Merneferre Ay

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Merneferre Ay (also spelled Aya or Eje) was an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Thirteenth dynasty of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period. He assumed the throne around 1700 BC and reigned for 23 years. By the end of his reign, "the administration [of the Egyptian state] seems to have completely collapsed".[2][3]


His reign length—as preserved in the damaged Turin King List—was disputed in the past with Jürgen von Beckerath reading the damaged figure on the papyrus fragment as only 13 years in his 1964 work Untersuchungen zur politischen Geschichte der zweiten Zwischenzeit in Ägypten, while both Alan Gardiner—in The Royal Canon of Turin (1959)—and Kenneth Kitchen in his 1987 paper "The Basics of Egyptian Chronology in Relation to the Bronze Age at the 'High, Middle or Low'" University of Göteborg convention maintained that it was 23 years.[4] The latest examination of the damaged figure by Kim Ryholt confirms that it must be read as 23 Years.[2] Ryholt stresses in his 1997 book on the Second Intermediate Period that "the tick that distinguishes 20 and 30 from 10 is preserved and beyond dispute. Accordingly, 23 years or, less likely, 33 years must be read."[5] Therefore, Ay's reign length was 23 Years, 8 Months and 18 days.[6] This makes him the longest-ruling pharaoh of the 13th Dynasty, a time when numerous short-lived kings ruled Egypt.


Merneferre Ay is mainly known from his many scarab seals. A pyramidion carved with the name of king Aya shows that a pyramid tomb was built for this king during his nearly 24 year reign.[7] However, the pyramidion was discovered at Khatana (part of ancient Avaris and modern day Qantir) which suggests that the Hyksos kings looted his tomb of its treasures.[8] This can be assumed because the "damaged text on the pyramidion originally invoked four gods" two of whom were Ptah and Re-Horus (for Ra-Horakhty) whose cults were based in the Memphis necropolis, not in northern Avaris.[8] This suggests that his pyramid tomb was originally located at or near Memphis. Merneferre Ay is the last Egyptian king of the 13th Dynasty who is attested by objects in both Lower and Upper Egypt.[9] Henceforth, his successors, are only attested in the southern part of Egypt—or Upper Egypt.[10] This suggests that by the end of Ay's reign, the 13th dynasty had lost control of parts of Lower Egypt including the Delta region.

Merneferre Ay was possibly married to Ineni.

He is sometimes confused with Ay, a ruler at the end of the 18th Dynasty. However, both kings ruled in completely different dynasties and have nothing in common other than a similar name.


  1. ^ Thomas Schneider: Ancient Egyptian Chronology - Edited by Erik Hornung, Rolf Krauss, And David a. Warburton, available online, see p. 4927
  2. ^ a b Kim S. B. Ryholt: The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period c.1800–1550 B.C., (Carsten Niebuhr Institute Publications) vol. 20, Copenhagen: Museum Tuscalanum Press, 1997. p.192
  3. ^ Thomas Schneider: Ancient Egyptian Chronology - Edited by Erik Hornung, Rolf Krauss, And David a. Warburton, available online, see p. 181
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Ryholt, p.74
  6. ^ Ryholt, p.192
  7. ^ Labib Habachi, "Khata'na-Qantir: Importance", ASAE 52 (1954) pp.471-479, pl.16-17
  8. ^ a b Ryholt, p.82
  9. ^ Thomas Schneider, "The Chronology of the Middle Kingdom and the Hyksos Period", in: E. Hornung/R. Krauss/D. Warburton (eds.), Ancient Egyptian Chronology (Handbook of Oriental Studies 1, 83), Leiden/ Boston 2006, p.180
  10. ^ Schneider, p.180

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Wahibre Ibiau
Pharaoh of Egypt
Thirteenth Dynasty
Succeeded by
Merhotepre Ini