Queen Nefertiti (Crown Her Series)

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Neferneferuaten Nefertiti was an Egyptian queen and the Great Royal wife of Akhenaten, as well as an Egyptian Pharaoh. Nefertiti, whose name means “a beautiful woman has come,” ruled with her husband during the 14th century (1353-1336 BCE). Little is known about the origins of Nefertiti, but her legacy of power and beauty continue to intrigue scholars today. Evidence suggests that she hailed from the town Akhmim and is the daughter or niece of a high official named Ay. Other theories have suggested that she was born in a foreign country, possibly Syria.

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Nefertiti was one of the most mysterious and powerful women in ancient Egypt. The exact date when Nefertiti married Amenhotep III’s son, the pharoah Amenhotep IV is unknown. It is believed she was 15 when they wed which may have been before Akhenaten assumed the throne. Nefertiti and her husband were known for a revolution of religion. They worshipped one god only, Aten, or the sun disc. Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten and Nerfertiti changed hers to Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti to honor the deity.  It is believed that the king and queen were priests and that it was only through them that ordinary citizens could obtain access to Aten. They reigned in at what was arguably the wealthiest period of Ancient Egyptian history.

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The king and his head queen were seemingly inseparable in reliefs, they were often shown riding in chariots together and even kissing in public. It’s been stated that the couple may have had a genuine romantic connection, a dynamic not generally seen in depictions of ancient pharaohs. They had six daughters, with speculation that they may have also had a son. Artwork from the day depicts the couple and their daughters in an unusually individualistic and naturalistic style, more so from earlier eras. The world famous bust of Nefertiti was found in 1912 by German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt, found during his excavations of Tell el-Amarna, the new capital city founded by Akhenaten, “Suddenly we had the most alive Egyptian artwork in our hands, Ludwig Borchardt wrote in his diary for 1912. You cannot describe it in words. You can only see it.”

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Some scholars believe that Nefertiti ruled briefly as Neferneferaten after her husbands death and before the ascension of Tutankhamun. Nefertiti did rule as Pharaoh, her reign was marked by the fall of Amarna and relocation of the capital back to the traditional city of Thebes. In several reliefs, she is shown wearing thrown of a pharaoh or smiting her enemies in battle. Despite this great power, Nefertiti disappears from all depictions after 12 years. The reasons for her disappearance is unknown. Some scholars believed she died, while others speculate she was elevated to the status of coregent- equal in power to the pharaoh- and begun to dress herself as a man. Other theories suggest she became known as Pharaoh Smenkhkare, ruling Egypt after her husband’s death or that she was exiled when the worship of deity Amen-Ra came back into vogue.

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Published by Kim Marie

Writer, photographer

2 thoughts on “Queen Nefertiti (Crown Her Series)

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