60 Facts About Akhenaten


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


Akhenaten was all but lost to history until the late-19th-century discovery of Amarna, or Akhetaten, the new capital city he built for the worship of Aten.


Furthermore, in 1907, a mummy that could be Akhenaten's was unearthed from the tomb KV55 in the Valley of the Kings by Edward R Ayrton.


Genetic testing has determined that the man buried in KV55 was Tutankhamun's father, but its identification as Akhenaten has since been questioned.


Public and scholarly fascination with Akhenaten comes from his connection with Tutankhamun, the unique style and high quality of the pictorial arts he patronized, and the religion he attempted to establish, foreshadowing monotheism.


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


Akhenaten had an elder brother, crown prince Thutmose, who was recognized as Amenhotep III's heir.

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Akhenaten had four or five sisters: Sitamun, Henuttaneb, Iset, Nebetah, and possibly Beketaten.


Thutmose's early death, perhaps around Amenhotep III's thirtieth regnal year, meant that Akhenaten was next in line for Egypt's throne.


The exact timing of their marriage is unknown, but inscriptions from the pharaoh's building projects suggest that they married either shortly before or after Akhenaten took the throne.


Akhenaten's other attested consorts are the daughter of the Enisasi ruler Satiya and another daughter of the Babylonian king Burna-Buriash II.


Akhenaten could have had seven or eight children based on inscriptions.


Redford and James K Hoffmeier state that Ra's cult was so widespread and established throughout Egypt that Akhenaten could have been influenced by solar worship even if he did not grow up around Heliopolis.


The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities called this "conclusive evidence" that Akhenaten shared power with his father for at least eight years, based on the dating of the tomb.


Akhenaten took Egypt's throne as Amenhotep IV, most likely in 1353 or 1351 BC.


Akhenaten was most likely crowned in Thebes, or less likely at Memphis or Armant.


Akhenaten did not immediately start redirecting worship toward the Aten and distancing himself from other gods.


Akhenaten decorated the walls of the precinct's Third Pylon with images of himself worshipping Ra-Horakhty, portrayed in the god's traditional form of a falcon-headed man.


Akhenaten ordered the construction of temples or shrines to the Aten in several cities across the country, such as Bubastis, Tell el-Borg, Heliopolis, Memphis, Nekhen, Kawa, and Kerma.


Akhenaten ordered the construction of a large temple complex dedicated to the Aten at Karnak in Thebes, northeast of the parts of the Karnak complex dedicated to Amun.


About a month later, day thirteen of the growing season's fourth month, one of the boundary stela at Akhetaten already had the name Akhenaten carved on it, implying that the pharaoh changed his name between the two inscriptions.


Gertie Englund and Florence Friedman arrive at the translation "Effective for the Aten" by analyzing contemporary texts and inscriptions, in which Akhenaten often described himself as being "effective for" the sun disc.


Some historians, such as William F Albright, Edel Elmar, and Gerhard Fecht, propose that Akhenaten's name is misspelled and mispronounced.


Around the same time he changed his royal titulary, on the thirteenth day of the growing season's fourth month, Akhenaten decreed that a new capital city be built: Akhetaten, better known today as Amarna.


The events Egyptologists know the most about during Akhenaten's life are connected with founding Akhetaten, as several so-called boundary stelae were found around the city to mark its boundary.

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Historians do not know for certain why Akhenaten established a new capital and left Thebes, the old capital.


Egyptologists believe that Akhenaten could be referring to conflict with the priesthood and followers of Amun, the patron god of Thebes.


The Amarna letters portray the international situation in the Eastern Mediterranean that Akhenaten inherited from his predecessors.


Egypt's power reached new heights under Thutmose III, who ruled approximately 100 years before Akhenaten and led several successful military campaigns into Nubia and Syria.


Under Amenhotep III and Akhenaten, Egypt was unable or unwilling to oppose the rise of the Hittites around Syria.


Early in his reign, Akhenaten was evidently concerned about the expanding power of the Hittite Empire under Suppiluliuma I A successful Hittite attack on Mitanni and its ruler Tushratta would have disrupted the entire international balance of power in the Ancient Middle East at a time when Egypt had made peace with Mitanni; this would cause some of Egypt's vassals to switch their allegiances to the Hittites, as time would prove.


