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Apis et la Fin de la troisième période intermédiaire

Dans cet essai en anglais, je présente un court aperçu de la thèse de doctorat de Mohamed Ibrahim Aly portant sur les petits souterrains du Sérapéum de Memphis, le cimetière sacré des taureaux Apis, dieux vivants (1re partie).  Suite à ce court aperçu, je donne la séquence complète des taureaux Apis pour la période allant de la XIXe au début de la XXVIe dynastie Égyptienne telle qu'établie par Ibrahim Aly (2e partie).  Ces informations étant données, j'analyse les maigres restes de tous les enterrements du divin animal depuis la XXIIe dynastie jusqu'à la XXVIe, afin d'en dégager les éléments permettant de construire une nouvelle chronologie pour cette période (3e à 8e parties).  Diverses hypothèses seront émises, débouchant sur plusieurs scénarios viables, lesquels devront, dans une prochaine étape, être confrontés aux données indépendantes du Sérapéum.  Bonne lecture.


Apis and the late Third Intermediate Period
A Chronological Study following the Ph.D. Thesis
of Mohamed Ibrahim Aly (Lyon II, 1991)

(Photo: D. Rohl)

by Jean-Frédéric BRUNET
Département de physique et Groupe de Recherche en Transport Membranaire (GRTM)
Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Version 1- last revision, March 4, 2001 AD, © Jean-Frédéric Brunet


1 - General notes on Mohamed Ibrahim Aly's thesis.

Well, I've only had very little time to read the thesis as it came in the form of microfiches that I could only read at the university's physics library which isn't opened for long hours...  (and not without reason, on the 2 Saturdays I've spend there, I could count everyone who came on my fingers).  They had told me that to convert to usual paper copies, they were charging me 25¢; per page, which made too much for my pocket...  I finally had MIA's chronological discussion of each Apis copied...  to be asked half the price I was first told...  because they put 2 pages on each piece of paper.  This is sad, as, for the price I was ready to pay, I could also have kept full reports on many of the otherwise unpublished new documents found by MIA rather than just the too few notes I took :-(.

Also, considering the importance of some of these documents, this whole experience made me wonder...  How much, perhaps crucial, information, either vindicating or invalidating our pet theories, is just gathering dust on some university shelf, unknown to all of us?  :-(

The thesis' complete name is:  Les Petits Souterrains du Sérapéum de Memphis, étude d'archéologie, religion et histoire -textes inédits-  Which in English would be something like "The Lesser Vaults of Memphis's Serapeum, A Study in Archaeology, Religion and History -Unpublished Texts-".
MIA has been directed by professor Jean-Claude Goyon of the Université Lumière (Lyon 2, France) and was awarded an honourable mention for this thesis presented in September 1991.

The thesis is in 3 parts.

The first part (227 pp.) is divided in:

a) Report on the author's archaeological work at the Serapeum (a short 26 pp.)

    I've only read diagonally through this part, but it seemed to me to be just a re-write of the archaeological part of the article MIA cowrote with David Rohl in JACF volume 2.  Basically, his excavations were limited to the Lesser vaults entrance and Ramesside section.

b) Choice of documents (a good 201 pages)

    In this section, MIA describes and discusses the new documents he discovered during his campaign at the Serapeum.  These consists of 30 new stelae, mostly from the late TIP period, 83 new ushabtis (almost all from the XIXth dynasty period) and 6 new grafittis, 4 of which from late TIP (the 2 others I took no notes about). The ushabtis are of little chronological importance, but, of the 36 new texts, many are pretty interesting for our current discussion, and will be discussed later, along with the relevant Apis burial.

The second part (44 pp.), which I haven't got time to read, unfortunately, discussed the possible functions of funerary stelae and ushabtis in the cult of Apis.

The third part (170 pp.) consists of:

a) Historical data

    This is the part that I have had copies made.  It goes on through all the eras represented in or around the lesser vaults, from the late XVIIIth dynasty to the early  XXVIth, looking at all the Apis Burials and providing the author's answers to questions such as How many were buried, When were they buried, How old were they.  To answer these crucial questions, he uses the canvas of the conventional chronology (OC) as well as his own new findings to propose a new Apis sequence, different from either Mariette's original or Vercouter et al's (somewhat) more recent proposals.  This proposed chronology will be given in the next section of this post.

b) Research on the Apis Bull
c) Apis's personnel
d) Apis bull identification with other deities

    These sections, again, I've only read diagonally...  Some fascinating stuff on the life of the bull, how he was chosen, how (and by whom) he was taken care of, how he was buried...  Also his religious identifications with Ptah, Atoum, Horus, Osiris, Re, Geb and the moon, as well as the various rites he was associated with were abundantly studied...  But don't ask me any questions, I couldn't spend much time on these fascinating topics (some parts, however, were covered in the JACF article).  Maudites microfiches!


2 - MIA's proposed sequence of Apis Burial (XIXth to XXVIth dynasties)

(Comments in brackets are mine, but based on my understanding of MIA's thesis, all the rest is directly translated from MIA thesis)

Group 1 (dynasties XIX and XX, taken from pp. 284 and 285)

Apis 1 - Died [early] under Sethy I.
Apis 2 - Died early under Ramses II.
Apis 3 - Died in year 16 of that king.
Apis 4 - Died in year 30, on III-Shemou 21, of that king.
Apis 5 - Died around year 45/46 of that king.
Apis 6 - Died in year 55 of that king.
Apis 7 - Died around year 5 of Merneptah.
Apis 8 - Died under Ramses Siptah.
Apis 9 - Died around year 10 of Ramses III.
Apis 10 - Died in year 26 of that king.
Apis 11 - Died early under Ramses VI.
Apis 12 - Died under Ramses VIII or early under Ramses IX.
Apis 13 - Died under Ramses IX
Apis 14 - Died under Ramses X [if he had a 10 years reign, or early Ramses XI]
Apis 15 - Died under Ramses XI.
Apis 16 - Died later under that king.

JFB's Note: It should be noted that Apises 1 to 4 were buried in separated tombs, the Serapeum being first opened for our number 5.  For this Ramesside period, Mariette had one more Apis dying in late Ramses II / XIXth dynasty, as well as one more in late XXth dynasty.  MIA considers these attributions forced, but gives no actual archaeological arguments about the actual number of burial (it seems the state in which he found the vaults didn't permit a definite count).  Matter of fact, his main pillars in writing the above sequence are the accepted chronology for these 2 dynasties as well as a, IMHO too radical acceptation, of the "16 to 18 years old rule".  (like no Apis could have ever died young or old, in spite of the evidence).  In the next section, he discusses the lack of 21st dynasty bulls...  I wonder why he didn't consider the possibility that some of Mariette's late XXth dynasty could have actually be the bulls of the 21st (or early 22nd in a new chronology (NC) perspective).  New Kingdom Apises will not be further discussed in this essay.

Group 2 (Dynasty 22, from pp. 299f)

Apises 1 to 5 - A conjectural number of 5 Apis died during the first years of the XXIInd dynasty.
Apis 6 - Died in year 23 of Osorkon II.
Apis 7 - Died in year 14 of Takelot II, having lived 15 years.
Apis 8 - Died early under Shoshenq III (conjectural).
Apis 9 - Died in year 28 of that king.
Apis 10 - Died in year 2 of Pimay, having lived 26 years.
Apis 11 - Died in year 11 of Shoshenq V, having lived 15 years.
Apis 12 - Died in year 37 of Shoshenq V, having lived 26 years.

