Was Akhenaten's brother Moses?

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,265
Italy, Lago Maggiore
That thought had occurred as it was not unusual to make these things in advance, for instance there are a few shabti for Nefertiti, and in that name, but were never used. I've been trying to discover where the bier was found, for instance was it found near the cat sarcophagus at Mit Rahineh or elsewhere in the Saqqara area.

Psychologically if a young guy is particularly connected with a pet ... when that pet dies he could think to prepare his own death. As curious as it can sound, I personally had a cat who slept with me. She was old and when she lost the capability to see she used her feline senses to find me ... it happens that fate reserves you intense moments ... I found her dead and I managed [and I still remember the expression on her "face" ... she fought, but she lost] not to allow my mother to see her cat dead. Probably I would have prepared a sarcophagus for that cat! But this happened almost 30 years ago.
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
This is really yet another odd thing even before Amarna. Looking at a selection of writings, such as they are, about prince Thutmose, it is always said that he was a sem-priest and then advanced to become high priest, and this is what we would expect, yet nobody seems to ask why the model funeral bier was made for him when he must have been alive. I'm not sure they would have made funeral equipment for him at a specific priestly rank when he would be expected to advance, and also would expect to become king. It's logical to make these things in advance for a person whose status is not going to change, but not for one whose status will change considerably. This also goes for the shabti of Nefertiti, as when they were made she was GRW and in normal circumstances her status would not be expected to change before her death, but then she becomes another person and king. So everything about this is odd. I mean, you make a bier in advance of a persons death, presumably, and indicate on the bier that they had an untimely death....

For interest, the bier is in Berlin, that was always known, but even with the catalogue number VAGM-112-97 I cannot find anything more useful than it was probably from Memphis, wonderful....

This image is not what we usually see and it is the first time I knew it came in a miniature sarcophagus


Caveat, I'm speculating, and may write this post a little differently in a non speculative thread...
 
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AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,265
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Reality is that the find is without a suitable context. Also the well more famous bust of Nefertiti at Berlin is partially out of context. We learn, from reports of the moment when it had found, that it was in the laboratory of the personal sculpture of the Great Royal Wife ... nice ... but ... why was it there? Why did Nefertiti or Akhenaten order it? Where was it intended to go? [And to be showed, exposed?].


The physical destruction of the context [the destruction of Akhetaten and of all the Atenist sites in Thebes and elsewhere] is a real problem when we consider the so called "Amarna Period".
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
On the other thread I mentioned that to Akhenaten his father was possibly the Aten, and this view is not uncommon, though often it seems stopping a little short and saying Amunhotep III had become "merely" Ra-Horakhty. At Memphis, Amunhotep III had erected a temple in year 30, Nebmaatre-united-with-Ptah which is now lost. Does this mean that "Ra-Horakhty" has joined with Ptah as a joint god ? I don't know. However, if so, it would join together the Memphite and Heliopolitan traditions and create an intellectual and theological basis for a single act of creation and a single creator. Possibly this temple was converted by Akhenaten into a temple to the Aten, the one that we do know existed at Memphis, and this provides a basis for declaring Amunhotep III to be the Aten, a being that combines the obvious "god in the sky" with the deeply profound creator that is Ptah. So where does prince Thutmose come into this?

If Amunhotep III has become a god, The God, and rather surpassing just "merely" being the living Horus, who does Prince Thutmosis become high priest to? Ptah, a god, or this new combined god who is also his father. Does Amunhotep III still carry out the functions of king? is he still king or become other. Is Prince Thutmose still a crown prince in the normal sense. Has he infact created this new god, a god we normally associate with Akhenaten. Has the air become so rarified at Memphis that normality has changed, that maybe Thutmose cannot continue existing in the mundane world, even if he is to become king, and steps aside for his younger brother in able to "ascend". I cannot think of any better way of putting this. But, he "sees the light" and realizes that his father is just a man, with very bad teeth, and is left with the realization that he has seen what the God behind the veil is, a god that he may, in our terms, have created. By now Akhenaten is king and the cult of the new god in the form of Amunhotep III/Aten is in full swing, but Thutmose knows that while the idea of a sole god is correct, Akhenaten has diverted from a truth, and so Thutmose departs to spread his message about who the real God is.

Fantasy of course, but maybe it could fit in theological terms, and maybe that aspect needs a thread of it's own.

