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Nefertiti Famed throughout the ancient world for her outstanding beauty, Akhenaten's queen Nefertiti Remains one of the best known of the queens of Egypt. Nefertiti, which means a beautiful woman has come. "Ahenaton's own words describe Nefertiti: "The hereditary princess, great of favor, Mistress of happiness, gay with the two feathers, at hearing whose voice one rejoices, soothing the hart of the king at home, pleased at all that is said, the great and beloved wife of the king, lady of the two lands, Neferu-aton Nefertiti, living forever"(Spoore 2000). Nefertiti achieved a prominence unknown to other Egyptian queens. Her name is enclosed in a royal cartouche (Spoore 2000). The famous statue of Nefertiti, found in a sculptor's workshop in Akhetaten, is one of the most recognizable icons from that period of history. It has escaped the excesses of the Amarna artistic style, and survived the wholesale destruction of Akhenaten's monuments after his death. (Tyldesley 1999). A Beautiful Woman Has Come Little is known about the origins of Nefertiti but it seems unlikely that she was of royal blood. We know of no one claiming to be related to Nefertiti. Her father was possibly a high official of Amenhotep III and Akhenaten called Ay, who went on to become Pharaoh after Tutankhamun. "Nefertiti may have been a foreigner who, quite literally, arrived at the Egyptian court in order to marry the king"(Tyldesley 1999). There is no firm date for the royal marriage; although monumental evidence suggests that it occurred either just before or shortly after Amenhotep's accession to the throne. Akhenaten and Nefertiti had six daughters, the elder three being born at Thebesm and the younger three at Amarna: Meritaten (Beloved of the Aten'), Meketaten (Protected by the Aten'), Ankhesepaaten (Living through the Aten'), Neferneferuaten (Exquisite Beauty of The Sun Disc'), Neferneferure (Exquisite Beauty of Re'), and Setepenre (Chosen of Re') (Tyldesley 1999). It is possible that she also had sons, although no record has been found of this. It was a practice in Egyptian art not to portray the male heirs as children. Possibly, she may have been the mother of Tutankhamun, the boy pharaoh who succeeded to the throne at the age of eleven and died nine years later (Sporre 2000). Nefertiti's Role Nefertiti, the Great Royal Wife of King Amenhotep IV better known as Akhenaten, joined her husband in worship of a new religion that celebrated the power of the sun disk Aten.
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