JFB's NoteHere, he mostly follows Kitchen.  Moreover, he has no evidence for the actual lengths of the lives of Apis # 7 and # 11.  Since he works in an OC context, he obviously doesn't consider any possibility of overlap between the last few Apis of this group and the ones of the next.  One may also note that his conjectural Apis #8 would be completely unnecessary had Takelot II and Shoshenq III ruled contemporaneously, like many, including Rohl, Goldberg, Von Beckerath and others now proposes.

Group 3 (Dynasties XXIV, XXV and early XXVI, summary of the discussions)

Apis 1 - Died in year 6 of Bakenranef.
Apis 2 - Died in year 12 of Shabaka or year 2 of Shabatka. (Mariette's reading was year 2 of Shabaka)
Apis 3 - Died in year 4 of an unknown king, identified by MIA as Taharqa.
Apis 4 - Died in year 14, late III-Akhet, buried early II-Peret, of Taharqa.
Apis 5 - Died in year 24, buried IV-Peret 23, of Taharqa.
Apis 6 - Died in year 20, IV-Shemou 20 [21 elsewhere], buried in year 21, II-Akhet 25 of Psamtik I, being born in year 26(?) and been installed on IV-Peret 9 of year 26 (?) of Taharqa, 21 years earlier(?).

JFB's Note: Well, the above are the facts... Let's just remind everyone that Mariette did not attribute any burial between year 2 of Shabaka (which he claimed was different from the year 6 of Bakenranef) and year 24 of Taharqa.  The former is known only from a little stela, a pretty small evidence.  Likewise, the year 14 of Taharqa burial is definitely known only from a couple of stelae, while the ones from year 4 may still belong elsewhere (Mariette's original attribution was Shoshenq V).

In the next sections of this text (and it's not over yet!),  I'll discuss the evidences and problems for each of the late TIP Apis burials, using mostly MIA's discussion and new documents, but also the article he co-wrote with David Rohl.  I'll also ask my own questions about the stelae I don't have access to but get mentioned, so if anybody (Lester!) can get a copy of the Serapeum stelae catalogue by Malinine, Vercouter and others, I'd be grateful...


3 - Apis and the XXVIth dynasty: Chronological implications

    During the XXVIth dynasty, the king would provide every Apis with an official stela recording the animal's dates of birth, installation, death and burial, as well as its age.  These stelae, as retrieved in the Greater Vaults of the Serapeum have enabled Egyptologists to build a full and cohesive chronology for the Saite dynasty, from the Persian conquest, independently datable from 525 BC back to the first year of Psamtik, which could only have been 664 BC (from February 664 BC to February 663 BC, in fact).
(I know Jim Reilly [] would disagree, but the burden of the proof is still on him...  I must say that, personally, I haven't been impressed by his arguments concerning those late TIP dynasties I know well.  And of course, Mr. Reilly has not explained who the Tang-i-Var inscription's [Orientalia 68:1 (1999)] Shabatka could be, if not the XXVth dynasty Nubian king, not to say that Reilly's reinterpretation of Shabaka father of (UR/tan)damani is pretty unbelievable already.  And, perhaps even more damning to his thesis, is the fact that the Saite strata at Tell el-Muqdam is below the Persian, and of the same magnitude [SSEA Newsletter September 1995].)

    Before he had the Greater Vaults built, Psamtik did bury one last Apis in the Lesser Vaults.  Among the numerous (MIA doesn't specify the actual number but it is the best attested burial, perhaps because it celebrates the country's deliverance from Kushite and Assyrian influences?) stelae known from this burial, including new ones found by MIA, was the first official royal stela [SIM 3733, Cat. #192].  From it, we gather the following information on this last Apis of the Lesser Vaults:
Birth: year 26 of Taharqa, day/months unspecified (presumably unknown)
Installation: year unspecified, presumably year 26 also, IV-Peret 9
Death: year 20 of Psamtik I, IV-Shemou 20 (or 21)
Burial: year 21 [of Psamtik], II-Akhet 25
(Note: In the above (and all following) stela notation, the first code refers to the actual reference number of the stela, while the accompanying cat. # refers to Malinine et al.'s classification in the Catalogue des stèles du Sérapéum de Memphis, I, 1968 [non vid].)

    Since the exact date of birth was unknown to the royal scribe, he did not include the bull's exact age at death (unlike previously reported by some authors like Kitchen). At the end of the stela, right after the installation date, one reads, however, "jr n 21 years".  The Egyptian words jr n could be either taken as 2 words, translating straightforwardly as "made in", or taken as a locution.  If the later, then the best translation I could find in Faulkner [A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian, Griffith Institute, Oxford, 1962] was "serving [God]".  The former is the most simple solution as dates mentioned at the end of many stelae usually date it's erection.  The second possible reading could very well (I think...  I'm just a beginner in Hieroglyphics...)  be understood as "serving [God, i.e. as his avatar] 21 years", (MIA gives this simply as "making") which would thus give us its span at Memphis. (Note: the above discussion is mine... MIA does mention the alternate reading as either "made in year 21" or "making 21 years", but only after his chronological discussion.  This is bad methodology, IMO, since this difference in reading does raise chronological questions.  The following paragraphs are thus entirely mine.)

    If the "made in" reading should be kept, then we lose the exact span of the Bull's life in Memphis.  However, from the fact that this royally commissioned stela mentions Taharqa, I think we can safely bet that the later's 26th year had to have happened before Psamtik's own year 1 (since, had the bull been born while he was already king, Psamtik, who almost certainly always considered Memphis his {as it was given to his father by the Assyrians and whatever his politically motivated respect for Taharqa was}, would have had the inscription dated by his own reign)This makes year 26 of Taharqa in 665 at the latest.  Interestingly, we know from Assyrian evidences that he was still king by that year, but was succeeded by Tantamani in 664 [Annals of Assurbanipal of Assyria, cited in K.A. Kitchen, The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt, Aris and Phillips, 1995 reprint, §120.  Thereafter, this book will be refered to as KTIPE].  If we keep this lowest possible chronology, we get a year 1 in 690, as usual, and then using Manothenic [Manetho, as translated by W.G. Waddle, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, 1997 reprint] data for Shabaka and Shabatka (22 years combined), we get their conquest of Egypt in 712, again consistent with Assyrian evidence [KTIPE §115, but contrast R.G. Morkot, The Black Pharaohs, Egypt's Nubian Rulers, Rubicon Press, 2000 p208.  Thereafter, this book will be refered too as MBP].  However, here, we cannot use the year 20 Apis Bull stela as proof of the usual year 27 Taharqa = year 1 Psamtik I equation anymore.

