Monday, September 8, 2008

The Reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten

The Egyptians used a system of government that was controled by a person called pharaoh. The pharaoh had much power for the Egyptian believed that they were a god on earth. One of these powerful pharaohs is Akhenaten. He ruled and was looked upon as a very important person in life according to the Egyptians. During his reign many changes occured, even his family changed significantly.

He ruled Ancient Egypt for 17 long years; 1352- 1336 BCE. (Romer 26)

Early in Akhenaten reign he changed his name from Amenhotep IV to Akhenaten, meaning"the Servant of Aten". Towards the beginning he also introduced a monotheistic worship of Aten, the Sun God. He placed temples for Aten by other gods temples at first, but soon he closed all other temples and took their revenues. During this religion revolution he placed himself as the intermediary between his people and Aten. This made him a god-king, and the first king to be called Pharaoh. Akhenaten changed Egypt's religion dramatically throughout his reign.

~ Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and their childeren worshiping Aten . ~

Akhenaten and Nefertiti moved out of Thebes to a new capitol called Akhetaton in honor of Aten. They built many extraordinary buildings and conducted remarkable ceremonies in the temples and palaces. Soon the capital Akhetaton gained much power and many things relied on it.

In the course of his reign the art was also changed with great impact. The main motivation why it changed was to accompany the Pharaoh's new religion. One of the ways art was changed during this time was a new exaggerated style. This featured an elongated face, slit like eyes and a pendant chin. This is one of the changes that happened during Akhenaten's reign.

"The period of the rule of King Akhenaten and his queen Nefertiti during the Fourteenth Century BCE is known as today the Armana Phase of the Egyptian ruling dynasties, resulting from the King's construction of a new capital city he called Akhetaten (Horizon of the Aten) at an archeological site contemporarily known as Armana."

Akhenaten was married to Nefertiti at the beginning of his reign. They had six known daughters: Meritaten, Meketaten, Ankhesenpaaten, Neferneferuaten tasherit, Neferneferuaten, and Setepenre. Ankhesenpaaten married Tutankhamun soon after her father died. It is said that he was married to a Women named Kiya, in his later reign.


"The Egyptian did not make a tragic or heroic event of the death of royalty: rather they hushed it up as the triumph of evil over righteousness. . . We have no offical account of Akhenaten's end, but in his case it would have been only fitting if his apotheosis had been into the falcon of Re-Herakhte." (Aldred 290)

Akhenaten ruled Egypt for many year. During this time he influenced the Egypt and its people greatly. Even though he was not looked on as a heroic figure when he died, in my opinion he was still a great pharaoh that changed Egypt forever.

Romer, John,Valley of the Kings, The Orion Publishing Group; London, 1981.

Alreed, Cyril, Akhenaten: King of Egypt, Thames and Hudson Inc.; Germany, 1991.