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Pharaoh Ay
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 2:52 pm 
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Hiya, just wondering if anyone has any information about what Ay was doing during the reigns of Amenhotep III and Akhenaten. Any information will be welcomely recieved so please post some! Thanks.
Ideally I am looking for information about where he was living, what roles he was performing under the two Pharaohs. Anything of interest about his early years would be great though.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 4:19 pm 
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Quick update, did a bit of rooting around and found a little bit.

-He is first mentioned as the Horsemaster under Akhenaten, but was probably a Priest in the Temple of Min at Akhmin beforehand.
- He became a Vizier under Akhenaten and was awarded a huge tomb at Amarna which was abandoned in about Year Nine.

This is still pretty scant information so if anyone knows anything about the really early years it would be appreciated.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 9:49 pm 
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In searching through some of my books I did find some info.

His titles under Akhenaten were "fanbearer on the right of the king," "over seer of all the horses of the lord of the Two Lands," "true royal scribe," " chief of archers", and the most important "God's Father": a title that his presumed father ,Yuya, held under Amenhotep III. He may not have been a priest, but perhaps a military man.

In Cyril Aldrid's "Akhenaten:King of Egypt" he writes:

"It is extremely unlikely that this important family [the family of Yuya and Tuya], so closely connected with royalty for several generations at least , did not have another son to carry on the tradition of arms that they professed, since Anen had evidently deserted a military calling for sacerdotal office. We do not have to look far for such a succesor. In the next generation at the court of Akhenaten, we find a Divisional Commander, Ay, holding most of the titles and offices claimed by Yuya under Amenhotep III. Both refered to themselves as 'One Trusted by the Goood God [the king] in the Entire Land';as 'Foremost among the Companions of the King'; and as 'Praised of the Good God'. These titles are generally taken to be honorific: on the other hand they may convey some degree of kinship with the ruler. Ay was a 'Fan-bearer on the Right of the King', and 'King's Own Scribe', or personall secretary (Aldred 220)."

"There is also another connection between these men. Yuya held important offices in Akhmim near where his daughter Tiye had extensive estates. Ay also built a chapel there to its local god Min, presumably because it was his birth place or family seat. It is noteworthy that references to Min and names compounded with Min and the goddess Mut became common in court circles at the time of the ascendancy of this family."(Aldred 221)"

"The title that Ay uses in preference to any others is 'Father of the God', which he even incorporated into his nomen when he became king on the death of Tutankhamun. The title usually denotes the holder of a priestly office and historians in the past have refered to Ay as the 'Priest Ay', accrediting him with some of the religious thinking behind the Aten heresy, largely because the much quoted Great Hymn to the Aten appears in it's fullest form in his tomb at Amarna. But Ay was primarily a soldier and held no priestly offices at Amarna where Pinhasy, Pentu and Tutu officiated as Chief Servitors, and Meryre I as High Priest. Moreover Ay is the only dignitary at Amarna to bear the title of 'Father of the God'. Many years ago the German scholar Ludwig Borchardt argued that in some circumstances this ambiguous title could mean 'The Father-in-law of the Pharaoh', and this is particulary the case with Yuya, who is stated on two of the commemorative scarabs of Amenhotep III to be the father of Tiye, the distinction, 'Father of the God', where there was no space for other titles. It would appear, therefore, that Ay too must have been the father-in-law of a king, though Akehenaten was the monarch he served. In that case, Ay's daughter must have been a wife of the pharaoh, and presumably his chief wife. Such a person can only have been Nefertiti (Aldred 221)."

Nicholas Reeves contradicts Aldrids (Borchardt) attempt at explaining the title of "God's Father" as meaning Father-in-law in a paragraph on pg 58 of his book "Egypt's False Prophet: Akhenaten" by stating Ay's brother held this tilte prior to Ay. He also gives another reference to Ay's military career:

"Most important of all, howevever, was the man assumed to be the third off-spring of Yuya and Tjuyu, the military officer Ay. He, like Aanen, would inherit Yuya's principle title 'God's Father', and - as events would show - every ounce of his political influence as well (Reeves 58 )."

