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Akhenaton

Akhenaton (alternatively Akhenaten, Akhnaten, Akhnaton, Ikhnaton, and so on), also known as Amenhotep IV, was Pharaoh of Egypt, shortly before Tutankhamun. He reigned from 1367 BC to 1350 BC during the Eighteenth Dynasty. His chief wife was Nefertiti, who has been made famous by her bust in the Berlin museum[?]. He succeded his father Amenhotep III, and his mother was Chief Queen Tiy.

A religious revolutionary, he eschewed (but did not abandon) the traditional pantheon of deities, and worshipped the god Aten. In honour of this god, he changed his name from Amenhotep to Akhenaton. He also founded his own capital city at Amarna. He oversaw the construction of some of the most massive temple complexes in ancient Egypt in honor of Aten. The idea of Akhenaton as the pioneer of monotheistic religion was promoted by Sigmund Freud (the founder of psychoanalysis) in his book Moses and Monotheism and thereby entered popular consciousness.

Styles of art that flourished during this short period are markedly different from other Egyptian art, bearing a variety of affectations, from elongated heads to protruding stomachs, exaggerated ugliness and the beauty of Nefertiti. Artistic representations of Akhenaton give him a very feminine appearance, giving rise to controversial theories such that he may have actually been a woman masquerading as a man, which had been known to happen in Egyptian politics, or that he was a hermaphrodite or had some other phenotypic sexual disorder. There is circumstantial evidence that he was bisexual and had many lovers of both sexes, after Nefertiti disapeared from the historical record.

Akhenaton had six known daughters by Nefertiti, named Meritaten, Meketaten, Ankhesenpaaten, Neferneferuaten Tasherit, Neferneferure, and Setepenre. The third daughter, Ankhesenpaaten, went on to become Tutankhamun's queen.

After his death the Sun God cult he had founded almost immediately fell out of favor and the temples he had built were disassembled by his sucessors as a source of easily available building materials and decorations for their own temples.

Akhenaton in the Arts



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