Joe Baker
re:No co-regency - Amenhotep and Akhnaten
Fri Jan 21, 2005 19:29
218.214.167.207 (XFF: 81.101.3.175)

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 style decorations, but disappears from the record by year 34 of Amunhotep III."

I like Andrew Gordon's position on Ramose ("Who was the Southern Vizier during the Last Part of the Reign of Amenhotep III?" JNES 48 (1989), 15-23). He argues for a reversal of the commonly accepted position. That is Ramose was the northern vizier (not the southern vizier) and Amenhotep was the southern vizier (not the northern vizier). Both have tombs at Thebes. I do not know what is the current view on this matter. Nor do I know if any report has been published on the unfinished tomb of Amenhotep (in his paper Gordon says it had recently been discovered). Nor do I know of a full publication of the Memphis tomb of Aper-El, another vizier of the late Amenhotep-early Akhenaten period. Seems that under any chronological scheme we have three viziers acting at the same time.

Furthermore it is king Amenhotep 4 who is depicted in Ramose' tomb - nowhere is his later name of Akhenaten mentioned. This name change happened in year 4. In the typical co-regency model, year 28 of Amenhotep 3 = year 1 of Amenhotep 4/Akhenaten. Ramose was still active in year 34 of Amenhotep 3 = year 7 of Akhenaten. So how come there is no mention of an Akhenaten in Ramose' tomb? Worse still is the tomb of Kheruef. Here too the young king is only called Amenhotep. But the tomb has a scene of the third Heb-sed festival in Amenhotep's 37th year = year 10 of Akhenaten. Why again no mention of the name Akhenaten in this tomb? And even worse is the remains of the tomb of Amenhotep 3 himself. Supposedly he died at the height of the Amarna period, yet not a glimpse of any Amarna style or theology in his traditional burial (other than a few objects associated with the later burial of Tiye).

"b) papyri dated to the two reigns"

Yes, I agree - an argument one could use. I note that I use a similar line in arguing for the reversal of Shabaka and Shabataka. . But given the population, multiple attestations over 15 years is not statistically forbidden.

"c) ... what is a jar from 28 Amunhotep III doing at Akhetaten"

Who knows? I presume that if the year 28 were Amenhotep's then the contents would have been sour. Maybe it had been emptied and carried there for another purpose? Maybe someone had deliberately added it to a consignment to make up numbers? Again I stress that a needle in a haystack does not mean haystacks are made of needles.

"d) the jubilees of the aten (here identified with the father of Akhenaten) correspond to the jubilees of Amunhotep III only if there was a cregency"

Never could quite get into this argument. As for the correspondence with the jubilees of Amenhotep - well the dates for th efirst Aten jubilee are variously said to be year 2, 3 or 4. And there is no evidence for the dates of any later jubilees of the Aten. And again there is no evidence of King Akhenaten at any jubilee of Amenhotep, nor is there any evidence for Amenhotep at any Aten jubilee of Akhenaten.

"e) the docket dating a letter congratulating Akhenaten on his accession is year [X+]2. If it is year 2, it took over 12 months for the news to travel to Mesopotamia and a messenger to return. Is this credible? If it is year 2, what is it doing in the Amarna archive at all?"

Well in defence of the no co-regency model I offer the following.

The last query suggests a letter, dated to year 2, would not be found at Amarna because the city was not a royal residence (or even founded) until some years later. Well if so, couldn't it have been later forwarded to Amarna? And we know that this was actually the case with this letter because the very docket you refer to shows that the letter was first received at Thebes, not Akhetaten.

Now as to the time it took ambassadors to undertake the round trip Memphis-Washshukani-Memphis (and I here take Memphis to be the Egyptian capital and home of the royal court). Tushratta himself was impressed by a turn around trip of three months. Presumably normal trips took longer, especially if careful diplomatic deliberation was required, people were detained, special armed escorts, time to carry other messages to vassals, time to be entertained by old friends, procurement of supplies on the way, etc.

Finally you assume that EA 27 was the first letter Tushratta sent to Akhenaten. Not so. This letter is not concerned with congatulations for the new king. That letter was sometime in the past. EA 27 is mainly concerned about two solid gold statutes that Amenhotep had promised to send. In their place, Akhenaten had sent two gold covered wooden statues. At a minimum I see the chronology of diplomatic exchange as

  • Amenhotep 3 died
  • Haamashshe sent to inform Tushratta of the king's death and the accession of Akhenaten.
  • Tushratta sent Keliya to Egypt with a letter of commiseration and congratulations.
  • Akhenaten sent back Keliya in the company of Mane with a letter expressing a desire to continue the alliance. He also sent gifts but not the two gold statues his father had promised.
  • Tushratta "detained" Mane and dispatched Pirissi and Tulubri, with letters EA 26 and 27, to fetch the two promised statues.
  • The Mitannian ambassadors arrived at Memphis and then continued on to Thebes to meet with Akhenaten. Their mission was not acceptable and they were "detained".

Thus there is no problem with seeing EA 27 being annotated at Thebes during year 2 of Akhenaten. I do have one problem with the hieratic note. It says EA 27 was a copy of the original letter. I think this means it must be a duplicate from Mitannia, that is Pirissi had brought two copies of the letter. (I have never read that EA 27 is in anyway petrographically different from other Mitannian letters).

Even some "anti-coregency" scholars have I believe taken to suggesting that there was an overlap of a few months, during Amunhotep's lengthy final illness

Is there any evidence for a lengthy illness for Amenhotep? I know some have suggested that this was the reason why Tushatta sent a statute of Shaushka of Ninua to Egypt. But it's arrival in Egypt, in year 36, was not associated with an illness. One of Shaushka's roles was as a goddess of love. Her statute was sent to bless the sexual union of Amenhotep and Tadu-Heba. The statute had previously been sent to Amenhotep, presumably in his 10th year, when he had married Kelu-Hepa daughter of Shuttarna.

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 Akhnaten — Joe Baker, Fri Jan 21 19:29
      • 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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