Vizier AyVizier - The People
Noble Ay, whose sister was Queen, rose to become a Vizier and then Pharaoh himself
Appointment as Vizier
When Tutankhaten rose to the throne at the age of 8 or 9 years old, he gathered round him trusted advisors. Although this age, for the time period, was not considered too young to rule without a Regent, it can be safely assumed that Pharaoh needed assistance. Pharaoh Akhenaten had ripped up the standardised religion, banished all the former Gods and Goddesses and forbidden their worship. Meaning that thousands of years of status quo and the Priesthood had been made irrelevant. Pharaoh Tutankhaten had to resolve this animosity for the stability of his own reign.
Furthermore, Pharaoh Akhenaten, after the death of his own mother, Queen Tiye, it appears that Pharaoh Akhenaten let the formally robust Egyptian Foreign Policy be forgotten and allowed former Egyptian Territories to fall into the hands of his enemies. To learn more about this, click here and scroll down to the “Beginning of the End” section. Pharaoh Tutankhaten had to restore Egypt’s standing on the international scale or risk total invasion.
In order to begin these monumental tasks and ensure that he had powerful political and military figures on his side, it is known that the new Pharaoh took on the advice of his great-uncle, the now Vizier Ay, Treasurer Maya, and General Horemheb.
For Ay, the role of Vizier was unlike others who had served this role before. Vizier Ay did not hold the nominal lands to account for Pharaoh as would be the usual practice but could rather be considered as the Prime Minister for Pharaoh. Moreover, these were not his only responsibilities, in his Tomb, Vizier Ay confirmed that he was the Guardian of and the Regent for the Pharaoh.
What did Vizier Ay advise Pharaoh Tutankhaten to do?
In Regnal Year 1 they ensured that:
- the Royal Family publicly renounced the God Aten and welcomed back the traditional deities
- the Pharaoh reached out to his neighbours to restore Egypt’s foreign relations, especially with the Mitanni – modern day Syria. This seems to have worked with the Mitanni as can be seen from the gifts which the Pharaoh was buried with. Regrettably, his offered hand of peace did not work with the Nubians or the Asiatics and General Horemheb was dispatched on various but necessary Military Campaigns
- the priests and their Temple attendees were restored to their former positions and granted them Royal Protection from being dissolved by future monarchs
- 2 Viziers were appointed to take care of the Administrative roles within the Kingdom: Principal Vizier for Upper Egypt called Usermontu and Principal Vizier for Lower Egypt called Pentu
- Pharaoh was seen giving large personal donations to reprise the Cults and Priests for the God Amun and the God Ptah
- The Festivals were reinstated. To learn more about the Festivals, click here.
- New statues were erected and new Barques built for the Deities
In Regnal Years 2 and 3 they continued their efforts by:
- Changing the names of Pharaoh and his Queen from praising their father’s God, the Aten, to praising the main God of the traditional religion, God Amun. Introducing Pharaoh Tutankhamun and Great Royal Wife, Queen Ankhesenamun.
- Moving the Royal Court and the Capital City back to the area of Thebes; probably back into Vizier Ay’s first Royal Court home of the Malkata City Palace Complex.Click here to visit the Malkata City Palace.
- Removing all important burials from Akhetaten and reburying them in the Theban Valleys, including the Mummy of Pharaoh Akhenaten. To learn about the Burials are Akhetaten, click here.
- Beginning a campaign to rebuild and restore all the damage created Pharaoh Akhenaten’s Followers of the Aten. This included Statues, Shrines, Stelae and whole buildings including at Karnak. Pharaoh Tutankhamun recorded these works in his Restoration Stelae and the copies of it which were distributed to the Temple Sites throughout Egypt. This was undertaken to ensure that the Deities understood that Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s role in the upheaval that his father caused was as an innocent child rather than a future Pharaoh who had any power against his father’s wishes. The Stela specifically blames Pharaoh Akhenaten for the abandonment of the Deities and the damage that this caused. To learn more, click here.