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 Nefertiti the queen

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PostSubject: Nefertiti the queen   13/11/2010, 7:41 pm

Nefertiti (c. 1370 BC – c. 1330 BC) wasthe GreatRoyal Wife (chief consort) of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten.Nefertiti and her husband were known for a religious revolution, in which theystarted to worship one god only. This was Aten, or the sun disc.
Nefertiti had many titles including HereditaryPrincess (iryt-p`t), Great of Praises (wrt-hzwt), Lady of Grace (nbt-im3t),Sweet of Love (bnrt-mrwt), Lady of The Two Lands (nbt-t3wy), Main King’s Wife,his beloved (hmt-niswt-‘3t meryt.f), Great King’s Wife, his beloved(hmt-niswt-wrt meryt.f), Lady of all Women (hnwt-hmwt-nbwt), and Mistress ofUpper and Lower Egypt (hnwt-Shm’w-mhw). [1]
She was made famous by her bust, now in Berlin's Neues Museum,shown to the right. The bust is one of the most copied works of ancient Egypt. Itwas attributed to the sculptor Thutmose, and it was found in his workshop. The bustis notable for exemplifying the understanding Ancient Egyptians had regardingrealistic facial proportions. Some scholars believe that Nefertiti ruledbriefly after her husband's death and before the accession of Tutankhamun as Neferneferuaten,although this identification is a matter of ongoing debate.[2]
A "housealtar" depicting Akhenaten, Nefertiti and three of their Daughters;limestone; New Kingdom, Amarna period, 18th dynasty; c. 1350 BC - Collection:Ägyptisches Museum Berlin, Inv. 14145
Nefertiti, egyptian Nfr.t-jy.tj, originalpronunciation approximately Nafteta, for (" the beauty has come ").Nefertiti's parentage is not known with certainty, but one often cited theoryis that she was the daughter of Ay,later to be pharaoh. Scenes inthe tombs of the nobles in Amarnamention the queen’s sister who is named Mutbenret(previously read as Mutnodjemet).[3] [4]
Another theory that gained some support identifiedNefertiti with the Mitanniprincess Tadukhipa. [5]

The exact dates of when Nefertiti was married toAmenhotep IV and later promoted to his Queen are uncertain. However, the couplehad six known daughters. This is a list with suggested years of birth: [4] [5]
A standing/stridingfigure of Nefertiti made of limestone. Originally from Amarna, part of the Ägyptisches Museum Berlin collection.

  • Meritaten: Before year one or the very beginning of year one.(1356 BC).
  • Meketaten: Year 1 or three (1349 BC).
  • Ankhesenpaaten, also known as Ankhesenamen, later queen of Tutankhamun
  • Neferneferuaten Tasherit: Year 6 (1344 BC)
  • Neferneferure: Year 9 (1341 BC).
  • Setepenre: Year 11 (1339 BC).

