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Archaeology & History

Did Queen Nefertiti ever rule ancient Egypt ?

By T.K. Randall
January 23, 2018 · Comment icon 8 comments



How powerful was Nefertiti ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Miguel Hermoso Cuesta
One Egyptologist has put forward the idea that Nefertiti was not quite as powerful as history suggests.
Famed for her beauty, Queen Nefertiti was propelled in to the public spotlight after a limestone and plaster sculpture of her head was discovered in 1912 by German excavator Ludwig Borchardt.

For many years, she was assumed to have held a position of great power in ancient Egypt, but how much influence did she really have over the kingdom and was she ever actually a pharaoh at all ?

Egyptologist Dr. Joyce Tyldesley certainly doesn't think so.
"Though most people and many Egyptologists believe Nefertiti was an unusually powerful royal woman, and possibly even a pharaoh, I believe this was not the case," she said.

"Her husband Akhenaten died around 1336 BC; Tutankhamun - who was possibly Nefertiti's son - became pharaoh in approximately 1336 BC. It has been argued that Nefertiti ruled Egypt, filling in this gap and perhaps influencing the early reign of Tutankhamen."

"But she wasn't born a royal, and for a non-royal woman to become king would have been unprecedented."

Source: Phys.org | Comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by khol 5 years ago
Here is her sculpture  
Comment icon #2 Posted by The Wistman 5 years ago
This theory may be contrary to popular opinion, but it is also disputed among Egyptological academics.  Dr. Aidan Dodson, of the University of Bristol, who once agreed with the cited author's thesis of Nefertiti's non-kingship, has changed his mind and now sees her ruling (after the premature death of Crown Prince Smenkhkare) as co-regent and then as king/Pharaoh Neferneferuaten: http://www.academia.edu/8206029/Amarna_Sunset_the_late-Amarna_succession_revisited Dodson's theory gives plausibility to the notion of Nefertiti being buried in state behind the wall of Tutankhamun's burial chamber, b... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by Jon the frog 5 years ago
Well in our world of instant success and instant forgotten, she was quite a women to be headline thousands of years after her death.
Comment icon #4 Posted by DebDandelion 5 years ago
Interesting read! Thanks @Still Watersand @The Wistman
Comment icon #5 Posted by The Wistman 5 years ago
On that issue I'd say Dr. Tyldesley's point is valid: the superb finesse of the sculpture by the Amarna court sculptor-in-chief Thutmose, which so captured the stunning image and queenly pride of this extraordinary woman, has truly raised her star in our modern eyes.  She's visually unforgettable. And, naturally, we want to know her story.  Since the story is fragmentary (particularly the finish) and there's been no recovery of her tomb or her remains, we are left with much conjecture built on bits of evidence.  However, I don't think it's helpful to dismiss the scholars who patiently study th... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by Jarocal 5 years ago
Shame Vyse isn't still around. He really knew how to get through walls. Of course after he gained entry there would probably be quarry marks from one of Khufu's stone gangs in there.
Comment icon #7 Posted by The Wistman 5 years ago
Yes....oh for the good old days!  Even Mariette used dynamite to blow apart the caved-in roof that blocked his access to the main axis of the Lesser Vaults of the Serapeum.  This area, to this day, has never been completely cleared or explored, due to the dangerous condition of the halls and galleries.  Even Mohammed Ibraham Aly, doing his major re-clearance of the Serapeum in the 1980's, had to abandon his efforts inside the Lesser Vaults, due to the volatile instability.  No one has since taken up the task. There's even an unexplored room(s?) beneath the floor of the original vestibule that ... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by The Wistman 5 years ago
Oops...my lack of expertise is showing.  Should have said the Greater Vaults, not Grand Gallery.   Sorry dad. 


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