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on 18 February 2018
Brilliant book, thoroughly recommend it to all interested in this time period - the ancient world is brought back to life.
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on 14 February 2015
This book is both enjoyable and informative.The author takes pains to consider the evidence ,scant as it is,in a balanced manner,presenting it to the reader for likely conclusions to be drawn.Best I have read on this subject.
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on 4 January 2016
The discovery of an inscription confirming Nefertiti was alive at the end of the reign of Akhenaton invalidates the chapter on Nefertit's supposed fall or early death
But it sets useful background and expands on the meagre evidence left
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on 23 February 2013
I haven't as yet read all of this book, but what \I have read is great. Tyldesley is a very good writer from 'Egyptian' novices to those of a higher level. Can't wait to read the rest.
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on 16 June 2016
fascinating read
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on 22 March 2017
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on 4 December 2007
An Oxford-educated Joyce Tyldesley, with the use of the historical and archaeological evidence from various places in Egypt, has written an interesting and well-detailed biography book entitled "Nefertiti: Egypt's Sun Queen." The book drives the readers to experience and to understand the history and the mysteries that surrounded the Egyptian queen named Nefertiti, including her husband, Akhenaten, and his historical family background, the background of the royal Amarna court, and the theories of historical scholars who have studied her. There are eight chapters in the book with the addition of the "Introduction," which highlights Nefertiti as the most influential woman in Egyptian history and reveals briefly the history of the 18th Dynasty and the New Kingdom period.

This book explores the relationship between Queen Nefertiti and her husband, Pharaoh Akhenaten, which was seen as very positive and loving in the eyes of ancient Egyptians and the historical scholars. From looking at this relationship, one might see that Nefertiti had influences over her husband to which she had played an active role in Akhenaten's public affairs instead of being passive observer during his reign.

As politics was an essential part of the ancient Egyptian government, Nefertiti's political role portrayed an important piece of her strong influence in the royal government. An impression from the book is that Nefertiti acted as a second-in-command to her husband and played a role of a pharaoh occasionally. For example, there were scenes in the ancient Egyptian arts of Nefertiti slaying her enemies, which was supposed to be a duty of a pharaoh and not the function of a queen (p. 141-2). Since Nefertiti clearly had authority in Egypt, Akhenaten obviously did not seem to oppose her actions.

Throughout Tyldesley's "Nefertiti: Egypt's Sun Queen," one can acknowledge that Queen Nefertiti was considered to have had powerful influences over the ancient Egyptian government during the New Kingdom period by looking at Nefertiti's relationship with her husband, her religious role, and her political role. The author holds the reader's interest with clear writing and vivid understanding when it comes to historical biography, archeology, and theories. The book is well-organized with the visual aspects of maps, figures, and pictures. The author has presented a historical analysis that was not very technical or stale, and it should be very beneficial for readers' knowledge of Nefertiti and her surroundings during the mid-18th Dynasty.

