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Meritaten
Akkadian Cuneiform: Mayati
it
n
ra
N36
t
B1
mry.t-ỉtn
"Beloved of the Aten"
Meritaten

Bust of an Amarna princess, likely Meritaten at the Louvre, Paris.

Dynasty 18th Dynasty
Titles King's Great Wife
King's Daughter
Hereditary Princess
Father Akhenaten
Mother Nefertiti
Spouse(s) Smenkhkare
Issue Meritaten-Tasherit (?)
Burial Unknown

Meritaten (ancient Egyptian: mry.t-ỉtn, "Beloved of the Aten") was a Princess and Queen of the Eighteenth Dynasty during the New Kingdom. She is mentioned in the diplomatic Amarna letters, by the name Mayati.[1] Some scholars thought that Meritaten was identical to the female Pharaoh Neferneferuaten, but a box fragment from KV62 (JE61500), gives the names and titles of Neferneferuaten and Meritaten as clearly separate individuals.[2]

Family[]

See also: 18th Dynasty Family Tree.

Meritaten was the firstborn of the six daughters of Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and his Queen Nefertiti. Her younger sisters include; Meketaten, Ankhesenpaaten, Neferneferuaten-Tasherit, Neferneferure, and Setepenre.[3]

There is also evidence to support that Meritaten became a King's Great Wife during her father's reign at some stage. This titulary might have only been symbolic, since her mother Nefertiti was likely elevated to the status of co-regent at the same time. Meritaten is thought to have had a daughter, Meritaten-Tasherit ("Meritaten, the Younger").

She is known from a depiction in the AT1 tomb of Meryre II to have married Smenkhkare who was Akhenaten's co-regent or successor and probably her uncle.

Life[]

Meritaten was most likely born in Thebes, early in her father's marriage to Nefertiti, perhaps before he assumed the throne. In Year 5 of her father Akhenaten's reign, Meritaten appears on the boundary stelae designating the boundaries of the new capital at Amarna to which her father moved the royal family and his administrators.[4]

It is unclear what happened to Meritaten after Smenkhkare's brief reign. She seems to have died as well, for the wife of new king Tutankhaten was not her, but her younger sister Ankhesenpaaten.

Burial[]

The texts of its boundary stele mention that Meritaten was meant to be buried at Akhetaten (modern Amarna).[5]

"Let a tomb be made for me in the eastern mountain of Akhetaten. Let my burial be made in it, in the millions of jubilees which the Aten, my father, has decreed for me. Let the burial of the Great King's Wife, Nefertiti, be made in it, in the millions of years which the Aten, my father, decreed for her. Let the burial of the King's Daughter, Meritaten, [be made] in it, in these millions of years."[6]

The royal tomb in Amarna was used for the burial of Meketaten, Tiye, and Akhenaten, and likely was closed after the death and burial of Akhenaten. After that, Meritaten's burial may have been planned for one of the other royal tombs in Amarna.

References[]

  1. Moran 1992; EA 10, EA 11 and EA 155.
  2. Gabolde 1998, p. 178-183.
  3. Dodson & Hilton 2004, p. 142-157.
  4. Aldred 1991.
  5. Aldred 1991, p. 49-50.
  6. Murnane 1995, p. 78.

Bibliography[]

  • Aldred, C., 1991: Akhenaten: King of Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London.
  • Dodson, A./Hilton, D., 2004: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London.
  • Gabolde, M., 1998: D’Akhenaton à Toutânkhamon. Université Lumiére-Lyon. Vol. 2.
  • Moran, W.L., 1992: The Amarna Letters. The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Murnane, W.J., 1995: Texts from the Amarna Period in Egypt. Atlanta, Georgia: Scholars Press.
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