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Bust of Nefertiti, Berlin Egyptian Museum

Akhenaten's primary wife' was Nefertiti Her name means "the beautiful (or perfect) woman has come." She occupies an unusually prominent place in the art of the period. She is very often shown by the side of her husband, sharing in his duties.

Little is known of Nefertiti's early life. Some Egyptologists speculate that she may have urged her husband to the religious changes that took place during his reign. In year 12 of his reign she may have become a co-regent.

Akhenaten and Nefertiti has six daughters: They were Meritaten, Mekataten, Ankhesenpaaten (later Queen to Tutankhamun, Neferneferuaten Tasherit, Neferneferure and Setepenre.

In the 14th year of Akhenaten's reign, Nefertiti disappears from the record. At the same time Smenkhkare, husband to Meritaten, may have become Akhenaten's co-regent for a few years before his death. However, some Egyptologists believe that Smenkhkare was another name for Nefertiti and instead of disappearing, she rose in power and replaced Akhenaten briefly after his death. There are several ambiguities that give rise to this theory. Smenkhkare's regnal name Nefernefraten is similar to Nefertiti. His is sometimes shown as looking feminine and his name sometimes was written with a feminine ending. However this is not clear. Nefertiti disappears from Egyptian history and her fate is a mystery.

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Part of Monotheism in Egypt: The Cult of Akhenaten, a HistoryWiz exhibit

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