Well, Smenkhare is an interesting pharaoh to talk about, but I don't think he was an imposter, as you said. Still, there are lots of myths and theorys around him but I think we can be sure that Smenkhare lived and ruled Egypt. I found some interesting information, maybe you would be interested in that.
It's from http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehnaton
(Hungrian site, I translated)
In the last years of his rule, Akhenaten made joint rule with a young guy called Smenkhare who was probably the younger brother of him (some people says it was Nefertiti in a man's cloth, but that's not really possible)
Smenkhare married with Akhenaten's oldest daughter, Meritaten, he ruled for 3 years with Akhenaten and then, after the rebel pharaoh's death, he ruled Egypt alone for a little less than a year. He couldn't make peace between the aids of Amon and Aten. Smenkhare died when he was quite young, and we don't know anything about his death.
(Ps.: I don't what to think about Mika Waltari's Sinuhe, but it writes that Horemheb killed him, I think. But Sinuhe it's not the most correct book I read...)
Another site and a bit longer article (http://www.ra-horakhty.co.uk/magic/smenkhare_and_tutankhamon.htm
Almost everyone knows the boy king Tutankhamon, but his near relative Smenkhare, has almost passed into oblivion without a mention. Such is the cruel twist of destiny.
Tutankhamon is of course only famous because of the splendid treasures that Howard Carter found in his tomb way back in 1922. Since that time the boy king has had the greatest press and can command banner headlines at the drop of a hat.
Well, as for Smenkhare, no one would really give him half an inch at the bottom of the third page.
I suppose that statement today does not really hold water, for the snippets of information that have been discovered about that enigmatic pharaoh have made a mystery greater than that of his illustrious brother.
The truth is that both of the young pharaohs were at the heart of plots and scandals that would ultimately deprive them of their thrones. Both of them, without a shadow of doubt, were murdered and it is the facts surrounding the clues that lead to this conclusion that are so intriguing.
Over the next few pages we will learn of the most terrible fate that was suffered by any monarch in history. That was the destiny of Smenkhare.
The fate of Tutankhamon was only better in death.
Let us proceed and embark upon an adventure that reads more like a detective story than an archaeological discovery.
First we have to look at the characters involved in the plot and then we will be able to command a better picture of the intrigue.
The leading characters in the drama that will unfold are Akhenaton the heretic pharaoh; Aye, who rose to be High Priest of Amon-Ra and ultimately Pharaoh himself; Horemhab, the General of the Armed Forces, who like Aye, also ascended the Throne of Horus. Then of course we have the two boys, Smenkhare and Tutankhamon.
Akhenaton ...(Pharaoh from BC 1351 to 1334)
He was one of the greatest enigmas of history and I have devoted a whole book to the great mysteries that surround him. However, he plays a very important role in the context of the two princes who are the topic of this book.
Akhenaton has been named as the heretic by historians because of the dramatic way in which he changed the religion of Egypt from the worship of seemingly many gods, to the worship of the Aton, the Solar Disk.
This was something so profound, so earth shattering that even the Reformation of 17th century Europe could not really be compared to its magnitude. However one thing about the reforms of Akhenaton, they were short lived. They were terminated very abruptly at the end of his reign by the might of the Priests of Amon at Karnak.
There were no wars, no bitter conflicts between families and no terrible public executions for heresy, there was just the terrible fate of the young pharaoh who had the misfortune to succeed Akhenaton. That pharaoh was Smenkhare!
In short, Akhenaton had quite literally closed down the great temple complexes of Karnak and Luxor at the great capital city Thebes, dismissed the priests and removed his capital to Tel-el-Amarna, a brand new site to the north, almost exactly equidistant between the ancient city of Heliopolis near modern Cairo and Thebes.
This was shocking enough but the new religion that he ultimately forced upon his people bore very little relationship to the old one. At least with the transition from the Catholic Faith to Protestantism, the same god is worshipped.
In the case of Akhenaton religion this was not so.
The great tenet of belief in Ancient Egypt was of course the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting that was obtained through the merits of Osiris the original God King of Egypt who was murdered by his evil brother Seth but caused to resurrect by the magical power of his sister Isis.
It seems the situation regarding murder and intrigue has not changed since the beginning of time.
However, Akhenaton was not only obsessed by his new religion but he was of very strange physical appearance if the statues of him that have survived are to be regarded as true likenesses.
He had the basic body of a female with wide hips and breasts and a greatly elongated face with thick protruding lips. There are two very dramatic larger than life sculptures of his face at the Luxor Museum.
Whether or not these strange features were the result of some glandular disorder or through adherence to some tenet of faith, I discuss at length in the book specifically devoted to that great but strange monarch. However, what he caused to happen in terms of religious reform throughout his realm, was such an anathema to the Cult of Amon that drastic steps had to be taken in order to put the situation right.
