Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Nefertiti

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Nefertiti

A Novel

by Michelle Moran

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2007, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2008, 496 pages

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Interesting Links:

  • Michelle Moran's website offers a wealth of background information about Nefertiti, including an interactive family tree; sculptures of all the key players, such as Queen Tiye (one scary looking mother-in-law); descriptions of ancient Egyptian life; artifacts from the city of Armarna; and much more.
  • A map of ancient Egypt: Nefertiti was born in Akhmim, in Upper Egypt close to Soleb. Thebes has become the modern day city of Luxor on the east bank of the Nile. The Valley of the Kings is on the west side of the Nile, a few miles from Thebes. Memphis is just south of Cairo in Lower Egypt (note that Lower Egypt is the area around the Nile Delta in the North of Egypt, while Upper Egypt, or Nubia, is in the South of Egypt (which is primarily Sudan today).
  • The ladies of ancient Egypt are forever playing senet. Thanks to the British Museum website you too can try your hand at this simple to learn but strategically complex game.

     

Where in the world?

Akhenaten reigned for sixteen years from 1369 to 1332 BC. What else was going on in the world around that time?

  • About a century before Akhenaten, the Mycenaeans (Greeks) conquered the Minoans, destroying the great palace of Knossos.
  • About 50 years before Akhenaten's reign, the people living in the area that is now Armenia, who were ruled by the Hittites (from modern day Anatolia in Turkey), discovered the process for making iron, giving the Hittites a military advantage.
  • The Egyptian empire was at its height before the reign of Akhenaten IV but during his reign much of the land was lost as the Hittites, taking advantage of the empire's vulnerability, went on a land grab.
  • About 40 years after the death of Akhenaten, Rameses II regained control of some of the areas seized by the Hittites.
  • A hundred years after the death of Akhenaten, the nomadic warriors known as the Philistines settled in present-day Israel; to be followed shortly after by the Israelites.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

  • A hundred years before the reign of Akhenaten IV, Aryans invaded India and introduced the caste system.
  • Around 1550-1300 BC individual burial in coffins made from tree-trunks became common in Scandinavia and there is evidence of sun worship and the use of two-wheeled chariots.
  • Between 1500 and 1000 BC the ancestors of present-day Polynesia spread through Melanesia reaching Polynesia c.1300-1000 BC.
  • The Shang Dynasty (c.1600-1046 BC) ruled a bronze age culture in the northeastern region of China in the Yellow River valley.
  • Stonehenge, in the form we see today, was constructed around 1500 BC.

    This article was originally published in July 2007, and has been updated for the May 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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