Akhenaten (Box, Carter Archive 001K)

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
24,138
Lago Maggiore, Italy
Let's elaborate the hypothesis.

In this case we would have two heirs: the natural one [the eldest son of Akhenaten], may be influenced by Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten [Nefertiti] getting in touch again with the traditional cults, who wanted to leave Atenism [probably he wasn't borm "Smenkhkare", probably he was born "Smenkhkaaten"] and the youngest one, Tutankhaten, too young to have noted what Neferneferuaten was doing and may be fascinated by the father [so still persuaded to be Atenist, before that the regency council suggested him to change ...].

From this we could imagine that an accident solved the political conflict or that a consequence of the political conflict between the factions of the two heirs was a Royal assassination.
 

Ayrton

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,860
Bendigo
Let's elaborate the hypothesis.

In this case we would have two heirs: the natural one [the eldest son of Akhenaten], may be influenced by Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten [Nefertiti] getting in touch again with the traditional cults, who wanted to leave Atenism [probably he wasn't borm "Smenkhkare", probably he was born "Smenkhkaaten"] and the youngest one, Tutankhaten, too young to have noted what Neferneferuaten was doing and may be fascinated by the father [so still persuaded to be Atenist, before that the regency council suggested him to change ...].

From this we could imagine that an accident solved the political conflict or that a consequence of the political conflict between the factions of the two heirs was a Royal assassination.
Maybe... maybe... maybe.... I don’t know, AlpinLuke, all would seem quite a stretch. To begin: we still have a murdered or died by accident or in war, KV35YL.

Murdered? Meritaten? Why?

Died in a horsing accident? Maybe....

Died in battle? Meritaten? Seems beyond what we know. Never even depicted as a horo or in a chariot....

And then we have Smenkhkhare left in KV55 while Tiye and Meritaten (?) were removed. I guess theoretically plausible, but what did Smenkhkhare do to have his mummy treated so disdainfully?

Sill: we can still keep our minds open regards Smenkhkhare being Akhenaten’s son....

.....

Meritaten as mother of Tut still seems plausible... she did have a Tasherit by all accounts. So she could have had a son too. Thinking of Meritaten’s age in relation to being possible mother of Tut.... If Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten (Nefertiti) actually ruled independently for three years AFTER Akhenaten died - and a short time up to a year as Smenkhkare - we could put Tut’s birth to around Yr12 or 13, maybe even Yr 14, of Akhenaten. This would mean Meritaten could have given birth to him in her late 12th, or 13th, or early 14th year.... Just feasible...

NB For Smenkhkhare to be father, he must have had a hand in producing Tut between late Y12 and early Yr14 of Akhenaten, according to my thoughts above. As a prospective heir (if Akhenaten and Nefertiti’s son) then why did Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten become horo and not Regent for her son, who was at least 12, to be able to produce Tut?

Btw: 1. How old did we decide JV35YL was at death? 2. Have you decided if Kiya bore a Meritaten Tasherit or not?
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
24,138
Lago Maggiore, Italy
Maybe... maybe... maybe.... I don’t know, AlpinLuke, all would seem quite a stretch. To begin: we still have a murdered or died by accident or in war, KV35YL.

Murdered? Meritaten? Why?

Died in a horsing accident? Maybe....

Died in battle? Meritaten? Seems beyond what we know. Never even depicted as a horo or in a chariot....

And then we have Smenkhkhare left in KV55 while Tiye and Meritaten (?) were removed. I guess theoretically plausible, but what did Smenkhkhare do to have his mummy treated so disdainfully?

Sill: we can still keep our minds open regards Smenkhkhare being Akhenaten’s son....

.....

Meritaten as mother of Tut still seems plausible... she did have a Tasherit by all accounts. So she could have had a son too. Thinking of Meritaten’s age in relation to being possible mother of Tut.... If Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten (Nefertiti) actually ruled independently for three years AFTER Akhenaten died - and a short time up to a year as Smenkhkare - we could put Tut’s birth to around Yr12 or 13, maybe even Yr 14, of Akhenaten. This would mean Meritaten could have given birth to him in her late 12th, or 13th, or early 14th year.... Just feasible...

NB For Smenkhkhare to be father, he must have had a hand in producing Tut between late Y12 and early Yr14 of Akhenaten, according to my thoughts above. As a prospective heir (if Akhenaten and Nefertiti’s son) then why did Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten become horo and not Regent for her son, who was at least 12, to be able to produce Tut?

