A summary of key information:
Akhenaten was an Egyptian pharaoh during the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom Period. He reigned from c. 1353 to 1336 BC, and he is best known for his dramatic changes to traditional Egyptian religion.
He was originally known as Amenhotep IV but changed his name to Akhenaten during his fifth year in power. At the same time, he abolished the old gods and declared that there was only one supreme god in Egypt, known as the Aten.
Akhenaten also moved the capital city of Egypt from Thebes to a brand-new city of his own creation called Akhetaten. From there, he ruled the Egyptian empire and enacted decrees to encourage the worship of Aten over all the traditional gods.
Both Akhenaten and his wife, Nefertiti, played important roles in the new religious system. They were considered to be the main connection between the god Aten and the Egyptian people. Images of Akehenaten and Nefertiti show them as the central figures in religious ceremonies for the Aten.
Akhenaten ruled for about twelve years and his time in power is often referred to as the Amarna Period.
Akhenaten Sources. (2021). History Skills.
A boundary stela of Akhenaten:
"On this day, when [Akhenaten] was in Akhetaten, His Majesty [appeared] on the great chariot of electrum... Setting [off] on a good road [toward] Akhetaten, His place of creation, which He made for Himself that He might set within it every day... There was presented a great offering to the … Aten, consisting of bread, beer, long- and short-horned cattle, calves, fowl, wine, fruits, incense, all kinds of fresh green plants, and everything good, in front of the mountain of Akhetaten...’
The king addresses his gathered courtiers:
‘As the Aten is beheld, the Aten desires that there be made for him [...] as a monument with an eternal and everlasting name. Now, it is the Aten, my father, who advised me concerning it, [namely] Akhetaten. No official has ever advised me concerning it, not any of the people who are in the entire land has ever advised me concerning it, to suggest making Akhetaten in this distant place. It was the Aten, my fath[er, who advised me] concerning it, so that it might be made for Him as Akhetaten... Behold, it is Pharaoh who has discovered it: not being the property of a god, not being the property of a goddess, not being the property of a ruler, not being the property of a female ruler, not being the property of any people to lay claim to it."
Boundary Stela of Akhenaten. (c. 1349 BCE). El-Armana.
Two boundary stelae from the city of Akhetaten (Amarna) have survived. The stelae have proclamations that are long, repetitive, and difficult to translate. This is the first proclamation, which is dated to regnal year 5.
Copyright: Public Domain
Hymn to the Aten:
"You appear beautifully on the horizon of heaven,
You living Aten, the beginning of life!
When you have risen on the eastern horizon,
You have filled every land with your beauty.
How great it is, what you have made!
They are hidden from the face [of man].
O only god, like whom there is no other!
You created the world according to your will,
While you were alone: All men, cattle, and wild beasts,
Whatever is on earth, going upon [its] feet,
And what is on high, flying with its wings.
The countries of Syria and Nubia, the land of Egypt,
You set every man in his place,
You supplied their needs:
Everyone has his food, and his time of life is reckoned…
And there is no other that knows you
Except for your son [Akhenaten],
For you have made him well-versed in your plans and in your strength…
[Everything is] made to flourish for the king…
Since you did create the earth
And raise them up for your son,
Who came from your body:
the King of Upper and Lower Egypt ... Akhenaten...
and the Chief Wife of the King ... Nefertiti,
living and youthful forever and ever."
Great Hymn to the Aten. (14th C. BC).
A religious song, apparently written by Akhenaten himself, praising the divine Aten.
Copyright: Public Domain
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