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Lady of the two Lands, Queen of the
“ North and South.” This celebrated queen, the beloved and honoured wife of Amen-hetep III., is one of the most picturesque figures of antiquity ; a figure thrown out in strong relief against the background of uncertain shadows which dims so large a part of Egyptian history. Her personality is made living and keen by reason of the unusual expression given by Amen-hetep to the affection he bore her. In addition to the usual titles of a king's consort, she is described as “Royal Daughter” and “Royal Sister," although she was neither the daughter nor the sister of a king, but the child of parents who are often named in connection with her, and who were not of royal lineage.
The full queenly titles which Thịy held in common with the great heiress princesses of Egypt, were therefore only honorary, and bestowed on her by Amen-hetep, in apparent indifference to custom or law. What the circumstances were which induced the king to depart from the traditions of his house and choose a wife of low origin, can only be surmised, as the annals are silent concerning the love story of Amen-hetep III.
It is possible that no sister-princess or other heiress of the royal line was available, when the time came for the young king's marriage. Through his mother Mut-em-ua, Amen-hetep's claim to the crown seems to have been an unquestioned one. Such defect as he found in his father's descent, he remedied by claiming a parentage from AmenRa. The youthful prince was only about sixteen at the time of the death of Thotmes IV., and his own accession.' The inscriptions of the Luxor temple which record his early years, refer only to himself and to his mother, with no mention of Queen Thry; a fact suggesting that the temple was sculptured before his marriage. The date of that event cannot be exactly placed, although in the second year of his reign he was already married to Thịy, as shown by a scarab which records a cattle hunt dated in his second regnal year, and naming “ The Great Royal Wife, Thịy."
From time to time Amen-hetep issued sets of large scarabs, on which were inscribed the histories of special events in his reign. This is the only instance known in which scarabs have been used in the place of stelæ. These great scarabs are of a fine green enamel and are very numerous; the dated ones are of the second, tenth, and eleventh years of the reign, and record cattle and lion hunts, the arrival of a foreign bride at the king's court, and the making of a lake for the queen. Among the undated scarabs, one fixes the boundaries of the kingdom; and another, which is possibly the official announcement of Amen-hetep's marriage, reads : “ King of the North and “ South Neb-maat-Ra, son of the sun Amen-hetep, Prince “ of Thebes, Giver of Life, The Great Royal Wife Thry, “ The Living One—the name of her father-luaa, the name “ of her mother Thuaa, she is the wife of the Great King." All of the scarabs begin with the names and titles of the king and of Thry.
1 P., H.E., vol. II, 177. ? Catalogued by WIEDEMANN, A.G., 381, 6.
Few personages of Egyptian history have given rise to more speculation than the famous queen of Amenhetep III. Many scholars have attempted to account for her origin, and various theories have been set forth in the effort to explain her position. The extensive traces of Asiatic culture found in Egypt at this period have led certain writers to claim an Asiatic birth for Queen Thry. Hincks was the first writer to suggest that she was a Syrian, and that the religious revolution which followed later was due to her influence; this theory was adopted by Mariette, Brugsch, and Lauth; Wiedemann and Meyer found a Libyan origin for her; while Petrie and Budge recognised in Thỉy one of the Mitannian princesses of the Tel-el-Amarna tablets.
An opposite view of her nationality was taken by Maspero, Rayet, and Bouriant; who, without going so far afield as Asia, found in Egypt itself sufficient grounds for solving the problem. As early as 1877, M. Maspero showed his reasons for believing that Amen-hetep's queen was an Egyptian of middle rank, possibly of Heliopolitan origin. The names of her parents as given on the scarabs are unaccompanied by titles of any sort, or by signs indicating a foreign origin; these facts seem to preclude all possibility that she was the daughter of royalty, either Egyptian or foreign.
The soundness of this explanation of Thïy's birth was proved when the tomb of her parents, Iuaa and Thuaa, was discovered by Mr. Davis, during the winter of 1905, in the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings. The sealed tomb when opened was found to contain its entire treasure of original furnishing, which was of an unprecedented richness. The mummies of luaa and Thuaa reposed in magnificent gilded coffins lined with silver, and inlaid with lapis-lazuli, turquoise, and carnelian. The tomb furniture included funeral couches, chairs, tables, boxes, vases and jars, ushabti figures, and a chariot, all of exquisite work