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The History of Egypt (Part 2): Haremhab

The History of Egypt (Part 2): Haremhab

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Dr. Neiman describes the political intrigue surrounding a palace scribe of Akhenaten, Haremhab, a man who became close to the deceased Pharaoh's widow, and after the death of Tutankhamun, becomes Pharaoh himself, ending the eighteenth dynasty.


Horemheb (“Horus is in festival”) was the last pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty, but can also be considered as the founder of the nineteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt. He rose from an obscure background to serve up to four kings of Egypt (Akhenaten, Smenkhare, Tutankhamun and Ay) before finally becoming pharaoh of ancient Egypt in his own right.

Booth suggests he was “either a genuine individual who was charismatic and trustworthy or a duplicitous man who was clever and deceitful, convincing each king of his loyalty whilst being loyal only to himself”.

Horemheb as a scribe

Whether he is considered as a saint or a sinner depends in large part on a consideration of his role in events following the demise of the Atenist experiment of Akhenaten, the details of which are steeped in controversy and open to debate.

He has been described both as “the saviour and father of his country” (Weigal) and the “restorer of just and effective government” (Kitchen) or as a “military strongman” (Kemp) and “general without an inheritance” (Van de Meiroop) who tried to remove his predecessors from the historical record, usurped their monuments and on whose orders a Hittite prince was murdered.

It is largely agreed that Horemheb hailed from Hutnesut (Hansu, Hnes, or Herakleopolis). In his Coronation Decree he claimed that Horus of Hutnesut chose him to rule Egypt and dedicated a number of monuments to him once he was enthroned, but strangely there is no evidence that he undertook any building work at Hutnesut itself. His family background is similarly obscure. Dodson suggests he was of “provincial stock” and Gardiner noted that his Saqqara tomb contains “no mention of his parentage nor any likelihood that he was of high birth”.

Booth notes that he was probably from a middle class family as he was literate and that his father may have been a military scribe but this is simply conjecture as he does not name his father or mention his titles. We know very little about his early life. It is likely that he entered scribal training at the age of five and given his later titles he probably received military training. However, his early career may have been primarily administrative, as is implied by frequent depictions of Horemheb as a scribe and his continuing devotion to Thoth – although it is equally likely that this was simply a measure to reinforce his wisdom as a ruler.

Given his advanced position when Tutankhamun became pharaoh it is likely that he was an official during the reign of Akhenaten, although there is no evidence to confirm whether he lived in Akhetaten or was a follower of the Aten.

He is sometimes linked to an official named Paatenemheb (“The Aten is in festival”) who was commander in chief of the army of Akhenaten, but this connection is largely based on the similarity of their names and remains unproven and rejected by many scholars.

Horemheb as a nobleman in his Saqqara tomb @Rob Koopman CC BY-SA 2.0

The first unambiguous identification of Horemheb is in his Saqqara tomb. In this tomb he charted his advancement through a series of administrative positions (“Scribe of Recruits ” up to “Royal Scribe” and “Overseer of all Overseers of Scribes of the King”), military roles (“General” then “Overseer of the Generals of the Two Lands”), and diplomatic posts (“King’s Envoy” and “Mouth who appeases in the Entire Land”).

There are depictions of Horemheb in his Saqqara tomb presenting captives from Syria and Nubia to the king and he claims that his name was “renowned in the land of the Hittites” suggesting that during the reign of Tutankhamun Horemheb was engaged in skirmishes with this foreign power. Redford suggested that the so called “Zizinia fragment” (which is alleged to come from Horemheb’s Saqqara tomb) depicted booty which Horemheb had gained during a successful campaign to the south while Hari and Aldred proposed that the fragment relates to his earlier career and depicts the fruits of a diplomatic mission. At this time he gained the title “iry-pat” which is translated by some as “hereditary prince” and this is taken as evidence that Horemheb would be the successor of the king should he die without producing an heir.

Horemheb with Isis, Osiris and Horus @Olaf Bausch CC BY 3.0

However, the name of his king is not confirmed. It could have been Tutankhamun (Van Dijk) or Ay (Kitchen, Hornung, Martin). Furthermore, the title is generally translated as “nobleman” and does not necessarily imply he was to be the successor of his king.

Although he may not have been the heir apparent during the rule of Tutankhamun he was probably the most powerful official – next to Ay. It is even possible that Horemheb and Ay were the effective rulers of the country at that time or that Horemheb himself controlled the young king.

When Tutankhamun died it was Ay, not Horemheb, who succeeded him. However, Ay’s reign was brief and soon Horemheb was able to claim the throne for himself. He was clearly delighted to become pharaoh and set about adding a royal ureas to the depictions of himself as an official in his Saqqara tomb. This clear sign of ego could tempt one to consider him as a great self-publicist intent on re-writing history to increase his renown. Yet, Van Dijk has noted the similarity in tone and content between the text in Horemheb’s Saqqara tomb and his Coronation Decree making it less likely that he was exaggerating his importance to support his rise to pharaoh. It was by no means uncommon for a pharaoh to assert that he was predestined to rule. Hatshepsut used this device to support her unconventional reign and as Horemheb was not the son of a pharaoh he may have felt the same need to prove he was legitimate.

His Coronation Decree was inscribed on a statue depicting Horemheb and his wife Mutnodjmet. The decree describes his early career, confirms that Horus of Hnes chose him to rule and that the oracle of Amun confirmed his position.

Kemp notes that Horemheb staged his coronation during the Opet festival because the connection between the king and Amun could be used to “convert usurpers … into models of legitimacy and tradition” and Gardiner notes that although Thebes was not the traditional location of the coronation, Horemheb’s choice was logical given the need to reconcile with the priests of Amun following the Atenist Heresy of Akhenaten.

