Sunday, February 23, 2014

Have uploaded a new paper, "The Early Church Fathers and the Exodus".

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Manetho Demystified

This is a work currently popular among people who are passionate about ancient Egypt.  Treat yourself or a friend to this eye-opening little book this holiday season.  It's for sale at the website for your country.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Were Akhenaten and Nefertiti Cousins?

I'll try to keep this one short because most of the followers of my blog can't read French and that is the language of scholar, Marc Gabolde, in his paper  « L’ADN de la famille royale amarnienne et les sources √©gyptiennes », ENIM 6, 2013, p. 177-203--although it can be accessed in a PDF file online.
Gabolde's reasoning is that since Amenhotep III and Yuya seem to be related, according to their shared DNA, Yuya is probably the uncle of the king.  Since Amenhotep III married his cousin, Tiye, it also follows that his heir, Akhenaten, also married a cousin, Nefertiti.  Gabolde believes that the KV35YoungerLady and the KV55 individual are Nefertiti and Akhenaten.  Agreed.  The rest is all reasonable and the DNA evidence, as put forth in the 2010 JAMA paper upholds some of it.
My counter-argument is that, if Nefertiti was a cousin of Akhenaten--that would be possible but extrememly unlikely from the DNA picture and the identifications of the mummified and skeletal remains. The YoungerLady [assumed to be Nefertiti] has only the alleles of AIII and Tiye at the 8 markers given--and so does the KV55 individual. It can be seen also, which alleles Tiye inherited from her parents, Yuya and Thuya, but there are many numbers that she did not inherit. A sibling inherits about half the DNA from the same parents,[ which is the case with the YoungerLady and KV55.] Therefore, a brother or a sister of Tiye [whichever was the parent of the YL, [according to the theory of Gabolde] would have had to contribute some other numbers that are not seen in the DNA of the YL as it stands. The same applies to any sibling of Amenhotep III, but we don't know the entire DNA profiles of his parents. Here are the numbers that Queen Tiye did NOT inherit from her parents at the 8 loci:

9 and 19
6 and 13
19 and 27
28 and 34
13 and 10
8 and 12
7 and 9
24 and 25

A sibling of hers should have had many of them and would have passed them on.  But there is not a single different number in the the DNA of the YL or the KV55 individual from those of AIII and Tiye.

Cousins?  No, I don't think so..

Saturday, July 13, 2013

"The Death of Hatshepsut"

I have uploaded a paper to called "The Death of Hatshepsut".  You can access it here:

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Thutmose III--a sickly youth?

Indeed, that Thutmose III may not have been well in his youth could be construed as a reason for Hatshepsut taking over the kingship. The name of a Chief Prophet of Amun during the reign of Thutmose, Menkheperreseneb, hints that perhaps there was a problem. In order to have been in his exalted office by at least Year 33 of the reign, this meant that the high priest must have been nearly as old as the king, himself. Since there were four prophets, it makes sense that the senior one would not have been a mere youth. The fact that he was given a name that meant “Menkheperre is healthy” [t would have been more unusual if that was really the situation at the time than if the opposite were true. Because such a name could be seen as a kind of wish, even a magical spell in favor of health being restored to the young king every time someone spoke the name of Menkheperreseneb. If the pharaoh had really been sound of body, then the name would have been the opposite of a charm but construed as something to tempt the evil eye and actually place the king in danger. A parallel is found in Jewish life of centuries past. A boy could be named “Alter” [meaning “the old one” in Yiddish] in the hope that he would not succumb to any illness in his childhood or youth. On the other hand, if someone said the baby looked healthy [though few would do so!] or even handsome, his mother would spit three times in order to ward off evil. The ideas of eastern peoples about certain things are essentially the same.

1 In fact, Menkheperreseneb outlived the sovereign and seems to have seen the reign of Amenhotep II.

2 The verb “to be” was usually omitted from names.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Thothmes, the Egyptian Michelangelo

He is called this sometimes because he is thought to be responsible for some of the wonderful paintings in the Theban tombs of the 18th Dynasty.  Bubasteion I.19 is the tomb of Thothmes, himself.  Alain Zivie describes it in his book, "The Lost Tombs of Saqqara", the necropolis of the northern city of Memphis.  Zivie believes the artist [chief of painters being his title]  painted his own tomb and that makes sense.  I don't know everything Zivie thinks about Thothmes because I have only been able to read one of his papers on the subject, the one dealing with the man's palette, which he is shown holding in Bubasteion I.19 and which bears the cartouche of Amenhotep III..

I therefore wonder if Zivie gave any thought, in his other book on the tomb,  as to whether  this was the same Thothmes who eventually sculpted the bust of Queen Nerfertiti, above.  [This was discovered in what is thought to have been the workshop of a Thothmes at el Amarna.] Why wouldn't it be possible?  After all, Michelangelo was both a great painter and sculptor. If Thothmes had actually lived at Akhetaten full-time, the master would have surely been afforded the honor of a tomb by the king, but none has been found among those of the important men of the royal city.  In fact, Thothmes never even changed his name, although his patron deity, Thoth, was outlawed by Akhenaten along with the other old gods of Egypt. It would seem that one official of the pharaoh who did have a tomb at Akhetaten, Tutu, probably did once also have a name that incorporated that of Thoth--but changed his. 

Thothmes had apparently already resided at Memphis in the time of Akhenaten's father, Amenhotep III because, in Bubasteion I.19,  the painting of his wife bears the snub-nosed face of the latter of the kind seen in his late portraits.  There is also the evidence of the palette. Therefore, the tomb must have been begun toward the end of the reign of Amenhotep III.  However, the face of Thothmes, himself, appears to have been painted in the image of Akhenaten, with his long nose, as was the custom.  This is rather extraordinary and one does not know what to conclude.  Was it a recognition of a co-regent who was gaining power--or did Thothmes, himself, really look like that?  Did he, for once, paint his own visage instead of that of the ruler?   At any rate, the tomb of Thothmes did see changes, in the texts, that reflect the religious reformation.  No matter where Thothmes ended up living or working, it seems he did not veer from his intent to be interred in the double sarcophagus he had commissioned for himself and his wife and which is also depicted in Bubasteion I.19.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

No More Anonymous Comments

Some blogs are written by anonymous persons--but not mine.  I stand behind everything I wrote here.  This blogger welcomes comments and discussions--whether you agree with me or not--but you are going to have to submit them under some kind of ID.  If you comment as "Anonymous", your submission will be deleted.  There is no reason to want to be anonymous here--unless one just wants to cause trouble.  You can comment here safely.  Nobody will attack you because I wouldn't allow it. I might give you a response, but it will be a reasonable one.