Btw: 1. How old did we decide JV35YL was at death? 2. Have you decided if Kiya bore a Meritaten Tasherit or not?
I have thought a bit to how they managed the succession within a Royal family. As for I have understood Prince Thutmose was the eldest son of Amenhotep III and so he was obviously the natural heir. This principle [that the eldest son was the natural heir existed also in KmT as well]. An other point is that if he had a son, that son would have been preferred to the younger brother [Neferkheperure Amenhotep aka Akhenaten]. In case Amenhotep III died when Thutmose's son was too young the possibility of Amenhotep IV as regent [or coregent] existed [it would have been the obvious solution]. So I think we can exclude tht Prince Thutmose had sons ...

But, as we have already discussed, we cannot exclude he had daughters.

This is valid also for Akhenaten: if he had a son his son would have been preferred to Smenkhkare [if Smenkhkare wasn't his eldest son] ... the matter of fact that Tutankhkaten was his son generates the problem to explain what happened ... Smenkhkare [if not Akhenaten's eldest son] actually took a decision against the rules of succession. Even if Tut was around 4 or 5, the coregency or the regency would have been the correct thing to do. Smenkhkare kept Tut far from the Crowns. This means that Tut was seen as an Atenist heir and that Smenkhkare wanted to start a different dynasty. Not an easy purpose. If Smenkhkare was Nefertiti it's evident she wasn't in condition to have a natural heir with Meritaten. Reality is that this wasn't a great problem: Meritaten carried the Royal Blood and with a little external "aid" she was able to give a son to Smenkhkare [if she was Nefertiti] and that son would have been Royal in the proper and pure sense.

If Smenkhkare was Nefertiti, such a plan [to start a new dynasty] was like a Revolutoin for the environment of Akhetaten and sure it wasn't a nice perspective for the whole administration and the clergies of the country. Akhenaten had made a total mess, but he was Horo, his daughters carried the Royal Blood and he had a natural heir. Tutankhaten had to become Horo.

Was this a motivation for a Royal murder? May be ... or there was the accident which solved the problem before that the Big Threes acted.

Yes, there is a consequence of this evaluation: it was who controlled the country that was in a condition to listen to the clergies and the palace to act to solve the problem of the succession of Akhenaten. So Ay, Horemheb and Maya could come back as suspects ...

On the other hand, if Smenkhkare was the eldest son of Akhenaten [not of Prince Thutmose, for the reasons I have explained above], he would have succeeded with all the right to rule alone and to ask to Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten to renounce to the Crowns. Did this start a real civil war at Akhetaten? We have seen that Neferneferuaten enjoyed also the popular support there ...

But in this scenario we should explain why Neferneferuaten disappeared followed by Smenkhkare a year later ... [two rival Monarchs disappeared in a while?]. Did the possible civil war see 3 factions? Neferneferuaten, Smenkhkare and the Big Threes thinking to put the youngest son of Akhenaten on the throne?
 

Ayrton

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,860
Bendigo
I have thought a bit to how they managed the succession within a Royal family. As for I have understood Prince Thutmose was the eldest son of Amenhotep III and so he was obviously the natural heir. This principle [that the eldest son was the natural heir existed also in KmT as well]. An other point is that if he had a son, that son would have been preferred to the younger brother [Neferkheperure Amenhotep aka Akhenaten]. In case Amenhotep III died when Thutmose's son was too young the possibility of Amenhotep IV as regent [or coregent] existed [it would have been the obvious solution]. So I think we can exclude tht Prince Thutmose had sons ...

But, as we have already discussed, we cannot exclude he had daughters.

This is valid also for Akhenaten: if he had a son his son would have been preferred to Smenkhkare [if Smenkhkare wasn't his eldest son] ... the matter of fact that Tutankhkaten was his son generates the problem to explain what happened ... Smenkhkare [if not Akhenaten's eldest son] actually took a decision against the rules of succession. Even if Tut was around 4 or 5, the coregency or the regency would have been the correct thing to do. Smenkhkare kept Tut far from the Crowns. This means that Tut was seen as an Atenist heir and that Smenkhkare wanted to start a different dynasty. Not an easy purpose. If Smenkhkare was Nefertiti it's evident she wasn't in condition to have a natural heir with Meritaten. Reality is that this wasn't a great problem: Meritaten carried the Royal Blood and with a little external "aid" she was able to give a son to Smenkhkare [if she was Nefertiti] and that son would have been Royal in the proper and pure sense.