Edit: Memphis was also an Akhetaten, the northern Akhetaten, with Akhetaten [Amarna] being the southern Akhetaten as well as the Akhetaten. Gabolde has pointed out that an epithet for the later name of the Aten is "Lord of all that the disc circles", and that this joins the cardinal points. The east-west axis is formed by Ra-Horakhty, who is of both horizons, Khepri and Atum not withstanding. So Memphis, not Heliopolis is the second most important "Atenist city", and Thebes does not even enter the equation, at least theologically. So it does seem a little odd in a time from Thutmosis IV of increased attention to the solar gods, both northern and southern Heliopolis get sidelined, and this seems to become evident with Prince Thutmose installed at Memphis, and his father "joining" with Ptah on year 30 when Thutmose dissapears from the record. I'm stretching the "joining" of Amunhotep III and Ptah a little as Ramesses II also became "joined" with Ptah, and that did not mean he became a god with Ptah, but terminology can be a bit fluid...
 
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Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
Have been reading bits of this thread with fascination.

The Moses and Akhenaten link has been around for a longtime, and has always bemused me for several reasons:

Timeline: Akhenaten : New kingdom, ruling from 1353 to1337. Moses: A bit problematic because there is no consensus about when the Exodus actually occurred. Orthodox Jews accept in the reign of Ramses 11; 1279-1213 bce., about 150 years after Akhenaten.

The 'monotheism' of Akhenaten: I'm not sure he was a monotheist in the Jewish sense, of denying the existence of other gods. Also worth noting that judaism was not monotheistic until well after the Exodus. In recent years , archaeologist have found great many of statues of a female goddess (probably Asheroth) in Israel. Apparently dated long after Judaism was officially monotheistic.

Discoveries in the last few decades have shown that the Exodus of the Jews from Israel is almost certainly myth, as is the figure of Moses.

I finally got around to looking at a map to see how far Canaan is from Egypt. Not far at all. How earth did it take 40 years to get from Egypt to Canaan?

The Torah was first written down after the Exodus from Babylon, about 700 bce. That means, that like the New Testament, theTorah is the recording of oral tradition.

I don't always agree with Wikipedia, but the entry about the Exodus is pretty interesting. It begins:

"The Exodus is the founding myth of the Israelites-----------"

Also check the source; Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem - Wikipedia

A problem with biblical archaeology is that it works backwards; starting with a premiss, then trying to find evidence to support that premiss. Doubly difficult when much , if not all of the premiss is myth rather than fact.
 
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AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,265
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Have been reading bits of this thread with fascination.

The Moses and Akhenaten link has been around for a longtime, and has always bemused me for several reasons:

Timeline: Akhenaten : New kingdom, ruling from 1353 to1337. Moses: A bit problematic because there is no consensus about when the Exodus actually occurred. Orthodox Jews accept in the reign of Ramses 11; 1279-1213 bce., about 150 years after Akhenaten.

The 'monotheism' of Akhenaten: I'm not sure he was a monotheist in the Jewish sense, of denying the existence of other gods. Also worth noting that judaism was not monotheistic until well after the Exodus. In recent years , archaeologist have found great many of statues of a female goddess (probably Asheroth) in Israel. Apparently dated long after Judaism was officially monotheistic.

Discoveries in the last few decades have shown that the Exodus of the Jews from Israel is almost certainly myth, as is the figure of Moses.

I finally got around to looking at a map to see how far Canaan is from Egypt. Not far at all. How earth did it take 40 years to get from Egypt to Canaan?

The Torah was first written down after the Exodus from Babylon, about 700 bce. That means, that like the New Testament, theTorah is the recording of oral tradition.

I don't always agree with Wikipedia, but the entry about the Exodus is pretty interesting. It begins:

"The Exodus is the founding myth of the Israelites-----------"

Also check the source; Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem - Wikipedia

A problem with biblical archaeology is that it works backwards; starting with a premiss, then trying to find evidence to support that premiss. Doubly difficult when much , if not all of the premiss is myth rather than fact.
About biblical archaeology you're right. My perspective is a bit different. In fact I've posted this thread in the section of speculative history.

In a few words, I tend to see the figure of Moses like the figure of King Arthur, that is to say a literary creation [a myth, if you want]. What I'm interested in is to try and understand which models and sources could have contributed to the "sum" from which such a literary figure came out. Was he invented without any link with something real?

In the case of King Arthur we can observe a construction based on local tales, legends, far recalls of historical events, some historical figures ... all mixed to generate the Dux Bellorum.

I have wondered if in the case of the figure of Moses it happened something similar.

