Neferkheperure-Wa'enre Akhenaten


Prince Amenhotep (IV) (amen-hotep: "Amun is at Peace") was the second son of Nebma'atre Amenhotep (III) and his Great Royal Wife, Tiye. The young prince had one older brother, the Crown Prince Thutmose. He also would eventually have five sisters, Sitamun, Isis, Henut-Taneb, Nebetah and Beketaten. Amenhotep, as the son of pharaoh, would have had a pleasant childhood; but, he must have been in the shadow of his older brother, the Crown Prince Thutmose. It was Thutmose who was going to be the pharaoh. During Amenhotep's time as a prince in his father's court, the senior Amenhotep was giving a lesser known aspect of the sun, the physical disk, the Aten, more prominence in the Egyptian Pantheon. This was most likely done in an effort to lessen the power of the priesthood of Amun, as they were ever becoming more and more wealthy and influential in the politics of Egypt. Amenhotep III even had a pleasure boat named "The Aten Gleams". While the Crown Prince was in Memphis as the High Priest of Ptah, young Prince Amenhotep may have served as a preist himself, in On (Heliopolis), where we would leanr more about solar theology.

Tragedy struck; Crown Prince Thutmose died. No one is sure what killed the young prince, but with his death the course of Egyptian history took a drastic turn. Someday, Amenhotep (IV) would be come pharaoh.

Late in the reign of Amenhotep III, the Crown Prince married Nefertiti, who was most likely his cousin, the niece of Queen Tiye. Amenhotep IV may have had a co-regency with his father, but this is debated. Shortly before or right after he became the pharaoh, his chief wife gave birth to the first of six daughters, Meritaten .

Queen NefertitiQueen Kiya He assumed the role of Pharaoh with the name of Neferkheperure Wa'enre Amenhotep, (Nefer-kheperu-re, Wa-en-re: "Beautiful are the Manifestations of Re, Sole One of Re") but that name would not last long. In about year 2 or 3, the second princess, Meketaten, was born. Also, presumably fairly early in his reign, he married Kiya, who may or may not have been a foriegn princess and had been previously married to Amenhotep III. She was given the title "Greatly Beloved Wife".

In about year 5, Amenhotep IV and Nefertiti celebrated the birth of their third daughter, Ankhesenpaaten. Then they moved.

The new city was called Akhet-Aten, or "Horizon of Aten". It was located about halfway between the traditional religious capital of Egypt, Waset/Thebes, and the traditional secular capital, Men-Nefer/Memphis. At this time, he changed his name to Akhenaten, and Nefertiti recieved the additional name of Nefernefruaten. The Aten became the only official god worshiped in the new city, but of course, the average Egyptian must not have been too thrilled with the change.

In about year 8, Nefernefruaten Ta-Sherit , and possibly a son, Tutankhaten, were born. Nefernefruaten ta-sherit was named after her mother, Nefertiti. Tutankhaten may have been the son of Akhenaten and Kiya, but there are other theories as well... Also, at some point, Queen Kiya also had a daughter. The name of this princess has been lost, but we know she existed based on reliefs in which Kiya appears with a daughter.

The Princesses Nefernefruaten and Nefernefrure, notice enlongated skulls Speaking of reliefs, Akhenaten's reign did not just bring religious reforms, but artistic ones at well. Akhenaten was shown with long spindly arms, and a feminine like figure. It has been suggested that perhaps this is evidence of disease, or kind of like a charicature; and exaggeration of the king's possibly slighlty feminine appearance. He was also portrayed with a long face, heavy eyelids, and full lips. His daughters were protrayed with enlogated skulls, and Egyptologists still debate hether this was a true-to-life depiction or if it was just a new artistic stylle. Later in the reign, the rough exaggerated style gave way to a more realistic one, in which the famous bust of Nefertiti was fashioned.

In early year nine, Akhenaten welcomed Nefernefrure into the world. And last but not least, in late year 9 or early year 10, the last Amarna princess, Setepenre was born. And life in Akhet-Aten went on.

In about year 12 or 13, things in Akhenaten's life began to go down hill. Princess Meketaten died, and Setepenre and Nefernefrure may have already died as well. Both Nefertiti and Kiya either died or feel from favor (or, perhaps in Nefertiti's case, became co-regent). His mother, queen Tiye, has ceased to mentioned, and may have died also. It is at this time that some say he married Meritaten, his beloved eldest daughter. He and Meritaten are the most likely canidates for the parents of the princess Meritaten ta-sherit, but there are other possibilities. In year 15 or 16, Ankh(et)kheperure Nefernefruaten became the co-regent, probably marrying Meritaten, and it is thought Akhenaten married his third daughter, Ankhesenpaaten. He may have been the father of Ankhesenpaaten ta-sherit.

Akhenaten died in his 17th regnal under unknown circumstances. His memory still lives on, as one of Egypt's most famous and controversial Pharaohs. It is said that he himself wrote the beautiful "Hymn to the Aten" and that the artistic reforms were taught to the scupltor by the king himself, according to atleast one inscription. Shortly before or after Akhenaten's death, Meritaten and Ankhkheperure Smenkhkare also died, and a nine or ten year old boy took the throne. One of the fews pharaohs more famous than Akhenaten, every school kid knows him as "King Tut" but when he assumed the throne, he was Tutankhaten.

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