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Author Topic: THE GREAT ATEN  (Read 11991 times)
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Posts: 41646

« Reply #45 on: February 26, 2008, 12:28:02 pm »

Curiously, Smenkhare's rise coincides almost exactly with another mysterious event,
the all-but-complete disappearance of Nefertiti from the art of El-Amarna.

Only once in the final two years of Akhenaten's reign is she shown, in a funerary tableau
recording the death of one of her and Akhenaten's daughters. One theory is that Akhen
aten sensing the approach of death—but how?—married his eldest daughter by Nefertiti
to Smenkhare who was the son of a secondary wife. In fact, he had little choice but to
do this because Nefertiti had never given him a son—six daughters but no male heir—and
Egyptian tradition demanded some sort of "son of the pharaoh" succeed.

Thus, in the absence of a crown prince, the son of a secondary wife usually stepped in as

But this is not the only explanation that's been offered. Another theory proposes—and in
light of the unusual circumstances surrounding the Aten-cult at Akhetaten, it's not nearly
as unlikely as it might seem at first glance—

that Smenkhare was Nefertiti!

Knowing his death was imminent and seeing no clear and obvious heir on the horizon since
he'd had no sons by Nefertiti and so there was no pointy-headed male to stem the family's
Aten-uation, Akhenaten created a "son" for himself out of the most obvious candidate there
was, not a secondary son but his primary wife.

Family was, after all, of utmost importance in this new world order, and she had held the
power of Egypt in her hands—had even worn the blue crown!—best of all, she was already
one of the chosen, the long-necked beloved of the Aten. So, like any social-climbing secon-
dary son, Nefertiti "married" her own daughter and took the throne as a man, assuming as
was traditional a new name, Smenkhare. That would help to explain why she disappears at
the very moment Akhenaten's successor enters the picture.
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