Tiye (a pet form of the name Nefertari) was the name
of at least two Egyptian queen
s. The first was much more well known -- she was the wife of pharaoh Amenhotep III
and mother of Akhenaton
. (Her name is sometimes spelled Tiy in English.) Her father Yuya was commander of the chariotry under Tutmose IV
and her mother Thuya was Superintendent of the Harem
, but since their titles are not mentioned on the announcements of the marriage
, some historians assumed that she was a commoner
. More likely, given the jobs her parents held, they were all noble
s. However, her father may have been of non-Egyptian descent; his features apparently differed from most Egyptians. Theories exist that he was Asiatic or that he was a black African.
Tiye was probably about 12 when she married Amenhotep. She was a favorite of his, though not his only wife, and he built shrines, palaces, and a giant artificial lake in her honor. She was her husband's political confidant as well and apparently had a great deal of influence in his reign. She was the first queen of Egypt to have her name on official documents, and corresponded in her husband's stead with foreign governments. Sculptures of the two together show them the same size, which is unusual at the time; the pharaoh was generally shown larger than other people.
This continued during the reign of her son, who started out as Amenhotep IV before changing his name to Akhenaton in honor of his new worship of Aton rather than Amon and other traditional Egyptian gods. She moved to or at least spent a lot of time visiting his new capital, and Akhenaton also had buildings erected in her honor.
A later Queen Tiye was one of the wives of Ramses III and was involved in a plot with a grand chamberlain, a general, and others to assassinate him by magic and poison and place her son Pentaur on the throne. The plot was discovered and the conspirators tried, but Tuye's fate is not known. (Ramses died of other causes before the trial was finished.)