Nefertiti, the Great Royal Wife of the Amarna Period

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,251
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Forget about genetics [rules are rules ...].

Regarding depictions of the Royal families, it's evident that princesses had privileged and preferred, probably their role of future mothers of Sovereigns gave them a remarkable status since the beginning and to show them meant also that the dynasty was sure to go on ... the woman was pivotal to transmit the Royal blood. This is among the reasons why it happened Monarchs got married with sisters and / or daughters without great troubles ... anyway it happened that a Sovereign decided to get married with a commoner or a not Royal woman, may be a foreign Princess [perhaps the son of two Royal persons thought to be enough divine himself or simply politics or love won sometime].
 
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Apr 2019
199
UK
One reason princes may not have been depicted is that they were often (Tuthmosis IV/Amenhotep III) assigned tutors and were expected to perform roles outside of the royal household. I think of it like boarding school and apprenticeship at the same time. The reason for this was possibly because their father was much too busy as King to be a genuine, every day father figure. Princesses not so much - Meritaten excepted it seems. The older ones do seem to be groomed as future queens with the role increasing in prominence over time. Of course there could be more than 1 GRW at any time, as well as roles associated with many deities.

So, if the princes were assigned a father figure / mentor / tutor it's perhaps less surprising that we don't see them with the women in the core family. The high status of (relatively) young men like Nakhtmin may have been because of the way princes were raised which enabled a future court of loyal friends to develop over time. Horemheb is another possible example of a young man who given his status under Tut must have been educated with either Akhenaten or Smenkhkare. Much speculation but these people did not spring from nowhere.
 
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Ayrton

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,268
Bendigo
One reason princes may not have been depicted is that they were often (Tuthmosis IV/Amenhotep III) assigned tutors and were expected to perform roles outside of the royal household. I think of it like boarding school and apprenticeship at the same time. The reason for this was possibly because their father was much too busy as King to be a genuine, every day father figure. Princesses not so much - Meritaten excepted it seems. The older ones do seem to be groomed as future queens with the role increasing in prominence over time. Of course there could be more than 1 GRW at any time, as well as roles associated with many deities.

So, if the princes were assigned a father figure / mentor / tutor it's perhaps less surprising that we don't see them with the women in the core family. The high status of (relatively) young men like Nakhtmin may have been because of the way princes were raised which enabled a future court of loyal friends to develop over time. Horemheb is another possible example of a young man who given his status under Tut must have been educated with either Akhenaten or Smenkhkare. Much speculation but these people did not spring from nowhere.
Your idea that Horemheb was educated with Akhenaten and Smenkhkare (Nefertiti IMO, as you know) makes good sense, at least in the plausibility stakes. As I see him as one (if there are more than one) of the Paatenemheb’s, I see what you suggest as pretty likely. Horemheb did not pop up out of the record suddenly at the end of Akhenaten’s reign. That much I am willing to bet on. Princes may well have had their own courtiers, so to speak, or group of associates. With Paatenemheb (the General) would surely have had another name before the move to to Akhetaten, one can only think he was one ‘associate’ of Akhenaten who was keen to show support and devotion to his monarch, which might purely be seen in his name change alone. I think of a young Ramesses (I) as well, as another associate. The names Paatenemheb and Ramesses in the Amarna tombs makes me wonder how prominent in Akhenaten’s group of associates they were at Akhenaten. Surely their power began and increased at Akhetaten during the Akhetaten sojourn.



I have been doing a bit of research (early days) into the parallels between Hatshetsup and Nefertiti. In doing so, I stumbled on Sobekneferu who was a pharaoh at the end of the 12th Dynasty. One interesting fact popped into my mind as I was poking around last night: Neferuresobek was the daughter of a pharaoh and sister of a pharaoh. So was Hatshetsup. What about Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten-Smenkhkare? Yes indeed! Even if one only accepts Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten as a pharaonic co-Regent (and forget Occam’s Razor and complicate maters by creating a second pharaoh ‘Ankhkheperure’), one must allow that the potential for Nefertiti to be both the daughter and sister of a pharaoh is high, even if we were only considering past precedents. When could a pharaoh ever consider a common woman as a pharaoh, even in desperate times times? A male commoner, maybe, but a woman? Not if she wasn’t Senior enough in the royal family, ‘the’ Chief Heiress in fact. To me this would seem a safe assumption.

