Nefertiti 1390 BCE–1360 BCE

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Nefertiti
1390 bce–1360 bce

Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti was queen-consort to Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) of Egypt (r. c. 1353–1335 bce). She supported her husband in his rejection of the traditional Egyptian pantheon in favor of the worship of one god, a solar deity known as the Aten, and occupied a prominent role in the new state religion. Nefertiti bore her husband six daughters. She vanished from the royal family some time after Akhenaten's twelfth year of rule. No record of her death survives, and her body has never been found.

Egyptological interest in Nefertiti has centered on her political and religious status. A series of images recovered from Thebes (modern Luxor) and from Akhenaten's new capital city, Akhetaten (modern Amarna), show Nefertiti assuming unprecedented privileges. She makes offerings to the Aten, smites the female enemies of Egypt, and adopts a unique flat-topped blue crown similar to the headdress worn by the goddess Tefnut. It is clear that she is a person of immense importance, and some Egyptologists have suggested that she might have been a coregent rather than a queen-consort. Others believe that she was a living goddess: the feminine element in the divine triad of the Aten, Akhenaten, and Nefertiti. Her fecundity and sexuality, constantly emphasized by her exaggeratedly feminine body shape and tightly fitting garments, suggest that she became a living fertility symbol.

The general public is interested primarily in Nefertiti's beauty, as evidenced by the world-famous Berlin bust, which was recovered from the ruins of the Amarna workshop of the sculptor Tuthmosis in 1912.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Tyldesley, Joyce A. 1998. Nefertiti: Egypt's Sun Queen. London and New York: Penguin.

                                              Joyce A. Tyldesley

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Nefertiti 1390 BCE–1360 BCE

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