Nefertiti first appears in scenes in Thebes. In thedamaged tomb (TT188) of the royalbutler Parennefer the newking Amenhotep IV isaccompanied by a royal woman, and this lady is thought to be an early depictionof Nefertiti. The king and queen are shown worshiping the Aten. In the tomb of the vizier Ramose Nefertiti isshown standing behind Amenhotep IV in the Window of Appearance during thereward ceremony for the vizier. [5]
Close-up of alimestone relief depicting Nefertiti smiting a female captive on a royal barge.On display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
During the early years in Thebes Akhenaten (stillknown as AmenhotepIV) had several temples erected at Karnak. One of the structures, the Mansionof the Benben (hwt-ben-ben), was dedicated to Nefertiti. She is depicted withher daughter Meritaten and insome scenes the princess Meketatenparticipates in the scenes as well. In scenes found on the talatat Nefertitiappears almost twice as often as her husband. She is shown appearing behind herhusband the Pharaoh in offeringscenes in the role of the queen supporting her husband, but she is alsodepicted in scenes that would have normally been the perogrative of the king.She is shown smiting the enemy and captive enemies decorate her throne. [6]
In the fourth year of his reign (1346 BC)Amenhotep IV decides to move the capital to Akhetaten (modernAmarna). In his fifth year, Amenhotep IV officially changed his name to Akhenaten andNefertiti would henceforth be known as Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti. The namechange was a sign of the ever increasing importance of the cult of the Aten. It changed Egypt'sreligion from a polytheisticreligion to a religion which may have been better described as a monolatry (thedepiction of a single god as an object for worship) or henotheism (one god, whois not the only god). [7].
The boundary stelae of years 4 and 5 mark theboundaries of the new city and suggest that themove to the new city of Akhetatenoccurred around that time. The new city contained several large open air templesdedicated to the Aten. Nefertiti andher family would have resided in the Great Royal Palace in the center of thecity and possibly at the Northern Palace as well. Nefertiti and the rest of the royalfamily feature prominently in the scenes at the palaces and in the tombs of the nobles. Nefertiti’s steward duringthis time was an official named MeryreII. He would have been in charge of running her household. [5] [2]
Inscriptions in the tombs of Huya and Meryre II dated toYear 12, 2nd month of Peret, Day 8 show a large foreign tribute. The people ofKharu (the north) and Kush (the south) areshown bringing gifts of gold and precious items to Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Inthe tomb of Meryre II,Nefertiti’s steward, the royal couple is shown seated in a kiosk with their sixdaughters in attendance. [5] [2]
This tribute from year 12 is one of the last timesprincess Meketaten is shownalive. Meketaten may have died in year 13 or 14. Nefertiti, Akhenaten and threeprincesses are shown mourning Meketaten. [8] Nefertitidisappears from the scene soon after that. [5]
Further information:Amarna succession
About Year 14 of Akhenaten's reign (1332 BC),Nefertiti vanishes from the historical record. There is no word of her afterthat date. Theories include sudden death by a plague that was sweeping throughthe city or another natural death. This theory is based on the discovery ofseveral shabti fragments inscribed for Nefertiti ( now located in the Louvreand Brooklyn Museums).
A previous theory that she fell into disgrace isnow discredited, since the deliberate erasures of monuments belonging to aqueen of Akhenaten have been shown to refer to Kiya instead.[4]
During Akhenaten's reign (and perhaps after),Nefertiti enjoyed unprecedented power. The Coregency Stela mayshow her as a co-regent with her husband. By the twelfth year of his reign,there is evidence that she may have been elevated to the status of co-regent[9]: equal instatus to the pharaoh. It is possible that Nefertiti is to be identified as theruler named Neferneferuaten.Some theories believe that Nefertiti was still alive and held influence on theyounger royals. If this is the case, that influence and presumably Nefertiti'sown life would have ended by year 3 of Tutankhaten's reign (1331 BC). In thatyear, Tutankhaten changed his name to Tutankhamun. This was evidence of hisreturn to the official worship of Amun,and his abandonment of Amarna to return the capital to Thebes. [2]
There are many theories regarding her death andburial.
The "Younger Lady"
Main article: The Younger Lady (mummy)
In the most recent research effort led by Egyptianarchaeologist Dr. ZahiHawass, head of Egypt'sSupreme Council for Antiquities, a mummy knownas "The Younger Lady" was put through CT scan analysis. Researchers concluded that she may beTutankhamun's biological mother, Queen Kiya, not Queen Nefertiti. Fragments ofshattered bone were found in the sinus, and blood clots were found. The theorythat the damage was inflicted post-mummification was rejected, and a murderscenario was deemed more likely. Scholars think Kiya's identification as KV35 is consistent with the fact that,after Tutankhamun returned Egypt to the traditional religion, he moved hisclosest relatives: father, grandmother, and biological mother, to the Valley ofthe Kings to be buried with him (according to the list of figurines anddrawings in his tomb).Nefertiti may be in an undiscovered tomb.