Horemheb and Horus @Didia C BY-SA 3.0

Horemheb has perhaps unfairly been characterised simply as a military man with the implication that his military position allowed him to seize power. However, Spalinger comments that this is to fail to understand the role of the army in Ancient Egypt, and points out that Horemheb was a diplomat and administrator who even held the exalted post of Vizier before becoming pharaoh. Horemheb himself stresses his administrative prowess as much as his martial power in his Coronation Decree. He may also have had connections with the royal family through his wife Mutnodjmet who is considered by many to have been the sister of Nefertiti (although some commentators reject this connection).

Horemheb in the Valley of the Kings

The chain of events following the death of Tutankhamun is decidedly murky. It is usually proposed that Ay usurped Horemheb’s position and strove to disinherit him by naming Nakhmin (possibly a relative of Ay) as his successor. Van Dijk notes that it is almost certain that Horemheb was no longer viewed as the “heir apparent” during rule of Ay. However, he also suggests that Ay was only ever intended to be a temporary king (citing the fact that he retained the title “God’s father”, did not take any pharonic epithets such as nsw-bity before his cartouche, and wore the panther skin of a sem priest in the opening of the mouth scene in the tomb of Tutankhamun). However, it has also been noted by Dodson that Horemheb is named as the successor of Ay in the tomb of Ptahemhat-Ty (a high priest of Ptah) which is roughly contemporary.

Van de Meiroop suggests that when Horemheb did become pharaoh he “expressed his displeasure at having been upstaged” by removing Ay’s name from monuments and destroying the monuments of Nakhtmin. However, Booth has suggested that Horemheb was not moved by petty revenge and that as an ultra-traditionalist defender of Ma’at he was happy to allow the elderly Ay (as the surviving male member of the previous dynasty) to rule knowing that he would not live long. The text of the Coronation Decree is ambiguous but could be interpreted as confirming that Ay (as the living Horus) named him as heir (although Gardiner notes that it could also mean that Horemheb carried the cult statue of Horus of Hnes to Karnak) so it is possible that Ay and Horemheb worked together to achieve their common goal of restoring Egypt to glory. There is no definitive evidence to confirm the position one way or another, however, his destruction of the monuments of Nakhmin would suggest that there had been an attempt to prevent Horemheb gaining the throne.

Horemheb did usurp the mortuary temple of Ay (and numerous monuments of Tutankhamun), but Ay had himself already usurped this monument from Tutankhamun. Ay’s tomb was certainly defaced but Booth suggests that Horemheb caused only “cosmetic” damage and limited his attacks on Ay to the Theban area and that it was the Ramesside kings who undertook more consistent attacks on the memory of Ay.

Horemheb also began to dismantle the temples of the Aten at Karnak during his fifteenth year (using the blocks as fillers for his own buildings) and may also have begun to dismantle the city of Akhetaten, yet this may have been pragmatic and political rather than personal and vindictive. Hornung has suggested that “Haremheb in no way contemplated an obliteration of the Amarna period but rather attempted to combine tradition with revolution and thus to initiate a new and practicable course of action”.

It is notable that his Edict does not contain a direct attack on the Amarna period rulers (unlike the denunciation in Tutankhamun’s Restoration Stele which was later usurped by Horemheb). The wrongful acts described as those of officials and soldiers and the measures protected his tax revenue and shielded the common people from the corruption of officials. Weigal commented that these measures showed “how near to his heart were the interests of his people”. However, Pfluger notes that his actions were not altruistic, stemming as they did from “the necessity of popularising and therefore stabilising his regime”. Numerous other types of offence were left to the kenbet courts to decide and his reorganisation of these courts shows that he was conservative and preferred men of rank over laypersons.

The Edict is generally seen as a reaction to the chaos under Akhenaten but it could equally describe the situation under Tutankhamun or refer to Horemheb’s deeds as an official of Tutankhamun. Yet, Aldred was probably right to note that his national tour ensured the application of these measures and his reign “did much to re-establish the government of Egypt on sound and effective lines”.

Horemheb is often accused of the murder of the Hittite prince Zanzana. Opinion favours Ankhenesamun as the author of a letter allegedly sent to the Hittite king requesting a husband (Aldred, Scneider, Kitchen).

Dodson has suggested that the burial of Tutankhamun was delayed by up to eight months because of the attempt to negotiate this marriage while Van Dijk proposes that Ay initially took power as an interim measure while the marriage was negotiated at his suggestion – although this seems rather unlikely.

Horemheb and Atum

In the end, the unfortunate Hittite apparently perished before reaching Egypt and it has been speculated that he was murdered en route by forces loyal to Horemheb (Van Dijk) or executed on Ay’s orders (Kitchen) and Hornung proposes that Horemheb had to repel a retaliatory raid shortly after.

Booth has queried the authenticity of the letter noting that Egyptian kings would not even allow their daughters to marry foreign princes, although in this case it was a queen who was negotiating her own wedding so that point may not be valid here. Booth further notes that the only copy of this letter (and replies to it) are to be found in the Hittite archives and proposes that the whole incident was a propagandist invention of the Hittites. There is also a letter in the Hittite archive purporting to be from Ay in which the pharaoh denies any involvement in the murder of the Hittite prince but again we only have the Hittite report of the contents and tone of the letter. It may be stretching credulity to suggest the Hittites were routinely falsifying their own records without any real evidence to support this practice.

Whether or not the letter existed, the events surrounding the death of the Hittite prince have proved excellent grounds for conspiracy theories. For example, El Mahdy has suggested that Ay composed the letter then leaked its contents knowing that Horemheb would not allow such a match. Then, while Horemheb was marching to intercept the Hittite prince, Ay had himself crowned as pharaoh!

Like his predecessor Akhenaten, Horemheb has been viewed as both saint and sinner. He was certainly an ambitious man, but also seems to have been a balanced ruler who genuinely wished to see his country prosper. He was clearly confident of his own ability, but perhaps rightly so as he seems to have earned the respect and loyalty of others. He may have had a military background, but he valued learning and was an effective administrator who understood the importance of re-establishing the connection between the king, the gods, and the people. Most importantly, by clearly designating an heir he knew he could rely upon and who already had an established family, he ensured stability and prosperity for Egypt’s future.

