Ankhesenpaaten

Queen 1361-1352 BC.
    Ankhesenpaaten was the third daughter of *Akhenaten (Amenophis IV) and Queen *Nefertiti. She grew up at Akhetaten (Tell el Amarna) and appears in scenes with her parents and sisters. While still a princess, she bore a daughter, Ankhesenpaaten-sherit; *Akhenaten was probably the father of this child as well as of the child of his eldest daughter, *Meritaten.
    When *Tutankhamun became the royal heir, succeeding his brother *Smenkhkare, he married Ankhesenpaaten as the royal heiress and the couple may have spent their early years at the Northern Palace at Tell el Amarna. The marriage was intended to consolidate *Tutankhamun's claim to the throne. Furniture found in *Tutankhamun's tomb shows the couple in scenes of domestic intimacy, following the new tradition set by *Akhenaten and *Nefertiti. On the gilded coronation throne, *Tutankhamun is shown being anointed by his wife; they share a pair of sandals, each of them wearing only one sandal, and the rays of the Aten (sun's disc) descend and bestow bounty on them.
    The length of time the couple remained at Tell el Amarna is uncertain; one opinion is that they continued to live and rule there for most of Tutankhamun's reign, making only a gradual return to the worship of the pantheon of traditional gods. At some point, however, they took up residence at Memphis and changed their names from Tutankhaten and Ankhesenpaaten to *Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun, reflecting their restored allegiance to the god Amun.
    With *Tutankhamun's untimely death, he was buried in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes; two female foetuses were also buried there, each in a set of miniature gold coffins, and it is probable that these were the offspring of the royal couple. There can have been no living sons or daughters, for a cuneiform text quotes a letter which was sent by a royal widow (almost certainly Ankhesenamun) to *Suppiluliumas, king of the *Hittites and Egypt's arch enemy. In this, she states that she has no son and begs *Suppiluliumas to send one of his sons to marry her, promising that he will become king of Egypt. The *Hittite king, understandably suspicious of this unexpected request (which would have conferred the rulership of Egypt on a foreigner), sent an official to investigate, but the queen protested her good faith and a *Hittite prince, Zennanza, was dispatched to Egypt. However, he was murdered en route, presumably by agents of the rival faction in Egypt, and ultimately this led to war between Egypt and the *Hittites.
    The queen's reasons for sending the letter are obscure; she says that she does not wish to marry one of her subjects, but there is an alternative explanation. As the *Hittites had just overthrown the *Mitanni (whose royal family had provided wives for Egyptian kings), it was perhaps politically expedient for Egypt to seek a royal alliance with the *Hittites at this time. Nevertheless, Ankhesenamun seems to have been forced to subdue her scruples and marry a subject—the royal courtier *Ay, who then succeeded *Tutankhamun as king. Ankhesenamun's position as the royal heiress was probably vital in securing *Ay's claim to the throne. It was probably his influence which had encouraged *Tutankhamun to begin the restoration of the traditional gods and their monuments. According to one modern theory, *Ay may have been the father of *Queen Nefertiti and therefore, the grandfather of Ankhesenamun.
    Nothing more is heard of Ankhesenamun; if she did marry *Ay and bestow the throne on him, he chose not to include her in the scenes in his own tomb, where he is shown with his first wife, Tey.
BIBL. Kitchen, A. Suppiluliuma and the Amarna Pharaohs. Liverpool: 1962; Harrison, R.G. et al. A mummified foetus from the Tomb of Tutankhamun. Antiquity 53, no. 207 (1979) p. 21.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David
* * *
   See Ankhesenamun.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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