Comments on Henry VIII’s “Great Matter.”

I’ve been watching The Tudors for the last few days. I actually own the entire series on DVD but haven’t finished watching it. The reason being that this show is both awesome and the bane of my existence. I love the show, itself. The very content is so fascinating and I love that they made a show based on one of the greatest reigns in English history. However, the reason I have a hard time sitting down and just watching it is because the historical inaccuracy drives me absolutely buggers. One of the time periods that my historically obsessed mind is all about is the reign of the Tudors, from Henry VIII through to Elizabeth I. So, watching this show and seeing the horribly huge-eye-normace and gross inaccuracies sets my teeth on edge. However, I know that the writer of the series was not asked for a historically accurate show but a kind of sex-filled melodrama, of which this time period is rife with it. Still, I can appreciate the sexy bodies as much as the next woman, but I still find myself ranting and raving (quite often) about how this didn’t happen then and how Henry doesn’t look fat and gross like he did in life and and and. I actually had a couple of blog entries in an old journal discussing the historical inaccuracies. But, really, as I’m watching this one thing comes to mind:

Why the fuck didn’t he just bide his fucking time?

Now, I completely understand what Henry was after. He was after a living, breathing son to continue the family line. This was one of the most important things a man could do with his life back then. (Sometimes, it still is as Chinese abhorrence of female children comes to mind.) It was his immortality. The King felt that he needed a son.

The English realm didn’t necessarily have the female inheritance issues from Salic law. This particular little law comes from the Frankish kings. In effect, it said that if you had an XY genetic code, then you could inherit lands. And if you had more than one living son at the time of your death, then your land was cut up into portions to be handed out to each of the male children in the line. The female children were given a tithe, if anything, at the death of their fathers. Sometimes, if they were unmarried, then money would be set aside for dowries and land dowries could be added to this, but primarily, female children were considered less than men in Frankish law. In England, a woman could inherit. A woman could rule. This was born out in the fact that Empress Matilda was the sole heir of Henry I of England. However, her rule was overshadowed by The Anarchy, a civil war between her and Stephen of Blois, who had himself crowned as king of England. It seems to be the fact that war broke out during the last woman’s reign that made the English so nervous.

And an Englishman knows and remembers his history!

So, I can understand why he was so pressed “by his conscience.” The thing is that Katharine of Aragon ended up dying in 1536, the year he had Anne beheaded for “treason.” She died of what current physicians believe was a heart tumor. “The rumours were born after the apparent discovery during her embalming that there was a black growth on her heart…” (Source: Wiki.) Now, I know that it was a long time coming for him to finally have a living breathing son, but his sole heir was born the next year and ended up dying young anyway. I honestly believe that his lack of children was probably due to a genetic incompatibility – a theory that I’ve been harboring considering my lack of pregnancy with my ex-husband (thankfully). In effect, men and women can get together but their genetics aren’t compatible enough to actually formulate a viable pregnancy. Sometimes, men and women can get together and actually begin to have children, but the whole thing ends in miscarriages or children that do not live long. (Both of which are rife in the married lives of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon.) The two were supremely lucky in having any child survive.

But there’s a general thing that all of Henry’s children have in common – ill health. Edward was small and sickly. Elizabeth was the heartiest of the three, possibly because of who her mother was. It’s possible that Elizabeth inherited both of her parents’ iron wills. Mary was also small and sickly. It’s possible that the Tudor genetic line was not as hale as it was made out to be. (We’ll never know since Henry VII was the only child of Margaret of Beaufort by her Tudor husband, who ended up dying during one of the numerous battles during the War of the Roses.) So, it’s possible that he wasn’t really supposed to have healthy children to begin with. (I harbor the secret belief that if Elizabeth had gotten married and had children, she probably would have died in child bed.)