If Smenkhkare was Nefertiti, such a plan [to start a new dynasty] was like a Revolutoin for the environment of Akhetaten and sure it wasn't a nice perspective for the whole administration and the clergies of the country. Akhenaten had made a total mess, but he was Horo, his daughters carried the Royal Blood and he had a natural heir. Tutankhaten had to become Horo.

Was this a motivation for a Royal murder? May be ... or there was the accident which solved the problem before that the Big Threes acted.

Yes, there is a consequence of this evaluation: it was who controlled the country that was in a condition to listen to the clergies and the palace to act to solve the problem of the succession of Akhenaten. So Ay, Horemheb and Maya could come back as suspects ...

On the other hand, if Smenkhkare was the eldest son of Akhenaten [not of Prince Thutmose, for the reasons I have explained above], he would have succeeded with all the right to rule alone and to ask to Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten to renounce to the Crowns. Did this start a real civil war at Akhetaten? We have seen that Neferneferuaten enjoyed also the popular support there ...

But in this scenario we should explain why Neferneferuaten disappeared followed by Smenkhkare a year later ... [two rival Monarchs disappeared in a while?]. Did the possible civil war see 3 factions? Neferneferuaten, Smenkhkare and the Big Threes thinking to put the youngest son of Akhenaten on the throne?
Interesting speculations. A thought occurred to me as I was reading:

- if Amenophis III and Amenophis IV formed a Coregency around the time Prince Thutmose disappeared (say circa Yr26-27 of Amenophis III)
- if Akhenaten and Nefertiti formed a Coregency around the time Amenophis III died
- then, could Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten operated as Coregent/regent along with Tutankhaten?

Tut was too young to be an actual operating horo, so Nefertiti May have been seen as Senior horo with all power - horo AND Regent, as understood. Tut was not made horo, not immediately, because Nefertiti was already horo and there was no need to change arrangements, on the understanding Tut would was horo-pending. Neferneferuaten became Smenkhkare for only a short time. There was no immediate hurry to install Tut as Coregent. Hope I am making sense here. Maybe there was no doubt that Tut was ‘horo-in-waiting.’ If Neferneferuaten was daughter of Crown Prince Thutmose, wife of Akhenaten (deceased) and mother of Tut, and already horo at Akhenaten’s death, and seen as a stable player, then Tut’s inheritance was secure anyway.

I think of Ay and Paatenemheb/Horemheb (and Maya). Ay was husband if Nefertiti’s wetnurse. A loyalist? Paatenemheb and Maya - at Akhenaten - seem loyalists. Especially if Nefertiti was one sure of hand in politics. And a royal.

So I wonder as to sequences of events:

Ankhkheperure Smenkhkare/Nefertiti was killed in battle, or by an Atenist fanatic, or by a kicking horse.
Akhenaten,Tiye and Nefertiti (mummies) are moved sometime during Tut’s reign to KV55.
On Tut’s death, Ay takes opportunity to remove his sister, Tiye, and his grand-niece, Nefertiti, from the presence of the decidedly unpopular - by now - Akhenaten. He moved them to Amenophis III’s tomb in the Western Valley.
Stephen Cross’s flood occurs, hiding KV 55, 62 and 63 from sight and memory.
Many years later, Amenophis III, Tiye and Nefertiti are moved to KV35 to try to protect them from grave robbers.... ...
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
24,138
Lago Maggiore, Italy
Interesting speculations. A thought occurred to me as I was reading:

- if Amenophis III and Amenophis IV formed a Coregency around the time Prince Thutmose disappeared (say circa Yr26-27 of Amenophis III)
- if Akhenaten and Nefertiti formed a Coregency around the time Amenophis III died
- then, could Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten operated as Coregent/regent along with Tutankhaten?

Tut was too young to be an actual operating horo, so Nefertiti May have been seen as Senior horo with all power - horo AND Regent, as understood. Tut was not made horo, not immediately, because Nefertiti was already horo and there was no need to change arrangements, on the understanding Tut would was horo-pending. Neferneferuaten became Smenkhkare for only a short time. There was no immediate hurry to install Tut as Coregent. Hope I am making sense here. Maybe there was no doubt that Tut was ‘horo-in-waiting.’ If Neferneferuaten was daughter of Crown Prince Thutmose, wife of Akhenaten (deceased) and mother of Tut, and already horo at Akhenaten’s death, and seen as a stable player, then Tut’s inheritance was secure anyway.

