Horemheb, Akhenaten's General

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Horemheb succeeded Ay as pharaoh upon the old man's death. Again little is known of his origins, although he was commander of the army under Akhenaten and possibly a claimant to the throne when Ay became Pharaoh after the death of Tutankhamun. He portrayed himself as the restorer of the old order, usurping monuments of Tutankhamun and Ay by erasing their names and having his own substituted instead.

In later king lists Horemheb is given as the successor to Amenhotep III missing out the Amarna bloodline completely.

The photo is of Horemheb offering to the god Atum from the Luxor temple cachette.

This unusual figure, from the British Museum, is thought to have originated in the tomb of Horemheb in the Valley of the Kings. It shows a Turtle headed god with his head turned to one side. The museum suggests that this may represent the god turning to confront some aggressor.

This is another statue thought to have originated in Horemheb's tomb. It again shows a god turning to look over his shoulder, this time with an antelope type head.

Both these figures are made from wood covered with plaster and painted black. Although they are in poorish condition after being discarded as worthless by the ancient tomb robbers they are still impressive pieces and one of my highlights from the recently redesigned British Museum Egyptian gallery.

Wooden statue from Horemhebs Tomb

Horemheb was apparently responsible for a lot of the destruction which followed on from the Amarna Period, the so called 'Anti-Atenist backlsh'. He systematically removed all mention of Akhenaten, Tutankhamun and Ay.

As well as the destruction he wrought in Ay's tomb, he also usurped the old Pharaoh's mortuary temple at Medinet Habu and had all the old cartouches re-carved with his name. Archaeologists know this because the workers who carried out the task missed one, which still bears Ay's name.


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