Friday, November 30, 2012

Nefertiti--Queen and Goddess

The religion of Akhenaten was new.  It rejected the old gods of the land but centered around the Aten, the disc of the sun.  All other manifestations of the sun were included in the theology, of course, and that is why Heliopolis, the city of the sun in the north, became the second center of the worship of the solar deity next to Akhetaten, the pharaoh Akhenaten's capital.  In order to preserve his own divine status in the scheme of things, Akhenaten represented himself as a true "son of the sun" in the guise of Shu, a light-deity who sprang from Ra and formed a kind of "holy trinity" with the sun, including the twin of Shu, Tefnut, goddess of moisture.  Nefertiti, the wife of Akhenaten, was the living incarnation of Tefnut and, truly, she was the only goddess of the new belief system, being one with Ra.  The unification of Shu and Tefnut with the sun-god preserved the monotheism of Akhenaten. 

In the tomb of Ay near the royal city, Nefertiti is called "goddess".  Ay's wife, Tey, had nursed this divine child, implying that Nefertiti had been a goddess since birth.  Remnants of the sarcophagus of Akhenaten from the royal tomb indicate that it was none other than Nefertiti who assumed the role of the protective goddess of its four corners.  No other goddess existed, but the iconography evidently remained appealing.  But the idea of Akhenaten and Nefertiti being children of the sun did not come from nothing.  It had begun in the previous generation, when Amenhotep III began to style himself “ the shining disk of the sun of Egypt”.  In other words, a sun-king. 

Here is a page that gives information about Nefertiti being attested in Year 16 of Akhenaten:

No comments: