Coherence may be difficult for me today because I'm suffering from some kind of crud my kids brought home. But I went and dug up (not literally) another interesting woman for the Notable Eastern Women series.
I had some great choices. Cleopatra was tempting because she and Antony visited Tarsus, which is not far from where I lived in Mersin. The only thing left there is the "Cleopatra Gate" and it's not very interesting. Plus everyone already knows her story, venomous snakes and all. Hatshepsut is another Egyptian woman and pharaoh, but a fellow blogger is the expert on her...and I really liked the story of Nefertiti.
Nefertiti was erased from history. Her name was scratched out and where possible, her statues were credited to Kiya, King Tut's mother instead. That tells me two things: 1) She must have been interesting. 2) I should write a post about it!
So, if somebody tried hard to eliminate her from memory, what do we know about her? Enough to write an interesting piece of historical fiction. (Esther Freisner already has: Sphinx's Princess.)
- She was co-regent with Akhenaten.
- Her name means ""Beauty has come", so she must have been easy on the eyes. Iconic even.
- She and Akhenaten supported a monotheistic religious revolution to the sun god, Aten.
- She only had daughters, so she and Akhenaten were succeeded by the son of Kiya and Akhenaten, Thutankhaten - who eventually changed his name to Thutankhamun.
Maybe the key to the story is King Tut. The biggest clue was his name change from Thutankhaten, "Living Image of Aten", to Thutankhamun, "The Living Image of Amun". He abandoned not only the name, but his father's great city of Amarna, with it's temples honoring the sun god. Did he view Nefertiti as a heretic and order her "disappearance" from every monument and temple? Or was it the priests who finally regained power under an impressionable boy king? A boy king who preferred the memory of his mother to the queen his father adored...
Grey places...I love it!
Next month I'm posting a series called "Western Tales with Eastern Roots". You might be surprised by what I've found.