Noble AyThe Nobles - The People
Noble Ay, whose sister was Queen, rose to become a Vizier and then Pharaoh himself
To the best of our knowledge, the Noble Ay’s parents were the Noble Yuya and Lady Thuya. Both Ay and his father, Yuya held the Titles of “God’s Father” and “Master of Horses”, titles which were usually passed from a Father to his Son directly.
Yuya was probably born and owned an Estate in the Town of Akhmim, Upper Egypt, where he retained a good status within the local nobility. He was known to be a Prophet of God Min who ruled the deities in the area, and he was granted the role of “Superintendent of Cattle” for the Deity. Click here for more details about Noble Yuya.
Thuya is thought to be descended from Queen Ahmose Nefertari, who with her husband Pharaoh Ahmose I, were the founders of the 18th Dynasty. Click here for details about Lady Thuya.
His sister was the Great Royal Wife, Queen Tiye who married into the 18th Dynasty Royal Family, with Pharaoh Amenhotep III. Click here for more details about Queen Tiye. His brother was the Noble Anen, click here to learn more about him.
He, along with the rest of his family, would have joined the Royal Court who, for the majority of the year, were located in the Malkata City Palace Complex which Pharaoh Amenhotep III erected for the Royal Court’s use from Regnal Year 11. For more details about the City where Noble Ay would have spent much of his life, click here.
Image Above: Relief of Ay and his wife, Tey, from Ay’s Amarna Tomb
Marriage and Children
He was married to the Lady Tey and together they probably had at least two children. One is known to be the Lady Mutnodjmet who was married to Pharaoh Horemheb, and another, a son comes to light when now Pharaoh Ay names his son Nakhtmin as the Crown Prince and his successor. They may have had more children, but these certain records appear to be lost to time.
His wife, Lady Tey, appears to have not been born to her position within the Royal Household but again this cannot be certain. We do know that she was “Nurse of the Pharaoh’s Great Wife”, meaning that she was the wet nurse for future Queen Nefertiti.
After his father’s death, Noble Ay, as mentioned above, held the titles ‘God’s Father’ and ‘Master of Horses’. Meaning that they both held strong positions within the royal household and therefore had much influence with Ay’s sister, Queen Tiye and her Husband, Pharaoh Amenhotep III. They would have also been very influential with their son, Crown Prince Amenhotep who would become Pharaoh Akhenaten and his future wife, Queen Nefertiti.
By the time Pharaoh Amenhotep III died and Pharaoh Akhenaten rose to the Throne, Noble Ay and his wife would have been very well known and trusted within the royal household as Uncle and Aunt to the new Pharaoh.
Move to Akhetaten, modern day Amarna
When Pharaoh Akhenaten moved the Royal Court and Capital City in approx. year 7 of his reign it can be known that Noble Ay was heavily involved with the new Pharaoh, as was his wife with the new Queen, as they were immediately given permission to construct their own Tomb within the Royal Burial areas in the Hills outside the Capital: Southern Tomb 25. Inside, Historians have learnt that his Titles at this juncture already included:
- “Supervisor of all the Horses of His Majesty”: this was the second highest offered rank in the Charioteering Division of the Army, one below General. Earning this rank appeared not just on his closeness to the Royals but also on merit as he had risen to this position through being a “Troop Commander” and regular “Overseer of Horses”
- “Fan Bearer at the Right Hand of the King”
- “Acting Scribe of the King, beloved by him”
- “Divine Father”
After the new Crown Prince was born, Noble Ay became the Tutor for his young charge, clearly another indicator of his closeness and the trust he had with the Royals.
Death of Pharaoh Akhenaten
8 years after up routing the Court, Pharaoh died. On his death it can be imagined that no one quite knew what to do, say or how to act. There were “potentially” 2 barely represented Pharaohs who then took charge:-
- Ankhkheperure Smenkhkare who ruled for approx. 1 year
- Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten who ruled for approx. 2 years
We have to presume during this time that Noble Ay continued as the Tutor and adviser to the still young Crown Prince, Tutankhaten, which would have only seen to tighten their bond.