Joe Baker
No co-regency - Amenhotep and Akhnaten
Sat Jan 15, 2005 00:16
218.214.167.207 (XFF: 81.101.3.175)

Hi all

As you know I am against a co-regency between Amenhotep 3 and Akhenaten. I feel that those who support a co-regency - usually a 12 year one - are like people who discover a needle in a haystack and therefore conclude that haystacks are made up of needles. Here are some charts to illustrate.

1. Chart of dated wine jars found at the Malqata palace complex.

This comes from Hayes' papers in the 1951 issues of JNES. Thousands of jars and their labels were found. Some 845 year dates were recovered and of these 189 were wine jars. This chart tabulates the wine label dates. In year dates these were the most widespread items. Dated jars, containing other produce, were more limited in years being mainly procured in bulk for the Heb sed festivals - ie 186 ale jars for the first one in year 30 and 337 meat jars for the second one in year 34. Here Column one is the regal date, Column 2 is the total of all dated labels, Column 3 is the total of the wine labels, and Column 4 gives their frequency. Note the regal year dates are not accompanied by the name of the reigning king. They just record the year.

YEAR  T   W
1 5 5 |XXXXX
2 |
3 |
4 |
5 |
6 |
7 |
8 2 |
9 |
10 |
11 |
12 |
13 |
14 |
15 |
16 |
17 |
18 |
19 |
20 1 |
21 |
22 |
23 |
24 1 1 |X
25 1 |
26 1 2 |X
27 |
28 2 2 |XX
29 3 2 |XX
30 229 22 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
31 11 7 |XXXXXXX
32 35 18 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
33 8 2 |XX
34 404 25 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
35 9 6 |XXXXXX
36 36 33 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
37 78 35 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
38 16 10 |XXXXXXXXXX

Some Notes

A. I have omitted the wine jar containing a date of year 9. Hayes points out that the year 9 label was an old label. The jar had later been used to store honey, but the old label was not erased. Although the new reused date was not preserved, Hayes suggested that it should probably be year 34 since the jar was found within the forecourt of palace's own temple of Amun. Hundreds of dated jars were found here, all dated to year 34.

B. Hayes agrees that the five wine jars labelled year 1 were obviously from the reign of Akhenaten and puts them with those of year 28 (as he was an 12 -year co-regency supporter - believing Amenhotep may have ruled into his 39th year). These were all found in the "Middle Palace" area of the complex. He suggested that this showed that Akhenaten resided there in his first year, during year 28 of his father.

But unlike Hayes I do not see support for a co-regency here. The five year 1 labels would be better placed following year 38. Overall only two jars are dated to year 28 and prior to that years 20-27 yield only five attestations. Statistically, it is unlikely that these year 1 dates come from year 28. Even more telling is the non occurence of labels dated to years 2-11? Jars dated to these years (of Akhenaten) would surely have made their way to Malqata during his father's reign.

C. Hayes also reports on the hundreds of labels that record the official who gifted various jars to the palace complex - mainly for the Heb-sed festivals.

Among the hundreds is one from the "House of the real king's son, Amenhotep". Hayes naturally concludes that this is Akhenaten. Well and good. But if this is from a time when Akhenaten was king then why does the label not refer to him as king? Indeed, if there was a 12-year overlap why is there not a mention of gifts donated by King Akhenaten/Amenhotep? Or of gifts donated by some of the new Amarna officials residing in Akhetaten?

D. Hayes also reports on the number of bezel rings, found in the palace complex, which contain the names of the royal family. The distribution is

 451  Nebmaatre Amenhotep
32 Tiye
2 Sitamun
1 Neferkheperure Amenhotep
2 Ankhkheperure
1 Nebkheperure
1 Ankhesenpaaten

Again a strange distribution if Akhenaten was co-ruler for the 12 years the palace served as a royal residency in Thebes. Compare this to objects found at Amarna. I only have the data from "The City of Akehetan" vol 2 (apparently volumes 1 and 3 did not tabulate their named published objects, but the distribution maybe the same)

 10  Nebmaatre Amenhotep
34 Neferkheperure Amenhotep/Akhenaten
1 Nefertiti
33 Ankhkheperure
43 Nebkheperure
3 Ankhesenpaaten

Some, like Giles, take this distribution as evidence of a 12-year co-regency in which Amenhotep 3 continued to live and rule while the city of Akhetaten flourished. But they completely ignore the distribution evidence from Malqata. The difference in distribution is easily explained by the fact that Amenhotep 3 was a popular ruler and many people, particularly those who served under him, continued to honour him by preserving his name and portrait.

