- Akhenaten has been a famous pharaoh who went down in history for being the one who carried out the great religious reform by which the cult focused on the sun god, Aton.
Biography of Akenaten
Akhenaten, also known as Amenhotep or Amenophis IV, was an Egyptian pharaoh belonging to the XVIII dynasty in the New Empire of Egypt that reigned between 1353 – 1336 BC. (approximately).
It is known to be the heretic pharaoh because of the religious reform carried out basing the cult on the god Aton, sun god.
He ascended the throne when he was barely 18 years old. He was known as Amenhotep or Amenophis in honor of his father, the pharaoh Amenhotep III.
He was married to the beautiful Nefertiti. After five years of reign, he decided to change the established order and impose a new religion. He decided to put aside the numerous Egyptian pantheon and focus the cult on the sun god, Aton.
The new cult focused on the superiority of the god Aton over the other Egyptian gods, ie a religion with a monotheistic base. Pharaoh himself would be the intermediary of the god.
He ordered the closing of the temples of the other gods, the confiscation of all their properties and the destruction of all the symbols that were related to the rest of the gods, especially to the god Amon-Ra. Thus the pharaoh could recover the power lost at the hands of the priests of this god.
He even changed his own name to Akhenaten, which is pleasing to Aton. He even decided to move the capital to a new city, Akathon, which would be located between the 2 capitals of the Egyptian Empire, Thebes in Upper Egypt and Memphis in Lower Egypt.
This change had serious consequences. There were strong discrepancies between society, since the cult of the ancient gods, deeply rooted among the population, had been eliminated.
It also caused an economic crisis caused by the dismantling of the activities that revolved around places of worship and by obtaining a large amount of resources for the construction of the new capital and temples dedicated to Aton.
Due to the economic centralization it carried out, the management began to be corrupt and chaotic. All this led to a great number of enemies not only in the village, but also among the Egyptian noble families and even the clergy. In addition, all this caused him to neglect foreign policy issues, so that Egypt was losing strength in favor of the Hittites of the Middle East.
The positive point was taken by art. An era of greater creative freedom characterized by realism and known as the Amarna period originated.
Throughout his life he had no male heirs, only daughters. Because there was no heir, the throne passed to his son-in-law, Tutankhamun, who undid what had been done by his predecessor and the country returned to its former state.