Queen Sitamen, Mother of King Tut? By René O’Deay
Any deep digging at all into Tutankhamen’s life and the many different Egyptologists’ actual findings, various translations and as many different theories and reasonings behind those theories, as well as the ongoing revelations in recent years, yields a realization that discovering the actual truth is a complex problem and possibly impossible.
I have a background in journalism, an avid interest in history both recent and ancient, and a nose for investigative research. One of my final projects at my university was the story of the notorious Jack Slade of the Overland Stage and his beautiful and as controversial wife, Virginia. Digging out the truth of what had happened over 100 years before when the outcome of the Civil War hung in the balance and depended on who controlled the output from the gold mines of Montana, was like a training project for Tut’s story.
Discovering the many wild and contradictory memoirs and news stories about Jack and his Virginia, I realized then I had to sort out propaganda from honest reporting. People always have an agenda when they “tell the story.” I had to pick and choose by trying to figure out what the narrators’ different motives were.
So, to pick my way through all the conflicting theories about Tutankhamen, timelines, and other side information found in other countries as well as continuing to take into account new revelations, as more evidence was discovered, more translations from artifacts were released to the public, seemed like trying to find an impossible way out of a ‘mobius maze.’
Through all the wild theories from generalists, new-agers, metaphysicists, and from just plain contemplation of images of artifacts, I knew that all of those people had their own agenda. Some had scholastic and political backgrounds to make their ideas more accepted and the clout to discredit many as crackpots even when they had just as good credentials and evidence. Others obviously really were crackpots and others came up with theories that later revelations would eventually disprove. If those theorists had lived, they probably would have adjusted their theories accordingly.
Nevertheless I had figured out that maybe Sitamen could be the mother of Tutankhamen, before I was visited by those “Bennu” birds, my Muses, in the Upper Sonora Desert in Western Arizona. (Magical Muses story at http://reneodeay.com/muses.html )
Sitamen was the eldest Princess, daughter of Queen Tiye and Amenhotep III, and would have been in her early 20’s when she had Tut.
I accepted the theory that there had been a Co-Regency of about 12 years between Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV (later Akhenaten). Amenhotep III had by then begun to favor the Aten over Amen-Re, naming palaces, temples, lakes and pleasure boats for the Aten. There were hints of a feud between Amenhotep III and the High Priest of Amen-Re, Aanen, the brother of Queen Tiye – a power struggle.
Since Thutmoses III and Hatshepsut, Kings of Egypt had not favored the ancient tradition of marrying their sisters, or making them Great Wife.
Amenhotep IV began research in the archives of Memphis to stage the first Great Jubilee for his father that would reestablish the King’s power over the other Gods of Egypt, particularly Amen-Re. Amenhotep III started this after his firstborn Prince Thothmes died mysteriously soon after being appointed High Priest of Ptah, original creator god. (sound familiar? but I dug this out of various scholarly publications, not The Egyptian)
Sitamen made offerings as the Wife and Chief Favorite of the King during this Jubilee, so she may have been married to her father at this time. Other daughter-Princesses married this King at later times, probably during subsequent Jubilees.
Whatever happened at this Jubilee did not sit well with Amenhotep IV, for it was at this time he began his City of the Horizon of Aten (Akhetaten). Three years later many in the Two Lands were disturbed by this upstart’s plans.
Sitamen and Tiye might have decided that another heir was needed from an authentic Royal Heiress whose heritage-bloodline could not be disputed. Sitamen, in her early 20s, would have been quite capable of making an informed and adult decision at that age, and could have made the decision to try to produce a totally acceptable alternate heir, with no question of his right to inherit the Throne, just in case things continued badly with Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV).
So, if Sitamen had Tut then, he would have been about 4 years old when his father died and Akhenaten assumed full power. It was not long after that Akhenaten turned violently against Magic, and against all other gods, except Aten, Maet, the Royal Cobra (Wadjet), Re, Horus, and the Apis Bull. (How is that monotheism?)
If Akhenaten were Tutankhaten’s father, don’t you think he would have ‘plastered’ it all over the walls of his city? Just like he did for his girls – all his daughters, including Meritaten Tashery and Ankhesenpaaten Tashery, daughters of his daughters, on the sunshades dedicated to them.
Sitamen had the greatest estates of all the Princesses, her own estate stewart was specially appointed, the Pharaoh’s own most valued minister, Amenhotep, son of Hapu. She honored her maternal grandparents with Royal chairs in their House of Eternity. Sitamen was referred to on steles after her father’s death with his own coronation name “Neb Maet Re“, and might she not have also been called “Ma’etRe”? The Ancient Egyptians loved to use nicknames.
The Ancient Egyptians were no dummies when it came to breeding stock. Why would they not know of the dangers of inbreeding in Royal stock/family?
So … it was a calculated risk for Amenhotep III to have a child with his own daughter, but Sitamen probably made the decision herself.
Not so with Amenhotep IV, the same could not be said of his daughters. Maybe they were not forced, but they may not have had a choice. He married them, 1, 2, 3 and bred a child with each as each reached puberty, at 11 or 12 years old.
Some of the more famous images of Akhenaten and his family really gross me out. Naked. There’s one … ugh … Do I need to go into detail why? Great ART !?! Indeed! I’m not a prude, but I do have problems with incestuous child molesters. “Living in Truth!”
But why try for another Royal Heir on the Royal Heiress?
Wasn’t there another brother already waiting in the wings? SmenkhKare, aka: Sakare? Well, another son from the questionable wife from that warrior family, not a Royal Heiress.
By then, they could also see that the road Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten was driving Egypt down would not work, was going to end up a disaster, and there may have been moral/ethical issues with Sakare.
Cyril Aldred mentions hints that Tut was considered the rightful King, not Akhenaten, in his definitive book on Akhenaten. Why, if Tut was the son of Akhenaten and not of Amenhotep III?
There are other reasons why they may have felt that way, but I do not want to give away the major mystery of my novel, “Sun Child, Prince of Egypt”.
Why not Kia as Tut’s mother? Kia’s canopic jars ended up in SmenkhKare’s travesty of a “House of Eternity”, KV55. I do not think that would have happened if she had been Tut’s actual mother. There was no mention of her in Tut’s tomb, but that is not conclusive.
Many have decried the lack of evidence confirming Tut’s paternity in his tomb, but you have to take into account that his tomb was broken into twice before debris from flash floods hid the entrance.
Howard Carter estimated that at least 60 percent of the jewelry, not inside the four shrines and sarcophagus, had been plundered, which leaves you in awe considering what was left. So the evidence might have disappeared thousands of years ago not long after his entombment.
See my Bibliography page on my website for short list of some of my major references.
Image of Queen Sitamen’s chair from the tomb of her Grandparents Tuya and Yuya.