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Ankhesenamun

Wife of Tutankhamun,

Daughter of Akhenaten

 

 The third eldest of Ankhenaten's six daughters.
Date of birth / first appearance:
Although it is not possible to give an exact date of Ankhesenamun's birth, by using the dating of inscriptions from the Boundary Stelae from around Akhetaten / Amarna, it is possible to give a time frame into which Ankhesenamun (Ankhesenpaaten) had been born. (In his book 'AKhenaten, King of Egypt', C. Aldred states it is possible that the three eldest daughters were alive by Year 3).


Children of Ankhesenamun:
It is possible that during the last three years of Akhenaten's reign he attempted to father children with his three eldest daughters (Meketaten died while in child birth, shown from a graphic scene from the royal tomb). Both Meritaten and Ankhesenpaaten both gave him children - these were called after their mothers but with the addition of 'ta-sherit' after their names (junior).
The remains of two children of Tutankhamun and Akhesenamun were found within KV62 - both been girls, and both were premature births and died soon after birth (the first was of no more than 5 months gestation, the second possibly of 7 to 9 months gestation had a condition called Spengel's deformity with spina bifida and scoliosis)


Akhesenpaaten - wife of Akhenaten
Following the death / dissappearance of Nefertiti, Akhenaten had taken his eldest daughter, Meritaten, as his Chief Queen. During the coronation of Smenkhkare as co-regent with Akhenaten, Meritaten was to become the wife of this new king. Akhenaten himself took his next eldest daughter as his new queen - Akhesenpaaten (Year 15).

Ankhesenamun - wife of Smenkhkare
After the death of both Smenkhkare's wife, Meritaten, and Akhenaten himself, Ankhesenamun then married Smenkhkare for a short period of time (1 to 3 years).

Ankhesenamun - wife of Tutankhamun
On the death of Smenkhkare, the young boy-king Tutankhaten inheritated the throne - on his accession to the throne he was married to the older Ankhesenpaaten (Tutankhaten is thought to have been 8, while Ankhesenpaaten was 13) - during these first couple of years of Tutankhaten's reign they both lived in the North city of Akhetaten. Soon the royal court was to return to Thebes, the religion of Egypt was turned back from the heresy of Ankhenaten and the monothesim of Aten worship to the conventional worship of the 'old gods' (to reflect this change both the names of the new king and queen were emptied of the Aten influence and gave voice to the power of Amun the reinstated state god).

 

Left: the name of Tutankhaten


Ankhesenamun - letter to King Suppiluliumas
After the sudden death of Tutankhamun a letter was sent from Ankhesenamun to the Hittite King Suppiluliumas (it should be noted that the actual queen who sent this letter cannot be definitely stated (the queen is called 'Dahamunzu' and her died husband 'Niphururiya'), the letter has been dated to the latter end of the 18th Dynasty and given the wording of the letter the most favoured author IS Ankhesenamun, however, in his book 'Akhenaten - Egypt's false prophet' states that was Nefertiti (orignal queen of Akhenaten and Ankhesenamun's mother) that sent the letter). The letter requested that the Hittite king send one of his sons to marry the widowed Queen and so be the next pharaoh of Egypt. In the letter the queen states that;
'My husband has died and I have no son. They say about you that you have many sons. You might give me one of your sons to become my husband. Never shall I pick out a servant of mine and make him my husband!....I am afraid!'.
As the relations between the Hittite and Egyptian peoples were at this stage quite hostile, this strange and unprescendented letter received a very suspicious response, the Hittite king sent his chamberlin to Egypt to investigate, he met with the queen and brought back a second message:
'Why did you say "they deceive me" in that way? Had I a son, would I have written about my own and my country's shame to a foreign land? You did not believe me and you have said as much to me! He who was my husband has died. A son I have not! Never shall I take a servant of mine and make him my husband! Ihave written to no other country; only to you have I written! They say your sons are many: so give me one of your sons! To me he will be husband, but in Egypt he will be King!'
Suppiluliumas was finally convinced he sent his son, the Prince Zannanza, to Egypt - the plan was foiled by Egyptian who has no wish to see a foreigner on the throne of Egypt, the Hittite Prince was killed.


Ankhesenamun - wife of AY
After the failed attempt to marry an Hittite Prince, Ankhesenamun was obliged to marry her probably grandfather Ay (although linked to the royal bloodline he needed a stronger link). Little more is heard from Ankhesenamun - all that remains is evidence of her marriage to Ay, a blue glass finger ring with both her and Ay's name engraved. After Ay becomes King of Egypt, Ankhesenamun dissapears, in Ay's tomb there is no sign of her, it is Ay's wife Tiy who appears with him.


Was Ankhesenamun murdered? Her links with the Aten heresy too strong, her traitorous attempt to place an Hittite Prince on the throne sign her death warrant, once Ay was King he had no further need of her and wished to prevent others from similarly using her, or a further attempt to father with her finally kill her? No evidence of her tomb or burial has yet been find perhaps she waits in the Valley of the Kings or Theban tomb of the Nobles still!

Minature coffin from the tomb of Tutankhamun, this held one of the premature babies born to Ankhesenamun.