Saturday, March 5, 2016

Just a Few Mistakes.....

Fig. 1 - Akhenaten (Metropolitan Museum)
     Yesterday I mentioned the large numbers of magazines that are now available giving short articles with lots of photos on various historical topics. I started reading some of this month's stack and got a few chuckles out of the article about Akhenaten in National Geographic's History magazine.

     On the third page of the article is a photo of a white stone statue of a pharaoh. The caption next to the picture says "Akhenaten's Father, Amenhotep III had also promoted the cult of Aten". The statue however has an inscription that says (in part), "The good god, lord of the two lands, Djeserkara". Djeserkara is Amenhotep I, not Amenhotep III.

     On the next page is a photo of the Luxor Temple with a caption describing how Akhenaten's monuments at Karnak were taken apart and its sandstone bricks were used in other temples. True as far as the statement goes, but I am not aware of any of Akhenaten's monuments being re-used in the Luxor Temple (if I am wrong on this someone please correct me.....).

     The accompanying article tells the story of an Egyptian Queen writing to the King of the Hittites asking that a Hittite prince be sent to Egypt for her to marry and make King of Egypt. This letter is usually ascribed to Ankesenamen (Tutankhamen's widow), but here the claim is made that the letter was written by Nefertiti. This is possible, but very few scholars, if any, make this claim.

     Yet another caption is slightly off in the article. A large photo of Akhenaten, Nefertiti and two of their daughters worshiping the Aten has several captions describing important points about the iconography of the relief being shown. Each caption has an arrow going from the caption to the part of the relief being described. One caption mentions the distorted bodies of the royal family "clearly seen here in the depiction of Nefertiti." But the arrow goes from the caption to one of the daughters, not Nefertiti.

     Last but not least is the caption to a photo of Amun and Horemhab. The caption says that Horemhab was named heir to the throne by Tutankhamen but was pushed aside by Aye. This is the first time I have ever seen this claim and I have no idea what the evidence is to back it up. As far as I know there is no record at all of who Tutankhamen designated as his successor and no record that Horemhab was "pushed aside" by Aye.

     National Geographic really might want to consider getting someone to fact check the articles before they publish them. There are a lot of errors in just this one article.

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