    If we prefer the second reading, then we learn that the bull was installed some 21 years (probably inclusive since no month/day spans are specified) before IV-Shemou 20 of  year 20.  This means the installation actually dates to the 365 days period ending on IV-Shemou 19 (actually four months before, on IV-Peret 9)  of the year just before Psamtik's first.  But what year was that?  The most straightforward reading of the stela implies that its installation occured in the same year as its birth.  Since Apis bulls were usually installed aged 9 months, we see that, if the bull was both born and installed in year 26 of Taharqa, then he was at most 7 months 9 days old.  This would appear too young, but given the fact [as will be discussed in section 4.1 below] that the previous bull had died back in year 24, the priests may have decided not to wait the traditional period before installing the finally manifested living god in it's new stall.  Otherwise, we may assume, as Kitchen and MIA did, that, as the date that was obvioulsy best known to the royal scribe was that of the installation, the later only assumed that the birth had occured earlier the same year when, in fact, it had occured in the 25th.  In either consideration, we get the crucial chronological link between XXVIth and XXVth dynasties as Psamtik's "year 0" equals Taharqa's 26th year, equals 665 BC.  If, however, the bull was really born in year 26 and installed aged 9 months, then indeed, Taharqa came one year earlier on the throne.  This however, appears to give too much weight on unverifiable data and therefore, the usual dates for Taharqa remains the best option available, even if stela #192 still can't be used as definite proof.

    In fact, thus, no change to the usual dates of Taharqa, who remains comfortably at 690-664 BC.  His two immediate predecessors thus probably ruled as either:

Shabaka: 713/2-698 -> Shabatka: (701)698-690
 Shabatka: 712-701 -> Shabaka: (704)701-690
I'm still waiting for any evidence that would definitely confirm one or the other scheme above...


4 - Apises that died under Taharqa: 2 or 3??

4.1 - Apis of year 24 of Taharqa (= 667 BC)

    This burial is known from a few stelae (4 in the Catalogue (#125-8), and one discovered by MIA giving simply a year 24).  He also notes (note 61, p 540) that "basing ourselves on stylistic grounds, a good [but unspecified] number of stelae can be attributed to this same burial", including some of the new ones.

    The stela of Senebef (SIM 2640, Cat. #125) gives us the date of burial of the bull as IV-Peret, day 23 of year 24 of Taharqa.   Presumably then, the animal's death would have occurred 70 days earlier (probably inclusive, but contrast the day 20/21 difference in the various readings of the year 20 Apis stela discussed in the previous section), that is on II-Peret 14 (or 13) (16/17 remaining days + 30 of III-Peret + 23 of IV-Peret = 69/70 days).  Neither his age, date of birth nor date of installation are known.  His predecessor, however, died in year 14, giving this bull a maximum age at death of 10 years old, a bit under average, but not far enough to be worried.

4.2 - Apis of year 14 of Taharqa (= 677 BC)

    The previous bull died 10 years earlier.  The year 14 dateline is given on two stelae (SIM 2686 & 3117, Cat. # 123-4), without the name of the king. These were once attributed by Vercouter to Shabaka, but this hypothesis has been shown useless through the discovery, by MIA, of a third "year 14" document (SRB 18559), clearly dated to pharaoh Taharqa.  Moreover, stylistically, MIA attributes to this burial another of his new stelae as well as 5 previously known (and which Mariette had, interestingly, attributed to the mid or late XXIInd dynasty).

None of the above documents give the bull's age, date of birth nor of installation.  His dates of death and burial, while partially lost, are, however, known to within a few days.  Indeed, SIM 2686, reads "year 14, III-Akhet" (day lost), while SRB 18559 reads "year 14, II-Peret 4?".  Actually, the number 4 is a minimum, an  higher number (between 4 and 9) remains possible since, personally judging from the photograph of the stela, the number is quite blurred and finishes the line.  So, at the earliest, 70 days before II-Peret 4 brings us back to III-Akhet 24, which is consistent with SIM 2686.  (Neither of these stela actually mention the death or burial of the bull, so, even were their date written completely, we may here be witness only to donations made during the 70 days of mourning.  Still, the range between the dates of both documents assures us that the date they give lay close to actual death and burial.)

    Thus, this Apis died between day 24 and 30 of III-Akhet and was buried between 4 and 10 of II-Peret.  To learn his maximum age at death, we'll have to look at a few possibilities, both in the remainder of this section 4 and in the next.

4.3 - Apis of year 37 of Shoshenq V

    Discussion of a late XXIInd dynasty Apis bull in a Taharqa context may seem strange to most, and certainly MIA doesn't thread this path, but it is the most logical thing to do considering Mariette's observation that our stelae that can stylistically be dated to the XXVth dynasty belonged in fact to XXIInd dynasty burials.  To ease things as much as possible, we will first consider the last of such burials, that of year 37 of Shoshenq V.

    This Apis of Shoshenq V is known to us thanks to an whole series of stelae, mainly put up the the lesser clergy of Ptah (Cat. #31-44, along with one newly discovered by MIA: SRB 18451), a number of stelae, including further new ones, can also be attributed either to this burial, or at least to this period.  These documents (and notably SIM 2840, Cat. #31) gives us not only his date of death, but also of birth (approximate) and installation!  These are:
Birth: year 11 (presumably of Shoshenq V), month/day unspecified
Installation: year 12 (again, presumably of Shoshenq V), IV-Peret 4
Death: year 37 of Shoshenq V, III-Akhet 27
Burial: unknown, but presumably II-Peret 6/7 (69/70 days after death)

    Thus, this bull was in "office" some 24 years, 7 months and 29 days (inclusive), dying about 26 years old (again, inclusive).  What is the most remarkable about this dateline, however, is the coincidence of those dates of death and burial with the above discussed bull of year 14 of Taharqa (yet clearly different from the year 24 Apis discussed earlier) .  From such an observation to the conclusion that year 37 Shoshenq V = year 14 Taharqa = 677 BC, there is only a short step.  The present author had reached this conclusion on independent grounds about a year before actually putting his hands on MIA's thesis, thus long before knowing that the dates did work out.

    But this initial vindication of my theory still isn't, of course, proof of it, whatever it's attraction (notably on the Apis independent grounds, see below).  Ideally, we should look for everyone who dedicated stelae for these Bulls (including the stelae that are thought, on stylistic grounds, to belong to them).  Obviously, none are double dated, which would have settled the matter long ago.  Had the same individual dedicated stelae for "both" Apis, then we'd have strong suggestion that they were indeed different bulls (it's unlikely that the same individual would date by two different systems on two monuments made for the same event).  While my knowledge here remains limited (and the notes I took from MIA's thesis are insufficient to answer such questions), a study of donor recurrences made by MIA and Rohl (Apis and the Serapeum, JACF:2, 1988) shows that, at least in their sample (still excluding the newly found ones), no such overlap is to be found.  My theory is still safe, at least for now.  Moreover, but still proving nothing, an individual, Irhepu'aa(wa), who did contribute a stela (Cat. #29) for the bull that died in year 11 may (but not necessarily) be the same as the like named individual who donated a similar stela (Cat. #128) in the year 24 of Taharqa, on either sides of our possible year 37/14 identity.