Tyldesley's book is recommended only to general readers who have begun to understand the Armana period because the author has written more information and focuses on Nefertiti's surroundings rather than on Nefertiti herself. However, "Nefertiti: Egypt's Sun Queen" is a very readable and interesting book.
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VINE VOICEon 6 March 2006
Nefertiti is undoubtedly a dominant image from Egyptian history for most modern people. Along with the death mask of Tutankhamen, she gazes imperiously at us through the ages, in her famous blue-crowned bust.
However, little is known definitively about the life of Nefertiti, and even less is known about her death. She was married to Amenhotep IV, later known as Akhenaten. He is famous for rejecting the polydeities of the Egyptian pantheon in favour of a single sun deity, Amen. This led to a re-defining of Egyptian culture during his reign, as well as a relocation of the capital from Thebes to Amara. However, after his death, the cult of Amen was unable to sustain itself, and Egypt quickly returned to its old ways. This led later Pharaohs to deliberately remove the name of Akhenaten and his wife from moneuments, making it harder for the modern archaeologist to determine the truth of what happened.
As there is so very little known about Nefertiti, the author draws on her experience, as well as a wide range of sources, to provide us with detailed descriptions of the age. We learn about the Egypt that Nefertiti was born into, the changes that were wrought by her husband, her increasing significance as a member of the royal family, her decline into obscurity as she aged. When her husband dies, we learn how quickly his monodeitic dogma is abandoned and the immediate events afterwards.
This book uses Nefertiti as a valuable tool to provide information on a turbulent and short-lived era in Egyptian history, that has yielded two iconic images, namely, the bust of Nefertiti, and later, the death mask of Tutankhamen. A very worth while read for the amateur Egyptologist.
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on 4 March 2004
Joyce Tyldeseley is a very well known author in the archaeological circles. When you're reading this, you can be sure that you're reading current, real, scholarly archaeological thoughts on the subject, and not some of the more fantastical hypotheses which are abounding at the moment.
The unfortunate thing is that most of the other glitzy books out there are larger because of irrelevant padding, or wild hypotheses. This is because there's not a lot known about Nefertiti. What information exists is presented very well, and very logically in this book.
Because so little is known, the actual story, end-to-end, would fit into only one, or at most, two chapters, so this book gives (as has been pointed out already) a good beginner's guide to the "Amarna Period", a segment of Egypt's history where a rogue pharaoh tried to overturn the existing dogma, art and culture, within which nefertiti was a major player.
I've read a great many books on this subject, and this is the best for the beginner. However, if you're looking for much more information, seek out the larger Akhenaten-based hardbacks.
I only give it four stars, because I know of many more illustrations which would have worked well in the book, and there are some important artifacts, as well as some other researchers' opinions which are either glossed over, or omitted.
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on 3 October 2003
Joyce Tyldesley's book, 'Nefertiti: Egypt's Sun Queen' is a fascinating study of a very important but mostly misunderstood figure in Egyptian history. Perhaps it was due to the confusion of names (another queen, Nefertari, is popularly known due to the use of her name in Biblical epic films), and largely historically due to Nerfertiti's marriage to Akhenaton, a pharoah who was almost erased from history.
Akhenaton was a heretic in Egyptian terms -- he renounced the worship of old gods in favour of a more monotheistic framework based upon a sun-worship (Aton) which prompted him to change his name (he had been Amenhotep IV). He built a new capital city at Amarna, where he and Nefertiti lived and raised their children. Nefertiti was perhaps the most influential person on Akhenaton, at that time one of the most powerful rulers on earth.
Very little is known of Nefertiti -- her death is not recorded, and her tomb has not been found. Her beauty is renowned from the masks found at Amarna by archaeologists early in this century, having been lost for millenia. It is unusual that such a prominent person's death would not be recorded in the culture of Egypt, symbolised to this day by the monuments to the great who have died in pyramids and tombs.
The mystery deepens, however, with the discovery of stelae at Amarna that shows Nefertiti in glorious array while her husband the Pharoah occupies a lesser position.
'The Berlin stela provides us with the image of a perfect and semi-divine family inhabiting an ideal world far beyond the experiences of most Egyptians. The exact roles played by the principal members of this family are unclear. Akhenaten seems quite happy perched on his lowly, undecorated stool while his wife occupies the more regal seat, yet to him fall the the honour of holding the more important princess while Nefertiti looks after the babies.'
Nefertiti may have been the regnant queen by this point -- unusual but far from unheard of in Egyptian history. Female pharoahs such as Sobeknofru and Hatchepsut had proved this, but it is much more likely that a female would act as regent rather than regnant. She might have served as co-regnant with Akhenaten until his death, and then as a regent for Tutankhamen.
Of course, alternate theories also abound. Some inscriptions have been discovered in which a another name, Meritaten, was inscribed over erased names and titles of another woman -- was this Nefertiti? Did she overstep her position? Did she commit some indiscretion or crime? Meritaten, the daughter of Nefertiti and Akhenaton, might have assumed public duties as queen. This was put forward by Egyptologists including Norman de Garis Davies and John Pendlebury.
Tyldesley presents various theories of Nefertiti's life and death side by side with evidence supporting each. Alas, the support is difficult no matter which interpretation is preferred -- Amarna was abandoned shortly after the death of Akhenaten, and the old religious ways reinstituted. Akhenaten's name was deliberately suppressed due to the threat to the 'established religion' that monotheistic ways represented (perhaps a source of animosity between another group, the Canaanite/Israelites, and the Egyptians stems from the fear of this monotheistic tendency latent in Egypt).
It is a sad tale, that Akhenaten and Nefertiti's family was all but destroyed, their capital reduced to a quarry for future pharoahs and builders to use; they and their family, including Tutankhamen and Ay, the following pharoahs of the family, were all deleted from official lists of kings -- in traditional Egyptian theology, for the spirit to live forever, the person's name, body, or image must survive -- and thus the officials of Egypt tried their best to destroy the spirit of these people. But archaeology has managed to resurrect their images and at least part of their story, and the mystery of their lives will continue for a long time to come.
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