For me the distribution at Malqata may result from Akhenaten disbanding the palace staff in his first year. It remained disused until about year 3 of Neferneferuaten when the court moved back to Thebes. (The year 3 Theban inscription concerns palace servants in the "House of Ankhkheperure"). On her death Tutankhaten/amun and the court probably soon moved to Memphis.

2. Chart of dated objects found at Amarna.

This is an old favourite of mine. The numbers are from Giles 2001 book "The Amarna Age: Egypt:".

YEAR  T
28 1 |X
29 |
30 1 |X
31 1 |X
32 |
33 |
34 |
35 |
36 |
37 |
38 |
1 48 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
2 26 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
3 9 |XXXXXXXXX
4 7 |XXXXXXX
5 20 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
6 23 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
7 29 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
8 26 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
9 55 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
10 48 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
11 29 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
12 40 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
13 32 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
14 57 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
15 18 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
16 29 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
17 27 |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

For me this chart cries out "no co-regency". If Amenhotep 3 was ruling during years 1-12 of Akhenaten (and many say living in the city) then where are all the dates for his years 28-38 at Amarna? Compare this chart with the one from Malqata. How can the finders of a needle in a haystack explain these distributions?

Regards Joe



    • Dear Joe Hello again. Thanks for posting this data - it is rather telling, ins't it. In default of actual proponents of the coregency theory (are there any on this forum?) I would be happy to play... more
      • re:No co-regency - Amenhotep and AkhnatenJoe Baker, Fri Jan 21 19:29
        Hi Kim Here are some answers I would supply to your "devil's advocate" position. "a) stylistic observations regarding the tomb of the vizier Ramose - he has both standard NK style and later Amarna... more
        • Re: No co-regency--Amenhotep and AkhnatenMarianne Luban, Sat Jan 22 21:47
          I may have missed something--who is the vizier Amenhotep? I assume you are referring to Amenhotep son of Hapu? Three viziers? I don't know about this. Ramose had his tomb at Thebes, not Saqqara. Had... more
          • Vizier AmenhotepAndrew Gordon, Tue Jun 28 20:46
            The vizier Amenhotep is not to be confused with the Son of Hapu. See my article in MDAIK 39 (1983), 71-80 Where I was able to identify his tomb at Thebes. Andrew Gordon
            • Vizier AmenhotepKim, Fri Jul 1 02:45
              Dear Andrew Many thanks for your comment (and indeed for identifying the tomb!!). I think our original discussion got bogged down in too many Amunhoteps i.e. the steward at Memphis; the son of Hapu;... more
              • vizier AmenhotepAnonymous, Fri Nov 18 12:40
                Hello, I have a little question. Do you know the exact number of the Theban tomb of vizier Amenhotep Huy.In my book The Amarna Age by Frederick J. Giles they didn't mentioned the number, they only... more
                • Re: vizier AmenhotepAnonymous, Fri Dec 2 08:52
                  Hello, Terri Thanks for the information, Rozette
                • Re: vizier AmenhotepTerry E, Sat Nov 19 03:18
                  Dear Rozette, You can find both the tomb of Amenemhat Surer and the tomb of Amenhotep Huy (described as King's Son of Kush, not vizier. I don't know if this was the same person) on the tomb list at:... more
        • Hi Joe (and anyone else) 1) Ramose: he was once thought to be northern vizier in succession to Amunhotep. The fact that Amunhotep is shown at the endowment of the mortuary temple of Amuhotep son of... more
          • re:No co-regency - Amenhotep and AkhnatenJoe Baker, Mon Jan 24 04:01
            Hi Kim The round trip, Memphis-Washshukani-Memphis is some 2500 kilometres. About the same distance as the Persian royal road from Sardis to Susa, which Herodotos reports took 3 months to travel -... more
            • Dear Joe, I agree with your points generally, and concede that it could have taken 12 months or more for the various trips. I do not agree about your suggestion that AIV was in Thebes, to pad out the ... more
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