    If we use this identity as a working hypothesis, we get something no "conventional" TIP chronology, which usually places Shoshenq V before the Nubian conquest, can ever afford, that is a specific chronological
link between the XXIInd and XXVth dynasties.  This, in turn, brings Shoshenq III down, and along with him all a host of local rulers, all of whom get mentioned on Piy's triumphant conquest stela (which is "conventionally" thought to have taken place a good half century after their actual attested lifetimes!).  Furthermore, this identity gives us 713 BC as Shoshenq V's first year.  Using this new chronology, this Apis was born in year 11, which is now thought to be 703 BC and died in 677 BC.

4.4 - Apis of year 4 of an unnamed king...  Some possible candidates.

    Before moving on to Apises previous to Taharqa's (and perhaps Shoshenq V's last year), a further Apis burial needs to be discussed, although a final verdict may not be possible before the end of section 5 of this post.

    In year 4 of an unnamed king (Mariette said Shoshenq V; MIA, following Vercouter, rather proposes Taharqa), a bull died (and/or was buried).  This is based on 3 stelae (SIM 3440, 3019 and 3146, respectively Cat. #129 to 131) mentioning year 4, but providing no more chronological information.  On stylistic grounds, however, these three stelae definitely belong to the XXVth dynasty period (perhaps actually XXIVth dynasty, as Vercouter as stressed their resemblance to one of year 6 of Bakenranef).  MIA shows that, still on stylistic grounds, a further 12 stelae can be safely attributed to this very burial (some of which, interestingly, where attributed by Mariette to either the Apis of year 4 or the that of Pimay's second year).

    We therefore have a group of 15 stelae dating to a year 4 somewhere within the XXIVth or XXVth dynasty.  Yet, we don't know anything about the age of this further bull, nor the exact king under whom he died.  Let's therefore look at some possibilities.  The XXVth dynasty consisted of 5 kings: Piy, Shabatka, Shabaka, Taharqa and Tantamani.  Piy almost certainly came to Lower Egypt earlier than the XXIVth dynasty and then almost certainly much later than his 4th year (see, however, MBP, chapter 12, for a recent relative redating of the events of Piy's reign), and thus should not be considered.  The case for Shabaka and Shabatka will be evaluated thoroughly in section 5.

    Tantamani is known, according to evidence set so far, to have become full king of Nubia in 664 BC at the probable death of Taharqa.  Unless there was a coregency, his 4th year thus comes within the life span of the Bull that died in year 21 of Psamtik...  Obviously the bull didn't die twice!  Could there have been a coregency?  If there was one, we could set Tantamani's year 4 as year 24 of Taharqa (equating both burials), or perhaps to his year 26, assuming a very short lived bull may have been installed in this 1-2 year(s) span.  But how likely is this?  Tantamani would thus have become king  in 671 or 668 (his first year reconquest of  Egypt, as known from his inscriptions, is similarly shifted in time).  In those years however, there was important Assyrian involvement in Egypt, none of which name Tantamani as protagonist, but always just Taharqa.  Only in 664 do they name Tantamani as a king of Egypt and Nubia.  This year 4 is therefore unlikely to have belonged to Tantamani.  In any case, the possible stylistic relation to the XXIVth dynasty makes it hard to believe in the first place.

    On the chronology set so far, the fourth year of Taharqa is 687 BC.  It is a most logical contender for our year 4 Apis, if the inscription actually refers to a Nubian king.  This would give the next Apis Bull, the one that died in year 14, a maximum age of 10 years.  In favour of this identification, it's first proponent (Vercouter), mentioned a demotic stelae dated to year 2 (or 5) of Taharqa, and supposed a death late in year 4 followed by a burial early in year 5. Yet, while MIA kept the Taharqa solution, as his "less worse" scenario, he rejected it's only strong argument.  Indeed, he showed that Vercouter twice misrepresented the said stela (SIM 2705, Cat. #128): it's not the one reproduced on the plate referred too by Vercouter, and it's not even written in demotic, but in hieratic!  Moreover, it as since been shown that the stela actually dates to year 24.  So, Vercouter made a huge mistake and his solution, while still theoretically possible, loses its lustre.

    Finally, it should by now be obvious that this solution is also incompatible with our working hypothesis that gives some 25 years to the Apis that died in year 14, not a mere 10.  Is there any other alternatives?  Well, if our working hypothesis is correct, then an obvious choice comes back to mind: year 4 of Shoshenq V, exactly as Mariette had first stated, with the actual remains in front of him. Just like the year 4 of Shabaka or Shabatka, a full discussion of this possibility will have to wait to the next section, as they don't belong to the reign of Taharqa.

    But, if Shoshenq V was accepted in Memphis in year 14 of the Nubian, then we may presume that his successor 10 years later, if he had any, may be the one referred too in those year 4 inscriptions.  Setting year 4 as 667 BC, year 1 would fall in 670.  Perhaps this was year one of Pedubast II of Tanis (where he would have been the successor of the "king" appointed/confirmed there by Esarhaddon in 671, probably Gemenefkhonsbak, himself thus a plausible short lived successor of Shoshenq V).  But this solution, like the Tantamani one, doesn't answer the XXIVth dynasty stylistic links of the stelae.

    But, this is not all...  Are the XXIInd and XXVth dynasties the only ones that could have been dated by in Memphis?  We know of rival dynasties in Thebes, Leontopolis, Hieracleopolis, Hermopolis and Sais.  It is unlikely that any of these dynasties (assuming they survived into Taharqa's reign, a feat certainly accomplished only by the Tanite, Hermopolitan and Saite ones)  may be referred to in Memphis, after 690, and this author will not consider them further here.  But, if anything else fails, it can be good to keep these possibilities, however unlikely, in mind.


5 - Apises that died under Bakenranef and early XXVth dynasty

5.1 - Apis of year 6 of Bakenranef (c712 BC)

For this Apis, unfortunately, MIA is of little help.  His discussion, indeed, is centred on the fact that Piy's previous invasion of Lower Egypt apparently had little effect on the Bull, a conclusion he draws from the description of Piy's visit to Ptah's temple (where the Bull lived) shortly after his conquest of Memphis.

For actual information on this bull's chronological data, I therefore had to consult Kitchen (KTIPE, §338), who only refers to stelae Cat. #91 and following, perhaps up to 122?  From a little note sent to me by Lester Mitcham and originally from David Rohl, I'm told that #102 specifies the date of I-Akhet 5.  But to what exactly this date refers to (i.e.. death, burial...  or even even much earlier birth or installation) I have not the faintest idea.  Someone with access to the Catalogue could enlighten me.

In any case, the apparently important number of stelae dated to the 6th year of Bakenranef certainly indicates a death and burial in that year, which probably fell in or around 712 BC.  [I'll let Ian Mandelberg tackle the possibility (and consequences!) that Bakenranef actually ruled later.]

5.2 - Apis of year 2 of Shabaka...  MIA vs Vercouter, with Mariette in between!

Between the Bakenranef Apis and that of Taharqa's 14th year, the only certain (until Mr. Mandleberg actually succeeds in changing there order!) date is given by a small crudely written (in black ink) stela.  According to Mariette, the date was a simple year 2 of Shabaka, presumably relating to the death of an Apis in that year.  Along with a few blocks inscribed with Shabaka's name found in Apis's w'bt (in Memphis) and a broken cartouche containing k3w(which can only belong to Shabatka's throne name if from this period) recovered by Mariette in the relevant section of the Serapeum, this year 2 dateline is the only evidence of an Apis buried early in dynasty XXV.

