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Mythology & Heroic Sagas of Culture & Myth => Mythology => Topic started by: Bianca on October 03, 2007, 08:21:14 pm



Title: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on October 03, 2007, 08:21:14 pm
                                   (http://www.grahamphillips.net/eden/aten.jpg)









                                                  T H E   G R E A T   A T E N





In connection with the Sun-gods of Egypt and with their various forms which were worshipped in that country must be considered the meager facts which we possess concerning Aten, who appears to have represented both the God or Spirit of the Sun, and the Solar Disk itself.

The origin of this god is wholly obscure, and nearly all that is known about him under the Middle Empire is that he was a small provincial form of the Sun-god which was worshipped in one little town in the neighborhood of Heliopolis, and it is possible that a temple was built in his honor, in Heliopolis itself. It is idle to attempt to describe the attributes which were orginally ascribed to him under the Middle or Early Empire, because the texts which were written before the XXIIIrd Dynasty give us no information on the subject. Under the XVIIIth Dynasty, and especially during the reigns of Amen-Ra-Heru-khuti, Horus, etc., but it does not follow that they orginally belonged to him.

In the Theban Recession of the Book of the Dead, which is based upon Heliopolitan, we find Aten mentioned by the deceased thus :--- "Thou, O Ra, shinest from the horizon of heaven, and Aten is adored when he resteth {or setteth} upon this mountain to give life to the two lands. Hunefer says Ra, Hail, Aten, thou the lord of beams of light, {when} thou shinest all faces {i.e., everybody} lives. Nekht says Ra, O thou beautiful being, thou doest renew thyself and make thyself young again under the form of Aten; Ani says Ra, Thou turnest thy face towards the Underworld, and thou makest the earth to shine like fine copper. The dead rise up to thee, they breath the air and they look upon thy face when Aten shineth in the horizon;------I have come before thee that I may be with thee to behold thy Aten daily: O thou who art in thine Egg, who shinest from thy Aten," etc.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on November 09, 2007, 02:52:17 pm
(http://www.egyptartsite.com/images/winged.gif)








These passages show that Aten, at the time when the hymns from which they are taken were composed, was regarded as the material body of the sun wherein dwelt the god Ra, and that he represented merely the solar disk and was visible emblem of the great Sun-god.

In later times, coming to protection afforded to him by Amen-hetep III, the great warrior and hunter of the XVIIIth Dynasty, other views were promulgated concerning Aten, and he became the cause of one the greatest religious and social revolutions which ever convulsed Egypt.

After the expulsion of Hyksos, Amen, the local god of Thebes, as the god of the victorious princess of that city, became the head of the company of the gods of Egypt, and the early kings of the XVIIIth Dynasty endowed his shrine with possessions, and gave gifts to his priesthood with a lavish hand.

In spite of this however, some of these kings maintained an affection for the forms of the Sun-god which were worshipped at Heliopolis, and Thothmes IV, it will be remembered, dug out the Sphinx from the sand which had buried him and his temple, and restored the worship of Ra-Harmachis. He was not the only monarch who viewed with dismay the great and growing power of the priests of Amen-Ra, the "king of the gods" at Thebes.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on November 09, 2007, 02:59:44 pm
                                          (http://www.strayreality.com/Lanis_Strayreality/Pics3/goldwings2.jpg)








Amen-hetep III, the son of Thothmes IV, held the same views as his father in this respect, and he was, apparently, urged to give effect to them by his wife Thi, the daughter of Iuaa and Thuau, who was a foreigner and who was in no way connected with the royal house of Egypt.

Having married this lady, he gave her as dowry the frontier city of Tcharu, and her natural ability, coupled with the favor of her husband, made her chief of all the royal wives, and a great power in the affairs of the government of the country. It has been thought by some that she was a native of the country near Heliopolis, and it is possible that she herself was a votary of Aten, but be that as it may, she appears to have supported the king in his determation to encourage the worship of the god.

At an early period in his reign he built one at Thebes, quite close to the great sanctuary of Amen-Ra, the priests of whom were, of course, powerless to resist the will of such an active and able king.

Soon after his marriage with Thi, Amen-hetep III, dug, in his wife's city of Tcharu, a lake, which was about 6000 feet long by 1000 feet broad. On the day of the festival when the water was allowed to flow into it, he sailed over it in a boat called "Aten-neferu, i.e., the "Beauties of Aten ;" the name of the boat is a clear proof of his devotion to the god Aten.

Amen-hetep IV, the son of Amen-hetep III. by the foreign lady Thi, not only held the religious views of his father, but held them very strongly. His life shows that he must have been from his youth of an adherent of the worship of Aten; it is supposed, and with much probability, that the intensity of his love for Aten and his hatred for Amen-Ra were due to his mother's influence.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on November 09, 2007, 03:03:44 pm
(http://euler.slu.edu/Dept/Faculty/bart/egyptimage/34_akhenaten_small2.jpg)








Amen-hetep IV succeeded his father without difficulty, even though his mother was not a member of the royal family of Egypt, and for the first few years of his reign he followed the example of the earlier kings of his dynasty, and lived at Thebes, where he no doubt ruled according to his mothers wishes.

He offered up sacrifices to Amen-Ra at the appointed seasons and was, outwardly at least, a loyal servant of this god, whose name formed a part of his name as "son of the Sun."

We may note in passing, that he adopted on his accession to the throne the title "High-priest of Ra-Heru-khuti, the exalted one of the horizon, in his "name of Shu who is in Aten," which is clear proof that he was not only a worshiper of Ra-Harmachis, another of the forms of the Sun-god Heliopolis, but also that he endorsed the views and held the opions of the old College of Priests at Heliopolis, which assigned the disk {Aten} to him for a dwelling-place.

Amen-hetep's titles as lord of the shrines of the cities of Nekhebet and Uatchet, and as the Horus of gold also prove his devotion to a Sun-god of Heliopolis. During the early years of his reign at Thebes he built a massive Benhen, in honor of Ra-Harmachis at Thebes, and it is probable that he took the opportunity of restoring or enlarging the temple of Aten which had been built by his father.

At the same time we find that he worshipped both Amen and Aten, the former in his official position as king, and the latter in his private capacity.

It was, however, impossible for the priests of Amen -Ra to tolerate the presence of the new god Aten and his worship in Thebes, and the relations between the king and that powerful body soon became strained. On the one hand the king asserted the superiority of Aten over every god, and on the other the priests declared that Amen-Ra was the king of the gods.

As, however, Amen-Ra was the center of the social life of Thebes, and his priests and their relatives included in their number the best and greatest families of the capital city, it came to pass that the king found himself at the worship of Aten wholly supported by the great mass of its population, whose sympathies were with the old religion of Thebes, and by those who gained their living in connection with the worship of Amen-Ra.

The king soon realized that residence in Thebes was becoming impossible , and the fifth year of his reign he began to build a new capital on the east bank of the Nile, near a place which is marked to-day by the Arab villages of Haggi Kandil and Tell el-Amarna ; he planned that it should include a great temple to Aten, a palace for the king, and houses for those who were attached to the worship of Aten and were prepared to follow their king there.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on November 09, 2007, 03:05:44 pm
(http://www.osirisnet.net/docu/akhenat/photo/akh_49.jpg)
KHUT - ATEN  -  THE NEW CAPITAL




While the new capital was in the process of building, the dispute between the king and the priests of Amen-Ra became more severe, and matters were much aggravated by Amenhetep IV.

At length the king left Thebes an took up his abode in his new capital, which he called "Khut-Aten," i.e., "Horizon of Aten," and as a sign of the entire severance of his connection with traditions of his house in respect of Amen-Ra he discarded his name "Amen-hetep" and called himself Khut-Aten i.e., "Glory of Aten," or, "Spirit of Aten." At the time he changed his Horus name of "Exalted One of the double plumes" to "Mighty Bull, beloved of Aten" {or, lover of Aten}, and he adopted as lord of the shrines of Nekhebet and Uatchet the title of "Mighty one of sovereignity in Khut-Aten," and as the Horus of gold he styled himself, "Exalter of the name Aten."


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on November 09, 2007, 03:09:27 pm
                     (http://www.stencilkingdom.com/images/designs/egypt46_large.gif)








Aten Worship





The temple of Aten at Khut-Aten was like at Heliopolis, called Het Benben, a name which probably means "House of the Obelisk;" it was begun on a large scale, but was never finished. It contained many altars wherein incense was burnt and offerings were laid, but no sacrifices of any kind were offered up on them.

The high-priest of Aten assumed the title of the high-priest of Ra ar Heliopolis, Ur-maau, and in many respects the new worship was carried on at Khut-Aten by means of many of the old forms and ceremonies of the Heliopolitain priesthood; on state occasions the king himself officiated.

The worship of Aten as understood by Amen-hetep IV was, however , a very different thing from the ancient worship of Aten, for whereas that was tolerent the new worship was not. It is clear from the reliefs which have been found in the city of Khut-Aten that Aten was regared as the giver of life, and the source of all life on this earth, and that his symbols were the heat and light of the sun which vivified and nourished all creation.

Aten was also the one physical body of the Sun, and the creed of Aten ascribed to the god a monotheistic character or oneness, of which it denied the existance in any other god. This being so, the new religion could either absorb or be absorbed by the other gods of Egypt, because he had nothing in common with them.

Attempts have been made to prove that the Aten worship resembled that of the monotheistec worship of the Hebrews, and to show that Aten is only another form of the name Adon, i.e., the Phoenician god whom the Greeks knew as Aowvis ; but as far as can be seen now the worship of Aten was something like a glorified materialism, which had to be expounded by priests, who performed ceremonies similar to those which belonged to the old Heliopolitan sun-worship, without any connection whatsoever with the relationship of Yahweh, and a being of the character of Adon, the local god of Byblos, had no place in it anywhere.

In so far as it rejected all other gods, the Aten religion was monotheistic, but to judge by the texts which describe the power and works of Aten, it contained no doctrines on the unity or oneness of Aten similiar to those which are found in the hymns to Ra, and none of the beautiful ideas about the future life, with which we are familiar from the hymns and other compositions in the Book of the Dead.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on November 09, 2007, 03:20:37 pm
(http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Nook/7916/AtenStela2.JPG)








The chief source of our knowledge of the attributes ascribed to Aten is obtained from the hymns to this god which Amen-hetep IV caused to be inscribed on his monuments, and from one of them which has twice been published in recent years we obtain the following extracts. The hymn is prefaced by these words :






1. A hymn of praise to Heru-khuti Harmachis},

who springeth up joyfully in the horizon in his name of 'Shu who is in the Disk,' and who liveth for ever and for ever, Aten the Living One, the Great One, he who is {celebrated} in the thirty year festival, the lord of the orbit of the sun, the lord of the sun, the lord of the heaven, the lord of the earth, the lord of the House of Aten in the city of Khut-Aten,

2. by the king of the South and of the North, who liveth by Maat, the Lord of the Two Lands, {Nefer-kheperu-Ra-ua-en-Ra}, the son of the Sun, who liveth by Maat, the lord of crowns, {Khu-en-Aten}, who is great in the duration of his life,

3. and by his great royal wife, his darling, the Lady of the Two Lands, {Nefert-iti-Nefer-neferu-Aten}, the living one , the strong one for ever. The hymn proper begins with the words, He {i.e.,, the king}saith,

4. Thy rising is beautiful in the horizon of heaven,

5. O thou Aten, who hadst thine existence in primevel time.

6. When thou risest in the eastern horizon thou fillest every land with thy beauties,

7. thou art beautiful to see, and great, and like crystal, and art high above the earth.

8. Thy beams of light embrace the lands, even every land which thou hast made.

9. Thou art as Ra, and thou bringest {thyself} unto each of them,

10. and thou bindest them with thy love.

11. Thou art remote, but thy beams are upon the earth.

12. When thou settest in the western horizon the earth is in darkness, and is like a being that is dead.

14. They lie down and sleep in their habitations,

15. their heads are covered up, and their nostrils are stopped, and no man can see his neighbour,

16. and all gods and possessions may be carried away from under their heads without their knowing it.

17. Every lion cometh forth from his den,

18. and serpents of every kind bite ;

19. the night becometh blacker and blacker,

20. and thee art his solent because he who hath made them hath sunk to rest in his horixon.

21. When thou riseth in the horizon the earth lightens, and when thy beams shine forth it is day.

22. Darkness taketh to flight as soon as thy light bursteth out, and the Two Lands keep festival daily.

23. Then {men} wake up and stand upon their feet because thou hast raised them up,

24. they wash themselves, and they array themselves in their apparel,

25. and they lift up to thee their hands with hymns of praise because thou hast risen.

26. {Over} all the earth they perform their work.

27. All beasts and cattle repose in their pastures,

28. and the trees and the green herb put forth their leaves and flowers.

29. The birds fly out of their nests, and their wings praise thy Ka as they fly forth.

30.The sheep and goats of every kind skip about on their legs,

31. and feathered fowl and the birds of the air also love {because} thou hast risen for them.

32. The boats float down and sail up the river likewise,

33. for thy path is opened when thou risest.

34. The fish in the stream leap towards thy face,

35. and thy beams shine through the waters of the great sea.

36. Thou makest male seed to enter into women, and thou causest the liquid seed to become a human being.

37. Thou makest the man child to live in the body of his mother.

38. Thou makest him to keep silent so that he cry not,

39. and thou art a nurse to him in the womb.

40. Thou givest breath that it may vivify every part of his being.

41. When he goeth forth from the belly, on the day wherein he is born,

42. thou openest his mouth that he may speak,

43. and thou providest him whatsoever is necessary.

44. When the chick is in the egg, and is making a sound within the shell,

45. thou givest it air inside it so that it may keep alive.

46. Thou bringest it to perfection so that it may split the eggshell,

47. and it cometh forth from the egg to proclaim that it is a perfect chick,

48. and as soon as it hath come forth there from it runneth about on its feet.

49. How many are the things which thou hast created!

50. There were.............. in the face of the One God, and his ........... had rest.

51. Thou didst create the earth at thy will when thou didst exist by thyself,

52. and men and women, and beast and cattle, and flocks of animals of every kind,

53. and every thing which is upon earth and which goeth about on its feet,

54. and everything which is in the air above and which flieth about with wings,

55. and the land of Syria and Nubia, and Egypt.

56. Thou settest every man in his place,

57. and thou makest for them whatsoever they need.

58. Thou providest for every man that which he should have in the storehouse, and thou computest the measure of his life. 59. They speak in tongues which are different {from each other},

60. and their dispitions {or characteristics} are according to their skins.

61. Thou who canst discern hast made the difference between the dwellers in the desert to be discerned.

62. Thou hast made {i.e., the Nile } in the Tuat,

63 and thou bringest him according to thy will to make rational beings to live,

64. inasmuch as thou hast made them for thyself,

65. O thou who art the lord of all of them, and who dost remain with them.

66. Thou art the lord of every {?} land , and thou shinest upon them,

67. thou art Aten of the day, and art revered in every foreign land {?},

68. and thou makest their lives.

69. Thou makest Hapi in heaven to come down on them,

70. and he maketh his rushing waters to flow over the hills like the great green sea.

71. and they spread themselves abroad and water the fields of the people in their villages.

72. Thy plans {or, counsels} are doubly beneficent.

73. Thou art the Lord of eternity, and thou thyself art the Nile in heaven, and all foreign peoples an all the beasts on all the hills

74. go about on their feet {through thee}.

75. Hapi {i.e.,, the Nile} cometh from the Tuat to Egypt,

76. and thou givest substenance to its people and to every garden, and

77. {when} thou hast risen they live for thee.

78. Thou hast made the seasons of the year so that they may cause the things which thou hast made to bring forth,

79. the winter season bringeth them cold, and the summer season fiery heat.

80. Thou hast created the heavens which are far extending that thou mayest rise therein and mayest be able to look upon all which thou didst create when thou didst exist by thyself,

81. and thou dost rise in thy creations as the living Aten,

82. and thou dost rise , and dost shine, and dost depart on thy path, and dost return.

83. Thou didst create {the forms} of created things in thyself when thou didst exist alone.

84. Cities, towns, villages and hamlets, roads and river{s},

85. from these every eye looketh upon thee,

86. for thou art the Aten of the day and art above the earth.

87. Thou journeyest through that which existeth in thine Eye.

88. .............................

89. Thou art in my heart,

90. and none knoweth thee except thy son {Nefer-kheperu-Ra-ua-en-Ra,}

91. and thou makest him to be wise and understanding through thy councils and through thy strength.

92. The earth is in thy hand, inasmuch as thou hast made them {i.e., those in it}

93. When thou risest mankind live; and when thou settest they die.

94. As long as thou art in the sky they live in thee,

95. and the eyes are all upon thy beauties until thou settest,

96. and they set aside their work of every kind when thou settest in the west.

97. Thou risest and thou makest to grow............... for the king.

98. ................ from the time when thou didst lay the foundations of the earth,

99. and thou didst raise them up for thy son who proceeded from thy members. {Here follow two lines wherein the names and titles of the king are repeated.}


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on November 09, 2007, 03:24:39 pm







The above version of the hymn to Aten will serve to illustrate the views held by the king and his followers about this god, and may be compared with the hymns to Ra, which are quoted in the section on the forms of the Sun-god, when it will be seen that many of the most important characteristics of hymns to sun-gods are wanting.

There is no mention of enemies or of the fiends, Apep, Sebau, and Nak, who were overcome by Ra when he rose in the eastern horizon ; no reference is made to Khepera, or to the services which Thoth and Maat were believed to render to him daily ; and the frequent allusions to the Matet and Seket Boats in which Ra was thought to make his journey over the sky are wholly omitted.

The old myths which had grown up about Ra are ignored, and the priests of Aten proclaimed with no uncertain voice the unity of their god in terms which provoked the priests of Amen to wrath. Aten had existed for ever, they said, he was beautiful, glorious, and self-existent, he had created the sun and his path, and heaven, and earth, and every living being and thing therein, and he maintained the life in man and beast, and fed all creatures according to his plans, and he determined the duartion of their life in man and beast. Everything came from Aten, and everything depended upon him ; he was moreover, everlasting.

From the absence of mention of the "gods" or of the well-known great gods of Egypt, it is evident that they wished to give a monotheistic character to the worship of Aten, and it was, manifestly, this characteristic of it which made the king and his god detested at Thebes ; it accounts for the fact that Amen-hetep IV felt it too necessary to build a new capital for himself and his god, and supplies us with the reason why he did not settle in one of the ancient religious centers of his kingdom.

We should expect that, as he styled himself the high-priest of Heru-khuti {i.e.,Harmachis}, where this god was greatly honored, but as he did not, we are driven to conclude that there was in the worship of Aten and in the doctrines of his priests something which could neither brook nor tolerate the presence of another god, still less of other gods, and that something must have been of the nature monotheism.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on November 09, 2007, 03:30:10 pm






Now, although the hymn quoted above gives us an idea of the views held by Amen-hetep IV and his adherents concerning Aten, it is impossible to gather from it any precise information about the details of the belief or doctrine of Aten, but it is clear that, in practice, the religion was of a sensuous character, and eminently materialistic.

Incense was burnt freely several times in the day, and the hymns sung to Aten were accompanied by the sounds of the music of harps and other instruments, and the people vied with each other in bringing gifts of fruit, and flowers, and garden produce to lay in the altars which were never drenched with the blood of animals offered up for sacrifice.

The worship of Aten was of a joyous character, and the surroundings among which it was carried on were bright and cheerful. The mural decorations in the tenple were different from those of the older temples of Egypt, for they were less severe and less conventional, and they were painted in lively colors.  In fact, the artists employed by Amne-hetep IV threw off many of the old trammels of their profession, and indulged themselves in new designs, new forms, new colors, and new treatment of the subjects which they wished to represent.

We may see from the remains of their wall decorations that the artists of the city of Khut-Aten made one great step in advance, that is to say, they introduced shading into their painting, and it is greatly to be regretted that it was retraced later. It was only during the reign of Amen-hetep IV that the Egyptian artist ever showed that he understood the effects of light and shade in his work.

The texts and inscriptions which were placed upon the walls relate to the glory and majesty and beneficence of Aten, and everywhere are seen representations of the visible emblem of the god. The form in which he is depicted is that of the solar disk, from which proceed rays, the ends of which terminate in hands, wherein are the emblems of life and sovereignty. 

In the bas-reliefs and frescoes we see these human-handed rays shining upon the king and his queen and family, and upon the cartouches containing the names of himself and of his queen Nefert-ith. The simple interpretation of such scenes is that the sun is the source of all life and of everything which supports it upon earth, but it is probable that the so-called Aten heresy was in some way founded upon the views which the Atenites held about this method of representing their god.

Be this as it may, Amen-hetep IV loved to be depicted with the human-handed rays falling upon him, and whatever his doctrines of Aten were, he preached them with all the enthusiasm of an Oriental fanatic, and on special occasions he himself officiated as high-priest of the cult.

The wisdom of his policy is open to doubt, but there is no reason for regarding him as everything but an earnest and honest propagandist of a new creed.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on November 09, 2007, 03:32:29 pm





Now, as the king changed his religion and his name, so he also caused his own form and figure when represented in bas-reliefs to be changed.
                                           (http://www.luisprada.com/Protected/IMAGES/akhn02.jpg)

In the earlier monuments of his reign he is depicted as possessing the typical features of his father and of others of his ancestors, but at Tell el-Amarna his physical charateristics are entirely different. Here he is potrayed with a very high, narrow, and receding forehead, a large, sharp, aquiline nose, a thin, weak mouth, an a large projecting chin, and his head is set upon a long and extremely slender neck ; his chest is rounded, his stomach inflated, his thighs are large and broad, and in many respects his figure resembles that of a woman.

                                            (http://www.egyptgroup.20m.com/images/aten.jpg)

It is impossible that such representations of the king would be permitted to appear in bas-reliefs in his city unless he approved of them, and it is clear that he did approve,and that his officials understood that he approved of this treatment of his person at the hands of sculptors and artists, for some of the high officals were themselves represented in the same manner.

Still, some of the drawings of the king must be regarded as caricatures, but whether intentional or otherwise cannot be said.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on November 09, 2007, 03:34:56 pm
(http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j14/biopact/Aten.jpg)








For a few years Amen-hetep IV led a life of great happiness and enjoyment in his new capital, and his whole time seems to have been passed in adorning it with handsome buildings, fine sculptures, and large gardens filled with trees and plants of every kind.

He appears to have bestowed gifts with a lavish hand upon his favorites who, it must be admitted, were the officials who seconded his wishes and gave effect to them.

Life at Khut-Aten was joyous, and there is no evidence that men troubled themselves with the thoughts about death or the kingdom of Osiris. If they did, they made no mention of them in their hymns and inscriptions.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on November 09, 2007, 03:39:04 pm
                                  (http://www.osirisnet.net/tombes/amarna/akhenaton/photo/akh_entet.jpg)








On the other hand, Amen-hetep IV/Akhenaten did not, or could not, abolish the characteristic funeral customs
and beliefs of his country, and the tombs of the adherents of Aten bear witness to the fact.

The king caused a tomb to be hewn out of the rock in the mountains near the town, on its eastern side, and it contained, when discovered in 1892 by the natives, the things which are usually found in tombs of men of high rank.

The sarcophagus was broken in pieces, and scattered about the mummy-chamber and along the corridor which led to it were numbers  objects and fragments of objects made of the beautiful purple and blue glazed faience which is so characteristic of the reign of Akhenaten. The body of the king must have been mummified, and on it must have been laid the same classes of amulets that are found on the royal mummies at Thebes. Portions of several granite ushabtin figures were also found, a fact which shows that those who buried the king assumed he would enjoy a somewhat material life.

Seket-hetepet IV thought little about his death and burial and is proved by the state of his tomb, which shows that he made no attempt to prepare it for the reception of his body when the need should arise. This is the more strange because he had caused his eldest daughter Aten-merit, to be buried in it, and he must have known from sad experience what great preparations had to be made, and what complied ceremonies had to be performed when a royal personage was laid to rest.

The tombs of the adherents of Aten are very disappointing in many ways, though they possess an interest peculiar to themselves. From the scenes painted on their walls, it is possible to obtain an idea of the class of buildings which existed in the city of Khut-Aten, and of the arrangements of its streets and gardens and of the free manner in which various members of the royal family moved about among the the people.

 The king's tomb was never finished, and the remains of the greater number of the paintings on its
walls show that they were executed not for him but for his eldest daughter, who has already been mentioned. The chief subject chosen for illustration is the worship of Aten, and both the scenes and
the text accompanying them represented that the god was adored by every nation in the world.

It is clear that the Egyptian people never accepted their king's religion and view of the world. Even at his own capital, Khut-Aten, amulets featuring Bes and Tauret have been found. Following Akhenaten's death, Atenism
died rapidly.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on November 09, 2007, 03:42:32 pm
(http://www.osirisnet.net/docu/akhenat/photo/akh_48.jpg)
PLAN OF THE EMPTY TOMB







It is, unfortunately, not known how old the king was when he died, but he must have been a comparatively young man, and his reign could not have been so long as twenty years.

In the ten or twelve years of it which he lived at Khut-Aten he devoted himself entirely to the building of his new capitol and the development of the cult of Aten and, meanwhile, the general condition of Egypt was going from bad to worse, the governors of Egyptian possessions Syria and Palestine were quarrelling among themselves, strong and resolute rebels had risen up in many parts of these countries and, over and above all this, the infuriated priesthood of Amen-Ra were watching for an opportunity to restore the national god to his proper place, and set upon the throne a king who would forward the interests of their brotherhood.

