Nefertiti : Her name means “beauty comes”
Nefertiti : Her name means “beauty comes”
Her name means “beauty comes”… Indeed, a very appropriate name. After all, Nefertiti is one of the most beautiful women of all ages. On December 6, 2012, her beauty will be remembered and celebrated once again.
The date is not selected randomly. Exactly 100 years ago, on December 6, 1912, the bust was found at the excavations in the city of Tel Amama by German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt who took his exciting discovery to Germany. Nefertiti, for exactly 100 years since that day, has been greeting her visitors in a Berlin museum.
The limestone bust was so fascinating that it was the most copied archaeological artefact in the last 100 years. Through each replica she continued to captivate onlookers with her distant gaze putting forth her strength and power as during her lifetime. Indeed, Nefertiti was a very powerful queen, considered even as the first powerful ruler of ancient Egypt. As wife of Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten), a pharaoh who shared power with her, Nefertiti was taking advantage of the privilege to use all the authority, otherwise incumbent solely upon the sovereign himself, such as imposing punishments.
This situation did not please the Egyptian people at all; waves of unrest were spreading all over the country. They blamed the queen of being the mastermind behind Akhenaten’s attempts to transform Egypt’s religion.
Although precise findings as to Nefertiti’s origins are not available, she is commonly believed to be an Asian princess. Her real name was Tadukhepa. Nefertiti was the name she received when she came as bride to Egypt. Meanwhile the Pharaoh himself had changed his own name from Amenhotep to Akhenaten. And it meant more than just a name change. The Pharaoh, abandoning the gods of ancient Egypt, began to believe in “one true God”. In this new religion men were circumcised; bathing hands and feet was duty before entering the temple and it was a sin to eat pork. A god, thought to be in the sky was worshiped. This was occurring during the 14th century BC. So neither Moses nor Ramses II were yet born.
Monotheism led to unrest in society especially among the clergy who lost their power. Hence, accusing fingers always sought to address Nefertiti, the alien queen from out of Asia.
Another cause of blame was the fact that Nefertiti gave birth to 5 children in11 years but all of them girls. Not only was Nefertiti sharing power as a woman with the Pharaoh, but there was also a risk that a woman would sit on the throne after Akhenaten! Would the wrath of the gods of ancient Egypt whose statues and rules were eliminated by Akhenaten not fall on the Egyptians?
How could they be safeguarded from all this?
The answer was given by an epidemic. It first killed four of the five royal daughters and then Pharaoh Akhenaten. Egyptians had no doubt: this was nothing else than the anger of the gods. Gods put an end to the lives of the Pharaoh and his descendants. A short time later, Nefertiti also died. Records did not indicate the cause of her death. Over the centuries, the epidemic was accepted as the most likely cause of Nefertiti’s demise. But the 21st century brought new clues.
In 2002, during excavations at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, a particular tomb sheltering 1 male and 2 female mummies drew the attention of archaeologists. One of the women held a royal sceptre in her hands and wore an arm band of the kind reserved to pharaohs and queens.
The world of archaeology, once again stood up. That mummy, very probably belonged to Queen Nefertiti. And if that tomb at the Valley of the Kings was indeed Nefertiti’s, this discovery was also solving the mystery of her death. The mummy had a deep hole on her skull proving that she was killed hit with a hard object on her head.
Thus came probably to an end a rather little known but significant episode of history, which laid the first foundations of a monotheistic religion. Nefertiti lost first her husband Pharaoh Akhenaten and there after fell victim to an assassination plot. Following their death, ancient Egypt returned to the polytheistic belief.
In December 2012, Berlin will host a very particular celebration. On the occasion of the centennial of the discovery of her bust, Nefertiti, one of the most beautiful and powerful women of all ages will be remembered.