Most readers will probably be aware that Vercouter made the Apises of Bakenranef and Shabaka one and the same.  His arguments were as follow:
a) Besides the above mentioned inscription (which Vercouter mistook as a "wall inscription" instead of a stela), no other document dating to Shabaka's reign were ever found in the Serapeum.  In contrast, a high number of stelae can be attributed to Bakenranef's sixth year.
b) In his plan of the Serapeum, Mariette ascribed both Bakenranef and Shabaka Apis to the same room.
c) Assuming Shabaka followed directly Bakenranef, as usually thought, then the former's second year certainly followed the later's 6th by at most 2 years (no Egyptian document are ever dated to year 7 (or after) of Bakenranef or to year 1 of Shabaka), making it much too short for any intervening Apis bull.
Vercouter therefore proposes that Bakenranef's year 6 = Shabaka's year 2 and that the later paid his homage to the recently deceased god when he reached Memphis, without any other form of interference.

But the above arguments, sais MIA, are not as sound as they seem.  First off, Shabaka's inscription was not carved on an Apis room's wall, but was a simple stela, as stated earlier.  This fact greatly undermines Vercouter arguments as stelae can be retrieved out of context, especially given the state in which Mariette found the Serapeum vaults (see below).  MIA than goes on with the following arguments:
a) In his book on the Serapeum excavations, Mariette actually states that the Shabaka stela was recovered in same room as the Shabatka one, while he places Bakenranef's year 6 Apis in the same room as that of Shoshenq V's 37th year.  The Shabaka stela then, as MIA states, has nothing whatsoever to do with the said year 6 burial.
b) It would be highly inconceivable that Shabaka would have left his name in the vaults without any direct intervention in the burial procedures.
c) Still, the stela exists (at least according to Mariette as no one else as ever seen it) and, indeed, year 2 of Shabaka must closely follow year 6 of Bakenranef.  He therefore suggests these two possible explanations:
1) Mariette misread the date.  In this case a year 12 comes as a most probable alternative.  The name of Shabatka found in the same room thus becomes the first definite evidence of a coregency between Shabaka and Shabatka.
2) Mariette misread the name of the king and the two documents found in that room both mention Shabatka.
According to MIA then, a burial occurred either in year 12 of Shabaka or year 2 of Shabatka.

Let's look at all of these arguments. As Vercouter states, the Shabaka bull would be completely unattested besides this one inscription (the w'bt blocks mentioned earlier are only proof of Shabaka's piety for the bull god, but not necessarily that one died during his reign).  This argument strongly militates in favour of Vercouter's hypothesis, with for only reserve the name of Shabatka (possibly an intrusive object from Taharqa's time?, the nature of the inscription is not specified by MIA).  The question of Shabaka's desire to pay homage to the Bull with or without intervention is a nice rhetorical one, but again the scarcity of Shabaka's name in the Serapeum appears to vindicate Vercouter, not the opposite.  So, only the position of each Apis in the vaults and the usual admission that Shabaka ruled just after Bakenranef, a position recently challenged by this author, remains to be discussed.

The position of each Apis certainly is an interesting discussion topic.  Both Vercouter and MIA quote Mariette to prove their point, yet both quotes clearly contradicts themselves. Was Shabaka's year 2 Apis buried in the same room as the Bakenranef one, or in the next one?  And was Bakenranef's year 6 Apis really buried in the same room as a bull of Shoshenq V?  And moreover, of the later's 37th year??  These crucial questions may never be answered and, in fact, both of Mariette schemes may not reflect more than his own attempts, at different times of his life,  at reconstructing the actual order of these burials.  Indeed, from his own writings, we learn that he found the Serapeum's Lesser Vaults in a state of total confusion: «The walls are covered with stelae, you walk on statuettes of all colours, on vases, on fragments of wooden sarcophagi.  All this is in dreadful disorder, [...] I have come upon [...] such a disorder that at first sight I despaired of ever recognizing anything.» (as quoted by MIA & Rohl in JACF 2)  Can it be a surprise, then, that Mariette later composed two different sets of arrangements for the burial rooms?  It is this author's sad conclusion, then, that the actual order will remain lost, perhaps forever, or more optimistically, until a future archaeological dig of the vaults brings some answers (once again, MIA's recent excavations sadly didn't reach into the TIP section of the Vaults).

The next question is that of the actual order of the kings of the XXVth dynasty, recently questioned by this author (soon to be added to this site, look into the archives of the New Chronology list for more info.)  So, if indeed Shabaka came first, the most probable date for his second year, taking all known documents into account,  is 712 BC.  In this case, clearly, Vercouter's hypothesis, while not founded on as strong a ground as he originally thought, remains an viable possibility.  If, on the contrary, Shabaka came after Shabatka, then his second year most probably was 703 BC.  This, interestingly, is also exactly year 11 of Shoshenq V in our working hypothesis.  In any case, there seems little ground to redate Mariette's little stela, at least as long as no other indication points in that direction.

5.3 - Apis of year 11 of Shoshenq V

This Apis burial is known from at least 6 stelae (SIM # 3049, 3719, 3061,2702 and 3110 [respectively Cat. # 26 to 30] as well as new document SRB 18403 and many non dated documents doubtlessly also to be attributed to this burial).  These give the date of the bull's death as II-Akhet 18.  From this, we may compute that the bull was subsequently buried on 27 or 28 of IV-Akhet.  Its successor was then installed some 15 months (IV-Peret 4, year 12) later.  Unfortunately, this information remains inaccessible for this year 11 bull, whose dates of birth and installation, as well as its age, are completely unknown.   If, as Mariette had first stated, its predecessor had died in year 4, then the maximum age at death would be a mere 7 years, not much, but hardly impossible (the average was some 16-19 years, but as some bulls are known to have reached 26 years, clearly some also died much younger).  If Mariette's attribution is to be rejected, then the predecessor will clearly depend on our hypothesis.

5.4 - Further discussion on the year 4 Apis: chronological considerations

So far, we have proposed, here and elsewhere, 2 novel hypothesis concerning the chronology of the late Third Intermediate Period in Egypt:
1) The "new" Apis of year 14 of Taharqa should be identified as that of year 37 of Shoshenq V.
2) Shabatka actually ruled before Shabaka.
As both hypothesis are independent, this makes 4 schemes to investigate.  Indeed, if the Apises of year 2 of Shabaka, years 14 and 24 of Taharqa are well dated, those of the elusive year 4 and of the 6th year of Bakenranef still need an exact chronological match.

#1 "0/0": The XXIInd dynasty entirely preceded the XXVth, and Shabaka came first.

