Nefertari Merit-n-mut

Nefertari, for whom the sun shines


1) Great of Praises

wrt Hswt

2) Sweet of Love

bnrt mrwt

3) Lady of Grace


4) Great King’s Wife, his beloved

hmt-nsw wrt mrt.f

5) Lady of The Two Lands


6) Lady of all Lands

Hnwt tAw nbw

7) Wife of the Strong Bull


8) God’s Wife


9) Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt

Hnwt Smaw tA-mHw


Who was Nefertari

Nefertari (the name means "The Most Beautiful One") was the most beloved wife of King Ramses II and played an active role in foreign politics. Her ancestry is unknown. Based on the legible/decipherable inscriptions on a fragment of a faience knob head or pommel found in her tomb, speculations were raised. The item carries the throne name ‘Kheper-Kheperu-Ra’ and, is, therefore, connected with King Ay, who ruled Egypt for a few years after Tutankhamun (Turin Mus. Egizio Inv. Suppl. 5162). However, Nefertari did not carry the title ‘Daughter of a King’, which suggests that she was probably not from the main royal line. Because of the chronology, it seems quite unlikely that she was King Ay’s daughter, perhaps she was Ay’s grand-daughter. Other scholars emphasize that both Ramses II’s royal wives, Isisnofret and Nefertari, had a non-royal background. Nefertari married Ramses when he was crown prince during the reign of his father Sety I. The age at which Ramses II succeeded to the throne of Egypt is uncertain, possibly around his 25th year. Nefertari was then presumably the same age as her husband or slightly younger (ca. 20–25 years). She gave birth to four sons (Amun-hir-khepeshef, Pa-Ra-wenem-ef, Mery-Ra and Mery-Atum) and four daughters (Baketmut, Nefertari, Merytamun and Henuttaui). Within the succession line, Nefertari’s sons were always preferred to Queen Isisnofret’s although, in the end, the crown went to Merenptah, a son of Queen Isisnofret. Queen Nefertari, as attested by reliefs, attended the opening ceremony of the rock-cut temples of Abu Simbel in the year 24 of Ramses II’s reign (ca. 1255 BC). After that event, she disappeared. She was absent at the Sed-festival of Ramses II’s 30th regal year. She probably died around his 25th year of reign. As reconstructed from historical records, Nefertari probably reached an age of about 40 to 50 years (minimum 16 + 24 years or maximum 25 + 25 years) whereas Queen Isisnofret I died later, in year 34. Subsequently Ramses II married three of his daughters: Bint-Anat, Merytamun and Nebettaui.

Valley of the Queens Assessment Report, Volume 1 Conservation and Management Planning; GCI, Los Angeles, 2012
Anthropometric reconstruction

Both knee condyles show a ca. 83–85 mm width if mummified soft tissues are included and ca. 79–80 mm if only the bone is considered. A condyle width of ca 83–84 mm indicates that QV 66 knees were slightly slimmer than those of the younger and poorest women from Sub-Saharan Africa. There is no formula to re-calculate knee width from living to dead, only an estimate the greatest difference would be ca. 1.5 mm in knee width between living and dead persons. Moreover, it was also possible to determine—acknowledging a certain degree of uncertainty—that the bones found in QV66 belonged to an individual whose stature ranged between 165 cm and 168 cm (Table A in S1 File).


Abu Simbel


Abu Simbel is an archaeological site comprising two massive rock temples in southern Egypt on the western bank of Lake Nasser about 190 miles southwest of Aswan. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Nubian Monuments."

The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the thirteenth century B.C.E., as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh, and to intimidate his Nubian neighbors.

Construction of the temple complex started circa 1284 B.C.E. and lasted for approximately 20 years, until 1264 B.C.E. Known as the "Temple of Ramesses, beloved by Amun," it was one of six rock temples erected in Nubia (today's northern Sudan), during the long reign of Ramesses. Their purpose was to impress Egypt's southern neighbors, and also to reinforce the status of Egyptian religion in the region.

The smaller temple

The temple of Hathor and Nefertari, also known as the Small Temple, was built about 328 feet northeast of the temple of Ramesses II. This was, in fact, the first time in ancient Egyptian history that a temple was dedicated to a queen. The rock-cut facade is decorated with two groups of colossi that are separated by the large gateway. The statues, slightly more than 32 feet high, are of the king and his queen. On the other side of the portal are two statues of the king, wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt (south colossus) and the double crown (north colossus); these are flanked by statues of the queen and the king.

What is truly surprising is that for the only time in Egyptian art, statues of the king and his consort are equal in size. Traditionally, the statues of the queens stood next to those of the pharaoh, but were never taller than his knees. This exception to such a long-standing rule bears witness to the special importance attached to Nefertari by Ramesses, who went to Abu Simbel with his beloved wife in the 24th year of his reign. At the Great temple of the king, there are small statues of princes and princesses next to their parents. In this case they are positioned symmetrically: on the south side (at left as you face the gateway) are, from left to right, princes Meryatum and Meryre, princesses Meritamen and Henuttawy, and princes Rahirwenemef and Amun-her-khepeshef, while on the north side the same figures are in reverse order. The plan of the Small Temple is a simplified version of that of the Great Temple.


As in the larger temple dedicated to the king, the hypostyle hall or pronaos of the smaller is supported by six pillars; in this case, however, they are not Osiris pillars depicting the king but are decorated with scenes with the queen playing the sistrum (an instrument sacred to the goddess Hathor), together with the gods Horus, Khnum, Khonsu, and Thoth, and the goddesses Hathor, Isis, Maat, Mut of Asher, Satis, and Taweret; in one scene Ramesses is presenting flowers or burning incense. The capitals of the pillars bear the face of the goddess Hathor; this type of column is known as Hathoric. The bas-reliefs in the pillared hall illustrate the deification of the king, the destruction of his enemies in the north and south (in this scenes the king is accompanied by his wife), and the queen making offerings to the goddess Hathor and Mut.

The hypostyle hall leads into a vestibule, access to which is given by three large doors. On the south and the north walls of this chamber, there are two graceful and poetic bas-reliefs of the king and his consort presenting papyrus plants to Hathor, who is depicted as a cow on a boat sailing in a thicket of papyri. On the west wall, Ramesses II and Nefertari are depicted making offerings to god Horus and the divinities of the Cataracts - Satis, Anubis, and Khnum.

The rock-cut sanctuary and the two side chambers are connected to the transverse vestibule and are aligned with the axis of the temple. Bas-reliefs on the side walls of the small sanctuary represent scenes of offerings to various gods made either by the pharaoh or the queen. On the back wall, which lies to the west along the axis of the temple, there is a niche in which Hathor, as a divine cow, seems to be coming out of the mountain: the goddess is depicted as the Mistress of the temple dedicated to her and to queen Nefertari, who is intimately linked to the goddess.

The tomb of Nefertari


The tomb of Nefertari, QV66 is one of the largest in the Valley of the Queens.  More details...