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Ay held high office during the reign of Akhenaten. It is considered likely that as the Pharaoh's attention turned to more spiritual matters, it was Ay who increasingly took control of the day to day running of the empire.

After Akhenaten's death Ay maintained his position as the power behind the throne during the short reigns of Smenkhkare and Tutankhamun. After Tutankhamun's death Ay became Pharaoh.He further justified his position by performing the funerary rites on Tutankhamun's mummy, then marrying the child kings widow, Akhensenamun. At this point it would appear that she was the last remaining member of the 'Amarna' bloodline, as none of her sisters are mentioned after the death of Tutankhamun.

Ay's reign was a short one in which the reversion to the traditional religion started under Tutankhamun was continued. After his death Horemheb virtually destroyed or usurped all traces of Ay, with his tomb in the West Valley being particularly badly damaged around this time.


 

 The Chronicle of the Pharaohs

  

Gold of the Pharaohs

 

Egyptian treasures : from the Cairo Museum