(http://www.seatwave.com/FileStore/SEASON/IMAGE/tutankhamun-and-the-golden-age-of-the-pharaohs864/tutankhamun-and-the-golden-age-of-the-pharaohs864_MainPicture.jpg)

This opportunity came with the death of Amen-hetep IV when Tut-ankh-Amen, a son of Amen-hetep III by a concubine, ascended the throne. He married a daughter of Amen-hetep IV who was called Ankh-s-en-pa-Aten, but she changed her name into Ankh-s-en-Amen, and both the new king and queen were worshippers of the great god of Thebes.

Tut-ankh-Amen at once began to restore the name and figure of Amen which his father-in-law had cut out from the monuments, and began to build at Thebes. Very soon after his accession he came to terms with the priest of Amen, and in due course removed his court to the old capital.

On the death of Tut-ankh-Amen AI ascended the throne by virtue of his marriage with Thi, who was in some way related to the family of Amen-hetep IV. Before Ai became king he was a follower of Aten, and built himself a tomb at Khut-Aten, which was ornamented after the manner of those of the adherents of this god, but as soon as he had taken up his abobe at Thebes and begun to reign over Egypt, he built another tomb of the Kings at Thebes.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on November 09, 2007, 03:47:24 pm





The decoration of the sarcophagus which he placed in latter tomb makes it quite certain that, when he made it, he had rejected the cult of Aten, and that he was, at all events outwardly, a loyal follower of the god Amen-Ra. On the death of Ai several pretenders to the throne rose in Egypt, and a period of anarchy followed.

Of the details of the history of this period nothing is known, and the only certain fact about it is that the power of the XVIIIth Dynasty was broken, and that its downfall was certain.

During the reigns of Tut-ankh-Amen and Ai the prosperity of the city Khut-Aten declined rapidly and,
as soon as the period of anarchy which followed their reigns began, its population left it, little by
little, and its downfall was assured.

The artists and work-men of all kinds who attained work there under Amen-hetep found their occupation gone, and they departed to Thebes and the other cities whence they had come.

Under the reign of Heru-em-heb the decay of the city advanced and it became generally deserted
and, very soon after, men came from far and near to carry off, for building purposes, the beautiful
white limestone blocks which were in the temple and houses.

Heu-em-heb was the nominee of the priests of Amen-Ra, and he used power and influence to stamp
out every trace of the worship of Aten, and succeeded. Thus Amen-Ra, conquered Aten, Thebes once
more became the capital of Egypt, the priests of Amen regained their ascendancy and, in less than
twenty-five years after the death of Amen-hetep IV, his city was deserted, the sanctuary of his god
was desecrated, his followers were scattered, and his enemies were undisputed of the country.


*****


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All content, Graphic Art, Design, Layout, and Scripting Code Copyright 1996 by InterCity Oz, Inc.

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Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on November 09, 2007, 04:05:40 pm






                                                 The Tomb of Ahmose (EA3) at Amarna





by Jimmy Dun
 
Ahmose was 'Fanbearer on the King's Right Hand', 'Steward of the Estate of Akhetaten' and 'Royal Scribe' at Akhetaten during the Amarna Period.

The tomb of Ahmose (Ahmes), located in the northern group of private tombs at Amarna, is somewhat atypical of many tombs in the region, being somewhat less extravagant since it has no columns in its narrow halls. Also, the hall it is much longer and narrower than some of the other examples at Amarna. Nevertheless, it was cut with considerable care and accuracy, and there is some fine examples of the draftsmen's outlines in ink that remain. It is also one of the earliest tombs of the group.

(http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/ahmoset10.jpg)

Side drawing of the tomb of Ahmose at Amarna

The symmetrical plan of this tomb is very simple with a cruciform layout consisting of a deep, corridor-like hall connected to a broad hall and a shrine at the very rear of the tomb.

The doorway is surrounded by a simple frame containing texts of prayers and figures of Ahmose adoring cartouches, though these depictions are barely visible today.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on November 09, 2007, 04:08:48 pm
(http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/ahmoset21.jpg)






The symmetrical plan of this tomb is very simple with a cruciform layout consisting of a deep, corridor-like hall connected to a broad hall and a shrine at the very rear of the tomb.

The doorway is surrounded by a simple frame containing texts of prayers and figures of Ahmose adoring cartouches, though these depictions are barely visible today.

Within the entrance to the outer hall (a short corridor), Ahmose stands in a pose of adoration. Here, the texts is an abbreviated version of the Hymn to the Aten. Ahmose is shown with the symbols of his office, a tall fan and an inverted axe, slung over his shoulder. Additionally, portions of the original painted designs on the ceiling have been preserved.

Within the outer, deep hall, the roof  is vaulted at the front but flattens out to a ceiling at the end.  As a way of improving on the poor quality of the native rock, the wall surfaces were given a fine coating of plaster.

The decoration of this hall was left unfinished. The right hand side of the hall was carved in relief and include figures of the King, Queen and the three princesses of the royal family beneath the Aten (near the entrance), but the left side has sections that were only partially drawn with the draughtsman's red outline only.

The upper register of the left side depicts a royal visit to the Great Temple to the Aten. Near the front of the tomb in this register is an abbreviated architectural drawing of the temple itself.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on November 09, 2007, 04:12:01 pm
(http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/ahmoset5.jpg)
Ahmose adoring the abbreviated Hymn to the Aten











In this depiction of the temple, we may note that statues of the King and Queen stand beside some of the columns and also the main altar in the middle of the large courtyard, which is otherwise occupied by smaller altars and side chapels with doors. Just in front of the temple are two short rows of seated male musicians. Below the temple is the animal slaughter court and to the right of it is a low platform supporting the sacred benben-stone with a rounded top. This is the ancient symbol of the sun.

                                      (http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/ahmoset3.jpg)

To the right of this depiction the wall is damaged, but further into the left wall are four lines of soldiers in two groups, running in a stooped posture, and preceding the royal chariot. In the front of each line are Egyptian soldiers, followed by a few foreign soldiers. The foreign soldiers consists of Syrians with pointed bears, a Libyan with a feather in his hair and a Nubian with closely cropped hair and earrings. Some of the soldiers carry standards. Between and in front of the two groups of soldiers stands a trumpeter. An officer with a baton runs at the back of each line of soldiers. Towards the rear of the chamber in this register, their is a partially finished red outline of the King and Queen riding in a chariot.

In the lower register, only a partially finished area near the front of the left wall survives. Here, to the left, we find a representation of the King's House in Central City. It shows the King's bedroom in the top left hand corner, with a bed, mattress, headrest and steps carefully depicted. In the center of this group of scenes are a group of girls, some of whom are playing musical instruments. To the right are traces of a large depiction of the King (right) and Queen (left) seated and eating a meal. There is also shown one princess sitting on the Queen's lap, and another on a stool below her chair. 

From the deep hall, a short passage leads into the broad hall, which runs transversely to the axis of the tomb and is mostly undecorated. It has a burial shaft opening at either end, one finished and the other unfinished, surmounted by a door-shaped stela carved in the eastern and western walls.

(http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/ahmoset4.jpg)

The shrine opening from the very back of the broad hall on the center axis of the tomb was undecorated, though a seated statue of the tomb owner was cared at its back. However, this is now badly mutilated. A libation basin was cut into the floor in front of the statue. The roof of this chamber is vaulted. Note that there are pivot-holes carved into the floor of the shrine entrance, showing that the shrine was once sealed by wooden, pivoting doors. The doorway to the shrine has rows of uraei above the transom.

Many Greek graffiti are scratched on the walls of this tomb. A total of fifty-nine have been recorded. Most are thought to be of the Ptolemaic Period, and record the names of visitors, several of them being from Thrace, perhaps, mercenary soldiers. The most interesting occurs on the wall outside, just on the right of the doorway: "Having ascended here, Catullinus has engraved this in the doorway, marveling at the art of the holy quarries."


http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/ahmoset.htm


*******
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Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on January 24, 2008, 07:08:41 pm








                                                T H E   G R E A T   A T E N



                                               The God and Disk of the Sun





In connection with the Sun-gods of Egypt and with their various forms which were worshipped
in that country must be considered the meager facts which we possess concerning Aten,
who appears to have represented both the god or spirit of the sun, and the solar disk itself.

The origin of this god is wholly obscure, and nearly all that is known about him under the
Middle Empire is that he was a small provincial form of the Sun-god which was worshipped in
one little town in the neighborhood of Heliopolis, and it is possible that a temple was built in
his honor, in Heliopolis itself.

It is idle to attempt to describe the attributes which were orginally ascribed to him under the
Middle or Early Empire, because the texts which were written before the XXIIIrd Dynasty give
us no information on the subject.

Under the XVIIIth Dynasty, and especially during the reigns of Amen-Ra-Heru-khuti, Horus, etc.,
but it does not follow that they orginally belonged to him. In the Theban Recesion of the Book
of the Dead, which is based upon Heliopolitan, we find Aten mentioned by the deceased thus :---


 "Thou, O Ra, shinest from the horizon of heaven, and Aten is adored when he resteth {or setteth} upon this mountain to give life to the two lands. Hunefer says Ra, Hail, Aten, thou the lord of beams of light, {when} thou shinest all faces {i.e., everybody} lives. Nekht says Ra, O thou beautiful being, thou doest renew thyself and make thyself young again under the form of Aten; Ani says Ra, Thou turnest thy face towards the Underworld, and thou makest the earth to shine like fine copper. The dead rise up to thee, they breath the air and they look upon thy face when Aten shineth in the horizon;------I have come before thee that I may be with thee to behold thy Aten daily: O thou who art in thine Egg, who shinest from thy Aten," etc.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on January 24, 2008, 07:12:37 pm
                          (http://www.livius.org/a/1/alexander/alex_map_06.gif)









These passages show that Aten, at the time when the hymns from which they are taken were composed, was regarded as the material body of the sun wherein dwelt the god Ra, and that he represented merely the solar disk and was visible emblem of the great Sun-god.

In later times, coming to protection afforded to him by Amen-hetep III, the great warrior and hunter
of the XVIIIth Dynasty, other views were promulgated concerning Aten, and he became the cause of one the greatest religious and social revolutions which ever convulsed Egypt.

After the expulsion of Hyksos, Amen, the local god of Thebes, as the god of the victorious princess
of that city, became the head of the company of the gods of Egypt, and the early kings of the
XVIIIth Dynasty endowed his shrine with possessions, and gave gifts to his priesthood with a lavish hand.

In spite of this however, some of these kings maintained an affection for the forms of the Sun-god which were worshipped at Heliopolis, and Thothmes IV, it will be remembered, dug out the Sphinx
from the sand which had buried him and his temple, and restored the worship of Ra-Harmachis.

He was not the only monarch who viewed with disamy the great and growing power of the priests of Amen-Ra, the "king of the gods" at Thebes.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on January 24, 2008, 07:16:35 pm
                                 (http://jemolo.com/alta/eg1036.jpg)









Amen-hetep III, the son of Thothmes IV, held the same views as his father in this respect, and
he was, apparently, urged to give effect to them by his wife Thi, the daughter of Iuaa and Thuau,
who was a foreigner and who was in no way connected with the royal house of Egypt.

Having married this lady, he gave her as dowry the frontier city of Tcharu, and her natural ability, coupled with the favor of her husband, made her chief of all the royal wives, and a great power in
the affairs of the government of the country. It has been thought by some that she was a native
of the country near Heliopolis, and it is possible that she herself was a votary of Aten, but be that
as it may, she appears to have supported the king in his determation to encourage the worship of
the god.

At an early period in his reign he built one at Thebes, quite close to the great sanctuary of Amen-
Ra, the priests of whom were, of course, powerless to resist the will of such an active and able king. Soon after his marriage with Thi, Amen-hetep III, dug, in his wife's city of Tcharu, a lake, which was about 6000 feet long by 1000 feet broad. On the day of the festival when the water was allowed to flow into it, he sailed over it in a boat called "Aten-neferu, i.e., the "Beauties of Aten ;" the name of the boat is a clear proof of his devotion to the god Aten.

Amen-hetep IV, the son of Amen-hetep III. by the foreign lady Thi, not only held the religious views
of his father, but held them very strongly. His life shows that he must have been from his youth of
an adherent of the worship of Aten; it is supposed, and with much probability, that the intensity of
his love for Aten and his hatred for Amen-Ra were due to his mother's influence.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on January 24, 2008, 07:24:03 pm
                (http://home.tiscali.de/alex.sk/GoldenAten.jpg)










Amen-hetep IV succeeded his father without difficulty, even though his mother was not a member
of the royal family of Egypt, and for the first few years of his reign he followed the example of the earlier kings of his dynasty, and lived at Thebes, where he no doubt ruled according to his mothers wishes. He offered up sacrifices to Amen-Ra at the appointed seasons, an was, outwardly at least,
a loyal servent of this god, whose name formed a part of his name as "son of the Sun."

We may note in passing, that he adopted on his accession to the throne the title "High-priest of
Ra-Heru-khuti, the exalted one of the horizon, in his "name of Shu who is in Aten," which is clear
proof that he was not only a worshiper of Ra-Harmachis, another of the forms of the Sun-god Heliopolis, but also that he endorsed the views and held the opions of the old College of Priests
at Heliopolis, which assigned the disk {Aten} to him for a dwelling-place.

Amen-hetep's titles as lord of the shrines of the cities of Nekhebet and Uatchet, and as the Horus of gold also prove his devotion to a Sun-god of Heliopolis. During the early years of his reign at Thebes
he built a massive Benhen, in honor of Ra-Harmachis at Thebes, and it is probable that he took the opportunity of restoring or enlarging the temple of Aten which had been built by his father. At the
same time we find that he worshipped both Amen and Aten, the former in his official position as king, and the latter in his private capacity.

It was, however, impossible for the priests of Amen -Ra to tolerate the presence of the new god
Aten and his worship in Thebes, and the relations between the king and that powerful body soon became strained. On the one hand the king asserted the superiority of Aten over every god, and
on the other the priests declared that Amen-Ra was the king of the gods.

As, however, Amen-Ra was the center of the social life of Thebes, and his priests and their relatives included in their number the best and greatest families of the capitol city, it came to pass that the
king found himself at the worship of Aten wholly supported by the great mass of its population,
whose sympathies were with the old religion of Thebes, and by those who gained their living in connection with the worship of Amen-Ra.

The king soon realized that residence in Thebes was becoming impossible , and the fifth year of
his reign he began to build a new capitol on the east bank of the Nile, near a place which is marked
to-day by the Arab villages of Haggi Kandil and Tell el-Amarna ; he planned that it should include a great temple to Aten, a palace for the king, and houses for those who were attached to the worship
of Aten and were prepared to follow their king there.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on January 24, 2008, 07:27:06 pm
                 (http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0104/images/feature2_main.jpg)







While the new capitol was in the process of building the dispute between the king and the priests
of Amen-Ra became more severe, and matters were much aggravated by Amenhetep IV.

At length the king left Thebes and took up his abode in his new capitol, which he called "Khut-Aten," i.e., "Horizon of Aten," and as a sign of the entire severance of his connection with traditions of
his house in respect of Amen-Ra he discarded his name "Amen-hetep" and called himself Khut-Aten i.e., "Glory of Aten," or, "Spirit of Aten." At the time he changed his Horus name of "Exalted One of
the double plumes" to "Mighty Bull, beloved of Aten" {or, lover of Aten}, and he adopted as lord of
the shrines of Nekhebet and Uatchet the title of "Mighty one of sovereignity in Khut-Aten," and as
the Horus of gold he styled himself, "Exalter of the name Aten."


http://www.touregypt.net/aten.htm




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Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on January 31, 2008, 06:34:30 pm
(http://i10.tinypic.com/4y0hgzo.jpg)

High-resolution DigitalGlobe satellite imagery shows the Great Aten Temple at Tell el-Amarna, Middle Egypt. Even though the northern enclosure wall of the temple is buried beneath a modern cemetery, it is still possible to see the buried wall.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on January 31, 2008, 06:39:42 pm








                                            Tell el Amarna, Capital of the Disk


                                                           AKHETATEN





.......An entire city thus emerged from under the arid soil of Tell el Amarna.

Given the sad state of the vestiges excavated by successive waves of English and German
research teams, the city's original glory is hard to imagine.

Despite being subjected to destructive attacks early in the century, the Boundary Stelae the
King had set up to demarcate his territory - and they alone - continue to speak out of times
past:

Akhenaton's kingdom covered a territory the size of "six iteru, three-quarters of a khe and four
cubits the side," - from the north stela to the south stela - or about thirteen thousand meters.

They also proclaim that "His majesty mounted a great chariot of electrum and, on the favorable
day, marked out the limits of the site he had named The Horizon of the Aten; then, as men,
women and all things rejoiced, he had set up an altar and made an unprecedented oblation to
the Aten.

Then, all those near to the King, the high-placed officials, the army chiefs, were brought before
him and bowed low to him although he asserted that it was the Aten Himself who had designat-
ed this site (...), to which the court replied that Aten would unveil his plans to no one but him
alone and soon all the nations of the world would come here to bring Aten, giver of life, the
tribute they owed to him.

Then the Pharoah had raised his hand towards the Disk at its zenith and had vowed he would
build Akhetaten there for Aten his father, at this precise site and nowhere else; that he would
listen to no one, not even the queen, should one try to persuade him to build Akhetaten else-
where.

Then he had listed all the grand and beautiful monuments he planned to set up, the House of
the Aten, the Mansion of the Aten, the Pavilion for the Queen, the House of Rejoicing for the
Aten in the Island "Exalted in Jubilees", and all the other buildings and works necessary to
celebrate the Aten, the Apartments of the Pharoah and the Apartments of the Queen."

The foundations for most of the buildings listed in the royal text have been identified, in parti-
cular the Great Temple (House of the Aten) and the Smaller Temple (Mansion of the Aten) of
the Aten, the vast palace onto the back of which were built the administrative buildings,
the House of the King or Little Palace, the Apartment of the Queen.

Above all, an eight hundred meter stretch of the royal street that ran through the center of
the city has been cleared. Beyond this stretched the leisure quarters, the homes of the high-
ranking officials, and further to the north, the suburbs, a complex mosaic of tightly grouped,
small houses.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on January 31, 2008, 07:08:26 pm
(http://www.bergerfoundation.ch/Akhenaton/images/plan2.jpg)




The city of Akhetaten



North Palace, called the Palace of Nefertiti

Great Temple of the Aten

Royal Palace

Central Quarter
 
South Suburb

North Tombs

South Tombs


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on January 31, 2008, 07:23:52 pm







                                                  The Cult of the Disk





For a very long period of time, the worship of the Aten (also spelled Aton) was held to be a heretical doctrine invented by Akhenaten, source of such upheavals that religious tradition in Egypt never fully recovered. A few comments on certain aspects of the problem will suffice to set the picture straight.



                      (http://www.bergerfoundation.ch/Akhenaton/images/p67.jpg)

                      Dynasty XVIII Nefertiti making an offering to the Aten

                      Low relief from the antechamber
                      Tell el Amarna, civilian necropolis, the tomb of Mahu



In the first place, Akhenaten did not invent the Aten.

His name appears as early as in the Old Empire Pyramid Texts, where it is listed under the Litanies as one
of the avatars of Re, manifested in the form of a Disk. Moreover, it is a fact that worship of the Disk took
root in Thebes well before Akhenaten's arrival on the scene.

It seems that Tuthmosis IV already embraced this old Heliopolitan doctrine with great fervor. Although one
cannot go so far as to say he abandoned the official cult of Amon (also spelled Amun), it is interesting to
note that he was one of the first pharoahs of the New Empire to recognize the authority of Re, thus link-
ing up with an already millenary theological system.

By having the famous "Dream Stela" carved between the paws of the Giza Sphinx, he asserted that he
owed his throne to Re-Harakhty, Re of the Two Horizons:


"I shall give you," the god says, "royalty on earth at the head of the living, you will wear the White Crown

and the Red Crown."


Thus, at a time when orthodoxy still held a firm grip, Amon was deprived of his basic right of deciding
for himself who was worthy of manifesting him on earth, who was his son the sovereign.

After Thutmose IV, Amenophis III went even a step further, as testified by a block found in the founda-
tions of the tenth pylon at Karnak. Here the king is shown in the company of the same Re-Harakhty,
designated as the "Jubilant in the Horizon in his name of Shu which is the Aten."


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on January 31, 2008, 07:36:32 pm








Why, one wonders, did this return to the doctrines of Heliopolis occur?

Most certainly it was an attempt by the kings to escape the Amon clergy, whose members
were becoming more insolent by the day and were gradually taking over everything. But,
beyond this, it was above all out of a need for authenticity, as experienced in the learned
circles of the capital towards the end of Dynasty 18.

Under the influence of Amenophis-son-of-Hapu (who, in turn, belonged to the Heliopolitan
colleges), the ancient writings were re-studied, the old rituals re-honored. We know,
for instance, that the celebration of Amenophis III's first jubilee instigated an enormous
compilation one month prior to the event, in order to ensure that everything would take
place in the right tone.

There is much reason to believe that all the painstaking research involved allowed theo-
logians to rediscover the pure source of early sun worship, long since eclipsed by the
cult of Amon.

This could only lead to the reassertion of the primordial deities Re-Harakhty and the Aten.



If in effect, then, Akhenaten did not invent the Aten, but merely adopted the ideas of
his forefathers, where does the heresy lie? It lies with the fact that he claimed it as
absolute, devoting himself exclusively to celebrating the Aten and proclaiming himself
prophet thereof by adopting the epithet 'ur mau', from Chief Prophet, as borne tradi-
tionally by the highest pontiffs of Heliopolis.

As master of the rituals, he asserted himself as the living aspect of the Aten, identify-
ing with that god to the point of having himself represented, in the upper part of the
civil stelae, as the unique vehicle of popular piety.

Nefertiti and the royal daughters were subsequently linked to this myth: the familiar
scenes uniting the king, the queen and the princesses in the intimacy of their apart-
ments are not in the least anecdotal: their figuration was intended as a reminder that,
beyond his basic unity, the Aten is at once father, mother and child - that is, the
principal creator and creature.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on January 31, 2008, 07:38:05 pm
(http://www.bergerfoundation.ch/Akhenaton/images/p68.jpg)

Hand of Akhenaten making an offering to the Aten


Sandstone - H 0.235
From Ashmunein
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art









As a child of the Aten, Akhenaten assumed the prerogatives which, until that time, had
been reserved for the prophets and grand priests.

And, truly, a first in Egyptian history, he even claimed to guide his people along the way
to revelation. Many a courtier from Tell el Amarna had the stelae at the entrance to their
tombs carved with the boast of "having been taught the doctrine by the King himself" or
"having listened to the doctrine day by day from the lips of the King himself."


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on January 31, 2008, 07:49:58 pm









Divested of their basic powers, the traditional clergy openly challenged the King, transforming
what might have been but a positive cleansing of the dogma into a fierce battle for prestige
between partisans of the Heliopolitan tradition and the upholders of Theban orthodox doctrine.

The struggle gradually grew into a conflict between Re in his aspect of the Aten and Amon,
and, finally, between the King and the priests.

It was at this point that matters became dramatic, since Akhenaten, forced into a defensive
position by the events, had to adopt a policy that was certainly more intransigent than he
would have desired: in his fourth regnal year, he changed his name from Amenophis,
Satisfaction of the Aten, to Akhenaten, Acting Spirit (that is, incarnation) of the Aten.

Less than two years later, he left Thebes to found, "at a site belonging to no god or goddess,
to no sovereign, to which no one had any rights," a new capital, a new epicenter of his authority, Akhetaten, Horizon of the Aten.





Aak -en-Aten


The period during which the King set up his court at Tell el Amarna coincided with extremely
serious troubles in Thebes: the holy city's temples were shut down, its priests banned from
office.

All images of Amon were desecrated, and his name and epithets hammered out; his wife Mut
was subject to the same fate.

Indeed, fanatics beyond all limits, the partisans went so far as to break into the necropolises
to erase, at the very bottom of the tombs, all mention of that contemptible god. Still others
heaved themselves up to the top of the obelisks to attack the sun symbols.

Evidence was even found of a scribe who had gathered together all the archival documents
under his responsibility in order to wrathfully cross off all the words in any way analogous to
the names Amon and Mut; not even the word mut, mother, was spared! Akhenaton could do
nothing to avoid having his own father Amenophis's cartouches defiled.

The cult of the Aten was hardly the love doctrine it purported to be!


http://www.bergerfoundation.ch/


FOR THE FULL STORY OF ATENISM,  PLEASE GO TO:


AKHENATEN/TUTANKHAMEN

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,706.0.html   


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 17, 2008, 06:31:06 pm







                                                    T H E   S U N   G O D




From earliest times the great cosmopolitan center of Anu (or Annu) the On of the Bible
and the Heliopolis of the Greeks -- the City of the Sun -- was the seat of the worship
of Tem.

Another form of the solar-god, according to Budge, was worshipped in Lower Egypt,
known as Ra, whose name does not seem to be Egyptian and whose origin is unknown --
it may be Asiatic. (!!)

In Anu was the famous Well of the Sun, from which tradition declares that the Virgin
Mary drew water when the Holy Family halted in the city. Fortunately for the story this
well had its source in the inexhaustible waters of Nu, otherwise it might have dried up
during the thirty odd centuries before the Christian era and we might have considered it
a well of wisdom of which the youthful Jesus partook.

This well was the property of the priests of Ra, who became so rich and powerful from
the tribute received from grateful travellers for the watering of their beasts, that they
were able by the VIth dynasty to elevate Ra to the position of over-lord of all the other
gods and from that time Tem, Khepera, Horus became Ra-Tem, Ra-Khepera, Ra-Herakhuti
(Horus of the two horizons) and so on.

Maspero claims that the complex beings (?) resulting from these combinations never
attained to any pronounced individuality, the distinctions referring merely to details of
their functions and attributes.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 17, 2008, 06:32:47 pm








During the many centuries of Egyptian history many teachers must have come from time
to time, their presentations of the Wisdom-Religion differing according to the period, the
need and the nature of the Egos whom they taught.

