Ay: Difference between revisions

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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"/>
 
This title could mean that he was the father-in-law of the pharaoh, suggesting that he was the son of [[Yuya]] and [[Tjuyu]], thus being a brother or half-brother of [[Tiye]], brother-in-law to [[Amenhotep III]] and the maternal uncle of Akhenaten. Instead, the title may indicate that Ay was the tutor of Tutankhamun. <ref name="Dijk 1996 31-32">{{cite journal |last1=van Dijk |first1=J. |title=Horemheb and the Struggle for the Throne of Tutankhamun |journal=Bulletin of the Australian Centre for Egyptology |date=1996 |pages=31-32 |url=http://www.jacobusvandijk.nl/docs/BACE_7.pdf |accessdate=15 September 2019}}</ref> If Ay was the son of Yuya, who was a senior military officer during the reign of Amenhotep III, then he likely followed in his father's footsteps, finally inheriting his father's military functions upon his death. Alternatively, it could also mean that he may have had a daughter that married the pharaoh Akhenaten, possibly being the father of Akhenaten's chief wife [[Nefertiti]]. Ultimately there is no evidence to definitively prove either hypothesis.<ref name="Sunset 96">Dodson, Aidan. <cite>Amarna Sunset: Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, Ay, Horemheb, and the Egyptian Counter-Reformation</cite>. p96 The American University in Cairo Press. 2009, {{ISBN|978-977-416-304-3}}</ref> The two theories are not mutually exclusive, but either relationship would explain the exalted status to which Ay rose during Akhenaten's [[Amarna period|Amarna interlude]], when the royal family turned their backs on Egypt's traditional gods and experimented, for a dozen years or so, with an early form of [[monotheism]]; an experiment that, whether out of conviction or convenience, Ay appears to have followed under the reign of Akhenaten.
 
The [[Great Hymn to the Aten]] is also found in his Amarna tomb which was built during his service under Akhenaten. His wife [[Tey]] was born a commoner but was given the title ''Nurse of the Pharaoh's Great Wife''.<ref name="Sunset 96"/> If she were the mother of [[Nefertiti]] she would be expected to have the royal title ''Mother of the Pharaoh's Great Wife'' instead; had Ay been the father of Nefertiti, then Tey would have been her stepmother.<ref name="Sunset 96"/> In several Amarna tomb chapels there is a woman whose name begins with "Mut" who had the title ''Sister of the Pharaoh's Great Wife''. This could also be a daughter of Ay's by his wife Tey, and it is known that his successor Horemheb married a woman with the name Mutnodjimet.<ref name="Sunset 98">Dodson, Aidan.<cite>Amarna Sunset: Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, Ay, Horemheb, and the Egyptian Counter-Reformation</cite>. p. 98 The American University in Cairo Press. 2009, {{ISBN|978-977-416-304-3}}</ref>