Amarna Era Chronological Conundrum: Dating Akhenaten’s Death and the Length of Horemheb’s Reign–Part I | Ancient Origins Members Site


Amarna Era Chronological Conundrum: Dating Akhenaten’s Death and the Length of Horemheb’s Reign–Part I

Amarna Era Chronological Conundrum: Dating Akhenaten’s Death and the Length of Horemheb’s Reign–Part I

When the Nineteenth Dynasty Pharaoh Menmaatre Seti I drew up the famed King List at his mortuary temple in the holy city of Abydos, he was confident that he had struck the final nail in the coffin of one of Egypt’s most turbulent periods—the Amarna interlude. The name of every late New Kingdom ruler who was associated with this Age of Heresy was omitted. But our understanding of the final years of the period has been tossed into confusion as a result.

This rare ostracon sketch depicts a king wearing the blue crown, a collar, and two strings of gold beads. His stubble beard is a sign of mourning. The features make it likely that Seti I is represented, but it is also speculated to show Ramesses II. Walters Art Museum. Baltimore, Maryland.  (Public Domain)

The Mystery of Many Years

To close the yawning gap of missing years between the last recognized orthodox ruler, Nebmaatre Amenhotep III, and the final king of the Eighteenth Dynasty, Djeserkheperure Setepenre Horemheb – whom the Ramessides hailed as their spiritual benefactor – Seti I formulated a plan. Accordingly, the collective years of reign of the Amarna Kings were added to that of Horemheb; effectively excising the names of Akhenaten, Smenkhkare/Neferneferuaten, Tutankhamun, and Aye.


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