That the Heliopolitan system was distinct from that of Amen at Thebes, that the priests
of Hermopolis held to their particular form of doctrine, and those of Osiris to theirs, and
that all as cults differed from one another and from Atenism is evident; nevertheless Ptah
of Memphis, Ra of Heliopolis, Amen of Thebes, and Osiris of Abydos, in certain of their
aspects -- and in all when considered as septenary, and esoterically understood -- are
one and the same.

Consequently wherever their fusion occurs it apparently was an attempt at unity of systems
tending toward unity of thought and understanding among a cosmopolitan people rather
than an effort to establish monotheism, as many Christian scholars would fein prove. 


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 17, 2008, 06:34:33 pm








Maspero says that the sun appearing before the world was called Tumu (Tem) or Atum,
while our earthly sun was Khepera.

The similarity between the word "Atum" and "Atma," the Spirit, is too striking to require
comment.

Atum, according to this author, was also the prototype of man, (Coptic TME, man) becom-
ing a perfect "Tum" after his resurrection; that is, Perfected Man.

There were several traditions as to how Atum became Ra, but according to the most generally
accepted, Atum had suddenly cried across the water,


"Come unto me"!


and immediately the mysterious lotus had unfolded its petals, and Ra appeared at the edge
of its open cup as a disk, a new-born child, or a disk-crowned sparrow-hawk.



The Egyptians called the first day of the year, Come-unto-me.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 17, 2008, 06:36:56 pm








In Chapter XVII of the Book of the Dead, the opening passage reads:


"I am Tem in rising. I am the only One. I came into being in Nu. I am Ra who rose in the
beginning... The pillars of Shu were not as yet created. It is Ra, the creator of the names
of his limbs, which came into being in the form of the gods, who are in the train of Ra"


(i.e., the gods who personify his phases) -- fourteen Spirits, seven dark and seven light...


"I am the Bennu bird (the Phoenix, type of resurrection) which is in Anu, and I am the
keeper of the volume of the book of things which are and of things which shall be."


In the eternity of his being occur vast cycles of activity followed by equal periods of rest:
"Millions of years" is the name of the one, "Great Green Lake" is the name of the other,
the "Lake" representing the cycle in which are swallowed up all things produced by
"The Begetter of millions of years."

In Chapter XLII he "who dwelleth in his eye" is beaming in "the solar egg, the egg to which
is given life among the gods." In Chapter XV he is "Yesterday," "Today," and "Tomorrow,"
the one "who reposeth upon law which changeth not nor can it be altered."

In Chapter LXXV he is the self-created god:


"I gave birth unto myself together with Nu in my name of Khepera, in whom I come into
being day by day. I am the creator of the darkness who maketh his habitation in the
uttermost parts of the sky ... and I arrive at the confines thereof. I sail over the sky
which formeth the division betwixt heaven and earth... None sees my nest, none can
break my egg."


In these extracts are all the fundamental teachings of Theosophy: Space, the One Life,
the Self-existing Deity, Law, Cycles, Reincarnation, Being, and a hint of the septenary
nature of cosmos. 


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 17, 2008, 06:38:22 pm








In a Hymn to the Setting Sun, the deceased says:


"Praise be unto thee, O Ra, praise be unto thee, O Tem."


Chapter LXXIX reads:


"I am the god Tem, the maker of heaven, the creator of things which are, who cometh
forth from the earth, who maketh to come into being the seed which shall be, who gave
birth to the gods; [I am] the great god who made himself, the lord of life, who maketh
to flourish the company of the gods."


Tem, as already said, is Fohat, whose influence on the Cosmic plane


"is present in the constructive power that carries out, in the formation of things -- from
the planetary system down to the glowworm and simple daisy -- the plan in the mind of
nature, or in the Divine Thought, with regard to the development and growth of that
special thing."


(S.D., I, 111). He is "the north wind and the spirit of the west;" as "the setting sun of life",
he is the vital electric force that leaves the body at death, wherefore the defunct begs
that Toum should give him the breath from his right nostril (positive electricity) that he
might live in his second form.

Both the hieroglyphic(2) and the text of Chapter LXII show the identity of Toum with Fohat.
The former represents a man standing erect with the hieroglyph of the breaths in his hands.
The latter says:


"I open to the chief of An... I am Toum. I cross the water spilt by Thot-Hapi, the lord of the
horizon, and am the divider of the earth."


(Fohat divides Space and, with his Sons, the earth into seven zones) ...


"I cross the heavens, and am the two Lions. I am Ra, I am Aam, I ate my heir.... I am Toum,
to whom eternity is accorded...." (S.D., I, 674).


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 17, 2008, 06:39:35 pm








The above metaphor expresses the succession of divine functions, the substitution from one
form into another, or the correlation of forces.

Aam is the electro-positive force, devouring all others, as Saturn devoured his progeny.

The Egyptians used the forcible expression to eat where we would use the word absorb, or
assimilate.

The Rev. James Baikie, writing for the National Geographic, Sept., 1913, quotes one of the
Pyramid Texts which to him reveals an "almost savage set of religious conceptions," con-
trasting strangely with their high civilization.

The deceased is ascending to heaven as a fierce huntsman who lassoes the stars and devours
the gods.


"The great ones among them are his morning meal, the middle ones are his evening meal, and
the small ones his night meal.... Their magic is in his body; he swallows the understanding of
every god."


The last sentence contains the explanation of the Text. It is difficult to understand why a
Christian who eats the body of Christ and drinks his blood, should consider the ancient
Egyptians as more "cannibalistic" than himself! 


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 17, 2008, 06:40:44 pm








Amen, whose name means "concealed," was regarded as an ancient nature-god in the
Vth dynasty, says Budge.

Esoterically, he is All-Nature, therefore the universe, and the "Lord of Eternity." Later his
worship was established at Thebes, where his sanctuary seems to have absorbed the
shrine of the ancient goddess Apit, from whom T-Ape (Coptic) the city derived its name.

It was far later that Thebes was known as the City of Amen -- Nut Amen, the No Amon of
the Bible (Nahum iii, . The worship of Amen was carried into Nubia and the Soudan by the
Pharaohs of the XIIth dynasty; in the name of Amen the Hyksos had been expelled from the
country so that, in the course of time, Amen became known as the god of successful warriors.

The booty obtained from many campaigns was shared with the priests of Amen who became
exceedingly rich and powerful and, little by little, Amen absorbed the titles and attributes of
the other gods.

While the priests of Amen worshipped Amen, or Amen-Ra, as the Spiritual Sun, the masses of
people adored Ra, the visible luminary of the heavens. 


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 17, 2008, 06:42:20 pm








An interesting passage from the Papyrus of Nesi-Khonsu, a Priestess of Amen-Ra, written
about 1000 B.C., proves that this order considered the visible sun, the Disk, merely as a
focus or "substitute" for the Central Sun, as Theosophy teaches.





The apostrophe to Amen-Ra reads:


"This holy god, the lord of all the gods, Amen-Ra....
 

the holy soul who came into being in the beginning; the great god who liveth by Maat (order
and regularity); the first divine matter which gave birth unto subsequent matter! the being
through whom every other god hath existence; the One One ...; the being whose births are
hidden, whose evolutions are manifold, and whose growths are unknown;... the divine form
who dwelleth in the forms of all the gods, the Lion-god with awesome eye;... the god Nu,
the prince who advanceth at his hour to vivify that which cometh forth upon his potter's
wheel;... the traverser of eternity ... with myriads of pairs of eyes and numberless pairs of
ears, whose light is the guide of the god of millions of years;...

whose substitute is the divine Disk."


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 17, 2008, 06:44:33 pm








Connected with this very distinction is an important epoch in Egyptian history.



Amenhotep IV, according to Pro. Breasted, believing in only one god, whom he called

Aten,

the Disk, attempted to destroy the old gods of Egypt, and introduce monotheism.


He particularly hated Amen, closed the temples, cast out the priests, had the names
of the gods cut out of the inscriptions, and changed his own name containing Amen
to Akhen-aten, meaning "Aten is satisfied."

He abandoned Thebes and built a new capital at Amarna where he devoted himself to art
and religion. He is represented as receiving the light and heat of Aten through the Heavenly
Father's Hands -- the sun's rays terminating in hands.

A few years ago hundreds of clay tablets in the Babylonian cuneiform were dug up at Amarna,
which reveal that the dependencies of Egypt were gradually throwing off her yoke, dissa-
tisfaction among both priests and soldiers was fomenting trouble, all of which led to Egypt's
loss of prestige and power.

So the "monotheism" which Akhen-aten tried to introduce died with him.

That his reform was aimed in part at a corrupt priesthood is undoubtedly true, but to suppose
that,


"In all the progress of men which we have followed through thousands of years, no one had
ever before caught such a vision of the Great Father of all"


is a gross misconception. Budge states that the old Heliopolitan system made Tem or Tem-Ra
the creator of Aten, the Disk.

But this view Amenhotep IV rejected, asserting that the Disk was self-created and self-existent.
Since from the esoteric and philosophical point of view, this was the substitution of a material
and personal god for the ever-concealed Deity, or Amen, Akhenaten could not have received
the backing of the Hierophants, and being himself a pacifist, Egypt suffered greatly as a result
of his reign.

In the conflict waged around this Pharaoh some Egyptologists have attempted to prove that his
monotheism was not new.

But no amount of mere scholarship can adequately deal with the situation; nor until authors rid
themselves of the idea of the superiority of monotheism, with its Christian implication of a
personal God, over all other forms of belief, will they ever judge aright. 


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 17, 2008, 06:47:39 pm






Tutankhamen, whose tomb was discovered in 1922 by the late Lord Carnarvon, married
Akhenaten's daughter.

When he came to the throne he professed the same religion as his father-in-law; but
soon realizing the failure of Atenism, substituted the name of Amen in his wife's and in
his own name, which had originally been Tutankhaten.

The honor accorded to this now famous Pharaoh by the Egyptians rests upon the fact
that he restored the national worship of Amen, rehabilitated the decaying temples and
reestablished the priesthood of Amen-Ra.

The priests of Amen gradually lost this temporarily restored power, as they had already
lost their spiritual power, and the people brought their rule to an end about 700 B.C.




COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here: 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

LIGHT AND DARKNESS

According to the tenets of Eastern Occultism, DARKNESS is the one true actuality, the basis and the root of light, without which the latter could never manifest itself, nor even exist. Light is matter, and DARKNESS pure Spirit. Darkness, in its radical, metaphysical basis, is subjective and absolute light; while the latter in all its seeming effulgence and glory, is merely a mass of shadows, as it can never be eternal, and is simply an illusion, or Maya.--S.D. I, p. 70.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


http://www.blavatsky.net/magazine/theosophy/ww/additional/ancientlandmarks/TheGodsOfEgypt.html


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 10:14:16 am







                                              Akhenaten and Monotheism





The concept of monotheism has deep roots in Western Civilization, reaching as far back in
time as the New Kingdom of ancient Egypt, well before the formation of the ancient state
of Israel or the advent of Christianity.

There, an odd-looking, untraditional and ultimately unfathomable pharaoh named Akhenaten
imposed on his people a belief-system centering around a single deity, the Aten or sun-disk.

Famous also for his capital city Akhetaten (modern el-Amarna) and his strikingly beautiful wife
Nefertiti, Akhenaten's revolution in religion was short-lived, and the extent of its influence even
within Egypt is hard to gauge, though it seems slight. Nevertheless, it's possible that Aten wor-
ship inspired or, in some way, sparked the development of monotheism later among the ancient
Israelites.





People, Places, Events and Terms To Know:



Monotheism

Akhenaten

Amunhotep (IV)

Amarna Period

El-Amarna

Ramessids

Ramses II

Akhetaten

Amarna Culture




 Talatat

Amunhotep III

Ra-horakte

Amun

Thebes

Aten

Amun Priesthood

Ankh

Nefertiti
 
Valley of the Kings

Smenkhare

Tutankhamun/Tutankhuaten

Howard Carter

Hebrew Monotheism

Egyptian Captivity

Goshen (Pi-Ramesse)

Psalm 104

Hymn to the Aten


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 10:20:06 am









                                      The History of Monotheism in Antiquity





We in the western world today tend to associate monotheism with our own traditions, as if it
were originally the invention of our European ancestors.

It wasn't.

Ancient Semitic cultures rooted in the Near East and its environs not only explored monotheistic
thinking earlier and more fully but also today embrace the strictest form of monotheism to date,
Islam. Historical data are clear that the conception of a universe created and guided by one
deity alone is the product of Eastern ideologies exported to, not from, the West.

It's like pants, something we in the West rarely think about as essentially foreign, even though
they are.

Indeed, a mere glance at costume history shows that very few people in early Western Civili-
zation—Greeks, Romans, Franks—regularly wore tight-fitting garments, especially below the
waist.

In fact, it wasn't until well after antiquity, when trade and war had opened the way for cultural
exchange between East and West, that large numbers of men who lived in Europe began wear-
ing pants and other clothing styles suited to horseback riding. So, if not for contact with the
East, we might all still be wearing tunics and worshiping a pantheon of gods.

Many today also assume that the earliest historical evidence for monotheism is to be found among
ancient Hebrew scriptures, the accounts of a people who lived in the Near East during the second
and first millennia BCE.

It isn't.

Not only did the Hebrews develop their monotheistic tenets slowly and over the course of several
centuries—as we'll see in the next section of the class—but long before the Hebrews even existed
as a coherent social group, the ancient Egyptians experimented with a form of single-deity worship.

 The guiding force behind this brief pause in polytheism was a mysterious pharaoh who gave him-
self the name Akhenaten.

Whether or not his theological experiment influenced or in any way stimulated the religion outlined
in the Old Testament is not clear.

What is certain is that the ancient Hebrews were not the only, nor the first, people on record to
adopt the notion of a single, cosmic entity overseeing everything.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 10:29:06 am






                                                     Akhenaten





We know both little and much about Akhenaten—that is to say, we know enough to wish
we knew much more—but at least the general contours of his biography are clear. Born Amun-
hotep (IV), Akhenaten ruled Egypt for a mere fourteen years (ca. 1352-1338 BCE), a relati-
vely short reign by the standards of the day. While there is no record of his death nor have
any material remains from his burial as yet come to light, it is safe to assume he died in middle
age. The cause of his death is not known.

The unique and peculiar phase of Egyptian history he represents is known today as the Amarna
Period—the modern Egyptian village of El-Amarna lies near the site that was once Akhenaten's
capital city—although the Amarna Period extends beyond his reign, including not only Akhenaten's
regency but several of his successors':



• Smenkhare (1338-1336 BCE), about whom next to nothing is known;

• Tutankhuaten (later, Tutankhamun, 1336-1327 BCE), whose current notoriety since the
   discovery of his tomb in the 1920's far outstrips the boy-king's fame in antiquity;

• and finally Ay (1327-1323 BCE).



By the time the next series of pharaohs held the throne—Horemheb (1323-1295 BCE) and the
Ramessids, a dynasty which included the famous Ramses II—Amarna had been abandoned and
destroyed, along with the memory of Akhenaten's religion in the general conscience of the an-
cient Egyptian public. This deliberate attempt to eradicate all reference in the Egyptian record
to the Amarna period was nearly successful, but not quite.

We do know about Akhenaten, in fact, probably quite a bit more than the ancient Egyptians
who lived even just a few generations after the monotheist's rule. In spite of the fact that vir-
tually no reference remains in later historical records to Akhenaten's existence, or his immediate
successors'—it's hard to find even hints of his religion in subsequent Egyptian culture—archaeo-
logy has brought Amarna culture back to light with astounding clarity and depth.

As with Pompeii (see above, Section 1), because of its near-total obliteration more is now known
about Akhenaten's regime than almost any other period during the New Kingdom of Egypt, a fact
Ramses would, no doubt, not be very happy to hear.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 10:36:20 am







                                                           Akhetaten


                                                   (Akhenaten's capital)




To a large extent, our knowledge of Akhenaten's life and times begins in Akhetaten, the city
he built for himself and his religion, not that the site is particularly well preserved.

In fact, it's not.

Later rulers antagonistic to Amarna culture, the social and religious institutions Akhenaten im-
posed on Egypt, intentionally demolished Akhetaten along with the records of his reign.

Ironically, however, that program of destruction saved the city and its founder's name for pos-
terity and, for the most part, its preservation depends on the fact that the city rose and fell
very quickly.

The reason for that stems from the enormous scope of change which Akhenaten attempted—
a dramatic shift in religious, political and social traditions—and that meant he had to have an
entirely new, fully functioning capital from which he could run the country without the weight
of tradition bearing down on him and holding him back. Revolutions often have to "seize the
day" and proceed quickly or else they do not get off the ground at all.

In order to build Akhenaten's city and shrines at such a breakneck speed, relatively small
blocks were used, stones which are now called 'talatat'—it's easier and faster to raise a struc-
ture by using many small pieces rather than a few large ones—and, to date, more than 45,000
talatat from Akhenaten's buildings have come to light. Indeed, so many have been recovered
that today talatat can be found in museums around the world and are a regular item sold on
the black market. But small-sized blocks are also easy to deconstruct. One of the reasons the
Great Pyramid still stands is the enormous size of the individual stones used to build it, and
for that reason it couldn't be rapidly demolished the way Amarna culture was.

It's often the case that what goes up fast comes down the same way.

Other factors played a role in the ready destruction—and preservation!—of Akhenaten's city.
The demolitionists who sought to obliterate any memory of Akhenaten by eradicating all traces
of Amarna culture used the talatat, the very sinew of Akhetaten, as fill in their own construction
projects.

But, by hiding the talatat within the body of other buildings, they inadvertently protected and
preserved them for modern archaeologists to find. Because of that, much of Akhenaten's capital,
its architecture and artwork can be reconstructed. So in this case, what goes down easily comes
back up the same way, too.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 10:37:58 am
(http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/slides/10akhen/elamarna.jpg)







This new nexus of Aten worship was situated along the eastern shore of the Nile in a spot which
had never before been settled.


That was, no doubt, part of its charm to Akhenaten—it lent the site a sense of austerity and
religious purity, the very sort of newness he sought in his own regime—and unlike even the re-
motest Egyptian village, this locale had not as yet been connected with any cult or deity.


Theologically, it was a "clean slate," so to speak. Before Akhenaten's arrival, the place had no
name even, allowing the king to dub it as he liked, and the name he chose was Akhetaten,

"Horizon of the Sun-disk."

And there's a good reason people had never attempted to settle this area before. Its location
is in the desert, a place where it's virtually impossible to feed and house a self-sustaining popu-
lace of any real size—certainly not one large enough to govern a nation like ancient Egypt—so,
maintaining the army of bureaucrats and office-workers needed to run Akhenaten's realm de-
pended on the collection of taxes and importation of food stuffs, an expensive and labor-inten-
sive investment of resources. But Akhenaten did not have to worry about that.

He was the pharaoh, both god and king, and as long as he lived, his will was law.

If he wanted to build a capital in the desert, city hall followed.


Nor is it hard to understand why he should want such a thing, if one looks at things from his
perspective. To start with, desolate locations like el-Amarna have a long history of attract-
ing religious sectarians of Akhenaten's sort—they certainly appealed to the desert fathers of
early Christianity and various groups of American pioneers—all of whom have also felt at home
in places distant from traditional communities and accepted practices of government and worship.

 Furthermore, from Akhenaten's viewpoint, Akhetaten was not without certain charms.

Lodged in a recess in the highlands flanking the Nile, the site provides spectacular dawns and,
indeed, at certain times of year the sun appears to rise from a yoke in the mountains which
embodies beautifully the solar iconography seen in much of the artwork created during the
Amarna period.

All in all, it's not hard to imagine the morning Akhenaten awoke on his royal barge as he was
sailing down the Nile, looking for a place to build a new city, and saw this sight, a site so suit-
ed to his solitary nature and obsession with the sun.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 11:08:51 am
(http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/slides/10akhen/amunhotep3older.jpg)







                                     Akhenaten's Early Reign (1352-1348 BCE)





How that obsession developed and, in general, the path which led to this point in his career are
not difficult to reconstruct, either. Although in the earliest stages of Akhenaten's life few overt
signs of the religious revolution looming on the horizon emerge, there are several significant hints
as to the radical changes about to unfold across Egypt. Even if the clarity of hindsight some-
times makes things look predictable when they're not, these omens are truly telling.

The second son of Amunhotep III, Akhenaten was still called Amunhotep (IV) when he succeed-
ed his father to the throne in 1352 BCE. By all appearances, it was a smooth transition of power
and, even though he had not always been the heir apparent—his older brother had been groom-
ed for the kingship but had died several years earlier—the young Akhenaten was not unprepar-
ed to wield the whip-and-flail because most likely he served as co-regent toward the end of his
father's reign. To judge from his last portraits, Amunhotep III suffered a lingering malady of some
sort which slowly killed him, so it would make sense that, as his health declined, he handed the
reins of government to his chosen successor, even if one chosen largely by default. None of that,
however, would have helped Akhenaten feel part of or indebted to the traditional structures of
Egyptian government and religion in the day.

Almost as soon as Akhenaten became the sole ruler of Egypt, he began to alter the traditional
presentation of the pharaoh and the ways state business was conducted. For instance, he took
on a new title, "Prophet of Ra-Horakhte" ("Ra of the Horizon")—note no Amun, the god of
mysteries and hidden truth whose name appears in so many Egyptian appellations, e.g. Amun-
hotep and Tutankhamun—"Prophet of Ra-Horakhte" hints at a certain degree of dissatisfaction
with conventional religion, especially since by Akhenaten's day Amun had long been seen as the
central deity in the extensive pantheon of Egyptian gods whose center of worship was Thebes,
the capital city of Egypt.

In no time, Akhenaten would change all that.






http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/chapters/10AKHEN.htm


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 11:27:00 am
(http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/slides/10akhen/aten.jpg)







                                      The Middle and End of Akhenaten's Reign




(1348-1338 BCE)

Just two or three years into his reign, there is clear evidence that a major shift in Egyptian
religion has begun.

By now the pharaoh had moved the court and capital away from Thebes to Akhetaten and
had adopted a new title, the name we know him by, Akhenaten which means in Egyptian

"he is agreeable (Akhen-) to the sun-disk (-aten)."

To have effectively removed Amun from his name seems like an all-but-open declaration of
warfare against the dominant religious authority in the day, the Amun priesthood based in
Thebes. And as if that weren't enough, archaeological evidence shows that around this time
Akhenaten began closing down Amun temples across Egypt and even had the name Amun
erased from some inscriptions. Later, he went so far as to order the word "gods" removed
and changed to "god," wherever it occurred on public inscriptions. Whether or not this is
monotheism by theological standards, it's certainly grammatical monotheism.

But what was Akhenaten's beef with Amun? Why did he dislike this god so intensely?
Scholars have suggested it was because Amun as the god of secrets was too obscure
a deity, too inaccessible to the public. Indeed, shrines to Amun are invariably situated
in the middle of temple complexes, roofed and dark, where priests alone may enter them
and then only on special occasions. Perhaps Akhenaten wished to open up Egyptian
religion to a wider clientele, not just the clergy, and so he constructed a capital which was
the antithesis of Amun worship, exposed as much as possible to the full light of day, as
the buildings of Akhetaten show: few roofed structures, little shade, and constant expo-
sure to Akhenaten's true father as far as he was concerned, not Amunhotep III but the
Aten.

Indeed, a letter found among the remains of Akhetaten confirms exactly this.

Writing to Akhenaten, the Assyrian king complains that the emissaries he sent to Egypt
nearly died of sunstroke when they were attending some royal ceremony at the pharaoh's
capital:



"Why are my messengers kept in the open sun?
They will die in the open sun.
If it does the king good to stand in the open sun,
then let the king stand there and die in the open sun.



The heat of the Egyptian midday is, in fact, torturous through much of the year, but
standing in the sun and basking in its brilliance is also a natural extension of Akhenaten's
religious revolution, something virtually all the art of Amarna culture demonstrates.

And this is all very different from the way Amun was worshiped, surely an advantage in
Akhenaten's mind.

It may even help to explain Akhenaten's premature death: skin cancer?


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 11:46:36 am
(http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/slides/10akhen/akhenaten3.jpg)







                                       Art and Iconography in Akhenaten's Reign





The religious iconography of Akhenaten's new belief system centered around the Aten as a divine presence. Representing the life-giving force of the universe, the sun-disk is often depicted in
either abstract or personified form, occasionally both at the same time. Though it's most often
pictured as a mere circle with rays of light radiating downward, the Aten also appears sometimes
with little hands appended onto the end of its solar beams holding out to worshipers the ankh, the Egyptian sign of life. In a few instances, the hands are even shoving the ankh rather unceremo-
niously up the noses of the blessed, a figurative assertion, no doubt, that the sun offers the
"breath of life."

It would seem less comical today if this sacrament didn't look so much like an incontinent ear-swab.

Humorous as it may be to some of us, the significance of this symbol is nevertheless profound,
indeed probably revolutionary to an Egyptian of the day. The sun-worship Akhenaten was pro-
moting surely reminded many of Old Kingdom theology, by now a millennium old, and its false but
pervasive reputation for tyranny (see above, Section 5). More than one Egyptian at the time,
particularly those in the Amun priesthood, must have asked themselves,

"What's next? A pyramid?"



But Akhenaten's movement entailed features far stranger than anything which had happened
in the Old Kingdom. In fact, it looked backwards less than forward in time, at least inasmuch
as the new religion prefigured a very different conception of godhead.

As such, the Aten is typically portrayed without human or animal attributes, in strong contrast
to standard Egyptian practice. The goddess Isis, for instance, is frequently shown as part-wo-
man, part-cow, and the face of her deceased husband Osiris is sometimes painted green to de-
monstrate that he represents the rebirth of vegetation in the spring.