Group of statues of the god Horus and the king Haremhab

The group of statues of the god Horus and the king Haremhab is in the Egyptian-Oriental Collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna . It shows the ancient Egyptian king ( pharaoh ) Haremhab together with the god Horus and dates to the 18th dynasty of the New Kingdom (around 1300 BC).

Haremhab was an officer under Akhenaten and Semenchkare . After these two kings he was jointly responsible with Eje at the beginning of Tutankhamun's reign for the move of the government from Achet-Aton to Memphis and for the renunciation of the Aten religion. After Tutankhamun's early death, Eje took over the rule for four years and after his death, Haremhab, who is neither related to the Amarna kings nor to his successor Ramses I , was crowned king himself. He had his rule confirmed by the god Amun at the Theban Opet festival (coronation stele). Under Haremhab, the restoration of the old cults and the rebuilding of the old temples were completed in the course of the departure from the Aton religion.

In addition to this group of statues of the haremhab with Horus, there are two other groups of statues. One is in Turin and shows him with Amun, the other in London shows him with Amun-Kamutef . Amun is the god who confirmed Haremhab's coronation but it was "his father Horus" who chose him to be Pharaoh. The Vienna statue group was created in his honor .

The limestone sculpture shows the almost life-size King Haremhab, who sits to the left of the god Horus. Horus holds his right arm around the king's waist, in his left he holds the sign of life. Both figures wear the short ritual apron, the double crown ( Pschent ) and uraeus snake on their head , the king also the striped Nemes headscarf and the royal beard .

The group of statues has undergone extensive restoration in modern times, in which the outer arms and feet of both figures, the left hand, the beard and the tip of the king's nose as well as the falcon's beak were added .

Helmut Satzinger says about the effect of the sculpture:

“The fascinating effect of the work is primarily based on the contrast between the traditional rigor of the general design and the king's face, which was still largely shaped by the spirit of late Amarna art. The realism, which reproduces the anatomical details, and the portrait character retained despite all idealization are a continuation of the art of the "heretic king" Akhenaten. All in all, the sculpture seems to bring the personality of the energetic statesman Haremhab closer to us than any other of his portraits. "

The actual origin of the group of statues in Egypt is not known. It was inherited from the Estensian collection (Schloss Cattajo) by Archduke Franz Ferdinand and transferred to the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna in 1918.

Haremhab the Scribe: An Analysis

Haremhab the Scribe was a statue produced by an unknown artist from the Egyptian area ca. 1323–1295 B.C. It depicts the historical figure of the scribe Haremhab, who was prominent during the time of King Tutankhamun. The medium of Haremhab the Scribe is of a durable stone that appears to be granite. The life-sized stone statue of Haremhab is typical of the period through the visual effect, gives great insight into the physical characteristics and culture of males in ancient Egypt.

The analysis of elements of line, color, lights, shadows, textures, and composition of this statue is important to understand the art of the period.

Many lines make up the statue of Haremhab the Scribe. Most of them are prominent and give depth to the figure. The hair is composed of many waved lines that are disproportionately wide for actual hair. While it is not particularly realistic, it does draw attention to an area that could be seen as undefined.

The lines on the shoulder and the skirt of the garment attempt to bring an accurate feel of the garment that is worn by the subject.

There is only the natural color of the stone represented in Haremhab the Scribe. A dark grayish green is the predominant color yet there are yellow flecks throughout the stone. The yellow actually gives the impression of age to the work, but it is important in allowing depth as well. If the stone were only one shade, it would seem flat. The intensity of the color is dulled or grayed by the age, yet there is evidence that it has once been bright.

The use of light and shadows are probably the most important parts of this statue since the stone is a natural color and has not been altered by paint. There is a considerable amount of shadow under the chin, the garment sleeves, and in the hollow of the skirt where the legs are crossed. The purpose of the shadows where there is only partial illumination is to create a sense of reality. If a person is actually in the light, then there would always be a part of him/her that would be shadowed by another part of the body or material from the garment being worn. Since the subject is sitting, there would be more shadow than when standing because of the folds of garments and overlapping of the body.

Texture plays a large role in Haremhab the Scribe. I t is rough, but not only because of the stone that was used which lacks gloss, but by the effects of age and weathering. Although some is due to natural causes, roughness is also simulated by the artist. The garment of the scribe is corrugated to represent the materials used for clothing at the time, especially pleating of the garments worn by the wealthy positioned people. The hair is also corrugated, but it has the opposite effect of being silky because the lines are more close together.

The composition of Haremhab the Scribe is for the subject to be centered in the statue. Everything about the subject is facing forward except for the legs which are drawn under him. However, that would be realistic for the time since he would not have ordinarily sat on a chair. The eyes stare out at the viewer and the head is also in the straight forward position. The arms are close to the subject’s side to the elbow and then they reach forward. The scroll on which he has written the history of his king is also thrust forward.

The analysis of line, color, light, shadow, texture, and composition have provided the information for the understanding of the statue Haremhab the Scribe. The statue from ancient Egypt has many elements to share with the modern world as it does with the story of the scribe, but it also teaches about the tools and methods of the artist of the period and provides those in the modern world to see how far art has come, and also how advanced that they were at the time.

“Haremhab the Scribe.” Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved September 25, 2008

It was found in the Old Kingdom around c.3100 BCE. The Pallet is made out local dark grey wacky, which is a kind of stone. The pallet was significant because Narmer was the first person who created a unified version of Egypt. It is an ancient artifact in this museum because it signifies how Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt became Egypt as a whole. The portrait head of Nefertiti is another artifact that is important in Ancient Egypt.&hellip

This is also when they dive into its characteristics. Harris describes the figure as looking, "very human, very natural ("Old Kingdom: Seated Scribe")." She also states his level of importance because he was able to write, which back then was a very important skill to have. He was "obviously of a very high class, because he had a sculpture made of him ("Old Kingdom: Seated Scribe")." They further describe facial details and overall beauty in the sculpture.&hellip

Part 4. The Assyrian conquest

In Ages in Chaos Velikovsky shifted the end of the 18th Dynasty from about 1300 to 850 BC. Akhnaton was a contemporary of King Jehoshaphat of Jerusalem and of Ahab of Samaria. After the end of the reign of Akhnaton the 18th Dynasty fairly soon came to an end. Egypt was weakened for some time.

