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.

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