Tiye


Tiye
Queen reign of Amenophis III, 1417-1379 BC.
    Tiye was the daughter of *Yuya, the King's Lieutenant of Chariotry and Master of the Horse, and *Thuya, who was probably a royal lady-in-waiting. She had at least one brother, Anen, who held high offices under *Amenophis III, and it is possible that *Ay was another brother.
    As a child, Tiye was married to *Amenophis III, although she was not a royal heiress; this marriage may have been arranged because there was no royal daughter, or because *Tuthmosis IV (*Amenophis III's father) was attempting to limit the traditional powers of the priests of Amun, who had previously played a major role in the selection of the royal heir by giving or withholding the god's approval.
    Despite her non-royal origins, Tiye became the Great Royal Wife of *Amenophis III and she continued to exert influence over him and their son, *Akhenaten (Amenophis IV). She was frequently represented with her husband in sculptures, reliefs and inscriptions. In this reign, a new method of broadcasting important events was devisedwith the issue of large inscribed, commemorative scarabs, and on these, Tiye's name (and in two cases, those of her parents) was associated with that of *Amenophis III. One scarab inscription refers to a large lake which *Amenophis III ordered to be made for Tiye; this may have been either a pleasure lake for the queen, or an inundation 'basin' which was flooded so that a substantial harvest could be reaped, which would be credited to Tiye's revenues. On another scarab, Tiye is mentioned as the King's wife at the celebration of the arrival in Egypt of the *Mitannian princess, *Ghilukhepa, who was to enter the royal harem.
    Amenophis III and Tiye lived in the palace complex at Malkata at Thebes, where they would have enjoyed a luxurious and cosmopolitan lifestyle. In his long and affluent reign, *Amenophis III celebrated three jubilee festivals in his regnal years 30, 34 and 37, with great festivities at Memphis and Thebes.
    The couple's eldest son (Thutmose) did not survive to inherit the throne, and a younger son became King Amenophis IV. As *Akhenaten, he introduced great changes during his reign, and moved the Court from Thebes to Amarna. It is possible that *Amenophis III and Tiye lived at Amarna during their later years; however, a scene which shows *Amenophis III at this city may simply represent an ancestor-cult rather than indicating that he actually took up residence there. There is little doubt that Tiye, as the dowager queen, spent time in the new capital; she may have had her own palace and temple there, and her state-visit to Amarna, which probably occurred in Year 12, is well-recorded in a tomb-scene.
    Tiye's influence on state affairs continued after her husband's death: *Akhenaten appointed her, with *Nefertiti and *Ay, as his advisers; King *Tushratta of *Mitanni addressed correspondence to her, requesting that the good relations the two countries had enjoyed during the reign of *Amenophis III should continue under her son *Akhenaten. This king also wrote to *Akhenaten, advising him to consult his mother, and it is evident that Tiye enjoyed prestige abroad as a wise and shrewd adviser.
    Tiye's other children included the princesses Baketaten and Sitamun, and the latter married *Amenophis III, her own father. It is possible that Tiye was also the mother of *Smenkhkare and *Tutankhamun, although it is perhaps more likely that they were her grandchildren, born from the union of her husband and her daughter Sitamun. Tiye was obviously closely related to *Tutankhamun, for an auburn lock of Tiye's hair, enclosed in a small coffin, was found in the young king's tomb.
    It is possible that Tiye was originally buried at Amarna in the Royal Tomb; her steward Huya was buried there in one of the nobles' tombs. Her remains were probably later removed to Thebes and buried in one of the large subsidiary chambers of her husband's tomb, situated in the western branch of the Valley of the Kings. When some of her funerary goods, particularly the shrine, were discovered by Theodore M.Davis in Tomb 55 in the Valley of the Kings, this led to much speculation. Davis claimed that the body buried in Tomb 55 must be that of Tiye, although others argued that it was the mortal remains of *Akhenaten himself. Further investigation has shown that the body is male, and it has been tentatively identified as belonging to *Smenkhkare. The presence in the tomb of several funerary items belonging to Queen Tiye has been explained by various theories. After her death, Tiye's funerary cult was continued at Thebes; at Sedeinga in Nubia, she was also worshipped in a cult established for her by *Amenophis III, in which she appeared in the form of the local goddess, Hathor.
BIBL. Fakhry, A. A note on the tomb of Kheruef at Thebes. Ann. Serv. 42 (1943) pp. 447-508; Gardiner, A.H. The so-called tomb of Queen Tiye. JEA 43 (1957) pp. 10-25; Lansing, A. Excavations at the palace of Amenhotep III at Thebes. Bull. MMA 13 (1918) March supplement, pp. 8-14; Rowe A. Inscriptions on the model coffin containing the lock of hair of Queen Tyi. Ann. Serv. 40 (1941) pp. 623-7; Aldred, C. Akhenaten, King of Egypt. London: 1988; Davis, T, Maspero, G. et al. The Tomb of Queen Tiyi. London: 1910.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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