Reeves further questions Ay's relationship to not only Akhenaten but Nefertiti herself:

"In fact on present evidence, the probability is that Nefertiti was Egyptian born and bred. Her nurse was none other than Tiy - to be distinguished by the spelling from Amenhotep III's principal consort - who was the wife of Ay, likely brother-in-law to the old king Amenhotep III and uncle of Amenhotep IV. Might Ay have been Nefertiti's father? On analogy with the status of Ay's supposed father, Yuya, it is conceivable that Ay too wished his title 'God's Father' to be construed literally as father-in-law to the king; it was certainly a label by which he himself set agreat store, since it would later be incorporated in his kingly nomen, almost in support of his claim to the throne. But, if Ay was Nefertiti's father, why is Tiy identified merely as'nurse'? Perhaps she was simply a later wife of Ay, rather than Nefertiti's actual mother.
Certainly if Ay did father Nefertiti, he would have been continuing in the the tradition of marrying into the royal household upon which his family's fortunes seem at least in part to have been based. The high favour he enjoyed as a mere officer of the new regime would also be explained, as also his subsequent allocation of a large and impressive tomb at el-Amarna - to say nothing of his future elevation to the kingship itlself. The further implication would be that Mutbenrte/Mutnedjmet was anothe offspring, with both daughters (half-)sister to Ay's supposed son, Nakhtmin - whom Ay, as pharaoh, would later invest heavily in his hopes for the future (Reeves 89)."

This is all I have found so far but I will continue to search through my library.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 5:56 am 
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Thankyou so much, as always you have delievered first class information! Can I be really cheeky and ask another favour too? I have been able to find very little information on Anen or this son of Ay (who until 5 minutes ago I wasn't aware of) so please could anyone give me some information, I am using it for my little Novella! Please don't tell me that Anen lived to see Akhenaten king, that really messes up the story!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 11:04 am 
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Hang on! You need not really worry about Ay being the brother of Anen anyway, as conclusive historical evidence is so scarce. In my opinion you can get away with saying that Ay was not even born of Yuya and Thuya for this reason. Here is some information:

Was Ay really the son of Yuya and Thuya?

The family of Yuya and Thuya hailed from the southern city of Akhmin. They were very influential and may ormay not have been of foreign decent. Yuya and Thuya had two confirmed children: daughter Tiye and son Anen. Ay is often considered to be the elder son of Yuya and Thuya for two reasons: his name is very similar to Yuya's and because he seems to have inherited Yuya's titles, particularly "Master of the Horse." Anen, although recognized as a son, does not seem to have inherited any of his father's titles. He served in the priesthood, most notably as the Second Prophet of Amun. So it is likely that Ay was in fact a memebr of the Yuya-Thuya family, and hailed from Akhmin.

Ay- Father of Nefertiti?

It seems that Ay's wife, Tey, is the mother of Mutnodjmet. Mutnodjmet is called "The Sister of the King's Great Wife, Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti." Therefore, it would seem that Ay and Tey are also Nefertiti's parents -- or are they?

Like Yuya before him, Ay never mentions being the father of a queen, but he is the father of a Queen (if he is in fact Nefertiti's father). While Thuya delighted and announcing to the world that she was the "Mother of the King's Great Wife" in the tomb she shared with Yuya, he husband said nothing about being the "Father of the King's Great Wife." Instead, he simply held the title of "God's Father," which many feel should be translated as "Father-in-Law of the God" with the God being Pharaoh. Ay held this title too, which suggest he was a father-in-law of a Pharaoh, Akhenaten. So it seems that Ay probably was Nefertiti's father. But was Tey her mother? It doen't look like it.

