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AKHENATEN

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Author Topic: AKHENATEN  (Read 1021 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #75 on: September 09, 2007, 09:45:07 am »








FROM


AKHENATEN AND THE RELIGION OF LIGHT

Erik Hornung
Translated by David Lorton



                                                 T H E   S U C C E S S O R S



MANY WOMEN, BUT NO HEIR


The "long lifetime" that Akhenaten reguarly bore as an epithet was not granted him:

the king died in the prime of life probably in July 1336 BCE.  Above all, he died withoutleaving behind a son who xould fill his political and religious role.

Nefertiti and Kiya had borne him only daughters; of his siblings, only a sister, Baketamun (later
Baketaten) had lived to see his coronation; and Nefertiti seems also to have had only one sister.
There was thus a large selection of royal women, but no unequivocal male heir to the throne.

The succession problem was especially tricky on this occasion, because not just a new pharaoh was
needed, but rather a prophet to preserve and to promulgate the pure teaching of the god of light.

It is difficult to imagine how the "crown princess" Merytaten, for instance, could have played such
a role, one that even the king's two young relatives, Smenkhkare and Tutankhaten (still a child), were
obliged to grow into.  The "king makers" elevated each of these two young men in turn to the throne,
demonstrating in the process that they were seeking no radical break with the ruling dynasty.

In the case of Smenkhkare, it remains unclear wheter he had already been appointed coregent by
Akhenaten or whether his rule of about three years began only after the death of the "heretic king".
A few monuments heretofore cited in favor of a coregency can be interpreted otherwise.  On the
stela Berlin 1783, for instance, two kings appear together in full regalia, but they have only three
courtouches, as the royal couple Akhenaten and Nefertiti do, so that the "coregent" (wearing the
Double Crown!) might rather be the "great royal wife"; on another stela in Berlin (20716) she wears
the Brue crown and is handing Akhenaten a cup of wine. 

Thus, there is only a single official representation depicting Smenkhakare, with Merytaten as his
wife, rewarding Meryre in his tomb.  It is possible that the official inserted them immediately after
Akhenaten's death, when the abandonment of Akhetaten and its tombs had not yet been decided
on, so that even this representation does not afford proof of a coregency.

A very fragmentary stela in University College, London, does indeed display four cartouches, thus
indicating a coregencey, but even here the identity of Akhenaten's partner is debatable.  The
epithet "beloved of Neferkheprure" or "beloved of Waenre" (both names refer to Akhenaten) is no more than circumstantial evidence that one might choose to connect with a still living "heretic king" and
thus with a coregency, as opposed to a posthumous worship of Akhenaten.
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