Nefertiti was an Egyptian queen whose name has stood the test of time. She is arguably one of the more well-known Egyptian historical figures despite this, there is very little that is actually known about her. Regardless of the mysteries that surround her personage, stories of her beauty and power serve as a beacon to allure scholars and researchers to this day.
There are several rumors about Nefertiti that refuse to die like she was the Mitanni Princess Tadukhipa—this was disproved as Tadukhipa was already married to Akhenaten’s father and there was no other evidence to suggest why the princess would need to alter her name. There are some historical evidences that surface to suggest that Nefertiti came from a town called Akhmim. Nefertiti held many titles which include Hereditary Princess, Great of Praises, Lady of Grace, Lady of Two Lands, Great King’s Wife, Lady of all Women, and Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt.
She was thrust into the international limelight when her bust, which was crafted in 1345 BC, was found in the workshop of Thutmose in 1912. It currently resides in the Berlin’s Neues Museum.
It was believed that Nefertiti married Akhenaten when she was just 15 years old. Certain hieroglyphics depicted that the couple ruled together from 1353 to 1336 BC. Other records also indicated that their marriage had born six daughters. Although there is no concrete evidence to yet support the idea, some theorize that Nefertiti and Akhenated had a son. One of their daughters, Ankhesenamun, would eventually marry her half-brother Tutankhamun.
One of Nefertiti’s well known accomplishments is her active role in the establishment of the Aten (the sun) cult. The pharaoh’s name was originally Amenhotep IV which was changed to Akhenaten to honor their deity. Even Nefertiti’s name shifted to Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti which means “beautiful are the beauties of Aten, a beautiful woman has come”. This was a show of her absolute devotion to their deity and their religion.
A reason why Nefertiti’s legend endures to this day is because of all the power she was said to have wielded during her time. Her husband was said to go to great lengths to show his subject that his queen was his equal. She is depicted wearing the crown of a pharaoh in some uncovered murals and in others she is even seen smiting her enemies in battle. One popular theory about Nefertiti is that she became the ruler Neferneferuaten; although, this is still highly up for debate.
A curious occurrence, however, was that around 12 years after the many reliefs that depicted Nefertiti and her accomplishments—all trace of her disappears. It is uncertain as to why; some scholars go as far as to speculate that she was exiled when the worship of Amen-Ra became popular once again. Another theory was that she fell into disgrace and discredited.
While there is never a lack of rumors and theories about Nefertiti’s death and burial, or what is that truly became of her, it is to be noted that her remains have never been formally found or identified. This is probably why the legend and allure of Nefertiti will continue on until we have more concrete answers to quench our thirst.