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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > September 2016 > History Makers: Nefertiti

History Makers: Nefertiti

Nefertiti ruled alongside her husband Pharaoh Akhenaten over a time of revolution, only to vanish from history. Jonny Wilkes investigates the mysteries of the timeless beauty
CROWNING GLORY Nefertiti can often be recognised by her distinctive ‘cap crown’, which would have been blue and gold with a Uraeus (cobra) above the brow
ART ARCHIVE X1, GETTY X1

She stood, as wife of the pharaoh, at the apex of a dramatic religious revolution in Egypt, which dismissed the traditional gods of several millennia and replaced them with a single deity. She ruled from a new capital, built by her husband Akhenaten away from the intrigue of Thebes in order to centralise authority around the royal couple. She became the muse for radical artistic and cultural changes, meaning we see her today unlike any woman who came before, or even after. She is still lauded as one of history’s great beauties – her name, after all, means ‘a beautiful woman has come’. She is Nefertiti, perhaps one of Ancient Egypt’s most important and influential female rulers.

Thanks to the bust found in 1912, her face is recognised around the world and has become a symbol of her ancient civilisation, alongside Tutankhamun’s death mask. Yet beyond her limestone gaze, Nefertiti’s life, death and afterlife continue to bamboozle historians and archaeologists, who wonder if they will ever uncover the secrets of Egypt’s lost queen.

STEALING THE LIMELIGHT Nefertiti is often depicted in a position of power, such as leading worship – a task usually reserved for the pharaoh
RIDGEMAN IMAGES X1, GETTY X3
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September 2016 issue of History Revealed.
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