Stuff You Missed in History Class
Holly and Tracy splash around in the depths of history.

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Nefertiti and the Heretic Pharaoh | May 24, 2010


Welcome to Stuff You Missed in History Class from

Katie Lambert

Hello, and welcome to the podcast. I am Katie Lambert.

Sarah Dowdey

And I’m Sarah Dowdey.

Katie Lambert

Our subject for today was called a historical hottie by People magazine, which, of course, is the most reliable of all celebrity magazines, so it must be true. But her name, Nefertiti, means “the beautiful one has come” or “a beautiful woman has come.” She was also honored with a variety of very lovely titles, “Sweet of Love,” “Lady of Grace,” and some people have also called her the most powerful woman in the world, so not just a pretty face.

Sarah Dowdey

I’ve long loved Nefertiti. I actually was her for Halloween. I think I’ve mentioned it before. It was probably my best Halloween costume when I was about nine years old.

She’s also a magnet – at least according to Molly from Stuff Mom Never Told You -

Katie Lambert

On Molly’s fridge. A good way to get Egyptologists into a fight, which who wouldn’t want to do that, is to debate Nefertiti. Despite the famous bust of her that we’ve all seen that’s in the Berlin museum, that inspires all sorts of tales, we don’t know much about her at all.

Let’s start with the basics, the things we do know. Nefertiti was married to the heretic pharaoh, Akhenaton, who ruled in the 18th dynasty from 1353 to 1336 B.C., so not all that long, actually.

Sarah Dowdey

He’s a bit of an enigma to us too. one thing we do know, Akhenaton’s father was Amenhotep the third, whose reign was known for being very peaceful and prosperous, and for producing tons of buildings and statues, things you’d go to Egypt and see.

Katie Lambert

And Akhenaton’s name was actually Amenhotep the fourth until he came into power. He didn’t keep that name for too long. He changed it to Akhenaton, which means “one who is effective” in honor of the new religion he was about to bring the people.

Before we talk too much about that, we want to talk about our girl, Nefertiti.

Sarah Dowdey

Because of that name we mentioned earlier, the beautiful one has come, there’s a lot of speculation that Nefertiti was actually foreign, maybe from what is today Syria. Others think she wasn’t foreign, she was born Egyptian royalty. Maybe she was even related to Akhenaton’s mother, Queen Tiye.

Katie Lambert

Or perhaps she was the daughter of Ay who was an influential courtier and may have been involved in King Tut’s death. He definitely succeeded him.

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