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Tragic King Tut

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

Ill-fated Moses’  son succeeds to throne after short-lived rule by Aaron

At the time Moses was Pharaoh of Egypt, was his grandfather Joseph alive? He most likely, or almost certainly, was.  The Bible says Joseph was 110 years old when he died, but that is just a symbolic number.  It simply was a reflection of Egyptian tradition, from whose annals the Genesis casually extracted the number. In his book, CHRISTIANITY, AN ANCIENT EGYPTIAN RELIGION, Ahmed Osman puts the number 110 in context as follows:

“As the average age to which people lived at the time was about 30, Ancient Egyptians considered old age to be a sign of wisdom, and those who attained long life were looked upon as holy figures. Both Joseph (of the Bible) and Yuya (Joseph in Egyptian records) were considered wise by Pharaoh. Of Joseph, he said: ‘There is none as discreet and wise as thou art’ (GENESIS 41:39). Yuya is also described on his funerary papyrus as ‘the only wise, who loves his god’.

The age Egyptians ascribed to those who lived to be wise was 110, irrespective of how old they actually were when they died. Amenhotep, son of Habu, an Egyptian magician in Yuya's time, was said to have lived 110 years although the last information we have about him puts his age at 80.”

Grafton Elliot Smith, the British anatomist who examined Joseph’s embalmed and well-preserved remains in 1905,  put his age at the time of his death at about 60. Smith could venture a reasonable guess because the body was in such good condition that it was like Joseph had died only a few days before. But Smith was quick to add the disclaimer that,  “it must be understood that the mention of such a figure is little more than guesswork”.

Smith’s caution was spot-on. For if we are to go by Egyptian records, Joseph was well beyond 60 when he died but no more than 75 years old at most. The one piece of instructive information scholars have overlooked is an inscription that was found once on Joseph’s royal funeral statuette and more than 20 times on his funerary papyrus. It says, “Holy Father of the Lord of the Two Lands”. WHAT THIS STATEMENT SUGGESTS  IS THAT AT THE TIME JOSEPH DIED, HE WAS  A PARENT TO THE REIGNING PHARAOH. The term “Two Lands” was an epithet for Egypt (as it comprised of Upper and Lower Egypt) and pharaohs were referred to as Lord.  Was Joseph a father to a pharaoh?

YES HE WAS. HIS SECOND-BORN SON EPHRAIM (Aye to the Egyptians)  DID BECOME PHARAOH ALRIGHT, THE FOURTH FROM MOSES.  With this piece of the jigsaw puzzle in place, we’re now in position to reckon the approximate age at which Joseph died. He  was taken to  Egypt when he was 17 and thirteen years later, at age 30, he became viceroy to Pharaoh Tuthmosis IV. The pharaoh Joseph found in office was therefore Tuthmosis IV’s predecessor, Amenhotep II, who  ruled for 23 years.

We don’t know for sure  when Tuthmosis became King, but we know he ruled for  about 10 years, so that when his successor Amenhotep III took over, Joseph was 40 years old. Moses, who succeeded Amenhotep III, was in power for 17 years, by which time Joseph was 57 years old. The next 3 pharaohs after Moses (all four of whom are referred to as the Armana Kings by Egyptologists)  ruled for a total of 16 years. Ephraim, the very last of the Armana Kings, was in power for only 4 years.

Since Joseph died during the rule of Ephraim, he couldn’t have been more than 73 years old whilst on his death bed. The long and  short of the story is therefore that Joseph was alive when Moses was pharaoh and he must have agonized to see his grandson being forced to quit the thronal seat of the world’s most powerful country of the day.

JOSEPH BURIED IN ROYAL GRAVE

When Joseph died, he was embalmed, or mummified, meaning his body was chemically preserved to guard against  wasting away by way of decomposition, so that even when his  body was unearthed in   1905, it looked as though he had been buried less than a week prior. Mummification was a lengthy,  painstaking process.  In the 5th century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus visited Egypt and wrote that it took 70 days altogether, with 40  of these days dedicated to dehydration of the body. Furthermore, mummification was a very expensive undertaking. As such, only royals, initially, and nobles later, could afford it.  At some stage, well-heeled ordinary people were able to embalm their dead too.

Why was mummification deemed necessary? Writes Ahmed Osman: “From their earliest times, the Egyptians tried to preserve human as well as animal bodies after death. They believed that the spiritual element in a person leaves the body at the time of death, but would one day return provided that the body had not been destroyed. It was because of this belief that, from the early days of the Old Kingdom, they worked at developing the techniques of mummification.”

The Bible and Egyptian archives are in accord that Joseph was embalmed. Having so affirmed, the Bible then shoots itself in the foot: it says that Joseph was buried in Shechem in Canaan and that what was carried to Canaan were mere “bones” (JOSHUA 24: 32).  Both these are blatant lies. We know that Joseph was buried in Egypt, in the Valley of Kings: that is incontrovertible truth since that was where the body was found.

