- Mar 2019
- Ogden, Utah
I believe 100% that Akhetaten was not a good place to live except for the royal family and the elite among the courtiers. Even Barry Kemp, who had dug at El Amarna for so long, had to finally admit this. The number of dead there, mainly children and teens, is staggering when one recalls the few years of habitation. Just 11 years under Akhenaten and thousands of poor burials. Up to a couple of years ago, before all these dead young people came to light, it was taken for granted that Akhenaten was so unpopular due to his religious heresy but now that may not have been his worst legacy in the eyes of those Egyptians who lived close to the time of his reign. Yes, of course, Akhenaten's persecution of Amen was important to future kings who were devoted to that god, but he may have been, in sum total, viewed as the worst kind of tyrant. Even ordinary people did not wish to mention his name. In the Memphite tomb of Mes, he was referred to as "the enemy of Akhetaten". Mes lived late in the reign of Ramesses II. That's why, in much later times, he came to be referred to as the ugly king "Bocchoris" or "pA xrw"--the way the name is written in the tomb. [Not to be confused with a different "Bocchoris" or King Bakenrenef of a later dynasty.] The earlier Bocchoris really was associated with an exodus or expulsion. Manetho, himself, mentions a revolt by people persecuted by a ruler called "Amenophis". It was led by a priest of Heliopolis named Osarseph, who was later called Moses. Josephus, who relates this, doesn't trust the tale at all. And a real difficulty lies in the fact that Manetho referred to a king named Amenhotep and another named Merneptah both as "Amenophis" due to what he deemed as a similar pronunciation of their names--which was probably more the case than meets the eye. Anyway, since Manetho lived at Heliopolis, himself, he may have been familiar with some folk tale there--and Josephus expressed a wish that the Egyptian would have kept away from such tales. Someone else from antiquity wrote that Moses had erected pillars--which were "iwnw" in Egyptian--also the Egyptian name of Heliopolis.Listen, here we would need other "names" [Egyptologists]. I'm noting that in academic Egyptology there is a present developing persuasion about the conditions of life at Akhetaten and they talk openly and plainly about starvation, malnutrition ... excessive exploitation of the workforce. Usually this means a diffused popular availability for rebellion, they just needed someone like Moses ... I keep on noting these contextual coincidences.
But where there's smoke some sort of fire usually exists. In the era of Akhenaten, the most important worship center next to Akhetaten really was Heliopolis. If some priest there had fallen out of favor--or for some other reason--he may have led a revolt against the king like Osarseph did. Only his name wouldn't have been Osarseph then. Wsir-m-sAf would have been a strange name at any period. What kind of name incorporates the god of the underworld? The main point is "Bocchoris", according to Lysimachus, sent some people into the desert to die [although it looks like he needed to send them no father than Akhetaten] but through some miracles they survived.