On June 9, 2003, archaeologist Joann Fletcher, aspecialist in ancient hair from the University of York in England, announced that Nefertiti'smummy may have been one of the anonymous mummies stored in tomb KV35 in the Valley of the Kings known as "the Younger Lady". Theindependent scholar Marianne Luban had published similar speculation in 1999 in an article posted onthe Internet, entitled "Do We Have the Mummy of Nefertiti?"[10]
Luban's points upholding the identification arethe same as those of Joann Fletcher. Furthermore, Fletcher suggested thatNefertiti was the Pharaoh Smenkhkare. Some Egyptologists hold to this viewthough the majority believe Smenkhkare to have been a separate person. Dr.Fletcher led an expedition funded by the Discovery Channelthat examined what they believed to have been Nefertiti's mummy.
The team claimed that the mummy they examined wasdamaged in a way suggesting the body had been deliberately desecrated inantiquity. Mummification techniques, such as the use of embalming fluid and thepresence of an intact brain, suggested aneighteenth-dynasty royal mummy. Other elements which the team used to supporttheir theory were the age of the body, the presence of embedded nefer beads,and a wig of a rare style worn by Nefertiti. They further claimed that themummy's arm was originally bent in the position reserved for pharaohs, but waslater snapped off and replaced with another arm in a normal position.
Most Egyptologists, among them Kent Weeks and Peter Locavara, generally dismiss Fletcher'sclaims as unsubstantiated. They say that ancient mummies are almost impossibleto identify as a particular person without DNA. As bodies of Nefertiti's parents orchildren have never been identified, her conclusive identification isimpossible. Any circumstantial evidence, such as hairstyle and arm position, isnot reliable enough to pinpoint a single, specific historical person. The causeof damage to the mummy can only be speculated upon, and the alleged revenge isan unsubstantiated theory. Bent arms, contrary to Fletcher's claims, were notreserved to pharaohs; this was also used for other members of the royal family.The wig found near to the mummy is of unknown origin, and cannot beconclusively linked to that specific body. Finally, the 18th dynasty was one ofthe largest and most prosperous dynasties of ancient Egypt. A female royal mummy couldbe any of a hundred royal wives or daughters from the 18th dynasty's more than200 years on the throne.
In addition, there is controversy about both theage and gender of the mummy. On June 12, 2003, Hawass also dismissed the claim,citing insufficient evidence. On August 30, 2003, Reuters furtherquoted Hawass: "I'm sure that this mummy is not a female", and"Dr Fletcher has broken the rules and therefore, at least until we havereviewed the situation with her university, she must be banned from working in Egypt."[11] Ondifferent occasions, Hawass has claimed that the mummy is female and male.[12]
The Elder Lady?
A KMT article called "Who is The Elder Ladymummy?" suggests that the elder lady mummy may be Nefertiti's body.[13] This maybe possible due to the fact that the mummy is around her mid-thirties or earlyforties, Nefertiti's guessed age of death. Also, unfinished busts of Nefertitiappear to resemble the mummy's face, though other suggestions include Ankhesenamun and,the favorite candidate, Tiye. More evidenceto support this identification is that the mummy's teeth look like that of a29-38 year old, Nefertiti's most likely age of death. Due to recent age testson the mummy's teeth, it appears that the 'Elder Lady' is in fact Queen Tiyeand also that the DNA of the mummy is a close, if not direct, match to the lockof hair found in Tutankhamun's tomb which bears the inscription of Queen Tiyeis the hairs coffin. To date, the mummy of this famous and iconic queen has notbeen found.
Iconic status
Further information:Nefertiti bust
Nefertiti's place as an icon in popular culture is secure as shehas become somewhat of a celebrity. After Cleopatra she isthe second most famous "Queen" of Ancient Egypt in the Western imaginationand influenced through photographs that changed standards of feminine beauty ofthe 20th century, and is often referred to as "the most beautiful woman inthe world".[14]
In the Arts

  • Allen Drury, God Against the Gods (1978). Story of Akhenaten and Nefertiti.
  • Naguib Mahfouz, Akhenaten, Dweller in Truth (1985) Nefertiti is one of the characters who reflects on Akhenaten and the Amarna period
  • Michelle Moran: Nefertiti: A Novel. (Crown, 2007).
  • Nick Drake: Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead. (Harper, 2008).
  • Esther Friesner: Sphinx's Princess. (Random House, 2009).

Dave Malone in his poem, "A LongWeekend" in Poems to Love and the Body (Bliss Station, 1998;Smashwords, 2010), weaves a modern-day love poem with references to Nefertiti,King Akhenaten, and thecity, Akhetaten (Amarna).

  • (1954) The Egyptian, played by Anitra Stevens
  • (1961) Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile, played by Jeanne Crain
  • (1994) Nefertiti, figlia del sole, played by Michela Rocco di Torrepadula
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