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The Standing on the Shoulders of Giants "Teach & Learn" Black History Curriculum​​

Specially designed for Parents, Teachers, Homeschool, or Independent Study, grades 5+

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Unit 1: Ancient Africa - The Cradle of Civilization
(200,000 B.C. - 476 B.C.)

Unit 1: Class 11: Ancient Kemet (Egypt): The New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (1550 B.C. – 712 B.C.) Part 2

Queen Nefertiti, New Kingdom, cont.

Bust of Nefertiti
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This is the famous "Bust of Nefertiti" that was discovered in the workshop of a man named Thutmose. It is believed that this bust was actually a model of Nefertiti that other artists used when creating statues for her.
Nefertiti (c. 1370 - c. 1336 BCE) was the wife of the pharaoh Akhenaten of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. Her name means, `the beautiful one has come’ and, because of the world-famous bust created by the sculptor Thutmose (discovered in 1912 CE), she is the most recognizable queen of ancient Egypt. She grew up in the royal palace at Thebes, probably the daughter of the vizier to Amenhotep III, a man named Ay, and was engaged to his son, Amenhotep IV, around the age of eleven. There is evidence to suggest that she was an adherent of the cult of Aten, a sun deity, at an early age and that she may have influenced Amenhotep IV’s later decision to abandon the worship of the gods of Egypt in favor of a monotheism centered on Aten. After he changed his name to Akhenaten and assumed the throne of Egypt, Nefertiti ruled with him until his death after which she disappears from the historical record.

YOUTH & MARRIAGE

Even though it appears that Nefertiti was the daughter of Ay, this claim is far from substantiated. Inscriptions refer to Ay’s wife, Tiye (or Tey) as Nefertiti’s wet nurse, not her mother, and nothing is known of Ay’s lesser wife. Ay, in addition to his other duties, was tutor to the young Amenhotep IV and may have introduced the prince to Nefertiti when both were children. Nefertiti and her sister, Mudnodjame, were certainly regular members of the court at Thebes and, whether or not Ay introduced her to Amenhotep IV, the two would have known each other simply for that reason.

Ancient images and inscriptions indicate her early interest in the cult of Aten but, as every Egyptian favored one god or another, there is no reason to believe that she had any ideas relating to monotheism or elevating Aten above the other gods (as has been suggested by some scholars). All that can be stated with certainty is that both sisters were adherents of Aten and may have influenced Amenhotep IV’s interest in that cult from an early age. Any definitive statements regarding her influence on the rise of monotheism in Egypt must of necessity be speculative as there is no conclusive evidence to support it; just as there is little information on her life in general. The historian Peter B. Heller notes:

What is so striking about Nefertiti’s life and work is that, even though her likeness – derived from Thutmose’s bust of her – is one of the best-known and most frequently reproduced in the world, and while she lived at a time when Egypt was the most cultured and most powerful nation on earth, remarkably little is known about her (3).

By the time she was fifteen years old she was married to Amenhotep IV and, after the death of Amenhotep III, she became queen of Egypt. It is at this stage that some scholars claim she most exerted her influence on Amenhotep IV to abandon the ancient religion of Egypt and initiate his religious reforms but, again, this is unsubstantiated.

NEFERTITI & AKHENATEN

In the fifth year of his reign (some sources claim the ninth), Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten, abolished the religious practices of Egypt, closed the temples, and decreed Aten the one true god. While it is possible he created monotheism out of a genuine religious conviction, it is more probable that it was a political manoeuver to cut the power and wealth of the priests of the god Amun, whose cult was extremely popular. Throughout the 18th dynasty the cult of Amun had increasingly grown in wealth and prestige so that, by Akhenaten’s time, the cult's priests were almost as powerful as pharaoh. Instituting monotheism, and proscribing the old religion, would have completely restored power to the throne; and that is precisely what it did. The god Aten was now considered not only a powerful god of Egypt but the god of creation, the one true god of the universe.

Nefertiti appears with Akhenaten,

"...at the site of Akhetaten (Amarna), the new city dedicated to the god Aten. In the sixth year [of Akhenaten’s reign] Nefertiti’s name was changed to Nefernefruaten which means `Beautiful in beauty is Aten’. Nefertiti lived with Akhenaten in Amarna where he conducted religious services to Aten. (Bunson, 185)."

The couple had six daughters: Meritaten, Meketaten, Ankhesenpaaten, Nefernefruaten-tasherit, Neferneferure, and Setepenre, but no sons.


This is a relief of Amenhotep IV, now Ahkenaten, praying to the Aten with his wife, Nefertiti. During Ahkenaten's reign, the asethetics of ancient Kemet (Egypt) were greatly altered, breaking from traditional styles.

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Unit 1: Ancient Africa - The Cradle of Civilation
CLASS LIST

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UNIT 1: CLASS 1 - Ancient Africa: The Origin of Humanity, PART 1
UNIT 1: CLASS 2 - Ancient Africa: The Origin of Humanity, PART 2
UNIT 1: CLASS 3 - The Beginnings of Civilization 
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UNIT 1: CLASS 4 - Ancient Nubia/Kush (6000 B.C. – 1500) Part 1
UNIT 1: CLASS 5 - Ancient Nubia/Kush (6000 B.C. – 1500) Part 2
UNIT 1: CLASS 6 - The Whitening of Ancient Kemet/Egypt
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UNIT 1: CLASS 7 - Ancient Egypt: Predynastic Period & The Old Kingdom (10,500 B.C. – 2,181 B.C.)  Part 1
UNIT 1: CLASS 8 - Ancient Egypt: The Old Kingdom & First Intermediate Period (3150 B.C. – 2055 B.C.) Part 2
UNIT 1: CLASS 9 - Ancient Egypt: The Middle Kingdom & Second Intermediary Period (2055 B.C. – 1550 B.C.) 
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UNIT 1: CLASS 10 - Ancient Egypt: The New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (1550 B.C. – 712 B.C.) Part 1
UNIT 1: CLASS 11 - Ancient Egypt: The New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (1550 B.C. – 712 B.C.) Part 2
UNIT 1: CLASS 12 - Ancient Egypt: The New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (1550 B.C. – 712 B.C.) Part 3
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UNIT 1: CLASS 13 - The Queen of Sheba & Solomon (10th Century B.C. – 955 B.C.)
UNIT 1: CLASS 14 - Ancient Egypt: The 25th Nubian Dynasty & Late Period (760 B.C. – 332 B.C.) 
UNIT 1: CLASS 15 - Ancient Egypt: Greco-Roman Period (332 B.C. – 476 B.C.) 
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UNIT 1: CLASS 16 - Hannibal Barca – Defender of Carthage (247 B.C. – 181/183 B.C.)
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