Ay in Wikipedia

Ay was the penultimate Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt's 18th dynasty. He held the throne of Egypt for a brief four-year period (probably 1323–1319 BCE[1] or 1327–1323 BCE, 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 was the power behind the throne during Tutankhamun's reign. Ay's prenomen or royal name- Kheperkheperure-means "Everlasting are the Manifestations of Ra" while his birth name Ay it-netjer reads as 'Ay, Father of the God.'[2] Records and monuments that can be clearly attributed to Ay are rare, not only due to his short length, but also because his successor, Horemheb, instigated a campaign of damnatio memoriae against him and other pharaohs associated with the unpopular Amarna Period. Origins Ay is usually believed to be a native Egyptian from Akhmim. During his short reign, he built a rock cut chapel in Akhmim and dedicated it to the local deity there: Min. He may have been the son of Yuya, who served as a member of the priesthood of Min at Akhmin as well as superintendent of herds in this city, and wife Tjuyu.[3] If so, Ay could have been of partial non-Egyptian, perhaps Syrian blood since the name Yuya was uncommon in Egypt and is suggestive of a foreign background.[4] Yuya was an influential nobleman at the royal court of Amenhotep III who was given the rare privilege of having a tomb built for his use in the royal Valley of the Kings presumably because he was the father of Tiye, Amenhotep's chief Queen. There are also noted similarities in the physical likenesses of monuments attributed to Ay and those of the mummy of Yuya, and both held similar names and titles.[5] Amarna Period 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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[7] 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. 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. Alternately, it could also mean that he may have had a daughter that married the pharaoh Akhenaten, possibly the father of Akhenaten's chief wife Nefertiti. Ultimately there is no evidence to definitively prove either hypothesis.[8] The two theories are not mutually exclusive, but either relationship would explain the exalted status to which Ay rose during Akhenaten's Amarna interlude, when the royal family turned their backs on Egypt's traditional gods and experimented, for a dozen years or so, with 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. It is likely that this was required by Akhenaten, though not evidence that Ay agreed with Akhenaten's decision to promote the Aten above all other gods [9] it is strongly suggestive that he did believe in Akhenaten's religious revolution.[10] His wife Tey was born a commoner but was given the title Nurse of the Pharaoh's Great Wife.[8] If she were the mother of Nefertiti she would be expected to have the royal title Mother of the Pharaoh's Great Wife instead, so if Ay was the father of Nefertiti, then Tey would have been her stepmother.[8] In several Amarna tomb chapels there is a woman whose name began 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.[11]...

Read More