But unlike either of them, Akhenaten's Aten is the font of all being, which means by nature he
cannot be restricted in form, and is thus almost always presented as the aptly universal and
geometric solar circle. The little hands attached to his sun-rays were a concession, no doubt,
to popular taste.

Even to say "he" of the Aten is perhaps too restrictive for this universalist conception of deity—
gender is clearly not relevant to sun-disks—and stranger yet, to say "he" of Akhenaten himself
isn't always valid either.

Male and female styles, which are usually discrete in traditional Egyptian art, blend together in
peculiar fashion throughout Amarna culture, extending as far as royal portraiture. Akhenaten,
for instance, is shown in a series of colossi (large statues; singular, colossus) lacking male geni-
talia, and in general, his depiction is odd, to say the least. He's often portrayed as pot-bellied,
slouching, thick-lipped, with a big chin and pointed head, which has led scholars to suppose he
suffered from some sort of birth defect, resulting in eunuchoidism.

But if so, how did he sire a family, for in art he appears with as many as six different daughters?

And those are only the ones he had by his principal wife.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 12:00:55 pm
(http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/slides/10akhen/nefertiti.jpg)







That raises another fascinating and enigmatic issue concerning Akhenaten's revolution, the
centrality of his family in the public presentation of his regime.

Not only do we have many depictions of the beautiful Nefertiti, Akhenaten's principal wife—
more, in fact, than of Akhenaten himself!—but we can trace the royal daughters' births year
by year, and sadly sometimes their deaths as well. Reliefs even show the royal couple play-
ing with the girls. Like no pharaoh before or after him, Akhenaten was family-oriented.

Thus, it seems unlikely he was actually unsexed or a hermaphrodite, certainly not a eunuch,
but the real father of the children he professes, at least through his art, to adore so fondly.
But the gender-bending portraits of him seem ill-suited for such a family man, by modern
standards at least. 

Nefertiti's depictions are not immune to cross-gendering, either. She's shown at least once
wearing the blue crown, the helmet kings don as they go into battle. She's the only Egyptian
queen ever known to have been depicted that way, including Queen Hatshepsut, the woman
who ruled Egypt singlehandedly for two decades a century before (see Section 9).

There's something very odd, by any standard, about the way the Amarna rulers chose to portray themselves.

Indeed, the entire family is depicted with elongated faces and skulls, wide hips and sagging
bellies. The tall hat Nefertiti wears in her famous bust is probably covering—perhaps even
accentuating—her pointed head beneath, even though surely she was not also congenitally
deformed, and certainly as the mother of six daughters, not sexless. Nor were the girls, which
is all the more evidence Akhenaten was not, either.

Naturalistic portraiture seems a less likely explanation of the oddities inherent in this family
than some sort of stylized rendering. There's doubtless something abnormal about them,
but what? And why?

That the royal family constitutes the only people ever portrayed this way is surely a clue.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 12:07:13 pm
(http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/slides/10akhen/akhenatenandnefertiti.jpg)







To depict Akhenaten's entire immediate family—and only them—in such an unusual manner
must signify something. Perhaps their different look is meant to highlight exactly that, the
fact that they're different.

Maybe the royal family is supposed to represent something alien, transcendental, not bound
to human or earthly distinctions such as gender. It's easy to see why this would appeal to
Akhenaten, nor is it hard to understand why Nefertiti might go along with being designated
as super-special, and the children would, of course, have been too young to have a choice
or even know the difference.

All this concurs well with Akhenaten's religion, where the pharaoh was said to serve as the
conduit between humanity and the Aten. In other words, it's through and because of him
the sun-disk bestows life on the planet. In his own words, a hymn Akhenaten claims to
have composed himself about the Aten,


"There is no other who knows you except your son, Akhenaten."


That makes the pharaoh and his family some species of divine beings among humankind,
earth-bound extraterrestrials on whose good will the benefits of the sun, and thus all life,
depend.

One way or another, before this Akhenaten's day, the Egyptians had always held the sun
as a god and the royal family was always seen as divine, but as the only divine presence
in the universe? That, indeed, was something different.

The imagery of Amarna culture with all its strangeness has attracted not only scholars but
a wide range of iconoclasts, revolutionaries and weirdos of every ilk, who have latched onto
this radiant, unworldly, rebel pharaoh and more often than not caught the reflection of their
own oddity in his slouching, fat-lipped silhouette. The many answers posited to the riddle of
Akhenaten are, in any case, less important than the few, frail realities we know about his
reign and the questions they leave at our feet.

Among them, how did he sustain such a bizarre reordering of the celestial kingdom? For more
than a decade, we must remember, Akhenaten kept his divine fantasies afloat even as he
faced down the Amun priesthood, traditional cults in Egypt and a nation long nurtured on a
pantheon of gods numbering by that day in the thousands. Before we can ask why any of this
happened or what happened to it, we must first try to understand how it happened at all.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 12:15:53 pm








Akhenaten must have had some supporters, besides the usual lunatic fringe and sycophant
wing who will follow any maniac into the wilderness.

A hint about their identity comes in one of the Amarna reliefs in which Nefertiti holds up the decapitated head of a foreign captive. That suggests some sort of military activity during
Akhenaten's reign, an event history bears no evidence of otherwise.

But that's not surprising really, given later pharaohs' destruction of records from his day. Any
boasts of victory in foreign wars the monomaniacal monotheist might have issued isn't likely
to have survived their holocaust.

So, if Akhenaten did have the support of the Egyptian army—and there's no real evidence
to the contrary—his revolution would make much more sense. Still, an army backing an effe-
minate, secluded, family-loving, pointy-headed sun freak seems highly improbable today.

But then again, how much can we rely on our modern sensibilities here where so little else
seems logical?

Yet, strange times often make strange bedfellows. If both the pharaoh and the military
were seeking the same thing—for instance, to undercut the power of the Amun priest-
hood which, by then, was siphoning off a hefty percentage of the taxes collected in
Egypt—the aten and the army might have made common cause. Or so some scholars
suggest.

All the same, it must have been an interesting meeting between the slouching sun-lover
and the hardened desert troopers who defended Egypt's frontier. How did they find enough
in common even to have a conversation, much less foment a revolution together?


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 12:17:41 pm
(http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/slides/10akhen/akhenaten4worshipingaten.jpg)








                                           The Aftermath of Akhenaten's Reign





Unlike many New Kingdom pharaohs, Akhenaten's body has never been found, nor even relics
from his burial. That opens the possibility his tomb was not raided in antiquity and still awaits
discovery.

Indeed, in light of his novel outlook on religious matters, it's not implausible to suppose he was
buried in an unconventional way or place, not where other pharaohs' bodies were laid to rest.
That, of course, would decrease the likelihood of archaeologists stumbling across his grave,
since they tend to look in the usual places. Tutankhamun's tomb is a good example of how hard
it is to find pharaonic burials even when we know where to look.

By a fluke of fortune it was hidden from view for millennia, despite the fact that it's in the Valley
of the Kings, the most probable place to find an Egyptian king interred.

Of course, there's another possibility here. Akhenaten was never buried at all, especially if his
regime collapsed along with him. But apparently that was not the case, either, at least not en-
tirely.

By all appearances, Akhenaten's death was due to natural causes.

The historical record contains not a single hint of foul play in his death, though he was far from
old age, which leaves us to guess its cause.



Sunstroke?
Monotheistic exhaustion?
Aten-tion deficit disorder?


Above all, what happened in downtown Akhetaten on that gloomy day when the reason the
sun-disk shines on the earth departed this world, and the next morning the sun still rose?
That must have been a disconcerting moment for the aten-faithful.

Archaeology has, however, made one thing very clear. Akhetaten was not abandoned imme-
diately upon Akhenaten's death.

Building continued, at least for a while.

How the government continued is less clear. Akhenaten's successor, for instance, is all but a
complete mystery. Named Smenkhare, which is close to all we know about him, this pharaoh
appears suddenly in the historical record two years before Akhenaten's death. A late relief de-
picting Smenkhare with Akhenaten is about all there is to track this most cryptic of Egyptian
pharaohs, along with a few documents showing that he married one of Akhenaten's daughters,
surely an attempt to secure his claim to the throne after Akhenaten's death.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 12:28:02 pm








Curiously, Smenkhare's rise coincides almost exactly with another mysterious event,
the all-but-complete disappearance of Nefertiti from the art of El-Amarna.

Only once in the final two years of Akhenaten's reign is she shown, in a funerary tableau
recording the death of one of her and Akhenaten's daughters. One theory is that Akhen
aten sensing the approach of death—but how?—married his eldest daughter by Nefertiti
to Smenkhare who was the son of a secondary wife. In fact, he had little choice but to
do this because Nefertiti had never given him a son—six daughters but no male heir—and
Egyptian tradition demanded some sort of "son of the pharaoh" succeed.

Thus, in the absence of a crown prince, the son of a secondary wife usually stepped in as
successor.

But this is not the only explanation that's been offered. Another theory proposes—and in
light of the unusual circumstances surrounding the Aten-cult at Akhetaten, it's not nearly
as unlikely as it might seem at first glance—


that Smenkhare was Nefertiti!



Knowing his death was imminent and seeing no clear and obvious heir on the horizon since
he'd had no sons by Nefertiti and so there was no pointy-headed male to stem the family's
Aten-uation, Akhenaten created a "son" for himself out of the most obvious candidate there
was, not a secondary son but his primary wife.

Family was, after all, of utmost importance in this new world order, and she had held the
power of Egypt in her hands—had even worn the blue crown!—best of all, she was already
one of the chosen, the long-necked beloved of the Aten. So, like any social-climbing secon-
dary son, Nefertiti "married" her own daughter and took the throne as a man, assuming as
was traditional a new name, Smenkhare. That would help to explain why she disappears at
the very moment Akhenaten's successor enters the picture.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 12:32:22 pm








Like many ingenious solutions—and this age does seem to attract them—it didn't work.

For whatever reason, Nefertiti couldn't cut it as "king," not that there hadn't been wo-
man kings in Egypt who had taken male guise before. Hatshepsut, for instance, had por-
trayed herself as a man in more than one work of art (see above, Section 9).

Perhaps the army in this day would back an effeminate male but not a masculined woman
as king. Or perhaps Nefertiti was simply more beautiful than savvy.

Despite all their protestations of hope for world peace, beauty pageant winners rarely
achieve that aim.

In any case, the elusive Smenkhare disappears two years into "his" reign. No tomb for
Smenkhare has ever been located or looted or burial goods found. There is simply no
further mention of him at all in ancient Egyptian history.

Though it's pure speculation, it's hard to believe Smenkhare wasn't assassinated by
someone.

After all, he had so many enemies, probably far more than what few supporters he could
muster. Perhaps emissaries of the Amun priesthood did him in, or spies sent from an army
unwilling to be led by a woman—again!—or even by a disgusted daughter-husband in lea-
gue with some would-be-pharaoh, an actual man who was not her mother.

Or perhaps it was all of them in league together, and with this we are dangerously close
to writing the first draft of Murder on the Orient Express.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 12:38:27 pm











Whatever the what-really-happened, Amarna culture left behind one of the most famous
kings in history today


—and one of the least famous kings in his own time—Tutankhamun, popularly known today as



"King Tut."


Originally Tutankhuaten (1336-1325 BCE), the boy-king succeeded Smenkhare to the throne.
Fairly early in his reign, he was persuaded to change his name and, contrary to Akhenaten's
policy, take the aten out and put "Amun" in. With that alone, the resurgence of the Amun
cult is all too apparent. At some point during his reign, the royal court left Akhetaten and
returned to Thebes, no doubt, into the warm embrace of the reigning priesthood much re-
lieved to have their livelihood back on line.

Their gratitude, in fact, would help explain the grandeur of Tutankhamun's burial perhaps,
even to some extent, the preservation of his tomb.

Though the body is badly decayed—the burial process did severe damage to Tutankhamun's
body, so forget everything in "Mummy" movies about the dead coming to life through mummi-
fication, which does more damage than good to corpses—but even in spite of its poor preser-
vation, Tutankhamun doesn't seem to have been murdered.

In fact, recent analysis of his body has confirmed that he died from complications following
a severe fracture of his femur. Conspiracy theorists will have to find new turf.

Tutankhamun's failure to survive and leave behind a male successor, which is hardly surpris-
ing for a nineteen-year-old, paved the way for a new dynasty and a world view far different
from Akhenaten's.

So, the Amarna Period ended essentially with this boy-king, only to be reborn in the modern
excavation of El-Amarna and Thebes, and especially in the American archaeologist Howard
Carter's famous discovery in 1922 of Tutankhamun's tomb and the splendors of his burial.

Tthe sheer magnificence of this tomb in and of itself is astounding and leaves one agog at
what a real royal burial, like Ramses II's, must have entailed.

All in all,Tutankhamun's death and funeral is the epilogue of the Amarna Period in antiquity.
There is little in the rest of ancient Egypt's history that recalls or even reflects this brilliant,
odd moment in the evolution of their religion.

Outside of Egypt, that's another matter.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 12:44:40 pm







                                                  Conclusion:


                                    Akhenaten and Hebrew Monotheism





In today's world, the pre-eminent issue surrounding Akhenaten is whether or not his reli-
gion did—or even could have!—influenced the development of Hebrew monotheism, a theo-
logy which the historical data suggest evolved several centuries later. The answer to that
question depends on several factors. For instance, how alike are Hebrew and Egyptian
monotheism? And is there any way in which the Hebrews could realistically have had signifi-
cant contact with atenism, enough to borrow elements from it or, if not, even just have
been influenced by it?

To answer the first, Hebrew monotheism differs in several significant ways from Akhenaten's
religion. While the aten is an omnipotent divinity, it's also present specifically in the light of
the sun-disk and the pharaoh's family, so its divinity is limited in a way the Hebrew deity's is
not.

The God of Israel acts through all sorts of different media: angels, rainbows, floodwaters and,
as biblical Egyptians ought to know perfectly well, frogs. Nor was there any real attempt by
Egyptian monotheists to extend the Aten's power beyond Egypt, the way God's power is seen
by later Hebrew prophets to embrace all creation. So, while Akhenaten claims the Aten is uni-
versal, he speaks of it more like it's a pharaoh at the center of some cosmic court full of fawn-
ing minions—that is, like him.

Still, both cultures share the central notion, if not the details, of monotheism.

Could the Hebrews have picked that up from the Egyptians somehow? Such a notion presumes,
of course, that Hebrews existed in some form during Akhenaten's reign—the eradication by later pharaohs of all records of Akhenaten's religion and regime makes later cultural borrowing highly
unlikely—and besides, many scholars would flatly say there weren't any Hebrews at all during
that time, at least not Hebrews as such.

Israel was definitely not an organized nation in the fourteenth century BCE, but then theologi-
cal notions do not require a political state for their existence. Wandering patriarchs, as attest-
ed in the Bible during this age, could easily have borrowed the concept of monotheism from
Egypt.

But there's no evidence Egyptian monotheism spread beyond the borders of its native land so,
if Hebrews borrowed the notion, they would have to have been living in Egypt around the time
of Akhenaten's reign.

That seems unlikely, except that biblical sources say they were.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 12:49:45 pm








In the so-called Egyptian Captivity which the Bible claims lasted several centuries, Hebrews
did, in fact, live in Egypt, enslaved by powerful New Kingdom pharaohs until the Exodus in
which Moses led them to freedom in the Holy Lands.

If that really happened, they must have been in Egypt when Akhenaten had his brief day in
the blazing sun. But because a majority of scholars downplay the historicity of the Exodus—



there is certainly no corroborating evidence massive numbers of Hebrews fled Egypt at any

point in ancient history


—again this seems unlikely. Still, it doesn't take huge crowds of Hebrews in Egypt to introduce
the idea of monotheism into Israelite thinking. One "Joseph" is certainly enough.

So, it's possible to weave together from the historical data a scenario in which the idea of mono-
theism threaded its way somehow out of Egyptian theology and into Israelite culture. But when
one looks closely, it's not a very tightly woven tapestry, especially in light of where biblical
scripture says the Hebrews were in Egypt.

The city of Goshen in which the Bible says they lived as captives is probably synonymous with
the Egyptian settlement called Pi-Ramesse ("City of Ramses") in the delta. If so, it's many miles
from Akhetaten, and there's very little evidence to be found in Egyptian art or history that
Akhenaten's revolutionary theology filtered that far north.

Nor is it likely it would have fared well in this part of Egypt, a stronghold of Ramses' family. The Ramessids were staunchly opposed to atenistic thinking and later attempted to eradicate all
traces it had ever existed. So, how is it even possible Ramses' construction slaves heard about
a far-off, out-of-date religious tradition strongly proscribed by their tyrannical overseers?

All in all, the evidence seems to weigh heavily against the argument that the Hebrews caught
the monotheism bug from contact with the Aten, or even just the simple conception there's
only one god.

With no obvious channels of communication on either side, it's improbable Akhenaten's revo-
lution could in any way have influenced or even inspired Hebrew thought.

Furthermore, how many of the world's great inventions have cropped up independently in diffe-
rent places? Writing and literature, for instance, arose in both the West and the East with no
apparent connection between them, as did agriculture, drama and ship-building.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 12:54:19 pm






And then you open the Bible to Psalm 104,

the great manifesto of God's all-encompassing power,

and read how He created grass for cattle to eat, and trees for birds to nest in, and the sea
for ships to sail and fish to swim in:





Bless the Lord . . . you who coverest thyself with light as with a garment . . .

Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters; . . .

He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and . . . the trees

Where the birds make their nests; as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.

The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; . . .

(As) the sun ariseth, (the beasts) gather themselves together . . .

There go the ships: there is that leviathan (whale), whom thou hast made to play therein.






And then among the remains of Amarna culture you read the Hymn to the Aten,

purportedly written by Akhenaten himself, which says:





When the land grows bright and you are risen from the Akhet (horizon)
and shining in the sun-disk by day, . . .

All flocks (are) at rest on their grasses, trees and grasses flourishing;

Birds flown from their nest, their wings in adoration of your life-force;

All flocks prancing on foot, all that fly and alight living as you rise for them;

Ships going downstream and upstream too, every road open at your appearance;

Fish on the river leaping to your face, your rays even inside the sea.


(trans. James P. Allen)




Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on February 26, 2008, 12:59:09 pm






The similarity is simply astounding.

Comparing these passages, who could argue against some form of cultural exchange moving
from Egypt to Israel—and, given the chronology, we must suppose the sharing took place in
that direction—how can we avoid the conclusion that the ancient Hebrew who wrote Psalm
104 has somehow borrowed from Akhenaten's Hymn to the Aten?

With that, the realization begins to dawn that answers to the great question about the origins
of Hebrew monotheism are not going to come swiftly or easily.

How did a Hebrew psalmist's eyes—or ears?—ever pass near a banned Egyptian hymn?

While the psalm is hardly a verbatim copy of its atenistic model, the likeness of these songs,
especially in their imagery and the order in which the images come, argues forcefully for some
sort of Egypt-to-Palestine contact, however indirect.

And if there is contact there, why not elsewhere? If that's the case, there clearly was some
channel of intercultural communication, some literary turnpike now invisible. But if we imagine
a road of some sort running between Akhetaten and ancient Jerusalem, what are we really
creating:

                                             a history or a novel?

And by doing so, are we not at risk of saying more about ourselves than the odd, beguiling
world Akhenaten built, whose slanted light still shines from beneath sand and walls and script
ure?

History, you'll remember, means "question," and that is exactly where the history of Akhen-
aten leaves us.


http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/chapters/10AKHEN.htm


FOR THE FULL STORY OF ATENISM,  PLEASE GO TO:


AKHENATEN/TUTANKHAMEN

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,706.0.html     


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 08, 2008, 02:28:29 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/76/AmarnaRelief-AtenAndSymbolOfGoddessOrQueen_BrooklynMuseum.png/800px-AmarnaRelief-AtenAndSymbolOfGoddessOrQueen_BrooklynMuseum.png)








                                                                     Aten





From Wikipedia



Aten (or Aton) was the disk of the sun in ancient Egyptian mythology, and originally an aspect of Ra.

He became the deity of the monotheistic — in fact, monistic — religion of Amenhotep IV, who took the

name Akhenaten. The worship of Aten seems to have ceased shortly after Akhenaten's death.



Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 08, 2008, 02:39:21 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/af/Aten.svg/769px-Aten.svg.png)









Aten was the focus of Akhenaten's religion, but viewing Aten as Akhenaten's god is a simplification.

Aten is the name given to represent the solar disc.

The term Aten was used to designate a disc, and since the sun was a disc, gradually became associated with solar deities.

Aten expresses indirectly the life-giving force of light.

The full title of Akhenaten's god was The Rahorus who rejoices in the horizon, in his/her Name of the Light
which is seen in the sun disc. (This is the title of the god as it appears on the numerous stelae which were
placed to mark the boundaries of Akhenaten's new capital at Amarna, or "Akhetaten.")

This lengthy name was often shortened to Ra-Horus-Aten or just Aten in many texts, but the god of Akhen-
aten raised to supremacy is considered a synthesis of very ancient gods viewed in a new and different way.

Both Ra and Horus characteristics are part of the god, but the god is also considered to be both masculine
and feminine simultaneously.

All creation was thought to emanate from the god and to exist within the god.

In particular, the god was not depicted in anthropomorphic (human) form, but as rays of light extending
from the sun's disk. Furthermore, the god's name came to be written within a cartouche, along with the
titles normally given to a Pharaoh, another break with ancient tradition.

The Aten first appears in texts dating to the 12th dynasty, in The Story of Sinuhe.

Ra-Horus, more usually referred to as Ra-Herakhty (Ra, who is Horus of the two horizons), is a synthesis of two other gods, both of which are attested from very early on. During the Amarna period, this synthesis was seen
as the invisible source of energy of the sun god, of which the visible manifestation was the Aten, the solar disk.

Thus Ra-Horus-Aten was a development of old ideas which came gradually.

The real change is the apparent abandonment of all other gods following the advent of Akhenaten, i.e., the introduction, apparently by Akhenaten, of monotheism.

This is readily apparent in the Great Hymn to the Aten.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 08, 2008, 02:50:13 pm







Royal Titulary



During the Amarna Period, the Aten was given a Royal Titulary (as he was considered to be king
of all), with his names drawn in a cartouche.

There were two forms of this title, the first had the names of other gods, and the second later one
which was more 'singular' and referred only to the Aten himself.

The early form has Re-Horakhti who rejoices in the Horizon, in his name Shu which is the Aten.

The later form has Re, ruler of the two horizons who rejoices in the Horizon, in his name of light which
is the Aten.





Variant Vocalizations



The name as been vocalized as Aton, Atonu, Itni, Itn, and Adon.





Variant Translations



Because high relief and low relief illustrations of the Aten show it with a curved surface (see
for example the photograph illustrating this article), the late scholar Hugh Nibley insisted that
a more correct translation would be globe, orb or sphere, rather than disk. The three-dimensional
spherical shape of the Aten is even more evident when such reliefs are viewed in person, rather
than merely in photographs.

There is a possibility that Aten's three-dimensional spherical shape depicts an eye. In the other
early monotheistic religion, Zoroastrianism, the sun is called Ahura Mazda's eye.

These two theories are compatible with each other, since an eye is an orb.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 08, 2008, 02:52:39 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e4/Aten_disk.jpg/325px-Aten_disk.jpg)







                                                              A T E N I S M





Atenism (or the Amarna heresy) is one of the earliest monotheistic religions, associated above all
with the eighteenth dynasty Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, better known under the name he later adopted,
Akhenaten.

In the 14th century BC it was Egypt's state religion for around 20 years, before a return to the tradi-
tional gods so comprehensive that the heretic Pharaohs associated with Atenism were erased from
Egyptian records.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 08, 2008, 03:00:35 pm







                                                     Atenist revolution
 




The Aten, the god of Atenism, first appears in texts dating to the 12th dynasty, in "The Story
of Sinuhe". However, he was considered a relatively obscure sun god and without the Atenist
period would barely figure in Egyptian history.

Although there are indications that the Aten was becoming more important in the eighteenth
dynasty period - notably Amenhotep III's naming of his royal barge as Spirit of the Aten - it
was Amenhotep IV who introduced the Atenist revolution, in a series of steps culminating in
the official installment of the Aten as the sole god.

Amenhotep IV initially introduced Atenism in Year 4 of his reign, raising the Aten to the status
of supreme god, but initially permitting the continued worship of the traditional gods.

To emphasise the change, Aten's name was written in the cartouche form normally reserved for
Pharaohs, an innovation of Atenism.

This religious reformation appears to coincide with the proclamation of a Sed festival, a sort of
royal jubilee, intended to reinforce the Pharaoh's divine powers of kingship. Traditionally held in
the thirtieth year of the Pharaoh's reign, this possibly was a festival in honour of Amenhotep III,
who some Egyptologists think had a coregency with his son Amenhotep IV of two to twelve years.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 08, 2008, 03:03:29 pm







Year 5 is believed to mark the beginning of Amenhotep IV's construction of a new capital,
Akhetaten (Horizon of the Aten), at the site known today as Amarna.

Evidence of this appears on three of the boundary stelae used to mark the boundaries of
this new capital.

At this time, Amenhotep IV officially changed his name to Akhenaten (Agreeable to Aten)
as evidence of his new worship. The date given for the event has been estimated to fall
around January 2 of that year.

In Year 7 of his reign the capital was moved from Thebes to Akhetaten (near modern Amarna),
though construction of the city seems to have continued for two more years.

In shifting his court from the traditional ceremonial centres Akhenaten was signalling a dramatic
transformation in the focus of religious and political power.

The move separated the Pharaoh and his court from the influence of the priesthood and from
the traditional centres of worship, but his decree had deeper religious significance too — taken
in conjunction with his name change, it is possible that the move to Amarna was also meant
as a signal of Akhenaten's symbolic death and rebirth. It may also have coincided with the
death of his father and the end of the coregency.