I think of Ay and Paatenemheb/Horemheb (and Maya). Ay was husband if Nefertiti’s wetnurse. A loyalist? Paatenemheb and Maya - at Akhenaten - seem loyalists. Especially if Nefertiti was one sure of hand in politics. And a royal.

So I wonder as to sequences of events:

Ankhkheperure Smenkhkare/Nefertiti was killed in battle, or by an Atenist fanatic, or by a kicking horse.
Akhenaten,Tiye and Nefertiti (mummies) are moved sometime during Tut’s reign to KV55.
On Tut’s death, Ay takes opportunity to remove his sister, Tiye, and his grand-niece, Nefertiti, from the presence of the decidedly unpopular - by now - Akhenaten. He moved them to Amenophis III’s tomb in the Western Valley.
Stephen Cross’s flood occurs, hiding KV 55, 62 and 63 from sight and memory.
Many years later, Amenophis III, Tiye and Nefertiti are moved to KV35 to try to protect them from grave robbers.... ...
We can put the matter in this way:

Hatshepsut made Thutmose III coregent almost immediately [even if he was around 2!]. Neferneferuaten decided to leave Tut in the status of Prince. There wasn't a rule about when a natural heir had to get the Crowns, overall if there was already a Horo around. I'm thinking to those scarce mentions of the possibility that Tut lived protected in the North Palace [the Palace of Nefertiti]. May be Neferneferuaten didn't associated him to the Throne not to make him move to the Royal Palace in a so sensitive [and dangerous moment]. If Neferneferuaten became Smenkhkare the situation at Akhetaten for an Atenist heir had to be difficult in some way. Better to leave him in the North Palace.
 

Ayrton

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,860
Bendigo
We can put the matter in this way:

Hatshepsut made Thutmose III coregent almost immediately [even if he was around 2!]. Neferneferuaten decided to leave Tut in the status of Prince. There wasn't a rule about when a natural heir had to get the Crowns, overall if there was already a Horo around. I'm thinking to those scarce mentions of the possibility that Tut lived protected in the North Palace [the Palace of Nefertiti]. May be Neferneferuaten didn't associated him to the Throne not to make him move to the Royal Palace in a so sensitive [and dangerous moment]. If Neferneferuaten became Smenkhkare the situation at Akhetaten for an Atenist heir had to be difficult in some way. Better to leave him in the North Palace.
An 8 or 9 year old was not going to have any say in the rule of the realm, so leaving Mum - already horo, as you note - to reign until he could begin to take on responsibilities; even in less difficult times, this would seem an obvious strategy, and hardly controversial, seeing that Tiye had an enhanced role in things as immediate precedent and Nefertiti had been busy around the country as a horo for several years (while Akhenaten dreamed?) and already well known to her subjects.

If Tut was Nefertiti’s son, then he was her heir anyway and no threat at all. If all those depictions of Mum, Dad and the daughters indicate anything to me, it is that Nefertiti was fiercely devoted to her children. I tend to see her feminine influence - call me an old sexist! - in all those ‘family’ portraits.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
24,138
Lago Maggiore, Italy
An 8 or 9 year old was not going to have any say in the rule of the realm, so leaving Mum - already horo, as you note - to reign until he could begin to take on responsibilities; even in less difficult times, this would seem an obvious strategy, and hardly controversial, seeing that Tiye had an enhanced role in things as immediate precedent and Nefertiti had been busy around the country as a horo for several years (while Akhenaten dreamed?) and already well known to her subjects.

If Tut was Nefertiti’s son, then he was her heir anyway and no threat at all. If all those depictions of Mum, Dad and the daughters indicate anything to me, it is that Nefertiti was fiercely devoted to her children. I tend to see her feminine influence - call me an old sexist! - in all those ‘family’ portraits.
We have already underlined that Neferneferuaten acted as a powerful Horo also in the military field: she managed the supplies for the Northern fortress at Tell El-Borg and this is really meaningful. The Akhenaten - Neferneferuaten coregency was the contrary, about this aspect, of the Hatshepsut - Thutmose III coregency. While it was Thutmose III to deal with military matters [and it happened he carried Hatshepsut in battle with him ...], in the case of Akhenaten he didn't so interested in the management of the Army and in the daily military activities. And Horemheb would have had to recover the Egyptian Army [also because of the neglicence of Akhenaten in that field]. We could say that Neferneferuaten did enough to keep the Army in decent conditions, but without the active interest of the other Horo, I guess that the couple of Monarchs gave a curious impression to the military commanders.