The only Nefertiti-related titles Tey held were titles describing her as a 'nurse' of Nefertiti. Titles such as "Nurse of the King's Great Wife" and "Governess of the Goddess." To this author and many others, this seems to imply that she was not Nefertiti's biological mother, but she did raise her. Perhaps the situation went something like this: Ay's first wife (whose name is lost to us) dies either shortly after or during the birth of his eldesy child, his daughter Nefertiti. It would be perfectly natural for a noble family such as Ay's to have a wet-nurse for the baby, but in this case she would need one, since her mother has died. Tey joins Ay's household as his daughter's nurse. The two eventually wed, and Tey gives birth to a second daughter, Mutnodjmet. Therefor the two girls are half-sisters, which is a perfectly acceptable explaination of Mutnodjmet's title of "Sister of the King's Great Wife." And Tey does imply that she is Mutnodjmet's mother.

In your story you might want to include these (names of Ay):

Horus name: Tekhenkhau
Nebty name: Sekhempehtidersetiu
Golden Horus Name: Heqasekhepertaui
Prenomen: King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Kheperkheperure-Irimaat
Nomen: Son of Re, It Netjer Ay
perkheperure-Irimaat
Nomen: Son of Re, It Netjer Ay


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 12:13 pm 
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Thankyou, it is important for the whole plot that:

a) Ay, Anen and Tiy are siblings.
b) Nefertiti and Mutnodjmet are the children of Ay.
c) Anen died before Akhenaten came to power.

The story is so far focussing on the last decade of the rule of Amenhotep III (with a regency of only a couple of years). We deal with the nature of Tiy as she begins to wield more and more power, the corruption of Ay through political games and the whole political atmosphere which gives birth to the Amarna period. I am writing it as a fictional reason for the "revolution" which is in itself still quite unexplained. There is little evidence to show us why the whole change happened, why was there such a ferocious backlash against the God Amun himself and not just the Priesthood. In the plot I show how the Priests are rivalling Pharaoh and through the manipulation of Tiy the whole anti-Amun system is set off. Pharaoh has the support of the army in the story in his crusade against the God because the Army hated the way that they were governed more by the Priests than the Pharaoh.
In all it is quite complicated, with a lot of plotting and manipulation which is masked behind a "Golden Age" of Amenhotep III. I just wanted to convey a reason in literature as to why the whole shift in power and ideology came about.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 12:55 pm 
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Psusennes, although we don't know for sure of Ay's parentage and siblings you do present much to consider, however, I would not base your opinions entirely on the type of sources (with unidentified authors) that you have quoted, or failed to quote ( Glintofgold.org ). There are more reliable sources out there, albeit scarce.

Anen held a number of titles under Amenhotep III including 'Chancellor of the King of Lower Egypt', 'second prophet of Amun', "Sem Priest of Heliopolis', 'Divine Father [Father-Of the God?]', 'High priest of Re-Atum'. His tomb, in Thebes (TT120), was found empty. Si-Amun, you may want to contact Lyla Pinch-Brock through the American University in Cairo. She is the co-director of the ROM Theban Tombs Project whose solely responsible for the tomb of Anen (TT120). She spoke at many conferences around the world, including University of Bristol Psusennes, on the tomb of Anen.

Hereis a discussion thread from another site all about Nakhtmin. As I mentioned earlier with regards to the credibility of sources such as this, I wouldn't base your opinions all on what is discussed on the site, but instead may lead you in the right direction to do further research.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 1:09 pm 
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Here is another site which might be of help to you Si-Amun. It is an extract from "InScription - Journal of Ancient Egypt",Issues 1-3,Copyright Papyrus Publishing 2001 by Paul Badham, Chairman, Staffordshire Egyptology Society.

Psusennes, you might especially enjoy this site as it displays an number of hieroglyph inscriptions with their transliterations and translations (particularly the commemorative scarabs of Amenhotep III).


