Queen TiyeQueen Tiye
(1415 B.C.-1340 B.C.)
Many thousands of years ago Nubians came to what is now Egypt from an area in eastern Africa. During the fourteenth century B.C., the Pharoah Amenhotep III met and fell in love with the beauteous Tiye, who was of Nubian royal blood. Although custom and law forbade a pharoah to marry someone without royal Egyptian blood, Amenhotep married Tiye and gave her the title Great Royal Wife, defying custom and law. What made Queen Tiye finally acceptable to the Egyptian populace was the fact she was a well educated, very competent ruler who developed a keen intellect through studying science, religion, history, and literature. The vast Nubian Empire which had been a powerful, troublesome neighbor in the past, now became a strong ally, making Egypt the most powerful empire if its time.
The strong love between Amenhotep and Tiye had a direct impact on the way the public viewed the relationship between woman and man, and a ruler and his queen. This had a powerful ripple effect throughout centuries that followed. Amenhotep built her the largest man-made lake in history, erecting a beautiful palace at one end. One of his greatest pleasures was to sail with his queen in his boat he called, The Splendor of Aton, the name given to the sun.
Queen Tiye's opinions were well respected. Her political influence was widespread throughout her fifty years as queen. When Amenhotep became incapacitated by a serious illness, Tiye was a wise, constant, stabilizing power of Egypt.
Queen Tiye's most dramatic impact was the elevation of the status, value, and power of women as rulers. This was an enormous change in Egyptian custom but very common in Nubia. Queen Tiye had a strong influence on the Egyptian acceptance of the only female pharaoh in history--the Pharaoh Hatshepsut.
Amenhotep and Tiye's devoted love was of historical importance with its impact on the unity of African people--illustrated by the unity of Nubia and Egypt, people who had previously been at war.
A son was born to this royal couple they named Amenhotep IV. He later became known as Pharaoh Akhenaton, who was the originator of the one-God concept. His one god, the sun, was named Aton which he promoted above all other Egyptian gods.