Was Akhenaten's brother Moses?

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,870
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#1
Thutmose = Smenkhkare = Mose

Let’s explore this possibility.

Context:

  • Prince Thutmose was son of Amenhotep III, a powerful Monarch [common people say “Pharaoh”, but it’s not exactly the proper term for that historical context: from the following dynasty it became the proper definition of the Monarch] of the XVIII dynasty who had nice relationships with Asian populations [in particular Mitanni] and who got married with Asian princesses as well. What if Thutmose was son of an Asian wife of Amenhotep III? [It’s said he was Tiye’s son, but it’s just a supposition, an educated guess, not a certainty, as for I know]. We cannot prove this, but we cannot exclude it as well. This wouldn’t make him an adopted child [adopted buy the Royal family], but what if the Biblical author used a trick to avoid to say that Moses was the natural heir of an Egyptian Monarch?
  • He “disappeared” [like later Nefertiti, there was the habit, during the XVIII dynasty to disappear …]. We know that he was High Priest of Ptah at Memphis, we also know that his father wanted to be deified [we don’t know if he was able to get this goal]. What if Prince Thutmose decided to follow the example of the father trying and be deified in Memphis … to sit next to the statue of Ptah in His Temple? As above, we cannot prove this, but we cannot exclude it as well. Btw, being High Priest of Ptah he would have considered natural to carry a Divine Ark with him [containing a little statue of Ptha, may be] in case he had to lead an Army … [or the migration of an entire population …].
  • Moses, in the Biblical tale had a brother who became Horo [Monarch of KmT]. Thutmose was the brother of Neferkheperure Amenhotep who became Monarch and who changed his Son of Ra Name into Akhenaten.
  • It’s said in the Bible that the brother of Moses, once Monarch, exploited Asian populations, enslaving them to built two new cities. In particular [as obvious from a Biblical perspective] proto Israelis. Akhenaten built for real a new city, a new capital, and considering the conformation of Akhetaten [this was the name of this new capital, it meant “horizon of Aten”], with the North Palace and the “Northern City” it can look like two cities, actually [anyway let’s consider that Akhenaten built one city]. Archaeologists have found out that Akhenaten exploited a remarkable quantity of children to build Akhetaten. The general opinion is that they were overall children of immigrants [because of a mundane political / social consideration … the poor and heavy jobs are for the immigrants and their sons … it’s still so today …]. Immigrants in Egypt meant, in large part, Asians.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,870
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#2
Year passed …

Thutmose, venerated as a deity in the temple of Ptah at Memphis begun to note something odd, the brother ordered the construction of a Temple dedicated to the Aten [a temple to the Solar Disk?] and that the Temples of the other deities had to be left to their destiny. “What’s my brother doing?”. In this theoretical scenario, we can make the hypothesis that Akhenaten ordered to leave his brother in peace. Being the natural heir there were [probably] not a few important members of the Court who were ready to be loyal to him …

Year passed …

This is probably the most difficult point of this hypothesis: how, when and why did Thutmose get involved again in the political life of Kmt? My hypothesis is that the traditional clergies suffered too much under Akhenaten and that they were thinking to a way to change things. They knew about Thutmose, the natural heir, but he didn’t seem interested in the power … he was glad to be a living God at Memphis in a lonely temple. What to do? Wait a minute! His Asian origins … which was the Asian people of his mother? Mitanni? Or which one? They investigated and probably they found out it was Mitanni [or an other one, it doesn’t matter]. They decided to make Thutmose know that his brother Akhenaten exploited the children of the Asian people of his mother at Akhetaten [even after the end of the construction of the city, the Asian children kept on being exploited for the poor and heavy jobs]. Can a living God stand that the children of His People of origin get exploited like slaves?

Thutmose took action …

With the persons who are loyal to him in Memphis [not impossible parts of the local police and local the Royal Guard] Thutmose went to Akhetaten to talk with his brother. There was the risk of a civil war … Something happened at Akhetaten between Year 13 and Year 14 [with the death of Tiye and some daughters of Akhenaten]. Someone says a plague … what if there was a little civil war between Akhenaten and Thutmose after that the first one refused to set the Asians free?

