Nefertiti and Cleopatra, Famous and Powerful but Very Different

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Egyptian ancient civilization was born along the Nile River and lived for more than 3,000 years. Not only famous for the pyramids at Giza staying there with dignity reminding the wonderful past, Egypt is also famous for its pharaohs. Nefertiti and Cleopatra important figures of Egypt, famous for their beauties and deeds appear remarkable in many parts of the great ancient history. Staying in front of each other these queens have so many differences but so many things in common too. Each lady has her own personality and beauty and did great things for her country and people. But what do modern and ancient people think about them? Do they respect and admire them the same? Queen Nefertiti was much more than a pretty woman. Her role and importance of the 18th dynasty during her husband’s, Amenhotep IV, ruling or Amarna period in Egypt is undeniable. However, not much information has come from antiquity to our hands. Her being or not of a royal blood is not ensured. Even though, the suggestion that Nefertiti was of a nonroyal birth and that her parents were “members of the court circle” (Civilizations of the World, The Human Adventure, p. 29) dominate. It is also suggested that she was a cousin of the pharaoh Amenhotep IV, later Akhenaton. Nefertiti was married to Amenhotep and had six daughters together. The pharaoh loved her very much and was influenced a lot by her too. Her charismatic beauty made her husband call her “sweet of love”, “possessed of charm” and the official recognition as the “exquisite beauty of the sun-disk” (Civilizations of the World, The Human Adventure, p.29). Even her name means “a beautiful woman has come”. During the reign of Amenhotep complete reforms were made in the fields of politics and religion. But the pharaoh was not very interested in foreign relationship and there were revolts in the occupied territories like Syria and Palestine. What he became famous about was changes in religion. In a time when people in Egypt used to believe in many gods, the royal family moved toward monotheism, the worship in a single god, Aton, the sun God. “Amenhotep himself took the name Akhenaton, “servant of Aton”. To implement these revolutionary changes and to reduce the power of the Priests at the royal court of Thebes, he transferred the capital to Tel-el Amarna, which he called Akhetaton ”(Civilizations of the World, p.23). These religious changes brought changes in the status of Queen Nefertiti also. Being in a higher position in this new period starting in Amarna, she was not any more portrayed on her own but together with her husband as a devoted companion equivalent to him. The new higher status made her a coruler and sometimes the inspiration and initiator of many changes. Nefertiti’s most important role was the worship of Aton. Like Akhenaton, Nefertiti had a kind of a new name, Nefernefruaton which mean “beautiful are the beauties of Aton”, to honour the Sun God. As a powerful, modern, and intelligent woman she was very active in the religious rituals and performed rites as her husband and their roles were in many cases exchangeable. Also Nefertiti had a special position of a priest. The way she was dressed resembled much that of the “God’s wife” and the crown was like Akhenaton’s mother, Tiye. Nefertiti’s functions were not only concentrated in religious activities. In order to move from one royal palace to another she herself drove chariots. Also gold was distributed in forms of jewellery to important people to make them “People of Gold”. Queen Nefertiti was the ideal woman for the ancient Egyptians. As an important figure in history she was described as a pretty creature full of beauties and virtues staying with dignity in the side of her husband. She was active, full of energies, the initiator of a new revolution in religion and fashion in some way. Having much power in her hands she could take decisions for different problems but she was always doing the best for her husband and family....
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