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Facts About Nefertiti: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

In ancient Egypt, there were many interesting and mysterious rulers. One such ruler was a queen named Nefertiti. In this lesson, you will learn about who Nefertiti was and why she is important to Egyptian history.

Queen of Beauty

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in ancient Egypt? Watching the pyramids getting built and seeing real-life mummies would probably be pretty exciting. One particular woman not only got to experience life in ancient Egypt but also was an important part of its history.

Nefertiti is a famous Egyptian queen who lived during the 1300s. You've probably seen what she looks like because there's a Nefertiti bust, or sculpture of a person's head, that is one of the most well-known items in Egyptian art history.


Bust of Nefertiti
nefertiti


Found in 1912, the limestone bust was in excellent condition and gives a detailed glimpse at the queen's beauty. In fact, Nefertiti's name means 'a beautiful woman has come'.

Early Life

Not much is known about Nefertiti's early life. Some historians believe she was born in Egypt, while others believe she could have come from another country like Syria. It is thought that she wed her husband King Amenhotep IV when she was 15 years old and ruled with him during his reign from 1353-1336 BCE.

Historians believe Nefertiti and Amenhotep IV had six daughters and possibly one son. One of her daughters, Ankhesenamun, married Tutankhamun, a future ruler of Egypt. You may know him best as King Tut!

Why is Nefertiti important to Egyptian history? Let's find out!

Religious Figure

Nefertiti and Amenhotep IV played an important role in shaping religion during their reign. Many Egyptians even saw Nefertiti as a living goddess and worshiped her. Can you imagine people bowing down or praying to you? That must have been a bit strange!

Even though Egyptians worshiped many gods and goddesses, Nefertiti and her husband made the worship of the sun god, Aten, the most important. They helped establish the Cult of Aten, or a religion focused on the worship of Aten and took on the role of priests who would help common people become closer to the sun god.

Painting with the sun symbol of Aten
aten

Nefertiti was so committed to the Cult of Aten that she changed her name to Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti, which meant 'beautiful are the beauties of Aten, a beautiful woman has come'. Try to say that ten times fast!

King Amenhotep IV and Nefertiti built the city of Akhetaton, now el-Amarna, for the sun god. In the center of the city was a large palace with open temples around it where followers could worship Aten day and night.

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