Tiye ( 1398 BC *, † 1338 BC) was the Great Royal Wife and de facto co-ruler of the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III. Even taking her son Akhenaten, she played a political role, the extent is unclear.


Undoubtedly, the Great Royal Wife Tiye can be seen as one of the most important people in the Amarna period, and her life is the story of an unparalleled career. The daughter of a provincial officials they soon came to a large influence and eventually rose to the highest-ranking woman of the empire. Like her husband, Amenhotep III. ultimately became aware of it, we can not understand today. That Amenophis III. broke with the traditions and instead of a befitting wife married a commoner, indicates a love match.

Marriage to Amenhotep III.

The marriage of Amenhotep III. with Tiye, was a major political event. A variety of elaborate scarabs as a kind Wedding document on whose backs the names of Amenhotep III. and Tiye were engraved, Egypt and neighboring countries were distributed throughout. Even the names of parents, Yuya and Tuya Tejes mentioned it, and thus give information about their origin. The mention of bourgeois parents of an Egyptian queen on these so-called " commemorative scarabs " is unique. Whether it was Tiy, the important positions at court gave their parents, or their parents were known already in court and therefore her daughter was made ​​known to the heir to the throne, is no longer to understand due to the limited source material. When her parents died, they were with rich grave goods, and - what is very unusual too - buried in grave KV46 in the Valley of the Kings.

Political action

All decrees of Amenhotep III. were not only in his name, but also provided that of his wife. This also represents an unusual process that has not been occurred in Egyptian history. Furthermore, there are a number of exceptional representations of this queen in the form of statues and reliefs. A figure depicts her as the goddess Taweret ( Thoeris ). Through the Amarna letters is also clear that Tiye was inaugurated as no king wife in front of her in all diplomatic operations, and took strong active part in politics and even could automatically correspond with fellow rulers (EA 26).

Particularly noteworthy and revealing are the letters that the Mitanni king Tushratta after the death of Amenhotep III. addressed to his son and successor Akhenaten. Tushratta has it down not only to the good relations with Akhenaten's father, but also to the role of Queen Tiye in the diplomatic traffic:

" All the words which I spoke to your father, your mother are known. No one else knows it, but you can ask your mother Tiye after them. "

This mention does not mean only that Tiye was informed about the political situation closely, but perhaps was the only one who knew all contexts. Some Egyptologists, such as Flinders Petrie go even so far in the text mentions the Amarna letters an indication of a kind of regency of Queen Tiye for her son after the death of Amenhotep III. to see. In addition to the high rank of a Great Royal Wife Tiye was therefore also a proven diplomat.


Tiye gave birth to at least six children: two sons and four daughters. The first son was the heir to the throne Thutmose, which should be the fifth pharaoh of that name. The second son was Amenhotep, which finally as Amenhotep IV ascended the throne. When her daughters are known: Henut tau nebu ( mistress of both countries ), Nebet - tah ( Mistress of the country) Iset ( Isis ) and Sitamun ( daughter of Amun ). There is evidence of other children of Tiye, including possibly the one mentioned in Amarna Baketaton ( servant of Aten ). However, so far no evidence has been found that more children suspected as the King and Queen of Amenhotep III. and Tiye call.

It remains unclear to what person it is precisely in the so-called " Younger Lady" is that also as the daughter of Amenhotep III. and Tiye has been found. The only certainty is that she has witnessed along with the mummy from KV55 grave in the Valley of the Kings, which is highly likely to be Akhenaten, Tutankhamun, which Tiye is regarded as grandmother of Tutankhamun.

Tiye under Akhenaten

Apparently moved the Great Royal Wife after the death of her husband and the founding of the new capital Akhetaten ( Amarna ), not immediately selbige over, but still lived for some time deposited in the old Royal Palace of Amenhotep III. in Malqata. Finally, she moved into the new city but their son, although it is not known whether they still played an important role there.

By the 14th year of the reign of her son Akhenaten, Tiye is mentioned or inscriptions. The next character of their whereabouts is described on a fragment of a sarcophagus, which smashed the king grave of Amarna (No. 26) was found. Then Akhenaten is depicted together with Nefertiti as they mourn together to Tiye.

Burial and grave

Probably ordered Akhenaten after her death the funeral in his grave at Amarna king to, but it is unclear whether this actually took place. Some researchers say yes, because the remains of a sarcophagus of Queen Tiye in the royal grave of Amarna were found. If this was not the case, she was reburied after Akhenaten's death, in the grave KV55 in the Valley of the Kings. Your gilded wooden shrine found there suggests that she was buried temporarily there. The author of the reburial should come into question in the first place Akhenaten's successor Smenkhkare.

Maybe KV55 was even created specially for Tiye, perhaps under her husband Amenhotep III. But this grave was not the final resting place of the Queen. There indeed a mummy was found, but not a woman, but the latest findings show that of a man. Nevertheless, there is the possibility that Tejes mummy was preserved: in KV35, the grave of Amenhotep II, located adjacent to other mummies in an adjoining room an elderly woman, the so-called "Elder Lady" ( KV35EL ), which at the time of Egyptologists ascribe Queen Tiye. The DNA testing as part of the Tutankhamun Family Project has the " Elder Lady" shown as the daughter of Yuya and Tuya and thus practically identified unequivocally as Queen Tiye.

Therefore, it must Tejes body have come a long way: first of Amarna by KV55, from there probably in the grave of her husband, Amenhotep III. ( WV22 ), which probably should be their final resting place originally. From there, their mummy may have been reburied again after KV35. Although Tiye was not a woman on the throne such as Queen Hatshepsut, but in power and importance it was this or other male rulers in every way.