But say that he had bided his time until Katherine died. I often think that he probably would have been given a brood of children after that fact. Perhaps he would have had to find another wife since, if he had chosen Anne then, her fertility was rapidly approaching an end. Besides, I strongly believe that the sole reason they had the one living child was because of the RH factor that they didn’t know about back then. (Come on! They had one living child and two or three miscarriages immediately thereafter? It makes more sense than Anne being a harlot and a witch.) Perhaps he would have gone straight for Jane Seymour. A theory as to why he found her so alluring was because she reminded him of Katherine of Aragon with her kindness and piety. And the English sure did love her as their queen, more than Anne Boleyn. She probably still would have died with child bed fever anyway. But mayhap, he would have found another to take her place who was hearty and hale. And had his brood.

The thing is that when I think of this particular historical enigma, I tend to think of it in terms of “fated.” While the whole matter is so engrossing and titillating in its constant mystery, I have to think that what came about was what was fated to come about. The reason being because of the inevitable reformation of the English church. It may have been Henry’s son who did the whole reformation process (and went about it incorrectly because his devotion to his beliefs were as strict as his sister, Mary’s to Catholicism), but I think that was something that was bound to happen. I think it was supposed to happen. Prior to Henry’s reformation, the only peoples in the whole of Europe who were following the Calvinist and Lutheran ideals were from Germanic states… the Netherlands, Hungary, Switzerland, Scandinavia, etc. And I think that the schism in the beliefs and spiritual practices of the major religious players in Europe was fated to happen.

But really. What do I know?

I’m just a girl that’s obsessed with history.

Biblical Evidence: The Hebrews in Egypt.

So, I’ve been reading a book lately that has to do with the Amarna period and the Hebrews in ancient Egypt. I’m not going to name the book here because it’s fucking embarrassing. However, it is full of some very good information about various subject matter that I’m interested in, so I read it. And by read it, I mean to tatters. The soft cover is so tattered that the plastic casing that encases plastic covers is ripping off. I mean, I’ve had the book for a while, but I’ve read and re-read it numerous times. And it’s ridiculous that I’ve read it to the point where I have little marks for interesting passages as well as pages folded down for quick information searches about the various pieces of information contained within the book. (NO. I’m not naming this book. It’s fucking embarrassing.)

So, last night, I was reading about how there isn’t any historical evidence of the Hebrew existing until about 1250BC. It’s around then that archaeologists have finally begun to found Hebrew occupation in the Promised Land. However, before that, dating is unreliable and really, there isn’t much to be said about the information. Corroboration of their existence in Canaan during this time period stems from a stela carved by Merneptah (19th Dynasty). This particular stela is known as the Israel Stela and was discovered by W.M. Flinders Petrie in 1896. The stela only makes a very brief mention of the Israelite, but says specifically, “Israel is wasted, bare of seed.” The exact phrasing is “formulaic” but it pretty much means that they went in to Israel and did some very real damage to the people at that time period. Aside from this, we have very few (if any) mentions of anything related to Israel prior to this. If that’s the case, when the hell did the Exodus happen, right?

And I was thinking about that last night. My thoughts on this are, why in the fuck would the Egyptians keep a record of the Exodus, anyway? I mean, think about it.

We have this guy who has been told from the moment of his taking power that he is a god on this planet. It’s not just that he is a god in human form, either, but that it is through him that all good things happen for his people in this life and the next. So, not only is he the incarnation of Heru on Earth, but he is also the sole person who can make sure that the gods keeping fighting against isfet, that the sun keeps rising daily, and that the world itself remains as it is. So, we have this man who is a god who not only managed to piss of an entire race of peoples to the point that they decide to leave, but that he cannot catch them and ends up losing them in the long run?

So why in the fuck would they fucking keep any sort of record about that?

I mean, just look at it like this. The anti-Atenist uprising during the reign of Horemheb lost us much information about the four Amarna kings: Akhenaten, Smenkhkare, Tutankhamun, and Ay. Hell, the uprisings were so awful that the mummy of Ay was destroyed in antiquity (and I theorize, so was the mummy of Akhenaten). Horemheb went through the entire nation and removed any trace of these four kings from the kings’ lists, removed any trace of the Aten, removed every trace he could from Akhetaten, and dismantled everything that the four kings had built (either to the Aten or to Amun-Re) in that time frame. The things that he didn’t destroy, he ended up usurping for his own use later on. So, in that regard, we can safely say that he was doing what he could to return the entire nation to ma’at, what was right.

