The point here is time, which not only destroys beauty but is the stuff of which chronologies are made. In this statuette Nefertiti, unless she was extremely ill when it was executed her body certainly doesn't appear wasted must have been a bare minimum of thirty years old. Yet, as was mentioned, the conventional wisdom has pronounced that Nefertiti died or disappeared after Year 13 of Akhenaten.
What are the mathematics involved here? Let us suppose that Akhenaten became co-regent with Amenhotep III at a minimum of age sixteen, a man in oriental terms, his own highest attested regnal year being Just when he became sole king cannot be known with accuracy but, thirteen years later, Akhenaten would be twenty-nine.
Indeed, Nefertiti, in her last portraits, looks this age-- at very least--and may have even been between thirty and forty Donald Redford writes: "In even the earliest reliefs Nefertiti is very often accompanied by a little daughter who follows behind her, clad like her mother and shaking the sistrum If Meritaten was already a toddler in the second year of the reign, when the talatat structures began to arise, she can scarcely have been born later than the earliest months of her father's occupancy of the throne.
A tomb painting depicting the "great durbar" of the previous year shows the royal couple affectionately holding hands. Was Nefertiti perhaps dead within the next twelve months? But if Nefertiti had not died but had fallen out of favor by Year 13 and was yet a young woman of, say, twenty-eight or nine--why are there still portraits being commissioned of her in middle age with the uraeus on her brow?
The obvious answer is that the queen did not die young, nor was she disgraced or supplanted in favor of another. If anything, the status of Nefertiti was elevated after Year 13 and that of her daughter, Meritaten, for the same reason 18 , a theory that increasingly gains support. In fact, it is very likely that Akhenaten declared Nefertiti his co-regent, styled "Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten" 19 , and that the khepresh-crowned individual who is probably seated next to him in the Stele of Pasi, whom he chucks under the chin and who does seem to have the lithe body of a woman, is not a young man named "Smenkhkare" after all.
James P. Allen, curator of the Egyptian department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, convinced me, with his article entitled "Akhenaten's Mystery Co-regent and Successor" 20 , that the evidence for Nefertiti as co-regent and perhaps subsequent sole "king" exists for those whose minds are open to the notion. Arguments offered by Julia Samson, following those of J. Harris, in her "Nefertiti and Cleopatra" 21 are compelling, as well. Earl L. Ertman, in his article "Is There Visual Evidence For A 'King' Nefertiti" 22 , sums it up: "The visual and textual evidence continues to mount that Neferneferuaten Nefertiti was co-ruler with her husband throughout much of his reign, performing duties and responsibilities of a king, if not actually holding the title.
Her regalia and depicted actions suggest that she operated as co-king prior to Akhenaten's final years. Whether she ruled only while her husband was alive or also, in fact, succeeded him as sole ruler is still being reviewed and debated. In my view Nefertiti was the co-regent of Akhenaten, but it was one of her older daughters who eventually became a "woman-king" called "Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten", there being possibly three persons with the prenomen "Ankhkheperure" before the reign of Horemheb.
Why would an Egyptian king bestow so much simultaneous power and responsibility upon his own wife? The most logical answer would be that Akhenaten was a sick man and trusted only one individual implicitly--Nefertiti. It would also seem that the pharaoh, at least in Year 13, had no son that was even close to manhood because such an heir would have been the first choice to fill the role of "junior partner".
Perhaps there were small sons or even the hope of an heir in Year Whatever the situation was in this department, it is quite certain that the king's eldest daughter, Princess Meritaten, was ultimately given the title of Chief Wife and even foreign rulers seem to understand she is the mistress of Akhenaten's household. Meritaten perhaps gives birth to a little daughter, named after herself--although some have claimed the child as being that of Kiya, a lesser wife of Akhenaten. Regardless, Meritaten becomes a queen with a proper cartouche. Is it because she is the wife of Smenkhkare, the new co-king of the conventional wisdom--or is it due to the fact that the former Chief Wife is now the co-regent and has rejected this title in the manner of other "woman kings" before and after her 23?