According to the prevailing view of history, it was Horemheb who succeeded Ay at the end of the 18th Dynasty. Traces of a connection between the rulers at the end of the 18th Dynasty and Horemheb have not been found and we will see that Velikovsky gives Horemheb a different place in history. The section on the Assyrian conquest was not published, but can be found in the Internet archive of Velikovsky’s work.

Assyria conquers Egypt

The power of Assyria was growing and the Assyrian annals report the payment of a tribute by the king of Egypt. Some time later they reported that power in Egypt had been seized by the king of Ethiopia who lived far away. It is the beginning of the Ethiopian dynasty in Egypt which ruled for fifty years and which, as we shall see, was several times interrupted by Assyrian campaigns.
The successor of Sargon was Sennacherib …

Mackey’s comment” According to my revision, Sargon was Sennacherib.

… who continued the conquests of his predecessor. He captured the coastal areas of Palestine and fought a battle with an Egyptian / Ethiopian army at Eltekeh. He also besieged Jerusalem, but was finally satisfied with payment of a huge penalty. At this point the question arises whether Sennacherib conquered Egypt too. Jewish historians report a conquest of Egypt and Herodotus mentions that Sennacherib invaded Egypt with a large army during the reign of Sethos. Modern historians say that Herodotus must be mistaken because Sethos (Seti) was one of the most important kings of the 19th dynasty, who lived around 1280 BC.

There is an Egyptian king who is not easy to place in history. It is not clear who his parents were and how he became king. His name was Horemheb and he is usually placed in the transition period between the 18th and 19th Dynasties. On his tomb he bears all the signs that normally only the kings of Egypt bore and he is named something like the head of state and commander of the army, but at the same time we read that he was chosen by the king and a delegate of the king. He is also depicted in a reverential attitude toward a greater King, whose image was removed in a later period. Who was the person who appointed Horemheb as king or head of state? It seems that this greater king is not Egyptian (there is an interpreter represented at the meeting), and the text states that he was the boss of Syria and that his conquests were accompanied by putting complete towns to fire and displacing entire populations from one place to another. These are characteristics of Assyrian domination and it seems that the Assyrian king Sennacherib appointed Horemheb as commander in chief. Horemheb was later crowned king on the day he married Mutnodjme, someone who, according to the text on a statue, had royal status herself. ….

The intriguing Nahr al-Kalb inscription depicts Esarhaddon together with Ramses II.

If this inscription is meant to indicate contemporaneity between Esarhaddon and Ramses II, then I would have to reconsider Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky’s extraordinary view that

pharaoh Ramses II was a contemporary of (my Esarhaddon =) Nebuchednezzar II.

We read about the Phoenician located inscription at, for instance:

The History of Egypt (Part 2): Haremhab - History

No period of Egyptian history is in greater confusion than the close of Dynasty XVIII. To reconstruct this period scholars have limited themselves almost wholly to the meagre finds of archaeology. without any proof whatsoever, they have rejected or silently passed over the testimony of Africanus and Josephus, of the book of Sothis and the Bible.

To fill up gaps in the commonly accepted interpretation of history, they have written countless volumes on the unimportant king Tutankhamen -- who reigned only ten years. They have lauded Akhenaten, the father of King Tutankhamen, as the world's "first monotheist," when he was instead, a sexual deviate who used the cloak of religion to beget children by his own mother and daughters -- not to speak of his attraction toward his son Smenkhkare.

There is a reason historians have painted the closing years of Dynasty XVIII as one of religious idealism and philosophic wisdom. In some way they have to erase the presence of monotheism in Israel, and the rise of Proverb literature. Since the scholarly world has not been willing to attribute it to God, the origin has been sought in Egypt. No such foolish deduction could have been possible had historians properly placed Dynasty XVIII parallel with the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

Egypt As It Really Was

The history of Egypt for the late eighteenth and the nineteenth dynasties is vividly described in the Bible. It is a picture quite unlike that of the early Thutmoses. Changes were becoming noticeable in the reign of Thutmose IV. But not until the accession of Amenhotpe III, the grandson of Amenhotpe II, did the history of Egypt become one of utter religious confusion, political division, folly. What happened is made clear in the book of Isaiah:

Who are these princes of Zoan -- the descendants of ancient kings? Isaiah again writes of the same period:

For nearly 170 years following the expulsion of the Hyksos, Egypt was united under one royal family. But here one sees an Egypt divided, not merely into cities, but into kingdoms. What parallel dynasties ruled these feuding kingdoms? Are the records of these internal wars found on the monuments?

Indeed! All these surprising Scriptures are made plain once the history of Egypt is properly restored to its true chronological position.

The Later Eighteenth Dynasty

The records of Theban Dynasty XVIII have been restored through Thutmose IV. Beginning with Amenhotpe III, historians are in great confusion. Most of the controversy is suppressed in textbooks. It does not reach the ears of students.

The controversy is primarily due to the serious mistake of rejecting the classical evidence from Manetho. As with the early dynasties, Manetho preserved much that archaeology has not, and perhaps never will, discover. By contrast, much that Manetho's transcribers thought unimportant has been rediscovered by archaeology. The true picture of what really happened in the next four centuries can be told only by utilizing both Manetho and archaeological finds.

So varied were the events surrounding the later years of Dynasty XVIII that no one ancient writer preserves all the details from Manetho. Not even Manetho appears to have recorded the whole account. Archaeology has unearthed many of the missing pieces of the puzzle. What is needed is to combine both Manetho and the finds of archaeology with the Bible.

