Yasser Metwally

My life…and the world

Akhenaton and Nefertiti

The author: Professor Yasser Metwally


Akhenaton, Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt, ruled some thirteen centuries before Christ, in a time and place where government and religion were inextricably intermingled. He felt constricted by the political power of the priest caste, so he "streamlined" religion, announcing that the hundreds of gods worshiped in Egypt were merged into one god, Aton, a sun deity — who spoke only to him. He had the name of the old god, Amon, physically removed from monuments, and had all references to gods in the plural replaced with the new god, always in the singular. Akhenaton’s decree is believed to have instituted humanity’s first known organized monotheism.

Video 1. Akhenaton and Nefertiti.

To go with this newly decreed religion, the Pharaoh changed his own name from Amenhotep to "Akhenaton", meaning, "servant of Aton". The effect was more political than religious, as the Pharaoh’s pronouncement banning the old religions effectively stripped the priests of their power. He also moved the empire’s capitol from Thebes to the city he named Akhetaton, which is generally translated as "place of Aton’s Power". Though his god and the gods he banished are forgotten today by all but historians, Akhenaton is still remembered as the Heretic Pharaoh, "false prophet" of Egypt.

Akhenaton is believed to have taken two of his daughters, Ankhesenpaaten and Meketaten, as sexual consorts. Ankhesenpaaten was Akhenaton’s daughter by his greater queen, Nefertiti, and later married Tutankhamun, his son by his lesser queen, Tiya. After Akhenaton’s death, his body was mummified and buried in a pink granite sarcophagus, but his remains have never been found. His successor, the famed King Tutankhamun, restored the worship of Amon and the other gods Akhenaton had banned.

Video 2. The story of ancient Egypt


May 10, 2009 - Posted by | Ancient Egyptian panorama

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