In ancient Egypt, if you wanted to forget about something for not being in ma’at or you wanted to keep someone from seeing the afterlife, you removed their names from any inscriptions and desecrated their tombs and destroyed their bodies. The ancients couldn’t do that with an entire peoples, now, could they? After all, they weren’t dead; they had only fled. So, that being said, why in the fuck would they have had any possible record that the Hebrews were there? Or that they had fled? Or that they had gotten away? Or that they wandered in a desert for forty years?

I mean, seriously.

The Co-Regency Debate PT 2.

So, previously on I’m a Geek, I started talking about the Amenhotep III and Akhenaten co-regency debate. I showed evidence for why it was possible, then pointed why this evidence didn’t fit the established theories, and then ignored all that to talk about my thoughts on the matter. Just because I submit the evidence doesn’t mean I’m going to use it to base off my theories. This is, probably, why I would suck as a real historian. I have my own established belief in what I think happened and tend to base it off whatever snaps my attention or gut instinct or what seems most logical. So while the evidence I submitted is ambiguous, according to professional circles, I think it works for a co-regency. When I left off, I was asking how long it went on for.

Now, in this faction-based practice, we have the people who believe that there was a long co-regency and those who believe that there was a short co-regency. Those who participate in the belief that Amenhotep III lived well into the reign of his son tend to show that the co-regency probably lasted until Year 12 of Akhenaten’s reign. (I’ll get into the evidence submitted for that belief momentarily.) Those who do not believe that such a long co-regency, though there is evidence that long ones did happen from time to time in the ancient Egyptian historical record, tend to give the regency anywhere between a year to four or five. At the latest, it appears that the short-term co-regency faction doesn’t give Amenhotep III much more like beyond Year 6 of his son. So, let’s take a peek at each one of these theories and figure out where I reside on this fence.

The short-term co-regency faction seems to base a lot of their argument on one of the Amarna letters. For those not aware, these were a cache of about 200 clay tablets written in ancient Akkadian, which seems to have been the lingue franca of the day. These tablets are diplomatic correspondences that were left behind at Akhetaten, when the city was abandoned. (The debates rage as to why these were left behind but the going theory seems to stem that they were too large and unimportant since the records office would have translated the dispatches into ancient Egyptian on papyrus, which would have left with the records office people when the city was abandoned.) So, anyway, the tablet in question is designated as EA27 and is housed in Berlin, presently. The text has been obliterated by time and reads, “[Yea]r [?]2, first month of winter, [day…], when one was in the southern city in the mansion of Khaemakhet; copy of the Naharin letter the messenger Pirissi and the messenger brought.” (P77, Akhenaten: Egypt’s False Prophet by N. Reeves.)

According to Reeves, “…the docket was written but a short time after Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV’s accession to sole, internationally acknowledged rule; and secondly, the dateline of the docket indicates by which regnal year of the successor-pharaoh the co-regency between the two kings had ended.” (P77, Akhenaten: Egypt’s False Prophet by N. Reeves.) Now, though it clearly looks to show that the dispatch was written and sent to Egypt in a year two, there is a blemish that is taken by proponents of a long co-regency that has them claiming there is a number before the 2. Basing the debate about a long or short-term co-regency on a single dispatch seems problematic. However, Mr. Reeves continues the short-term co-regency debate with other submitted pieces of evidence.

Another bit of evidence is submitted from one of the Akhetaten boundary stela. Now, these stela were erected all around the ancient city as a clear demarcation, on both sides of the Nile River, of where the city stood and how large it was. One of these stela, which was erected during Year 5 of Akhenaten’s reign, shows the name of his father listed in the same breath as his other deceased ancestors. British Egyptologist John R. Harris seems to take this to mean that the father had already passed on. The final piece of evidence submitted by Mr. Reeves goes to a tomb, WV22, and shows that the full prenomen and nomen form of Amunhotep III’s name is shown clearly: this being Nebmaatre Amenhotep. He utilizes the fact that the anti-Amun faction that Akhenaten set up some time during his reign, which culminated in the chiseling out of all other gods’ names and imagery (specifically Amun and his consort, Mut), had not gotten around to removing the name of “Amunhotep” from the tomb as is seen in later imagery.

