"May you live again, may you live again
for thousands of years"
The Sun Disc Aten , the Face of Re, blazed down on the land in noontime fury. Waves of heat rose like the waters of the Nile in flood, blurring the air until outlines and edges of everything took on a mirage-dream quality. Hot and humid, no one wanted to linger long.
Prince Tut-Ankh-Aten raced onto the front terrace of the Palace, the Grand Entrance from the Royal Road of Aten that ran the length of the city. He wore a white linen headdress, striped in light blue, called a nemset, that fit over a light high frame made of reeds to hold the cloth off the head and shield it from the summer sun of Aten's heat. His gold blazed in the sun from necklace, bracelets, amulets-they would heat up fast.
Golden chariots pulled up at the foot of the terrace. Horses, plumed with ostrich and gold-covered harness, plunged to a stop and reared up in a showy entrance. Queen Nefertiti, the extremely beautiful one, drove the foremost one herself, her three younger daughters followed in three other golden chariots. Servants were racing ahead with water carts, sprinkling the road from large pierced jugs to settle the dust.
Queen Nefertiti was exceedingly beautiful with her large dark eyes extravagantly outlined in malachite paint, golden skin was burnished by the sun and precious oils, long straight narrow nose, large well-shaped red lips, tall and still slender, mother of six beautiful princesses. Attar of Damascus roses drifted around her. She wore a long, pleated, flowing white dress of thin gauze-like linen, with pleated shawl sleeves. Over this a broad golden collar of beads and molded shapes of ankhs and flowers, golden bracelets, armlets, rings and golden sandals. Sporting a pair of light driving gloves, she held two sets of reins to the horses.
On her head, her signature blue crown, tall blue cylinder with a rakish angled top, was tied around with embroidered golden ribbons the ends of which fluttered at her nape and mounted with the Royal Cobra of Egypt on her brow.
She blazed in the sun, Aten's face, in her gold-covered chariot drawn by a pair of golden stallions adorned with colorful ostrich plumes and many dangling, gaudy and golden trappings.
The three little princesses were gowned like their mother in white pleated flowing dresses, belted with golden ribbons long and fluttering and lightweight driving gloves. Their little heads sported thick long sidelocks braided with golden ribbons. The grooms who rode with them, jumped down to make room for Tut's companions.
Tut-Ankh-Aten immediately sprang ;up into the Queen's chariot and the three lucky older schoolmates, Khai, Hiknefer and Huy, respectfully bowing and nodding, joined the three princesses in their chariots. Escorting soldiers and servants ran ahead of the group and more behind.
The entourage set out south along the Royal Road of the Sun, sunlight flashing blindingly off the Royal chariots, disorienting all who saw them pas in the heat-mirage of the day.
Into the temple they pass, the unroofed open to the Sun temple, into the intense light of the Aten, Re at his full strength, overpowering, unbearable, the turquoise of the sky fading into white, the quality of a dream with furnace heat.
The Queen and the young Prince seem to be the only ones immune to the punishing heat of the Sun at His Zenith. With their golden skin, the white of her robes and his kilt and headdress, and the glare of the gold the wear, they seem creatures, gods, made of pure light as they proceed stately to the altar offering handfuls of flowers to the Sun. Their servants bound forward and place bountiful loads of bread, vegetables, fruits and more flowers upon the Great Altar of the Sun. Sweet incense is lit, fragrant smoke rising in the heat, making more magical the moment.
The Queen and the Prince sang a son of praise to The Aten:
The many devotees in the temple sang in response:"May the Good God live
The Queen, the Prince and the Princesses stepped forward and laid their flowers, mandrakes and lotuses, on the offerings heaped on the Great Altar. They raised their arms to the Sun over their heads and sang their Benediction to the massed devotees of Aten:"May the Father live,
The people sang:"The Rays of Aten are a protection over thee,
And the people moved forward to present their offerings on their separate personal altars around the immense temple courtyard."Ankh em Maet.
The Queen and the Prince casually stroll out of the temple, followed by the princesses, Tut's fellow-students, and their servants. They stop in the shaded colonnade for cooling drinks. Devotees began to follow them out.
They remount the waiting chariots, cheered by the waiting populace. The spirited horses turn and they drive back to the Palace of Beauty, dust rising in their wake. They disappear into the wavering haze of heat.
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|Copyright © 2001, René O'Deay
Revised -- April 30, 2002