As for the aspect of “bones”, it is clear  the Jewish scribe who wrote the passage was totally ignorant of what mummification entailed. When a body is mummified, it does not reduce to bare bones: it looks like that of a full-bodied person simply asleep, with the skin and all external features as intact, for the most part,  as they were on the day he died. The biblical editors without shame or scruple concocted the  story of Joseph being buried in Canaan simply because they did not like the idea that the Patriarch was still buried in the land of the oppressors when the Exodus had become the cornerstone in the new religion of the Jews.

Now, if convention had been followed, Joseph would have been buried in the Valley of the Nobles. In his case, however, convention was flouted and he was buried in the Valley of Kings, the only non-royal  to be accorded such a privilege. The reason of course had to do with  the fact that he was practically co-Pharaoh under two Pharaohs (Tuthmosis IV and Amenhotep III) and that he died during the reign of his own son Pharaoh Ephraim.

It was Ephraim  who must have insisted,  against the objections of the conservative Egyptian establishment,  that his father be given such a dignified burial. The Valley of Kings tomb typically was the preserve of the Pharaoh, the Queen, princes, and princesses. Joseph’s wife Tuya was also buried alongside him in the Valley of Kings.

Amongst the items Joseph  was buried with were a golden necklace of lapis lazuli, given him by Thutmosis IV, and a chariot to commemorate his status as Commander of the Chariotry, the horse mounted branch of the Egyptian army. “It was the custom in ancient Egypt,” writes Osman,  “to place in a tomb objects that had a special significance in the life of the dead person.

This particular chariot is too small to have been Yuya's, yet too big to have been a model. It is possible that it belonged originally to Tuthmosis IV when he  was the young crown prince or to the young Amenhotep III, who was only about 12 when he came to the throne. This would explain why, although ornamented in gold, it was not inscribed.”

MOSES’ HEIR IS KING

Following the forced abdication of Moses, he was, as we saw last week, succeeded by his maternal cousin Aaron, or Smenkhkare to the Egyptians. Aaron, however, was simply holding fort for Moses’ heir, Tutankhaten,    so that he ruled for only three years, whereupon Tutankhaten took over at only age 13, the teenage threshold. Let us at this juncture put Tutankhaten, who is generally referred to as King Tut,  in perspective.

Moses had two prominent wives. They were Nefertiti, the “Great Royal  Wife”,  and her deputy (also known as the “Younger Lady”) Mery-Khiba,  meaning “Beloved of Khiba”. The name Khiba (pronounced Kiya) came from her mother’s side, her mother being Gilukhipa, Pharaoh Amenhotep III’s third wife. Gilukhipa was a princess, the daughter of King Shutana of Mitanni. Khiba (most likely Ninmah, as the Anunnaki deities went by different names in different  parts of the world) was a Mitannian  goddess.  Mery-Khiba, it turns out, was Moses’ half-sister.  

That she was called Mery-Khiba is not simply a nominal  style. She was described as the “Royal Favourite” in  that she did for Moses what Nefertiti failed to do – produce a heir for him. Nefertiti only had daughters, six in all, namely Merytaten, Maketaten, Ankhsenpa-aten, Neferneferu-aten the younger, Neferneferure and Setepenre.  As important, Mery-Khiba had a dual royal legacy being  an offspring of Egyptian and Mesopotamian kings.

Towards the end of Moses’ rule, Mery-Khiba had practically supplanted Nefertiti as the main wife in terms of the roles, both civil and political,  she played  in the affairs of Egypt. Her official title was Mery-Amon, meaning “Beloved of Amon”, that is, Marduk, the national god of Egypt. IN THE BIBLE, MERY-AMON IS PRONOUNCED AND SPELT AS MIRIAM. The Bible correctly describes Miriam as Moses’ sister; what it deliberately omits to make mention of is the fact that Miriam was at once a half-sister of Moses and his wife.

Moses had two children with Miriam, a boy and a girl.  The boy, the heir, was known as Tutankhaten, which demonstrates the centrality of the Cult of the Aten in his father Moses’ code of values. Scholars have interpreted his name as “Living Image of Aten” but they are only partially right as far as  I am concerned. Tut was the abbreviation for Thoth, the Anunnaki god of life (that is, master geneticist) alongside his father Enki. The Ankh was the Egyptian symbol of life.

Aten was Nibiru, the planet of eternal life. Thus the name Tutankhaten stressed the link between temporal life and the afterlife, with Tut himself being the Saviour – the human agent of eternal life. There was nothing peculiar about this denomination  as all Egyptian princes were referred to as “Son of God” and pharaohs were referred to as “God” in that they were deemed to be the everyday representatives of Marduk.  

