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Queen Nefertiti (1379 B.C. – 1362 B.C.)
Nefertiti was addressed by her people as “Ruler of the Nile,” “Daughter of Gods,” and “Empress of the Mediterranean.” According to contemporary archaeologists, Queen Nefertiti, wife of Pharaoh Akhenaton, may very well have wielded the major political and religious power of her day. If this is so, Nefertiti was influential in establishing what was perhaps the world’s first monotheistic religion, the worship of the sun-god Aton.
Archaeologists state that evidence confirms Nefertiti’s preeminence during her husband’s reign. They point to the fact that temple carvings of Queen Nefertiti dominated those of Pharaoh Akhenaton. Never in the history of ancient Egypt had a temple in the countries emphasized a woman over a king. This is a very strong indication, according to contemporary historians, that Nefertiti matched her husband in religious stature. Nefertiti was the only queen addressed in prayers and, therefore, according divinity while her husband was still alive.
Further, inscriptions on stone panels indicate that Nefertiti had ideas of her own regarding possible locations for the new capital that was built by Akhenaton. Archaeologist further confirm that never before in Egyptian history has there been a recorded concession where a queen expressed ideas different from those of the Pharaoh. Some portraits of Nefertiti show her wearing the pharaoh’s crown, and some historians have concluded that upon Akhenaton’s death, Nefertiti assumed the role of Pharaoh Smenkhkare, who reigned briefly after Akhenaton and prior to Tutankhamon.
On a familial note, Nefertiti was the mother of six daughters and, for several years, she cared for Tutankhamon. During her husband’s reign, the royal family set an example of natural family life. The royal couple kissed and embraced their children in public, and they took them riding through the streets. They depicted in many informal scenes. Queen Nefertiti and her daughters made many appearances from the royal balcony. Despite the closeness between Nefertiti and Akhenaton, he had at least one other wife. Some historians suggest that Tutankhamon may have been the offspring of King Akhenaton by the lesser wife, Kiya.
One of Nefertiti’s daughters, Ankhesenamon, was the wife of King Tutankhamon. Upon the death of Tutankhamon, Ankhesenamon was determined to hold the throne herself, and as such she considered marrying the King of the Hittites’ son. However, the prince died enroute to Egypt. In addition to Ankhesenamon, another one of Nefertiti’s daughters ascended to the throne.
It is suggested that after the twelfth year of Akhenaton’s reign, Nefertiti apparently was out of grace with the king. Consequently, she lived in a separate palace, and it appears that she was deprived of her throne and functions as the royal wife. No matter how dominate Nefertiti’s personality was, she apparently had no desire to upstage her husband, and whatever power she may have wielded was done in a subtle and respectable fashion. Like her husband, Nefertiti’s name was stricken from official records and other monuments bearing her name were destroyed by their successors.
Nefertiti’s famous life-size bust depicts a beautiful woman and it precisely echoes her praise in a Egyptian hymn as “youthful forever and ever.” The bust eloquently speaks to her ageless beauty and was designed by an artist, named Tuthmosa (not the pharaoh), and is housed in a museum in Berlin. It is considered one of the artistic masterpieces of all time.
Excerpt from A Salute To Historic African Kings & Queens.
This is only a summarize of the life of Queen Nefertiti.