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The Relative Chronology of the New Kingdom - Erik Hornung

The Relative Chronology of the New Kingdom - Erik Hornung

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Published by: Moataz Ashraf on May 27, 2011
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Erik Hornung 
For some time there has been a consensus about the relative chronol-ogy of the New Kingdom. Since most reign lengths are well docu-mented, they are not problematic. Nor does the sequence of kings posedi
culties—except for Akhenaten’s immediate successors (who are notmentioned in the cultic lists). However, the issue of coregencies forThutmose III/Amenhotep II and Amenhotep III/Akhenaten continuesto stimulate debate, as does the exact relationship between Amenmessesand Sety II, although otherwise dates important for relative chronol-ogy are particularly abundant for the Ramesside Period, leaving verylittle “empty space”.This positive situation is enhanced by the fact that regnal years werecounted from a king’s accession and appear in the dates of documentswhich allows precise calendar dates to be suggested for some reigns,the necessary
rst step leading to a “day-exact chronology” (Depuydt),as is in fact possible in the Late Period. The identi
cation of the exactday of accession or the establishment of very precise possible limitsallows additional checks through the months o
ered by Manetho via Josephus. A few problematic issues remain, especially the length of Haremhab’s reign which has been estimated at between 13 and 27 years. In this particular case, additional criteria, such as the numberof monuments or the sequence of o
cials cannot solve the problem.Nor do we have Haremhab’s mummy which could have provided apotential check based on his estimated age at death. But in fact, ageestimates for royal mummies have not generally yielded satisfactoryresults. As Kitchen noted in his review of the basic work by Harris &Wente, their analyses o
ers an over-abundance of comparatively very young kings.
The cases of Thutmose III and Ramesses II are partic-ularly revealing. The estimates provided by Wente and Harris for theages of the unequivocally identi
ed mummies of these kings (40 and55 years, respectively) are glaringly at odds with the well-documented
Harris & Wente,
 
long reigns of both rulers (53 and 66 years). “Something somewhereis badly wrong”, as Kitchen remarked.
In other cases, as with AmenhotepIII, the identi
cation of the mummy itself is not beyond doubt, whichadds to the uncertainty.The totals which the Manethonian sources cite include part of Dyn.19 and thus provide only a limited control. For the period from
Ahmoseto Merneptah, Eusebius and the Old Chronicle give 348 years whileAfricanus has 263 years The tally resulting from the following listamounts to a minimum of 307 years and a maximum of 335 years forthe same time span, e
ectively excluding Africanus’ total.
 Dyn. 18 
No data relating to the accession date is currently available.Most royal monuments are undated. Year 17 is cited on a stela fromthe foundations of the third pylon at Karnak (Abdul Qader Muhammad,
59, 1966, 148–149, pls. IV–V); year 18 is recorded on the stelaHanover 1935. 200. 209 (
Im Zeichen des Mondes 
, Exhibition catalogue,Munich 1999, No. 4; A. Klug,
Königliche Stelen in der Zeit von Ahmose bis  Amenophis III 
, Brussels 2002, 49–51, reviving doubts about its authen-ticity), and year 22 in the Turah quarries (
. IV 25,7). Josephus gives
Ahmose a reign of 25 years, 4 months; Eusebiusrounds this o
to 25 years. (The
gure is missing in Africanus.) Theautobiography of an anonymous Viceroy of Nubia covers the periodfrom
Ahmose to Thutmose II (
. IV 39–41), and thus a maximumof 33 (21 + 12) years between the two rulers. For
Ahmose, the min-imum reign length should be 21 years and the maximum 25 full years.His mummy (
61057) was estimated to be that of a man 25–30 years old (Harris & Wente,
, 202), but a general uncertainty pro-hibits drawing any conclusions.The precise date of the defeat of the Hyksos and thus the end of Dyn. 15 must lie in
Ahmose’s second decade. “Year 11” in the RhindMathematical Papyrus should probably be assigned to the last Hyksosruler Khamudi (A.-F. el-Sabbahy,
133, 1993, 97–99, cf. aboveSchneider, Chapter II. 7), but Kitchen still maintains that the date
K. A. Kitchen,
44 (1985), 235–237.
  
199belongs to
Ahmose (in SCIEM, 2000, 45). Since P. Rhind refers tothe conquests of Heliopolis and Sile, the capture of Avaris could fol-low somewhat later.
IFor the accession, W. Helck (in:
Fs S. Schott 
, Wiesbaden1968, 71–72) assumed that the festival dates and the months in Josephusindicated 29–30/I/ Akhet, as opposed to D. B. Redford (
25,1966, 115–116) who used the same festival dates to argue for 11/III/Shemu while Krauss (
, 115) considers the actual date of P. Ebers,9/III/ Shemu, to be the accession date, as do U. Luft (
92, 1986,69–77) and Beckerath (
Chronologie NR 
, 110).
G. Vittmann believes thetitle “Royal Mother” borne by
Ahmes Nefertari in the Turah inscrip-tion of year 22 (
. IV 25,4) supports a coregency; but he also stressesits chronological irrelevance, since Amenhotep I counted his regnal years from the death of his father (“Was there a coregency of Ahmosewith Amenophis I?”,
60, 1974, 250–251).Dated monuments belong to year 7 (gra
to of the Viceroy Tury inSemna: J. H. Breasted,
25, 1908, 108), year 8 (Uronarti:
. IV78,8; stela from Qasr Ibrim: J. Plumley,
50, 1964, 4 with pl. I,3), year 9 (rock inscription in Semna: F. Hintze,
111, 1984, 137–138and Hintze & Reineke,
, No. 512), and 1/I/Shemu of year10 (Kares Stela,
. IV 45,9). Thereafter there is only agra
to at Saqqara dated 19/IV/ Akhet of year 20 (
Step Pyramid I 
, 79). Josephus assigns
Ahmose 20 years 7 months; the other Manethoniansources round this up to 21 years, which accords well with the 21 yearsthat the “astronomer” Amenemhat spent (
 ) under Amenhotep I(L. Borchardt,
 Altägyptische Zeitmessung 
, Berlin & Leipzig 1920, pl. 18).Wente & Van Siclen argue that this refers only to sole rule and add6 years coregency with
Ahmose, but even this would not produce the30 years necessary for a “real”
-festival which they presume (“Chron-ology”, 225). The accession date of Thutmose I means
xes the deathdate of 
Ahmose on 20/III/ Peret.
IThe accession on 21/III/ Peret is certain (
. IV 81,4).Further dates are 15/II/ Akhet year 2 (Tombos:
. IV 82,9), 22/I/Shemu year 3 return from Nubia (
. IV 88,11; 89,6/16), year 4 on
On the problems of the Ebers date, see below Chapter III. 10.

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