We shall probably never know the answer to this puzzle or if Meritaten's father, sometime after Year 13, actually cohabited with her as a true wife or if her title was merely an honorary one at this point. I am not one of those, like Samson, who is willing to completely dispense with the shadowy individual called "Smenkhkare" as a male. I believe there could have been a certain young man named Smenkhkare married to Akhenaten's eldest daughter, Meritaten, who became pharaoh for an instant, and that it may have been some of his funerary equipment that was altered for Tutankhamun.
How to fit Smenkhkare into this theory of Nefertiti as co-regent with Akhenaten is problematic. However, since his reign lasted no longer than a year, it would not offend reason to postulate that this prince perhaps a son of Amenhotep III by a minor queen succeeded his half-brother, Akhenaten, and even adopted the same prenomen of "Ankhkheperure" so as to smooth over the traces that there ever was a female co-regent in the interim.
Of course, there are those who take the opposite view, steadfastly maintaining that there was only one "Ankhkheperure", the young man otherwise known as "Smenkhkare". Aidan Dodson, for example, has attempted to demonstrate a progression of this male co-regent's loyalty to the senior king by the changes in the inscriptions of a set of canopic coffinettes, which were ultimately used by Tutankhamun Dodson's theories in this area don't make much sense to me even though I am not able to dispute his epigraphic conclusions.
I would tend to think that if Smenkhkare were a co-regent of Akhenaten and he wanted to mollify or please the heretic, he would probably have gotten some new coffinettes for his viscera that didn't display any of the traditional and taboo gods of Egypt or feature an emblem of Nekhbet, that great vulture goddess, smack in the center of his forehead. Are we to believe the co-regent sat in state with double emblems on his brow while Akhenaten contented himself merely with one--the cobra? It appears to me that if young Smenkhkare wanted to show the "progress" he was making in currying favor with Akhenaten, he could have "re-worked" a lot more on these coffinettes than a few cartouches!
So, somehow, it seems more logical to me to believe that those canopic coffinettes were never fashioned or modified during the sway of Akhenaten for anyone in a subordinate position to him and whom he ostensibly trusted to help him carry out his policies but by individuals who sat on the throne after Akhenaten was gone, even so they wanted to be associated, nominally, with the latter. In the twelfth year of his rule the pharaoh, Akhenaten, had at least one lovely wife and six growing daughters.
This family unit is portrayed in the tomb of an official, Meryre II, with the king and queen perpetuating the artistic innovations of this regime by showing their affection for one another. Before two more years had passed, tragedy evidently struck. Perhaps it was due to a plague that may have eventually decimated the royal house, but there is no doubt that, by Year 14, Akhenaten's second daughter, the Princess Meketaten, was dead.
We see her laid out in scenes in the Royal Tomb at Amarna, mourned by her distraught parents and the entire court. Most interestingly, these depictions also contain the figure of an infant, held in the arms of a nurse.
Pestilence or no, the tiny, nameless person tantalizingly inserted into these scenes does likely survive and in due course becomes the pharaoh Tutankhamun, the most famous king of Egypt ever. As it happens, the great posthumous renown of Tutankhamun is the only sure thing in all of this, for the period in which he was born, known to Egyptologists as the "Amarna Era", is shrouded with a figurative mist that shifts now and then but never lifts enough for scholars to get a firm grasp of the events of the time. In fact, the Amarna Era is highly vexatious to many scholars because it presents itself as a bundle with "loose ends" of which it is difficult to make a neat parcel.
Theories have abounded nevertheless and many of them appear to be earnest efforts to render the events of this particular time as "normal" as possible, even harmonious, with a smooth succession from one king to the next. Yet it is my belief that the Amarna Era and its aftermath was far more chaotic and unusual than has been heretofore supposed. That is, supposed in modern times, because the ancient writers have certainly offered hints of the irregularities to which I refer, most of which have not been taken seriously by Amarna experts.
In his Year 17 Akhenaten apparently died, but there are indications that perhaps he was forced from his throne.
At any rate, he disappears from the record. Even though Nefertiti may have been her husband's choice for a co-regent, it is doubtful that, after Akhenaten had passed from the scene, that she would have had any legal rights to the throne with grown daughters of the king being present. Perhaps someday we shall know in whose reign Nefertiti actually died.