That the Torah had written after the Exodus from Babylon is a supposition. We know that in 5th century BCE the Tradition existed [the leffers about the Passover from Elephantine prove this], but we cannot be sure of the content of the Tradition in that age. the earliest version of the Tanakh [containing also the Torah] was in Greek and written in Ptolemaic Egypt [so in Hellenic environment]. I do think that there was a cultural pollution and that, composing the Torah, the Jews interpolated a bit using Egyptian material ...
 
Jun 2017
2,976
Connecticut
There is no proof that the Jews were ever enslaved in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Egypt would almost certainly have the records, maybe they'd be a clear biased slant to them like we see later with the Assyrian records of their unfavorable interactions with Judah but can't imagine the events of Exodus just being ignored by the Egyptians(plagues and all). Exodus seems more like a national origin myth for the Israeli's that enhances their importance and it certainly seems to be crafted at a time when the Jews were purely monotheistic. I think it's very likely at this point the Jews were polytheistic(hence their rulers being the namesake of false(from the Bible's perspective) regional gods like Baal).

Of course even if Exodus was true and there was some massive conspiracy to cover it all up on the Egyptian end, Akhenaten probably would have predated these events by about a century or two and this theory would seem to be trying to associate important person A with unrelated important person B(and in this case C). These sort of theories are the one's I'm most skeptical about because they seem to be inherently biased towards discovery and sensationalism(something there is a pretty clear motive for in the profession) rather than the truth. The history channel would just love to run some garbage like "Did Moses's plague kill King Tut?"(going by the "first born" part of the story and that would be a question that would have to be asked wouldn't it?)

Also the whole Akhenaten being the father of Monotheism thing is overblown. We have a tendency to view Polytheism as people worshiping a bunch of gods equally versus one(Abrahamic religions kind of frame it that way for their followers which agnostic/atheist or not was probably how most people on here were introduced to the concept), but the more you study ancient religion the more you realize Polytheism was usually always semi monotheistic with the main difference being a recurring cast of minor deities. Big trios like the Holy Trinity were the next most common thing after the "god" archetype and probably made it easier to convert European pagans, though Christianity making the trio all the same person is certainly unique. Honestly the pagan main god archetype's throughout the Levant and Middle East and Europe had much more in common with Yahweh than Akhenaten. Akhenaten's connection with monotheism comes from the fact that Akhenaten only worshipped Aten, but Aten wasn't even a god, it was the disk of the Sun(Ra) and there's really no link there, Aten wasn't even really a sentient being in mythology it's the equivilant of someone worshipping Yahweh's beard or Zeus's throne. Lots of other examples in the Middle East of gods who fit the role of Yahweh much earlier but the only reason they aren't mentioned in the same sentence is because they were surrounded to varying extents by other gods, a role the Montheistic religions outsourced to Angels and or the Devil but people always tend to look at this from an Abrahamic perspective, which tells us believing in false idols is a sin, rather than an objective unbiased one where if you aren't told believing in more than one god is wrong and you believe in an afterlife, you aren't going to assume there's just one deity you're probably going to picture a hierarchy of supernatural beings and sure they'll be a ruler just like in the real world, but without the Monotheistic influence there's really no reason to assume he'd be alone, especially when the purpose of religion was to explain the universe and there are so many more things to explain than "who is in charge". Connecting the Jews and Akhenaten together because they only believed in the existence of one deity is a connection that we are making with modern definitions that has really nothing behind it and there's actually no proof the Jews were monotheistic or maybe even existed during Akhenaten's phase.

The Jews were one of many people in the region with a tribal deity, and probably started off believing in all the Canaan deities and over time this turned into belief in only one deity. It's possible other people's underwent similar processes but the Jews's mythology had a immense later impact so it's going to inherently be given the focus/most of the other Phoenician and Canaan people's in the region didn't resist subjugation long enough for a similar process to occur. Akhenaten on the other hand was a King with different idea's(who likely thought the disk of the Sun was the only deity because it was the only one he could physically see). Not trying to diminish Akhenaten being different, he certainly was, but there's just no connection here except if you look at religion in the most basic sense of how many deities you worship with no added context.
 
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AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,265
Italy, Lago Maggiore
There is no proof that the Jews were ever enslaved in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Egypt would almost certainly have the records, maybe they'd be a clear biased slant to them like we see later with the Assyrian records of their unfavorable interactions with Judah but can't imagine the events of Exodus just being ignored by the Egyptians(plagues and all). Exodus seems more like a national origin myth for the Israeli's that enhances their importance and it certainly seems to be crafted at a time when the Jews were purely monotheistic. I think it's very likely at this point the Jews were polytheistic(hence their rulers being the namesake of false(from the Bible's perspective) regional gods like Baal).

