Nefertiti, the Great Royal Wife of the Amarna Period

Oct 2011
26,830
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#11
The Estates of Nefertiti Neferneferuaten.

In the wide collection of jar labels found at Akhetaten [1] we find references to a generic Royal Wife [hmt nsw] and to Neferneferuaten. In the first case we cannot be sure that the reference is to Nefertiti and also in the second case we could have be in troubles since a Monarch called Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten existed [we will see that it's really probable that such a Sovereign was Nefertiti as well, even if there are different opinions about this].

The jar labels with a reference to the estate of Neferneferuaten don't report a Year of reign [left page, numbers 28,29,30 MEEF 44.2 Pendlebury, JDS - The City of Akhenaton 3 Plates (1951) : Pendlebury, John Devitt Stringfellow (1904-1941) : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive].
Label 28 suggests she produced wine in her estate.

Among other things we can underline that also Nefertiti's daughter Ankhesenpaaten [2] had her own estate. [right page, number 41 MEEF 44.2 Pendlebury, JDS - The City of Akhenaton 3 Plates (1951) : Pendlebury, John Devitt Stringfellow (1904-1941) : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive]. It's partial, but daughter is visible, so that it was still Akhenaten to give her that estate, not her future husband Tutankhaten.

Note:
[1] Today Tell El Amarna or simply Amarna
[2] Tutankhaten's wife. She changed her name into Ankhesenamun when the husband became Tutankhamen.
 
Oct 2011
26,830
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#12
Her titles ...

Nefertiti Neferneferuaten carried not a few titles and her introduction in some representation was remarkable. This one [in Huya's tomb] is a nice example of how scribe presented her [and artists engraved those presentations].


Now, it's evident that Nefertiti is the one with the longest list of title [Akhenaten actually sees only his cartouches next to the ones of the Aten in the central frame].

We read:

Hereditary Princess, Great in Favor, Mistress of the Sedge and the Papyrus[1],
Great Royal Wife, Beloved of his body, Lady of the Two Lands [2] [Nefertiti Neferneferuaten],
Living in the Future, Forever in the Eternity.


Note:
[1] I tend not to translate signs with symbolic meaning. I say also "of the Sedge and the Bee" about the Throne Name. Usually you read Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt, since the sedge was the symbol of Upper Egypt and the papyrus, like the Bee, of Lower Egypt [the lotus was the other symbol of Lower Egypt].
[2] Female version of "Lord of the Two Lands" whic was a title of the Sovereign. "Lady of the Two Lands" was common for Great Royal Wives.
 
Nov 2016
968
Germany
#13
* Mitanni Princess Tadukhipa.
Daughter of Mitanni king Tushratta[4], she had sent to Egypt to get married with old Amenhotep III. She would have passed from him to the son.
[Here the problem is that there is no clue that this happened and that there are no explanations about why she had to change name to get married with Amenhotep IV]
I see with the hypothesis Tadukhipa = Nefertiti a problem in so far as the Mitanni king asks in vain for the sending of full-fledged gold statues (what was originally agreed with Amenhotep III as a price for Tushratta´s daughter), to which Akhenaten initially responded inadequately (probably in deliberate provocation) and then no longer at all. In EA 27 Tushratta writes outraged:

But my brother has not sent the solid gold statues that your father was going to send. You have sent plated ones of wood. Nor have you sent me the goods that your father was going to send me, but you have reduced them greatly.

Considering that one of the statues should represent Tadukhipa, it would be strange under the premise Tadukhipa = Nefertiti that Akhenaten refused to produce and send a fully fledged golden statue and instead sent gold-plated statues, which was not only an insult to Tushratta, but would have been also an insult to Nefertiti if identical to Tadukhipa.

[4] The Amarna Letters [a collection of diplomatic letters from the age of Amarna] tell us that the relationships between Egypt and Mitanni were really good. Tushratta consider Tiye substantially a friend and when Amenhotep IV got the crown he wrote to her to ask to find a way to have with the new king the same good relationships he had with Amenhotep III [Akhenaten's father].
To make matters worse, the Mitannic messengers were arrested in Egypt by Akhenaten, about which Tushratta complains in EA 28, threatening to arrest the Egyptian messenger Mane in return:

Pirissi and Tulubri, [m]y messengers, I sent posthaste to my brother, and having told them to hurry very, very-(dan-niš, dan-niš) much, I sent them with a very small escort. Earlier, I had said this to my brother: "I am going to detain Mane, [my brothers's] messenger, until [my] brother lets my messengers go and they come to m[e]."
And now my brother has absolutely refused to let them go, and he has put them under very strict detention.
 
Mar 2019
372
Ogden, Utah
#14
But overall, we have to obverve carefully the lintel of the house of Hatiay[5] where someone erased the cartouches of Akhenaten leaving the cartouche of Nefertiti Neferneferuaten. Right page MEEF 40 Frankfort, H; Pendlebury, JDS - The City of Akhenaton II (1933) : Frankfort, Henri (1897-1954); Pendlebury, John Devitt Stringfellow (1904-1941) : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Here we see a clear political act. It seems that Nefertiti Neferneferuaten had Egyptians in her "court" [we have to keep in mind that ther were two palaces, Nefertiti had even her own Harem ...], while Akhenaten had no problems to hire foreign mercenaries. This actually can be a clue about the origin of Nefertiti: why was she so near to the people?
This wasn't the only place where the name of Nefertiti was erased and that of Akhenaten allowed to remain. In fact, the name of Nefertiti is probably the most mutilated one in the entire city. But I don't think it was done in the reign of Akhenaten, himself. Now we know that Nefertiti was still the Great Royal Wife in Year 16 and there wasn't much time left. So may have happened in the reign of Akhenaten's successor, Smenkhkare. It makes sense to me that, if Akhenaten was his father but Nefertiti not his mother and they had fallen out, this could have happened. But nobody knows. I think one can't exactly characterize this damnatio as political. It may have been personal. Motive also unknown.