However, to be perfectly frank, I have to admit that this last bit of “short co-regency” evidence that Mr. Reeves submits seems kind of hokey. He goes on to list some very interesting evidence and then submits the name form of the old king as yet more evidence. This seems kind of like a last-ditch effort. The reason being that prior to this, Akhenaten’s religion wasn’t quite monotheistic. He only worshiped his one true, but the populace, at large, was still allowed to worship the other gods. It is at around Year 9 that he bans images, so it is around then that we can assume things became a bit more “heated,” shall we say, in the Aten versus Amun factions. There is no telling when the tomb of WV22 was crafted or finished. And there is no telling if there were any bodies actually buried within it as none were found. It is assumed that at least Amunhotep III went to his final rest there, but since his body was discovered in a cache of mummies in KV35… And we can’t honestly assume that Akhenaten, obsessed with his own god, would demand that his elder and father would change the inscriptions on his tomb. There’s no distinct moment when Akhenaten does decide to remove all of the names of the other gods… So, there is no telling (A) whether anyone was buried in that tomb, (B) whether he would have gone into his father’s closed or open tomb and desecrated (or been able to get anyone else to do it for him), and (C) whether or not these tomb inscriptions can clearly be thrown out there as evidence of a short co-regency.

Personally, I kind of feel like Mr. Reeves was grasping towards the end of that particular segment.

So, on to the long-term co-regency!

Cyril Aldred was one of the larger proponents for a long-term co-regency. The evidence he has submitted stems from the Year 12 durbar that took place during Akhenaten’s reign. There are only two scenes in two separate tombs that carefully show this exciting moment, shown in the tombs of Meryre II and Huya. This durbar is dated to Year 12, Month 6, Day 8 of the reign and Mr. Aldred lists it as more than just a moment of tribute being brought before the pharaoh. He points out that such scenes were common in the 18th Dynasty, showing the plunder and spoils from military or police actions of a reign. As anyone who knows much of anything about the reign of Akhenaten, no such military actions ever took place. The only military action from the later half of the reign (prior to Tutankhamun, Ay, and Horemheb taking control) is a small one in the early years of Amenhotep III. The political disruption of the Akhenaten’s reign is well touted and often utilized to show him as a “pacifist” king. (I’m not sure how I feel about that. On another “I’m A Geek” post, I may get into it. I might not, so no breath holding.) Other images of taxes and tribute levied against the provinces that ancient Egypt held are also shown in various tombs of the 18th Dynasty. These images also have a distinctive flare to them, but are often shown with imagery of things that Egyptians require: timber or grain. These images are not shown in the tombs of Meryre II and Huya.

It is at this juncture that Mr. Aldred cited the durbar scenery as the accession to sole rule of Akhenaten. I find this evidence incredibly tempting.

I’ve already mentioned that I truly do believe that a co-regency was set into motion by Amenhotep III. As I mentioned in my posting about that, we can assume that the man was at least mildly politically motivated and that he had a deep affection for his nation. He did, as I mentioned, managed to have a peaceful and long reign. Based on this, as I said, I believe that Amenhotep III placed his son beside him on the throne to keep the country in a constant state of ma’at. I also feel that with all of this that the reason he chosen his son, Akhenaten, as a co-regent is because there wasn’t another available male to take the throne. (I emphasize this for future episodes of I’m A Geek.) He set his possibly soft-headed son on the throne and hoped.

Now that I’ve admitted to believing a co-regency existed, I have to wonder just how long it really was. On the one hand, we have some evidence that makes it appear that the two only overlapped for a short period of time. And while times have changed, beliefs have changed, translations have changed, I cannot utilize the small bits of evidence as cited by N. Reeves as a possible reason for a short-term co-regency. Considering the condition the Amarna Tablet EA27 is in, we can’t just assume that the tablet is the “perfect bit of evidence” for the short-term co-regency. As Mr. Aldred did mention, there is enough space between “Year” and “2” for there to have been a “10” placed there. And I find myself, while perhaps not wholly in support of, but leaning more towards the long-term co-regency as opposed to the short-term. If Mr. Reeves had cited better evidence than the look of a tomb, the destruction of a tablet, and some words on a boundary stela, I may have been more swayed.