Quick reference:
Wikipedia:
“Sobekneferu(sometimes written "Neferusobek") reigned as pharaoh of Egyptafter the death of her brother Amenemhat IV. She was the last ruler of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egyptand governed Egypt for almost four years from 1806 to 1802 BC.[1] Her name means "the beauty of Sobek."”

I wonder if Sobekneferu was eldest daughter, or eldest surviving daughter? Must check. Because Sitamun remains in my sights as a good candidate for Nefertiti.



Your points about Tut may well be germane. Maybe bolstered by the potential for him having been born late among the siblings, even after the last known daughter was born.
 
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Apr 2019
199
UK
Sitamun's age may count against her being Nefertiti. Again, the possibility (in my view likelyhood) of a coregency between Amenhotep III and IV increases the plausibility that she could be Nefertiti. Sitamun is the best attested princess of AIII and Tiye, with her own household at Malkata and a major role in her father's Year 30 Heb Sed. By that time she was also his GRW, while her brother was just a prince (again, attested at Malkata). A lot hinges on her age - she is shown as an adult in pieces from the tomb of Yuya and Thuya, who were definitely not around by the time the family moved to Akhetaten. Other objects from their tomb seem to indicate that they died before the religious reformation, so you could argue that Sitamun was older than Akhenaten and older than the mummy from KV35. Simply, the mummy KV35YL is too young to be Sitamun in my view but just about the right age to be one of Akhenaten's younger sisters, or a contemporary at least. Therefore I would still go for Nebtah or one of the others as being KV35YL and therefore possibly Nefertiti. I also think it is unlikely that Sitamun would be married to her brother as well as her father at the same time (given a coregency), given that there were other equally Royal daughters available. However it is interesting that we hear no more of Sitamun after her father's reign, and have no burial goods at all under that name. Did she change her name in her brother's reign?
 
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AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,251
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Sitamun's age may count against her being Nefertiti. Again, the possibility (in my view likelyhood) of a coregency between Amenhotep III and IV increases the plausibility that she could be Nefertiti. Sitamun is the best attested princess of AIII and Tiye, with her own household at Malkata and a major role in her father's Year 30 Heb Sed. By that time she was also his GRW, while her brother was just a prince (again, attested at Malkata). A lot hinges on her age - she is shown as an adult in pieces from the tomb of Yuya and Thuya, who were definitely not around by the time the family moved to Akhetaten. Other objects from their tomb seem to indicate that they died before the religious reformation, so you could argue that Sitamun was older than Akhenaten and older than the mummy from KV35. Simply, the mummy KV35YL is too young to be Sitamun in my view but just about the right age to be one of Akhenaten's younger sisters, or a contemporary at least. Therefore I would still go for Nebtah or one of the others as being KV35YL and therefore possibly Nefertiti. I also think it is unlikely that Sitamun would be married to her brother as well as her father at the same time (given a coregency), given that there were other equally Royal daughters available. However it is interesting that we hear no more of Sitamun after her father's reign, and have no burial goods at all under that name. Did she change her name in her brother's reign?
The destiny of Sitamun was not different from the destiny of the other daughters of Amenhotep III ... actually among the women of his august family only Tiye [his Great Royal Wife] and Beketaten [with all probability her daughter] kept on being present in the Royal palaces with their presence recorded in the depictions at Akhetaten.

Iset disappeared as well, with Henuttaneb [despite their names were already in cartouches when they were still Royal Daughter].

