English IV and Egyptian 101
In Response To: Son's of Zeus ()


I think you want to avoid making your project an Egyptian language study. You are on very shakey ground when you compare the Egyptian names Mahu, Mehy, and Maya. I would advise consulting an expert in ancient Egyptian language before going any further on this tact. Of course experts can be wrong, but you should first find out what these names actually mean (and how they are derived), and whether there is any basis for a linguistic association before making a case for an actual association of persons, especially ones that are thought to be generations apart.

Having said that, let me also say that Amarna names are especially intriguing. I don't think there has been nearly enough scholarly speculation about them. For example, Horemheb ("Hur") appears at Amarna under the name Pa-aten-emheb. Aanen ("Aaron") is High Priest Meri-Re. The high official Nakhtmin apparently had to drop the god Min from his name and became simply Nakht. The vizier Ramose had a mansion at Amarna near Nakht's. Egyptologists think Ramose died about the time Akhenaten took up residence at Amarna (judging from clues in his tomb at Thebes - TT55). I have found no reason to reject that conclusion, but there is definitely uncertainty.

To my knowledge, the name Ramses does not appear at Amarna, which is surprising since that name, like Ramose, would not in itself have been objectionable there. Assuming Ramses was the son of Sety-Ramose and not one and the same as Ramose, he might have taken an alias, such as Mehu, Ranofer, or Pa-ren-nefer at Amarna. Oddly enough, the future pharaoh Ay (and bitter nemesis of Akhenaten) did not have to use a politically correct name at Amarna. This is especially curious since the name Ay is probably a form of the god Ptah. But perhaps this was due to the influence not only of Aye but of Yuya, the still living father of Akhenaten, whose name was also a form of Ptah.

Here's a description of Mahu from Joyce Tyldesley's book Nefertiti (p 119). "Mahu, Chief of the Medjay (police) and 'General of the Army of the Lord of the Two Lands', was an important figure at Amarna. He was assisted in his work by a 'General of the Army', a battalion commander and several commanders of the cavalry, including Ay."

An earlier Mahu (whose formal Egyptian name was Amenemhab) was a contemporary of pharaoh Amenhotep II. He was a "child of the inner palace" and "adjutant of the army" as an adult.
(Amenhotep III: Perspectives on His Reign, eds., O'Conner and Cline, p 199) Egyptian nicknames make about as much sense as English ones. For example, the short form of Amenhotep was Huya or Haya.

By the way, I had reason to conclude in my on-line book that Webensenu (forefather of the Ramesside line) was also over the special forces known as the Medjay.

After the death of Amenhotep III, it was Akhenaten that assumed the role of "King of Kings". Among those kings was the future Ramses I, who at that time was made king over Libyan tribes. In my on-line book I show that the Libyan throne was subordinate to the Egyptian throne. Ay as a true son of Thutmose IV was named the first pharaoh of that Libyan throne under the name Sheshonq. He named two of his sons as co-regents in that "double dynasty". Those two sons, Osorkon and Takelot, were assassinated by direction of Akhenaten. Ay subsequently made an alliance with Horemheb and Ramses and made them Libyan pharaohs in exchange for their support in overthrowing Akhenaten.

I make the Libyan dynasties of Egypt overlap with New Kingdom dynasties. This is an "original" proposal on my part. But I place original in quotes because it is not my intent to be original in the ordinary sense of the word. The goal is to recover the actual relationships and not invent history or produce historical fiction.

Here's an excerpt about Mehi from Joyce Tyldesley's book Ramsesses: Egypt's Greatest Pharaoh (p 42):

"The tabequx on the north wall allow us a glimpse of the valiant young Ramesses fighting by his father's side. In one scene Ramesses helps Seti to kill a Libyan while in another he walks behind his father's chariot. Whereever he appears, however, his figure is a late addition clumsily carved into plaster concealing a pre-existing image. Initially it seemed that the figure of Ramesses must have been substitued as a replacement for the image of an older, now dead, brother the ruthless excision of the names and images of the newly dead, and their replacement with those of the living, was a common enough practice at this time. However research by the Oriental Institute of the Univerity of Chicago, has revealed the deleted figure to have been a commoner, the Troop Captain and Fan Bearer Mehy. There is therefore no reason to believe that Ramesses was at any time second in line to his father's throne, while suggestions that Ramesses may have murdered an elder brother (named Mehy?) in order to guarantee his own inheritance may be dismissed. Although his prominent position indicates that Mehy may well have been a favourite of Seti we have no reason to think that he was ever a serious contender for the throne. It seems that Ramesses, seeking to insert himself in a conspicuous position in his father's battle scene, simply removed the unfortunate Troop Captain who was standing in his way."

Tyldesley cites the original work of J. H. Breasted, The History of Egypt (1937), pp 418-9,'[This scene is] evidence of the bitter conflict of the two princes involving of course the harem and the officials of the court and a whole lost romance of court intrique may still be traced by the trained eye on the north wall of the Karnak hypostyle.'

In my book I have been able to show that Ramses II was designated as Crown Prince when he was only a few years old. But this does not mean that he could not have had an older brother, especially an older half brother. The eldest son of a king was often not his own biological son, but the firstborn child of the queen. This son was honored as legitimate, but invariably passed over for kingly succession.

Regarding seemingly trivial titles, Horemheb had held the so-called office of Parasol Bearer. The title of Fan Bearer would likewise suggest a person of royal birth, i.e., someone with intimate access to the Great King, and not a commoner as Tyldesley concludes.

So, you've got some archaeological wiggle room to work with here, but it is still a very long stretch to make Mehi a brother of Ramose and to equate Ramose with Ramses II. This would be a career's project and not a year's project! See if you can find something with a more manageable scope.

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