Nefertiti …

In such a context, I can imagine that the powerful and smart Queen used her diplomacy to suggest a solution: why not to become coregents? As Monarch Thutmose would have had all the possibilities to improve the conditions of the people of his mother [even organizing its return to its land of origin] and Akhenaten would have had time to change the social / economical tissue of the capital. Thutmose decided to keep the figure of the God at Memphis separated from the figure of the coregent, so that he decided to use a totally different Son of Ra Name [he had to be Thutmose V, following the dynastic sequence]: he decided to become Ankhkheperure Smenkhkare . But the plan failed. With the Asians no more forced to work almost as slaves the Egyptians had to carry out poor and heavy jobs as well. The social rebellion was near … Thutmose aka Smenkhkare understood it was time to leave and he leaded the Asian population of his mother [at least the traditional clergies persuaded that those Asians were the people of his mother … may be already dead … he had no possibility to ask her … or may be they were for real the people of his mother who was member of the “Ysrir” …] towards Canaan.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,870
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#3
Again Nefertiti …

The Queen probably realized that the end of the coregency would have caused great troubles [they were getting close again with the traditional clergies thanks to Thutmose / Smenkhkare and this was making things better … without Thutmose Akhenaten would have gone back to his isolationism and this wasn’t a great perspective]. The coregency had to go on. Since the population knew the Horo with his Throne Name, they knew Ankhkheperure, only a few knew Smenkhkare … she suggested to the husband that she was the right person to be Ankhkheperure [but she took a different Son of Ra Name: Neferneferuaten … and at the end the Son of Ra Name changed … no one, in the general population, would have minded about].

Tel El Borg … the Exodus

Now, I’m wondering … in case Thutmose / Smenkhkare would have leaded his Asian people towards Canaan … which would have been the path? There was a kind of forced passage to enter or to leave Egypt passing through Eastern Delta: the fortress at Tell El Borg, surrounded by lakes and swamps, btw. Let’s go on with the tale [may be a fairy tale]: Akhenaten decided to stop Thutmose and to massacre his “Asian friends”. He sent messengers to the fortress at Tell El Borg ordering to attack the Asians of Thutmose [and let’s keep in mind that in the fortress there was a numerous rank of chariots, let’s remind the details of the Biblical tale …]. The garrison attacked Thutmose and the Asians, but Thutmose / Smenkhkare was a Royal Heir, he studied in the House of Life and sure he knew very well the military context of Kmt and its territory. He found a way to make the Asians escape through the swamps while the chariots of the garrison remained blocked. And the rest is history … [less or more speculative].
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,690
Republika Srpska
#5
So, according to this theory "Moses" didn't lead the Israelites out of Egypt, but some other Asian people (possibly Mittani)?

If your theory is correct, does this mean that the writers of the Bible adapted the story of Thutmose and created the character of Moses based on Thutmose?
 
Mar 2017
869
Colorado
#6
Atrapanus reports Moses as the son of Chenephres (Chephren? Khafre?). The father tried to kill the son, a couple of times. Moses eventually "invaded" Egypt from the Sudan and freed the Jews. No one gives much credence to this ... I guess. Besides, it's a 1000 yrs too old to be a Akhenaten naming mistake.

Manetho & Strabo make Moses an Egyptian priest. So, combining the three of them, we get a high-ranking Egyptian ... as opposed to a Jew in a floating cradle.

Strabo's version makes the most un-miraculous logical sense. Egyptian priest important enough to be in charge of large temple holdings, creates a monotheistic religion, gathers up followers, they leave without any resistance ("good luck with that"), found a new nation in Israel, Moses does an excellent job as an administrator. It's easy to see how an Egyptian could be Jewish-ized with a nativity story that still places him in the royal court.

I'm saying I don't see an obstacle to the thread hypothesis: Jewish baby (Bible) => high priest (Strabo) => son of pharaoh (Atrapanus). Over 1000's of years of biased narrative, you can pick any one.


Wiki sez:
"Scholarly consensus sees Moses as a legendary figure and not a historical person.[8] Rabbinic Judaism calculated a lifespan of Moses corresponding to 1391–1271 BCE;[9] Jerome gives 1592 BCE,[10] and James Ussher 1571 BCE as his birth year."
Those dates are Akhenaten-ISH ... if he was real. I can't find any non-tabloid/magazine sources that discuss if he were actually historical, so I don't know who the "Scholarly consensus" is made up of.
 
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AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,870
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#7
So, according to this theory "Moses" didn't lead the Israelites out of Egypt, but some other Asian people (possibly Mittani)?

If your theory is correct, does this mean that the writers of the Bible adapted the story of Thutmose and created the character of Moses based on Thutmose?

This speculative scenario is an attempt to indicate a possible "cohesive" origin of the tale of the Exodus. There are other thinkers who prefer to imagine a kind of "sum" or "mix" of different traditions, tales, recalls, events ... there is who sees Moses in Akhenaten as well [and the Exodus would have been the travel of the Atenists towards a sacred land, sacred for the Aten of course]. There is who thinks that there was an inversion and that Mose was Ahmose, the Monarch who defeated the Hyksos expelling them from Egypt ... in this case the Exodus was the Exodus of the Hyksos and Moses passed, in a distorted recall, from the Monarch who expelled them to their leader!
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,870
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#8
This is actually a very good theory. Would love to read more on this.

If we want to try and give a bit of credit to the tale in the Bible, we have to put together, in a realistic way, several particular circumstances and facts which actually make the tale of Moses and the Exodus not that credible.


