Friday, November 8, 2019
Pharaoh Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye
Pharaoh Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye Famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass considers the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III, one of the final rulers of the Eighteenth Dynasty, as the greatest monarch ever reign over the Two Lands. Dubbed the Magnificent, this fourteenth-century B.C. pharaoh brought in unprecedented amounts of gold to his kingdom, built tons of epic structures, including the famed Colossi of Memnon and lots of religious buildings, and depicted his wife, Queen Tiye, in an unprecedentedly egalitarian fashion. Lets dive into the revolutionary era of Amenhotep and Tiye. Amenhotep was born to Pharaoh Thutmose IV and his wife Mutemwia. Aside from his alleged role in re-establishing the Great Sphinx as a big tourist spot, Thutmose IV wasnt that notable of a pharaoh. He did, however, do a bit of building, especially at Amuns temple in Karnak, where he explicitly identified himself with the sun god Re. More on that later!Ã Sadly for young Prince Amenhotep, his dad didnt live very long, dying when his kid was about twelve. Amenhotep ascended the throne as a boy king, exercising his only dated military campaign when he was about seventeen in Kush. By his mid-teens, though, Amenhotep wasnt focusing on the army, but his one true love, a woman named Tiye. Shes mentioned as the Great Royal Wife Tiye in his second regnal year - meaning they got married when he was just a kid! Tip ofÃ the Hat to Queen Tiye Tiye was a truly remarkable woman. Her parents, Yuya and Tjuya, were non-royal officials; Daddy was a charioteer and priest called the Gods Father, while Mom was a priestess of Min. Yuya and Tjuyas fabulous tomb was uncovered in 1905, and archaeologists found lots of riches there; DNA testing performed on their mummies in recent years has proved key in identifying unidentified bodies. One of Tiyes brothers was a prominent priest named Anen, and many have suggested that the famous Eighteenth Dynasty official Ay, alleged father of Queen Nefertiti and eventual pharaoh after King Tut, was another of her siblings.Ã So Tiye married her husband when they were both quite young, but the most interesting item about her is the way in which she was portrayed in statuary. Amenhotep deliberately commissioned statues showing himself, the king, and Tiye as the same size, showing her importance in the royal court, which was on par with that of the Ã pharaoh! In a culture in which visual size was everything, bigger was better, so a big king and an equally big queen showed them as equals.Ã This egalitarian portrayal is pretty much unprecedented, showing Amenhoteps devotion to his wife, allowing her to wield influence comparable to his own. Tiye even takes on masculine, regal poses, showing up on her own throne as a Sphinx who crushes her enemiesÃ and getting her own Sphinx colossus; now, shes not only equal to a king in the way shes portrayed, but shes taking on his roles! But Tiye wasnt Amenhoteps only wife - far from it! Like many pharaohs before and after him, the king took brides from foreign countries in order to form alliances. A commemorative scarab was commissioned for the marriage between the pharaoh and Kilu-Hepa, daughter of the king of Mitanni. He also wed his own daughters, as other pharaohs did, once they came of age; whether or not those marriages were consummated is up for debate. Divine Dilemmas In addition to Amenhoteps marital program, he also pursued massive construction projects throughout Egypt, which burnished his own reputation - and that of his wife! They also helped people think of him as semi-divine and created money-making opportunities for his officials. Perhaps more importantly for his son and successor, the Heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten, Amenhotep III followed in his fathers sandalprints and identified himself with the biggest gods of the Egyptian pantheon on the monuments he built.Ã In particular, Amenhotep placed great emphasis on sun gods in his construction, statuary, and portraiture, displaying whatÃ Arielle Kozloff aptly called a solar bent in every aspect of his realm. He showed himself as the god of the sun at Karnak and contributed extensively to Amun-Res temple there; later in life, Amenhotep even went to far as to consider himself as a living manifestation ofÃ allÃ deity, with an emphasis on the sun god Ra-Horakhty, according to W. Raymond Johnson. Although historians dubbed him the Magnificent, Amenhotep went by the moniker of the Dazzling Sun Disk. Given his fathers obsession with his connection to the solar gods, its not too far of a stretch to get to the aforementioned Akhenaten, his son by Tiye and successor, who declared that the sun disk, Aten, should be the sole deity worshipped in the Two Lands. And of course Akhenaten (who started his reign as Amenhotep IV, but later changed his name) stressed thatÃ he, the king,Ã was the sole intermediary between the divine and the mortal realms. So it looks like Amenhoteps emphasis on the Ã godly powers of the king went to an extreme in his sons reign. But Tiye may have also set a precedent for her Nefertiti, her daughter-in-law (and possible niece, if the queen was the daughter of Tiyes putative brother Ay). In the reign of Akhenaten, Nefertiti was depicted as occupying roles of great prominence in her husbands court and in his new religious order. Perhaps Tiyes legacy of carving out a great role for the Great Royal Wife as partner to the pharaoh, rather than mere spouse, carried on to her successor. Interestingly, Nefertiti also assumed some kingly positions in art, as her mother-in-law did (she was shown smiting enemies in a typical pharaonic pose).