Nefertiti (Episode 109)

Akhenaten (Part 2): The Great Queen(s).

In 1361 BCE, Amunhotep IV was settled into his power. It was time to find a queen – his choice would be one of Egypt’s most famous women.

This episode covers Amunhotep’s diplomatic engagements with Mitanni and the first appearance (and origins) of Nefertiti. Also, we present part 2 of our interview with Dr. Joyce Tyldesley of Manchester University…

109. Number

Listen online or download direct (Save As mp3)

109. EA26 Tushratta to Queen Tiye
Amarna Letter 26: Tushratta writes to Queen Tiye, seeking fulfilment of a promise (British Museum).
109. Banner
One of the first images of Nefertit: from the Aten shrines at Karnak (Arnold, Allen and Green 1996).
109. Nefertiti Karnak (Ertman) - sharpened
One of the first images of Nefertiti, from the Aten shrines at Karnak (Ertman 2009).
Dr. Joyce Tyldesley has published a wonderful book, Nefertiti’s Face, which you can purchase here (affiliate link).

Special Thanks to my Patrons!

thanks april 2019

Selected Bibliography

Dorothea Arnold, Lyn Green and James Allen, The Royal Women of Amarna: Images of Beauty from Ancient Egypt, 1999 (MetMuseum)

Norman de Garis Davis, Rock Tombs of el-Amarna: Part VI: The Tombs of Parennefer, Tutu and Ay, 1908 (

Aidan Dodson, Amarna Sunrise, 2014.

Aidan Dodson and Dyan Hilton, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, 2010.

Earl L. Ertman, “Images of Amenhotep IV and Nefertiti in the Style of the Previous Reign,” in Causing His Name to Live: Studies in Egyptian Epigraphy and History in Memory of William J. Murnane, 2009 (Google Books).

James K. Hoffmeier, Akhenaten & the Origins of Monotheism, 2015.

Donald B. Redford, Akhenaten: The Heretic King, 1987.

Dominic Montserrat, Akhenaten: History, Fantasy and Ancient Egypt, 2005.

William L. Moran, The Amarna Letters, 1992.

Nicholas Reeves, Akhenaten: Egypt’s False Prophet, 2005.

Joyce Tyldesley, Nefertiti’s Face: Creation of an Icon, 2018.

Richard H. Wilkinson, The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, 2003.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Amie says:

    Dear Dominic, I am nobody, just one more Egypt freak. But gianta like J.P. Allen would most likely tell you that structures such as “Nefer Neferu Aten” should generally be understood as a nfr Hr and that Neferu is by no means a plural but an abstract noun, maybe one of those called a collective. That is, rather “perfect as the perfection of the Aten”. Lovely podcast as always

    1. DominicPerry says:

      Hi Aime,
      D’oh! You’re absolutely right – that should have occurred to me. Mistake amended, and many thanks for pointing it out 🙂


      1. Glenn Maillard says:

        Enjoyed the podcast. One question if you don’t mind me asking. In your description of the ‘early’ Nefertiti Neferneferuaten, you mention her images as being very reminiscent of Tiye. Also, in your translation of Nefertiti Neferneferuaten, you suggest that ‘youthfulness’ might be part of any possible translation. I immediately thought of ‘Tasherit’. Could Nefertiti be a ‘youthful’ version of Tiye? There are those who think Nefertiti is a full daughter of Tiye. Would it possible to think of Nefertiti as Nefer-tiyi (citing one translation by Murnane) daughter of Tiye (variant: Tiyi)? So, stretching things very, I know, but could Nefertiti be ‘youthful Tiyi’ or something akin?

      2. DominicPerry says:

        Hi Glenn,
        Not quite: the name is actually Neferet-iti, with iti being the verb “to come.” That doesn’t negate your hypothesis (she could very well be a daughter of Tiye anyway) but the name is definitely not directly related to the Elder Queen. It’s possible there’s a “pun” going on there, but until there’s more certainty on the relationship between these two women we can’t be certain.


  2. Glenn Maillard says:

    Thanks Dominic. I am pursuing my own line of (amateur) inquiry and wonder if Sitamun and Nefertiti are one and the same. Your descriptions of Nefertiti, in relation, to images of Tiye, have done nothing to dissuade me from this wild hunch. I have also been informed – from a trustworthy source I hope! – that Egyptians even nowadays several different names. I may quote inaccurately, but it is something like: family name, personal name and public name. Could this not be the same in ancient times? And ‘Sit-‘AMUN’ might not be a name to please the new king, her husband. And Nefertiti-iti, if a pun, might also be a compliment from son (and daughter?) to their mother? You did mention something about a possible nuance of ‘Nefertiti Neferneferuaten’ being ‘youthfulness’ or similar. Which made me immediately think ‘Tasherit’ for some reason. I make no apologies for where my imagination wanders though, I have learned over the years that I have little control over it and assume it has everything to do with DNA. Anyway, Nefertiti as a ‘youthful’ version of a beloved mother has at least an emotional resonance for me, even if not an evidentiary one. NB It has seemed odd to me that Akhenaten’s sisters seem to disappear only to be replaced by Nefertiti (Heriditary Princess) and Beketetan. Cheers.

  3. DominicPerry says:

    No apologies for imagination, Glenn 🙂 It’s always worth asking those sort of questions.
    If you are interested, I can recommend the 2012 book Amarna Sunrise by Aidan Dodson. It covers a lot of this material in reasonable detail. Would be a good starting point 🙂

  4. Glenn Maillard says:

    Thank you. Had an encounter with Marianne Luban. She said in the circumstances outlined above you can identify between mother and daughter. Unless a demurring pops up, I’ll sit with that. Cheers. And thanks again.

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