712 BC
year 2 Shabaka
677 BC
year 14 Taharqa
Max. age: 35 years old
667 BC
year 24 Taharqa
Max. age: 10 years old

Here, obviously, Vercouter's hypothesis for the 6th year of Bakenranef definitely remains the best choice for this burial, but something is clearly missing between 712 BC and 667 BC and the Apis of a year 4 should definitely be dated in between.  The 4th year of Taharqa, 687 BC, as discussed above, is a good solution if the unnamed king as to be a Nubian.  In light of the name of Shabatka found in the vaults, dare I also suggest year 4 of Shabatka (699/698 BC) as a possibility?  The first alternative would give two bulls with maximum ages of 25 and 10, respectively, and the second of 13/14 and 22/21 respectively.  If only for these ages and the presence of Shabatka's name in the Serapeum, this second alternative seems preferable to me.  (For a case disconnecting Shabaka year 2 and Bakenranef, see section 2 above, for non Nubian alternative for a year 4...  make the research yourself, perhaps I overlooked a nice possibility!)

#2 (0/1): The XXIInd dynasty entirely preceded the XXVth, and Shabatka came first.

703 BC
year 2 Shabaka
677 BC
year 14 Taharqa
Max. age: 26 years old
667 BC
year 24 Taharqa
Max. age: 10 years old

Ok, here, the possibilities are much more numerous...  Bakenranef, whom Manetho told us got killed by the first king of dynasty XXV (not including Piy), is almost certainly to be kept before the later, and so the date of c712 mentioned earlier remains a good approximation, making the bull of 703 BC some 9 years old.  The Shabatka fragment could then either date to that first Bakenranef burial or to his coregency with Shabaka.  It is of course for the year 4 that things get messier.  A year 4 of Taharqa is perhaps the simplest bet, but the style, which Vercouter compares to those of year 6 of Bakenranef, get separated of their "stylistic brothers" by a further Apis bull.  (The later burial being so badly attested, this problem may not matter at all.)  Another possible solution could be to equate year 4 of Shabatka with year 6 of Bakenranef.  In any case, since a bull probably died in year 2 of Shabaka, he is an unlikely candidate for the year 4.  I'll let the reader ponder at the possibilities of a non Nubian king's fourth year or a reattribution of Shabaka's stela.

#3 (1/0): The late XXIInd dynasty overlaps the XXVth, and Shabaka came first.

712 BC
year 2 Shabaka
703 BC
year 11 Shoshenq V
Max. age: 9 years old
677 BC
year 14 Taharqa = year 37 Shoshenq V
Age: 25 years old
667 BC
year 24 Taharqa
Max. age: 10 years old

As with scheme #1 above, we first keep the Shabaka/Bakenrenef equation.  When it comes to year 4, however, the choices are somewhat more complex.  Shabatka and Taharqa are clearly out of the question (which leaves unexplained the presence of the former's name in the Vaults).  Likewise, the other obvious choice here, Shoshenq V, would put it in 710 BC, also the 4th of Shabaka, unlikely because one had died only 2 years earlier.  So, the option discussed back in #4.4 above (year 4 of Pedubast II) is probably the most likely (the stylistic connection to Bakenranef's 6th year would then just be a sign of style persistence.)

Another possibility with this bull would be to accept MIA's position that the Shabaka stela could be redated to later in the Nubian's reign, perhaps to his year 11 (as with that of Shoshenq V).  Now, the 4th year of Shoshenq V again becomes an interesting alternative, with the consequence that Shabaka wouldn't have captured the western principality of Bakenranef (with Sais and Memphis) before his 4th year (when he is first acknowledged in Sais!).  As above, the numerous possible matches of non Bubastite or non Nubian kings as contenders for year 4 will be left to the reader.

#4 (1/1): The late XXIInd dynasty overlaps the XXVth, and Shabatka came first.

703 BC
year 2 Shabaka = year 11 Shoshenq V
677 BC
year 14 Taharqa = year 37 Shoshenq V
Age: 25 years old
667 BC
year 24 Taharqa
Max. age: 10 years old

As with schemes #1 and #3 above, the scarcity of material for the Shabaka Apis is explained by it's connection to another, better known burial.  As in #3 also, the same thing is true for the year 14 one.  Moreover, it is here that Mariette's original attribution of the year 4 to Shoshenq V becomes fully alive.  We'd here get year 4 in 710 BC, Shabatka's third year.  Interestingly, this 3rd year is the one in which he is definitely known as king of Egypt (Rohl, at least, places his coronation in that year, [A Test of Time, Century, 1995 (Thereafter refered to as RAToT), Appendix A]).  Now, if Shabatka only got full control of Egypt that year, it must also have been the last of Bakenranef.  Thus, the equation year 4 Shoshenq V = year 3 Shabatka = year 6 Bakenranef = 710 BC gains in likelihood.   As in #2 above, the Shabatka fragment in the Vaults is readily accounted for. (Mariette later said that Bakenranef's Apis was also buried with the last of Shoshenq V...  perhaps what he actually saw was material of the later's 4th year, but his belief that XXIInd dynasty had come before the XXIVth lead him to believe what he saw came from much later in Shoshenq V's reign.)

Overall, this author obviously much prefers this last scheme, as it seems to be the one that explains the most features in the Vaults, with a minimum of redating of its texts.  If working hypothsesis 2 should proves wrong (which is likely!), scheme #3, especially if the Shabaka stela could be redated to either year 4 or 11, becomes most likely.  Finally, if both working hypothesis somehow prove wrong the first scheme would became the most straightforward and simple, although all four (plus their numerous variations!) of them are credible, as far as the Serapeum data is concerned.


6 - Apises of the mid-XXIInd dynasty

6.1 - Apis of year 2 of Pimay

This Apis is known from five dated stelae (SIM 3697, 3736, 4205 and 3441 [Cat. # 22 to 25, respectively; KTIPE §308] as well as new document SRB 18525) and doubtless many others attributable to this general period.  From these, we learn the following facts for this bull:
Birth: year 28 of Shoshenq III, II-Akhet 1
Installation: year 28 of Shoshenq III, presumably 9 months after the date of birth
Death: year 2 of Pimay, III-Akhet 13 [misreading for 22?]
Burial: year 2 of Pimay, II-Peret 1
Age: 26 years old [presumably inclusive]

The information given on these stelae is of crucial chronological importance.  Indeed, from them, we learn that the Apis died aged 26, that is 25 years old in our modern reckoning method.  As he was born on a II-Akhet 1 and died in a III-Akhet, he was actually 25 years and about a month and a half old at death.  This, in turn, puts Shoshenq III's 28th year 25 years before year 2.  Assuming, for the sake of the argument, that Pimay directly succeeded Shoshenq III, then the later died during his 52nd year.   Actually, at least one, if not two, other king(s) ruled between Shoshenq III and Pimay.  This (Those) reign(s) must be fitted within the clear parameters defined by the Serapeum stelae.

We are fortunate to have, for one last time, a clear indication of the bull's age at death.  For most previous Apis death discussions, we finished by determining its age.  Yet, this discussion was impossible for all the Apises that began the tables prepared in section 5.4 allow a conclusion based solely on Serapeum.  In all schemes, indeed, the age at death of the Bakenranef Bull is totally unknown, and none of the proposed identification (year 2 Shabaka or year 4 Shoshenq V) shed any more light.  In schemes 3 and 4, we thus have an unknown amount of years between the last attested year of Pimay (year 6 [KTIPE §83]) and his son's first (whether the next bull died in year 4 or 11).  In schemes 1 and 2, this gap remains, but a second one appears between the last of Shoshenq V and the first of Bakenranef.  This (These) gap(s), and with them the age(s) of the concerned Apis(es) must be resolved from data outside of the Serapeum and as such will no further be addressed here.