That task was left to none other than Aye and Horemhab, so let us examine the credentials of these two illustrious gentlemen who in turn became the occupants of the Great Throne of Horus.
Aye (Pharaoh from BC. 1323 to 1319)
His origins were relatively lowly. He started his career as a minor court official, possibly master of the horse under Akhenaton, with links to the priesthood. That priesthood was of course the priesthood of Amon, not the new religion of his master.
Aye was very wise and cunning. He saw a path and was able to steer a course to its ultimate goal and was not afraid of how that was achieved or the consequences of his actions. He was utterly ruthless!
In fact, in order to achieve his ends he did not care what he did or even whom he destroyed, even if that destruction went as far as the pharaoh himself.
I hope you are building up a nice little picture of this gem of Egyptian society who in real terms can either be portrayed as a hero or villain.
We are of course psychologically drawn towards considering him to be the great villain of the piece for he destroyed two young lives and possibly many others besides including the beautiful young bride of Tutankhamon. However in history we have to ask ourselves if the end justifies the means.
The end that Aye was determined to effect was so great that nothing mattered to him other than its achievement. That end was the restoration of the religion of Egypt as it had come to the people over the millennia. As will be learnt in my book on ‘The Followers of Horus’, the knowledge of the Ancient Egyptians does not go back a few thousand years, but way back into the mists of time. Aye had an unswerving loyalty to the restoration of all that was brought down to them through the Followers of Horus and nothing to him mattered more than this.
The King, through the sacred rites that he performed was responsible for uniting his people with God. Akhenaton had deserted this responsibility and the immortal souls of all the people in Egypt were in peril.
It is in this context that we must view the actions of Aye that will unfold, so we can judge for ourselves if he is an ultimate villain or in reality a super hero that saved his country from a fate worse than death.
Horemhab (Pharaoh from 1319 to 1292 BC)
He was the strong Commander of the Army and it was undoubtedly Aye would not have been able to achieve what he did without his support. Even though he was Commander in Chief not only to Akhenaton but also Smenkhare and Tutankhamon as well, he had the painful decision to desert his sovereign and throw in his lot with the plans of Aye, for the ultimate benefit of the country.
Aye and Horemhab were both responsible for the destruction of two very different things. One was on a spiritual level and the other very physical. I suppose as the sphere of action pertaining to both these men revolved round these two areas, so their diverse course of action is only to be expected.
Horemhab undertook the physical destruction of everything that pertained to Akhenaton. He razed to the ground the beautiful pleasure city of Tel-el-Amarna and quite literally had the stones broken into pieces.
Today there is a fantastic American project to reconstruct part of the city using computer technology, from the fragments that have been found. So thorough was Horemhab work that the best way to determine some idea of the actual geography of the city is from the air!
However, Horemhab great legacy to Egyptian history was that he was responsible for the establishment of the 19th Dynasty with Ramses I, Seti I the Great and Ramses II; Seti and Ramses were arguably two of the greatest monarchs ever to grace the throne of Egypt!
Now we come to the two main characters in the plot, Smenkhare and Tutankhamon.
Smenkhare (Co-Regent with Akhenaton from 1337 to 1334 and sole Ruler for a few months in 1333)
This youth, who joined his predecessor on the throne for a few years towards the end of his rule, has been the subject of much controversy. He has even been accused of actually being none other than Nefertiti, the wife of the King.
However I think for the purpose of this scenario, we can discard that possibility without lengthy explanation suffice to say that it has been genetically proven that he was either the brother or half brother of Tutankhamon.
Towards the end of his reign, we cannot be certain as to the state of mind of Akhenaton. We can be certain that there would have been much behind the scenes opposition to his policies and the powerful priests of Amon-Ra would have been waiting their opportunity to return to power.
The court intrigue must have been tremendous.
The centre of all this was undoubtedly the beautiful Queen Nefertiti who disappeared off the scene several years prior to the end of her husband’s reign.
They were very outwardly and visibly a devoted couple. It would be reasonable to comment that they actually reigned jointly, in similar vein to William of Orange and Mary in late 17th century England, but there is no formal evidence to support this other than the nature of the imagery that remains.
The Queen is always accompanying him in a way that implies that they had equal status, so she was in reality his Co-regent.
This, together with the actual birth name of Smenkhare, which was Neferneferuaten, is very similar in form to that of Nefertiti. This adds to the confusion and has long fueled the argument that they were one and the same person.
However if we look at a brief chronology, we can obtain a clearer picture of events.
In Year 28 of the reign of Amenophis III, father of Akhenaton, (about 1340 BC), Akhenaton becomes Co-regent with his father with the name Amenophis IV. Please note that the names Amenophis and Amenhotep are interchangeable and other works might refer to them by that name). It is highly likely that Amenophis III was behind the transfer of allegiance from the God Amon to the worship of the Aton, for he did nothing to discourage his son, indeed on the contrary he encouraged him by making him Co-regent.
