaning “The Horizon of the Aten”.

It is believed that when Queen Tiye died she was not buried in the Valley of the Kings but in Akhetaten. After Akhenatens death her body was moved to a tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
A mummy called “The elder Lady” was found in KV35 and later identified as being the mummy of Tiye. Identification took place by probing the hair of the mummy and comparing the sample through DNA-analysis with a lock of hair found in the tomb of Tutankhamun
. This lock of hair was stored in a miniature coffin with Tiye’s name written on it, making identification of the mummy possible.
Some say that the teeth of the mummy seem to belong to a woman in her mid-twenties and not to an older woman Tiye must have been so to some the identification of the mummy is still disputed.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Akhenaten, heretic King of the 18th Dynasty.

Akhenaten, also known as Echnaton, Akhnaton and sometimes Ikhnaton was the son of King Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye. Akhenaten was born under the name Amenhotep IV, a name he kept until the 5th year of his 17 years long reign. (1353 BC – 1336 BC or 1351 BC – 1334 BC)
Akhenaten could become King of Egypt because his older brother Crown Prince Thutmose died during childhood.
During the fifth year of his reign he changed his name from Amenhotep IV to Akhenaten he also renamed his Queen Nefertiti to Nefer-Nefru-Aten meaning “Beautiful is the beauty of Aten”. The meaning of the name Akhenaten seems far from certain, here are a few possibilities: “One useful to Aten”, “Effective spirit of Aten” and “He who is of service to Aten”.
Also during the fifth year of his reign he started building the new capital Akhetaten, “The horizon of Aten” which was finished after probably four years. Akhenaten left Thebes to go and live in Akhetaten.
Akhenaten changed the traditional religion by placing Aten (the only true god) above all other gods. Aten was the sun-disk in ancient Egyptian religion. In the beginning the other gods were let to coexist along Aten but later on he put great effort in effectively erasing the names of the other gods with a special attention to the name Atom. Erasing names and destroying statues/pictures of people is a common thing to happen throughout the whole of ancient Egyptian history. “That what is erased will be unknown and will never have happened” they thought I guess….
Much of the art and buildings created during Akhenatens reign were destroyed after his death, the building blocks of his temples (Talatat) were later reused to create other buildings. The reconstruction of parts of Akhenatens temples and by this recreation of the art on the walls is something that struck me as being a very interesting thing and I am sure I will get back to this in a future post.

Nefertiti gave birth to six daughters: Meritaten, Meketaten, Ankhesenpaaten, Neferneferuaten Tasherit, Neferneferure and Setepenre.
Ankhesenpaaten later married Tutankhaten (Tutankhamun), who is believed to be a son of Akhenaten and his minor wife Queen Kiya. Another hypotheses is Tutankhamun being another son of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye but later research ruled this out since Tiye would have been 50 years of age by the time Tutankhamun was born.
Enough has been left unspoken in this first post of my blog and things are far from complete but it is a start, a start of my journey through ancient Egyptian history. I will unpack my bags at Akhetaten planning on staying in the Amarna region for a while. So much to see and explore, I hardly know where to begin……..