Amarna NoblesThe Nobles - The People
Akhetaten, Horizon of the Aten
Now known as Amarna, Akhetaten was conceptualised, built and used as a Capital City of Egypt, by Pharaoh Akhenaten. It became the home for 30,000 people whne it was built in the 18th Dynasty, between 1348 – 1344 BC. Later abandoned after Pharaoh Akhenaten’s death in approx. 1336BC.
It is now called Tell el-Amarna or Amarna as it was named after the Beni Arman Tribe that lived in the region when the fallen City was discovered.
But why was the City constructed here, in the middle of the desert? Pharaoh primarily wished to dedicate a new City to his “revised religion” of the Aten, the one God instead the many. He made the City on the East bank of the Nile: 194 miles/312km South of Cairo and 250 miles/402km north of Luxor.
So who were the Nobles who assisted the Royal Family with their lives in the new Capital?
Parennefer – “Royal craftsman, Washer of hands of His Majesty”
Tutu – “Chamberlain, Chief servitor of Pharaoh, Overseer of all works of His Majesty, Overseer of silver and gold of the Lord of the Two Lands, Chief Servitor at the Window of Appearance”. Tutu’s titles prove him to be one of the most prominent men at Pharaoh’s court – It may be that he was the official in the Amarna Letters with whom foreign princes wrote as an intermediary with Pharaoh
Mahu – “Chief of Medjay police of Akhetaten”. Inside Mahu’s Amarna Tomb there are several interesting scenes that may have been from Mahu’s own life: 1.) Mahu stands beside a pottery brazier talking to two senior officials; one of whom is the Vizier; 2.) Mahu stands in front of a building with Officials and Army Commanders. Behind Mahu stand 3 manacled prisoners; 3.) Mahu watches as the Royal Family drives a Chariot from the Temple with his trained Medjay Police running ahead; 4.) A reward scene where Mahu is pictured in front receiving the reward with the Medjay police watching on;5.) The Royal Family worships the Aten with Mahu kneeling before the hymn to the Aten spoken by Pharaoh
Ipy – “Royal scribe, Steward”
Ramose – “Royal scribe, Commander of the soldiers of the Lord of the Two Lands, Steward of the Estate of Amenhotep III”
May – “Fan-bearer on the right hand of the King, Royal scribe, Scribe of recruits, Steward of the house of Sehetep-Aten, Steward of the house of Waenra in Heliopolis, Overseer of cattle of the estate of Ra in Heliopolis, Overseer of all the works of the King, General of the Lord of the Two Lands.” May was a very high Official within the earlier part of Pharaoh Akhenaten’s reign but seems to have fallen from grace before Pharaoh’s death as his name has been carefully erased. His Tomb at Amarna emphasises his promotion from humble origins
Any – “Royal scribe, Scribe of the offering-table of the Aten, Steward of the estate of Amenhotep III
Ay – “God’s father, Fan-bearer on the right hand of the King, Overseer of all the Horses of His Majesty”. Probability suggests that this Ay is closely related to the Amarna Royal Family. This is thought to be because his sister was Pharaoh Akhenaten’s sister. Making Ay, Pharaoh’s Uncle. Egyptologists have the suggestion that “God’s father” can be taken in its literal form and means that Ay was the Father-in-law of Akhenaten. So Great Royal Wife Nefertiti was Ay’s daughter. The sticking points commences when we come to Ay’s wife’s title within the Amarna Court, Lady Tey “Nurse of the Queen”, for if she had been the Queen’s mother, then this would have been clearly represented. This would mean that if Ay was Nefertiti’s father, then he would have to have been married twice and there is no other name of a wife associated with him, including at his Amarna Tomb which would have been the logical place to confirm Nefertiti’s mothers presence, even if she had died in childbirth
Image Above: Ay on right in Tutankhamun’s Tomb; completing Opening of the Mouth Ceremony
Image Left: Reliefs from Ay’s Amarna Tomb