Akhenaten and Nefertiti are two names that are synonymous with Egyptian history. While Tutankhamen and his treasures have eclipsed the couple, the heretical pharaoh and his wife have remained, in large, untouched for years. What we know, or thought we knew, is challenged in part through this book.
John and Colleen Darnell dive into the lives of the couple, from before Akhenaten changed his name and moved his capital city, to their treatment of the major gods and goddesses of Egyptian religion. The fundamental shift that occurred during his reign was massive. For decades, it has been the common assumption that Akhenaten did nothing with his military, letting Egypt crumble as he focused on his religious shift. But evidence presented in this book shows otherwise.
The Darnells take us through Akhenaten’s father briefly, the lineage of Nefertiti (although still somewhat uncertain), and through their reign, into that of their daughter, and eventually that of Tutankhamen.
This was a really interesting read, and I enjoyed it. While I don’t agree with all of the theories put forward in this book, I found that the majority of them do make sense and deserve some deeper dives into study and research. As someone who has loved Egyptian history for many, many years, this book brought some interesting new information forward, changing the way we think about the reign of Akhenaten and the eventual demise of the religion of Aten itself.