Sunday, August 14, 2016

Back from Vacation

     I am back from vacation in Alaska, which is a wonderful place to visit. But they do not have any museum collections relevant to this blog, so I have no new photos to share. I did, however, catch up on some reading I have been meaning to get to and found out a few interesting things.

     Egyptologists have long blamed Tuthmose III for attempting to destroy images and hieroglyphic references to Hatshepsut late in his reign. I have always had my doubts about this. Why would he wait many years to try to destroy her memory? You would think he would have done it as soon as he became the sole pharaoh, rather than wait.

     Douglas Petrovich made this same point in his article "Toward Pinpointing the Timing of the Egyptian Abandonment of Avaris During the Middle of the 18th Dynasty" (Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections, vol. 5-2 2013) and points the finger at Amenhotep II (Tuthmose's son and successor).

     I have also long suspected that the closing of the temple of Amen by Akhenaten was politically motivated (the priests had become to powerful and needed to be "put in their place"). I admit to having no evidence to back this up, but it is as good a guess as anyone else's. Dr. Petrovich's article may be relevant to this topic as well.

     In the article he presents evidence that Amenhotep II ordered an attack against the god Amen and his priests. The author mentions that there is no record of a high priest of Amen after the early part of the reign of Amenhotep II or during the entire reign of his successor (Tuthmose IV). Also, there are no known tombs for a priest of Amen dating to this period. Last, but not least, Amenhotep issues instructions to the county's nobility to " destroy all images of the gods, their bodies [...] Am[u]n-Re". The "bodies" mentioned in the inscription (which is found on a pink granite stela usually referred to as the Western Karnak Stele) are likely the statues of the god(s). Petrovich also mentions that Helck has also argued that Amenhotep II had an open break with the priests of Amen (Wolfgang Heck, "Politische Gegensatze in alten Aegypten: Ein Versuch von Wolfgang Heck (Hildesheim: Gerstenberg Verlag, 1986, pp. 53 - 56)). So it would appear that Akhenaten's fight with the priests of Amen was not the first one between the pharaoh and the priests.

All in all, this is one of the most interesting articles I have read in a long time.