However, the thing is that I can’t quite wrap my head around the idea of the long-term co-regency going for so long. The only reason being is that I have to assume that Amenhotep III exercised a good deal of political control over his son. Why in the world, if they did have a long-term co-regency, would he have allowed his son to go and create a whole new city? Why in the world would he let him begin this reign of an alternate god? It is telling that it wasn’t until late in his reign that Akhenaten began his anti-Amun uprising. I tend to wonder if this coincides with the death of his father or merely, the death of a good deal of his family. (Mr. Aldred did point out that it’s around Year 14 that Nefertiti, Kiya, Tiye, Meketaten, Setepenre, Neferneferure, Neferneferuaten-Ta-Sherit, and the two to three Ta-sherits from Kiya, Meritaten, and Ankhesenpaaten disappear around this time.)

I wonder if, perhaps, Amenhotep III let his son go off and do these things because another had been born, yet another heir. This is the shadow figure of Smenkhkare, who will get his own little episode of I’m A Geek at a future point. If that’s the case, then it would stand to reason that he would have been able to let his elder son go off and do the things he wanted to do. He would have also been able to influence him to be more accommodating for the general populace, allowing the ancient temples of the myriad of gods to remain open and running. He would have been able to minimize the effect of Akhenaten’s obsession for the Aten while still living. And maybe that’s why there were three jubilees for his reign in such rapid succession or maybe it was just the way of the ancients and I’m not full cognizant of it. Either way, if what I’m proposing is the case… in so waiting, perhaps, for this future king to achieve majority, Amenhotep III ended up dead. And maybe it was then that Akhenaten began his more deliberate desecration of all things Amun related. And maybe then, it was when the country was truly thrown into chaos.

While I do enjoy wondering what it was like back then, what Akhenaten was thinking, I have to admit that we may never know. But, I can safely attest that I will always, always be there with some theory that may just be the one.

The Co-Regency Debate PT 1.

As a very quick, early notation: I am basing my argument for the Amenhotep III and Akhenaten co-regency debate almost solely on the work of Cyril Aldred, as found in the book Akhenaten, chapter 16. The reason I’m utilizing his book for my thoughts is for a few reasons. First, his book is the easiest of my Akhenaten based books to find that doesn’t end up traveling down into the theory that Akhenaten was Moses. (Don’t ask.) Second, he cites work from Redford, Pendlebury, Fairman, and Breasted while doing his best to prove them wrong, but at least the information is presented. Third, the rest of the information I’ve gleaned is from various Google-fu searches, so I’ll be sure to try to cite those sources if/when I end up using them.

So, what is the debate going on about the co-regency? In reality, there are actually two separate co-regency debates going on in regards to Akhenaten. The first is the debate that he and his father held a co-regency together during the beginning years of Akhenaten’s reign. This debate is has only two factions. You are either for a short-term co-regency, as Redford is, or you are for a long-term co-regency, as Aldred is. The other debate has to do with the mysterious Smenkhkare figure that no one can seem to pinpoint or name or figure out. That will come in its own posting because, to be frank, I’m pretty obsessed with the shadowy figure of Smenkhkare. In the mean time, let’s get down to the basics. Amenhotep III and Akhenaten: was there even a co-regency?

As based off of historical records, the going theory is that yes, there was a co-regency. The 18th Dynasty is rife with co-regencies. The reason for this seems to stem from the need to have a smooth transition from one king to the other. It appears that co-regency was more firmly established in the Middle Kingdom and after the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt’s borders, the act of establishing a successor was more firmly entrenched in the 18th dynasty. This causes problems, of course, in trying to attach time frames for the reigning periods of each of the monarchs of this period, but it did cause stability. With the already appointed heir as a co-regent, there was no way for anyone to come in and usurp the throne without throwing ma’at out of whack, which was just a big fat no-no. This time-honored tradition seems to have continued throughout the whole of the 18th dynasty until we come to Pharaoh Tutankhamun, who died without an heir or successor. It appears that this was how Ay was able to take the throne, being one of the few “royals” still left around to take command, and how Horemheb was able to then take the throne after the fact when Ay died after having been predeceased by most or all* of his family.

