Ay II., whose throne name was Kheperkheperure, was the last but one Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty and he ruled in 1,339 - 1,335 BC. Ay's coming to the throne was very difficult and long, he had to wait through the reign of several kings before him, who all died under strange circumstances.
Ay II. and his long career
Ay's career began under Amenhotep III. rule; he served him faithfully as an advisor and scribe. Later he helped Akhenaten, who devoted to a religious reform and neglected the state affairs. Akhenaten also left the royal city Waset and founded a new one – Akhetaten. Ay followed him there.
Amun's priests didn't agree with the reform and eliminated the heretic king. Ay's widsom and knowledge about state governance suited the new young king Smenkhkare. Smenkhkare didn't rule for long and similarly to Akhenaten he died under weird circumstances. Excluding general Horemheb, the army commandant, Ay was the most powerful man in Egypt at that time.
After the death of Smenkhkare, Ay became a guardian of famous underage Pharaoh Tutankhamun, whose original name was Tutankhaten. It was just Ay who led the king to the name change and the cult of Aten was totally rejected. Ay wasn't only a guardian of young Tutankhamun, he was also a viceroy, co-ruler and so he exceeded his enemy Horemheb.
Ay finally a Pharaoh
Ay married a beautiful widow Ankhesenamun after Tutankhamun's sudden death and he ruled the Egypt. He let buried Tutankhamun into a small tomb, because the tomb built for Tutankhamun hadn't been finished yet - nobody expected that Tutankhamun would die at such a young age. Ay made the whole ceremony (who else?) – from choosing the funeral equipment to mouth opening and tomb sealing.
But it wasn't that easy with Ankhesenamun, who refused Ay's proposal and she even proposed the Hittite king Suppiluliuma I for one of his sons. Suppiluliuma I checked her request out and really sent his son to her. But Horemheb let murder the Hittite prince at the moment he entered the Egyptian colonies. That didn't improve the tensed situation between these powerful countries.
Ay and his career was very successful and he got many titles through this period. Except „God's Father“ he was also appointed as „Fan-bearer on the Right Side of the King“ and „Overseer of All the Horses of His Majesty“, then „Acting Scribe of the King, beloved by him“ and many other significant appreciations. The following sign confirmed that he was more than fine: he got „thousand of thousands loads of gold and many other things“ from the king .
Tomb in the Monkey Valley
The Ay's place of the last rest is situated on the west from the Valley of the Kings near the tomb of Amenhotep III. This place is disreputably called „Monkey Valley“. The tomb of Ay is also called without dignity – it is called „Monkey tomb“ according to preserved part of wall decoration with paintings of twelve sitting monkeys.
The successor of Ay, Horemheb, actes as bad as possible – he let devastated the tomb of Ay. Despite this several reliefs were preserved, where was Ay depicted as a Nile God. Fragment of these reliefs is placed in Museum of Fine Arts in Boston today. Another depiction of Ay is his head without a crown, which is placed in the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo and Ay's picture is on wall painting in the tomb of Tutankhamun.