Akhenaten had no wife at the very beginning of his kingship as he was a very young coregent with his father, Amenhotep III--as is clearly indicated by some of his pre-Amarna-style statues. My guess is around 13 years old. But that was remedied soon after for the very reason that Amenhotep III, the sun-king now, only created a coregent in order to have a Shu and a Tefnut as his partners. The human personification of Re could not do without them. They were the "holy trinity".

Akhenatenlips.jpg
 
Oct 2011
26,830
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#15
This wasn't the only place where the name of Nefertiti was erased and that of Akhenaten allowed to remain. In fact, the name of Nefertiti is probably the most mutilated one in the entire city. But I don't think it was done in the reign of Akhenaten, himself. Now we know that Nefertiti was still the Great Royal Wife in Year 16 and there wasn't much time left. So may have happened in the reign of Akhenaten's successor, Smenkhkare. It makes sense to me that, if Akhenaten was his father but Nefertiti not his mother and they had fallen out, this could have happened. But nobody knows. I think one can't exactly characterize this damnatio as political. It may have been personal. Motive also unknown.

Akhenaten had no wife at the very beginning of his kingship as he was a very young coregent with his father, Amenhotep III--as is clearly indicated by some of his pre-Amarna-style statues. My guess is around 13 years old. But that was remedied soon after for the very reason that Amenhotep III, the sun-king now, only created a coregent in order to have a Shu and a Tefnut as his partners. The human personification of Re could not do without them. They were the "holy trinity".

View attachment 22949
On the lintel of the house of Hatiay the situation was different: it happens the opposite. Someone erased the cartouches of Akhenaten leaving the one of Nefertiti Neferneferuaten. They didn't touch the cartouches of the Aten and the lateral cartouches of the Great Royal Queen, but they erased the ones belonging to Akhenaten. This is why it's particularly interesting.

In this article on Amarnaproject we can see how the lintel looks today: North Suburb - Amarna The Place - Amarna Project
 
Jul 2017
2,980
Crows nest
#16
This wasn't the only place where the name of Nefertiti was erased and that of Akhenaten allowed to remain. In fact, the name of Nefertiti is probably the most mutilated one in the entire city. But I don't think it was done in the reign of Akhenaten, himself. Now we know that Nefertiti was still the Great Royal Wife in Year 16 and there wasn't much time left. So may have happened in the reign of Akhenaten's successor, Smenkhkare. It makes sense to me that, if Akhenaten was his father but Nefertiti not his mother and they had fallen out, this could have happened. But nobody knows. I think one can't exactly characterize this damnatio as political. It may have been personal. Motive also unknown.
Which brings us to the severe facial wound that nobody in the published literature ever talks about, let alone "palace coup" and even counter coup.
 
Jul 2017
2,980
Crows nest
#17
On the lintel of the house of Hatiay the situation was different: it happens the opposite. Someone erased the cartouches of Akhenaten leaving the one of Nefertiti Neferneferuaten. They didn't touch the cartouches of the Aten and the lateral cartouches of the Great Royal Queen, but they erased the ones belonging to Akhenaten. This is why it's particularly interesting.

In this article on Amarnaproject we can see how the lintel looks today: North Suburb - Amarna The Place - Amarna Project
In modern times if we see this discrepancy of defacement of public images of rulers, monarchs or despots of some type, we would not hesitate to declare that factionalism had broken out in the leadership, but at Akhetaten we [in general] scratch our heads and are puzzled as to what may have occurred. We may not have the equivalent of the Judicial Papyrus of Turin, but we can see some circumstantial evidence of a coup.
 
Mar 2019
372
Ogden, Utah
#18
On the lintel of the house of Hatiay the situation was different: it happens the opposite. Someone erased the cartouches of Akhenaten leaving the one of Nefertiti Neferneferuaten. They didn't touch the cartouches of the Aten and the lateral cartouches of the Great Royal Queen, but they erased the ones belonging to Akhenaten. This is why it's particularly interesting.
Sorry, AlpinLuke, I misread. Here is a video about the house and the lintel--very old footage.

EES Excavations at Amarna Part 2: The House of Hatiay
 
Last edited:
Likes: AlpinLuke
Oct 2011
26,830
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#20
In modern times if we see this discrepancy of defacement of public images of rulers, monarchs or despots of some type, we would not hesitate to declare that factionalism had broken out in the leadership, but at Akhetaten we [in general] scratch our heads and are puzzled as to what may have occurred. We may not have the equivalent of the Judicial Papyrus of Turin, but we can see some circumstantial evidence of a coup.
Already in the early works [Pendlebury, Peet at al] there was who suggested the idea that Nefertiti had her own faction. After considering who built Akhetaten [also children, teens ...], I could imagine that the Great Royal Wife, if she showed to be a "good mother" [a Good Goddess] could have gained favor in the Northern suburbs surrounding her palace.

Now, also this is political: Nefertiti was with her husband when he ordered to use also children and teens to build Akhetaten. But Akhenaten was the Horo, so Nefertiti had, after more than a decade, the opportunity to play the role of the angel. We don't know if she started a political propaganda [so this is speculative], but she had a possibility to disengage herself from what Akhenaten ordered.
 

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