6.2 - Apis of year 28 of Shoshenq III

The previous Apis died a few days [or perhaps just hours...] before the birth of his long lived successor.  This bull is known only from SIM 3749 [Cat. # 21, some undated stelae of this period are probably also to be attributed to this bull], recorded by the Great Chief of the Ma (of Memphis), Pediese, who had also made 2 of the 5 stelae [Cat. # 22 and # 23, actually by his son] from the Pimay Apis.  However, this first time around, he didn't give us as much information.  Indeed, only the "year 28 of Shoshenq III" dateline is given on the stela.  In other words, this bull's age remains completely unknown to us.

6.3 - An Apis early under Shoshenq III?

The average of the Apis bulls of the late period being of some 15 to 19 years, Kitchen [KTIPE, part 6, table 20], followed by MIA, proposed that an Apis died in the first decade of Shoshenq III.  This hypothesis is reasonable, but no certain trace has ever been found to prove it.

A popular hypothesis for mid-XXIInd dynasty chronology is to consider a large overlap of the reigns of Takelot II and Shoshenq III (see, for example, D.A. Aston JEA 75(1989) [non vid.]; J. Goldberg, DE 29(1994); RAToT, Appendix A; and J. von Beckerath, Chronologie des pharaonischen Ägypten, MÄS 46, 1997 [non vid.]).  While a slight disagreement remains on the actual length of the overlap [Shoshenq III's reign either began 2 (Rohl), 3 (Goldberg) or 4 (von Beckerath) years after that of Takelot II], this hypothesis is quite strong and makes unnecessary any early Shoshenq III Apis, as shown in the next sections.

6.4 - An Apis in year 14 of Takelot II?

In his book, Mariette attributes an Apis to year 14 of Takelot II, claiming that stelae with that dateline were found as well as a block bearing the names of Takelot and the Memphite high priest of Ptah Merenptah [the bloc was included in the catalogue as Cat.  #19].  Unfortunately, the stelae were never seen by anyone else but Mariette (unless they were, in fact, those now attributed to Taharqa's 14th year) and the block has recently been reattributed to Takelot I, not II. [KTIPE 1995 Preface, §V].  So, it seems Mariette's attribution is doubtful at best.

Still, two further stelae may shed some light on this period.  The first is SIM 2810 [Cat. # 20].  Originally included by Mariette amongst the stelae of Shoshenq's 28th year, the stela's date actually reads "year 10+x" where x occupies a short space, thus 4 or less.  No pharaoh being mentioned, it could refer to Takelot II (or, dare I propose, to the putative Apis described in section 6.3?).  The second stela is one that never gets mentioned in Kitchen, nor in MIA's article in JACF.  Yet, just a couple years later, in his thesis, he mentions en passant a stela from the Alexandria Museum confirming the year 14 Takelot II attribution.  Now, yours truly is really intrigued by this...  Once again, such an important stela never gets mentioned in other recent serapeum literature, yet MIA only manages one line of text for this document, plus the reference.  And these references are not anything new, but rather date back to 1904 [Daressy, ASAE 5(1904), p. 121(XXIV); and Porter and Moss, III3, p.786].  The author would be grateful to anyone who could verify the above references and tell me what this stela is all about, and how it confirms the year 14 date.

6.5 - Apis of year 23 of Osorkon II

This previous burial is known, like that of Shoshenq's 28th year, thanks to only one stela [SIM 3090, Cat. # 18].  Also as with the above mentioned Apis, only the year of the death (or burial) is recorded, and nothing is known about its age.  And it is the earliest clearly attested XXIInd dynasty burial.

So...  Where does that leave us?  The last well known Apis was buried in the second year of Pimay having lived over 25 years.  The previous Apis died in year 28 of Shoshenq III, just shortly before his successor's death.  Let's say he lived a maximum of D years. D years earlier under Shoshenq III then, his own predecessor was himself buried, having lived a maximum of, say, C years.  This Bull was preceded by one that probably died in year 14(?) of Takelot II, after a life lasting a maximum of, say, B years.  Most likely then, B years before this Apis gets us back to year 23 of Osorkon.  Following the same logic, our first certain bull of dynasty XXII would have had a maximum age of A years old.  Of course, the exact value of these constants are unknown and can only be deduced from data independent of the Serapeum.  To set limits, none of them are likely to be over 26.  On the other hand, B and especially C may in fact be zero (i.e. in the case of coregencies, these bulls never even existed).

6.6 - Apises earlier in the XXIInd dynasty??

Of the many published stelae datable on stylistic grounds to the XXIInd dynasty, none is dated any earlier than the 23rd year of Osorkon II.  Should we conclude from such an absence of precise datelines that no bulls where buried in the Serapeum in that period?  Most probably not.

Indeed, an embalming table of the Apis bull bearing the cartouches of Shoshenq I, founder of the XXIInd dynasty, was made by the high priest of Ptah Shedsunefertem A, (who probably became high priest very late in Shoshenq I's reign). Furthermore, MIA reports having read the name of a priest of the first Shoshenq's funerary cult on an unpublished stela found during his excavations [It has subsequently been published, BSEG 20 (1996)].  Therefore, an Apis bull almost certainly died and was buried in the last few years of Shoshenq I (whose highest known regnal year is 21[KTIPE §88]).

Somewhat later in the dynasty, the already mentioned blocs bearing the names of Takelot I [section 6.4 above] are probably witness to a following Apis, allowing us to postulate at least two Apises in early XXIInd dynasty, and almost certainly a third one, dying earlier under Shoshenq I.  Still, this may perhaps not be enough to bridge the whole dynasty.  In the end, then, the Serapeum is of very little help in establishing the correct chronology before the reign of Osorkon II.


7 - An Apis-based chronology for the late TIP

In this new section, yours truly will attempt to draw a new Apis based chronology for the late TIP, exclusively through Serapeum material.  Of course, such an approach will leave a few gaps of unknown lengths that will have to be settled by exterior help.  Also, as exemplified by the discussions back in section 5.4, in order to produce such a chronology, I obviously have to make choices.  Here are the hypothesis followed:

I) The coincidence of the dates of the Shoshenq V year 11 and Taharqa year 14 seems too strong.  We therefore accept our working hypothesis, reducing the possibilities to schemes number 3 and 4 of section 5.3. (Note: For a more conventional vision, simply report to MIA's solution as given in part 2 of this work with the possible modification proposed in section 5.4 scheme 1.)

II) Mariette's original attribution of the year 4 stela to Shoshenq V becomes the most compelling solution.

III) The Shabaka stela should be redated to either year 4 or 11 if it becomes proven that he was the first, as is usually thought.  But the actual order of the reigns of Shabaka and Shabatka isn't of crucial importance here.

