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the chief priests The Pharaoh Who Was Called Akh

The Pharaoh Who Was Called Akhenaten
By
Bob Disherman
A research paper submitted to Mr. Touma in partial fulfillment of the requirements for World Cultures
Charlotte Country Day School
Charlotte, North Carolina
November 20, 2000
Akhenaten will always be remembered as a great heretic ruler, who uprooted traditional Egyptian religions, and conjured a monotheistic religion that is very close in nature to Christianity and Judaism. His political power was not his strong point, but with the creation of the religion, and the vast change in art forms, Akhenaten will never be forgotten.
Amenhotep IV, the name Akhenaten was born with, was the son of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IIIs second wife Tiye (Vansten 6). Amenhotep III was the great-grandson of the famous conquer Thutmose III (Editora, Part I 1), who had gained enormous amounts of land and respect from North Africa and the Middle East, and because he was, the glory that his great-grandfather produced, was laid onto him (Redford 34). Therefore, his role in Egypt was somewhat diminished because he accomplished no great victories or wars, but he did command the power of the people, and made them believe that he was the Sun King (Redford 34). However, one of his most significant ideas was the introduction of co-regency, (Aldred 178) which forever changed the way that Pharaohs would rule.
Amenhotep III first marriage was slightly uncommon in traditional beliefs. Normally, a pharaoh would not be allowed to marry a commoner, but that is exactly what Amenhotep III did, he married Tiye (Editora, Part 1 1), a girl from the Middle Egypt whose father was a foreigner named Yuya (Redford 36). Tiye was the Great Kings Wife until one of their daughters, Sat-amun, was elevated higher then she was (Redford 36). During this marriage, Amenhotep III and Tiye produced two boys and six girls (Redford 36). Amenhotep IV was the second of the boys, and was born c. 1385 BC (Redford 36)
Aminadab, the Hebrew equal to Amenhotep, lived and was educated in the eastern delta region, where Egyptian priests of Ra taught him about Amun, and the other important deities such as Aten (Vansten 6). After he was educated in the eastern delta region, he went to live in Thebes for his teenage years (Redford 24-25). Not much is known about his teenage or adolescent years, but many scholars believe that during his stay in Thebes, he became involved with a Ra cult, that worshiped the god Amun. Many believe this is where Amenhotep IV began to believe in the iconology such as the sun disk (Redford 170). During this time frame, circa 1368 BC, Amenhotep III became seriously ill, and could not continue governing Egypt without help (Vansten 6). Therefor, Amenhotep IV, who was the only male still in the direct hereditary line, sense his older brother was dead, was pronounced to marry Nefertiti, who was the daughter of Ay and Tey (Redford 222). Nefertiti was a niece of Tiye and Ay was a close friend of Amenhotep III, so it would easily come that Nefertiti and Amenhotep IV should rule as a co-regent until the death of Amenhotep III, so that the power could be buttressed (Aldred 170). There is some speculation during the co-regency, as to whether Nefertiti held a higher position then Amenhotep IV, but it is known that when Amenhotep III died, Amenhotep IV took over as Pharaoh, with Nefertiti being his chief queen (Aldred 178).
After taking control of the throne in 1346, Amenhotep IV transferred the city of rule from Thebes to a new city called Armana (Akhen-taten)(Giuliano 2). Supposedly, Armana was the only spot in Egypt where the old religion had not tainted it (Hawkins Who 1), and where the natural surroundings outlined the city with a sun-disk-like design (Aldred 269). It took him a record four years to bring the entire capital cabinet, statues, and citizen population from the old city to the new (Ross 3). Once Amenhotep IV had settled into his new city, he changed his name from Amenhotep IV to Akhenaten, in recognition of the sun god Aten in 1344 BC (Hawkins Akhenaten's Life 2). Thus began the deconstruction period for ancient Egyptian polytheistic religions.
After Akhenaten renounced ... more

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Egyptian Death Rituals

The death of Pharaoh
On a balmy November day in 1922 one of the greatest archeological finds ever would be made. It all started with the discovery of a single rough cut stone step, the first in a staircase that would lead to the most celebrated tomb of modern times. Howard Carter's discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen would capture popular attention like no other discover before or after it. With each item brought from the tomb the public wanted to know more and more about the boy-king of Egypt. Probably the most intriguing and perplexing question surrounding the tomb is the mystery surrounding the death of the young Pharaoh.
It has been over three thousand and three hundred years since the interment of Tutankhamen. Even with the discovery of the relatively intact tomb, or knowledge of teh king is sketchy, based upon a fragment here and a fragment there. Howard Carter remarked after the discovery of the tob that, We are getting to know to the last detail what he had, but of what he was and what he did we are still sadly to seek(Carter 11). Even so, the evidence left to us down through three centuries paints a picture of intrigue and strife leading to a murder committed by a trusted courtier.
To understand the circumstances surrounding this murder, we must start our investigation with the reign of Amenophis III, the ninth king of the Eighteenth Dynasty and most probably the father of Tutankhamen (see note 1). The one seed event of our tragic tale is Amenophis III's encouragement of the worship of the Aten, or the sun disk. As a sign of his reverence for the Aten, he built a temple to the Aten and named his own private pleasure barge Splendour of Aten (Desroches-Noblecourt 114-115). Egyptian pharaohs had ther idiosyncrasies like all people, and were tolerated in the religious structure of Egypt as long as the structure itself remained. The culture of Egypt centered upon its polytheistic religion. Everything in the empire had its patron god, and all were ruled over by Amen-Re. Every moment of their lives and on into their graves, the Egyptian lived knowing that their godes were responsible for everything in the world around them. Amenophis III would pass on his reverence of the Aten to his son Amenophis IV, and in so doing would mark the beginning of the end of the Eighteenth dynasty.
When he ascended the throne, Amenophis IV was already firmly planted in the worship of the Aten. Within two years he had banned the worship of all other gods, plunging the country into panic and disarray when the people were denied the worship of their tr aditional gods. At the heart of Egyptian culture was its religion. The polytheistic religion of the Egyptians permeated every aspect of life and death along the fertile Nile river. No other Pharaoh had ever dared upset the gods with such actions. When Akhenaten, as Amenophis IV was now calling himself, made the worship of the Aten the only official religion, he set forth a cultural shock wave that would profoundly affect his realm.
To simplify a theology inaccessible to the masses; to reconcile people and god by showing the latter as the orb shining impartially upon all; to proclaim what the priests had known ever since the time of the gods: that men were born equal and that only their wickedness differentiated them; to unite mankind by bringing it close to all other life, and reminding it of the intimate relationship between all mineral, vegetable, animal and human elements; and to suppress the practice of magic which could only paralyze moral progress-- such were th eleading ideas of Amenophis IV's great design (Desroches-Noblecourt 126-127).
Akhenaten's reforms were met with strong oppositions by the priesthoods. With Akhenaten's banning of their gods, they had lost much of their power. The new priests of the Aten took the tributes form the other temples and chased all the clergy who would not embrace the Aten into hiding. Akhenaten sent workers throughout the empire, removing the names of the other gods from monuments and temples. He moved the center of his empire from the traditional ... more

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