Saturday, January 12, 2008


Nefertiti is depicted in her advanced years. She wears a long, white linen dress that allows the contours of her body to be seen. It has been speculated that this small statuette was the model for a life size representation that was never executed. Arnold points out that, although she is past her prime, she is not old. While this may be true, the sagging features of the statuette do indicate that she is no longer the vivacious Queen.
In 1335 BC Nefertiti, Akhenaten's wife and companion, is said to have disappeared and most likely died. His mother Tiy had also died as did his minor wife, Kia. That combined with the loss of his daughter made Akhenaten feel alone and depressed.

Nefertiti's disappearance coincided with the sudden appearance of a young man named Smenkhkare. Smenkhkare, who was given the same title (Neferneferuaten) as the now vanished Nefertiti, was crowned co-regent to Akhenaten when he (Smenkhkare) was about sixteen. He was married to Akhenaten's eldest daughter, Merytaten.
There is uncertainty about the relationship between Akhenaten and his successors, Smenkhkare and Tutankhamun. The biggest mystery associated with Smenkhkare was where he came from. It is possible that both he and Tutankhamun were Akhenaten's sons by another wife, possibly Kiya who was 'much loved' of the Pharaoh. As there was inbreeding to keep the line pure we may never know the relationships within their family.
It is also a matter of great controversy as to whether or not Smenkhkare continued to reign after Akhenaten died. According to Dr. Donald Redford, a professor of Egyptology and the director of the Akhenaten Temple Project, Smenkhkare may have succeeded Akhenaten by a short while, during which he made half-hearted attempts at going back to the old religion (something which probably wouldn't have happened while Akhenaten was alive). Another thing that suggests that he outlived Akhenaten are references to him made in certain tombs. He was also buried in the old capital.

But here one has to consider the way Akhenaten behaved concerning those people who were known to be his children. Every one of his six daughters, whenever referred to in writings from the period, was repeatedly called 'the king's daughter, of his loins, (daughter's name)'.
In Egypt, as with any other kingdom of the ancient or not so ancient world, male heirs were much desired. If Akhenaten had a son, he almost certainly would have repeatedly said so.
Cyril Aldred, a prominent Egyptologist who has written several books about Akhenaten, uses the argument that Smenkhkare must have been born three years before Akhenaten's reign began, thereby reducing the likelihood of his being Akhenaten's child.
Yet another possibility is that one of Akhenaten's many sisters was the mother of Smenkhkare. Because Smenkhkare appeared at the same time that Nefertiti seemingly vanished from view, and because he shared the title "Beloved of Akhenaten" with Nefertiti, some scholars believe that Nefertiti and Smenkhkare were one and the same. Nefertiti did have more power than many of the other queens in Egypt, and is often depicted wearing certain crowns that were normally reserved for kings. Thus, it is perhaps not too out of line to think that she might have disguised herself as a man and shared kingship with Akhenaten. However, Redford notes that, for one thing, it would be odd even for the Amarna family to have Nefertiti posing as a man and marrying her own daughter. Not only that, but to deny the existence of Smenkhkare, one would have to ignore one major finding: the body in Tomb 55.

Tutankhaten came to the throne when he was about eight years old and became known as "The boy king" by modern people. He became quite famous when his tomb was discovered by Howard Carter in the 1920s. Tutankhaten succeeded Akhenaten and Smenkhkare and was married to Akhenaten's daughter Ankhesenpaaten. Th couple soon changed their names to Tutankhamen and Ankhesenamun, moved away from Akhetaten, and reestablished the old religion. Tutankhaten reigned until he was about eighteen when he died.
Tutankhaten's origins are just as hazy as Smenkhkare's. Some would claim that he was Kiya's son by Akhenaten. However, if Tutankhaten and Smenkhkare were really brothers, as the bodies of the two suggest, then this would again bring up the question of the likelihood of Smenkhkare being Akhenaten's son.
One theory is that Tutankhaten was Akhenaten's brother. That would lead to the conclusion that both Smenkhkare and Tutankhaten were sons of queen Tiye.They both bear a strong resemblance to certain portraits of Tiye, but Tiye may have been too old to have children by the time Tutankhaten was born. Another problem is that Amenhotep III was, in all probability, well dead by this time, although there is much speculation about a co-regency between Akhenaten and his father.

One intriguing discovery is an inscription which calls Tutankhaten "The king's son, of his loins". This could be interpreted in a number of ways. One is that Tutankhaten really was Akhenaten's child. However, this possibility has already been mostly ruled out. Another possibility is that Amenhotep III remained virile and active even in his last years and was able to father Tutankhaten just before he died (assuming that there was a co-regency).
Yet a third possibility is that Tutankhaten was Smenkhkare's son. If Smenkhkare fathered Tutankhaten the same year that he married Merytaten, and then went on to outlive Akhenaten by about three years, then that would make Tutankhaten just barely seven when he came to the throne of Egypt (Tutankhaten was thought to have come to the throne when he was eight or nine).
In 1332 BC Akhenaten died, the circumstances never explained. His memory and all that he had created soon to erased from history not to be found for centuries later