The first step is just related to the origins of Moses. There is who says he was an Egyptian without great problems, ignoring the Biblical tale. And I've got no troubles in accepting this [it would avoid to have to invent something to put Moses in the Royal Palace and as Royal Prince ...], but we should find a motivation why he decided to defend some Asian groups who migrated to Egypt. Furthermore these migrants, according to the Biblical tale, were suffering, working in a very bad condition in one or more construction sites for a Monarch who had substantially enslaved them to build his new cities.


Then, living miracles in the sphere of the supernatural and keeping a historical approach, we should explain how was it possible for Moses to face his brother [Monarch] obtaining the "liberation" of the Asians [who had to be in some way connected with Moses]. If Moses was the natural heir who retired in a temple at Memphis [here Akhenaten's brother was High Priest for real], going to Akhetaten to "discuss" with the brother, he would have found a certain support by loyal officers and members of the Court still remembering his father, Amenhotep III [and thinking that Thutmose had to become Thutmose V ...]. In such a context the possibility of a civil war at Akhetaten existed.


We know that in the city of Akhenaten something unpleasant happened between year 13 and year 14 with the death of some important members of the Royal Family. A plague? May be [there is a mention of a plague in the region in some Amarna Letters, but there are no evidence that there was an outbreak in Akhetaten]. If we consider what Flinders Petrie wrote about his excavation at Tel El Amarna [the site of Akhetaten], in particular about the jars he found, we can note that around that period there was a change in the production [oil almost substituted wine ... did vines die?]. What was happening? Sure a mess. From what Carter found in the tomb of Tutankhamen [a box and a vase] and from what Pendlebury found during his excavation in the Central City of Akhetaten [the so called "coregency stela", rings, molds, seals ...] we know that in the last phase of his reign, Akhenaten got two coregents called "Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten" and "Ankhkheperure Smenkhkare". In which order and in which circumstances?


Keeping in mind that Nefertiti names was "Nefertiti Neferneferuaten" to identify Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten with her is not a great exercise of imagination. The Throne Name didn't change, so that there is who thinks that actually also Ankhkheperure Smenkhkare was Nefertiti as well [like Dr. Zahi Hawass and not a few of other Egyptologists ... and personally I tend to think this too]. Anyway here there is enough room to put Thutmose on the scene as Smenkhkare. A coregency between him and the brother could have been the outcome of the brief civil war and once Monarch Thutmose made two things:


he reactivated the temples of the traditional clergies [Neferneferuaten would have done the same and this is history: we've got an inscription presenting her returning for the first time to a traditional temple] and he prepared the Exodus. Why was he so concerned about those Asians? Amenhotep got married for real with Asian women [Mitanni Princesses are known ... can we exclude someone else, may be not so important to be recalled? Why not?], so we can imagine that Thutmose wasn't a son of the Great Royal Wife Tiye, but a son of an Asian woman ... member of the people Akhenaten exploited to build his capital ...


Then, the detail about the fortress at Tel El Borg is important. If someone had to organize an Exodus that was a kind of forced passage. Other ways were not so practicable for a migrating population with women, children and elders. We can imagine that at the end Akhenaten changed idea ordering to the garrison in the fortress to attack Thutmose and the Asians. But, as I've said, Thutmose was a Royal heir, he studied in the House of Life and sure he was prepared to face that situation. And I could add that probably he had a real army with him, not groups of armed guys. I can guess that a loyal faction of the Egyptian Army could have decided to go with him.
 
Likes: Niobe

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,870
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#9
P.S. About Mitanni, there is who says they were Jews ... Artashumara, king of Mitanni, would have been ... Abraham! So we can find all what we want ...


P.S. 2, as said, I have to explain also why Thutmose, as coregent, didn't use his own name, but he adopted "Smenkhkare". The explanation can be related to the behavior of his father Amenhotep III who decided to be deified while still alive. If Thutmose did the same at Memphis, becoming the deity Thutmose Son of Ptah, may be he decided to keep separated the divine figure from the figure of the coregent, so that he needed a different Son of Ra Name.

 
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AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,870
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#10
We can elaborate something else.

Moses didn't show to be Atenist as for liturgy. He was well more similar to a traditional High Priest like Thutmose. A traditional Egyptian in that period would kept the presence of the deity in a Divine Votive Ark. Moses did this. Atenists haden't such an ark. Furthermore Atenists adored their God in temples without roof. The Solar Disk was in the sky ... traditional Egyptians kept their arks in closed rooms and their temples had a roof. Moses and the proto Israeli acted like them.

Then, the recall of the order issued by the Monarch about killing the sons of the People of Israel. What if it's a distortion of the discrimination and over exploitation of Asian immigrants with even their children to work and to die in the construction site of Akhetaten? Mortality among those children was really high as archaeologists have started studying the cemeteries of the workers who built the new capital.
 
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