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|Caption = Pharaoh Ay performing the Opening of the Mouth ceremony on his predecessor Tutankhamen. Ay is wearing the Leopard skin worn by Egyptian High Priests and a Khepresh, a blue crown worn by Pharaohs.
|NomenHiero = <hiero>nTr-i-t:f-i-A2-i-i</hiero>
|Nomen = ''Itinetjer Ay'' <br> God's father, AyAyverlasting are the Manifestations of Re, <br>who does what is right
|PrenomenHiero = <hiero>N5-L1-L1-Z3-D4:Aa11:t</hiero>
|Prenomen = ''Kheperkheperure&ndash;Irimaat''<br>Everlasting are the Manifestations of Re, <br>who does what is right
|Golden = ''Heqamaat sekhepertawy'' <br> The ruler of truth, who creates the two lands
|GoldenHiero = <hiero>HqA-q-mAat-s-xpr-r-tA:tA</hiero>
==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. 95buil95 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.
*Ay appears as a villain in the 17th book in Lucien de Gieter's ''Papyrus'' comic book series (''Tutankhamun, The Assassinated Pharaoh'').{{Citation needed|date=July 2015}}
*Ay appears as a major character in [[Paul C. Doherty]]'s trilogy of Ancient Egyptian novels, ''An Evil Spirit Out of the West'', ''The Season of the Hyaena'' and ''The Year of the Cobra''. {{Citation needed|date=July 2015}}
*Ay is a central character in [[Gwendolyn MacEwen]]'s novel ''King of Egypt, King of Dreams'', where he is portrayed as one of Akhenaten's closest confidants, spiritual antagonists, and supporters.<ref>{{cite book|last1=MacEwen|first1=Gwendolyn|title=King of Egypt, King of Dreams|date=1971|publisher=Macmillan|location=Toronto}}</ref> The novel also presents Ay as Tiye's brother and one time lover, and it is suggested that he, rather than Amenhotep III, may Akhenaten's father. Much of the novel is told from Ay's perspective as he reluctantly attempts to navigate the changes of the Amarna period, and the second to last chapter is his memoir/confession near the end of his pharaonic reign, in which Ay admits to killing the ailing and blind Akhenaten at the dying pharaoh's request.
*Kerry Greenwood's novel, ''Out of the Black Land'', features him as a greedy villain whose sole goal was accruing wealth.{{Citation needed|date=July 2015}}
*He is a character in [[Wolfgang Hohlbein]]'s ''Die Prophezeihung'' (''The Prophecy'').{{Citation needed|date=July 2015}}
*He is also a major character in [[Michelle Moran]]'s bestselling novel ''Nefertiti''.{{Citation needed|date=July 2015}}
*Ay is the villain of Lucile Morrison's young adult novel ''The Lost Queen of Egypt'' (1937).{{Citation needed|date=July 2015}}
*He is also a character in Mika Waltari's historical novel ''[[The Egyptian]]'', again depicted as immoral and villainous.{{Citation needed|date=February 2017}}
*Ay serves as a central character in ''[[Tut (miniseries)|Tut]]'', portrayed by [[Ben Kingsley]].
*Ay is a minor character in the time travel to the 18th dynasty in ''[[Mr. Peabody & Sherman]]''
*Ay is a central character in [[Gwendolyn MacEwen]]'s novel ''King of Egypt, King of Dreams'', where he is portrayed as one of Akhenaten's closest confidants, spiritual antagonists, and supporters.<ref>{{cite book|last1=MacEwen|first1=Gwendolyn|title=King of Egypt, King of Dreams|date=1971|publisher=Macmillan|location=Toronto}}</ref> The novel also presents Ay as Tiye's brother and one time lover, and it is suggested that he, rather than Amenhotep III, may Akhenaten's father. Much of the novel is told from Ay's perspective as he reluctantly attempts to navigate the changes of the Amarna period, and the second to last chapter is his memoir/confession near the end of his pharaonic reign, in which Ay admits to killing the ailing and blind Akhenaten at the dying pharaoh's request.
 
==See also==
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