Akhenaten: The Mysteries of Religious Revolution

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In the long course of Egyptian history, scarcely any figures have been as polarizing as Akhenaten. The period encompassing this Egyptian ruler’s rule was described by friendly, political and strict commotion – any semblance of which not many societies at any point insight. In just shy of twenty years on the privileged position, Akhenaten forced new parts of Egyptian religion, updated its imperial imaginative style, moved Egypt’s cash-flow to a formerly vacant site, executed another type of engineering and endeavored to decimate the names and pictures of a portion of Egypt’s customary divine beings. It is to a limited extent because of the turbulent idea of Akhenaten’s residency that this time in Egyptian history, known as the Amarna time frame, has gotten such a lot of consideration from researchers and general society.
Since the cutting edge rediscovery of Akhenaten, scholastics have composed endless examinations and life stories of this purported blasphemer lord clarifying upon his combustible nature in manners maybe best exemplified by James Henry Breasted: “Until Ikhnaton the historical backdrop of the world had been the compelling float of custom. All men had been nevertheless drops of water in the extraordinary flow. Ikhnaton was the primary person ever.”
Akhenaten came to drive as the pharaoh of Egypt in either the year 1353 or 1351 BCE and ruled for about 17 years during the eighteenth line of Egypt’s New Kingdom. Akhenaten turned out to be most popular to current researchers for the new religion he made that fixated on the Aten. In Akhenaten’s new religion, this figure for the most part came to be addressed as a sun plate and is best perceived as the light created by the actual sun. The ruler climbed the lofty position under his original name, Amenhotep IV, yet in his fifth regnal year, he changed his name to one that better mirrored his strict thoughts (Amenhotep = “Amun is fulfilled,” Akhenaten = “Viable for Aten”). Not long after this first critical stage, Akhenaten started a progression of changes in Egyptian religion, craftsmanship and composing that seemed to concur with the celebrations of his revered dad, Amenhotep III, and the Aten.

Talatat block used by Pharaoh Akhenaten, Luxor Museum, Egypt

Photo: Kenneth Garrett

What, then, was this new religion that persuaded Akhenaten to overturn such countless components of Egyptian culture? The responses are established in vulnerabilities, driving Egyptologists to long discussion the idea of Akhenaten’s change. Researchers have contended for monotheism, henotheism, rationalism and nearly in the middle between. What is sure, however, is this new religion raised the Aten to the place of state god and fixated generally on its love. Akhenaten further reshaped Egypt’s strict circle through the oppression of a few conventional divine beings, most prominently Amun – Egypt’s state god for a large part of the eighteenth tradition. At some point around his fourth regnal year, Akhenaten even dispatched specialists to eradicate the names and pictures of specific divine beings from existing texts and landmarks.

Hands offering Aten cartouches , ca. 1352–1336 B.C.
Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Akhenaten’s new way to deal with religion showed itself in different aspects of Egyptian culture, most eminently the imaginative circle. The primary works authorized by the ruler showed up in the customary Theban style, utilized by essentially every eighteenth tradition pharaoh going before him. Be that as it may, as he carried out new strict thoughts, imperial craftsmanship developed to mirror the ideas of Atenism. The most striking changes are found in the presence of the illustrious family. Heads expanded than in the customary style and were upheld by stretched and slim necks. The imperial family took on a more male/female appearance that occasionally even clouded the distinction among Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti. Their countenances were portrayed by huge lips, long noses and squinting eyes, and their bodies showed thin shoulders and abdomens, little and fairly sunken middles and enormous thighs, rump and paunches.

To be satisfied with a little, is the greatest wisdom; and he that increaseth his riches, increaseth his cares; but a contented mind is a hidden treasure, and trouble findeth it not.


These means toward social upset finished in Akhenaten’s choice to move Egypt’s capital from Thebes to a formerly vacant site he named Akhetaten (present-day Tell el Amarna), signifying “where the Aten becomes successful.” In year five of Akhenaten’s rule he fought that he “found” the area of the new regal city. The lord announced that the Aten had showed itself interestingly on the site and that the Aten had picked this site for the ruler alone. Armana likewise appears to have been picked in light of the fact that the bluffs that outline the new city looked like the Axt image, signifying “skyline.” In request to rapidly develop the city, more modest structure blocks, called talatat, were presented that were simpler for untalented workers to make due. The greater part of the municipality and organization structures were finished approximately three years after the fact.

Egypt, Pharaohs of the Sun, MM6714, Talatat Block, wall, Luxor Museum, Akhenaten, New Kingdom,

The finish of Akhenaten’s rule is dim. The lord doubtlessly kicked the bucket during his seventeenth regnal year, as this is the most elevated date confirmed for him. Be that as it may, vulnerabilities encompass his downfall. To begin with, Akhenaten’s reason for death is obscure generally on the grounds that it is hazy whether his remaining parts have at any point been found. The illustrious burial place planned for Akhenaten at Amarna didn’t contain an imperial internment, which prompts the subject of what has been going on with the body. A few researchers have proposed that a skeleton found in burial place KV55 in the Valley of the Kings could have a place with Akhenaten, on the grounds that the burial chamber contained various grave products (remembering the casket for which the remaining parts were found) having a place with Akhenaten and other Amarna period figures. In any case, in the same way as other points relating to Akhenaten, this issue stays the subject of much academic discussion.

Recommended Reading


Aldred, Cyril 1988. Akhenaten: King of Egypt. New York: Thames & Hudson.

Montserrat, Dominic 2003. Akhenaten: History, Fantasy and Ancient Egypt. London: Psychology Press.

Redford, Donald B 1987. Akhenaten: The Heretic King. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


“The Great Hymn to the Aten” in Lichtheim, Miriam 1978. Ancient Egyptian Literature Vol. 2. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 96-100.

Hornung, Erik 2001. Akhenaten and the religion of light. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.

Wilkinson, Richard H. 2003. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. New York: Thames & Hudson. pp. 236–24.

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Akhenaten: The Mysteries of Religious Revolution

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