Sunday, 21 September 2014

Queen Nefertiti

Queen Nefertiti, translated as "the beautiful one has come", was the wife of the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten who tried to force polytheistic Egypt to worship just the one God - Aten, the sun disc:

"Aten, Glorious Aten on the horizon of Heaven, O Living Aten, Creator of Life."

So certain was he that all life derived from the sun that he had even changed his name from Ahemotep IV in its honour.

Nefertiti bore Akhenaten six daughters but not his son, Tutankhamun, whom he sired with his sister Kiya, which should have made her his Great Queen, but he instead retained her as his secondary wife.

Akhenaten was obsessed with Nefertiti and it was rumoured that he dressed like her and had his makeup applied to look like her. They were also depicted in art together, often with their children or worshiping Aten, providing her with unprecedented status for a woman, even a Queen, in Egyptian society.

In the final year of Akhenaten's reign Nefertiti mysteriously disappeared and another woman named Smekhare appeared at his side whom he soon after appointed his co-Regent.

It is believed he always intended Nefertiti to succeed him as the reward for her beauty and loyalty and to continue his religious reforms but that she was so unpopular with the people that to do so she had to reinvent herself and re-emerge as someone different.
In 1336 BC, Akhenaten died and not long after the mysterious Smekhare also disappears from history, probably murdered.

The new Pharaoh would be his 9 year old son Tutankhamun during whose reign, and dominated by the brutal General Heromheb, all his father's religious reforms would be reversed. 

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