Historians for years have been sharply divided over the events of the last years of Amenhotpe III. Many hold that he associated his son Akhenaten with him on the throne. Though other historians deny it, Manetho confirms the association. See the chart from Africanus presented later in this chapter.

The archaeologists who recognize that the father associated the son on the throne for a time have made the mistake, however, of interpreting the reign of Akhenaten as commencing, in the documents and monuments, from the beginning of his appointment. On his monuments, Akhenaten adopted the practice of dating his reign from the death of his father Amenhotpe III. The evidence of the El-Amarna correspondence absolutely proves that Akhenaten was abroad during many years of the coregency and did not return till the death of his father ("The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology", vol. 43, 1957, pages 13-14). This fact misled the opposing school of historians to deny the firmly documented coregency.

From archaeology the following chart may be constructed. (See "Journal of Near Eastern Studies", vol. xxv, April 1966, Pages 113-124, by Donald B. Redford.)

Names of Kings of Dynasty XVIII from Archaeology

Lengths of Reign


The classical writers took no note of the short reigns of Orus' sons Smenkhkare and Tutankhamen. For them, the entire period was assigned to Orus. Similarly archaeology knows little or nothing of the other children born to Akhenaten.

King Ay, whose name appears next to last, was not of royal descent. He gained great influence in the latter years of the court of Amenhotpe III. He is mentioned in documents as father-in-law of Akhenaten. His daughter was Nefertiti, the king's chief queen. Unfortunately Ay later became the brother-in-law of Akhenaten. Ay's sister Tiy, who was the mother of Akhenaten, became also his wife toward the middle of his reign. What befell Nefertiti afterward is unrecorded in history.

Young Smenkhkare -- for whom Akhenaten also had an unnatural attraction -- later returned to the old capital of Thebes while his father remained at El-Amarna. After three short years on the throne, the youth was supplanted by his younger brother Tutankhamen.

Ten years later, Tutankhamen died. Ay gave Tutankhamen a sumptuous burial, then mounted the throne himself and apparently married Tutankhamen's young widow, his own granddaughter, to secure his claim to royalty. (See "Journal of Egyptian Archaeology", "King Ay, the successor of Tut-Ankh-amun," vol. XCIII (1932), pages 50-52.)

Ay reigned 4 years. He died in 837.

Haremhab, who succeeded Ay, was a general who played no small part in the drama that climaxed the El-Amarna period. General Haremhab controlled the army. At his coronation in 837 he married the "Queen's sister Mutnodjme" (Aldred, "Journal of Egyptian Archaeology", vol. 43. Page 39 and Breasted's "Ancient Records", vol. III, Sections 22 and 28.) Haremhab thus became the king's brother-in-law and Ay's son-in-law. A comparatively long reign is usually attributed to Haremhab. The highest discovered date assigned to him is 59 years. None of the documents bear a king's name. This figure is in agreement, however, with Manetho's transcribers.

Neither the mummy of Akhenaten nor of Haremhab has been found. A mummy, once thought to be Akhenaten's is undoubtedly that of Smenkhkare (Aldred, "The End of the El-Amarna Period," in December 1957 "Journal of Egyptian Archaeology").

Manetho's Evidence

Now let's consider what happened to the family of Akhenaten during the lifetime of Haremhab.

Africanus has correctly preserved Dynasty XVIII from Thutmose IV to a king named Ramesses. The variations of other writers will be considered later. Here is Africanus' record beginning with Thutmose IV:

Names of Rulers of Dynasty XVIII according to Julius Africanus

Lengths of Reign


Ramesses (usually mislabeled "I")

A break in the list occurs here. Now let's examine Eusebius before proceeding further with Africanus.

Names of Kings of Dynasty XVIII from Eusebius' Greek Text

Lengths of Reign


Achencherses, his daughter

Note the parallel reign of Cherres, beginning 794. This figure will be significant for dating Dynasty XXIII of Tanis later. The dating of Akhenaton's daughter. Beginning in 837, will be proved shortly.

We should now consider other variants from Manetho, illustrated by this fragmentary copy.

Names of Kings of Dynasty XVIII from Eusebius' Armenian Version

Lengths of Reign


Achencherses, his daughter

Eusebius' account of Orus supports the archaeological record of 38 years for Amenhotpe III mentioned earlier:

Eusebius' Greek Manuscript B of the king list differs from the others. It has been misunderstood by some modern editors who have inserted, mistakenly, the figure 12 in place of 16 (that is, 841-825) for the reign of Achencherses, Akhenaten's daughter. They assumed that Eusebius has been incorrectly copied. But manuscript B of Eusebius plainly has 16. Because Cencheres also reigned 16 years, certain manuscript copies of Eusebius' original work have deleted his name and that of Athoris. (Compare Eusebius Werke, edited by Rudolph Helm, vol. I, pages 40-45 with Manetho, by W.G. Waddell, Fr. 53.)

What do these variants mean? They indicate that Manetho originally gave in detail the events surrounding the reigns of Akhenaten, Tutankhamen, Smenkhkare and Ay! Now see how the year 837 -- the end of Ay's reign -- can be established from Josephus and the Book of Sothis.

Names of Josephus and Theophilus

Lengths of Reign


Acencheres (daughter of Orus)

It must first be remembered that Manetho, in his original work, presented to the world three vast tomes. These have been lost to the world. But before they perished many writers extracted material that, to them, appeared vital. Different writers viewed the multitude of Manetho's facts differently. Josephus considered certain events more important than did Africanus, for example his dates for the reign of a king consequently might differ somewhat from Africanus. On occasion, whole reigns might be deleted as unimportant -- a fact already noted for the first half of Dynasty XVIII.

Josephus' abstract contains several unusual features. First, it is not consecutive. There is a significant break between Orus and his daughter Acencheres.