Nebetah is an other mystery. Actually as "Nebetah" she disappeared, but there is who suggests she became Beketaten [but, as usual, it's only a supposition, based on the "counter effect" showed by Beketaten: she came out of the blue with her mother Tiye].
 

Ayrton

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,268
Bendigo
The destiny of Sitamun was not different from the destiny of the other daughters of Amenhotep III ... actually among the women of his august family only Tiye [his Great Royal Wife] and Beketaten [with all probability her daughter] kept on being present in the Royal palaces with their presence recorded in the depictions at Akhetaten.

Iset disappeared as well, with Henuttaneb [despite their names were already in cartouches when they were still Royal Daughter].

Nebetah is an other mystery. Actually as "Nebetah" she disappeared, but there is who suggests she became Beketaten [but, as usual, it's only a supposition, based on the "counter effect" showed by Beketaten: she came out of the blue with her mother Tiye].
All the disappearances of folk at the accession of Akhenaten seems quite dubious to me. I suspect two sisters went with him to Akhetaten, but with names changed, as may seem appropriate. One name changed to Nefertiti Neferneferuaten and one to Beketaten.

As there appears to be no accurate way of knowing how old Sitamun or Akhenaten were at the time of Akhenaten’s accession, I really don’t know how we can say ‘Sitamun was too old’. I have fretted long over that idea, because her ‘age’ (without a Coregency) seems to bar her. But does it really? Was she quite a bit older than Akhenaten? Just as Ankhsenamun may have been quite a bit older than Tut.

Beketaten surely can’t have come out of the blue, she surely just came to Akhenaten with a new name. Just as Amenophis became Akhenaten. Akhenaten purely moved his family to Akhetaten in Year 5 or 6, sisters included. Names were a’changing. Just as a man who was not formerly ‘Paatenemheb’ became ‘Patenemheb’.

NB The age of KV35YL. If only around 20, as I have seen mooted, a sister of Akhenaten seems unlikely. But Meritaten? I really am re-considering her candidacy. Nebkheperenre son of Merytre continues to haunt me. That detail is still unresolved IMO. I have seen statements denying it, but no actual arguments presented. If they have been, I’d like to view them.
 
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Mar 2019
411
Ogden, Utah
The mummy of Queen Tiye was examined via CT-scan in Cairo was eas assigned an age range from 40-50. In order to fit to this criterion the lady had to be a child bride as she was married for 37 years at least--being attested on a scarab dated to Year 2. When marriages are made for reasons other than love, anything is possible. A mature king of England once got a seven-year-old bride but, as canon law decreed the marriage could not be consummated until the wife was at least 12--it never was as the king was killed on a crusade. Regardless, when ones procreative history begins at such a young age, one has the potential to bear a lot of children--if one lives long enough. Akhenaten was very young, himself, when he became a pharaoh and all one need do is look at his earliest kingly portraits to understand that. What I don't understand is this need to make Nefertiti another name for a different princess. Some daughters of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye are attested at one point but they can be much older than subsequent children. One doesn't need to be a queen to be in that situation. When my two younger daughters were born within two years of each other, I already had two older daughters in high school. They were from a previous marriage but I am sure I didn't begin having children as early as Tiye did. There is no need for a princess to change her name and one cannot simply suggest any did without some kind of proof.

So one can imagine that Sitamen, being the eldest daughter, can have been much older than Akhenaten by Year 30 of her father. I cannot see any reason for her father to make her a queen except that it was her consolation prize for being too old to be married to the next king of Egypt, who was probably only 13 years of age. In ancient Egypt [and many other lands] older was not considered "better" when it came to marriage. A law finally had to be enacted in India so that men would stop marrying girls of nine. An Englishman who was there in the earlier days of the Raj wrote that a certain local king did not go near any of his wives after the age of 30--and his courtiers were of the same mindset. In ancient Egypt 12 was considered the ideal age for a bride and that has persisted up to the 20th Century. But I believe child marriages are illegal there now, too. Anyway, if you can believe your great-grandmothers had 12 children, why can't you believe Queen Tiye had many, lacking any form of birth control? Why does little Baketaten have to be a different name for an older princess --or Nefertiti? For all we know, Akhenaten and Nefertiti were twins, like Shu and Tefnut, and there is no way to prove otherwise. The KV35YL was assigned an age range of 30-35 after CT-scan. Too much wild speculation here for my taste.
 
