Meritaten

Relief showing Royal couple, usually identified as Meritaten and her husband and half-brother Smenkhkare (but occasionally identified as Akhenaten and Nefertiti). The piece is of unconfirmed provenance, but is believed to have come from a private Amarna house. The queen is offering a bouquet to her husband.
 Meritaten had always been a prominent figure at the Amarna court. Closely associated with her mother, we have already seen her serving as Nefertiti's deputy in the Theban Hwt-Benben when she can have been no more than ten years of age. In other scenes she is associated with her father. Akhenaten holds or stands by Meritaten while Nefertiti cares for her younger sisters. With the disappearance of Tiy, Nefertiti and Kiya, Meritaten became a King's Great Wife, her name now written in a cartouche. Her fame spread quickly beyond ancient Egypt's borders, encouraging the King of Babylon to send her presents. Meanwhile, back home, in the Amarna solar temple complex known as Maru Aten, Meritaten's name was carved over that of the dead Kiya, while Kiya's many Amarna images were converted into Meritaten, her adult Nubian wig being transformed into an elaborate sidelock of youth.

For a long time Egyptologists believed that Meritaten must have married her father. Now, with smenkhare recognized as a real, male heir to the throne, it seems clear that she married her half-brother as he became co-regent to his father Akhenaten. The Amarna tomb of Meryre II provides us with a glimpse of the new royal couple. On the south and east walls of the main chamber we see Akhenaten, Nefertiti and their daughters; these walls were clearly carved before death tore the original Amarna family apart. The unfinished image on the north wall shows a king and queen standing beneath the rays of the Aten. The figures of the royal couple look like Akhenaten and Nefertiti but their recorded cartouches belong to 'King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Ankhkeprure son of Re, Smenkhkare' and the 'King's Great Wife Meritaten'. Unfortunately the king's cartouche has since been hacked off the wall by theives and is now lost.

Two unexplained princesses, Meritaten the Younger and Ankhesenpaaten the Younger, who appear at this time may well be daughters born to Meritaten and Smenkhkare (alternatively, they may be daughters born to Kiya and Akhenaten). But when Smenkhkare died after the briefest of reigns, most if not all of which had been spent ruling alongside his father Akhenaten, he left no male heir. After a possible brief and ill-documented period of rule by the otherwise unknown female king Neferneferuaten (Meritaten?), Smenkhkare was succeeded by his young brother Tutankhaten (re-named Tutankhamun) and his sister-consort, Ankhesenpaaten (Ankhesenamun). Meritaten, dis­ placed by her sister, vanished; her body has never been found.

Meritaten

Relief showing Royal couple, usually identified as Meritaten and her husband and half-brother Smenkhkare (but occasionally identified as Akhenaten and Nefertiti). The piece is of unconfirmed provenance, but is believed to have come from a private Amarna house. The queen is offering a bouquet to her husband.
 Meritaten had always been a prominent figure at the Amarna court. Closely associated with her mother, we have already seen her serving as Nefertiti's deputy in the Theban Hwt-Benben when she can have been no more than ten years of age. In other scenes she is associated with her father. Akhenaten holds or stands by Meritaten while Nefertiti cares for her younger sisters. With the disappearance of Tiy, Nefertiti and Kiya, Meritaten became a King's Great Wife, her name now written in a cartouche. Her fame spread quickly beyond ancient Egypt's borders, encouraging the King of Babylon to send her presents. Meanwhile, back home, in the Amarna solar temple complex known as Maru Aten, Meritaten's name was carved over that of the dead Kiya, while Kiya's many Amarna images were converted into Meritaten, her adult Nubian wig being transformed into an elaborate sidelock of youth.

For a long time Egyptologists believed that Meritaten must have married her father. Now, with smenkhare recognized as a real, male heir to the throne, it seems clear that she married her half-brother as he became co-regent to his father Akhenaten. The Amarna tomb of Meryre II provides us with a glimpse of the new royal couple. On the south and east walls of the main chamber we see Akhenaten, Nefertiti and their daughters; these walls were clearly carved before death tore the original Amarna family apart. The unfinished image on the north wall shows a king and queen standing beneath the rays of the Aten. The figures of the royal couple look like Akhenaten and Nefertiti but their recorded cartouches belong to 'King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Ankhkeprure son of Re, Smenkhkare' and the 'King's Great Wife Meritaten'. Unfortunately the king's cartouche has since been hacked off the wall by theives and is now lost.

Two unexplained princesses, Meritaten the Younger and Ankhesenpaaten the Younger, who appear at this time may well be daughters born to Meritaten and Smenkhkare (alternatively, they may be daughters born to Kiya and Akhenaten). But when Smenkhkare died after the briefest of reigns, most if not all of which had been spent ruling alongside his father Akhenaten, he left no male heir. After a possible brief and ill-documented period of rule by the otherwise unknown female king Neferneferuaten (Meritaten?), Smenkhkare was succeeded by his young brother Tutankhaten (re-named Tutankhamun) and his sister-consort, Ankhesenpaaten (Ankhesenamun). Meritaten, dis­ placed by her sister, vanished; her body has never been found.

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