Nefertiti (c. 1370 B.C.- c. 1330 B.C.): Queen of Egypt, Global Icon of Feminine Beauty and Power

Famous Bust of Nefertiti
                                                  Nefertiti’s Bust

This is the likeness of Egyptian Queen Neferneferuaten Nefertiti. Her full name means, ” Beautiful are the beauties of Aten, the beautiful one has cometh” and she has been regarded as “the most beautiful woman in the world.” She was born sometime before 1370 B.C. in Thebes, Egypt. Much is not known about Nefertiti’s family or background, but she is believed to be the daughter of Ay, a high-ranking advisor who became king after King Tut’s death in 1332 B.C. or she may have been a princess from Mitanni Kingdom in Northern Syria. Nefertiti was the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV). She has many other titles such as Hereditary Princess, Great of Praises, Sweet of Love, Lady of Two Lands, Main King’s Wife, his beloved, Great King’s Wife, his beloved, Lady of All Women, and Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt. The dates in which Nefertiti married Akhenaten and became queen is unknown. She and Akhenaten had six daughters, Marintaten, Meketaten, Ankhesenpaaten (a.k.a. Ankhesennamen and Queen to King Tut), Neferneferuaten Tasherit, Neferneferure, and Setepenre. Nefertiti and Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) ruled Egypt from 1353 to 1336 B.C.

Nefertiti and Ankhenaten
                 Nefertiti and Akhenaten

During their reign, Akhenaten reformed Egypt’s religious and political structure around the monotheistic worship of the Egyptian sun-god Aten. Akhenaten moved the capital North to Amarna and changed his name from Amenhotep to Akhenaten. Nefertiti added an additional name Neferneferuaten. Nefertiti is found in many affectionate poses (more than any other Egyptian queen, past and present) with her husband on the walls and temples built during their reign. She is also shown in powerful positions, such as leading the worship of Aten, driving a chariot, or smiting an enemy.

Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and three of their six daughters
                                 Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and three of their six daughters (Wikimedia Commons)

queen-nefertiti

Around the 12th year of her husband’s 17-year reign, Nefertiti mysteriously disappears from historical record. She may have died or she may have become official co-regent to Akhenaten under her full name, Neferneferuaten Nefertiti. Some historians theorize that Akhenaten’s successor Pharaoh Smenkhkare was Nefertiti herself, which was not unusual because the female pharaoh Hatshepsut ruled Egypt disguised as a man donning a ceremonial false beard. Nefertiti passed away sometime before 1330 B.C.

Nefertiti’s 3,300 year old limestone bust was discovered by German archaeologist, Ludwig Borchardt on December 6, 1913. Nefertiti’s bust is one of the most copied ancient Egyptian artifacts. The sculpture was found buried upside down in sandy rubble on the excavation site of ancient Egyptian sculptor Thutmose’s workshop in Amarna. Thutmose crafted the bust around 1345 B.C. Nefertiti’s bust has a slender neck, gracefully well proportioned face, and an extravagant blue cylindrical headpiece only seen on Nefertiti’s images. The discovery of Nefertiti’s bust made Nefertiti one of the most famous women in the ancient world and an icon of feminine beauty.  Her bust is currently on display at the Berlin Neues  Museum, Berlin Germany.

I salute this HER-story making sista!

Sources

“Nefertiti.” History.com, A&E Networks. Web. 2015 April 13. Retrieved http://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/nefertiti

“Nefertiti Bust”. Wikipedia.org, Wikipedia.: The Free Encyclopedia. Web. 2015 April 16. Retrieved from http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nefertiti_Bust 

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