In addition to constructing a new capital in honor of Aten, Akhenaten also oversaw the con-
struction of some of the most massive temple complexes in ancient Egypt, including one at
Karnak and one at Thebes, close to the old temple of Amun.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 08, 2008, 03:08:02 pm







In Year 9 Akhenaten strengthened the Atenist regime, declaring the Aten to be not merely
the supreme god, but the only god, a universal deity, and forbidding worship of all others,
including the veneration of idols, even privately in people's homes - an arena the Egyptian
state had previously not touched in religious terms. Atenism was then based on strict uni-
tarian monotheism, the belief in one single God. Aten was addressed in prayers, such as the
Great Hymn to the Aten:



                                     "O Sole God beside whom there is none".



Akhenaten staged the ritual regicide of the old supreme god Amun, and ordered the defacing
of Amun's temples throughout Egypt, and of all the old gods.

The word for `gods' (plural) was proscribed, and inscriptions have been found in which even
the hieroglyph of the word for "mother" has been excised and re-written in alphabetic signs,
because it had the same sound in ancient Egyptian as the sound of name of the Theban
goddess Mut. Aten's name is also written differently after Year 9, to emphasise the radical-
ism of the new regime.

No longer is the Aten written using the symbol of a rayed solar disc, but instead it is spelled
phonetically.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 08, 2008, 03:12:00 pm








                                   Contrast with traditional Egyptian religion





The impact of Akhenaten's religious reform, albeit introduced in steps, is hard to overstate.
It is a measure both of Pharaoh's great power, and of the extraordinary circumstances of
the time that an equally shocking and dramatic transformation was achieved even tempora-
rily, for about twenty years.

The context appears to have been an Egypt hit by catastrophe, seemingly abandoned by
the old gods: a series of pandemics is known to have occurred throughout the Near East of
this period, and some speculate that it could coincide with the eruption of the volcano of
Thera, which would have covered much of Egypt in a layer of destructive ash, killing crops
and livestock.

Certainly, Amenhotep III's construction of over 700 statues to the god of destruction, Set,
suggests Atenism as being more than merely the personal whim of Akhenaten, but at least
in part a desperate measure on the part of a Pharaoh responsible for the well-being of his
kingdom, above all by ensuring a good relationship with the gods.

In this context, Akhenaten carried out a radical program of religious reform which, for a
period of about twenty years, largely supplanted the age-old beliefs and practices of the
Egyptian state religion, and deposed its religious hierarchy, headed by the powerful priest-
hood of Amun at Thebes.

For fifteen centuries the Egyptians had worshipped and sacrificed to an extended family
of gods and goddesses, each of which had its own elaborate system of priests, temples,
shrines and rituals.

A key feature of these cults was the veneration of images and statues of the gods, which
were worshipped in the dark confines of the temples.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 08, 2008, 03:15:05 pm







The pinnacle of this religious hierarchy was the Pharaoh, who was both king and living god,
and the administration of the Egyptian kingdom was thus inextricably bound up with, and
largely controlled by, the power and influence of the priests and scribes.

Like the abolition of the Russian Orthodox Church in early Communist Russia, Akhenaten's
reforms cut away both the philosophical and economic bases of priestly power, abolishing
the cults of multiple deities, and with them the large and lucrative industry of sacrifices
and tributes that the priests controlled.

Initially, Akhenaten presented Aten to the Egyptian people as a variant of the familiar su-
preme deity Amun-Ra (itself the result of an earlier rise to prominence of the cult of Amun,
resulting in Amun becoming merged with the sun god Ra), in an attempt to put his ideas in
a familiar religious context.

Aten is the name given to the solar disc, whereas the full title of Akhenaten's god was Ra-
Horus, who rejoices in the horizon in his name of the light which is in the sun disc.
(This is the title of the god as it appears on the numerous stelae which were placed to mark
the boundaries of Akhenaten's new capital at Akhetaten.)


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 08, 2008, 03:18:23 pm








However in Year 9 of his reign Akhenaten declared a more radical version of his new religion
by declaring Aten not merely the supreme god, but the only god, and that he, Akhenaten,
was the only intermediary between the Aten and his people.

He even staged the ritual regicide of Amun, and ordered the defacing of Amun's temples
throughout Egypt.

In contrast to the old gods, Aten appears primarily to have been seen as a loving and pro-
tective god, whose primary goal was not to punish and demand allegiance and sacrifice
but to support his people through his presence.

Key features of Atenism included a ban on idols and other images of the Aten, with the
exception of a rayed solar disc, in which the rays (commonly depicted ending in hands)
appear to represent the unseen spirit of Aten.

New temples were constructed, in which the Aten was worshipped in the open sunlight,
rather than in dark temple enclosures, as the old gods had been.

Although idols were banned - even in people's homes - these were typically replaced by
functionally equivalent representations of Akhenaten and his family venerating the Aten,
and receiving the ankh (breath of life) from him.

The radicalisation of Year 9 (including spelling Aten phonetically instead of using the
rayed solar disc) may be due to a determination on the part of Akhenaten to enforce
a probable misconception among the common people that Aten was really a type of sun-
god like Ra.

Instead, the idea was reinforced that such representations were representations above
all of concepts - of Aten's universal presence - not of physical beings or things.

The early stage of Atenism appears a kind of henotheism familiar in Egyptian religion, but
the later form suggests a proto-monotheism.

(For the issue of a link to Jewish monotheism see below.)


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 08, 2008, 03:22:45 pm







                                                        Amarna art





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, exaggera-
ted ugliness and the beauty of Nefertiti.

Significantly, and for the only time in the history of Egyptian royal art, Akhenaten's family was
depicted in a decidedly naturalistic manner, and they are clearly shown displaying affection
for each other.

Greek influence may have resulted in some of the Amarna artistic characteristics.

Artistic representations of Akhenaten usually give him a strikingly feminine appearance, with
slender limbs, a protruding belly and wide hips. Other leading figures of the Amarna period,
both royal and otherwise, are also shown with some of these features, suggesting a possible
religious connotation, especially as some sources suggest that private representations of Akh-
enaten, as opposed to official art, show him as quite normal.

However, according to some con-troversial theories, the strikingly unusual representations may
have been due to non-reli-gious factors - Akhenaten may actually been a woman masquerading
as a man, which had been known to happen in Egyptian politics once or twice, or he may have
been a herma-phrodite or had some other intersex condition.

It is also suggested by Bob Brier, in his book "The Murder of Tutankhamen", that the family suffer-
ed from Marfan's syndrome, which is known to cause elongated features, and that this may ex-
plain Akhenaten's appearance.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 08, 2008, 03:27:55 pm







                                                            Decline of Atenism





Crucial evidence about the latter stages of Akhenaten's reign was furnished by discovery
of the so-called Amarna Letters.

Believed to have been thrown away by scribes after being transferred to papyrus, the letters
comprise a priceless cache of incoming clay message tablets sent from imperialoutposts and
foreign allies. The letters suggest that Akhenaten was obsessed with his new religion, and
that his neglect of matters of state was causing disorder across the massive Egyptian empire.

The governors and kings of subject domains wrote to beg for gold, and also complained of
being snubbed and cheated.

Also discovered were reports that a major plague pandemic was spreading across the ancient
Near East. This pandemic appears to have claimed the life of Akhenaten's main wife (Nefertiti)
and several of his six daughters, which may have contributed to a declining interest on the
part of Akhenaten in governing effectively.

With Akhenaten's death, the Aten cult he had founded almost immediately fell out of favor
due to pressures from the Priesthood of Amun. Tutankhaten, who succeeded him at age 8
(with Akhenaten's old vizier, Ay, as regent) changed his name to Tutankhamun in year 3 of
his reign (1348 BC or 1331 BC) and abandoned Akhetaten, the city falling into ruin. Tutankh-
aten became the puppet king of the priests, thus the reason for his change of name. The
priests threatened the unstable rulership of the child king and forced him to take various
drastic actions which corrupted the written record of Egyptian succession and history, delet-
ing the Amarna Revolution and Atenism.

Temples Akhenaten had built, including the temple at Thebes, were disassembled, reused as
a source of building materials and decorations for their own temples, and inscriptions to Aten
defaced.

Finally, Akhenaten, Smenkhkare, Tutankhamun, and Ay were removed from the official lists of
Pharaohs, which instead reported that Amenhotep III was immediately succeeded by Horemheb.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 09, 2008, 09:37:16 am







                                                    Link to Judaism





Because of the monotheistic character of Atenism, a link to Judaism (and subsequently the monotheistic religions springing from it) has been suggested by various writers.

Psychologist Sigmund Freud considered Akhenaten to be the pioneer of monotheistic religion
and Moses as Akhenaten's follower in his book Moses and Monotheism (see also Osarseph).

Recently, Ahmed Osman has argued that Akhenaten and Moses are the same person.

These views however haven't found widespread acceptance among historians.





Literature



Aldred, Cyril, Akhenaten, King of Egypt ISBN 0-500-05048-1

Redford, Donald B., "Akhenaten: The Heretic King" ISBN 0691002177

Wikisource has original text related to this article:

Great Hymn to Aten





References



^ Ahmed Osman, Moses and Akhenaten. The Secret History of Egypt at the Time of the Exodus, (December 2002, Inner Traditions International, Limited) ISBN 1-59143-004-6

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atenism"


FOR THE FULL STORY OF ATENISM,  PLEASE GO TO:


AKHENATEN/TUTANKHAMEN

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,706.0.html     


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 09, 2008, 09:43:19 am







                                                       The new Sun-God





The god whom Akhenaten chose to honour above all others, was a new version of a solar
deity, this new god had slowly been gaining favour (mostly among the nobility), but it was
under the new reign of Amenhotep IV that the Aten found national prominence (recent
thinking is that the Amenhotep III may have been identified as the Aten).

At the King's accession the Aten was formally acknowledged as 'Re-Herakhte rejoicing on
the horizon in his aspect of the light which is in the sun's disk [the Aten]', although at this
point the Aten still took second place behind the all-powerful national god Amun-re of Karnak.

Many have argued that the main reason why Akhenaten chose to worship the Aten and no
other gods in Egypt, and then to outlaw the worship of these 'older gods' was because that
the High Priests of such gods of Amun-Re were too powerful, the High Priest of Amun-Re al-
most had similar power and influence as that of the Pharaoh himself.

But the total revolution that Akhenaten bought to Egypt shows more at work than just poli-
tics, for it wasn't just a god that changed, but also art, tombs, the temples to worship the
god and even the afterlife.


http://ib205.tripod.com/akhenaten.html


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 09, 2008, 09:48:49 am








                                                           A T E N




The Sun disc itself, first as a heavenly body, later personified as Re.

The word 'aten' is in itself denoting a disk and could be not only the sun but also other
round objects.

The 'aten' together with the concept of divinity appeared the first time ca 2000 B.C., in
the tale of Sinhue, where the king Amenemhat I is said to soar into the sky uniting with
Aten, his creator.

The word 'aten' later appears together with a symbol of a deity who is carrying a sun disc
on his head, on an inscription of Thutmose at Tombos in Nubia, ca 1500 B.C.

Later, in the 16th century B.C. the ruler Amenhotep I is likewize after his death 'united
with the one from whom he had come'.

From there the step to elevating the 'aten' to a deity in its own right isn´t all that far.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 09, 2008, 09:51:25 am








The earliest depiction of the 'aten' as Aten can be found on a monument dedicated to
Amenhotep II at Giza.

Here we can see the winged sun disc embracing the royal cartouche with its outstretch-
ed arms.

During the rule of Thutmose IV the Aten is said to be in the vanguard of the army, which
place was usually occupied by Amun.

Next we find that Amenhotep III most likely had a temple to Aten constructed and a priest-
hood installed at Heliopolis. Further, he held courtiers with titles like Hatiay, 'scribe of the
two granaries of the Temple of Aten in Men-Nefer (Memphis)'.

Also the palace of Amenhotep at Malkata bore the name 'Splendour of Aten' and 'Per Hay'
(home of rejoicing).


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 09, 2008, 09:56:24 am








During the Amarna period, under the reign of Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) the sundisc, as
a heavenly body, was exalted to be the only god in existence, something which had been
unheard of hitherto in Egyptian religion, and which undoubtedly caused much consternat-
ion among the priesthood.

Aten was then depicted as a sundisc with rays ending in life-giving hands.

During the first years of his reign, Akhenaten kept the capital at Waset (Thebes). He even
had a temple to Aten constructed outside of the eastern wall to the great temple to Amun.

This was torn down after his reign by Horemheb and some 35.000 blocks went into the pylon
IX at Karnak. This temple was called Per Aten (house of Aten)and included at least three
sanctuaries, where one of them was called the 'mansion of Bn-ben', thereby linking to the
Primeval Mound on which the sun god appeared to create the world in the sun cult at Heliopolis.

In the 6th year of his reign, Akhenaten founded the city of 'Akhet-Aten' ('Horizon of Aten'),
despite the grumblings of a priesthood rendered powerless.

This is the modern site of el-Amarna.

This is also the time when the king changes his name from Amenhotep (Amen is content) to
Akhenaten (Beneficial to Aten) and assumes a new royal titulary, from which can be under-
stood that Re is absorbed into and the same as Aten, and therefore it can be said to be a
renewal of kingship as it was over a thousand eyars earlier in Dyn V.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 09, 2008, 09:59:03 am
(http://www.planetanimals.com/frank-egypt/akhenaten.jpg)







But this period was brief, only ca 15 years and may, in fact, not have had any large effect
outside of the royal court.

For people in general, life probably went on as it had always done, they kept on praying to
their same local deities and was largely unaffected by the changes on the national level.

After Akhenaten´s death the priesthood of Amun reinstalled the old religious practice, tore
down the temples to Aten and the Amarna period became an exception in the history of
Ancient Egypt.

The idea of a single overall creator-god did exist before the time of Akhenaten.

IT is found on the stela of the brothers Suti and Hor (British Museum), where the sun god is
said to be a supreme deity expressed as different gods like Re, Amun and Heru (Horus).

But it is during the time of Akhenaten that this idea reaches its foremost expression.



http://www.philae.nu/akhet/NetjeruA.html#Aten


FOR THE FULL STORY OF ATENISM,  PLEASE GO TO:


AKHENATEN/TUTANKHAMEN

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,706.0.html     


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 09:21:29 am








                                        E G Y P T I A N   M O N O T H E I S M





During the last eighty years the gods of Egypt and the religion of the Ancient Egyptians have been carefully studied by many Egyptologists, but the difficulties which surround these subjects have not yet been cleared away.

The responsibility for the existence of these difficulties rests upon the Egyptians themselves, because they did not write books on their religion or explanations of what they believed.

But a great many hymns to their gods and legends of their gods and goddesses have come down to us, and from these, thanks to the publication of Egyptian texts during the last thirty years, it is now possible to arrive at a number of important conclusions about the Egyptian religion and its general character.

The older Egyptologists debated the question whether it was monotheistic, polytheistic, orpantheistic, and the differences in the opinions which they formed about it will illustrate its difficulty.

Champollion believed it to have been "a pure monotheism, which manifested itself externally by a symbolic polytheism."

1 Tiele thought that in the beginning it was polytheistic, but that it developed in two opposite directions; in the one direction gods were multiplied, and in the other it drew nearer and nearer to monotheism.

2 Naville treated it as a "religion of


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 09:23:40 am








p. 141



nature, inclining to pantheism."

1 Maspero admitted that the Egyptians applied the epithets, "one God" and "only God" to several gods, even when the god was associated with a goddess and a son, but he adds "ce dieu Un n'etait jamais DIEU tout court";

2 the "only god" is the only god Amen, or the only god Ptah, or the only god Osiris, that is to say, a being determinate possessing a personality, name, attributes, apparel, members, a family, a man infinitely more perfect than men. He is a likeness of the kings of this earth, and his power, like that of all kings, is limited by the power of neighbouring kings. The conception of his unity is geographical and political at least as much as it is religious.

Ra, only god of Heliopolis, is not the same as Amen, only god of Thebes. The Egyptian of Thebes proclaimed the unity of Amen to the exclusion of Ra, the Egyptian of Heliopolis proclaimed the unity of Ra to the exclusion of Amen. Each one god, conceived of in this manner, is only the one god of the nome or of the town, and not the one god of the nation recognized as such throughout the country.

On the other hand, de Rougé wrote in 1860, "The unity of a supreme and self-existent being, his eternity, his almightiness, and eternal reproduction as God; the attribution of the creation of the world and of all living beings to this supreme God; the immortality of the soul, completed by the dogma of punishments and rewards; such is the sublime and persistent base which, notwithstanding all deviations and all mythological embellishments, must secure for the beliefs of the Ancient Egyptians a most


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 09:25:42 am








p. 142

honourable place among the religions of antiquity."

1 And in his work on the Religion and Mythology of the Ancient Egyptians 2 Brugsch expressed his conviction that, from the earliest times, a nameless, incomprehensible and eternal God was worshipped by the inhabitants of the Valley of the Nile.

This conviction he based on many passages in the religious and moral texts of the Egyptians, in which reference is made to a self-existent almighty Being who seems to be none other than the God of modern nations.

From these documents we learn that the Egyptian theologians believed that at one time, which was even to them infinitely remote, nothing existed except a boundless primeval mass of water which was shrouded in darkness, but which contained the ultimate sources of everything that now exists in the universe.

In late times this watery mass, which was called Nunu, was regarded as the "Father of the Gods." A something in this water, which formed an essential part of it, felt the desire to create and, having imagined in itself the forms of the beings and things that it intended to create, became operative, and the first creature produced was the god Tem or Khepera, who was the personification of the creative power in the primeval water.

This god sent forth from his body Shu (i.e., Heat) and Tefnut (Moisture), and these produced Geb (Earth) and Nut (Sky). Tem or Khepera fashioned the form of everything in his mind and made known his desires to create to his heart, which was personified as Thoth. This god received the creative impulse and invented in his mind a


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 09:28:44 am








p. 143



name for the object that was to be created, and when he uttered that name the object came into being. In the texts of the early Dynastic Period Ptah and Khnemu were associated with the god of the primeval water, Nunu or Nu, and they were said to fashion the creatures and things the names of which were pronounced by Thoth.

Moreover, they associated the goddess Maat with Thoth, and the part she played at the creation was very much like that which is attributed to Wisdom in the Book of Proverbs.

What the earliest pictorial forms of Tem, Ptah and Khnemu were is not known, but the first and se-
cond appear as men at an early period, and the third is represented by a special form of ram or kudu.

Ra, who usurped the attributes of Tem, also appears as a man.

But of the original creative power which existed of and by itself in the watery mass of Nunu no form is known.

The mind of man was incapable of imagining him, and the hand of man was incapable of making a figure that could be considered to be an image or likeness of him. Under the XVIIIth dynasty an Egyptian scribe composed a hymn to Hep (or Hap or Hapi), the Nile-god, in which he traced his origin back to the great watery mass of Nunu.

He says of him,

"He cannot be sculptured in stone in figures whereon is placed the White Crown. He cannot be seen. Service cannot be rendered to him. Gifts cannot be presented to him. He is not to be approached in the sanctuaries. Where he is is not known. He is not to be found in inscribed shrines. No habitation can contain him. There is none who acteth as guide to his heart."

1 The


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 09:30:54 am








p. 144



[paragraph continues] Nile-god is thus described only because he was the direct emanation from the great unseen, unknown and incomprehensible creative power, which had existed for ever and was the source of all created things. Statues of the Nile-god were made under the last dynasties of the New Empire, but the hymn quoted above was written many centuries earlier.

The religious literature of Ancient Egypt of all periods is abundant, yet in no class of it do we find any prayer or petition addressed to this unseen and unknown god.

But in the Collections of Moral Aphorisms, or "Teachings," composed by ancient sages, we find several allusions to a divine power to which no personal name is given. The word used to indicate this power is NETER or NETHER.

Many have tried to assign a meaning to this word and to find its etymology, but the original meaning of it is at present unknown. The contexts of the passages in which it occurs suggest that it means something like "eternal God." The same word is often used to describe an object, animate or inanimate, which possesses some unusually remarkable power or quality, and in the plural neteru, it represents the beings and things to which adoration in one form or another is paid.

The great God referred to in the Moral Aphorisms is also spoken of as pa neter, "the God," just as the Arabs speak of Al-Allah, i.e., "the Allah." The following examples drawn from the Precepts of Kagemna


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p. 145



[paragraph continues] (IVth dynasty) and the Precepts of Ptah-hetep (Vth dynasty) will illustrate this use of Neter. 1



1. The things which God, (neter), doeth cannot be known.

2. Terrify not men. God, (neter), is opposed thereto.

3. The daily bread is under the dispensation of God, (neter).

4. When thou ploughest, labour (?) in the field God, (neter), hath given thee.

5. If thou wouldst be a perfect man make thy son pleasing to God, (neter).

6. God, I 1, loveth obedience; disobedience I is hateful to God, (neter).

7. Verily a good (or, beautiful) son is the gift of God, (neter).




These extracts suggest that the writers of the Precepts believed in a God whose plans were inscrutable, who was the feeder of men, who assigned to each a share of the goods of this world,
and who expected men to obey his behests and to bring up their children in a way pleasing to him.

As time went on the ideas of the Egyptians about God changed, and under the XVIIIth dynasty he
lost something of the aloofness with


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p. 146



which they regarded him, and a fuller idea of his personality existed in their minds.

This is clear from the following extracts taken from the Precepts, or Teaching, of Khensu-hetep, 1 more generally known as the "Maxims of Ani."



1. The God magnifies his name.

2. The house of God abominates overmuch speaking. Pray with a loving heart, the words of which are hidden. He will do what is needful for thee, he will hear thy petitions and will accept thine oblations.

3. It is thy God, who gives thee existence.

4. The God is the judge of the truth.

5. When thou makest an offering to thy God beware of offering what he abominates.

The unknown God of the early dynasties has now become a Being who gives men their lives and means of subsistence, who can be approached in a temple, or house, who is pleased with offerings, and with prayers offered up silently to him, and who wishes his name to be magnified. Another extract reads:--

6. "Observe with thine eye his plans (or dispensation). Devote thyself to singing praises to his name. He gives souls to hundreds of thousands of forms. He magnifies him that magnifies him."


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p. 147

The text continues:

"Now the god of this earth is Shu, who is the President of the Horizons. His similitudes are upon the earth, and to them incense and offerings are made daily."

Shu in mythological language was the light and heat that emanated from the self-created, self-subsistent and self-existent primeval god, Horus, or Tem, or Khepera. The being who is referred
to in the first part of extract No. 6 seems to me to be different from Shu, the god of this earth.
And it will be remembered that Amenhetep IV, the "Disk-worshipper," adored

"Horus of the Two Horizons in his name of Shu (i.e., Heat) who is in the Aten (Disk)."

The Teaching of Amenemapt, the son of Kanekht, a work that was probably written under the
XVIIIth dynasty, proves quite plainly that the writer distinguished very clearly between God and
the gods Ra, the Moon-god, Thoth, Khnem-Ra, Aten, etc. In the following extracts he clearly re-
fers to God.



1. Leave the angry man in the hands of God . . . God knows how to requite him (Col. V).

2. Carry not away the servant of the God for the benefit of another (Col. VI).

3. Take good heed to Nebertcher, (Lord of the Universe) (Col. VIII).

4. Though a man's tongue steers the boat, it is Nebertcher who is the pilot (Col. XIX).

5. Truth is the great porter (or bearer) of God (Col. XXI).

6. Seat thyself in the hands of God (Col. XXII).


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p. 148



7. A man prepares the straw for his building, but God is his architect.

It is he who throws down, it is he who builds up daily.

It is he who makes a man to arrive in Amentt (the Other World) [where] he is safe in the hand of God (Col. XXIV).

8. The love of God, praised and adored be he is more than the respect of the Chief (Col. XXVI). 1



It will be noted that in none of these extracts is any attempt made to describe God, Neter, and
that he is never called

                                                    "One," or "Only One."

The truth is that the Egyptians felt that they could not describe him and that they knew nothing about him, except that he existed. This great nameless. unseen and unknown God handed over to a number of inferior beings the direction and management of heaven and earth and everything which was in them.

Those that were kind and considerate to the human race men called gods, and those that were malevolent and inimical they called devils.

Each community or village, however small, possessed its own "god," whose power and importance depended upon the wealth and social position of his worshippers.

But the Egyptian, whilst adoring the "god," Neter, of his native city, was ready to admit the existence of another Neter, who was probably the Being whom we call God. Thus, in Chapter CXXV of the Book of the Dead, the deceased says in his declaration before the Forty-two gods,

                                                     "I have not cursed God,"


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p. 149



and

                                       "I have not contemned the god of my city"

1. The distinction between "God" and "god of the city" was quite clear in the mind of the Egyptian.

It has been claimed by some that Amenhetep IV was the first monotheist in Egypt, but the acceptance of this statement depends upon what meaning is given to the word monotheism, i.e., the doctrine of there being only one god.

The passages from the Moral Papyri quoted above show that the Egyptian priests and learned men were monotheistic, even though they do not proclaim the oneness of the god to whom they refer.

The idea of oneness was well understood under the Ancient Empire, but in the Pyramid Texts the attribute is ascribed to the "gods" and to kings as well as to God.

Thus in Teta (l. 237) the "lord one" is mentioned; in Merenra I the king is called "great god alone," (l. 127), 2 and is said to be stronger than every god; and in Pepi II (l. 952) the king is called the

                                                           "one of heaven,"

Now the monotheism of Amenhetep IV was different from that of the writers of the Moral Papyri, and the oneness of Aten which he proclaimed resembled the oneness of several other Egyptian solar gods and also


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p. 150



gods to whom solar attributes had not been originally ascribed.

