download PDF


The paper deals with the sacral role of the Great King’s Wife in the context of the ideology of the second half of the Eighteength dynasty, particularly during the reigns of Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten). The author believes that the sacral role of the King’s Wife consists of two interconnected aspects: the cultic and ceremonial aspect and the theological one. The main attention of the study is paid to the revealing of possible ideological premises of the unprecedented rise of principal female representatives of the Royal Family, Queens Tiyi and Nefertity. The main evidence of the important position of both Queens is mainly attested not only by new elements of their iconography, but also by their titles and epithets. The overview of available fi gurative and epigraphic sources related to Tiyi let to conclude the direct connection between the offi cial manner of representation of the Royal couple as a divine couple and new theological tendencies in the Egyptian religion under Amenhotep III.

According to the author’s point of view, the “new solar theology” developed during the second part of Amenhotep III’s reign with its specifi c concentration on the idea of the supreme solar deity. It was a starting point of radical sun-worshipping reform of Akhenaten. In this context, the unusually important position and the sacral role of Nefertity is viewed as a consequence of further development of theological thought of the preceding reign. Thus, some symbolic elements of Nefertity’s iconography (especially of the early years of Akhenaten’s reign) allow talking about a continuity to some degree of ideological traditions characteristic for Amenhotep III’s time. In connection with the hypothesis concerning the presumed adaptation by Akhenaten of the ancient Heliopolitan cosmogony the question of Nefertity divine status in the Amarnian theological system is also raised.


Ancient Egypt, New Kingdom, Amenhotep III, Tiyi, Akhenaten, Nefertity, Ancient Egyptian religion, ideology of Kingship, Queenship.

Vladimir A. Bolshakov

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, Moscow, Russia

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Akhénaton et Néfertiti. Soleil et ombres des pharaons. 2008. Genève.

Aldred, C. 1988: Akhenaten. King of Egypt. London.

Arnold, D. (ed.) 1996: The Royal Women of Amarna. Images of Beauty from Ancient Egypt. New York.

Assman, J. 1999: Egipet: teologiya i blagochestie rannei zivilizazii [Egypt: theology and piety of early civilization]. Moscow.

Assmann, J. 1995: Egyptian Solar Religion in the New Kingdom. Re, Amun and the Crisis of Polytheism. London–New York.

Assmann, J. 2001: The Search for God in Ancient Egypt. London.

Baines, J. 2001: The Dawn of the Amarna Age. In: E.H. Cline, D. O’Connor (eds.), Amenhotep III. Perspectives on His Reign. Michigan, 271–312.

Bayer, C. 2013: Die den Herrn Beider Länder mit ihrer Schönheit erfreut. Teje. Eine ikonographische Studie. Wiesbaden.

Bickel, S. 1994: La cosmogonie égyptienne avant le Nouvel Empire. Göttingen.

Bickel, S. 2002: Aspects et fonctions de la déifi cation d’Amenhotep III, Bulletin de l’Insitut Français d’Archéologie Orientale 102, 63–90.

Borchardt, L. 1913: Das Grabdenkmal des Konigs Sa3hu-Re’. Bd I. Die Wandbilder. Ausgrabungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft in Abusir 1902–1908. Leipzig.

Cabrol, A. 2000: Aménhotep III le Magnifi que. Monaco.

Davies, N. de G. 1903–1908: The Rock Tombs of el Amarna. Vols I–VII. London.

Davies, N. de G. 1941: The Tomb of Vizier Ramose. Mond Excavations at Thebes 1. London.

Fermat, A. 2011: Le livre de Chou. Traité égyptien de la lumière. Textes des Sarcophages, Chapitres 75 à 83. Paris.

Freed, R. 1999: Art in the Service of Religion and the State. In: R. Freed, Y.J. Markowitz, S.H. D’Auria (eds.), Pharaohs of the Sun. Akhenaten. Nefertiti. Tutankhamen. Boston–New York–London.

Gabolde, M. 1998: D’Akhenaton à Toutânkhamon. Lyon.

Gabolde, M. 2015: La tiare de Nefertiti et les origines de la reine. In: R. Jasnow, K.M. Cooney (eds.), Joyful in Thebes. Egyptological Studies in Honor of Betsy, M. Bryan. Atlanta, 155–170.

Gayet, A. 1894: Le Temple de Louxor. Paris.

Grandet, P. 1995: Hymnes de la religion d’Aton (Hymnes du XIVe sciècle avant J.-C.). Paris.

Graves-Brown, C. 2010: Women in Ancient Egypt. Dancing for Hathor in Ancient Egypt. Auckland.

Green, L. 1992: Evidence for the Position of Women at Amarna. In: C.I. Eyre (ed.), Proceedings of the Seventh International Congress of Egyptologists. Cambridge.

Haeny, G. 1981: Untersuchungen im Totentempel Amenophis III. Wiesbaden.

Harris, J. 1977: Akhenaten or Nefertiti? Acta Orientalia 38, 5–10.

Hayes, W.C. 1959: The Scepter of Egypt. Pt. II. The Hyksos Period and The New Kingdom (1675–1080). New York.

Hornung, E. 1999: Akhenaten and the Religion of Light. Ithaca.

James, T.G.H. 1974: Corpus of Hieroglyphic Inscriptions in the Brooklyn Museum, I. From Dynasty I to the End of Dynasty XVIII. New York.

