Ay: Difference between revisions

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(This is a modern supposition (although one that follows almost inevitably from Ay's position and Tut's age at the time). The past tense implies that it's "said" by ancient sources, which, given the nature of Egyptian texts, is very unlikely.)
'''Ay''' was the penultimate [[Pharaoh]] of [[Ancient Egypt]]'s [[Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt|18th dynasty]]. He held the throne of Egypt for a brief four-year period (probably 1323–1319 BC<ref>Erik Hornung, Rolf Krauss & David Warburton (editors), Ancient Egyptian Chronology (Handbook of Oriental Studies), Brill: 2006, p. 493</ref> or 1327–1323 BC, depending on which chronology is followed), although he was a close advisor to two and perhaps three of the pharaohs who ruled before him and is thought to have been the [[power behind the throne]] during [[Tutankhamun]]'s reign. Ay's ''prenomen'' or royal name&mdash;Kheperkheperure&mdash;means "Everlasting are the Manifestations of Ra" while his birth name ''Ay it-netjer'' reads as '"Ay, Father of the God".'<ref>Peter Clayton, Chronicle of the Pharaohs, Thames & Hudson Ltd, 1994. p136</ref> Records and monuments that can be clearly attributed to Ay are rare, not only due to his short length of reign, but also because his successor, [[Horemheb]], instigated a campaign of ''[[damnatio memoriae]]'' against him and other pharaohs associated with the unpopular [[Amarna Period]].
==Amarna Period==
[[File:Ay receiving the Gold of Honor.jpg|thumb|170px|A stone block shows Ay receiving the '"Gold of Honor'" award in his Amarna tomb from [[Akhenaten]].]]
All that is known for certain was that by the time he was permitted to build a tomb for himself ([[Southern Tomb 25]]) at [[Amarna]] during the reign of [[Akhenaten]], he had achieved the title of "Overseer of All the Horses of His Majesty", the highest rank in the elite charioteering division of the army, which was just below the rank of [[General Officer|General]].<ref>Hindley, Marshall. ''Featured Pharaoh: The God's Father Ay'', <cite>Ancient Egypt</cite>, April/May 2006. p. 27–28.</ref> Prior to this promotion he appears to have been first a Troop Commander and then a "regular" Overseer of Horses, titles which were found on a box thought to have been part of the original furnishings for his tomb.<ref name="Sunset 95">Dodson, Aidan. <cite>Amarna Sunset: Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, Ay, Horemheb, and the Egyptian Counter-Reformation</cite>. p. 95 The American University in Cairo Press. 2009, {{ISBN|978-977-416-304-3}}</ref> Other titles listed in this tomb include ''[[Fan-bearer on the Right Side of the King]]'', ''Acting Scribe of the King, beloved by him'', and ''God's Father''. The 'Fan-bearer on the Right Side of the King' was a very important position, and is viewed as showing that the bearer had the 'ear' of the ruler. The final ''God's Father'' title is the one most associated with Ay, and was later incorporated into his royal name when he became pharaoh.<ref name="Sunset 95"/>
In 2010, a team led by [[Zahi Hawass]] reported that he had died from complications caused by [[malaria]] and [[Köhler disease]] but another team from the [[Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine]] in [[Hamburg]] believes his death was caused by [[sickle cell disease]].<ref>{{cite web|title=King Tut's Chariot travels to New York |url=http://www.drhawass.com/blog/press-release-king-tuts-chariot-travels-new-york |deadurl=yes |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20100731230154/http://www.drhawass.com/blog/press-release-king-tuts-chariot-travels-new-york |archivedate=2010-07-31 |df= }}</ref> Tutankhamun could very well have died from this, combined with the infection in his knee. Ay was also buried in the tomb intended for Tutankhamun in the West Valley of the Kings ([[WV23]]), and Tutankhamun in Ay's intended tomb in the East Valley of the Kings ([[KV62]]).
==Rule as the Pharaohpharaoh==
[[File:Kheperkheperure Ay.jpg|left|thumb|x230px|Faience plate with the complete royal titulary of Ay, [[Egyptian Museum]].]]
[[File:ReliefWithNameOfAy-PetrieMuseum-August21-08.jpg|thumb|150px|Fragment of a cartouche of Ay in the [[Petrie Museum]].]]
==Royal succession==
Prior to his death, Ay designated Nakhtmin to succeed him as pharaoh. However, Ay's succession plan went awry, as Horemheb became the last king of Egypt's 18th Dynasty instead of Nakhtmin. The fact that Nakhtmin was Ay's intended heir is strongly implied by an inscription carved on a dyad funerary statue of Nakhtmin and his spouse which was presumably made during Ay's reign. Nakhtmin is clearly given the titles "Crown Prince" ([[wikt:jrj-pꜥt|jrj-pꜥt]]) and "King's Son" ([[wikt:zꜣ-nswt|zꜣ-nzw]]).<ref>Wolfgang Helck, Urkunden der 18. Dynastie: Texte der Hefte 20-21 (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1984), pp. 1908–1910</ref> The only conclusion which can be drawn here is that Nakhtmin was either a son or an adopted son of Ay's, and that Ay was grooming Nakhtmin for the royal succession instead of Horemheb. Egyptologists Aidan Dodson and Dyan Hilton observe that the aforementioned statue:
{{quote|... is broken after the signs for '"King's Son of'", and there has been considerable debate as to whether it continued to say '"Kush'", making Nakhtmin a Viceroy of Nubia, or '"of his body'", making him an actual royal son. Since there is no other evidence for Nakhtmin as a Viceroy--withViceroy—with another man [Paser I][http://euler.slu.edu/Dept/Faculty/bart/egyptianhtml/kings%20and%20Queens/Viceroy_of_Kush_(or_Nubia).html] attested in office at this period as well--thewell—the latter suggestion seems the most likely. As Nakhtmin donated items to the burial of Tutankhamun without such a title, it follows that he only became a King's Son subsequently, presumably under Ay. This theory is supported by the evidence of intentional damage to Nakhtmin's statue, since Ay was amongst the Amarna pharaohs whose memories were execrated under later rulers.<ref>Aidan Dodson & Dyan Hilton, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, Thames & Hudson, (2004), p. 151</ref>}}