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In ancient Egypt, Tumos (Edmund Purdom), an apprentice sculptor, is in love with Tenet (Jeanne Crain), a beautiful girl who is to be dedicated to the gods as a priestess. Tumos and Tenet intend to elope, but the high priest Benakon (Vincent Price) learns of their plans. He has Tenet taken into custody and Tumos is condemned for violating religious laws. Tumos flees to the desert to join his friend prince Amenophis (Amedeo Nazzari), the heir to the throne. Amenophis is an effective warrior who has just defeated the Chaldeans. Among the Chaldean prisoners is Seper (Carlo D'Angelo), the priest of a new God Aten, who he claims to be the one true god. Seper proclaims a religion of love, and prophesies the imminent death of the old Pharaoh and the coming reign of Amenophis. The prophecy comes true. Before he returns to Thebes to become pharaoh Amenophis agrees to the marriage of Tenet and Tumos, and makes Seper one of his advisers.
In Thebes, the high priest Benakon reveals to Tenet that he is her father. He also tells her that she is not to be a priestess; the old pharaoh had agreed that she should marry Amenophis on his death. He gives her the new name Nefertiti and says she is to be the Queen of the Nile. Amenophis accepts her as his wife, unaware that Nefertiti is the same person as the "Tenet" he had given to Tumos. Tumos, an obstacle in the whole plan, has been arrested by Benakon. He eventually escapes from prison, but is attacked and mauled by a lion. He survives and is nursed by Merith (Liana Orfei), an artist's model who is in love with him. Nefertiti is told he is dead.
Tumos soon learns that Tenet is now called Nefertiti and is married to pharaoh. He gets drunk and sleeps with Merith. When Nefertiti learns that Tumos is alive, she asks Amenophis to make him the court sculptor. He is to sculpt a bust of Nefertiti. While he works on it the couple renew their love. Meanwhile Benakon is disturbed by the influence of Seper's one true god. The religion of Aten is growing. His men burst into the Atenist church, killing Seper and many of the worshipers. Nefertiti is among them, but escapes with Tumos' help. Amenophis is disgusted by the killing. He proclaims that all idols are to be destroyed and the old priesthood abolished. However he forgives Benakon, to emphasise his devotion to the values of the new faith.
Benakon and his followers plan a rising against the new religion, but Nefertiti learns of their plans. Tumos leaves to collect an army to defend the city. Benakon's followers surround the royal palace. Paralysed by his new pacifist ideals, Amenophis has a mental breakdown. Nefertiti assumes command of the defence of the palace while waiting for Tumos to bring reinforcements. Horrified by the violence that religious conflict has unleashed, Amenophis kills himself. Nefertiti and her guards make a last stand around the sculpture of the queen, but are overwhelmed. Tumos and Merith arrive just in time with the army, but Benakon nearly stabs Tumos before Merith kills him with an arrow shot. The army restore Nefertiti to the throne. The famous bust of Nefertiti survives the centuries to prove the queen's magnificent beauty and Tumos' love for her.