Tuesday, March 13, 2012


You will remember that on my Names of Real Witchlets round up, there is a girl called Nefertiti Rene. That was one of the bolder choices there. This is also in response to Emily, who requested that I post more Egyptian names. I'll try to, but for now let's just say that you requested Nefertiti.

Nefertiti (pronounced "nef-er-TEE-tee") was the Great Royal Wife (aka Queen) of Ancient Egyptian Pharoah Akhenaten. Her name would originally have been pronounced Nafteta, and it means "the beautiful one has come." Surely you've seen the famous bust? She has an impressive headdress, lovely long neck, and high cheek bones. Some historians call her the most beautiful woman in the world.

I've heard rumors that there is a Cleopatra movie in the works staring Angelina Jolie in the lead role. We don't need another Cleopatra movie. We need a Nefertiti movie. No one knows much about her life before she became queen, we don't know who her parents are or anything about her childhood. But Nefertiti proved very quickly that she was more than just a pretty face.

The reign of Nefertiti and Pharoah Akhenaten is remarkable because they introduced a radical new concept: Monotheism. The two introduced the cult of the sun god, Aten. They simply decided that the whole country was going to follow this new religion. They shut down all the old temples, told the priests to change their ways, and moved the nation's capital to another city. Many historians believe that this sudden switch was not popular. This couple is also interesting because Pharaoh Akhenaten gave a lot of his responsibilities to his favorite wife (he had other wives, but it's clear that Nefertiti was the favorite). It is possible that the Pharaoh was suffering from deformities and was not physically capable of performing his royal duties by himself. So she did a lot of things that women before her were not allowed to do like ride chariots and execute people. She helped promote her husband's religious agenda. Akhenaten made it very clear to his nation that he and Nefertiti were equal partners. There is another famous depiction of her that shows her being very devoted to her children alongside her husband. Pictures of royalty in a family setting were never done before this. Her husband's reign only lasted twelve years, but she was one of the most powerful queens to ever rule.

And then suddenly, Nefertiti completely vanishes. There is no mention of her in historical records at all after that point. A lot of artifacts were destroyed by successors, and the nation reverted back into it's Polytheistic religion. There was a sudden plague at that time, so it is possible that she died. But a lot of people don't want to accept that. There are many other theories. Some believe that she was cast aside because she only had daughters (an heir could only be a male child). Others suspect that she's still in records, she's just dressed as a man and has a new name. There is evidence that she might be Pharaoh Neferneferuaten who ruled for a brief time before the famous King Tut. Her mummy has not been found or identified, so we may never know.

Nefertiti is a lot of name. Not just because it's a little long, but because the queen left such an indelible mark on it. It's an overall positive mark, but it's one that's a lot to live up to. That's probably why it isn't used often. The Egyptian queen is the only real namesake. It's...imposing. Which, depending on the namer, is the intended effect.


Image Credit:
Found via http://pinterest.com


  1. I love Nefertiti and her "nubile Nile daughters." Akhenaten is such a great name, too. Glad you'll be featuring more Egyptian names since they're so wonderful -- and interesting to know re: the original pronunciation!

  2. I'd love it if they made a Nefertiti movie. I watch the history channel a lot and always catch the ones on Egyptian pharaohs.


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