May be something like this happened at Tell El-Borg ...

Commander: we need supplies
Steward of the fortress: we have to sent a message to the Horo
C: which one?
S: The Lady, the last time I sent a request of supplies to the Lord, I received an invitation to a ritual in the Great Temple of the Aten at Akhetaten ...
C: ??? And what did you do?
S: I sent the same request again ...
C: And ...?
S: At Palace someone passed it to the Lady and I got the supplies for the fortress.
 

Ayrton

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,860
Bendigo
We have already underlined that Neferneferuaten acted as a powerful Horo also in the military field: she managed the supplies for the Northern fortress at Tell El-Borg and this is really meaningful. The Akhenaten - Neferneferuaten coregency was the contrary, about this aspect, of the Hatshepsut - Thutmose III coregency. While it was Thutmose III to deal with military matters [and it happened he carried Hatshepsut in battle with him ...], in the case of Akhenaten he didn't so interested in the management of the Army and in the daily military activities. And Horemheb would have had to recover the Egyptian Army [also because of the neglicence of Akhenaten in that field]. We could say that Neferneferuaten did enough to keep the Army in decent conditions, but without the active interest of the other Horo, I guess that the couple of Monarchs gave a curious impression to the military commanders.

May be something like this happened at Tell El-Borg ...

Commander: we need supplies
Steward of the fortress: we have to sent a message to the Horo
C: which one?
S: The Lady, the last time I sent a request of supplies to the Lord, I received an invitation to a ritual in the Great Temple of the Aten at Akhetaten ...
C: ??? And what did you do?
S: I sent the same request again ...
C: And ...?
S: At Palace someone passed it to the Lady and I got the supplies for the fortress.
Amusing thought.... yet, maybe it was more straight forward: Nefertiti was looking after world affairs and Akhenaten devoting himself to religious matters. Considering the whole ‘Atenist’ business, surely Akhenaten was besotted with spiritual matters. So why would we not entertain the prospect of his total withdrawal into religion and an insular fixation with affairs peculiar to his Holy City, Akhetaten?

I wonder now. What associations can we make regards Nefertiti and Paatenemheb? Could Ankhkheperure have been Commander in Chief in reality, and Paatenemheb her leading General? Did Ay remain with the Crown Prince, Tutankhaten, as mentor, and protector, at Akhetaten. Perhaps Ankhkheperure remained horo because she was needed to lead the mission to totally reestablish Egyptian rule in the Levant?

NB Meryre II receives his reward in the field. Is this a sign that Ankhkheperure’s adoption of ‘Smenkhkare’ was just one sign of a return to the older ways, a re-adoption of traditional religious practices - but with Atenism still the local cult of Akhetaten, so not abandoned? - and a new sole pharaoh exercising her role as leader of the army? Very early in her sole reign, Nefertiti leads the army... but she his kicked by a horse, murdered by Atenist nutters (think ‘Jewish sicarii’ as the kind of individual we may pay consider as culprits), or killed in a skirmish. If Pharaohs got murdered or killed in battle, mere skirmish or not, or kicked by a horse, did the fact get broadcast in public records?
 
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AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
24,138
Lago Maggiore, Italy
Amusing thought.... yet, maybe it was more straight forward: Nefertiti was looking after world affairs and Akhenaten devoting himself to religious matters. Considering the whole ‘Atenist’ business, surely Akhenaten was besotted with spiritual matters. So why would we not entertain the prospect of his total withdrawal into religion and an insular fixation with affairs peculiar to his Holy City, Akhetaten?

I wonder now. What associations can we make regards Nefertiti and Paatenemheb? Could Ankhkheperure have been Commander in Chief in reality, and Paatenemheb her leading General? Did Ay remain with the Crown Prince, Tutankhaten, as mentor, and protector, at Akhetaten. Perhaps Ankhkheperure remained horo because she was needed to lead the mission to totally reestablish Egyptian rule in the Levant?

NB Meryre II receives his reward in the field. Is this a sign that Ankhkheperure’s adoption of ‘Smenkhkare’ was just one sign of a return to the older ways, a re-adoption of traditional religious practices - but with Atenism still the local cult of Akhetaten, so not abandoned? - and a new sole pharaoh exercising her role as leader of the army? Very early in her sole reign, Nefertiti leads the army... but she his kicked by a horse, murdered by Atenist nutters (think ‘Jewish sicarii’ as the kind of individual we may pay consider as culprits), or killed in a skirmish. If Pharaohs got murdered or killed in battle, mere skirmish or not, or kicked by a horse, did the fact get broadcast in public records?
Well, this is something to be checked. Anyway, yes, Nefertiti was the Commander in Chief [in a more deep sense than the President of the United States, btw ...] and Paatenemheb was ... probably my status of Knight can help here. A KC, Knight Commander ["on the battlefield"] is not a King, but a representative of the Sovereign. It's not exactly about being a general, it's about having a little piece of sovereignty.

But a part cultural details and accuracy, yes, we can consider Paatenemheb the leading general of Nefertiti's armies. Right. Regarding this, let's keep in mind that the Armies of KmT were organized in big units [we call them "division"] dedicated to deities. Also under Akhenaten. There was an Isis Division, a Thot Division ...

The general who was next to the Horo on the battlefield [this is the difference between Neferneferuaten and Trump: in case of war the Egyptian Horo was on the battlefield, on a chariot, sure protected by her impressive Royal Guard, but she was there ...] was a kind of military advisor [and this gave to him a certain political status].

If Neferneferuaten shared military experiences on the battlefield with Paatenemheb / Horemheb, we can exclude Horemheb from the list of the suspects.
 

Ayrton

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,860
Bendigo
Well, this is something to be checked. Anyway, yes, Nefertiti was the Commander in Chief [in a more deep sense than the President of the United States, btw ...] and Paatenemheb was ... probably my status of Knight can help here. A KC, Knight Commander ["on the battlefield"] is not a King, but a representative of the Sovereign. It's not exactly about being a general, it's about having a little piece of sovereignty.

But a part cultural details and accuracy, yes, we can consider Paatenemheb the leading general of Nefertiti's armies. Right. Regarding this, let's keep in mind that the Armies of KmT were organized in big units [we call them "division"] dedicated to deities. Also under Akhenaten. There was an Isis Division, a Thot Division ...

The general who was next to the Horo on the battlefield [this is the difference between Neferneferuaten and Trump: in case of war the Egyptian Horo was on the battlefield, on a chariot, sure protected by her impressive Royal Guard, but she was there ...] was a kind of military advisor [and this gave to him a certain political status].

If Neferneferuaten shared military experiences on the battlefield with Paatenemheb / Horemheb, we can exclude Horemheb from the list of the suspects.
I agree. Perhaps he was in charge of the Aten Division? Perhaps a frontline force, yet still the Division closest to the horo? Was the Aten Division in the lead? Is this was what occurred for Ankhkheperure Smenkhkare to be in danger? Thrown from her chariot in a melee, and while prone on her back, struck by an enemy axe? This means an accident (of sorts) occurred, and attack by an enemy, were both factors in her death!!! Was it a raid on Atenist extremists? This means all three theories for cause of death are true... accident, battle, and fanatics! Perfect! Lol. Jokes aside - and I only half-joke! - I could really see Nefertiti seeing it as her duty to restore the empire by leading at the forefront of her army.

I also think of Paatenemheb later in time turning his back on Atenism. In retrospect, a terrible blunder, but I also see his loyalty to Tut, and perhaps, Nefertiti. I also see Ay’s loyalty to both, because if KV35YL is Nefertiti, I can see her having been placed in tombs alongside Tiye and Akhenaten. First at Amarna (temporarily?), then in KV55, then in WV23 with Amenophis III, just with a Tiye, and then, at last, with Amenophis III and Tiye in KV35...

I also see Horemheb biding his time while Ay ruled. Did he have an arrangement with Ay that he succeed him, but Ay chose a family member as heir in the end, Nakhtaten (Nakhtamun?) Or did Nakhtamun die before Ay, leaving the throne vacant and no male heir?

Incidentally, I think Ankhsenamun was the most likely Princess to invite the Hittite king to send her a Prince. She rejected Horemheb’s advances, perhaps? Disassociating himself from the Royal Amarnan clique may have become a necessity in his mind. But his loyalty to the memory of Smenkhkare and Tutankhamun had not been dispelled with until political expediency at the time of him seizing the throne required it.
 
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