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 4:15 am 
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I'm sorry if you thought that I was trying to take credit for writing that article Neb-Ma'at-Re, it most certainly was intended as a quote. I had previously posted under that address- so I am sorry that it came across that way. That website with transcriptions is very good btw- thankyou very much. :)

This lecture that I am attending this evening (under Dr. Maarten Raven) is specifically about the officials of the Amarna period- I'll be able to ask Dr. Aidon Dodson whatever you like then- He is always happy to help.
I'll ask him about this and take some notes- is there anything else that you want answered Si-Amun? I am leaving a 5.15 tonight.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 5:31 am 
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Oooooh, I am so jealous of you! I wish i was going. If you could would you please just ask him a few details about the career of Anen and about the very early days of Ay (specifically under Amenhotep III) as there is not very much information about it at all and he only comes to life in a big way under Akhenated. Being the brother of Queen Tiy (as I beleive) you would have thought he would have had a bit more responsibility under his brother-in-law.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 7:57 am 
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Right. I'll make a note to ask him that after the lecture. Perhaps I'll speak to you on msn some time, otherwise I'll just post it here as well.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 9:12 am 
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Thankyou, I am indebted to you immensely! By the way Neb-Ma'at-Re, I have tried to contact Lyla Pinch-Brock but it is exceedingly difficult to find any contact address for her. I have emailed the AUC and am awaiting a reply but they had no record of her on their online staff lists. Nevermind, hopefully they can furnish me with a way of contact!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 11:05 am 
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Right. I spoke to him less than 10 minutes ago, but to be quite honest he seemed as clueless as we are.

Apparently Anen served as the Second Prophet of Amun (i.e second in the priesthood) and was the Seal bearer of King Amenophis III. Other possible titles of his appear on stelae from tombs of other officials. These include, "Vizier to the Chancellor of the Delta" and Father to the God". Ay held both of these titles later, and it may be that they were added later. The evidence for titles of Anen is incredibly scarce. Although his tomb was heavily effaced and almost totally demolished after his death, we can deduce that he most probably died in the late years of the reign of Amenhotep III, or early years of his successor. He probably did live to see the early years of King Amenhotep IV. Anen's tomb may have been effaced due to his dislike of Akhenaten's new religion, as he himself was a priest of Amun. When Anen died he was relatively young and left behind four or five children, who are believed to be buried in undiscovered tombs at Saqqara.

With regards to Ay, his first 'inconclusive' appearance is in the late military records of Amenhotep III. The similarities between the persons in the military records compared with Ay's believed whereabouts are spookily similar. "One must remember that the evidence pointing towards Ay being Amenhotep's brother-in-law is not conclusive" was the first thing that Aidon said when I asked him about Ay. It seems that Ay spent most of the reign of Amenhotep III, as well as the early reign of Akhenaten climing up the military ladder in order to reach the status that he had under Tutankhamun. His first 'conclusive' appearance is as "Groom to the King's Horses" under Akhenaten in year two of his reign, shortly before Akhenaten's move to Akhetaten.

I can tell you more as you wish- I have quite a lot in my notebook. That was the general gist of the conversation though. I hope that that helps. If you want to know more I can tell you what he told me, or if the need arises speak with him on the 2nd of November, when the next lecture is.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 11:40 am 
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Thankyou so much, you would not beleive how invaluable you have been. Everything you have said will fit in perfectly you may be pleased to hear! I am so jealous that you got to talk to an Egyptologist, if I could grab hold of one I doubt I would let them go for about a week! Anyway, thank a lot.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 2:06 pm 
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Very cool stuff Psusennes! Would it be too much to ask if you could post your notes on the lecture in their entirety here, as I too am quite intrigued.

Si-Amun, you may want to try to contact Lyla Pinch-Brock through the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) as she is co-director of the ROM Theben Tombs Project.

Here is an email address: info@rom.on.ca
Here is their website link: ROM


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