* There’s a theory working around the Egyptological circles that claims that Horemheb married one of Ay’s children to claim legitimacy to the throne. This child was the little known Mutnodjmet or Mutbenret. Considering some of the heiress information I’ve been gleaning (that it was from the female line that legitimation of rule was established by marrying the Chief Queen’s heiress), this is an interesting theory and possible, but I don’t believe it’s probable that Mutnodjmet managed to survive her family, considering how quickly they dropped off like flies towards the end of the 18th dynasty. Again, this will be a post in and of itself because, like Smenkhkare, I am highly intrigued by this little-known figure.

Now, there are a lot of reasons as to why the co-regency debate can be so uncertain and horrible to contend with when in Egyptological circles. There is the inability to date anything properly since, for some reason, the double-dating from co-regencies as found in the 12th dynasty isn’t utilized in the 18th dynasty. There is the unknown from just how two courts would function simultaneously, either in regards to money or in setting policy or in ruling, period. I think the most appropriate wording on the theory that there was never a co-regency can be keyed up as follows, “It is significant that the proponents of the co-regency theory have tended to be art historians [ie: Raymond Johnson], whereas historians [such as Donald Redford and William Murnane] have largely remained unconvinced. Recognizing that the problem admits no easy solution, the present writer has gradually come to believe that it is unnecessary to propose a co-regency to explain the production of art in the reign of Amenhotep III. Rather the perceived problems appear to derive from the interpretation of mortuary objects.” (Source: Wiki.) While I understand the problems of trying to establish a co-regency and I have to agree, it can get pretty confusing when you try to figure out if a co-regency really held two separate courts or if they coordinated together and basing it on artwork as opposed to mortuary objects, but I don’t think that just because we don’t see steadfast evidence of something that we should ignore it. I think it’s pretty probable that Amenhotep III decided on establishing a co-regency.

Some of the evidence that supports this theory stems from the excavations at Amarna by John Pendlebury and Herbert Fairman. While excavating the site, they came upon evidence that suggested that Amenhotep III lived in Akhetaten and according to their evidence, it was rather late in the reign of Akhenaten that his passing happened. Some of the evidence taken for the co-regency theory can be shown as: two fragments of pottery that bear the writings of Years 28 and 30 on them. We know that Akhenaten only ruled for 17 years, at the maximum, so it can safely be assumed that these pieces of pottery stem from Amenhotep III. Of course, it’s possible that upon the death of the father, these pieces of pottery were brought to Akhetaten for any reason. However, these are wine jar dockets and we have to assume that wine wouldn’t have lasted in such permeable pottery, even sealed, for an interminable period of time. So, it is based on this that both Pendlebury and Fairman had decided that the wine jar dockets were from the living reign of Amenhotep III, which they figured correlated with Year 6 or so of Akhenaten. (PP173-174, Chapter 16, Akhenaten by Cyril Aldred.)

Another piece of evidence that’s touted about as proof positive that Amenhotep III lived in Akhetaten, therefore establishing a co-regency between the two, is a stela found in the house of Pinhasy. This stela shows both Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye as sitting beneath the rays of the Aten, in the later form of the name of this deity. (The early form held references to the sun god Re and the deity, Shu. The later form of the name removed these as much as possible.) This is used to prove that the two were alive and well in Amarna, at least as far into the reign as Year 9 when the later form of the Aten began to make its appearance. There also appears to be references to estates, a mansion, and other habitations in the city of Amarna that were owned by the elder king, Amenhotep III. However, the problem with this is that during the reign of Akhenaten, the term “justified” (maat kheru) was not utilized to denote whether a being was deceased or not. This was too close to the Osirian cult, so they changed it to say “living forever,” (ankh er neheh), which could go in either direction for whomever the written record is about. As far as Redford is concerned, these images are all about “filial piety” as opposed to co-existence. (P174, Chapter 16, Akhenaten by Cyril Aldred.)

