The mysterious life of Nefertiti
The mysteries of Egypt Pharaohs are famous worldwide. Be it their reign, beauty, or cunning schemes, the Egyptian queens never fail to bring light to their glorious life on the pages of history. Clever and inculcate, Cleopatra ruled ancient Egypt for almost three decades. But much like Cleopatra, history has another Pharaoh whose life was nonetheless than a typical masala movie and that is Nefertiti.
In the true sense of feminism, the story of Nefertiti provides a strong basis for the argument. Nefertiti was a powerful queen who was the Queen of the 18th dynasty and she ruled with her husband, Pharaoh Akhenaten. But her life never revolved around just her position, in fact, she was the epitome of the very own origin of feminism. While most people know about her story, thanks to the bust of 1912, not many understand the depth of her history.
Nefertiti And Her Reign
Nefertiti ruled with her husband, Pharaoh Akhenaten as a Queen of the 18th dynasty, one of the most prosperous and wealthiest periods of Ancient Egypt. They tossed out all the old gods and set up a new religion, in which they worshipped only one god Aten or the Sun, and Akhenaten and Nefertiti being depicted as the first humans. Though her parentage is unknown, there are several theories among which one suggests that she was a daughter of Ay, an Egyptian advisor who later become a Pharoah. Others suggest that Nefertiti was the sister of Akhenaten or that she was a Mitanni princess Tadukhipa. The assumption of Nefertiti being Tadukhipa comes from the meaning of the name “a beautiful woman has come”.
The exact marriage date of Nefertiti and Akhenaten is unknown, though many believe that she was married at the age of 15. She bore him six daughters Meritaten, Meketaten, Ankhesenpaaten, Neferneferuaten Tasherit, Neferneferure and Setepenre. The marriage between Nefertiti and Akhenaten was inseparable and the duo ruled Egypt from 1353 BC to 1336 BC. Akhenaten constructed several temples for his beloved wife with beautiful artifacts featuring the lovely relationship between her and her husband with one kissing among the public. This suggests that rather than a political marriage, the marriage of Nefertiti and Akhenaten was purely out of love.
Nefertiti was believed to be the most powerful of all of the previous queens of her era. Though Akhenaten married other women than Nefertiti, she was his favorite; this might be the reason why Nefertiti was promoted to the role of the Great Royal Wife by Akhenaten. Also observing the depiction of Nefertiti on the artifacts of her temples, she was seen as a warrior queen destroying her enemies. She held many titles such as Hereditary Princess, Sweet of love, Great of Praises, Lady of grace, Lady of the two lands, and the mistress of upper and Lower Egypt. She also held the position of high priestess and was a prominent figure at the royal court. One of the most amusing facts of Nefertiti is that her scriptures were always portraited wearing a Pharaoh’s crown which suggests that she might have had equal powers to that of her husband. Many archeologists also believe that after the death of Akhenaten, Nefertiti could be the one ruling the reign.
The new religion enforced by the King and Queen was the major factor that drove the reign of Akhenaten to ruin. As they replaced old gods with the new god, they also forced many priests to convert and the old temples were shut down. To create more impact in society, the couple also changed their names and thus Nefertiti became Neferneferuaten- Nefertiti. The king soon destroyed all the other religions in order to promote his own leading to a cultural revolution. And this was the major reason that led his kingdom to ruins. It was after the death of Akhenaten that Nefertiti undoes all the damages and decided to reinstate the old gods and made sure that the next ruler would not fall in the hands of the same path.
The theory of Nefertiti and Tutankhamun (the last pharaoh of the royal family), ruling together as Pharaoh’s was debunked by many scholars and they believe that she might have ruled as a pharaoh some year before the rule of Tutankhamun.
The Disappearance Of Nefertiti
Almost after 16 years of her rule, Nefertiti mysteriously disappeared. There were no records of her in the pages of history. Some thought that she must have died of a plague or fell into disgrace, but there is not much truth to prove. The other speculations around her disappearance believe that Nefertiti might have been killed by the other high-ranking officials who hated her and her husband’s theory of a new religion. One of the most famous theories around her mystery is that she might have become coregent and ruled a new kingdom under the name of Smenkhare. It is also believed that the change in her name may have been the reason why there were no records of her to be found.
The discovery of Nefertiti’s renowned bust in 1912 shed a light on the physical appearance of Nefertiti. The bust was discovered in the abandoned workshop of the lost city Amarna, the capital that Akhenaten built. It was a master portrait of the Queen, but seemingly it depicted Nefertiti’s left eye was missing. This led to the speculation that she may have suffered from an ophthalmic infection which was very common among ancient Egyptians and therefore lost her eye. However, the presence of iris on her other statues contradicted the possibility.
The most popular incident of the discovery of ‘The Younger Lady’ was believed to put an end to Nefertiti’s mystery. The Younger Lady is the informal name given to a mummy discovered within a tomb in the Valley of the Kings by archaeologist Victor Loret in 1898. The DNA test confirms it the mother of Pharaoh Tutankhamun. This was a matter of debate because all the scriptures and artifacts of ancient Egypt always depicted Nefertiti with her six daughters and no son. But Tutankhamun was the son of the King which many believe might be the son of Akhenaten’s other wife and not Nefertiti. And thus it proved that the mummy was not of Nefertiti. Several archeologists for years have been trying to locate the tomb of Nefertiti yet no luck. It was uncommon in the ancient Egyptian culture to not build a tomb for the Pharoah’s or their wives, thus the mystery behind Nefertiti’s disappearance sounds as baffling as it seems.
So what may have had happened to Nefertiti? We guess it’s the world’s most puzzling mystery.