Sunday, August 03, 2003

Was Nefertiti the original monotheist?

One of the members of our Imperial Rome discussion group mentioned the possibility that Akenaten turned to the Aten after Nefertiti died when she was not healed by his prayers to Amun. I don't think Akenaten blamed Amen-Ra for Nefertiti's death as she didn't die until well into the Amarna experiment when a plague swept through Egypt. Several of their daughters died at that time as well. (This was apparently concluded by scholars because records of the plague are known and Nefertiti disappears from the historical record at the same time.)

This website mentioned another scenario:

"Some have even claimed that it was Nefertiti, not Akhenaten, who instigated the monotheistic religion of Aten. It was around the 15th regnal year of Akhenaten that Nefertiti mysteriously disappeared from the scene. It could be that she died, although, to this date, there are no existing indications of that. Some scholars believe that she was banished, and that she lived the rest of her life in the northern palace. "

"Two reasons could be used for explaining Nefertiti's banishment. First, it could be that she disapproved of the slow return to the worship of Amon, which was taking place at that time, with Smenkhkare becoming co-regent and the moving back to Thebes to re-open some temples. The second opinion is that perhaps she believed that Akhenaten was losing touch with his people and angering them by destroying all other gods besides his own, thus she could have been banished by Akhenaten for going against his religion. Whatever the case, she is replaced by her eldest daughter, Meritaten. "

I also found this interesting site: http://www.akhet.co.uk/amarna/index2.htm

You can also read an online time-travel story about her at: http://www.sherryart.com/newstory/nefertiti.html