Nakhtmin is believed to be the son of Tutankhamun’s Vizier Ay, sometimes spelled Aye, during the 18th Dynasty. Not much is known about Nakhtmin as he is just as mysterious as Ay and his reign. His presence during the 18th Dynasty is unclear to say the least. There are not many artifacts found that disclose information about his origins, his life, or his stance in the 18th Dynasty. In fact, this lack of evidence has led some historians to wonder if two men with the same name of Nakhtmin did not reside within the courts of Tutankhamun and Ay. This is due to another person also having the same name but married to Mutemnub. Mutemnub is thought to be a sister to Tey, also a wife of Ay.
If Nakhtmin was indeed Ay’s son, he would have inherited the throne after Ay, but one thing is certain – he never did! Sometime after Ay attained the throne, Nakhtmin disappears and there is no more reference to him even after Horemheb gets the throne. It is believed that Nakhtmin may have died before Ay’s reign was finished.
As mysterious as Nakhtmin is, so is his family tree. It has been suggested that his mother is Iuy, wife to Ay, and also mother to the famous queen Nefertiti and inferably also Mutnodjmet.
Nakhtmin: Two People or One?
The first instance of Nakhtmin comes from Tutankhamun’s tomb. Within Tutankhamun’s tomb several ushabti figures were offered as gifts to Tutankhamun by Nakhtmin himself. These figures were magical servants that were placed with the young pharaoh should he ever be called to do any labor in the Afterlife. These ushabti figures found in Tutankhamun’s tomb were inscribed with the name Nakhtmin on them and the jobs they were appointed to do such as: “the servant who makes the master’s name live,” “Fan bearer on the King’s right,” “The royal scribe,” “the true servant who is beneficial to his lord,” and “the servant beloved of his lord.” With this being said, Nakhtmin also held the title or position of generalissimo under Tutankhamun’s rule as pharaoh. He was seen as someone close to the king and must have reported to him often; therefore, attaining the above title inscriptions.
A statue of Nakhtmin and his wife, most likely Mutnodjmet, can be found in the Egyptian Museum of Cairo. In this instance, it makes reference to Nakhtmin as son-in-law to the king. The discrepancy may come from wording found that could be translated to mean “son of the king of his own body” which would indicate he was Ay’s son, or it could be translated to mean “son of the king of Kush” which indicates he held the title of Viceroy. This latter translation is probably not plausible due to the fact that there was already a person named Paser holding the Viceroy title during this time and it could not have been Nakhtmin; thereby, giving more weight to Nakhtmin being the son. If Nakhtmin was in fact a son-in-law, then it is believed he attained this status by marrying Ay’s daughter Mutnodjmet.
Though Nakhtmin lived within the 18th Dynasty, there are no texts linking him as the same person working for King Tut or as the son of Ay. For this reason, many historians are careful about proclaiming him as one person. Placing Nakhtmin with Ay is important as he would have been the next person to inherit the throne after his father died. This did not happen as Horemhab attained the throne after Ay’s death. Nothing is known about what happed to Nakhtmin and his story continues to bring up answered questions. The facts around this person or
persons, if there are two, are very unclear.
Statues of Nakhtmin
There are no remaining statues of Nakhtmin with the exception of one that is on display in the Egyptian Museum of Cairo. Unfortunately, this statue has been damaged and is now in two fragments. The statue is believed to be that of him and his wife; however, the faces are chipped. The chips are most noticeable around the eyes and mouth regions which suggest they may have been deliberately damaged. Who damaged these statues? Was this done during Horemheb’s reign? These are questions still left to be resolved and hopefully in time, more viable information will surface that will give us the true history of Nakhtmin.