Geoffrey Martin and Nicholas Reeves are searching for her tomb, but somehow I doubt they will discover her mummy in it. Regardless, we have no conclusive information that says Queen Nefertiti cannot have been alive up to and during the reign of Tutankhamun. Indeed, in order to be the age she appears to be in her last portrait, she would have had to be still there. In the aftermath of the Amarna period, Queen Nefertiti would certainly have been regarded as the wife of a reviled heretic, but there is no real reason to believe that her mummy would have been targeted for destruction beyond the usual rough handling of royal mummies by tomb robbers for the valuables their corpses contained.
Although the ultimate victor in the struggle for power that seems to have taken place in this part of the 18th Dynasty, Horemheb, razed Akhetaten, desecrated its royal tomb and is even thought to have exercised damnatio memoriae in the tomb of King Ay, his predecessor, we cannot be sure that he would have tried to completely obliterate her remains. Still, signs that there was animus directed against her by someone do exist It makes sense that Nefertiti should have been removed from Amarna, where she was probably entombed, and be afforded a safe haven in the tomb of a powerful ancestor of her husband's family, Amenhotep II, still in his sarcophagus and giving sanctuary to a number of displaced persons.
Perhaps we ought to let go of our romantic notions about this royal lady, Nefertiti The-beautiful-one-comes , take another look at the younger female from KV35 and concede that death is something against which even the greatest beauty rarely prevails. To suppose that the mummy is Queen Tiye is to suppose that the hair in the case actually came from the head of that great lady.
However, that is only if one assumes a short or no co-regency between her son, Akhenaten, and his father, Amenhotep III. As I believe, judging from facial characteristics, that this mummy is, indeed, Queen Tiye, I would have to find it a powerful argument for a lengthy co-regency. The late Cyril Aldred proposed it was as long as twelve years. Because of their polygamous habits, the pharaohs presumably had plenty of daughters, yet few that were not queens found their way into the two collections of royal mummies. Likewise the male progeny. I know of only two example of mummies of little princes with "the Horus-lock" on their otherwise shaved heads.
The one in the tomb of Thutmose IV was not even removed for safe-keeping in KV35 with his father, but was found propped up against a wall of his father's own tomb KV43 by Howard Carter in I eagerly await his findings. However, I believe this mummy is most certainly that of a woman and not a man.
The "Elder lady" is hard to pinpoint as well. Because of her hair and other considerations, she has been given the round number of forty, although Wente and Harris in their X-ray Atlas of the Royal Mummies gave her, on the basis of forensic examinations, a minimum age of 25 and a maximum of 35 a rather problematic figure to adjust to the chronology of the life of Queen Tiye , the mother of the heretic pharaoh, Akhenaten--unless she was a mere toddler upon her marriage.
However, age estimates of the mummies have always tended to be on the conservative or low side. Some have seen this ushabti as being the proof that Nefertiti predeceased Akhenaten. Even if Nefertiti died in the reign of a later pharaoh, her old title may have been restored to her but the crook and flail added to her burial equipment to signify she had once been a co-regent or a "pharaoh" in her own right.
I do not agree, as I cannot imagine the circumstances compelling enough to cause any woman, much less a celebrated beauty, to allow herself to be shown much older than in reality in any portrait, official or private. He cites the remnants of textual evidence that the child depicted in the scenes is born of Nefertiti, the Chief Wife of Akhenaten. The wreckers found as they approached that at Karnak, just as at Akhetaten now largely abandoned , vandals had hammered out some of the reliefs here and there.
The faces of the queen had often been hacked with hammer and chisel; less often had the king's visage been so treated. From top: the three 18th-Dynasty mummies discovered in a secret tomb in Amenhotep II's tomb; Fletcher while brushing the dust off the alleged Nefertiti mummy photos: courtesy of Discovery Channel Back to Homepage. In the last few weeks I have received many e-mails from art historians in the United States expressing outrage at the Berlin Museum's astonishing insolence in briefly fusing the beautiful painted bust of Nefertiti to a modern bronze nude body.
One scholar, highly respected in his field, wrote passionately about this "disgusting, ugly and unscientific" synthesis, an affront to one of our most treasured masterpieces. Attaching a limestone bust to a bronze body may have caused it irreparable damage and risked its destruction, had it somehow fallen from the body.
To subject a rare masterpiece to such degradation combined with the possibility of harm, is inexcusable.