Mammoths were alive in ancient Egypt

Nefertiti: Who was the mysterious beauty?

Nefertiti is considered to be one of the most enigmatic queens in ancient Egypt. And as one of the most beautiful. Not only her bust in the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, but also her story has long been world famous

Who was Nefertiti?

Desert sand as far as the eye can see. Ludwig Borchardt was very troubled by heat, drought and dust. He is an archaeologist and specially traveled to Egypt to track down the mysterious city in Amarna. 80 ancient houses had already been uncovered in 1912 when Ludwig Borchardt was looking for finds there. In the workshop of a sculptor who could have worked for the royal court in 1300 BC.

Many works of art were produced and stored in this workshop - and it was in this workshop, over 3,000 years later, that Ludwig Borchardt made a very special find: He discovered the life-size bust of a queen - Nefertiti, as it later turned out.

Who was Nefertiti?

Up to this point, no one had heard of Nefertiti before. Nobody knew that the fabled queen so famous today even lived. It was only when Ludwig Borchardt found the famous bust in the excavation site in Amarna that the researchers tried to research the story of this beautiful woman. That is why they continued to dig in the desert sand and made more and more excavation finds.

Some of the ruins of the temples and palaces can still be seen today. And in it they not only found the bust: inscriptions and paintings show Nefertiti together with her husband Akhenaten, the ruler of Akhet-Aton. That was the name of the city that lies in what is now Amarna. The archaeologists know all this from the images they found, from which they can deduce the history of Nefertiti.

Nefertiti

Nefertiti has not always lived in Achet-Aton. She was born as a king's daughter in Mitanni, in what is now Syria, in 1370 BC. At that time it was still called Taduschepa, only later it was called "Nefertiti". As a young girl she was brought to Egypt because she met the Egyptian pharaoh Amenophis III. should marry. But shortly after the wedding, the king dies. Taduschepa therefore marries his son and successor, Amenophis IV. Her name is changed to "Nefertiti", which means something like: "The beautiful one who is coming".

The invention of a new god

Nefertiti was at most 15 years old when her husband Amenhotep IV of Thebes ruled out of Egypt. Amenhotep IV himself is only a little older when he ascended the throne.

Pharaohs in ancient Egypt are more than just kings; they are God and ruler in one person. Amenhotep is majestically revered as the representative of God on earth - but there are also many other gods that the Egyptians worship at this point in time. Amenophis wants to have all respect for himself - and without further ado, abolishes all other gods. For this he creates a new god: the sun god Aton. A new royal cult emerges.

Only he and Nefertiti stand between Aton and ordinary people - and thus have much more power than if there were several gods. Therefore Amenhotep has all other gods deleted from the inscriptions; their names are simply chiseled off the stone tablets and thus removed forever.

Amenophis changes his name to Akhenaten ("Who serves Aten"), Nefertiti becomes Noferneferuaton-Nefertiti ("Beautiful is the beauty of Aten - beauty is coming). The two daughters are also given names with the last syllable on the Names of the sun god ended: Meretaton, Meketaton and Anchesenpaaton.

Relocation from Thebes to Achet-Aton

After Akhenaten had ruled the country from Thebes for five years, he moved to Akhet-Aton with his family and people. Magnificent palaces and temples are being built in the middle of the desert; Within a short time an entire city emerges from which Akhenaten and Nefertiti rule. Akhenaten wants to start a new beginning with the new empire, because in Thebes there are some people who do not want to believe in his new God.

"The beautiful"

Nefertiti is breathtakingly beautiful. Akhenaten admires his wife - and she supports him in his religion and his rule. She is the first woman to have made it into the position of queen and goddess.

"The beautiful one who comes" is not only admired by her husband. The people also show her great respect. She is proud, confident and beautiful - and her beauty is important to her. She does a lot to achieve this. So a normal day in her life was dominated by personal hygiene, baths, ointments and make-up.

Nefertiti always wears the latest headdress. Either huge crowns or heavy, mostly black, wigs. Underneath, Nefertiti does not have a long head of hair, as one would expect. Quite the opposite: your head is shaved; she is bald. The reasons for this are the heavy headwear, the hot weather and possibly also vermin such as lice. It is simply more practical not to have hair.

What happened to Nefertiti?

Nefertiti and her husband ruled in Achet-Aton for 17 years. Then Akhenaten dies - and Nefertiti takes over his rule.

It could have been like that. Or maybe it was completely different - because today nobody knows exactly what became of the beautiful queen. After 12 years of reign, their track is lost. Maybe she died before her husband too? Maybe she fell out of favor with him and was cast out? Or she was replaced on the throne by Akhenaten's lover, Kija.

It was not uncommon at the time that the rulers in ancient Egypt had several wives. Akhenaten had a whole harem of concubines for the past few years - but Nefertiti was his favorite. Until Kija came. Nefertiti's mummy was never found. Archaeologists are still looking for it today - in vain.

The bust of Nefertiti, which Ludwig Borchardt tracked down in 1912, is world famous today. Many people are still fascinated by the beauty of Nefertiti and its legendary history - and make a pilgrimage to the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, where visitors can marvel at the 3,000-year-old bust of the beautiful queen.

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