“Ruler of the Nile,” “Daughter of gods,” and “Empress of the Mediterranean” or let us say Nefertiti; she was the female pharaoh who followed Hatshepsut and remained more controversial than her precedent. Nefertiti was the Queen of Egypt and co-ruled Egypt between 1379 and 1358 BC. She was the daughter of Ay (who would become Pharaoh after Tutankhamun’s death) and the beloved wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten. Nefertiti and Akhenaten had six daughters but no sons. Her name literally means ’a beautiful woman has arrived’.
As a woman, Queen Nefertiti followed the tradition of being her husband’s partner in life, and as much she supported Akhenaton in his religious mission. Akhenaton made a unique impression on Egypt’s history, when he began to promote the worship of one god above all others – the ’sun-god’ Re or Ra. The queen actively involved in her husband’s restructuring policies, she is shown wearing kingly regalia, executing foreign prisoners. Both – Nefertiti and Akhenaton – were said to be very much in love and at times inseparable. Many pictures show the whole family in domestic scenes. She seemed to be a beloved wife and mother. King Akhenaton’s love was noted as legendary – the following is a love letter/poem to his Queen Nefertiti:
“…The Heiress, Great in Favour, Lady of Grace, Sweet of Love, Mistress of the South and North, Fair of Face, Gay with two Plumes, Beloved of the Living Aten (the king), the Chief Wife of the King whom he Loves, Lady of the two Lands, Great of love, Nefertiti, Living Forever and Ever…”
Throughout the Eighteenth Dynasty royal women played a significant and visible role in state and religious affairs. Nefertiti continued this tradition by actively assisting her husband in his attempt to convert Egypt to monotheism; she was an enthusiastic supporter and a full partner in the process of spreading the new religion. No look at the life of Nefertiti would be complete without a review of this religious revolution. She was influential in establishing one of the world’s first monotheistic religions. Moreover, Nefertiti was pictured killing the enemies of Egypt in a scene normally reserved for pharaohs and she was shown with her husband awarding gold to royal favorites at the Window of Appearance.
By Year 14 of Akhenaten’s reign Nefertiti had disappeared from view yet there is no record of her death nor has her mummy or place of burial been found. This has led to considerable speculation as to what happened. Some have suggested that the royal couple had a falling out and Nefertiti was banished in disgrace to her palace, Aten’s Castle. Others are quite convinced that Nefertiti changed her name to Smenkhkare, adopted the guise of a man and ruled as co-regent with her husband. The majority view is that Nefertiti died of natural causes (possibly the plague) as a great and honored queen.
Posted by: Yasmine Aladdin