Of course even if Exodus was true and there was some massive conspiracy to cover it all up on the Egyptian end, Akhenaten probably would have predated these events by about a century or two and this theory would seem to be trying to associate important person A with unrelated important person B(and in this case C). These sort of theories are the one's I'm most skeptical about because they seem to be inherently biased towards discovery and sensationalism(something there is a pretty clear motive for in the profession) rather than the truth. The history channel would just love to run some garbage like "Did Moses's plague kill King Tut?"(going by the "first born" part of the story and that would be a question that would have to be asked wouldn't it?)

Also the whole Akhenaten being the father of Monotheism thing is overblown. We have a tendency to view Polytheism as people worshiping a bunch of gods equally versus one(Abrahamic religions kind of frame it that way for their followers which agnostic/atheist or not was probably how most people on here were introduced to the concept), but the more you study ancient religion the more you realize Polytheism was usually always semi monotheistic with the main difference being a recurring cast of minor deities. Big trios like the Holy Trinity were the next most common thing after the "god" archetype and probably made it easier to convert European pagans, though Christianity making the trio all the same person is certainly unique. Honestly the pagan main god archetype's throughout the Levant and Middle East and Europe had much more in common with Yahweh than Akhenaten. Akhenaten's connection with monotheism comes from the fact that Akhenaten only worshipped Aten, but Aten wasn't even a god, it was the disk of the Sun(Ra) and there's really no link there, Aten wasn't even really a sentient being in mythology it's the equivilant of someone worshipping Yahweh's beard or Zeus's throne. Lots of other examples in the Middle East of gods who fit the role of Yahweh much earlier but the only reason they aren't mentioned in the same sentence is because they were surrounded to varying extents by other gods, a role the Montheistic religions outsourced to Angels and or the Devil but people always tend to look at this from an Abrahamic perspective, which tells us believing in false idols is a sin, rather than an objective unbiased one where if you aren't told believing in more than one god is wrong and you believe in an afterlife, you aren't going to assume there's just one deity you're probably going to picture a hierarchy of supernatural beings and sure they'll be a ruler just like in the real world, but without the Monotheistic influence there's really no reason to assume he'd be alone, especially when the purpose of religion was to explain the universe and there are so many more things to explain than "who is in charge". Connecting the Jews and Akhenaten together because they only believed in the existence of one deity is a connection that we are making with modern definitions that has really nothing behind it and there's actually no proof the Jews were monotheistic or maybe even existed during Akhenaten's phase.

The Jews were one of many people in the region with a tribal deity, and probably started off believing in all the Canaan deities and over time this turned into belief in only one deity. It's possible other people's underwent similar processes but the Jews's mythology had a immense later impact so it's going to inherently be given the focus/most of the other Phoenician and Canaan people's in the region didn't resist subjugation long enough for a similar process to occur. Akhenaten on the other hand was a King with different idea's(who likely thought the disk of the Sun was the only deity because it was the only one he could physically see). Not trying to diminish Akhenaten being different, he certainly was, but there's just no connection here except if you look at religion in the most basic sense of how many deities you worship with no added context.
Akhenaten doesn't fit well ... Moses and the Israelites looked more like New Kingdom Egyptian worshippers [with a votive Ark, a hiddle place where it stayed with the presence of God ... Atensits hadn't an Ark and their temples hadn't a hidden place to host the deity: the Aten was visible in the sky and to adore it, their temples hadn't the roof ... they were literally under the sun in their temples.

This said, being in the speculative section we can speculate without troubles. I'm not thinking that the Exodus happened like described in the Bible. In that period of the history of Ancient Egytp there were not a few medium size migrations of Semitic populations to Egypt and back. Groups of Asian tribes entered Egypt and left it without needing plagues to persuade the Horo to leave them go ...

What I'm wondering, actually, is if this was a myth invented by the authors or it was a kind of literary construction built during centuries acquiring a piece here and a piece there. So I have made a mere exercise to see if there was a potential "model" for the literary figure of Moses. Prince Thutmose is a good one [but there are others as well].
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
Jan Assmann proposes that the Exodus was never based on a physical movement of people, but was an exodus from Egypt in the sense that the first Hebrews left behind the old religious thoughts and practices encapsulated by the Egyptians. So it was an exodus from the old "Egyptian" way of thought to the "promised land" of a new way of religious thought with one god and not many. No plagues, no parting of the Red Sea, or even journey out of Egypt via a "sea of reeds" in the Delta, no staffs turning into snakes. All just stories to put a deeply psychological process into terms that could be understood by people, and recounted as a "history" until eventually becoming fixed in the first Hebrew writings.
 
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