Queen Ahmos-Nefertari

She is a black woman, and mentioned on an inscription depicting the honors being given to Queen Tetisheri, her grandmother. Tetisheri was the mother of Aahhotep I Queen of Egypt, 17th Dynasty, which was Nefertari's mother.

Nefertari's mother Aahhoptep I was wife of Seqenenre Tao III King of Egypt, 17th Dynasty and an inscription on the doorway Buhen suggests that she was joint regent with her sons Kamose and Ahmose I, who is generally given credit for founding the 18th Dynasty. It was during the turbulent times when that nation's kings were engaged in a protracted war of liberation to rid their country of the Hyksos invaders. The kings also had the advantage by having the Medjay as allies. These Nubian forces were ferocious hand to hand combatants that fought in the front lines. 

Aahhoptep I played a crucial role in safeguarding the kingdom in the south, and a stele in Karnak temple honors her with the words: "she is one who has accomplished the rites and cared for Egypt; she has looked after Egypt's troops and she has guarded them; she has brought back the fugitives and collected the deserters; she has pacified Upper Egypt and expelled her rebels." 

"Ahmose Nefertari name is listed in the Sinai and on the island of Sai in inscriptions. She was celebrated, and the first queen who hold the important office of "God's Wife of Amun"; through her descended all the rights of the royal line, and she was adored for many centuries as the great ancestress and foundress. We have noticed her worship with that of her husband and son. She is styled on contemporary monuments as the "royal daughter, royal sister, great royal wife, royal mother, great ruler, mistress of both land."
Petrie,  1896

Ahmose Nefertari outlived both her husband and her son Amenhotep I. During the next king, her son-in law Tuthmosis I, she still enjoyed a high esteem, and the king set up a statue of her in the temple at Karnak. The date of her death is unknown, but a fragment of an inscription tells us: 'when the god´s wife Ahmose Nefertari, justified with the great god, lord of the west, flew to heaven'.
King Ahmose I (Aahmes I) brother/husband to Ahmose-Nefertari
Queen Ahmos-Nefertari
Queen Ahmos Nefertari is at the top right hand corner, next to her son Amenhotep I.
Family Tree According to Egyptologist Petrie:

W. M. Flinders Petrie, A History of Egypt – Part Two, 1896

"Nefertari might be three-quarters black". [View Family Tree]

Queen Ahmose-Nefertari, was born royal heiress and became one of Africa's most brilliant queens. After the twenty-five year reign of her brother/husband Ahmose I (Aahmes I), she governed jointly with her son Amenhotep I, the 2nd King of Egypt's 18th Dynasty.

Nefertari had seven children; three sons, two died young; four daughters, three died young. The only children that lived was her son Amenhotep I; and daughter Aahhotep II. They married each other and had a daughter named Aahmes.

Aahmes married Tuthmosis I and had a daughter named Hatshepsut. Ahmose Nefertari is Queen Hatshepsut's great grand mother.

Amenhotep I (Nefertari's son): His daughter Mutnofret also married Tuthmosis I, and had a son named Tuthmosis II. The great Queen Hatshepsut married Tuthmosis II her half brother.

Page 337

"From the stele of Iufi it is certain that Aahhotep was mother of Aahmes I, and hence Aahmes and Nefertari were of the same mother. But yet we cannot suppose them to have had both parents alike; Aahmes is always (except once) shown of the same colour as other Egyptians, while Nefertari is almost always coloured black. And any symbolic reason invented to account for such colouring applies equally to her brother, who is nevertheless not black. As Nefertari was specially venerated as the ancestress of the dynasty, we must suppose that she was in the royal succession appears to have been reckoned, and hence her black colour is the more likely to have come through her father. The only conclusion, if these points should be established, is that the queen Aahhotep had two husbands: the one black (the father of Nefertari), namely, the celebrated Seqenenra, who was of Berber type; the other an Egyptian, the father of Aahmes and his elder brothers, Kames and Skhentnebra, which explains why those three kings are separated from the other children of Aahhotep by her husband Seqenenra, and placed in a different line in the tomb of Khabekht."--Petrie, 1896

Page: 4 (17th dynasty)

"Of the earlier part of this dynasty we know nothing. The resemblance of Sequenenra III to the Berber type points to these kings having come down from Ethiopia. A new dynasty beginning with Aahmes seems to have been due to the break in the family, he being descended of an Egyptian and not an Ethiopian father. This dynasty, then, would seem to have been descended from a part of the royal Egyptian line which had taken refuge in the far south to escape from the Hyksos oppression; and was there mingled with southern blood, and became of the dark Berber type. As the Hyksos power decayed, this southern family fought its way northward again, and so laid the foundation of the XVIII dynasty. Of the first eighty years, or so, we have no names remaining; perhaps they should be sought in Nubia rather than in Egypt, as there is no allusion to tombs of the predecessors of the Seqenenras at Thebes."--Petrie, 1896

James E. Harris, Kent R. Weeks, X-raying the Pharaohs, 1973.

Seqenenra Tao: "His entire lower facial complex, in fact, is so different from other pharaohs that he could be fitted more easily into the series of Nubian and Old Kingdom Giza skulls than into that of later Egyptian kings. Various scholars in the past have proposed a Nubian--that is, non-Egyptian--origin for Seqenenra and his family, and his facial features suggest this might indeed be true. If it is, the history of the family that reputedly drove the Hyksos from Egypt, and the history of the Seventeenth Dynasty, stand in need of considerable re-examination".

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The importance of the role of the queen-mother in Nubia, Egypt, and the rest of Black Africa: the women, the queen was the true sovereign, the keeper of the royalty and guardian of the purity of the lineage. To this end, it often happened that she marry her brother or her half brother by the same father; it was she who transmitted the crown to her husband, who was only her executive agent.

"The Kingdom is Possible Because of the Queen... The King is the Sign...While the Queen is the Symbol . . . . Warren Blakely
click on photo to enlarge
Statue of Queen Ahmose-Nefertari

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Statue of Queen Ahmose-Nefertari,
New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, reign of Ahmose,
1550–1525 B.C.

Louvre Museum
Fragmentary sandstone relief representing Ahmose Nefertari, wife of  Ahmose I.

It is only at the beginning of the New Kingdom, when Egypt undertook the conquest of all Nubia, that Sai became truly Egyptian. It fell under Egyptian control during the reign of Ahmose (1550-1525 BC), the founder of the New Kingdom, whose only known lifesize statue has been found there. Ahmose established a temple of which unfortunately only fragmentary remains displaying reliefs of high quality have survived. It is possible that a female head finely carved on a sandstone fragment (above) originated from that temple and that it represents Ahmose Nefertari, his wife, whose name also appears in fragmentary inscriptions.


Sudan: Ancient Treasures, Derek A. Welsby and Julie R. Anderson, British Museum Press, p. 115 (2004)

Queen Ahmose Nefertari
Nubian Egyptian Queen
18th Dynasty (1550-1525 BC)
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