Drawing by Megaera Lorenz
Meketaten was the second daughter of
Akhenaten and Nefertiti. She was probably born by at least the second year
of her father's reign. Little is known about her. Early in Akhenaten's
reign, she appeared in representations of the family engaging in Aten worship.
Meketaten died under somewhat mysterious circumstances late in Akhenaten's reign. Her death is documented on the walls of the royal tomb at Akhetaten in the form of a poignant funeral scene, in which Akhenaten and Nefertiti bend over the body of their young daughter, weeping and gripping each other's arms for support. Outside the funeral chamber, a nurse stands with a royal baby. This brings up a troubling question -- did the young princess die in childbirth? If so, who was the father? The name of the baby and the nurse were hacked out of the relief in antiquity. Some believe the baby to be none other than Tutankhaten, later to become the famous and ill-fated pharaoh Tutankhamun.
One theory is that Meketaten died in a plague raging across the Middle East at the time (Redford, 1984). According to Aldred (1988), Meketaten's death probably occurred in year twelve or thirteen of Akhenaten's reign, placing it close to the time of the great durbar in year twelve. It could be that the durbar, a large festival in which representatives from all across the empire paid tribute to Egypt, brought the plague to Akhetaten, killing Meketaten and other members of the royal family.
Aldred, Cyril (1988). Akhenaten:
King of Egypt. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc.
Redford, Donald B. (1984). Akhenaten: The Heretic King. New Jersey: Princeton University Press
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Amarna Royal Family.
Return to Akhenaten of Amarna.
Proceed to The Mystery of Akhenaten: Genetics or Aesthetics?
Proceed to The Art of the Amarna Period.
Proceed to Webpage-en-Aten.
Proceed to An Analysis of Akhenaten's Familial Relationships.
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