Akhenaten

Spread the love
Colossal sandstone statue of Akhenaten
Colossal sandstone statue of Akhenaten

Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) (1352-1336 BC) 

Meaning "Effective for the Aten"), was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh reigning c. 1353–1336 or 1351–1334 BC, the tenth ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty.

 Akhenaten was born Amenhotep, a younger son of pharaoh Amenhotep III and his principal wife Tiye.

Akhenaten was married to Nefertiti, his Great Royal Wife.

The infamous 'heretic' pharaoh, during whose reign the art and religion of Egypt were marked by rapid change. Born in the early fourteenth century BC, he was the son of AMENHOTEP III (1390-1352 BC) and Queen TIY.

Before the fifth year of his reign, he was known as Amenhotep IV (Ancient Egyptian: jmn-ḥtp, meaning "Amun is satisfied"

In his fifth regnal year, Amenhotep IV made two crucial and iconoclastic decisions: he changed his name from Amenhotep ('Amun is content') to Akhenaten ('glory of the sun disc) and he began to construct a new capital city called Akhetaten ('horizon of the Aten') at the site now known as EL-AMARNA in Middle Egypt.

Around the same time he changed his royal name, on the thirteenth day of the growing season's fourth month, Akhenaten decreed that a new capital city be built: Akhetaten (Ancient Egyptian: ḫt-jtn, meaning "Horizon of the Aten"), better known today as Amarna. 

As a pharaoh, Akhenaten is noted for abandoning Egypt's traditional polytheism and introducing Atenism, or worship centered around Aten. The major religious innovation of Akhenaten's reign was the vigorous promotion of the worship of the ATEN to the exclusion of the rest of the Egyptian gods.

This culture shift away from traditional religion was not widely accepted. After a sole reign of only about eighteen years, Akhenaten was succeeded first by an ephemeral figure called Smenkhkara and soon afterward by Tutankhaten.

 After his death, Akhenaten's monuments were dismantled and hidden, his statues were destroyed, and his name was excluded from lists of rulers compiled by later pharaohs.

 Traditional religious practice was gradually restored, notably under his close successor Tutankhamun, who changed his name from Tutankhaten early in his reign.

After a sole reign of only about eighteen years, Akhenaten was succeeded first by an ephemeral figure called Smenkhkara and soon afterward by Tutankhaten.

Within a few years, the city at el-Amarna had been abandoned in favor of the traditional administrative center at Memphis, and the new king had changed his name to Tutankhamun, effectively signaling the end of the supremacy of the Aten.