Nefertiti (Nofretete in German) was the Great Royal Wife of Akhenaten, one of the last kings of the eighteenth dynasty. She lived around -1370 to -1333/34.
Its beauty is legendary, and it certainly exercised an important political and religious importance during the Amarna period. Indeed, when a team of American archaeologists recently began rebuilding the virtual walls of the temple of Aten at Karnak from talatat - a gigantic puzzle over six miles of sandstone blocks removed from the ninth pylon - it was surprised to find that the representations of Nefertiti outnumbered those of Akhenaten, her royal husband. Elsewhere, the Queen is represented in the traditional pose of punishing enemies pharaoh of Egypt, or officiating alongside King in front of their god Aten. Other reliefs again show the royal couple and the little princesses in their family privacy. All these scenes are proof that the queen exercised considerable power, the official art has never shown any similar scenes before.
It is not established that Nefertiti has survived Akhenaten. Some Egyptologists have speculated however that at the end of the reign she was co-regent of Akhenaten as the Smenkhkare, thought in general it is a younger brother of Akhenaten.
The disappearance of the queen
In the year thirteen (or fourteen) of the reign of Akhenaten (ca. -1336) (see timing), Meritaten replaced his mother as a great royal wife in the official ceremonies, and, from the year fourteen, Nefertiti disappeared iconography of Amarna. On some reliefs, his name and face were even hammered and replaced by those of Meritaten. It is not impossible that she is already dead at that date, according to a hypothesis of violent death. Some experts had suggested a possible time disgrace, she was ousted by a rival, Kiya, a wife of another king. We now know that the opposite occurred. The real reasons for this sudden disappearance still escape us. Complicating this conundrum seals wine jar with his name which would be indication: "the year I Nefertiti" were found in the palace north of Akhetaten (modern Tell el-Amarna), which may mean be that she lived in the reign of her husband if she reigned after him.
Nefertiti's disappearance coincided with the emergence of a new character named as co-regent on behalf of Ankh-Khéperourê Neferneferuaten. Pusieurs kittens ring inscribed, found by Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie at Amarna show that this new character is a woman since the form is attested Ankh (t) Kheperoure. Manetho in his royal list, suggests a "woman king" at the end of the eighteenth dynasty he called Acencheres which would be a bad transcription of Ankh-Kheperoure. Again, we are reduced to conjectures. It is on this premise that specialists have given the certainty that it was Nefertiti. However the identity of the Ankh (t) Khéperourê has been much discussed: Kiya, Meritaten, Nefertiti?
After the short reign of Akhenaten's successor, a young boy of ten years came to the throne, assumed his son Tutankhamun, husband of the Princess Royal Ankhesenpaaten. A new hypothesis, however, is the domain of history-fiction, because no document to support it: Nefertiti, still alive, but formally withdrew from public affairs, would have ruled in the shade, since the young age new king. This influence - and probably his own life - would then be completed during the third year of the reign of Tutankhamun, in -1331. In effect this year that Tutankhaten adopted the name Tutankhamun, denying the monotheistic religion of Akhenaten and officially marking its support for the Theban god Amun. At the same time, the royal family abandoned Akhetaten, the city of Aton, and returned to Thebes.
We have identified Nefertiti with the Mitanni princess Tadukhipa (idea rabandonnea today), to Smenkhkare or even Kiya, she died during the reign of Akhenaten or she has survived her royal husband, or be "woman king" who succeeded him: none of these assumptions is demonstrated to date. Only this time, the version proposed by Marc Gabolde, won a large number of approvals from the Egyptologists. He suggested that Nefertiti and Akhenaten died before it Meritaten who succeeded his father. But this assertion leads to another puzzle: where was deposited the body of queen?
The mummy of Nefertiti
On June 9, 2003, the British archaeologist Joann Fletcher, a professor at the University of York, announced that mummies discovered in 1898 in tomb KV35 in the Valley of the Kings, but not yet identified, would be the queen.
The mummy was so bad that, according to Joann Fletcher, she was probably sacked shortly after mummification. The technique used is that used by the embalmers of the eighteenth dynasty. The position of the body indicate a royal personage.
On June 12, three days later, Zahi Hawass, director of ACS (Egypt's Supreme Council for Antiquities, Supreme Council of Antiquities), put forward no evidence supporting this hypothesis, and publicly denied that this mummy was that of Nefertiti.
Read also Art of Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid Mamluks