With these little pieces of evidence, we have to assume that if nothing else, there was a cult in the name of Amenhotep III upon his death. While it appears in certain views that part of the Aten cult stems from ancestor worship, this doesn’t seem to ring true. This seems more in line with the ancient view of their religion, after death, than with the Atenist rise to power. While yes, burial and the trappings were still very important, the act of worshiping the dead seems to have taken a backseat (to me). While I can assume that certain trappings remained the same, especially in regards to the Mnevis bull and the fact that burials were still performed and were quite lavish in their tombs. However, there doesn’t seem to be much in regards to what to do after death. Maybe I’m just missing this little bit (point me, please, o teacher, if I am wrong), but it seems that Akhenaten was worshiping life and had very little to do with death. So, while it’s a neat thought that he was starting a mortuary cult to his father in Amarna, I don’t see this as likely.

So. Let’s see where we are thus far.

Okay, Amenhotep III had his heir and successor, who ended up predeceasing him. He had an unknown son brought forward who probably was not raised in the capacity to rule, even knowing the vagaries of fate and lifespans. If for no other reason, I have to assume that Amenhotep III was a very good ruler, considering he managed to rule from the time of his childhood, he managed to rule for 37-38 years, and his rule was one of the golden eras of the 18th dynasty. Aside from a police action or two in his early years, everything was harmonious while he ruled. He wouldn’t want to muck up the system by farting around when it came to his unknown, new successor who, as I feel, probably wasn’t raised in how to act or rule like the divine king. (I mean, he must have known some things, but I doubt he was raised at Memphis like his elder brother.) He would have established a co-regency to probably aid to teach his son politics, as well as to establish firmly in the ways of ma’at that this was his true heir and that any thoughts of overthrowing him would be tossing the realm of Kemet into isfet. (I laugh hysterically at that thought, honestly. Here this old man is setting the precedent, as is time-tested and best for his people, all so that the country can continue to live in ma’at, only to have that very son THROW IT OVERBOARD.)

So, in conclusion to the above, I have to say that I do believe a co-regency was established between the old king and the new king. Just in the ways of politics, it makes more sense than to let this unknown man take over after the death of the king. Considering the evidence that co-regencies were established (though difficult to find) in the 18th dynasty, I cannot see Amenhotep III going against the grain. I cannot see him as just acting all willy-nilly when it came to the safety of a land that he ruled. While I know that politics and ruling don’t always go hand-in-hand and that we can’t always assume that a ruler will do what is right for his country, considering the golden era of his rule, I cannot assume that Amenhotep III would leave everything up to chance. So, as I said, I do support that a co-regency existed between the two. The question now becomes, how long was that co-regency?

After a very long and tiring morning of getting this shit together, I realized that I had to actually condense the entire entry into two entries as opposed to one. While I’m sure most people can tolerate reading page upon page of words, I’m working up to over 2,000 words and if any layman wants to read this, I’m already going to have a difficult time of keeping their attention. So, stay tuned, people!

The Akhenaten-Smenkhkare Theory.

Okay, so I am obsessed with ancient Egypt. If you know me, then you know this about me. If you didn’t know this about me, well then, where the fuck have you been? I’ve been obsessed with ancient Egypt for as long as I can remember because I am a dork. In reality, I have the heart of a dork and the head of an ego maniacal fruitcake who thinks that she can come up with theories that people will read. In effect, that’s the whole point in this long-winded, rambling life’s path that I walk: theories, theories, theories. And it is because of my obsession with ancient Egypt that I wanted the history degree, but mostly, it’s also because I want people to respect my theories. Instead, I write books in my head about those theories and find myself dorking it up via FB and Twitter with comments about how much I can’t stand Zahi Hawass (seriously: I hate the man), how much I want to discover new insights into the Amarna period, and just generally act like a fool. But a fool with a history degree.

