aprox. 1352 B.C. to 1336 B.C.
“the Sun Queen”by Rit Nosotro First Published:: 2003
She was one of the most beautiful famous queens in ancient Egyptian history, and her face was used in many sculptures and carvings during Egyptian times.
Nefertiti was believed to be the daughter of an army official who was not confirmed to be of royal blood, but despite that she was married to Akhenaten, the tenth pharaoh during the Eighteenth Dynasty who ruled from 1352 B.C. to 1336 B.C. Together they had six daughters and Akhenaten had two other sons with one of the three of his royal wives or concubines. These sons, Smenkhkare and Tutankhamun, were the heirs to the throne. However, Nefertiti was his chief wife and the most loved of all the others.
Akhenaten had many likenesses made of Nefertiti all over Egypt. There are also many carvings made of them together riding chariots, him kissing her in public, and her on his knee. Idolized, Nefertiti was especially known for her great beauty and was declared many things which include "The Heiress, Great in the Palace, Fair of Face, Adorned with the Double Plumes, Mistress of Happiness, Endowed with Favors, at hearing whose voice the King rejoices, the Chief Wife of the King, his beloved, the Lady of the Two Lands, Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti, May she live for Ever and Always" She was a very important figure in her husband’s reign because of the fact that Akhenaten valued femininity as a very important part in his kingdom. Although he treated his other wives well, it was Nefertiti’s figure that was etched into to his granite sarcophagus and was later made to be the protection to his mummy.
In a time and place when women were not equal in status to men, Nefertiti was not only admired and remembered, she was equal in authority to her husband, later becoming his co-regent in the kingdom. This is infered because in many of the statues of Akhenaten, she was included or sitting next to him. Not only this, but there are even more sculptures of her alone than her husband, the Pharaoh!
The King and Queen’s reign was during a controversial time period in which Egypt scrapped the customary gods and begin to worship, the sun god, Aten. This monotheisim was actually believed to be Nefertiti’s idea resulting in the people resenting her and her husband for it. Akhenaten and Nefertiti’s reign was often called “the reign of heresy” according to this event. In spite of this, many cults continued to remain in their polytheistic view because of their unwillingness to change. Also, many enemies were made among the people and the priests. The queen was very much active in these religious and cultural modifications and was dubbed a priestess as seen in carvings of her worshiping this sun god. She was believed to be an influence on Akhenaten, who in turn (according to Sigmund Freud, 1939)1, influenced Moses.
There is a theory set forth in a 2006 film that Akhenaton was actually Moses. The theory will have widespread distribution as the film is produced by John Heyman who also helped produced “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Jesus” which has been distributed in over 800 languages. A more popular theory, held by many Jews and Christians, is that Moses was forced out by Ramses II, the third ruler of the 19th dynasty, a century after Queen Nefertiti brief monotheistic rival.
Either way, monotheism discredited the traditional Egyptian pantheon of nature based deities and paved the way for Egyptians to acknowledge the power of Yahweh as displayed in the Exodus.
Unfortunately, this powerful, stunningly beautiful, and controversial
queen later disappeared entirely from Egyptian historical records for
some mysterious reason. Nobody knows what really happened to her, but
they do have some ideas. People that have gone in deep study of her life
say that she could have been banished, died at an early age, or was murdered.
Some say that she died at the age of thirty. Others say that she was murdered
because another one of Akhenaton’s wives was jealous of her or because
of her influence on trying to change the polytheistic culture to monotheistic.
Other theories suggest that she was really the male pharaoh, Neferneferuaten,
in disguise and had taken the opportunity to rule for a little while on
her own. Scholars don’t know for sure.
No matter what happened, Queen Nefertiti is most remembered for her striking beauty and power. Her image will forever be engraved in historical and artistic significance. However, her beauty wasn't as significant when compared to her inclination toward monotheism.
1Freud, Sigmund, Moses and Monotheism, 1939