The New Kingdom Pharaoh Akhenaten 's Choices Were Highly Political, Religious And Damning

The New Kingdom Pharaoh Akhenaten 's Choices Were Highly Political, Religious And Damning

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The New Kingdom pharaoh Akhenaten’s choices were highly political, religious and damning to his character. This essay will explore Akhenaten 's application of his cult of Aten to Egypt, focusing firstly on the Egyptian citizen 's reaction to this politically charged reform. Following this is a discussion of Akhenaten 's risky decisions as a pharaoh, including his move to Amarna and reminding the Egyptian 's of another hated pharaoh, Hatshepsut. The art style employed in Akhenaten 's reign also reveals multitudes about his attitude toward the Egyptian traditions and separation from the established culture and religion in his cult of Aten. Then, it is worth understanding the reasons behind Akhenaten 's religious reforms, looking toward the idea of a sacred association with the Aten and the concept of family through visual depictions.
In the formation of the cult of the Aten, Akhenaten went to enormous extents to establish his beliefs and alienate the Egyptian populace. Burial sites at Amarna have shown no intentional signs of mummification of the deceased, and even grave goods are rare, demonstrating Akhenaten’s attempt to separate himself from previous religious practices, as the idea of mummification would have been inextricably intertwined with Egyptian religion. Bodies discovered at Amarna exhibit sings of trauma to the bones, understood to be the result of heavy workloads. Limestone blocks at Amarna weighed approximately seventy kilograms, and were carried by individual workers. Akhenaten was evidently working his people to the point of physical trauma for a project that it is unlikely they would have supported in any way, considering the erasure of their established culture, religion, and location of their home. The buildi...


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... to associate the Aten with the idea of family worship, and a reciprocated, almost ancestral warmth in return from the god.
Akhenaten 's ideas for a new monotheistic religion were evidently rooted in his appreciation for family and familial warmth, looking to the Aten as the creator and facilitator of all things and a new, singular father-figure to the Egyptians. Unfortunately, his ideas, when brought forth in such a prosperous time in Egypt, were understandably rejected and possibly misunderstood by the Egyptian’s, as he was considered a threat to their polytheistic cultural and religious roots. His mistreatment and lack of consideration toward his people was his ruin, dooming himself from the start to have both his image, and his religious reforms, attempted to be completely erased from Egyptian history and to be eternally considered a heretic among his own people.

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