The second divergency is the dating of Amenhotpe III. Africanus assigns him 31 years and ends his reign in 878. Josephus and Theophilus follow the Book of Sothis and end it in 879. There is no scribal carelessness here, only a difference in evaluating events. Amenhotpe III associated his son Orus on the throne toward the end of his 31st year -- after 30 years and 10 months, to use Josephus' account. The question naturally arose, should the 31st year of Amenhotpe III be assigned to him, or to the son now that he had come to coregency? Africanus adopted the former method, dating it 878. Josephus, as well as Syncellus in the Book of Sothis, adopted the latter method, dating it 879.

The same variation may be noticed for the reigns of the kings Acencheres I and II and Harmais. Africanus, in these instances, began their regnal years one year earlier than Josephus but assigned five to Armais. The total in each instance is the same.

Now see the Book of Sothis confirm the unusual dates 837-816 for Akhenaten's daughter and son -- and consequently 837 for the end of Ay's reign.

Names in Book of Sothis

Lengths of Reign


42 Achencheres (a daughter)

26 (note -- 14 missing years in Josephus found!)

Very little is known of the family of Akhenaten in later years. What is known is that Acencheres, the daughter of Akhenaten. had a brother Rathotis (or Rathos). His son is Achencheres I, the Chebres of Africanus. The next generation is Achencheres II, the Acherres II of Africanus. None of these names have been found as yet by archaeologists in Egypt. Yet they are important for their chronological value. If archaeologists had not been led astray they would have recognized the six successors of Orus as the six immediate predecessors of Piankhi, king of Nubia, of Dynasty XXV.

Now consider the literary evidence for this restoration of Dynasty XVIII.

The El-Amarna Letters

Amenhotpe III was an effeminate individual who purchased his pleasures by bestowing power on his friends. In his senile years he was sculptured "wearing a type of gown usually worn by women" (Cyril Aldred, "Bulletin of Metropolitan Museum of Art", Feb. 1957). Quite an about face since the days of the Queen of Sheba! The result of this personal aberration was the rise to prominence of non-royalty -- the family of Ay, for example.

The reigns of Amenophis III and Akhenaten have become famous for the El-Amarna letters. The letters are official foreign correspondence. Some date from the time of Amenhotpe III, or before, though most pertain to the government of his son.

It is the common assumption of the majority of historians that these letters reveal internal events in Palestine at the time Joshua was invading the Holy Land. To make the Biblical account of the conquest chronologically correspond to the time of Akhenaten, historians had to displace the history of the book of Joshua. Some went so far as to assume that Joshua lived before Moses -- since they had previously misdated the exodus in the later reign of Ramesses "the Great" or his son. Such foolish interpretations of history stand self-condemned. What the letters really indicate is an altogether different set of events.

The letters reveal that many of the coastal towns of Syria and Palestine, which had owed allegiance to Egypt, were torn asunder by internal strife or were being overrun. Local princes and Egyptian officials usually sought in vain for Egyptian assistance. What power expanded in Syria and Palestine during this period?

The Bible makes the answer plain. The Arameans.

The El-Amarna letters were written mainly in the days of Athaliah and Joash of Judah, and of Jehu and Jehoahaz of Israel. A few are from the earlier period of the Jehorams or before. The time setting is made clear in the Bible. Asa, in whose fifteenth year (937-936) Zerah invaded the land, died after a reign of 41 years. That brings history to 910. Jehoshaphat, his son succeeded him and reigned 25 years -- to 885. This was the 24th year of Amenhotpe III.

After the death of Jehoshaphat "Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah . then did Libnah revolt at the same time" (II Chronicles 21:10). The events move rapidly: "And the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians that are beside the Ethiopians and they came up against Judah, and broke into it up against him" -- Joash -- "and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people" (II Chr. 24:23).

During these years Israel was being devastated by the Arameans, "Then Hazael king of Aram went up, and fought against Gath, and took it and Hazael set his face to go to Jerusalem" (II Kings 12:18). Later, in the reign of Jehoahaz of Israel, "the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Aram and into the hand of Ben-Hadad, the son of Hazael, continually . For there was not left to Jehoahaz of the people save fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen for the king of Aram destroyed them, and made them like the dust of threshing" (II Kings 13:3, 7).

Later, Israel was delivered from the power of Aram during the time of Jeroboam II.

In the El-Amarna letters "Aziru" is a king of "Amurru", with his capital at "Dumasqa". All historians recognize that Dumasqa is Damascus, the capital of Aram or Syria. "Amurru" is the common name for Aram. But who is Aziru in these cuneiform documents? Hazael! The "l" and the "r" are often linguistically interchanged. The "H" has been dropped, just as it has in Josephus' spelling of Hazael -- "Azaelos." Compare the Biblical dropping of the "H" in Hadoram to Adoram (II Chron. 10:18 and I Kings 12:18).

Hazael posed as Pharaoh's obedient ally -- as did most of the quarreling princes of the eastern Mediterranean coast. But he refused to render any act of submission. The king of Egypt had received many reports that Aram was not remaining loyal. In letter 162, addressed to Aziru or Hazael, the king of Egypt warns: "If thou for any object desirest to do evil, or if thou layest up evil words of hatred in thy heart, then wilt thou die by the axe of the king together with thy whole family. Render submission then to the king, thy lord, (and) thou shalt live. Thou knowest, indeed, that the king does not desire to go heavily against the whole land of Kinahhi" -- Canaan. ("The Tell El-Amarna Tablets", by Samuel A.B. Mercer, vol. II, page 523.)

The letter was filled with empty words. Egypt had too many troubles of her own to afford costly expeditions to Syria.

Are the "Habiru" Hebrews?