I dream a lot about ancient Egypt, but that’s mostly because I live there, in my head, a lot of the time. If I’m not writing stories about Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and Smenkhkare (to name a few), then I’m reading about it in some form or another. Most of my books about ancient Egypt are centered entirely around the Amarna period. Is this the only period that I have an interest in? No. I’m also pretty intrigued by Kleopatra VII (I prefer to use the K versus the C in her name because it connects her with the older names of the rulers of Kemet) and Hatshepsut, but mostly, I find myself always drawn back to that mysterious time period of the 18th Dynasty in which we have a shit-ton of ideas, but absolutely no evidence therein. If there’s a historical fiction series or books or what have you about those time periods, you had better believe that I own them. So, pretty much, I live in ancient Egypt in my head whether I’m dreaming or writing or thinking or reading.

Obsession probably is no longer an adequate word to describe what I am.

So, anyway.

Today, I’ve been rereading the book Nefertiti by Michelle Moran. When it was first suggested to me, I bought it with a grain of salt. I mean, what the hell? I’ve read lots of crappy reviews about books about the mysterious queen of Akhenaten before. I’ve also seen some of the shittiest fucking historical fiction books ever created because of said queen or said time period. (I guess you could say I’m a big snob about it because I got my first historical fiction start with Akhenaten, Dweller in Truth by Naguib Mahfouz.) So, I picked it up and instantly fell in love. I bought the three books that the author in question wrote about ancient Egypt (one more about that general time period and another about the daughter of Kleopatra VII) and have read them to tatters. Seriously, tatters. So, with the whole rereading of this book, I’ve decided that I need to get down and dirty. I need to look up stuff and see what new things have changed.

And you know what I came back on?

King Tut’s family tree via DNA testing. If you don’t know about this, then you’re so behind the times that it’s not very funny at all. It doesn’t matter. I agree with the findings because I’m not going to sit here and say that the science is stupid. Science is not stupid and I agree with the whole genetic tests. What I don’t agree with is the fact that because the KV55 mummy absolutely fucking has to be Akhenaten, proving that the Heretic Pharaoh was the fucking father of the kid.

Really? Really? All the DNA tests has fucking proved is the fact that the guy who was buried haphazardly across from King Tut was the kid’s dad. It doesn’t say anything more about who the fuck the mummy was. All we know about said mummy is that it is a son of Queen Tiye and Amunhotep III. Besides having had Akhenaten, the two of them had a son who died prior to his accession, Tuthmosis. Isn’t it possible that they had another son that also wasn’t mentioned in the historical record (like Akhenaten prior to his accession to the throne or the possible coregency between him and his dad)? Isn’t it possible that the fucking mummy could have been the mysterious Smenkhkare? If he was a brother to Akhenaten, then the age would be about right. And seriously, for fuck’s sake, why the hell do we have to assume that the mummy is Akhenaten?

I’ll tell you why: Zahi Hawass said so.

Fucking asshole.

I’m not going to sit here and say that the guy can’t be right because it’s possible. The thing is that I’ve been obsessed with the KV55 mummy for years. The first time I began learning about Smenkhkare, I was hooked on the theory that it was his mummy in the tomb. During that phase, I picked up the book Atlantis and the Ten Plagues of Egypt by Graham Phillips (WHAT?! I was in an Atlantis phase, too!). And while I don’t agree with the reason behind the burial, although the evidence was pretty compelling, I have always had to agree that the body was probably that of Smenkhkare.

I mean, seriously? Why the fuck would the Egyptians not have destroyed the body of Akhenaten, if given the chance? And if he was buried in Amarna, as I’ve always figured, then you know, I can definitely see that people took it into their head to destroy his body because who would want him running around for all eternity when he fucked shit up? And if it wasn’t the people, then why couldn’t it have been the Amun priesthood who felt his wrath and ire the most? Or, even, Horemheb when he got to the throne and began his anti-Atenist uprising/assimilation/destruction? I’ve never even remotely considered that we will ever find Akhenaten’s body (or that of his beautiful queen, for similar reason). And considering just how fucking important it was to have statuary and a whole body in the afterlife in ancient Egypt, it pretty much makes more sense for the body to be GONE FOREVER GONE.

But, you know, Mr. Full-of-Himself Hawass has spoken. It is Akhenaten and so therefore, it is.

Insert eye roll so savage that my eyes try popped into my brain pan.