Discussion:
Smenkhkare is Akhenaten
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JTEM
2010-02-22 01:39:47 UTC
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Yes, I was trying to be provocative with that subject
line...

Anyhow, bear with me for a second. There doesn't
appear to be a tomb for Smenkhkare ANYWHERE,
not even at Amarna. Now this seems extremely
unlikely for even a young king, as the consensus
surround "King Tut" seems to prove.

(as you are no doubt aware, the consensus appears
to be that Ay was buried in the tomb began for Tut)

It doesn't end there.

The burial in KV 55 has been variously identified as
Smenkhkare and Akhenaten, depending on whether
you go by the estimated age of the remains or even
the names found. Saying these two were in fact one
and the same explains everything.

Finally, it is NOT unprecedented for a king to have
more than one name at the same time.

I would suspect that with the apparent failure of his
Aten religious experiment, the king found it necessary
to offer some sort of compromise. When that failed
he was forced to "abdicate" the Akhenaten name all
together, going to Smenkhare.

That is all.
Barry Gray
2010-02-22 13:47:42 UTC
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Post by JTEM
Yes, I was trying to be provocative with that subject
line...
Anyhow, bear with me for a second. There doesn't
appear to be a tomb for Smenkhkare ANYWHERE,
not even at Amarna. Now this seems extremely
unlikely for even a young king, as the consensus
surround "King Tut" seems to prove.
(as you are no doubt aware, the consensus appears
to be that Ay was buried in the tomb began for Tut)
It doesn't end there.
The burial in KV 55 has been variously identified as
Smenkhkare and Akhenaten, depending on whether
you go by the estimated age of the remains or even
the names found. Saying these two were in fact one
and the same explains everything.
Finally, it is NOT unprecedented for a king to have
more than one name at the same time.
I would suspect that with the apparent failure of his
Aten religious experiment, the king found it necessary
to offer some sort of compromise. When that failed
he was forced to "abdicate" the Akhenaten name all
together, going to Smenkhare.
That is all.
Smenkhare is a very shadowy figure, and even the sex of the person
with this name is uncertain. A much more likely possibility than that
postulated is that Smenkhare is the throne name taken by Nefertiti
when she became Akhenaten's co -regent - see for example "The search
for Nefertiti" Joann Fletcher 2004. (This would explain the absence of
a tomb for Smenkhare.) Smenkhare appeared at the same time that
Nefertiti disappeared, whereas Smenkhare and Akhenaten are shown
together so they could not be the same person.

Going one stage further, Akhenaten was so obsessed with his religion
that he could not contemplate the possibility that it was failing -
see for example "Egypt's False Prophet" Nicholas Reeves 2001.

More books have been written about the Amarna period than any other
period in Ancient Egyptian history, possibly more than all other
periods put together, although I only have about 30 of them, compared
with 300 for Ancient Egypt as a whole and more than 1500 on ancient
non-European history. Some of the Armana period books are just pure
bunk, others very selective in their use of the archaeological
evidence. What does emerge however is that in many areas there is no
consensus even among highly respected and very experienced
Egyptologists.
--
Barry Gray
http://www.barrygray.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk
A child is a fire to be lit not a vessel to be filled
JTEM
2010-02-23 04:41:15 UTC
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Post by Barry Gray
Smenkhare is a very shadowy figure, and even
the sex of the person with this name is
uncertain. A much more likely possibility
than that postulated is that Smenkhare is
the throne name taken by Nefertiti when she
became Akhenaten's co -regent
I'll tell you why I never liked that idea:

Most of what is attributed to Nefertiti -- her
power, her relationship with Akhenaten -- is
better associated with Queen Tiye.

Tiye is a influential figure, the proverbial
"power behind the thrown" during the reign of
Amenhotep III. As evidence for this (or so
people smarter than me claim) there are statues
depicting her of equal size (importance?) as her
husband the king, and her mention in foreign
correspondence as demonstrated by the Amarna
cache.

Okay, so here's the $100 thousand question:

When has anyone even approaching what I am
describing above EVER walked away from it all?

What person in history -- woman or man -- ever
took the reigns of power, as Tiye is believed
to have -- only to throw them away?

What I guess I'm saying is that job was taken.
The position that Nefertiti was supposed to have
held was already filled.