Year 32 Amenophis IV dedicates his first boundary Stele at Tel-el-Amarna.
Year 33 Amenophis changes his name to Akhenaton
Year 35 Akhenaton began full time residency at the Amarna city of Akhet-Aten
Year 39 Amenophis III dies and Akhenaton returns to Thebes for the funeral. There is a possible period of regency with the Kings mother Queen Tye.
In the 13th year of his reign as co-regent and second year after the death of his father, the role of Nefertiti declines. We are not certain what has happened to her.
In this same year Akhenaton takes Meritaton his eldest daughter as his consort! and the systematic defacement of the name of Amun begins. (Again please note that Amon = Amen = Amun)
To take his own daughter and heiress as his consort is a very drastic step for it meant that he considered his position on the throne so weak that he had to support it by marrying the legitimate heir!
In year 15 Smenkhare reaches his 16th birthday. He marries Meritaton and becomes Co-Regent.
The following year Ankhesenpaaten, another daughter of Akhenaton, becomes his wife and consort.
In year 17 we see the ‘departure’ or death of Akhenaton and also the death of
Meritaton. Smenkhare becomes sole ruler and marries Ankhesenpaaten.
The following year he dies at about 18 years of age.
His younger brother Tutankhaton is put on the throne by Aye and his name is changed to Tutankhamon in favour of the old divinity which he is to restore.
Let us briefly consider the possible parentage of Smenkhare and Tutankhamon.
One possibility is that they were the sons of Amenophis III, though a comparison of the skulls of the mummies of the two kings does not really corroborate this. Also the date of the death of Amenophis III and the age of Tutankhamon on his accession makes this possibility somewhat difficult! However, the dates that are generally accepted as being correct are very much open to conjecture and as new evidence filters through the hands of Egyptologists then new ideas and theories will become prevalent. This is a possibility for Smenkhare but not for Tutankhamon due to their difference in age.
It becomes increasingly likely that they were half brothers rather than brothers, however it is certain that there is a very close biological link between the two boys. Another suggestion is that Tutankhamon was the paternal grandson of Tuthmosis IV and the maternal grandson of Amenophis III. In other words he was the son of a son of Tuthmosis IV, the predecessor of Amenophis III and a daughter of Amenophis III. This is very possible and brings us to the idea that he might have been the son of Akhenaton and a secondary queen.
This is the result of the biological survey of the University of Chicago and there is no reason to dispute this.
One candidate for the motherhood of Tutankhamon was the Lady Kiya who is identified with the Mitannian princess Tadukhepa, the daughter of Tushratta the ruler of Mitannia.
Kiya is very prominent in the sculptural record at Tel-el-Amarna and her special position in the king’s favour is reflected in her title Greatly Beloved Wife. In various reliefs she is shown in the company of a daughter, but the great question is, did she give the king a son?
The records show that she was in favour at about year 9 or 10 of the reign of Akhenaton, which roughly corresponds to the year of Tutankhaton’s birth. However, there is no record of her after year 11 of the king’s reign and after that time, the Akhenaton’s daughter by Nefertiti, Meritaton, appears to have appropriated several of her monuments.
It is very possible that Kiya died in childbirth, as there is a fragmentary mourning scene in the tomb that was prepared for Akhenaton, which may have been a record of this. It is very possible that she was the victim of court intrigue for the great rise in status of Nefertiti only occurs after Kiya’s demise.
The betrothal of Tutankhaton as he would then have been known, to Ankhesenpaaten (after the restoration of the old religion, known as Ankhesenamon) the somewhat older third daughter of Akhenaton and Nefertiti, could have been seen as a ploy to reconcile two warring court factions!
However, having stated the strong possibility of the Lady Kiya being the mother of Tutankhamon, the generally accepted scenario is shown in the family tree below which makes Queen Tye, the wife of Amenophis III, not only his mother, but also the mother of Akhenaton and Smenkhare.
Short of dramatic new evidence, this is the most probable, (but not conclusive) pattern of relationships that wove a net of intrigue over the end of the eighteenth dynasty. Note also the marriage of Aye and the widow of Tutankhamon.
Genealogical tree of the
Amarna Royal Family
Bold lettering indicates that they were Pharaohs
Yuya Thyua Tuthmosis IV Mutemweya
(Noble but not royal)
Tey Aye Aanen Tiye Amenophis III
Nefertiti Akhenaton Smenkhare
Sitamon Other Princesses Baketaten
Meritaten Meketaten Ankhesenamon
Neferneferuaten Tashery Neferneferure Setepenre
God bless, Copy-and-paste is working!!
Well, it was very long but it contained a lot of infos about Smenkhare. Well... any answers?
*very-very-small letters* Do you like my new avatar?