The letters to the Egyptian court also speak of the habiru -- sometimes spelled khabiru. It was at first commonly assumed that it meant "Hebrew," and was indicative of Joshua's invasion of Palestine. But not one king or Canaan in Joshua's day has ever been found in the El-Amarna letters. Nor is there one word of the fall of Jericho. The conquest of Palestine recorded in the book of Joshua contrasts at every fundamental point with the world of the El-Amarna letters. Egypt was an important power in the eastern Mediterranean in the days of the kings of Israel and in the El-Amarna world, but "Joshua did not find any such Egyptian hold during his conquest" (Sir W.M. Flinders Petrie, "Palestine and Israel", page 56).

Scholars have long disputed over the import of the word "habiru", or "khabiru". From the letters it was known to be equivalent to the word "sa-qaz" which means "brigands," "plunderers," "bandits," and "cutthroats." On occasion the word "khabiru" "is also written with an ideogram signifying 'cutthroats,' " declared C.J. Gadd in "The Fall of Nineveh". The Hebrew root of "khabiru" is "khaber" (spelled "chaber" in "Young's Concordance"). It means a "companion," "member of a band," hence, in a derogatory sense, "bandit." The word appears in Isaiah 1:23 as "companions of thieves": and in Proverbs 28:24 as "companion of a destroyer."

The "khabiru" or "habiru" were the Aramean, Philistine, Moabite, Arabian bands of plunderers who were overrunning Phoenicia, Syria and Palestine in the days of Jehoram and Jehoahaz.

Much also has been written of the person of Abdi-hibba. Scholars assume he was the king of "Urusalim". That the name "Urusalim" is the cuneiform transcription of the name Jerusalem is plausible. But Abdi-hibba was no king of Jerusalem. In addressing the Egyptian court he wrote: "Verily, I am not a regent I am an officer of the king, my lord. Behold I am a shepherd of the king, and I am one who bears the tribute of the king. Neither my father nor my mother, but the mighty hand of the king has set me in the house of my father" (Letter 288). The king is Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Again in Letter 287 he repeats: "Verily, this land of the city of Urusalim, neither my father nor my mother has given it to me." And in Letter 285: "Behold, I am not a regent, I am an officer of the king, my lord." Abdi-hibba was a Palestinian adventurer who had himself appointed an officer of Pharaoh to administer Egyptian affairs over a portion of the land that belonged to the city of "Urusalim". "Take silver and follow me," he was accused of saying (Letter 280).

It was commonplace for the petty kingdoms of Syria and Palestine to seek Egyptian "foreign aid" in their quarrels. Isaiah reveals what God thought of it:

And verse 7: "For Egypt helpeth in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I called her 'Arrogancy that sitteth still.' "

Dissension and jealousy sundered Egypt's government during the El-Amarna period. It was, in part, the result of infiltration of foreign influence during the reign of Amenhotpe III. The book of Sothis records of his day: "The Ethiopians, removing from the River Indus, settled near Egypt."

They brought with them not only the concept of marriages between uterine brothers and sisters, a practice already established in Egypt by the royalty of Sheba, but of the marriage of parents with children. Children of the union of a mother and son were deemed especially well born. Akhenaten inherited this concept through his father's marriage relationships. But the practice was revolting to many Egyptians of high rank. No known ruler among them since the time of the Ethiopian Nimrod had dared marry his own mother and beget children of her.

Akhenaten did it because he regarded himself as a new incarnation of Nimrod, the sun-god. Hence the name Orus applied to the king. Orus is another spelling of Horus, third king of Egypt, who was anciently assumed to be the first incarnation of Nimrod.

The claims of Akhenaten were so widely known that in El-Amarna letter 41 the Hittite king addresses Akhenaten by the name of "Huria" -- the cuneiform of Horus.

Akhenaten made religion the cloak for his perversions. He pictured himself as the solar disk, and from his nude body eminated the beams of light that were to illuminate the world. The claims of the "heretic king" threatened the power of the Theban pontiffs. To retain their influence they first supported one, then another, or a third member of the royal family. Each change was presented to especially constructed idols which moved their heads -- through secret manipulation -- in approval or disapproval of the rival royal candidates.

After El-Amarna

The climax to the El-Amarna age is usually thought to be the early death of Akhenaten and the return to Thebes of young king Tut, supported by the Theban priesthood. What is not understood by historians or archaeologists is the sundering of Egyptian political unity.

In the next chapter it shall be proved that Libyans penetrated Lower Egypt and after the death of Ay set up a dynasty of their own. Two generations later the political center of gravity shifted to Tanis in the Delta. Egypt consequently became a significant sea power in the eighth century before the present era. Greek classical records provide numerous references to Egyptian trade, settlement and warfare in the Mediterranean during this century.

Upper Egypt meanwhile saw the last kings of Dynasty XVIII retire to their homeland in Nubia. Dynasty XVIII arose in Ethiopian Nubia to oust the Hyksos. Its king Zera is called "Ethiopian," and its queen, "Queen of Sheba." (Sheba was a son of Cush, father of the Ethiopians.) When the religious controversy under Akhenaten developed, the religious and political pressures of the Upper Egyptians forced a withdrawal of the later members of the Dynasty to Napata in Nubia. Here, as we shall presently see, a branch of the family arose to new power in Nubia and Egypt in the person of Piankhi and reestablished the famous Ethiopian era in Egypt. But this Ethiopian period was not centered any longer in Thebes, but in Napata, Nubia.

Historians have never understood the connection between the early Ethiopian influence in Egypt and the later Ethiopian period, because they have separated them by over five centuries. This restoration of Egyptian history makes plain the connection.

The purpose of this exhibition is to introduce cultural heritages from Egypt which has long been
collected by the House of Habsburg, and to share the recent research outcomes that illuminate
on them. As the Greek historian Herodotos said, Egypt is truly the gift of the Nile. The natural
environment, historical condition and religious disposition also exerted upon forming unique
character of Egyptian Civilization.

