Book Review: Rolf Krauss, Das Ende der Amarnazeit (Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge, 1978)
Nicholas Reeves
Orientalistische Literaturzeitung, vol. 78, no. 6 (1983), cols. 546-48

(col. 546) Over recent years there has accumulated a body of epigraphic and iconographic evidence to suggest that the co-regent and/or successor of Akhenaten was in fact a woman. Both Perepelkin (Taina zolotogo groba 1968; Keie i Semnekh-ke-re 1979) and Harris (AcOr 35 1973: 5ff.; AcOr 36 1975: 11ff.) have put forward their respective views on this matter in some detail, and important archaeological material in support of the female-successor theory has been brought to light by Samson (for refs. cf. Amarna - City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, 2nd ed. 1978 Part 2). In Part 1 of the work under review (Part 2 concerns itself with a chronological study of the 18th and 19th dynasties, not treated here), Krauss considers the question anew and puts forward his own candidate in the form of Meritaten, the eldest surviving daughter of Akhenaten and Hmt nsw wrt in relation to both her father and to the enigmatic "Smenkhkare". Of the several aspects of Krauss’s book which merit discussion, his views on the immediate post-Amarna succession are perhaps the most topical, and I propose to deal with them in some detail. It may be noted that an outline of the author`s Meritaten thesis was originally put forward at the First International Congress of Egyptologists in Cairo in 1976 (Acts 1st ICE 1979: 403ff.), and that a version appeared as the ‘Historischer Rückblick’ to the Berlin Amarna exhibition catalogue of that same year (Nofretete. Echnaton = Nofretete. Echnaton. Tutenchamun 1976).

Krauss’s reasoning seems to run essentially as follows. Inspired by von Beckerath’s recognition (OLZ 62 1967: 11 f.) in the Manethonian Akenkheres (and variants) of a graecised form of the Egyptian anx-xprw-ra, Krauss sees it as significant that Manetho’s excerptors imply the existence of both a female and male holder of this name (the former specified as a daughter of Oros-Akhenaten). The rule of a female Akenkheres he finds reflected in several faience ring bezels of anx-xprw-ra mry nfr-xprw-ra/mery wa-n-ra from El Amarna and Madinet Ghurab, a proportionate number of which are inscribed in the feminine form anxt-xprw-ra + epithet. From his re-examination of the Hittite sources Krauss is, moreover, able to establish that the equation Nipkhururia = nfr-xprw-ra is not only philologically possible (after Fecht: cf. in addition Redford, History and Chronology 1967: 160ff.; id., BASOR 2111973: 49) but historically preferable - and thus that the Egyptian Dakhamunzu (= tA Hmt nsw) who wrote to the Hittites was the widow of Akhenaten rather than of Tutankhamun. By combining the Manethonian account with both the contemporary epigraphic evidence of the bezel inscriptions and the evidence of the Hittite Annals, Krauss is able to conclude that the widow of Akhenaten, Dakhamunzu, is to be identified with Akenkheres, daughter of Oros-Akhenaten, i.e. with anxt-xprw-ra. From this not-implausible basis, he goes on to suggest that this widow is Meritaten (who, as Hmt nsw wrt to her father, is thus acceptable to the Manetho- (col. 547)nian tradition), proposing that anxt-xprw-ra was the name she adopted upon Akhenaten`s death. "Smenkhkare", whom Krauss maintains as an independent male personage (influenced by the current interpretation of the KV55 cache), will then have come to the throne through marriage to anxt-xprw-ra, adopting his wife’s name in a grammatically masculine form. Having adopted this as a working hypothesis, Krauss proceeds to reconcile his version of events with the known facts.
As a cornerstone for historical reconstruction, however, a literal interpretation of Manetho’s garbled testimony if of debatable worth, and in the present instance definite supporting evidence for the Manethonian tradition would seem to be lacking. Krauss’s differentiation between anx-xprw-ra and anxt-xprw-ra, for instance, will not stand up to close scrutiny; whether royal names are taken as Nominalsätze or Determinativkomposita, the fact remains that the form without the feminine t (if, indeed, this t is a strictly grammatical ending) is non-specific as to gender rather than purely masculine. And if the epigraphic evidence for a male Smenkhkare is somewhat ambiguous, the evidence of the so-called body of this individual from KV55 (a tomb assemblage which has no demonstrable connection with anyone of this name) is distincly suspect (cf. Reeves, JEA 67 1981: 48ff.; id., GM 54 1982: 61 ff.). In short, the existence of a male anx-xprw-ra is not susceptible of proof. On present evidence it would seem a more realistic alternative to consider anx-xprw-ra and anxt-xprw-ra as mere variants of the same name - and this, in view of the feminine t, the name of a woman.