Tut was born in the 7th year of Moses’ reign and therefore was 10 years old when Moses was ousted.  In order to bridge dynastic politics, Tut married his half-sister Ankhsenpa-aten, Moses’ third daughter with Nefertiti. For the first four years, largely,  of his reign, Tut ruled from Amarna. Then sometime in year 4, he moved to Memphis and finally to Thebes. HIS RELOCATION TO THEBES WAS MARKED BY A NAME CHANGE – FROM TUTANKHATEN TO TUTANKHAMUN, MEANING “LIVING IMAGE OF AMON”.  The name change had far-reaching religious ramifications which  ultimately led to his own death.

KING TUT RESTORES FREEDOM OF WORSHIP

Young Tut was pharaoh in name only: the real ruler of Egypt was Ephraim, his  paternal great-uncle, the second son of Joseph, who was acknowledged as the most powerful man in the Egypt of the day.  Ephraim not only was Tut’s vizier and principal adviser but he was head of the armed forces as his titles Commander of the Chariots, Master of the King's Horses,  and Chief of the Bowmen plainly attest.

Ephraim made it clear  to Tut that if he too adhered to and accentuated the Cult of the Aten, the ideologically powerful Theban priesthood would orchestrate his overthrow, just as they did  in the case of his father Moses.  Tut wasted no time in paying heed to his great uncle’s exhortation.

Tut’s reverse reforms – which went against the grain of his deposed father’s – began as early as his third year in power. He reopened all the Amunite temples  Moses had closed, thus restoring polytheism – the worship of multiple gods. But he did not prohibit the cult of the Aten: instead, he subtly  elevated Aten.  He said he had allowed the worship of other gods because they all were mediators  between mankind and Aten, Aten being, as we have already discussed, the planet Nibiru, the headquarters, as it was believed, of the universe. That’s how the plural term “gods” came to mean angels  

That Tut had not entirely sidelined Aten was evidenced by  the scenes on the back panel of his throne, where the symbol of the Aten took pride of place. Also, a text on the furniture found in his tomb  describes him as “the eldest son of the Aten in Heaven”. With old temples reopened, the Theban priesthood reinstated to their influential status, the capital moved back to Thebes and both  the King and Queen having changed their names to exalt the national god Marduk, religio-politico morale in the country was at its zenith.

The Theban priests in fact welcomed Tut to Thebes by conducting a new coronation of him. However, it was not Tut who got the credit for this reversion to the status quo: it was General Ephraim, who touted himself as the saviour of both  the army and the temple. However, Ephraim was not held in particularly high esteem  by the traditional-mined mainstream Egyptians.

Many suspected him, wrongly, for having   engineered the ouster of Moses. Thus they continued to refer to Moses (Akhenaten) as the “Royal Mosis”, literally meaning, “Royal Son” but “Real King” in paraphrase. It was the term “Mosis” (Moses)  the Bible settled for as the appropriate name for Akhenaten with a view to concealing his epic as an Egyptian King.   

KING TUT’S VIOLENT DEATH AT TENDER AGE

Tut was not destined to rule for a long time, let alone enjoy length of years. He died in the 9th year of his reign, aged 21 years. His mysterious death has been the subject of speculation on the part of scholars. What is clear is that he died a callously slow, drawn-out violent death. He was exposed to severe physical torture before he was hanged. What sin did he commit? Who exactly murdered him and in what circumstances? We may never know.

Typically though, such  grisly deaths are suffered at the hands of die-hard  enemies within the establishment itself. It would  be a stretch  to say  his death was engineered by his own great-uncle, Ephraim, who was in charge of the armed forces.  But Ephraim, even if he  maniacally craved power, would not have had his own nephew  killed in such a barbaric and cruel way. The people who must  have killed  Tut were patriotic and conservative elements within the army, who abhorred rulership by the Josephite dynasty, who were technically Hyksos and not indigenous, full-blooded  Egyptians.      

Tut’s mummy, recovered from the Theban Valley of Kings, was minutely examined by R G Harrison, a professor of anatomy at Liverpool University, and A B Abdalla, his counterpart at Cairo University, in 1968. The examination included the taking of X-rays. The duo in part reported thus:

“When the bandages around the remains were removed, it was immediately obvious that the mummy was not in one piece. The head and neck were separated from the rest of the body, and the limbs had been detached from the torso … Further investigation showed that the limbs were broken in many places as well as being detached from the body.

The right arm had been broken at the elbow, the upper arm being separated from the forearm and hand …  The left arm was broken at the elbow, and in addition at the wrist …  The left leg was broken at the knee. The right leg was intact …  The heads of the right humerus [bone of the upper arm] and both femora [thigh bone] had been broken off the remains of the bone … The head and neck had been distracted from the torso at the joint between the seventh cervical and first thoracic vertebrae.

The tissues of the face are contracted on the skull so that the cheekbones appear very prominent …  The teeth are tightly clenched together (from excruciating pain obviously)  … The radiographs of the thorax confirmed the fact that the sternum and most of the ribs on the front of the chest had been removed.” The youthful King, a juvenile basically, was killed like a beast of prey by savages who passed themselves off as civilised humans. This Earth, My Brother …

NEXT WEEK:   PHARAOH OF THE OPPRESSION ASSUMES THE REINS

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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