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Ayrton

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,268
Bendigo
The mummy of Queen Tiye was examined via CT-scan in Cairo was eas assigned an age range from 40-50. In order to fit to this criterion the lady had to be a child bride as she was married for 37 years at least--being attested on a scarab dated to Year 2. When marriages are made for reasons other than love, anything is possible. A mature king of England once got a seven-year-old bride but, as canon law decreed the marriage could not be consummated until the wife was at least 12--it never was as the king was killed on a crusade. Regardless, when ones procreative history begins at such a young age, one has the potential to bear a lot of children--if one lives long enough. Akhenaten was very young, himself, when he became a pharaoh and all one need do is look at his earliest kingly portraits to understand that. What I don't understand is this need to make Nefertiti another name for a different princess. Some daughters of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye are attested at one point but they can be much older than subsequent children. One doesn't need to be a queen to be in that situation. When my two younger daughters were born within two years of each other, I already had two older daughters in high school. They were from a previous marriage but I am sure I didn't begin having children as early as Tiye did. There is no need for a princess to change her name and one cannot simply suggest any did without some kind of proof.

So one can imagine that Sitamen, being the eldest daughter, can have been much older than Akhenaten by Year 30 of her father. I cannot see any reason for her father to make her a queen except that it was her consolation prize for being too old to be married to the next king of Egypt, who was probably only 13 years of age. In ancient Egypt [and many other lands] older was not considered "better" when it came to marriage. A law finally had to be enacted in India so that men would stop marrying girls of nine. An Englishman who was there in the earlier days of the Raj wrote that a certain local king did not go near any of his wives after the age of 30--and his courtiers were of the same mindset. In ancient Egypt 12 was considered the ideal age for a bride and that has persisted up to the 20th Century. But I believe child marriages are illegal there now, too. Anyway, if you can believe your great-grandmothers had 12 children, why can't you believe Queen Tiye had many, lacking any form of birth control? Why does little Baketaten have to be a different name for an older princess --or Nefertiti? For all we know, Akhenaten and Nefertiti were twins, like Shu and Tefnut, and there is no way to prove otherwise. The KV35YL was assigned an age range of 30-35 after CT-scan. Too much wild speculation here for my taste.
It’s not about your taste at the end of the day, lol. And there isn’t wild speculation involved, practically speaking, just speculation on who Nefertiti was in relation to Akhenaten. None of what I put forward for discussion is me making statements of fact. It is all about open inquiry and posing reasonable questions and suggesting potential answers.

Lots of things to think about in your post. Just for now, I make note of your ‘twins’ comment. It has occurred to me too. Wild speculation or not, it can’t be discounted. Nothing in your post can be discounted.

Is it accepted as fact that KV35YL is in the 30-35 age range?
 
Last edited:
Mar 2019
411
Ogden, Utah
It’s not about your taste at the end of the day, lol
No, it certainly is not. What it is about is an acceptable method of scholarly discourse. Which includes supplying a sensible reason for making ones assertions. And the same criterion applies to "open inquiry" which is not really what you do when you throw out ideas without any good reason behind them. It's more like "open babbling".
 

Ayrton

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,268
Bendigo
Up to your old tricks. I have good reason to pursue my investigations in the manner I have been trained. You are welcome to pursue things the way you do. You are really insecure. You are not to be questioned and respond emotionally if your beloved guesses are doubted in any way. And you can keep your childish put downs. You are unlikely to change. But that’s for you to deal with, or ignore. Good luck with that.