(by guest blogger Ken Myers)
Often referred to as one of the most beautiful women in ancient history, the Queen Nefertiti ruled alongside her husband, Pharaoh Akhenaten, for a little more than a decade until she mysteriously vanished. Without tales of her demise, she was simply left out of the sacred texts without a single inscription bearing what had happened to this prominent figurehead in Ancient Egypt. What truly had happened to this once great and powerful Queen may never be discovered.

1. Birthright 
The exact lineage of Nefertiti is currently unknown, although there are many theories that have some basis behind who she was and where she truly came from. Commonly, she is referred to the daughter of the Pharaoh Ay, who ruled briefly 11 years after the demise of Akhenaten. Some speculate she was a Mitanni Princess as Amenhotep III was in direct communication with the Mitanni people. Others believe that she is the sister of the Pharaoh Akhenaten whom she married and became co-regent. Unfortunately, there is no real way to tell for certainty if there is any fact in these matters. Until her mummified remains are found and tested for trace DNA, these theories will be nothing more than that based on circumstantial evidence.

2. Gaining Power - The Pharaoh Akhenaten put forth a great effort into displaying Queen Nefertiti as an equal to his own power. This form of control was unprecedented for a Queen to have during that time period. She had nearly all of the rights and abilities her husband ruled with which made her one of the most powerful women in Ancient Egyptian history. This was the title of co-regent as she ruled alongside her husband as his Chief Wife.

3. Evidence of that Power - An intriguing aspect of the reliefs of Queen Nefertiti is how often she is depicted. Scenes that would usually be reserved for the Pharaoh featured her instead. For instance, she is depicted quite often smiting the enemy or captives in place of the Pharaoh, which is unprecedented for a Queen. This lends credence that Queen Nefertiti had to wield a great amount of power and great respect from her husband; otherwise the relief would have been instantly destroyed.

4. Later Findings - Although some speculated that Queen Nefertiti had died in a plague during the 14th year of Akhenaten's reign, an inscription discovered and translated in 2012 depicts that she was present during the 16th year of his reign. Although the limestone tablet is badly damaged, it raises more questions surrounding her death. Although the date of the tablet has been verified, the contents of the material could be easily misinterpreted as it could be a story depicting past events in order to keep the memory of Nefertiti alive in Amarna, the capital of Egypt at the time.

5. Premature Death Certificate? - The belief that Queen Nefertiti has perished in the 14th year of Akhenaten's reign is based on shabti that was found bearing the inscription of Nefertiti. These shabti are placed in the tombs of those who have died. However, these shabti obviously never found a rightful place. These could have been made prior to her death in preparation for her tomb, and she simply survived the plague.

6. Pseudonym for Ruling? - Succeeding rulers after Akhenaten attempted to erase the Amarna period of history due to its controversial nature of monotheism. In the aftermath, identifying succeeding rulers of Akhenaten has been a mixture of circumstantial evidence and educated guesswork of who the main players of leadership were. As the Queen Nefertiti had wielded so much power, some hypothesize that she was indeed the female King Nefernefernuaten, whose tomb has yet to be discovered as well as there is speculation as to who exactly Neferneferuaten was.

7. Mixed Identity - Scientists speculate that the pair of women in the tomb identified as KV35 in 1898 could be directly related to Nefertiti if not one of them being the Queen herself. The "Elder Lady" has been disqualified as she is much too old to be the once young and beautiful Queen of Egypt, but there is controversy surrounding the "Younger Lady." As inbreeding was commonplace of the time, identifying remains using DNA has been anything but easy. Although there is evidence to support that the body of the "Younger Lady" is Nefertiti, many believe that the body of this young individual is in fact Meritaten, daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti.

The lack of solid evidence has made identification next to impossible without speculation based on what scientists can piece together today. Between the Pharaohs going out of their way to remove the Amarna period from history, more than three thousand years of weather and looting, and a weakened form of proper record keeping, we may never truly understand who the great Queen Nefertiti was. The true identity of the once powerful ruler of Egypt may never be found and she could be lost in history until the end of time.

8. The mystery of Nefertiti in historical fiction

Queen Nefertiti and her mystery have inspired historical fiction writers, of course. If you love the genre, here are a couple of recent titles for you.

Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead by Nick Drake (2006) 

She is Nefertiti—beautiful and revered. With her husband, Akhenaten, she rules over Egypt, the most affluent, formidable, sophisticated empire in the ancient world. But an epic power struggle is afoot, brought on by the royal couple's inauguration of an enlightened new religion and the construction of a magnificent new capital. The priests are stunned by the abrupt forfeiture of their traditional wealth and influence; the people resent the loss of their gods—and the army is enraged by the growing turbulence around them. Then, just days before the festival that will celebrate the new capital, Nefertiti vanishes.

Rahotep, the youngest chief detective in the Thebes division, has earned a reputation for his unorthodox yet effective methods. Entrusted by great Akhenaten himself with a most secret investigation, Rahotep has but ten days to find the missing Queen. If he succeeds, he will bask in the warmth of Akhenaten's favor. But if Rahotep fails, he and his entire family will die. (from goodreads)

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran (2007) 

Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised in a powerful family that has provided wives to the rulers of Egypt for centuries. Ambitious, charismatic, and beautiful, Nefertiti is destined to marry Amunhotep, an unstable young pharaoh. It is hoped by all that her strong personality will temper the young Amunhotep’s heretical desire to forsake Egypt’s ancient gods, overthrow the priests of Amun, and introduce a new sun god for all to worship. 

From the moment of her arrival in Thebes, Nefertiti is beloved by the people. Her charisma is matched only by her husband’s perceived generosity: Amunhotep showers his subjects with lofty promises. The love of the commoners will not be enough, however, if the royal couple is not able to conceive an heir, and as Nefertiti turns her attention to producing a son, she fails to see that the powerful priests, along with the military, are plotting against her husband’s rule. The only person wise enough to recognize the shift in political winds—and brave enough to tell the queen—is her younger sister, Mutnodjmet.

Observant and contemplative, Mutnodjmet has never shared her sister’s desire for power. She yearns for a quiet existence away from family duty and the intrigues of court. Her greatest hope is to share her life with the general who has won her heart. But as Nefertiti learns of the precariousness of her reign, she declares that her sister must remain at court and marry for political gain, not love. To achieve her independence, Mutnodjmet must defy her sister, the most powerful woman in Egypt—while also remaining loyal to the needs of her family. 

Love, betrayal, political unrest, plague, and religious conflict—Nefertiti brings ancient Egypt to life in vivid detail. Fast-paced and historically accurate, it is the dramatic story of two unforgettable women living through a remarkable period in history. (from goodreads

        If you are interested in the latest discoveries about Nefertiti,  watch this interesting documentary

Author Bio 

Ken Myers is the founder of  http://www.longhornleads.com/ & has learned over the years the importance of focusing on what the customer is looking for and literally serving it to them. He doesn’t try to create a need, instead he tries to satisfy the existing demand for information on products and services.

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