Nefertiry


Nefertiry
(fl. 1395 BC)
   A wife of King Thutmose IV. She appears on several of his monuments.
   See also Iaret; Mutemwia.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier
* * *
Queen reign of Akhenaten 1379-1362 BC.
    The Chief Queen of *Akhenaten, Nefertiti has become renowned for her beauty, which is evident in her portraits on stelae, in temple reliefs, and in sculptors' trial pieces and models. The most famous of these heads were discovered in workshops at Tell el Amarna in 1914, and they are now in museum collections in Cairo and Berlin. Although her face is well known, there is little information about Nefertiti's origins. One theory—that she might have been the *Mitannian princess *Tadukhepa, who entered the harem of *Amenophis III—is now largely discounted.
    Since she never claims the titles of 'King's Daughter' or 'King's Sister', she was not of royal birth, and, for some reason, *Akhenaten apparently did not follow the royal tradition of marrying his eldest sister. It is known that Nefertiti's nurse or tutor was Tey (*Ay's wife), and that she had a sister, Mudnodjme; one theory suggests that she might have been *Ay's daughter by a wife who died, and that she was subsequently reared by his other wife Tey.
    Nefertiti became *Akhenaten's chief wife (although he had other wives including a woman named Kia), and she became the mother of six daughters, two of whom (*Meritaten and *Ankhesenpaaten) became queens. Reliefs show the royal couple with their daughters, often in domestic and intimate surroundings which had never been represented before. In other scenes they participate in ritual or ceremonial events: one scene in the Amarna tomb of the steward Meryre shows the royal family taking part in a great reception of foreign tribute in Year 12 of *Akhenaten's reign.
    The Queen's political and religious roles are of particular interest. She was apparently appointed, together with Queen *Tiye and *Ay, as *Akhenaten's adviser at the beginning of his reign, and she is frequently shown at the king's side. She is always represented wearing a tall blue crown, which is not seen elsewhere in Egyptian art, and was presumably her unique crown.
    The discovery of thousands of blocks of stone, carved with reliefs and inscriptions, at Karnak and Luxor has provided new insight into her religious role. These blocks had been used as infill in the pylons in the temples at Karnak and Luxor, but originally they belonged to *Akhenaten's Aten temples which were built at Thebes, before he moved his capital to Amarna. A modern study—The Akhenaten Temple Project'— has been able to use a computer to extract sufficient information from these blocks to reconstruct the original content of some of the temple wall-scenes. These indicate that Nefertiti played a major cultic role in the Aten rituals, holding equal status with the king, and gaining an unparallelled importance for a queen.
    After Year 12, she disappears and is replaced by her daughter *Meritaten, who usurps her inscriptions and portraits. This has led to speculation that Nefertiti may have fallen into disgrace at Court, perhaps because she clung to Atenism when her husband had begun to accept at least a partial restoration of the rival god, Amun. She may have been exiled to the northern palace at Amarna, where she possibly had the opportunity to indoctrinate the youthful *Tutankhamun.
    There is no real evidence to support this reconstruction of events, and it is unlikely that *Smenkhkare would have been given her name Nefernefruaten if she had been discredited. It is more conceivable that the Queen died, perhaps soon after the death of her second daughter, *Maketaten, and was buried in the Royal Tomb at Amarna, as *Akhenaten had decreed in the city's Boundary Stelae. Her mortal remains may later have been transferred, together with the bodies of other members of this family, from Amarna to Thebes, but neither her body nor her burial place has yet been found.
BIBL. Aldred, C. Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Brooklyn: 1973; Aldred, C. Akhenaten, King of Egypt. London: 1968; Harris, J.R. Nefertiti Rediviva. Acta Orientalia 35 (1973) pp. 5 ff; Nefernefruaten Regnans. Acta Orientalia 36 (1974) pp. 11 ff.; Akhenaten or Nefertiti? Acta Orientalia 38 (1977) pp. 5 ff.; Samson, J. Nefertiti's regality. JEA 63 (1977) pp. 88 ff; Smith, R.W. and Redford, D.B. The Akhenaten Temple Project: Vol. 1: The initial discoveries. Warminster: 1977.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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