Rib-Hadda wrote a total of 60 letters to Akhenaten pleading for aid from the pharaoh.


Cyril Aldred, based on Amarna letters describing Egyptian troop movements, proposed that Akhenaten launched an unsuccessful war around the city of Gezer, while Marc Gabolde argued for an unsuccessful campaign around Kadesh.


Akhenaten managed to preserve Egypt's control over the core of its Near Eastern Empire while avoiding conflict with the increasingly powerful and aggressive Hittite Empire of Suppiluliuma I, which overtook the Mitanni as the dominant power in the northern part of the region.


Only the Egyptian border province of Amurru in Syria around the Orontes River was lost to the Hittites when its ruler Aziru defected to the Hittites; ordered by Akhenaten to come to Egypt, Aziru was released after promising to stay loyal to the pharaoh, nonetheless turning to the Hittites soon after his release.


Egyptologists know little about the last five years of Akhenaten's reign, beginning in These years are poorly attested and only a few pieces of contemporary evidence survive; the lack of clarity makes reconstructing the latter part of the pharaoh's reign "a daunting task" and a controversial and contested topic of discussion among Egyptologists.


Regardless of its origin, the epidemic might account for several deaths in the royal family that occurred in the last five years of Akhenaten's reign, including those of his daughters Meketaten, Neferneferure, and Setepenre.


Akhenaten could have ruled together with Smenkhkare and Nefertiti for several years before his death.


Dodson suggested that the two were chosen to rule as Tutankhaten's coregent in case Akhenaten died and Tutankhaten took the throne at a young age, or rule in Tutankhaten's stead if the prince died in the epidemic.


Akhenaten died after seventeen years of rule and was initially buried in a tomb in the Royal Wadi east of Akhetaten.


Akhenaten was, in turn, probably succeeded by Tutankhaten, with the country being administered by the vizier and future pharaoh Ay.


For instance, the discussion of the study results does not discuss that Tutankhamun's father and the father's siblings would share some genetic markers; if Tutankhamun's father was Akhenaten, the DNA results could indicate that the mummy is a brother of Akhenaten, possibly Smenkhkare.


Akhenaten banned the worship of gods beside the Aten, including through festivals.


Akhenaten declared himself to be the only one who could worship the Aten, and required that all religious devotion previously exhibited toward the gods be directed toward himself.


Akhenaten's reforms had a longer-term impact on Ancient Egyptian language and hastened the spread of the spoken Late Egyptian language in official writings and speeches.

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Akhenaten ordered the defacing of Amun's temples throughout Egypt and, in a number of instances, inscriptions of the plural 'gods' were removed.


Some debate has focused on the extent to which Akhenaten forced his religious reforms on his people.


Such evidence suggests that though Akhenaten shifted funding away from traditional temples, his policies were fairly tolerant until some point, perhaps a particular event as yet unknown, toward the end of the reign.


References to Amenhotep III, Akhenaten's father, were partly erased since they contained the traditional Amun form of his name: Nebmaatre Amunhotep.


Over time Akhenaten's successors, starting with Tutankhaten, took steps to distance themselves from Atenism.


Akhenaten renewed the gods' mansions and fashioned all their images.


In 2010, results published from genetic studies on Akhenaten's purported mummy did not find signs of gynecomastia or Antley-Bixler syndrome, although these results have since been questioned.


The idea that Akhenaten was the pioneer of a monotheistic religion that later became Judaism has been considered by various scholars.


Freud argued that Akhenaten was striving to promote monotheism, something that the biblical Moses was able to achieve.


However, this is unlikely, because this disorder results in sterility and Akhenaten is known to have fathered numerous children.


Akhenaten's children are repeatedly portrayed through years of archaeological and iconographic evidence.


Akhenaten was made to look androgynous in artwork as a symbol of the androgyny of the Aten.


Akhenaten appears in The Egyptian by Mika Waltari, which was adapted into the movie The Egyptian.


Akhenaten is opposed by essentially all of the other superheroes and supervillains in the Marvel comic book universe and is eventually defeated by Thanos.


Additionally, Akhenaten appears as the enemy in the Assassin's Creed Origins The Curse of the Pharaohs downloadable content, and must be defeated to remove his curse on Thebes.