Tem, Horus of the Two Horizons, and Ra, each of these is called "One," and "only one," whether mentioned singly or together as a triad, and the same title was given to Amen after his fusion
with Ra.

And, whilst Amenhetep IV was proclaiming the oneness of Aten in the city of Aten, the worshipper
of Amen was proclaiming the oneness of Amen in Thebes, the worshipper of Ra or Tem was pro-
claiming the oneness of his god in Heliopolis, and so on throughout the country.

And it is interesting to note that votaries of Neith of Saïs proclaimed that their goddess was "One,"
1 that she first created herself and then produced Ra from her own body.

The second portion of a fine Hymn to the solar triad, which is preserved in the Papyrus of Ani (sheet 19), and is addressed to Ra-Tem-Heraakhuti the "only one," adds Osiris to this "only one" thus

"Praise be to thee, O Osiris, eternal Lord, Un-nefer, Heraakhuti, whose forms are manifold and whose

 attributes axe majestic, Ptah-Seker-Tem in Anu, lord of the hidden shrine and creator of Hetkaptah

(Memphis) . . . thou turnest thy face to the Other World, thou makest the earth to shine like tcham

(gilded copper?). The dead rise up to look at thee, they breathe the air and they see thy face like

that of the Aten (Disk) when he rises on his horizon. Since they see thee their hearts are content, O

thou who art Eternity and Everlastingness."

It is impossible for Amenhetep IV to have indulged in the philosophical speculations as to the unity of God, with which he is sometimes credited, but which were only evolved by the Greek


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p. 151



philosophers a thousand years later.

It is, however, very probable that he wished Aten, as the god of absolute truth and justice, to become the national god of Egypt and divine ruler of all the countries of the Sudan and Western
Asia that formed his dominions.

If that be so, he was born too late to bring this about, even supposing that he was physically and mentally fit to undertake such a task.

When he ascended the throne, Amen, or Amen-Ra, the King of the Gods, the Lord of the world, was actually what Amenhetep wished Aten to be.

Amen had expelled: the Hyksos and set the first king of the XVIIIth dynasty upon his throne, and he had given victory to the successors of Aahmes I and filled Egypt with the wealth of the Sudan and Western Asia.

Amen had become the overlord of the gods, and his fame filled the greater part of the world that was known to the Egyptians.

It was impossible to overthrow the great and wealthy priesthood of Amen, to say nothing of the social institutions of which Amen was the head.

The monotheism of Amenhetep from a religious point of view was not new, but from a political point
of view it was. It consisted chiefly of the dogma that Amen was unfit to be the national god of Egypt, the Sudan and Syria, and that Aten was more just, more righteous, and more merciful than the upstart god of Thebes, and that Aten alone was fitted to be the national god of Egypt and her dominions.

When Amenhetep tried to give a practical form to his views, his attempt was accompanied, as has frequently been the case with religious "reformers," by the confiscation of sacrosanct property, and
by social confusion and misery.

It was fortunate for Egypt that she only produced one king who was an individualist and idealist, a pacifist and a religious "reformer" all in one.


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p. 152



Amenhetep IV attempted to establish a positive religion, and as a religious innovator he spoke and acted as if he were divinely inspired and had a divine revelation to give to men, and in every way he tried to depart from the traditions of the past.

He never realised that, if his religion was to take root and flourish, it must be in contact all along the line with the older ideas and practices which he found among his people.

Religion did not begin with him in Egypt.

He failed in his self-appointed task because his religion did not appeal to the tradition and religious instincts and susceptibilities that already existed among the Egyptians, and because he would not tolerate the traditional forms in which their spiritual feelings were embodied.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 09:55:14 am






                                                            Footnotes





140:1 L'Égypte, Paris, 1839, p. 245.

140:2 Geschiedenis van den Godsdienst in de Oudheid, Amsterdam, 1893, p. 25.

141:1 La Religion, p. 92.

141:2 Histoire Ancienne, Paris, 1904, p. 33.

142:1 Études sur le Rituel Funéraire (in Rev. Arch., Paris, 1860, p. 12).

142:2 Religion und Mythologie, Leipzig, 1885, p. 90.

143:1 See Egyptian Hieratic Papyri in the British Museum, Second Series, London, 1923, pl. LXXIII.
(Introduction, p. 31.)

145:1 They are taken from the Prisse Papyrus which was written under the XIth or XIIth dynasty.
See Virey, Études sur le Papyrus Prisse, Paris, 1877, where a transcript of the hieratic text and a
French translation will be found.

146:1 See Chabas, L'Egyptologie, Série I., Chalon-sur-Saône, Paris, 1876-78; and Amélineau,
La Morale Egyptienne, Paris, 1892.

148:1 See Egyptian Hieratic Papyri, ed. Budge, Second Series, London, 1923.

149:1 From the Papyrus of Nebseni. Early XVIIIth dynasty.

149:2 And "Lord of the earth to its limit"

150:1 See Budge, Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 1, p. 458.


http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/tut12.htm




FOR THE FULL STORY OF ATENISM,  PLEASE GO TO:


AKHENATEN/TUTANKHAMEN

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,706.0.html


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Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 10:36:44 am








p. 55

   THE CULT OF ATEN, THE GOD AND DISK OF THE SUN, ITS ORIGIN, DEVELOPMENT AND DECLINE.





Amongst all the mass of the religious literature of Ancient Egypt, there is no document that may
be considered to contain a reasoned and connected account of the ideas and beliefs which the Egypians associated with the god Aten.

The causes of his rise into favour towards the close of the XVIIIth dynasty can be surmised, and
the principal dogmas which the founder of his cult and his followers promulgated are discoverable
in the Hymns that are found on the walls of the rock-hewn tombs of Tall al-'Amarnah; but the true history of the rise, development and fall of the cult can never be completely known.

The word aten or athen is a very old word for the "disk" or "face of the sun," and Atenism was be-
yond doubt an old form of worship of the sun.

But there were many forms of sun-worship older than the cult of Aten, and several solar gods were worshipped in Egypt many, many centuries before Aten was regarded as a special form of the great solar god at all.

One of the oldest forms of the Sun-god worshipped in Egypt was HER (Horus), who in the earliest times seems to have represented the "height" or "face" of heaven by day. He was symbolized by
the sparrowhawk, the right eye of the bird representing the sun and his left the moon.


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p. 56



In later times he was called "Her-ur" or "Her-sems," the "older Horus," and it was he who fought daily against Set, the darkness of night and the night Sky, and triumphed over him.

The oldest seat of the cult of the Sun-god was the famous city of Anu the On of the Bible, and the Heliopolis of Greek and Latin writers.



(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/05600.jpg)

Horus, hawk-headed,
and Set, his twin brother;
the former was god of the day,
and the latter god of the night.



(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/05601.jpg)

The goddess Nephthys who,
according to Heliopolitan Theology,
was a female counterpart of Set.
 


[paragraph continues] Here, from time immemorial, existed a temple dedicated to the Sun-god, and attached
to it was a college of his priests, who from a very remote period were renowned for their wisdom and learning.

They called their god TEM or ATEM and in later times, at least, he


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p. 57

was depicted in the form of a man wearing the Crowns of the South and North, and holding in his right hand ankh ("life") and in his left a sceptre. He was king of heaven and also of Egypt. He was a solar god and, like every other ancient god in Egypt, had absorbed the attributes of several indigenous gods whose names even




(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/05700.jpg)

Shu, son of Ra,
source of heat and light.




(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/05701.jpg)
Tefnut,
daughter of Ra,
source of moisture and water.
She was a female counterpart of Shu.
 



are now not known.

The Pyramid Texts show that he was all-powerful in heaven, and that his priests proclaimed him to be the greatest of all the gods. The supremacy of Tem is asserted in the various versions of the Book of the Dead,
and all the other solar gods are regarded as forms of him in the various recensions of this work. Thus


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p. 58



in the XVIIth Chapter he says:




"I am Tem in his rising. I was the Only One [when] I came into existence in Nenu (or Nu).

I am Ra when he rose for the first time.

I am the Great God who created himself [from] Nenu, and who made his names to become the gods of his company. I am he who is irresistible among the gods.

I am Tem, the dweller in his Disk, or Ra in his rising in the eastern horizon of the sky.

I am Yesterday; I know To-day

'I am the Bennu (i.e., Phoenix) which is in Anu (Heliopolis),

and I keep the register of the things which are created and

of those which are not yet in existence."




The Company of the gods over whom "Father Tem" presided consisted of Shu and Tefnut, Geb
and Nut, Osiris and Isis, and Set and Nephthys. According to one tradition, Tem produced Shu
and Tefnut from his own body, and these three gods formed the first Triad, or Trinity, Tem
saying,


                                        "From [being] god one I became three."



In the extract from the XVIIth Chapter given above, we must note that



1. Tem originally existed in Nenu, or Nu, the great mass of primeval waters.

2. He was the Only One in existence when he had come into being.

3. He created himself the Great God.

4. He possessed various names, and these he turned into the gods who formed his Pest or Ennead, merely by uttering their names.

5. He was irresistible among the gods, i.e., he was the Over-lord of the gods.

6. He comprehended time past and time to come.

7. He dwelt in the Solar Disk (Aten).

8. He rose in the sky for the first time under the form of Ra, and he was himself the Bennu,
i.e., the Soul of Ra.

9. He kept the Registers of things created and uncreated.



Though the papyrus from which we get these facts is not older than the XVIIIth


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p. 59

dynasty, each of the statements which are here grouped exists in the various religious texts that
were written under the Ancient Empire, say, two thousand years earlier.

Of the style and nature of the worship of Tem we know nothing, but, from the fact that he was depicted in the form of a man, we appear to be justified in assuming that it was of a character




(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/05900.jpg)

Osiris,
Lord of Eternity,
Bull of Amentt.
 


(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/05901.jpg)

Isis,
female counterpart of Osiris,
and mother of Horus.
 


 
superior to that of the cults of sacred animals, birds and reptiles, which were general in Egypt
under the earlier dynasties.

Tem, the man-god, absorbed the attributes of Her-ur, the old Sky-god, and of Khepera, the
Beetle-god, who represented one or more of the forms of an ancient Sun-god between sunset and sunrise, and of Her-aakhuti ("Horus of the two horizons"). Khepera was


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p. 60



the sun during the hour that precedes the dawn.

Her was the sun by day, and Tem was the setting sun; the names of these gods are of native origin.

We may conclude that the priests of Tem incorporated into their forms of worship as many as possi-
ble of the rites and ceremonies to which the people had been accustomed in their worship of the
older gods. For there was nothing strange in the absorption of one god by another to the Egyptian, the god absorbed being regarded by him merely as a phase or character of the absorbing god. The Egyptians, like many other Orientals, were exceedingly tolerant in such matters.

The monuments prove that, quite early in the Dynastic Period, there was known and worshipped in Lower Egypt another form of the Sun-god who was called RA.

Of his origin and early history nothing is known, and the meaning of his name has not yet been satisfactorily explained.

It does not seem to be Egyptian, but it may be that of some Asiatic sun-god, whose cult was introduced into Egypt at a very remote period.

His character and attributes closely resemble those of the Babylonian god Marduk, and both Ra
and Marduk may be only different names of one and the same ancestor.

The centre of the cult of Ra in Egypt was Anu, or Heliopolis, and the city must have been inhabit-
ed by a cosmopolitan population (who were chiefly worshippers of the sun) from time immemorial.

All the caravans from Arabia and Syria halted there, whether outward or homeward bound, and
men of many nations and tongues must have exchanged ideas there as well as commodities.

The control of the water drawn from the famous Well of the Sun, the 'Ain ash-Shams' of Arab
writers, was, no doubt, in the hands of the priests of Anu,


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p. 61



and the payments made by grateful travellers for the watering of their beasts, together with other offerings, made them rich and powerful.

The waters of the well were believed to spring from the celestial waters of Nenu, or Nu, and the Nubian King Piankhi tells us that when he went to Anu he bathed his face in the water in which Ra
was wont to bathe his face.

1 We may note, in passing, that the Virgin Mary drew water from this well when the Holy Family
halted at Anu.

Under the IVth dynasty the priests of Anu obtained very considerable power, and they succeeded
in acquiring pre-eminence for their god Ra among the other gods of Lower Egypt. Whether or not
they chose the kings cannot be said, but it is certain that they caused the name of Ra to form a
part of the Nesu bat names of the builders of the second and third pyramids at Gizah.

Thus we have KHAF-RA (Khephren) and MENKAU-RA (Mycerinus).

Not satisfied with this, they rejected the descendants of the great pyramid builders, and set upon
the throne a number of kings whom they declared to be the sons of their god Ra by the wife of one
of his priests.

The first of these adopted as his fifth, or personal name, the title of "Sa Ra," i.e., son of Ra. This
title, which was certainly adopted by the kings of the Vth dynasty, was borne by every king of
Egypt afterwards, and the Nubian, Persian, Macedonian, or Roman who became king of Egypt saw
no absurdity in styling himself

                                                            "son of Ra."


Thanks to the excavations made by Borchardt and Schäfer, under the direction of F. von Bissing, several important facts dealing with the worship of Ra have been brought to light.

The sun temples built by the later kings of the Vth dynasty were usually buildings


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(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/06200.jpg)







p. 62



about 325 feet long and 245 feet broad.

At the west end stood a truncated, or "blunted," pyramid (A),

and on the top of it was an obelisk made of stone (B). 


In front of the east side of the pyramid stood an alabaster B altar, and on the north side of the
altar were channels along which the blood of the victims, both A animal and human, ran into ala-
baster bowls which were placed to receive it.

On the north side of the rectangular walled enclosure was a row of store rooms, and on the east
and south sides were passages, the walls of which were decorated with reliefs. Opposite the altar,
on the east side, was a gateway; from this ran a path, which led by an inclined causeway to ano-
ther gate, Which formed the entrance to another large enclosure, about 1,000 feet square. The priests lived in this enclosure, and in special chambers were kept the sacred objects which were carried in procession on days of festival.

The principal object of the cult of Ra and his special symbol was the obelisk, but it has been suggested that the earliest worshippers of the sun believed that their god dwelt in a particular
stone of pyramidal shape.

At stated seasons, or for special purposes, the Spirit of the Sun was induced by the priests to
inhabit the stone, and it was believed to be present when gifts were offered up to the god, and
when human victims, who were generally prisoners of war, were sacrificed.

The exact signification of this sun symbol is not known. Some think that the obelisk represented
the axis of earth and heaven, but the Egyptians can hardly have evolved such an idea; others
assign to it a phallic signification, and others associate it with an object that produced fire and
heat.

That it symbolized Ra is certain, and there was in every sanctuary a


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p. 63

shrine in which, behind sealed doors, was a model of an obelisk. The cult of the standing stone, or pillar, was probably older than the cult of Ra, and the old name of Heliopolis is Anu, i.e., the city of the pillar. The Spirit of the Sun




(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/06300.jpg)

Osiris Khenti Amentt,
god and judge of the dead
and lord of the Other World.
 


(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/06301.jpg)

The triune god of the Osirian Resurrection.
The three members of his triad were Seker,
an old Death-god of Memphis;
Ptah, a Creation-god of Memphis;
and Osiris, the vivifier of the dead.
 



visited the temple of the sun from time to time in the form of a Bennu bird, and alighted "on the Ben-stone, 1 in the house of the Bennu in Anu in later times the Bennu-bird, which


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p. 64



the Egyptians regarded as the "soul of RA," was known as the Phoinix, or Phœnix.

Under the VIth dynasty the priests of Ra succeeded in thrusting their god into the position of over-lord of all the gods, and as we see from the names Ra-Khepera, Ra-Atem, Ra-Heraakhuti and the
like, all the old solar gods of the north of Egypt were regarded as forms of Ra.

He was king of heaven and judge of gods and men, and the attempt was also made to make the people accept him as the over-lord of Osiris and king of the Tuat, or Underworld. But in this last matter the priests failed, and Osiris maintained his position as the god and judge of the dead.

The priests had assigned to Ra in the funerary compositions, which are now known as the "Pyramid Texts," great powers over the dead, and, in fact, over all the gods and demons and denizens of the underworld, but before a century had passed, Osiris had established absolute sovereignty over his realm of Amentt.

From what has been said above it is evident that, before the close of the VIth dynasty, the priests
of the various solar gods of Lower Egypt had assigned to each of them all the essential powers and characteristics which Amenhetep claimed for his god Aten.

But before we consider these powers in detail, we must summarize briefly the principal historical
facts relating to the rise and development of the Aten cult.

Wherever a solar god was worshipped in Egypt, the habitat of this god was believed to be the solar Disk (aten or athen) But the oldest solar god who was associated with the Disk was Tem, or Atmu, who is frequently referred to in religious texts as

                                                          "Tem in his Disk"

When Ra usurped the attributes of Tem he became the


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 03:24:38 pm
(http://euler.slu.edu/Dept/Faculty/bart/egyptimage/11_luxor_museumAmenhIII.jpg)

AMENHETEP III








p. 65



[paragraph continues]                         

                                                      "dweller in his Disk."

Heraakhuti was the

                                                  "god of the two horizons,"

i.e., the Sun-god by day, from sunrise to sunset, and in the hieroglyphs with which his name is written, we see the Disk resting upon the horizon of the east and the horizon of the west.

Thothmes IV, who owed his throne to the priesthoods of Tem and Ra at Heliopolis, incorporated
the name of Tem in his Nebti title, and styled himself "made of Ra," "chosen of Ra," and "beloved
of Ra."

As the name of Amen is wanting in every one of his titles, it seems reasonable to assume that his personal sympathies lay with the cult of the solar gods of the North and not with the cult of Amen
of Thebes. But he maintained good relations with the priests of Amen, and made gifts to their god, who through the victories of Thothmes III was recognized in the Egyptian Win, Egypt, and Syria as the god of all the world.

Thothmes IV was succeeded by his son Amenhetep III, the third king to bear the name, and the priesthood of Thebes asserted that he was the veritable son of their god Amen, whose blood ran in
his veins.

According to this fiction, the god assumed the form of Thothmes IV, and Queen Mutemuaa became with child by him. How much or how little religious instruction the child received cannot be said, but it is probable that any teaching which he received from his mother, the princess of Mitanni, would make his mind to incline towards the religion of her native land.

From the titles which Amenhetep assumed when he became king, it is clear that he was content to be "the chosen of Ra," "the chosen of Tem," or "the chosen of Amen," and it seems to have mattered little to him whether he was the "beloved" and


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 03:28:57 pm








p. 66



[paragraph continues]

                            "emanation of Ra" or the "beloved" and "emanation of Amen."

His predecessors on the throne of Egypt believed in all seriousness that they had divine blood in
their veins, and they acted as they thought gods would act; they had themselves hedged round
with elaborate ceremonial procedure, which made men believe that their king was a god.

To Amenhetep all the gods of Egypt were alike, and we see from the bas-reliefs in the temple at Sulb, some fifty miles above the head of the Second Cataract, that he was as willing to worship himself and to offer sacrifices to himself as to Amen, in whose honour he had rebuilt the temple.

It is impossible to think of his performing daily the rites and ceremonies which the king of Egypt was expected to perform in the shrine of Amen-Ra at Karnak, in order to obtain from the god the power and knowledge necessary for governing his people.

One of the most important events in his life, and one fraught with very far-reaching consequences, was his marriage with the lady Ti (or Tei), a private individual, apparently of no high rank or social position.

1 In the Tall al-'Amarnah letters her name is transcribed Tei.
Her father was called Iuau, and her mother Thuau. Their tomb was discovered in 1905,

2 and it is clear that, before the marriage of their daughter to Amenhetep III, they were humble folk. According to a consensus of modern Egyptological opinion they were natives of Egypt, not foreigners as the older Egyptologists supposed.

Be this as it may, there is no doubt that Ti was


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 03:30:10 pm
(http://web.ukonline.co.uk/gavin.egypt/images/scribe23.jpg)

QUEEN TEI


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 03:33:15 pm








p. 67



a very remarkable woman and that her influence over her husband was very great.

Her name appears in the inscriptions side by side with that of her husband, a fact which proves that he acknowledged her authority as co-ruler with himself; and she assisted at public functions and in acts of ceremonial worship in a manner unknown to queens in Egypt before her time.

Her power inside the palace and in the country generally was very great, and there is evidence that the king's orders, both private and public, were only issued after she had sanctioned them.

In the Sudan the king was worshipped as a god, and as the son and equal and counterpart of Amen-Ra, and in the temple which Amenhetep built for her at Saddenga, some twenty or thirty miles south of Koshah, Ti was worshipped as a goddess.

When Amenhetep married her, or perhaps when he became king, he caused a number of unusually large steatite scarabs to be made, with his names and titles and those of Ti cut side by side on
their bases.

1 On another group of large scarabs he caused his own names and titles, and the names of Ti and
her father Iuau and mother Thuau, to be cut, and these are followed by the statement,

"[She is] the wife of the victorious king whose territory in the South reaches to Karei (i.e., Napata,
at the foot of the Fourth Cataract) and in the North to Naharn" (i.e. the country of the head waters of the Euphrates).

2 Perhaps this is another way of saying the great and mighty king Amenhetep was proud to marry
the daughter of parents of humble birth and to give her a position equal to his own.

And it is possible, as Maspero suggested long ago, that some romantic episode


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Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 03:37:46 pm








p. 63



is here referred to, similar to that in the old story where the king marries a shepherdess for love.

What Ti's religious views were, or what gods she worshipped, we have no means of knowing, but
the inscription which is found repeated on several large steatite scarabs suggests that she favour-
ed the cult of Aten, and that in the later years of her life she was a zealous and devoted follower
of that god.

To please her, Amenhetep caused a great lake to be made on her estate called Tcharukha in West-
ern Thebes. This lake was about 1 1/8 mile (3,700 cubits) long and more than 5/8th of a mile (700 cubits) wide, and its modern representative is probably Birkat Habu.

On the sixteenth day of the third month of the season Akhet (October), in the 11th year of his reign, His Majesty sailed over the lake in the barge called ATHEN-TEHEN i.e.

                                                            "Aten sparkles."

And in following years this day was celebrated as a festival. Both lake and barge were made to
give the Queen pleasure, and the fact that the name of Aten formed part of the name of the latter, instead of Amen, has been taken to show that both the King and Queen wished to pay honour to
this solar god. In fact, it was definitely stated by Maspero that this water procession of the King marked the inauguration of the cult of Aten at Thebes, and he is probably correct.

Amenhetep's children by Ti consisted of four daughters and one son; his daughters were called Ast, Henttaneb, Satamen and Baktenaten, and her son was Amenhetep IV, the famous Aakhunaten. Ti lived in Western Thebes during her husband's lifetime, and she continued to do so after his death.

She visited Tall al-'Amarnah from time to time, and was present there in the twelfth year of


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 03:40:44 pm








p. 69



her son's reign. What appears to be an excellent portrait of her is reproduced on Plate XXXIII of Mr. Davis's book on her tomb.

But his respect for Ti and the honour in which he held her did not prevent Amenhetep from marrying other wives, and we know from the Tall al-'Amarnah tablets that he married a sister and a daughter
of Tushratta, the King of Mitanni.

His marriage with Gilukhipa, the daughter of Shutarna and sister of Tushratta, took place in the tenth year of his reign. And he commemorated the event by making a group of large scarabs inscribed on their bases with the statement that in the tenth year of his reign Gilukhipa, the daughter of Shutarna, prince of Neherna, arrived in Egypt with her ladies and escort of 317 persons.

1 Exactly when Amenhetep married Tushratta's daughter Tatumkhipa is not known, but that he received many gifts with her from her father is certain, for a tablet at Berlin (No. 296) contains a long list of her wedding gifts from her father.

In marrying princesses of Mitanni Amenhetep followed the example of his father, Thothmes IV, whose wife, whom the Egyptians called Mutemuaa, was a native of that country.

It follows as a matter of course that the influence of these foreign princesses on the King must have been very considerable at the Theban Court, and they and the high officials and ladies who came to Egypt with them would undoubtedly prefer the cult of their native gods to that of Amen of Thebes.

Ti's son, Amenhetep IV, and his sisters would soon learn their religious views, and the prince's hatred of Amen and of his arrogant priesthood probably dates from the time when he came in contact with the princesses of Mitanni, and learned to know Mithras, Indra, Varuna and


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 03:45:12 pm
(http://www.insects.org/ced2/amenophis.jpeg)








p. 70



other Aryan gods, whose cults in many respects resembled those of Horus, Ra, Tem and other Egyptian solar gods.

During the early years of his reign Amenhetep spent a great deal of his time in hunting, and to commemorate his exploits in the desert he caused two groups of large scarabs to be made. On
the bases of these were cut details of his hunts and the numbers of the beasts he slew.

One group of them, the "Hunt Scarabs," tells us that a message came to him saying that a herd of
wild cattle had been sighted in Lower Egypt. Without delay he set off in a boat and, having sailed all night, arrived in the morning near the place where they were.

All the people turned out and made an enclosure with stakes and ropes, and then, in true African fashion, surrounded the herd and with cries and shouts drove the terrified beasts into it. On the occasion which the scarabs commemorate 170 wild cattle were forced into the enclosure, and then the King in his chariot drove in among them and killed 56 of them. A few days later he slew 20 more. This battle took place in the second year of Amenhetep's reign.

1.The other group of "Hunt Scarabs" was made in the tenth year of his reign, and after enumerating the names and titles of Amenhetep and his wife Ti, the inscription states that, from the first to the tenth year of his reign, he shot with his own hand 102 fierce lions.

2 No other King of Egypt used the scarab as a vehicle for advertising his personal exploits and private affairs. That Amenhetep had some reason for so doing seems clear, but unless it was to secularize the sacred symbol of Khepera, or to cast



Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 03:48:23 pm








p. 71



good-natured ridicule on some phase of native Egyptian belief which he thought lightly of, this use
of the scarab seems inexplicable.