Johnson, W.R. 1999: The Setting: History, Religion, and Art. In: R. Freed, Y.J. Markowitz, S.H. D’Auria (eds.), Pharaohs of The Sun. Akhenaten. Nefertiti. Tutankhamen. Boston– New York–London, 38–49.

Johnson, W.R. 2001: Monuments and Monumental Art under Amenhotep III: Evolution and Meaning. In: D. O’Connor, E.H. Cline (eds.), Amenhotep III. Perspectives on His Reign. Ann Arbor, 63–94.

Kemp, B.J. 1989: Ancient Egypt: anatomy of a civilization. London.

Kozloff, A.P., Bryan, B.M., Berman, L.M. (eds.) 1992: Egypt’s Dazzling Sun. Amenhotep III and His World. Cleveland.

Kozloff, A.P., Bryan, B.M., Berman, L.M., Delange, E. (eds.) 1993: Aménophis III le Pharaon- Soleil. Paris.

Leclant, J. 1965: Fouilles et travaux en Égypte et Soudan, 1963–1964, Orientalia 34. Fasc. 1. Roma, 175–232.

Lohwasser, A. 2001: Queenship in Kush: Status, Role and Ideology of Royal Women. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 38, 61–76.

Manniche, L. 2001: Royal Family. In: D.B. Redford (ed.), The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. Vol. III. Oxford, 157–159.

Martin, T.G. 1974: The Royal Tomb at El-‘Amarna. The Rock Tombs of El- ‘Amarna. Pt. VII. The Objects. I. London.

Martin, T.G. 1989: The Royal Tomb at El-‘Amarna. The Rock Tombs of El- ‘Amarna. Pt. VII. The Reliefs, Inscriptions and Architecture. II. London.

O’Connor, D., Silverman, D. (eds.) 1995: Ancient Egyptian Kingship. Leiden–New York– Köln.

Perepelkin,Yu.Ya. 1979: Keye i Semnekh-ke-re. K iskhodu solnzepoklonnicheskogo perevorota v Egipte [Keye and Semnkhkare-ke-re. Towards the end of the sun-worshipping]. Moscow.

Rahman Abd-ur, M.H. 1959: The Four Feathered Crown of Akhenaten. Annales du Service des Antiquités de l’Égypte 56, 247–249.

Redford, D.B. 1980: The Sun-Disc in Akhenaten’s Program: its Worship and Antecedents, II. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 17, 21–38.

Redford, D.B. 1987: Akhenaten The Heretic King. Princeton.

Redford, D.B. 1995: The Concept of Kingship during the Eighteenth Dynasty. In: D. O’Connor, D. Silverman (eds.), Ancient Egyptian Kingship. Leiden–New York– Köln, 157–184.

Robins, G. 2001: Queens. In: D.B. Redford (ed.), The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. Vol. III. Oxford, 105–109.

Schiff-Giorgini, M. (ed.) 1998: Soleb V: Le temple. Bas-reliefs et inscriptions. Le Caire.

Schiff-Giorgini, M. 1965: Première campagne de fouilles à Sedeinga 1963–1964. Kush 13, 112– 130.

Smith, R.W., Redford, D.B. 1976: The Akhenaten Temple Project. Vol. I. Initial Discoveries. Warminster.

Speiser, C. 2010: Offrandes et purifi cations à l’époque amarnienne. Turnhout.

Stevens, A. 2004: The Amarna Royal Women as Images of Fertility: Perspectives on a Royal Cult. Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions 4. Leiden.107–127.

Stevens, A. 2006: Private Religion at Amarna. The material Evidence. Oxford.

Tawfik, S. 1975: Aton Studies 3: Back again to Nefer-nefru-Aton. Mitteilungen des Deutschen Instituts für Ägyptische Altertumskunde in Kairo. 31.3. Kairo, 159–168.

Tawfik, S. 1979: Aton Studies. 5: Cult objects on blocks From the Aton Temple(s) at Thebes. Mitteilungen des Deutschen Instituts für Ägyptische Altertumskunde in Kairo. 35. Kairo, 335–344.

The Tomb of Kheruef. Theban Tomb 192. Chicago, 1980.

Traunecker, C. 2005: Néfertiti, la reine sans nom. In: Akhénaton et l’époque amarnienne. Paris, 117–133.

Troy, L. 1986: Patterns of Queenship in Ancient Egyptian Myth and History. Uppsala.

Troy, L. 2002: The Ancient Egyptian Queenship as an Icon of the State. NIN 3. Iss. 1, 1–24.

Troy, L. 2008: The Queen as a Female Counterpart of the Pharaoh. In: C. Ziegler (ed.), Queens of Egypt. From Hetepheres to Cleopatra. Monaco, 154–170.

Tyldesley, J. 2012: Foremost of Women: The Female Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. In: R.H. Wilkinson (ed.), Tausret. Forgotten Queen and Pharaoh of Egypt. Oxford, 5–24.

Van de Walle, B. 1980: Survivances mythologiques dans les coiffures royales de l’époque atonienne. Chronique d’Égypte 55, Bruxelles, 23–36.

Vergnieux, R., Gondran, M. 1997 : Aménophis IV et les pierres du soleil. Akhénaton retrouvé. Paris.

Wente, E. 1969: Hathor at the Jubilee. In: Studies in Honor of John A. Wilson. Chicago, 83–91.

Wilson, J.A. 1973: Akh-en-Aton and Nefert-iti, Journal of Near Eastern Studies 32. Chicago, 235–241.