The Hittite Letters

Although it is a theory that is still disputed, many Egyptologists credit the controversial Hittite Letters to Queen Ankhesenamen (most often refered to only as "Tutankhamen's widow" or the "widowed queen of Egypt").

I do too.

There are a couple reasons for this. 1) The correspondance is recorded in the Hittite text "The Deeds of Suppiluliuma as told by his son Mursilis II." The Hittites tells us that the King of Egypt "Nibhuruiya" has died and that the queen of Egypt, "Dahamunzu" sent a letter to the Hittite King. Who are Nibhuruiya and Dahamunzu? They don't look like Tutankhamen and Ankhesenamen. 'Nibhuruiya' is the Hittite transliteration of Nebkheperure, Tutankhamen's throne name. Akhenaten's throne name of Neferkheperure has also been suggested, however, the Hittites usually transliterated 'Nefer' as 'Nep,' not 'Nib,' which was the typical Hittite equivilant of 'Neb.' Now, for Ms. Dahamunzu...

Dahamunzu is the Hittite pronounciation of ta hemet nesu. Does Hemet Nesu look familiar? It means "King's Wife." "Ta" is the feminine form of 'the.' The Egyptians did not use articles often. Nicholas Reeves, a respected Egyptoligst and author of several books, suggests that the 'Ta' gives this queen special signifigence, and that the queen would be Nefertiti since she was so prominent. I believe he interprets it as "King's Wife par excellence."

Akhenaten had many wives. Nefertiti would have signed it as the King's Great Wife, otherwise, how would the Hittites know which wife of the King was writing them? The 'ta' simply means 'the,' (as in Nefernefruaten TA-Sherit, "Nefernefruaten THE Younger") and this to me suggests, Ankhesenamen as the author. Why? Because she was Tutankhamen's only wife. She could say she was "the king's wife" because her king, Tutankhamen, only had one. Of course, that's just my theory...

2) Also, the fact that the Hittite envoy -- after coming to Egypt to verify the queen's claim that she had no son, and that she would have to marry a 'servant' -- returned to Hatti and said that Dahamunzu had told the truth. There was no son -- no heir -- to the Egyptian throne.

Nefertiti or Meritaten, who are also suggested as possible authors, may not have had sons, but they could not have kept little Prince Tutankhaten a secret from the Hittite envoy sent to investigate the situation. Regardless of the identity of Tutankhaten's parests, be they Akhenaten & Kiya, Amenhotep & Tiye, or another pair entirely, we know Tutankhaten is the son of a king. That, plus that fact that he is the only living royal male, makes him the legitimate heir to the throne. The Hittite envoy would have surely found out about the boy, and a Hittite prince would have never been sent if there was a legitimate Egyptian Heir. Only with Ankhesenamen was it true that there was 'no son'; perhaps better phrased "no heir."
Anyway, on to the letters...

'Dahamunzu's' first letter to the Hittites:

My husband has died, a son I have not. But to thee, they say, the sons are many. If thou wouldst give me one son of thine, he would become my husband. Never shall I pick out a servant of mine and make him my husband. I am afraid!

'Dahanunzu's' second letter to the Hittites, in response to the King's disbelief of her plea:

Why didst thou say ‘they deceive me,' in that way? Had I a son, would I have written about my own and my country’s shame to a foreign land? Thou didst not believe me and hast even spoken thus to me! He who was my husband has died. A son I have not. Never shall I take a servant of mine and make him my husband! I have written to no other country, only to thee have I written. They say thy sons are many: so give me one son of thine! To me he will be husband, but in Egypt he will be king.

An ill-fated prince, Zannanza, was sent to the ill-fated queen, but he died (he was most likely murdered) at the borders of Egypt. Ankhesenamen married Ay, not Horemheb, and he became the Pharaoh. The elderly Ay ruled for about four years, and it is his wife Tey, not Ankhesenamen, who is queen in his tomb. Ankhesenamen must have died after Tutankhamen, but before Ay and Tey.
No trace of a burial for Ankhesenamen has been found...