But was this woman Meritaten? By relying so heavily on the Manethonian tradition of a ruling daughter, Krauss is to some extent re-treading ground previously covered - with differing results - by Hari (Horemheb et Ia reine Moutnedjemet 1964), who sought to elevate Mutnodjmet to a similar position at the end of the dynasty. Again one must seriously question the extent to which Manetho excerptus is to be taken at face value. True, his wording is quite specific, as Krauss argues, and tends to rule out emendation of the sort proposed by von Beckerath ("his daughter (and) Akenkheres"). On the other hand, if Krauss is correct, is it not somewhat curious that no definite representations suggestive of Meritaten’s supposed predominance should have survived - whereas we possess numerous instances to indicate the elevation of Nefertiti to a status equal to that of Akhenaten himself (despite Krauss’s reservations as to the significance of traditional iconography at this period)?

Argument along these lines might be continued; it will suffice, however, to draw attention to the following individual points:

P. 12 n. 3: Krauss’s rediscovery of the intriguing ring of Ay and Ankhesenamun first published by Newberry (JEA 18 1932: 50) is of some importance. Seen first in the Blanchard Collection, it appears to have passed via Michailidis to Berlin, where it bears the number 1920/73.

P. 44: The presence of the definite article tA in the Egyptian transliteration of Dakhamunzu is surely significant, implying "the (particular) Hmt nsw"; cf. Vandersleyen, CdE 45 1970: 68 ff., esp. 75 n. 1. If Nipkhururia is indeed nfr-xprw-ra, the identification of tA Hmt nsw as Nefertiti is the least difficult choice, if only because for no other queen of Akhenaten can a similar influence be demonstrated.

(col. 548) P. 49: Krauss’s restoration of UC. 410, the "Co-regency Stela", is not convincing. It has been suggested to me by J.R. Harris that the stela originally depicted Akhenaten and Nefertiti seated facing one another beneath the central disc (cf. Cairo J. 44865; Nofretete. Echnaton. Tutenchamun: no. 47) with princesses to either side. The small but significant fragment with navel (omitted in Stewart’s publication, Egyptian Stelae, Reliefs and Paintings I 1976: pl. 12) is misplaced in the Samson photograph (Samson, op. cit.: 104, middle left), and represents all that remains of the king’s seated figure. Since only Nefertiti is known to have been represented with Akhenaten in this manner, it follows that the crudely palimpsest cartouches probably replaced those of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. The implication is that Nefertiti was Akhenaten`s co-regent.
P. 84 ff.: Krauss’s analysis of the name sequence of Akhenaten’s successor is not as well-founded as it might appear. Despite the general assumption to the contrary, archaeological considerations suggest that the name forms anx-xprw-ra + epithets and nfr-nfrw-jtn + epithets are in fact the earlier (cf. Petrie, Tell el Amarna 1894: 29); and this view perhaps finds support in what can be discerned as a logical "decline" from expressions of attachment to the king, through expressions of attachment to the Aten (=Akhenaten), to entirely new names as the influence of Amarna waned. Cf. in this context Munro, ZAeS 95 1969: 109ff. The fact that the Pawah graffito (= Krauss j. 1) is dated to Year 3 need not contradict this interpretation, and may rather suggest the minimal extent of Akhenaten’s co-regency with his successor. The Year 1 docket of smnx-kA-ra [...] (City of Akhenaten III: pl. 86, 35 =Krauss f. 9) might equally well reflect the sole reign of the former coregent.

P. 96ff.: Krauss’s comments on the Brooklyn "Nefertiti" shabti are valuable. He demonstrates that the shabti was of a rare type inscribed with the names of both king and queen (traces of Akhenaten’s epithet aA m aHa(w).f are visible above the queen’s titulary), and may thus be attributable to the burial furniture of the former. That we do not possess a single definite item from the funerary equipment employed by Nefertiti is significant, and suggests that her burial (under whatever name) remains to be found.

P. 100: "Nofretete trägt keinen Titel, der nicht auch bei anderen Grossen Königlichen Gemahlinnen nachweisbar wäre"; cf., however, her late and apparently unique title Hmt nsw aAt. For refs. cf. GM 30 1978: 61ff. + Cairo J. 37505 (unpublished).

P. 109ff.: Krauss adds a further item to the growing corpus of inscriptional material known for Akhenaten’s Hmt mrrty aAt Kiya, this being a fragmentary faience kohl tube (Berlin 22171) from the DOG excavations at El ‘Amarna.

Krauss has produced a stimulating and thought-provoking study which deserves to be closely read. If his basic thesis of a ruling Meritaten fails to convince the present reviewer, this should not be allowed to detract from the book’s merits as an original and in many ways positive contribution to the history of the Amarna period.