The visual culture embodies features that distinguish it from neighboring cultures. 231 pieces are
selected for this special exhibition. Egyptian art does not limit itself to pyramids or mummies.
It involves metal crafts, wooden crafts, calligraphy, ceramic as well as sculpture of gods and
goddesses. From a 1cm amulet to 197cm statue of goddess Sekhmet, from a mirror to a coffin,
artifacts were chosen to present worldviews and wishes of ancient Egyptian in various levels and
forms. Some of them are 6000 year-old, but in any way they leave traces on Egyptian history and
modern Egyptian is not at all irrelevant to that.

The exhibition comprises four main parts, The first part (“Gods and Goddess of Egypt”)
introduces gods and goddesses and the afterlife view that appear in the ancient Egyptian myths.
The second part presents objects that are related to the living god, pharaoh, an important
keyword for understanding the Egyptian cultural heritage. Whereas the first half of the exhibition is
about two different kinds of absolute beings, the latter half offers stories about the common people.

The third part exhibits artifacts that reveal life scenes of the ancient Egyptians, and the last
part displays mummies and burial goods that show the ancient Egyptian view on the afterlife.

"Forepart of a sphinx Amenhotep III"
New Kingdom, 18th Dyn., time of Amenhotep III., 1410-1372 BC
Fine white limestone H 78 cm, L 68 cm, W 42 cm

So far, more than 150 pharaohs are recognized by inscriptions and archaeological finds.
This piece is forepart of a sphinx Amenhotep III. He is one of the most significant pharaohs in
the 18th dynasty, as major constructions were projected and art reached its zenith in his reign.
Amenhotep III is depicted
here as half human and half lion. He is wearing a headcloth called Nemes topped with Uraeus cobra,
the symbol of sovereignty. In his chest, the prenomen and nomen (two of his five titularies) are
written inside a oblong enclosure called cartouche.

"Statue of Horus and Haremhab"
New Kingdom, 18th dyn., time of Haremhab
Limestone, H 152 cm, W 73,1 cm, D (compleated) 77 cm

The sky god Horus and the last pharaoh from the New Kingdom Haremhab are sharing the same
throne. Horus is reaching his right arm on the back of Haremhab, which implies Haremhab
is crowned by Horus, and thus, secured his legitimacy. Pharaohs were regarded as a living Horus.

"Statue of goddess Sekhmet"
New Kingdom, 18th dyn., reign of Amenophis III., 1410-1372 BC
Thebes, Karnak, Mut-temple (probably)
Granodiorite H 197 cm, W 45,9 cm, D 101,7 cm reconstructed

This is a Sekhmet statue, believed to be excavated from the Mut temple of the Karnak temple
complex in Thebes. Sekhmet was the goddess of war. She accompanies the pharaoh during
battles to help defeat the enemy. The name Sekhmet originated from the ancient Egyptian word ‚
sachem’, which means ‚who has strong power’. The cobra on her head is called the ‚uraeus’,
symbolizing protection from evil. It is usually shown on the crown, the hood, or the headband.
There is a sun disk on her head and she holds an ankh, a symbol of ‚life’, in her left hand.
A dedication to Amenhotep III, who was the pharaoh at the time, is engraved in Egyptian hieroglyphs
at the front and the right and left legs of the pedestal.

"Statuette of god Thot depicted as Ibis"
Late period, 6th century BC
Wood, silver, stucco, glass H (with base) 32,2 cm, W 6,9 cm, L 22,2 cm

Thot is the god of wisdom. He protects the scribes and oversees knowledge. Ibis is
a sacred animal that represents Thot. The ibis was actively worshipped in Hermopolis Magna
of the Middle Egypt, which was the centre of the Thot cult, as well as Saqqara, Abydos,
and the Kom Ombo region. The ibises that were bred from these regions were mummified and
buried. Ibis statuettes made with various materials were used in worshiping Thot. The body of
this ibis was made with wood with white stucco plastered on top. The Atef crown is rested
on the head, and the neck, the tail, and the legs are made of silver. The eyes look lively
because they are made of black glass.

Under Hamas’s governance

In the 2006 PA parliamentary elections, Fatah—which had dominated Palestinian politics since its founding in the 1950s—suffered a decisive loss to Hamas, reflecting years of dissatisfaction with Fatah’s governance, which was criticized as corrupt and inefficient. Hamas’s victory prompted sanctions by Israel, the United States, and the European Union, each of which had placed the organization on its official list of terrorist groups. The Gaza Strip was the site of escalating violence between the competing groups, and a short-lived coalition government was ended in June 2007 after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip and a Fatah-led emergency cabinet took control of the West Bank. Despite calls by PA Pres. Mahmoud Abbas for Hamas to relinquish its position in the Gaza Strip, the territory remained under Hamas’s control.

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly defend the rights of the poor and needy."
Proverbs 31: 8-9

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We wanted to thank all those who attended the lecture given by Fr. Mattias Nasr Mankarious. There was a great turn out. We also want to thank the following:

Fr. Isaac Tanios
St. Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church, Palatine
Fr. Yohanna Nassif
St. Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church, Palatine
Fr. Wilbur David Ellsworth
Holy Transfiguration Antiochian Orthodox Church
Pastor Rev. Raouf Boulos
The Moody Church

We especially want to thank Fr. Mattias for being our speaker. Fr. Mattias was eager to go back to Egypt and, as he said, to be next to his children in their time of need. We want to thank him for being a beam of light for Christianity and standing up for the preservation of Christianity in Egypt. The Bible teaches us in the Book of Matthew: " . let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matt 5:16).

Thank you Fr. Mattias for being the light for us to all see and for being the father teaching your children the love, peace, and mercy of Christ. We know how hard it is for you to see your children murdered, but we know that you are consoled to know that in dying in the name of Christ, they will be saved.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world.
(John 16:32-33)

To download the power point presentation, click here.

If you wish to continue your donations for the Martyrs of Maspero and for the mission of Fr. Mattias, please do so here. If you wish to make a donation for the ChicagoCopts organization to continue its work, as well the donations can be made on the website. Please designate how your donations should be distributed.

Watch the video: The history of Egypt - The Hyksos Part 2 l Lessons of Dr. David Neiman (August 2022).