The reign of Amenhetep III stands alone in Egyptian History.

When he ascended the throne he found himself absolute lord of Syria, Phoenicia, Egypt and the Egyptian Sudan as far south as Napata.

His great ancestor Thothmes III had conquered the world, as known to the Egyptians, for him.

Save in the "war" which he waged in Nubia in the fifth year of his reign, he never needed to strike
a blow to keep what Thothmes III had won. And this "war" was relatively an unimportant affair. It
was provoked by the revolt of a few tribes who lived near the foot of the Second Cataract and, according to the evidence of the sandstone stele, which was set up by Amenhetep to commemorate his victory, he only took 740 prisoners and killed 312 rebels.

1 In the Sudan he made a royal progress through the country, and the princes and nobles not only acclaimed him as their over-lord but worshipped him as their god. And year by year, under the direction of the Egyptian Viceroy of Kash, they dispatched to him in Thebes untold quantities of gold, precious stones, valuable woods, skins of beasts, and slaves.

When he visited Phœnicia, Syria, and the countries round about he was welcomed and acknowledged by the shekhs and their tribes as their king, and they paid their tribute unhesitatingly. The great independent chiefs of Babylonia, Assyria, and Mitanni vied with each other in seeking his friendship, and probably the happiest times of his pleasure-loving


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life were the periods which he spent among his Mesopotamian friends and allies.

His joy in hunting the lion in the desert south of Sinjar and in the thickets by the river Khabur can
be easily imagined, and his love for the chase would gain him many friends among the shekhs of Mesopotamia.

His visits to Western Asia stimulated trade, for caravans could travel to and from Egypt without let 
or hindrance, and in those days merchants and traders from the islands and coasts of the Medi-
terranean flocked to Egypt, where gold was as dust for abundance.

Amenhetep devoted a large portion of the wealth which he had inherited, and the revenues which he received annually from tributary peoples, to enlarging and beautifying the temples of Thebes. He had large ideas, and loved great and splendid effects, and he spared neither labour nor expense in creating them.

He employed the greatest architects and engineers and the best workmen, and he gave them a
"free hand," much as Hatshepsut did to her architect Senmut.

On the east bank he made great additions to the temple of Karnak, and built an avenue from the river to the temple, and set up obelisks and statues of himself. He completed the temple of Mut and made
a sacred lake on which religious processions in boats might take place. He joined the temples of Karnak and Luxor by an avenue of kriosphinxes, each holding a figure of himself between the paws, and at Luxor he built the famous colonnade, which is to this day one of the finest objects of its kind in Egypt.

On the west bank he built a magnificent funerary temple, and before its pylon he set up a pair of obelisks and the two colossal statues of himself which are now known as the "Colossi of Memnon."

A road led from the river to the temple, and each


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 03:53:37 pm
(http://www.coulouris.net/george-jean/Egypt2001/luxor2/Colossi%20Memnon-pp.JPG)

COLOSSI OF MEMNON


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 03:56:35 pm








p. 73



side of it was lined with stone figures of jackals.

He also built on the Island of Elephantine a temple in honour of Khnemu, the great god of the First Cataract and, as already said, he rebuilt and added largely to the temple which had been founded
by Amenhetep III at Sulb.

All these temples were provided with metal-plated doors, parts of which seem to have been deco-
rated with rich inlays, and colour was used freely in the scheme of decoration.

The means at the king's disposal enabled him to employ unlimited labour, and most of his subjects must have gained their livelihood by working for Amen and the king. Under such patrons as these the Arts and Crafts flourished, and artificers in stone, wood, brass, and faïence produced works the like of which had never before been seen in Egypt.

Throughout his reign Amenhetep corresponded with his friends in Babylonia, Mitanni, and Syria, and the arrival and departure of the royal envoys gave opportunity for dispensing lavish hospitality, and
for the display of wealth and all that it produces.

The receptions in his beautifully decorated palace on the west bank of the river must have been splendid functions, such as the Oriental loves. The king spent his wealth royally; and, in many ways, probably as a result of the Mitannian blood which flowed in his veins, his character was more that of
a rich, luxury-loving, easygoing and benevolently despotic Mesopotamian Shekh than that of a king
of Egypt.

Very aptly has Hall styled him

                                               "Amenhetep the Magnificent."

He died after a reign of about thirty-six years, and was buried in his tomb in the Western Valley at Thebes. On the walls of the chambers there are scenes representing the king worshipping the gods
of the Underworld, and on the ceiling are some very interesting astronomical paintings.


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Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 03:58:15 pm








p. 74



The tomb was unfinished when the king was buried in it.

It was pillaged by the professional robbers of tombs, and the Government of the day removed his mummy to the tomb of Amenhetep II, where it was found by Loret in 1899.

Thus, whatever views Amenhetep III may have held about Aten, he was buried in Western Thebes, with all the pomp and ceremony befitting an orthodox Pharaoh.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 15, 2008, 03:59:25 pm






                                                           Footnotes





61:1 Stele of Piankhi, l. 102.

63:1 Pyramid Texts, II. N. 663, p. 372.

66:1 See Davis, The Tomb of Queen Tiyi, London, 1910.

66:2 See Davis, Tomb of Iouiya and Touiyou, London, 1907.

67:1 For an example see No. 4094 in the British Museum (Table Case B. Fourth Egyptian Room).

67:2 See Nos. 4096 and 16988.

69:1 See No. 49707 in the British Museum.

70:1 For a fine example of this group of scarabs, see No. 55585 in the British Museum.

70:2 Fine examples in the British Museum are Nos. 4095, 12520, 24169 and 29438.

71:1 The stele was made by Merimes, Viceroy of the Northern Sudan, and set up by him at Samnah, some 30 miles south of Wadi Halfah. It is now in the British Museum. (Northern Egyptian Gallery, No. 411, Bay 6.) An illustration of it will be found in the Guide, p. 115.


http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/tut07.htm




FOR THE FULL STORY OF ATENISM,  PLEASE GO TO:


AKHENATEN/TUTANKHAMEN

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,706.0.html


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 09:32:33 am








p. 75



                             DEVELOPMENT OF THE CULT OF ATEN UNDER AMENHETEP IV.





Amenhetep III was succeeded by his son by his beloved wife Ti, who came to the throne under the name of Amenhetep IV. He reigned about seventeen years, and died probably before he was thirty.

The accuracy of the latter part of this statement depends upon the evidence derived from the
mummy of a young man which was found in the Tomb of Queen Ti, and is generally believed to be
that of Amenhetep IV.

It is thought that this mummy was taken from a royal tomb at Tall al-'Amarnah in mistake for that
of Ti, and transported to Thebes, where it was buried as her mummy.

Dr. Elliot Smith examined the skeleton, and decided that it was that of a man 25 or 26 years of age, "without excluding the possibility that he may have been several years older."

His evidence 1 is very important, for he adds,

"The cranium, however, exhibits in an unmistakable manner the distortion characteristic of a con-
dition of hydrocephalus."

So, then, if the skeleton be that of Amenhetep IV, the king suffered from water on the brain; and
if he was 26 years old when he died, he must have begun to reign at the age of nine or ten. But
there is the possibility that he did not begin to reign until he was a few years older.

Even had his father lived, he was not the kind of man to teach his son to emulate the deeds of
warrior Pharaohs like Thothmes III,


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Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 09:36:44 am








p. 76



and there was no great official to instruct him in the arts of war, for the long peaceful reign of Amenhetep III made the Egyptians forget that the ease and luxury which they then enjoyed had
been purchased by the arduous raids and wars of their forefathers.

To all intents and purposes, Ti ruled Egypt for several years after her husband's death, and the
boy-king did, for a time at least, what his mother told him. His wife, Nefertiti, who was his father's daughter probably by a Mesopotamian woman, was no doubt chosen for him by his mother, and it
is quite clear from the wall-paintings at Tall al-'Amarnah that he was very much under their influence.

 His nurse's husband, Ai, was a priest of Aten, and during his early years he absorbed from this group of persons the fundamentals of the cult of Aten and much knowledge of the religious beliefs of the Mitannian ladies at the Egyptian Court.

These sank into his mind and fructified, with the result that he began to abominate not only Amen,
the great god of Thebes, but all the old gods and goddesses of Egypt, with the exception of the
solar gods of Heliopolis.

In many respects these gods resembled the Aryan gods worshipped by his grandmother's people, especially Varuna, to whom, as to Ra, human sacrifices were sometimes offered, and to them his sympathy inclined. But besides this he saw, as no doubt many others saw, that the priests of Amen were usurping royal prerogatives and, by their wealth and astuteness, were becoming the dominant power in the land. Even at that time the revenues of Amen could hardly be told, and the power of
his priests pervaded the kingdom from Napata in the South to Syria in the North.

During the first five or six years of his reign Amenhetep IV, probably as the result of the


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 09:37:59 am
(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/pl07.jpg)

Portion of a painted stone tablet with a portrait figure of
Amenhetep IV in hollow relief.

On him shine the rays of Aten which terminate in human
hands.

British Museum,
No. 24431.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 09:41:10 am
(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/pl08.jpg)

Portion of a head of a portrait figure of
Amenhetep IV.

British Museum,
No. 13366.

 



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Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 09:47:08 am








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skilful guidance of his mother, made little or no change in the government of the country.

But his actions in the sixth and following years of his reign prove that, whilst he was still a mere
boy, he was studying religious problems with zeal, and with more than the usual amount of boyish understanding. He must have been precocious and clever, with a mind that worked swiftly; and he possessed a determined will and very definite religious convictions and a fearless nature.

It is also clear that he did not lightly brook opposition, and that he believed sincerely in the truth
and honesty of his motives and actions.

But with all these gifts he lacked a practical knowledge of men and things. He never realized the
true nature of the duties which, as king, he owed to his country and people, and he never under-
stood the realities of life.

He never learnt the kingcraft of the Pharaohs, and he failed to see that only a warrior could hold
what warriors had won for him. Instead of associating himself with men of action, he sat at the
feet of Ai the priest, and occupied his mind with religious speculations; and so, helped by his adoring mother and kinswomen, he gradually became the courageous fanatic that the tombs and monuments of Egypt show him to have been.

His physical constitution and the circumstances of his surroundings made him what he was.

In recent years he has been described by such names as "great idealist," "great reformer," the
"world's first revolutionist," the "first individual in human history," etc.

But, in view of the known facts of history, and Dr. Elliot Smith's remarks quoted above on the distortion of the skull of Amenhetep IV, we are fully justified in wondering with Dr. Hall if the king

                                                 "was not really half insane."

1 None but a man half insane


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Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 09:49:22 am









p. 78

would have been so blind to facts as to attempt to overthrow Amen and his worship, round which
the whole of the social life of the country centred. He

 


(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/07800.jpg)
Aten, the great god, lord of heaven,
from whom proceeds "life";

beneath is Amenhetep IV who is here
represented conventionally as a Pharaoh.

 



suffered from religious madness at least, and spiritual arrogance and self-sufficiency made him oblivious to everything except his own feelings and emotions


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Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 09:55:15 am








p. 79



Once having made up his mind that Amen and all the other "gods" of Egypt must be swept away, Amenhetep IV determined to undertake this work without delay.

After years of thought, he had come to the conclusion that only the solar gods, Tem, Ra and Horus
of the Two Horizons were worthy of veneration, and that some form of their worship must take the place of that of Amen.

The form of the Sun-god which he chose for worship was ATEN, i.e., the solar Disk, which was the abode of Tem and later of Ra of Heliopolis.

But to him the Disk was not only the abode of the Sun-god, it was the god himself, who, by means
of the heat and light which emanated from his own body, gave life to everything on the earth. To Aten Amenhetep ascribed the attributes of the old gods, Tem, Ra, Horus, Ptah, and even of Amen, and he proclaimed that Aten was "One" and "Alone."

But this had also been proclaimed by all the priesthoods of the old gods, Tem, Khepera, Khnem, Ra, and, later, of Amen. The worshippers of every great god in Egypt had from time immemorial declared that their god was

                                                            "One."

"Oneness" was an attribute, it would seem, of everything that was worshipped in Egypt, just as it is
in some parts of India.

It is inconceivable that Amenhetep IV knew of the existence of other suns besides the sun he saw, and it was obvious that Aten, the solar disk, was one alone, and without counterpart or equal.

Some light is thrown upon Amenhetep's views as to the nature of his god by the title which he gave him. This title is written within two cartouches and reads:--



"The Living Horus of the two horizons,

exalted in the Eastern Horizon in his name of

Shu-who-is-in-the-Disk."


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Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 09:58:39 am








p. 80



It is followed by the words,




"ever-living, eternal, great living Disk, he who is in the Set Festival,

1 lord of the Circle (i.e., everything which the Disk shines on in every direction),

lord of the Disk, lord of heaven, lord of the earth."




Amenhetep IV worshipped Horus of the two horizons as the "Shu who was in the disk."

If we are to regard "Shu" as an ordinary noun, we must translate it by "heat," or "heat and light,"
for the word has these meanings. In this case Amenhetep worshipped the solar heat, or the heat
and light which were inherent in the Disk.

Now, we know from the Pyramid Texts that Tem or Tem-Ra created a god and a goddess from the emanations or substance of his own body, and that they were called "Shu" and "Tefnut," the former being the heat radiated from the body of the god, and the latter the moisture.

Shu and Tefnut created Geb (the earth) and Nut (the sky), and they in turn produced Osiris, the
god of the river Nile, Set, the god of natural decay and death, and their shadowy counterparts,
Isis and Nephthys.

But, if we regard "Shu" as a proper name in the title of Amenhetep's god, we get the same result,
and can only assume that the king deified the heat of the sun and worshipped it as the one, eternal, creative, fructifying and life-sustaining force.

The old Heliopolitan tradition made Tem or Tem-Ra, or Khepera, the creator of Aten the Disk, but
this view Amenhetep IV rejected, and he asserted that the Disk was self-created and self-subsistent.

The common symbol of the solar gods was a



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p. 81



disk encircled by a serpent, but when Amenhetep adopted the disk as the symbol of his god, he abolished the serpent and treated the disk in a new and original fashion.

From the disk, the circumference of which is sometimes hung round with symbols of "life," ☥ he
made a series of rays to descend, and at the end of each ray was

 


(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/08100.jpg)

The frog-headed goddess Heqit,
one of the Eight Members of the
Ogdoad of Thoth.

 


a hand, as if the ray was an arm, bestowing "life" on the earth.

This symbol never became popular in the country, and the nation as a whole preferred to believe
that the Sun-god travelled across the sky in two boats, the Sektet and the Atet.

The form of the old Heliopolitan cult of the Sun-god that was evolved by Amenhetep could never
have appealed to the Egyptians, for it was


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p. 82



too philosophical in character and was probably based upon esoteric doctrines that were of foreign origin.

Her and Suti, the two great overseers of the temples of Amen at Thebes, were content to follow
the example of their king Amenhetep III, and bow the knee to Aten and, like other officials, to sing
a hymn in his praise. But they knew the tolerant character of their master's religious views, and that outwardly, at least, he was a loyal follower of Amen, whose blood, according to the dogma of his priests, flowed in the king's veins. To Amenhetep III a god more or less made no difference, and he considered it quite natural that every priesthood should extol and magnify the power of its god. He was content to be a counterpart of Amen, and to receive the official worship due to him as such.

But with his son it was different.

The heat of Aten gave him life and maintained it in him, and whilst that was in him Aten was in him. The life of Aten was his life, and his life was Aten's life, and therefore he was Aten; his spiritual arrogance made him believe that he was an incarnation of Aten, i.e., that he was God--not a mere "god" or one of the "gods" of Egypt--and that his acts were divine.

He felt therefore that he had no need to go to the temple of Amen to receive the daily supply of the "fluid of life," which not only maintained the physical powers of kings, but gave them wisdom
and understanding to rule their country.

Still less would he allow the high priest of Amen to act as his vicar.

Finally, he determined that Amen and the gods must be done away and all the dogmas and

doctrines of their priesthoods abolished, and that Aten must be proclaimed the

One,selfcreated,selfsubsisting, self-existing god, whose son and deputy he was.



Without, apparently, considering the probable


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 10:09:59 am
(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/pl09.jpg)

Sphinx, with the head of Amenhetep IV,
making an offering of Maat to Aten.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 10:11:50 am
(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/pl10.jpg)

Two of the daughters of Amenhetep IV.

Reproduced by permission of the
Egyptian Exploration Society.
From a bas-relief now in the

Ashmolean Museum,
Oxford.

 



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Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 10:23:12 am








p. 83



effect of his decision when translated into action, he began to build the temple of Gem-Aten in
Per-Aten, at Thebes.

In it was a chamber or shrine, in which the ben, or benben, i.e., the "Sun-stone," was placed,
and in doing this he followed the example of the priests of Heliopolis. The site he selected for this temple was a piece of ground about half way between the Temple of Karnak and the Temple of
Luxor. He decided that this temple should be the centre of the worship of Aten, which should henceforward be the one religion of his country.

The effect of the king's action on the priests of Amen and the people of Thebes can be easily imagined, when we remember that, with the downfall of Amen, their means of livelihood disappeared.



But Amenhetep was the king, the blood of the Sun-god was in his veins, and Pharaoh was the

master and owner of all Egypt, and of every person and thing in it.



Priests and people were alike unable to resist his will, and, though they cursed Aten and his fanatical devotee, they could not prevent the confiscation of the revenues of Amen and the abolition of his services. Not content with this, Amenhetep caused the name of Amen to be obliterated on the monuments, and in some cases even his father's name, and the word for "gods" was frequently cut out. Not only was there to be no Amen, but there were to be no gods; Aten was the only god that was to be worshipped.

The result of the promulgation of this decree can be easily imagined.

Thebes became filled with the murmurings of all classes of the followers of Amen, and when the
temple of Aten was finished, and the worship of the new god was inaugurated,


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p. 84



these murmurings were changed to threats and curses, and disputes between the Amenites and Atenites filled the city.

What exactly happened is not known and never will be known, but the result of the confusion and uproar was that Amenhetep IV found residence in Thebes impossible, and he determined to leave it, and to remove the Court elsewhere.

Whether he was driven to take this step through fear for the personal safety of himself and his family, or whether he wished still further to insult and injure Amen and his priesthood, cannot be said, but the reason that induced him to abandon his capital city and to destroy its importance as such must have been very strong and urgent.

Having decided to leave Thebes he sought for a site for his new capital, which he intended to make
a City of God, and found it in the north, at a place which is about 160 miles to the south of Cairo and 50 miles to the north of Asyut.

At this point the hills on the east bank of the Nile enclose a sort of plain which is covered with fine yellow sand. The soil was virgin, and had never been defiled with temples or other buildings connected with the gods of Egypt whom Amenhetep IV hated, and the plain itself was eminently suitable for the site of a town, for its surface was unbroken by hills or reefs of limestone or sandstone.

This plain is nearly three miles from the Nile in its widest part and is about five miles in length. The plain on the other side of the river, which extended from the Nile to the western hills, was very much larger than that on the east bank, and was also included by the king in the area of his new capital.

He set up large stelæ on the borders of it to mark the limits of the territory of Aten, and had inscriptions cut upon them stating this fact.


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p. 85

We have already seen that Amenhetep IV had, whenever possible, caused the name of Amen to be chiselled out from stelæ, statues, and other monuments, and even from his father's cartouches, whilst at the same time the name of Amen formed part of his name as the son of Ra.

It was easy to remedy this inconsistency, and he did so by changing his name from Amenhetep, which means "Amen is content," to

                                                             AAKHUNATEN, 

a name which by analogy should mean something like "Aten is content."

This meaning has already been suggested by more than one Egyptologist, but there is still a good
deal to be said for keeping the old translation,

                                                             "Spirit of Aten."

I transcribe the new name of Amenhetep IV, Aakhunaten, not with any wish to add another to the many transliterations that have been proposed for it, but because it represents with considerable accuracy the hieroglyphs.

The Pyramid Texts show that the phonetic value of  was  or . The first sign represents a short vowel, a, e, or i; the second a, like the Hebrew aleph, the third kh, and the fourth u; therefore the phonetic value of in Pyramid times was aakh, or aakhu, but in later times the a was probably dropped, and then the value of  would be akh, as Birch read it sixty years ago. If this were so, the name will be correctly transliterated by

                                                                 "Akhenaten."

How the name was pronounced we do not know and never shall know, but there is no good ground for thinking that "Ikhnaton" or "Ikh-en-aton" represents the correct pronunciation.

In passing


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p. 86



we may note that Aten has nothing to do with the Semitic 'adhon, "lord."

At this time Amenhetep IV adopted two titles in connection with his new name, i.e.,

                                                      "Ankh-em-Maat"

and

                                                        "Aa-em-aha-f" 

the former meaning, "Living in Truth" and the latter "great in his life period." What is meant exactly by




(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/08600.jpg)

Thoth, lord of the writing of the god,
i.e., hieroglyphs.
He was the of the primeval God and
translated into speech the will of this God.
 



(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/08601.jpg)

Maat, the goddess of truth, reality, law,
both physical and spiritual,
order, rectitude, uprightness, integrity, etc.
 



                                                                  "living in truth"

is not clear.

Maat means what is straight, true, real, law, both physical and moral, the truth, reality, etc.

He can hardly have meant "living in or by the law," for he was a law to himself, but he may have meant that
in Atenism he had found the truth or the "real" thing, and that all else in religion was a phantom,


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p. 87



a sham. Aten lived in maat, or in truth and reality, and the king, having the essence of Aten in him, did the same.

The exact meaning which Amenhetep IV attached to the other title, "great in his life-period," is also not clear.

He, as was every Pharaoh who preceded him, was a "son of Ra," but he did not claim, as they did, to "live like Ra for ever," and only asserted that his life-period was great.

Amenhetep IV called his new capital Aakhutaten, i.e., "the Horizon of Aten," and he and his followers regarded it as the one place in which Aten was to be found. It was to them the visible symbol of the splendour and benevolence and love of the god, the sight of it rejoiced the hearts of all beholders, and its loveliness, they declared, was beyond compare.

It was to them what Babylon was to the Babylonians, Jerusalem to the Hebrews, and Makkah to the Arabs; to live there and to behold the king, who was Aten's own son, bathed in the many-handed, life-giving rays of Aten, was to enjoy a foretaste of heaven, though none of the writers of the hymns to Aten deign to tell us what the heaven to which they refer so glibly was like.

Having taken up his abode in this city, Amenhetep set to work to organize the cult of Aten, and to promulgate his doctrine, which, like all writers of moral and religious aphorisms, he called his

                                                           "Teaching," Sbait.

Having appointed himself High Priest, he, curiously enough, adopted the old title of the High Priest of Heliopolis and called himself

                                                     "Ur-maa," i.e., the "Great Seer."

But he did not at the same time institute the old


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 10:43:38 am
(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/08800.jpg)

Amenhetep IV,
accompanied by his queen and family,
making offerings to Aten


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 10:51:40 am








p. 89



semi-magical rites and ceremonies which the holders of the title in Heliopolis performed. He did not hold the office very long, but transferred it to Merira, one of his loyal followers.

When still a mere boy, probably before he ascended the throne and rejected his name of Amenhetep, he seems to have dreamed of building temples to Aten and so, when he took up his residence in his new city, he at once set to work to build a sanctuary for that god.

Among his devoted followers was one Bek, an architect and master builder, who claims to have
been a pupil of the king and who was, undoubtedly, a man of great skill and taste.

Him the king sent to Sun, the Syene of the Greek writers, to obtain stone for the temple of Aten
and there is reason to think that, when the building was finished, its walls were most beautifully decorated with sculptures and pictures painted in bright colours.

A second temple to Aten was built for the Queen-mother Ti, and a third for the princess Baktenaten, one of her daughters; and we should expect that one or more temples were built in the western half
of the city across the Nile.

With the revenues filched from Amen Aakhunaten built several temples to Aten in the course of his reign. Thus he founded



Per-gem-Aten in Nubia at a place in the Third Cataract; Gem-pa-Aten em.

Per-Aten at Thebes;

Aakhutaten in Southern Anu (Hermonthis);

the House of Aten in Memphis; and

Res-Ra-em-Anu.



It will be noticed that no mention is made of Aten in the name of this last temple of Aten.

He also built a temple to Aten in Syria, which is mentioned on one of the Tall


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 10:52:34 am
(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/09000.jpg)

Amenhetep IV and his queen and family worshipping Aten.

al-'Amarnah tablets in the
British Museum under the form

Hi-na-tu-na. 1

p. 90


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 10:59:05 am








p. 91



As the buildings increased in Aakhutaten and the cult of Aten developed, the king's love for his new city grew, and he devoted all his time to the worship of his god.

Surrounded by his wife and family and their friends, and his obedient officials, who seem to have
been handsomely rewarded fortheir devotion, the king had neither wish nor thought for the welfare
of his kingdom, which he allowed to manage itself. His religion and his domestic happiness filled his life, and the inclinations and wishes of the ladies of his court had more weight with him than the counsels and advice of his ablest officials.

We know nothing of the forms and ceremonies of the Aten worship, but hymns


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 11:04:33 am
(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/09100.jpg)

Amenhetep IV and his Queen Nefertiti bestowing
gold-collars upon favourite courtiers.

Between the king and queen is the princess
Ankh-s-en-pa-Aten, who married Tutankhamen
and, behind the queen, are two of her other daughters.



Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 11:11:43 am








p. 92



and songs and choruses must have filled the temple daily.

And the stele of Tutankhamen proves (see p. 9) that a considerable number of dancing men and acrobats were maintained by the king in connection with the service of Aten.

Not only was the king no warrior, he was not even a lover of the chase. As he had no son to train
in manly sports and to teach the arts of government and war, for his offspring consisted of seven daughters,

1 his officers must:

have wondered how long the state in which they were then living would last.

