Tut-ankh-Aten (Episode 119)

A Royal Son

Akhenaten (Part 9)

Every pharaoh of ancient Egypt desired an heir, to continue the lineage of Horus and perpetuate the rule of their family bloodline. Akhenaten, we presume, was no different; and the king certainly seems to have been a doting husband and father. Art from the city of Akhet-Aten (Amarna) shows the King in affectionate and close company with his Queen, Nefertiti and his three eldest daughters. We also see him sharing the pleasures of life with his second queen, an oft-forgotten woman named Kiya.

In this episode, we explore the royal family of Amarna (between years 5 and 10) and tackle the questions which surround Akhenaten’s wives and, eventually, the birth of his son Tutankhaten…

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The head of Kiya, later recarved to depict Meritaten (Copenhagen, via Nile Scribes)
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Kiya, with water streaming over her head poured by Akhenaten (MMA).
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Two blocks which link up, showing Akhenaten holding a dead duck before Kiya.
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A work-in-progress image of Nefertiti, showing the marks for future chiselling and modelling the Queen’s face (Berlin).
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A travertine/alabaster goblet, bearing the names of Aten, Akhenaten and Nefertiti (MMA).
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Akhenaten, Nefertiti and their three eldest daughters (left to right: Meritaten, Meketaten, Ankh-es-en-pa-Aten) (Cairo).
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The royal family: Akhenaten gives a jewelled earring to Meritaten (Cairo).
119. Meryra Procession Princesses and Fanbearers (Davies 1 plate XIX)
The princesses (right) follow their parents in a parade, from the tomb of Meryre (Davies 1903).
An ivory writing palette, bearing the names and epithets of princess Meketaten (MMA).
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Tut-ankh-Aten’s wetnurse, Maia, in her tomb at Saqqara (Zivie 1998).
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A head, perhaps of Nefertiti (photo Chris Ward 2019).

Special Thanks to My Patrons!

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Patrons October 2019


Aidan Dodson, Amarna Sunrise, 2012.

Green, “The Royal Women of Amarna: Who Was Who,” in Dorothea Arnold (ed.) The Royal Women of Amarna: Images of Beauty from Ancient Egypt (1996): 7-17. Free download.

Nozomu Kawai, Studies in the Reign of Tutankhamun, PhD Diss., 2006. Preview.

Barry Kemp, City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti: Amarna and Its People, 2012.

Arris Kramer, “Enigmatic Kiya,” in A.K. Eyma and C.J. Bennett (eds.), A Delta-Man in Yebu: Occasional Volume of the Egyptologists’ Electronic Forum, Volume I (2003): 48-64. Google Books preview.

Norman de Garis Davies, The Rock Tombs of el-Amarna, Vol. I: The Tomb of Meryre, 1903. Archive.org.

William J. Murnane, Texts from the Amarna Period in Egypt, 1995.

William J. Murnane and Cornel van Siclen III, The Boundary Stelae of Akhenaten, 1993.

Alain Zivie, “La nourrice royale Maïa et ses voisins: cinq tombeaux du Nouvel Empire récemment découverts à Saqqara” Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres  (1998): 33-54. Online edition.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Ben says:

    I wish we could hear your thoughts on the reported DNA identification of the mummy The Younger Lady as the mother of Tutankhamun and the full sister of his father, presumably Akhenaten. Doesn’t this make Nefertiti less likely? Also the mummy’s facial injuries


    1. DominicPerry says:

      Hi Ben, I will cover the 2012 DNA study and associated questions in a dedicated episode, in future.

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