Let's first draw a summary table of all Apis burial following the above conclusions.  Unavailable information will be marked as NA, or deduced and written in regular sized character.  Finally, the ages given in the last column, when unknown from the monuments, are the maximum possible non inclusive ages (i.e. assuming the bull was born the day his predecessor died, with a possible correction, see below table).

late Shoshenq I
Takelot I
year 23 Osorkon II
year 14(?) Takelot II
early Shoshenq III
year 28 Shoshenq III
year 28 of Shoshenq III, II-Akhet 1
year 2 Pimay, III-Akhet 22 (?)
year 2 Pimay (?)
year 4 Shoshenq V
year 6 Bakenranef, I-Akhet 5 (?)
7 + X *
year 4 Shoshenq V (?)
year 11 Shoshenq V, II-Akhet 18
year 11 of Shoshenq V, III-Shemou (?)
year 37 Shoshenq V, III-Akhet 27
year 14 Taharqa, III-Akhet 27 (?)
26 *
year 14 Taharqa (?)
year 24 Taharqa, IV-Peret 23
year 25 Taharqa
year 20 of Psamtik I, IV-Shemou 20/1

* Here is the explanation behind the age of the year 2 Pimay Apis.  It was born, at the earliest, on the 22nd of III-Akhet of the second year of Pimay.  This king is known to have ruled at the very least 5 complete years .  On III-Akhet 22 of this 5th year, then, the bull would reach 3 years old.  Then comes an unknown amount of remaining complete years, here noted X.  On III-Akhet 22 of Pimay's last complete year, the bull would thus reach 3 + X years old.  Three years later, on III-Akhet 22, year 3 of Shoshenq V, he celebrates his (6+X)th birthday, and dies 10 months later.  For chronological computations, however, we will consider all bulls as having been born on the new year's day, and thus our bull gains one more year.  The same is true of the bull born late in year 11 of Shoshenq III and dead early in the same king's 37th year, not yet 26.  No other bull where the age is known (or can be deduced) needs such an adjustment.

Apis #
year of death
year of death (BC)
 Year 23 Osorkon II
742 + B + C + D + X
 Year 14(?) Takelot II
742 + C + D + X
 Year ? Shoshenq III 
742 + D + X
 Year 28 Shoshenq III
742 + X
 Year 2 Pimay
717 + X
 Year 4 Shoshenq V
Year 6 Bakenrenef
Year 11 Shoshenq V
Year 24 Taharqa
Year 37 Shoshenq V
Year 24 Taharqa
Year 20 Psamtik I

At a minimum, all constants but D could be zero...  This would introduce a complex situation of coregencies in the mid dynasty period.  In any case, the first years of reign (assuming they all began on the civil new year's day) under our hypothesis fell on:

XXIInd Dynasty
Year 1 begins in... (BC)
Osorkon II
 764 + B + C + D + X
Takelot II
  755 + C + D + X (?)
Shoshenq III
769 + X
 718 + X
Shoshenq V
XXIVth Dynasty
XXVth Dynasty

A further possible problem arises with the idea of the new year's day.  The "civil" calendar of the ancient Egyptians began on I-Akhet 1.  Yet, during the New Kingdom period pharaohs would start their regnal years on the day of their coronation.  Kings of the Late period (at least from dynasty XXV, as Piy's victory stela appears to imply, see for example MBP p.168) reverted to the more ancient practice of having their 1st regnal day "retroactively" set on the I-Akhet 1 preceding their rise to power.  In this second method, civil years and regnal years are exactly the same and our computations are exact.

In the New Kingdom method, however, the New Year day changes with every reign and we see incomplete years of various and unknown lengths cropping between all reigns.  It is not known exactly when the Egyptians reverted to the simple method, and so there is a possibility that the XXIInd dynasty kings used the New Kingdom way.  If this should prove true, then the dates in the above table would gain uncertainties of one year for the first year of Shoshenq V, 2 years for year 1 of Pimay, and so on, adding one more year of uncertainty for each previous pharaoh.  Some known ages may also have to be recalculated as they may be influenced by such nuances...  This problem will need an article on its own.

8 - Appendixes

8.1 - The location of each burial within the Lesser Vaults

    Where exactly in the Serapeum was buried each Apis remains a mystery to this day.  As said back in section 5.2, Mariette himself wrote two slightly conflicting versions of his ideas, perhaps not reflecting anything more than his own speculations.  If the lesser vaults of the Serapeum had been recovered in a better state, then certainly Mariette would not have had any problem in giving us a one unique and correct sequence.

I. Mariette's plan locations for late TIP burials (room numbers refer to the plan, taken from MIA and Rohl's JACF 2 article):

Chamber 7: year 28 Shoshenq III / year 2 Pimay
Chamber 8: years 11 and 37 Shoshenq V
Chamber 9: year 4 Shoshenq V
Chamber 10: year 6 Bakenranef / year 2 Shabaka
Chamber 11: year 24 Taharqa / year 21 Psamtik I

II. Mariette's report locations for late TIP burials:

Chamber 7: year 28 Shoshenq III / year 2 Pimay
Chamber 8: years 4 and 11 Shoshenq V
Chamber 9: year 37 Shoshenq V / year 6 Bakenranef
Chamber 10:  year 2 Shabaka
Chamber 11: year 24 Taharqa / year 21 Psamtik I

III. MIA's theses' proposition locations for late TIP burials:

Chambers 3, 4, XB and XC: Early to mid XXIInd burials
Chamber 7: year 28 Shoshenq III / year 2 Pimay
Chamber 8: 11 Shoshenq V
Chamber 9: year 37 Shoshenq V / year 6 Bakenranef
Chamber 10:  year 12 Shabaka (or year 2 Shabatka)
Chamber XD: years 4 and 14 Taharqa
Chamber XE: year 24 Taharqa
Chamber 11: year 21 Psamtik I

From the two first propositions, we see clearly Mariette's statement that most rooms contained two or more burials.  While the small number of Ramesside time chambers compared with the same era's many burials seems to favour this view, it is rather surprising that this approach for later periods leaves two rooms (XD and XE) completely unused!  Why then were they dug in the first place?  This author rather suggests that, from the mid XXIInd dynasty, the bulls were buried individually, a natural consequence if the major importance the Apis cult took from that period and on (a consequence only partly acknowledged by MIA's new solution).  I would therefore propose this alternative rearrangement:

Chamber I: Early XXIInd dynasty burials
Chamber XC: year 23 Osorkon II (perhaps = year 14 Takelot II = early Shoshenq III)
Chamber 7: year 2 Pimay
Chamber 8: year 28 Shoshenq III
Chamber 9: year 4 Shoshenq V = year 6 Bakenranef
Chamber 10:  year 11 Shoshenq V (perhaps = year 2 Shabaka)
Chamber XD: year 37 Shoshenq V
Chamber XE: year 24 Taharqa
Chamber 11: year 21 Psamtik I

8.2 - A new fourth prophet of Amun?

Among the new documents discovered by Mohammed Ibrahim Aly was a graffito with genealogical information on the famous Montemhat family of the late XXVth / early XXVIth dynasties.  It brings little new information, except for the added title of Fourth prophet of Amun to the father of Montemhat A, Nesptah A, an otherwise well known mayor of Thebes.  As this Nesptah is so well known otherwise and never bears the title of 4th prophet, one wonders if he may have received the office just before dying, or the title may have been bestowed upon him by his like named grand-son, himself a 4th prophet of Amun, on a purely honorific basis.  In any case, his name may have to be added to the long list of fourth prophets of Amun of Thebes.

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