Okay, okay, so you can argue that if Nefertiti
was co-regent it wasn't until some time after
Tiye was dead anyway, so there's no conflict. But
you forget: Royal families lived, breathed &
slept succession. It meant absolutely *Everything*.
Who the people at the top were, how everyone you
cared for, everyone that meant something to you
related to them dictated not only their power and
social status, put their position within the cosmos.

I just find it hard to believe that Queen Tiye would
have given up on her power, and that if she had
power she wouldn't allow an outsider to grow to the
prominence which Nefertiti was supposed to have....
beginning quite a while before Tiye's death.

Now I suppose you can get around this by arguing that
Nefertiti was Tiye's daughter. And, yes, that would
certainly put to rest all of my objections, but there's
nothing to suggest that Nefertiti was of royal parentage.

And, oh, interesting twist for those who think that
Nefertiti was Smenkhkare: In the famous correspondence
where an Egyptian queen asks the Hittite king to send
her a son, the name /can be/ transliterated as something
suspiciously close to one of the names of Akhenaten's
co-regent. Wiki currently has the name as "Niphururiya."

Secondly, queen Tiye is identified as the mother of
Tutankhamun. Okay, not exactly sure of that...

The miniature coffins which held Tiye's hair, the ones
found in Tutankhamun's tomb, identify her as the kings
wife, as well as mention of the "old" gods. Now the
arguments that this hair had to have been removed from
her postmortem are compelling, to say the least.

Speaking of leasts...

At the very, very extreme least, we can't simply accept
things at face value.
Post by Barry Gray
Going one stage further, Akhenaten was so obsessed
with his religion that he could not contemplate the
possibility that it was failing - see for example
"Egypt's False Prophet" Nicholas Reeves 2001.
A wise man once said to me: Read one book and you're
an expert. Read two or more and you're not sure anymore.

What he meant by that is of course the author of any
book is going to have a position, and if he has a lot
of facts & science behind him -- or even if he's just
a really good writer -- he's going to make a strong
case. So, yeah, you walk away thinking, "He got it
right. That must've been what happened."

...but then you read some other equally smart/talented
writer on the exact same topic, someone who holds a
different position than the first guy. Now you don't know
anymore.
Post by Barry Gray
Some of the Armana period books are just pure bunk,
others very selective in their use of the
archaeological evidence. What does emerge however
is that in many areas there is no consensus even
among highly respected and very experienced
Egyptologists.
Easy enough to believe. Part of it is what evidence
they look at, part of it is how they look at the
evidence. Whatever the case, everyone sees a different
picture.
Barry Gray
2010-02-23 11:24:04 UTC
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Post by JTEM
Post by Barry Gray
Smenkhare is a very shadowy figure, and even
the sex of the person with this name is
uncertain. A much more likely possibility
than that postulated is that Smenkhare is
the throne name taken by Nefertiti when she
became Akhenaten's co -regent
[snip]

Thanks for your very interesting and well-researched posting. I did
not say that Nefertiti as Smenkhare was the only explanation because
of course it is not, only that it is more likely than that postulated
by the OP.
Post by JTEM
Post by Barry Gray
Going one stage further, Akhenaten was so obsessed
with his religion that he could not contemplate the
possibility that it was failing - see for example
"Egypt's False Prophet" Nicholas Reeves 2001.
A wise man once said to me: Read one book and you're
an expert. Read two or more and you're not sure anymore.
Agreed
Post by JTEM
Post by Barry Gray
Some of the Armana period books are just pure bunk,
others very selective in their use of the
archaeological evidence. What does emerge however
is that in many areas there is no consensus even
among highly respected and very experienced
Egyptologists.
Easy enough to believe. Part of it is what evidence
they look at, part of it is how they look at the
evidence. Whatever the case, everyone sees a different
picture.
The majority of Egyptologists are however agreed on two things. One is
that the idea that Rameses ii was the Pharaoh of Exodus is quite
untenable, and the other is that the original view of Akhenaten as a
wise and good King whose brave attempt to set his people free from the
priest- and temple-centred old religion by introducing a monotheistic
religion freely and directly available to all his people was opposed
and eventually destroyed by the power-seeking Priests of Amun is quite
wrong.

