Women of Power in Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt was a mixture of military strength, religious complexity, and divine rule. Out of this blend of deified rulers and economic prosperity come two of the most influential women in history. One was to become the pharaoh in a time where women were merely domestic counterparts to active kings. The other was to become consort and partner to the unorthodox Akenhaten, during his monotheistic worship of the sun god "Amen" in the town of Armarna. Though both women were very prominent during their life time, each faded into obscurity after their deaths due to the Egyptian's natural dislike of all things unconventional. Only to be rediscovered and romanticized by Egyptologists during the late 1800's to early 1900's. Nefertiti is commonly referred to as the "beautiful one" and is always seen as a partner to her husband. On the other hand, Hatchepsut, the more influential and powerful of the two, is known as the only "Female Pharaoh" to fully act out the part including having a queen consort and spends her reign trying to justify her political position.
Nefertiti, "born a member of Egypt's elite, was married as a young girl to [Ahkenaten]… By the age of 30 she had borne at least 6 children and had transformed herself into a semi-divine being" (Nefertiti 3). She was very demure in the early years of Ahkenaten's reign, and was portrayed as the supporting wife and companion to Ahkenaten, as she calmly sat behind him in much of the tomb reliefs from this time period. She steadily increased in prestige to become the female compliment to Ahkenaten's position as the "Beautiful Child of the Disc" (Nefertiti 76) and her position became closely connected as a symbol for fertility. Although she is never portrayed as pharaoh, she steadily continued to handle more important duties as the reign of Ahkenaten progressed. These included religious ceremonies (previousl…

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