Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Prodigal Queen Returns

In a previous post I talked about Nefertiti's big climb on the ladder of power. So what now? Where does she go from there? Well, to tell you the truth, after the religious reform (more on that later) Nefertiti basically disappears from history, as if she spontaneously fell off the face of the earth. What we know: after Akhenaten died, a pharaoh named Smenkhara ruled for a short time. What we don't know: everything else-the gender, the origins of him/her, and where he/she ties into the story. There are many theories on what happened to Nefertiti and who Smenkhara was. The story of Smenkhara is very intriguing because we don't know anything about him/her except that he/she ruled after Akhenaten before King Tut the boy king took over (and very rudely erased his father and stepmother, Akhenaten and Nefertiti, off the records making it very difficult to find any solid information on them!). Some people think that Akhenaten ruled as Smenkhara and others believe that Smenkhara was Nefertiti herself. You might be wondering why Nefertiti would have such a major identity crisis that she would want to be a completely different person. How did Nefertiti lose popularity so fast you ask? Well, this is also unclear but again, there are many theories. One idea is that Nefertiti was banished to her palace in the new capital, Amarna. I'm sure you see the huge hole in this theory though. Nefertiti was co-king, beloved by her people, a goddess serving Ra. My point is, if Akhenaten said "Jump!", Nefertiti wouldn't say, "How high?". Similarly, if Akhenaten says, "You're banished," she wouldn't say, "How long?" For now, we can draw our own conclusions on who Smenkhara was.

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