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.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Neferhotep and the Harvest

I love striking a blow for the Sothic dating system and its enemies—take that! Or this. Before I get to the next indicator that it is correct, I suppose I should outline my 18th Dynasty chronology for the record, starting with Thutmose I. This is not arbitrary and I've obviously put a lot of thought into it.

Thutmose I=begins reign 1520 BCE for 16 years

Thutmose II=begins reign 1504 BCE for 3 years

Thutmose III= begins reign 1501 BCE for nearly 54 years by the official record but gains 3 due to the false count initiated by Hatshepsut during their co-regency.  But even if I'm wrong there, it doesn't much matter for the purposes of this post.

Amenhotep II =begins reign in 1450 for 26 years.  I do not believe in a co-regency for him and Thutmose III.

Thutmose IV=begins reign in 1424 for 9 years

Amenhotep III=begins reign in 1415 for 38 years

Akhenaten= begins sole reign in 1377 after a 3-year co-regency with Amenhotep III. He rules for 14 more years.

Smenkhkare=begins reign in 1363 for 1 year

Neferneferuaten=begins reign in 1362 for 3 years

Tutankhamun=begins reign in 1359 for 10 years

Ay=begins reign in 1349 for 4 years

Horemheb=begins reign in 1345 for 14 years

Obviously, due to unknown factors, the above cannot be a precise chronology but I'll explain why it's probably close. TT50 belonged to a man named Neferhotep, whose title was God's Father of Amun. There was an inscription in the tomb dated to Year 3 of King Horemheb.  An interesting thing about TT50 is that it contained a list of feast days, according to a fragment discussed in a paper by Lise Manniche here:

The fragment supposedly states that the “feast of Termuthis” or Renenutet, goddess of the harvest, took place on Day 1 of the 1st month of Shomu in the time of Horemheb. Of course, later in Egyptian history, the month named after the goddess, called Pharmouti, was the 4th month of Peret, one month earlier. In fact, in the Alexandrian or Coptic Calendar, a reformation of the old Civil Calendar, Pharmouti [or Barmouda] was definitely supposed to fall in the time of harvest. The next month Pakhons [or Bashans] was said by the Egyptians to be the time when the threshing was done. According to my high chronology, Year 22 of Thutmose III was 1482. This pharaoh could not take his army east until after the harvest was completed, as the citizen soldiers were not free until then. Indeed, Thutmose and his force reached Tjaru in order to march into Canaan on Julian  April 20th, [25 Pharmuti, 4th month of Winter]. The king obviously did not want to miss the Canaanite wheat harvest, which lagged slightly behind that of Egypt, so he could reap that, as well. [At left, two women from Deir-el Medina worship Renenutet]

However, in the time of Horemheb, 1345 BCE, it was very appropriate to celebrate the feast of Renenutet in the 1st month of Shomu as, in his reign, that was the month the harvest was in full swing!  In fact, in 1345, April 15 amounted to 25 Pakhonson which day in that month the time of reaping and threshing would have been long over in the reign of Thutmose III. Therefore, the feast of Renenutet seems to have been a moveable oneand appropriately moved to the 9th month of the Civil Calendar in the time of Horemheb. That this was the Civil Calendar is further indicated by the same list, in which New Year's Eve falls on Day 30, 4th month of Shomu. At this period, the astronomical new year, which arrived with the heliacal rising of the star, Sothis, was edging very close to the new year of the Civil Calendar and a new Sothic cycle was soon to begin.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

18th Dynasty Tombs Discovered at Aswan

The rumor is that six tombs of the time of Amenhotep III have been discovered at Aswan, but the locals won't let Egyptologists near them. We'll have to see how that story unfolds but I have already been able to ascertain that the names of the old gods have [because they were written in ink] been smeared out in many instances, even in people's names.  The image at right is that of a man whose name could either be Paser or Pawer.  He is described as "a soldier in the regiment of Nebmaare [Amenhotep III].  He seems to be wearing a wig that is supposed to look like grey hair,  I don't know from which tomb this image comes, but one tomb belongs to the mayor of Elephantine, User, and his wife, Tuyu.