Actually there is a third. The evidence that Carter knew exactly where
Tutankhamen's tomb was at least ten years before he opened it is
overwhelming: he just wanted to make certain that it was he got the
credit for discovering it and that his discovery made headlines
throughout the whole world. Whoever has heard of poor Psusennes i?
--
Barry Gray
http://www.barrygray.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk
A child is a fire to be lit not a vessel to be filled
JTEM
2010-02-24 07:44:37 UTC
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Post by Barry Gray
The majority of Egyptologists are however agreed
on two things. One is that the idea that Rameses
ii was the Pharaoh of Exodus is quite untenable,
That goes without saying.
Post by Barry Gray
and the other is that the original view of
Akhenaten as a wise and good King whose brave
attempt to set his people free from the priest-
and temple-centred old religion by introducing
a monotheistic religion freely and directly
available to all his people was opposed and
eventually destroyed by the power-seeking
Priests of Amun is quite wrong.
Part of the problem with that is that we know the
temples grew too powerful, and the nation suffered
greatly for it. As the central government weakened
so did the nation. I guess we want to look at
Egyptian history and see someone fighting this
eventuality.

Secondly, we can't but help but see strong parallels
with the bible and all the later middle eastern
monotheistic religions. Who wants Moses to be an
asshole?
Barry Gray
2010-02-25 22:15:59 UTC
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Post by JTEM
Post by Barry Gray
The majority of Egyptologists are however agreed
on two things. One is that the idea that Rameses
ii was the Pharaoh of Exodus is quite untenable,
That goes without saying.
Sadly, it does not.
Post by JTEM
Post by Barry Gray
and the other is that the original view of
Akhenaten as a wise and good King whose brave
attempt to set his people free from the priest-
and temple-centred old religion by introducing
a monotheistic religion freely and directly
available to all his people was opposed and
eventually destroyed by the power-seeking
Priests of Amun is quite wrong.
Part of the problem with that is that we know the
temples grew too powerful, and the nation suffered
greatly for it. As the central government weakened
so did the nation. I guess we want to look at
Egyptian history and see someone fighting this
eventuality.
Secondly, we can't but help but see strong parallels
with the bible and all the later middle eastern
monotheistic religions. Who wants Moses to be an
asshole?
This is the crux of the Amarna problem. Most archaeologists accept
that the Exodus really did take place, and see real similarities
between, say, The Hymn to the Aten and Psalm 104. But the Cult of the
Aten existed before Akhenaten and continued after him: Horemheb's
vendetta was against Akenhaten and his family not against the Aten.

Much of the Hymn to the Aten, particularly those parts most similar to
Psalm 104, can be found in pre-Akhenaten texts, but the last few lines
of it state very clearly that only Akhenaten himself has access to the
Aten, while in the art of the Amarna period of his reign the rays of
the Aten fall only on himself and Nefertiti. This is most certainly
not the God that the Children of Israel took out of Egypt.

The period the Children of Israel spent in Egypt is clearly a very
important stage in the development of their faith, culture and
national identity, as the Bible, particularly the Psalms, makes quite
clear, although it is not necessary to assume that Akhenaten himself
played any part in this (as again the Bible makes clear - Pharaoh in
the Psalms is invariably portrayed as wicked).

However important the period the Children of Israel spent in Egypt was
to them it was of very little importance to the Egyptians. Many books
on the Amarna period ignore this, they purport to be books on Ancient
Egypt but are actually platforms for a particular view of religion: if
you do not want Moses to be an asshole but think that Akhenaten
influenced Moses then clearly you must reject any idea that Akhenaten
was an asshole. Perhaps the most extreme of these views is that Moses
*was* Akhenaten.

This has been far better argued in other places and by wiser people so
I am bowing out at this point.
--
Barry Gray
http://www.barrygray.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk
A child is a fire to be lit not a vessel to be filled
JTEM
2010-03-01 06:06:25 UTC
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Post by Barry Gray
Post by JTEM
Secondly, we can't but help but see strong parallels
with the bible and all the later middle eastern
monotheistic religions. Who wants Moses to be an
asshole?
This is the crux of the Amarna problem. Most
archaeologists accept that the Exodus really did
take place,
I really wasn't trying to spark a religious discussion
(and I'm not aware of any serious archaeologist who believes
there's a lick of evidence for any "Exodus"), I was merely
pointing out how the obvious biblical parallels with Akhenaten
pollute the subject.

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