The life in the City of Aten was no doubt pleasant enough for the Court and the official classes,
for the king was generous to the officers of his government in the City, and, like the Pharaohs of
old, he gave them when they died tombs in the hills in which to be buried.

The names of many of these officers are well known, e.g., Merira I, Merira II, Pa-nehsi (the Negro), Hui, Aahmes, Penthu, Mahu, Api, Rames, Suti, Nefer-kheperu-her-sekheper, Parennefer, Tutu, Ai,
Mai, Ani, etc. 2


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 11:14:27 am
(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/09300.jpg)

Amenhetep IV and his Queen Nefertiti and
some of the daughters seated with the rays
of Aten falling upon them.

The queen wears the disk, horns and plumes
of Hathor and Isis.

The abnormal development of the lower part
of the body seems to be a characteristic of
every member of the royal family.

p.93


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 11:22:12 am








p. 94


The tombs of these men are different from all others of the same class in Egypt.

The walls are decorated with pictures representing



(1) the worship of Aten by the king and his mother;

(2) the bestowal of gifts on officials by the king;

(3) the houses, gardens and estates of the nobles;

(4) domestic life, etc.



The hieroglyphic texts on the walls of the tombs contain the names of those buried in them, the names of the offices which they held under the king, and fulsome adulation of the king, and of his goodness, generosity and knowledge.

Then there are prayers for funerary offerings, and also Hymns to Aten.

The long Hymn in the tomb of Ai is not by the king, as was commonly supposed; it is the best of all the texts of the kind in these tombs, and many extracts from it are found in the tombs of his fellow officials.

A shorter Hymn occurs in some of the tombs, and of this it is probable that Aakhunaten was the author.

We look in vain for the figures of the old gods of Egypt,

        Ra, Horus, Ptah, Osiris, Isis, Anubis, and the cycles of the gods of the dead and of the Tuat       (Underworld),

and not a single ancient text, whether hymn, prayer, spell, incantation, litany, from the Book of the Dead in any of its Recensions is to be found there.


To the Atenites the tomb was a mere hiding place for the dead body, not a model of the Tuat, as
their ancestors thought. Their royal leader rejected all the old funerary Liturgies like the "Book of Opening the Mouth," and the "Liturgy of funerary offerings," and he treated with silent contempt
such works as the "Book of the Two Ways," the "Book of the Dweller in the Tuat," and the "Book of Gates."

Thus it would appear that he rejected en bloc all funerary rites and ceremonies, and disapproved of
all services of commemoration of the dead, which were so


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p. 95

dear to the hearts of all Egyptians. The absence of figures of Osiris in the tombs of his officials and all mention of this god in the inscriptions found in them suggests that he disbelieved in the Last judgment, and in the dogma of rewards for the righteous and punishments for evil doers. If this were so, the Field of Reeds, the Field of the Grasshoppers, the Field of Offerings in the



 
(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/09500.jpg)

The four grandsons of Horus the Aged.

They were the gods of the four cardinal
points, and later, as the sons of Osiris,
protected the viscera of the dead.

 


[paragraph continues] Elysian Fields, and the Block of Slaughter with the headsman Shesmu, the five pits of
the Tuat, and the burning of the wicked were all ridiculous fictions to him.

Perhaps they were, but they were ineradicably fixed in the minds of his subjects, and he gave them nothing
to put in the place of these fictions. The cult of Aten did not satisfy them, as history shows for, right or wrong, the


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
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p. 96



[paragraph continues] Egyptian, being of African origin, never understood or cared for philosophical abstractions.

Another question arises: did the Atenites mummify their dead? It is clear from the existence of the tombs in the hills about Aakhunaten that important officials were buried; but what became of the bodies of the working class folk and the poor? Were they thrown to the jackals "in the bush"?

All this suggests that the Atenites adored and enjoyed the heat and light which their god poured
upon them, and that they sang and danced and praised his beneficence, and lived wholly in the present. And they worshipped the triad of life, beauty and colour.

They abolished the conventionality and rigidity in Egyptian painting and sculptures and introduced
new colours into their designs and crafts, and, freed from the control of the priesthoods, artists and workmen produced extraordinarily beautiful results.

The love of art went hand in hand with their religion and was an integral part of it.

We may trace its influence in the funerary objects, even of those who believed in Osiris and were buried with the ancient rites and ceremonies especially in figures, vases, etc., made of pottery. Perhaps the brightly coloured vignettes, which are found in the great rolls of the Book of the Dead that were produced at this period, were painted by artists who copied the work of Atenite masters.

Now, whilst Aakhunaten was organizing and developing the cult of Aten, and he and his Court and followers were passing their days and years in worshipping their god and in beautifying their houses, what was happening to the rest of Egypt? Tutankhamen tells us that the revenues of the gods were diverted to the service of Aten, that the figures of the gods had disappeared from their thrones, that the temples were deserted, and that


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p. 97



the Egyptians generally were living in a state of social chaos.

For the first twelve years or so of Aakhunaten's reign, the tribute of the Nubians was paid, for the Viceroy
of Nubia had at hand means for making the tribes bring gold, wood, slaves, etc., to him.

In the north of Egypt General

 


(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/09700.jpg)

Amenhetep IV seated on his portable lion-throne
beneath the rays of Aten.

He holds in his hands the old Pharaonic
symbols of sovereignty  and dominion .

 

[paragraph continues] Heremheb, the Commander-in-Chief, managed to maintain his lord's authority, but there
is no doubt, as events showed when he became king of Egypt, that he was not a wholly sincere worshipper of Aten, and that his sympathies lay with the priesthoods of Ptah of Memphis and


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
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p. 98



[paragraph continues] Ra of Heliopolis.

The Memphites and the Heliopolitans must have resented bitterly the building of temples to Aten
in their cities, and there can be little doubt that that astute soldier soon came to an understanding with them. Moreover, he knew better than his king what was happening in Syria, and how the Khabiru were threatening Phœnicia from the south, and how the Hittites were consolidating their position in Northern Syria, and increasing their power in all directions. He, and every one in Egypt who was watching the course of events, must have been convinced that no power which the king could employ could stop the spread of the revolt in Western Asia, and that the rule of the Egyptians there was practically at an end.

When the king, as Amenhetep IV, ascended the throne, all his father's friends in Babylonia, Assyria, Mitanni, the lands of the Kheta and Cyprus hastened to congratulate him, and all were anxious to
gain and keep the friendship of the new king of Egypt.

Burraburiyash, king of Karduniash, hoped that the new king and he would always exchange presents, and that the old friendship between his country and Egypt would be maintained.

Ashuruballit sent him gifts and asked for 20 talents of gold in return.

Tushratta, king of Mitanni, addressed him as "my son-in-law," sent greetings to Queen Ti, and spoke with pride of the old friendship between Mitanni and Egypt. He also wrote to Queen Ti, and again refers to the old friendship.

But Aakhunaten did not respond in the manner they expected, and letters sent by them to him later show that the gifts which he sent were mean and poor.

Clearly he lacked the open-handedness and generosity of his father Amenhetep III.

As years went on, the governors of the towns and


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
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p. 99



cities that were tributaries of Egypt wrote to the king protesting their devotion, fidelity and loyalty, many of them referring to favours received and asking for new ones. Very soon these protestations of loyalty were coupled with requests for

 


(http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/img/09900.jpg)

The rays of Aten giving "life" ☥ to
Amenhetep IV whilst he is bestowing
gifts on his favourite courtiers.

 

[paragraph continues] Egyptian soldiers to be sent to protect the king's possessions.

Thus one Shuwardata writes:

                                           "To the king, my lord, my gods and my Sun.
                                            Thus saith Shuwardata, the slave:
                                                   Seven times and seven times
                                             did I fall down at the feet of the king"


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 11:52:23 am








p. 100



".....my lord, both upon my belly and upon my back. Let the king, my lord, know that I am alone, and let the king, my lord, send troops in great multitudes, let the king, my lord, know this. 1

The people of Tunip, who were vassals of Thothmes III, wrote and told the king that Aziru had plundered an Egyptian caravan, and that if help were not sent Tunip would fall as Ni had already done."



Rib-Adda of Byblos writes:

"We have no food to eat and my fields yield no harvest because I cannot sow com. All my villages are in the hands of the Khabiru. I am shut up like a bird in a cage, and there is none to deliver me. I have written to the king, but no one heeds. Why wilt thou not attend to the affairs of thy country? That "dog," Abd-Ashratum, and the Khabiri have taken Shigata and Ambi and Simyra. Send soldiers and an able officer. I beseech the king not to neglect this matter. Why is there no answer to my letters? Send chariots and I will try to hold out, else in two months' time Abd-Ashratum will be master of the whole country. Gebal (Byblos) will fall, and all the country as far as


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
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p. 101



[paragraph continues] Egypt will be in the hands of the Khabiri. We have no grain; send grain. I have sent my possessions to Tyre, and also my sister's daughters for safety. I have sent my own son to thee, hearken to him. Do as thou wilt with me, but do not forsake thy city Gebal. In former times when Egypt neglected our city we paid no tribute; do not thou neglect it. I have sold my sons and daughters for food and have nothing left. Thou sayest, "Defend thyself," but how can I do it? When I sent my son to thee he was kept three months waiting for an audience. Though my kinsmen urge me to join the rebels, I will not do it.

Abi-Milki of Tyre writes: To the king, my lord, my gods, my Sun. Thus saith Abi-Milki, thy slave. Seven times and seven times do I fall down at the feet of the king my lord. I am the dust under the sandals of the king my lord. My lord is the sun that riseth over the earth day by day, according to the bidding of the Sun, his gracious Father. It is he in whose moist breath I live, and at whose setting I make my moan. He maketh all the lands to dwell in peace by the might of his hand; he thundereth in the heavens like the Storm-god, so that the whole earth trembleth at his thunder. . . . Behold, now, I said to the Sun, the Father of the king my Lord, When shall I see the face of the king my Lord? And now behold also I am guarding Tyre, the great city, for the king my lord until the king's mighty hand shall come forth unto me to give me water to drink and wood to warm myself withal. Moreover, Zimrida, the king of Sidon, sendeth word day by day unto the traitor Aziru, the son of Abd-Ashratum, concerning all that he hath heard from Egypt. Now behold, I have written unto my lord, for it is well that he should know this."


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
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p. 102



In a letter from Lapaya the writer says:

"If the king were to write to me for my wife I would not refuse to send her, and if he were to order
me to stab myself with a bronzed dagger I would certainly do so."

Among the writers of the Letters is a lady who reports the raiding of Ajalon and Sarha by the Khabiri.

 All the letters tell the same story of successful revolt on the part of the subjects of Egypt and the capture and plundering and burning of towns and villages by the Khabiri, and the robbery of caravans on all the trade routes.

And whilst all this was going on the king of Egypt remained unmoved and only occupied himself with the cult of his god!

The general testimony of the Tall al-'Amarnah Letters proves that he took no trouble to maintain the friendly relations that had existed between the kings of Babylonia and Mitanni and his father.

He seems to have been glad enough to receive embassies and gifts from Mesopotamia, and to welcome flattering letters full of expressions of loyalty and devotion to himself, but the gifts which
he sent back did not satisfy his correspondents.

He sent little or no gold to be used in decorating temples in Mesopotamia and for making figures of gods, and some of the letters seem to afford instances of double-dealing on the part of the king of Egypt.

At all events, he waged no wars in Mesopotamia, and when one city after another failed to send tribute he made no attempt to force them to do so. It is uncertain how much he really knew of
what was happening in Western Asia, but when Tushratta and others sent him dispatches demand-
ing compensation for attacks made upon their caravans, when passing through his territory, he must
have realized that the power of Egypt in that country had greatly weakened.

As the years went on he must have known that


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the Egyptians hated his god and loathed his rule, and such knowledge must have, more or less, affected the health of a man of his physique and character.

During the earlier years of his reign painters and sculptors gave him the conventional form of an Egyptian king, but later he is represented in an entirely different manner.

He had naturally a long nose and chin and thick, protruding lips, and he was somewhat round-shouldered, and had a long slim body, and he must have had some deformity of knees and thighs.

On the bas-reliefs and in the paintings all these physical characteristics are exaggerated, and the figures of the king are undignified caricatures. 1

But these must have been made with the king's knowledge and approval, and must be faithful representations of him as he appeared to those who made them.

In other words, they are examples of the realism in art (which he so strongly inculcated in the sculptors and artists who claimed to be his pupils) applied to himself.

History is silent as to the last years of his reign, but the facts now known suggest that, over-
whelmed by troubles at home and abroad, and knowing that he had no son to succeed him, and
that he had failed to make the cult of Aten the national religion, his proud and ardent spirit collaps-
ed and, with it, his health and that he became a man of sorrow.

Feeling his end to be near, he appointed as co-regent Sakara tcheser-kheperu, who had married
his eldest


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p. 104



daughter Merit-Aten, and died probably soon afterwards.

He was buried in a rock-hewn tomb, which he had prepared in the hills five miles away on the eastern bank of the Nile instead of in the western hills, where all the kings of the XVIIIth dynasty were buried.

Even in the matter of the position of his tomb he would not follow the custom of the country.

This tomb was found in 1887-8 by native diggers, who cut out the cartouches of the king and sold them to travellers.

Under the section dealing with Amenhetep III reference has beep. made to the series of large steatite scarabs on which this king commemorated in writing noteworthy events in his life.

Up to the present nothing has been found at Tall al-'Amarnah or in Egypt which would lead us to suppose that his son Amenhetep IV copied his example, but a very interesting scarab found at Sadenga in the Egyptian Sudan 1 proves that he did, at least on one occasion. This scarab is now in the British Museum (No. 51084). On one side of the body of the scarab is the king's prenomen and on the other is his nomen. the base, which is mutilated at the sides, are seven lines of text.


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p. 305



This inscription shows that the scarab was made for Amenhetep IV before he adopted his new name
of Aakhunaten.

The last three lines give names and titles of the king and his queen, and the first four contain an address or prayer concerning some god. The breaks at the beginnings and ends of the lines do not permit a connected translation to be made, but the general meaning of the inscription is as follows:--



"The king of the South and of the North, Nefer-kheperu-Ra-ua-en-Ra, giver of life, son of Ra, loving him, Amenhetep, God, Governor of Thebes, great in the duration of his life, [and] the great royal wife Nefertiti, living and young, say: Long live the Beautiful God, the great one of roarings (thunders?) in the great and holy name of . . . Dweller in the Set Festival like Ta-Thunen, the lord of . . . the Aten (Disk) in heaven, stablished of face, gracious (or pleasant) in Anu (On)." This address or prayer seems to have been made to some Thunder-god, whose name was great and holy: the ordinary god of the thunder in Egypt was Aapep, who in this character is called "Hemhem-ti."



The mention of Tathunen is


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interesting, for he was, of course, one of the "gods" whom Amenhetep IV at a later period of his
life wished to abolish.

Can this inscription represent an attempt to assimilate an indigenous Sudani Thunder-god with Aten?

The writer of one of the Tall al-'Amarnah Letters quoted above (p. 101) speaks of the Thundering of Amenhetep IV, and says that when he thunders all the people quake with fear.

From this it seems that some phase of Aten was associated in the minds of foreigners with the Thunder-god, but there is no evidence to show who that god was.

The facts known about the life and reign of Aakhunaten seem to me to prove that from first to last
he was a religious fanatic, intolerant, arrogant and obstinate, but earnest and sincere in his seeking after God and in his attempts to make Aten the national god of Egypt.

Modern writers describe him as a "reformer," but he reformed nothing.

He tried to force the worship of "Horus of the Two Horizons in his name of Shu (i.e., Heat) who is in the Aten" upon his people and failed.

When he found that his subjects refused to accept his personal views about an old, perhaps the oldest, solar god, whose cult had been dead for centuries, he abandoned the capital of his great
and warlike ancestors in disgust, and like a spoilt child, which no doubt he was, he withdrew to a
new city of his own making.

Like all such religious megalomaniacs, so long as he could satisfy his own peculiar aspirations and gratify his wishes, no matter at what cost, he was content.

Usually the harm which such men do is limited in character and extent, but he, being a king, was
able to inflict untold misery on his country during the seventeen years of his reign.

He spent the revenues of his country on the cult of his god and, in satisfying


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p. 107



his craving for beauty in shape and form, and for ecstatic religious emotion.

Though lavish in the rewards in good gold and silver to all those who ministered to this craving,
he was mean and niggardly when it came to spending money for the benefit of his country.

The Tell al-'Amarnah Letters make this fact quite clear.

The peoples of Western Asia might think and say that the King of Egypt had "turned Fakir," but
there was little asceticism in his life. His boast of "living in reality," or "living in truth," which
suggests that he lived a perfectly natural and simple life, seeing things as they really were, on
the face of it seems to be ludicrous.

Aakhunaten had much in common with Hakim, the Fatimid Khalifah of Egypt (A.D. 996-1021).

Each was the son of a wealthy, pleasure-loving, luxurious father, and each succeeded to the
throne when he was a boy. Each had a strange face, each was moved to break with tradition
and introduce new ideas, but the spirit in which each made changes was that of a mad reformer.

 Christians and Jews were to Al-Hakim what the Amenites were to Aakhunaten.

Both king and Khalifah were pious in an intolerant and arrogant fashion, and each was a builder of places for worship.

Each thought that he was the incarnation of God, and each usurped the attributes of the Deity,
and prescribed rules for worship.

Each was a patron of the arts, but there is no evidence that the Pharaoh encouraged learned men
to flock to his Court as did the Khalifah. Al-Hakim frequently had his enemies murdered, and in his
fits of rage had people killed wholesale.

Though we have no knowledge that such atrocities were committed at Aakhutaten, yet it would
be rash to assume that persons who incurred the king's displeasure


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in a serious degree were not removed by the methods that have been well known at Oriental Courts from time immemorial.

Aakhunaten was succeeded by his co-regent Sakara, whose reign was probably very short and unimportant. He was the son-in-law of the king and a devoted worshipper of Aten, whose cult he wished to make permanent.

Nothing is known of his acts or whether deposition or death removed him from the throne. He was succeeded by Tutankhamen, whose reign has been already described. The short reign of Ai, who had married the nurse of Amenhetep IV, and was Master of the Horse, followed, and he was succeeded by Her-em-heb, a military officer who served in the north of Egypt during the reign of Aakhunaten.

The restoration of the cult of Amen begun by Tutankhamen was finally confirmed by him, and the triumph of Amen was complete.

The immediate result of this was the decline and fall of the cult of Aten, and the city

                                                       "Horizon of Aten"

lost all its importance and fell into decay.

The artisan classes, finding no work, migrated to Thebes and other places where they could ply
their crafts in the service of Amen, and many of the Atenites abandoned their god and transferred their worship to Amen.

It is probable that the temples and houses of the officials were plundered by the mob, who treated them in the way that the property of an overthrown religious faction has always been treated in the East.

The forsaken city soon fell into ruins and was never rebuilt or again inhabited.

A liberal estimate for the life of the city is 50 years.

The remains of Aakhutaten are marked to-day by the ruins and rock-hewn tombs which lie near the Arab villages of Hagg Kandil and At-Tall, and are commonly known as "Tell


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p. 109



al-'Amarnah."

In 1887 this name was in common use among the Egyptians of Upper Egypt, and I asked Mustafa Agha, H.B.M.'s Vice-Consul at Luxor, to explain it.

He said that the Bani 'Amran Arabs settled at At-Tall (ordinarily pronounced At-Tell, or even At-Till), and that for many years the Village was known as "Tall Bani 'Amran." When most of the Bani 'Amran left the place and returned to the desert, the village was called "Tall al-'Amarnah" (pronounced Tellel-'Amarnah).

The site, which is a very large one, needs careful excavation from one end to the other, for only
here can possibly be found material for the real history of Amenhetep IV and his reign.

The discoveries already made there prove this, for over three hundred Letters and Despatches written in cuneiform from kings and governors in Western Asia were found on the site by a woman in 1887, 1 and she sold them to a neighbour for 10 piastres (2s.).

As a result of the woman's discovery Petrie made excavations at Tall al-'Amarnah and succeeded in finding several small fragments and chips of lists of signs and words, etc., and some beautifully painted pavements. 2

The Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft began to excavate there in 1913, and in the year following they discovered a number of very important objects, among which may be specially mentioned a cuneiform tablet and a marvellously beautiful head of Queen Nefertiti, which is now in the Museum at Berlin.

This head is the finest example known of the painted sculpture work from Tall al-'Amarnah, and should have been


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p. 110



kept in Egypt and placed in the Egyptian Museum at Cairo.

This oversight on the part of the officials of the Cairo Museum seems to require an explanation.

Among the cuneiform fragments discovered by the German excavators at Tall al-'Amarnah in 1913
was one which was inscribed with a legend describing the expedition of Sargon of Akkad to Asia Minor. The original text of the legend of the "King of the Battle" is published by Schroeder in Vorderasiatische Schriftdenkmäler, xii, pp. 2-4, and it has been translated by Weidner under the title of Der Zug Sargons von Akkad nach Kleinasien.

In the winter of 1920-21 the Egypt Exploration Society sent out an expedition to Tall al-'Amarnah, under the direction of Prof. T. E. Peet, to carry on the work of excavation from the point where the Germans left it in 1914.

During the course of the work a considerable number of very interesting objects were found, including a fragment of a cuneiform tablet, inscribed with a list of signs, and some fine examples of variegated glass vessels and pottery. The data he collected 1 answered a number of questions and settled some difficulties, and the Society determined to continue their excavation of the site.

In 1922 Mr. Woolley succeeded Prof. Peet as Director of the Expedition, and continued the work as long as funds permitted. The discovery made by Lord Carnarvon and Mr. Howard Carter in December, 1922, has stirred up public interest in all that concerns the reigns of Tutankhamen and his predecessor Amenhetep IV, the notorious "Heretic King."

It is more necessary now than ever that excavations should be carried on until


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p. 111



the ruins at Tall al-'Amarnah have been thoroughly cleared and examined.

In order to do this the Egypt Exploration Society must be liberally supported, and everyone who is interested in the History and Religion of the ancient Egyptians should subscribe to this work.

Like everything else, the cost of excavating sites has increased in recent years, and subscriptions
to the Society have not increased in proportion to the expenses.

The President of the Society is the Right Hon. General J. Grenfell Maxwell, G.C.B., who is himself an ardent collector of Egyptian antiquities, and the Hon. Secretary is Dr. H. R. Hall, Deputy Keeper of
the Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities in the British Museum.

The excavations and other operations of the Society are conducted with strict regard to efficient economy, and all the objects obtained from the excavations are distributed gratis among Museums.


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Post by: Bianca on March 16, 2008, 12:24:51 pm








                                                       HYMNS TO ATEN.





The first Hymn (A) is put into the mouth of Aakhunaten, and is known as the

                                                   "Shorter Hymn to Aten."

Several copies of it have been found in the tombs at Tall al-'Amarnah.

Texts of it have been published by Bouriant, Daressy, Piehl and others, but the most correct version
is that copied from the tomb of Api and published by Mr. N. de G. Davies. 1

The second Hymn (B) is found in the tomb of Ai, and is known as the

                                                    "Longer Hymn to Aten."

The text was first published by Bouriant in Mission Archéologique, tom. I, p. 2, but badly, and he revised it in his Monuments du Culte d'Atonou, I., pl. xvi.

A good



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p. 112



text with a Latin translation was published by Breasted in his 'De Hymnis in Solem sub rege Amenophide IV conceptis', Berlin, 1894, and English versions of most of it were given by him
in his History of Egypt, p. 315, and in other publications.

Other versions and extracts have been published by Griffith, World's Literature, p. 5225;

Wiedemann, Religion, pp. 40-42; Hall, Ancient History, p. 306;

Erman, Religion, p. 64, etc.


The best text yet published is that of Davies 1 and that, with a few trivial alterations, is repro-
duced in the following pages.

In recent years this Hymn has been extolled as a marvellously beautiful religious composition,
and parts of it have been compared with some of the Hebrew Psalms.

In consequence it has been regarded as an expression of sublime human aspirations, and the
outcome of a firm belief in a God who was a counterpart of the Yahweh of the Hebrews and
identical with God Almighty.

But, if we examine the Hymn., line by line, and compare it with the Hymns to Ra, Amen and
other gods, we find that there is hardly an idea in it which is not borrowed from the older Egypt-
ian religious books.

Aten is called the eternal, almighty, self-produced, living, or self-subsisting, creator of heaven
and earth and all that is in them, and "one god alone." His heat and light are the sources of all life
and only for these and the material benefits that they confer on man and beast is Aten praised in these hymns.

There is nothing spiritual in them, nothing to appeal to man's higher nature.

The language in which they are written is simple and clear, but there is nothing remarkable about
the phraseology, unless the statements are dogmatic declarations like


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the articles of a creed.

A very interesting characteristic of the hymns to Aten is the writer's insistence on the beauty and power of light, and it may be permitted to wonder if this is not due to Mitannian influence, and the penetration into Egypt of Aryan ideas concerning Mitra, Varuna, and Surya or Savitri, the Sun-god.

Aten, or Horus of the Two Horizons, corresponds closely to Surya, the rising and setting sun, Ra to Savitri, the sun shining in full strength, "the golden-eyed, the golden-handed, and golden tongued." "As the Vivifier and Quickener, he raises his long arms of gold in the morning, rouses all beings from their slumber, infuses energy into them, and buries them in sleep in the evening." 1

Surya, the rising and setting sun, like Aten, was the great source of light and heat, and therefore
Lord of life itself. He is the Dyaus Pitar, the "Heaven-Father."

Aten, like Surya, was the "fountain of living Light,"

2, with the all-seeing, eye, whose beams revealed his presence, and "gleaming like brilliant flames "

3 went to nation after nation.

Aten was not only the light of the sun which seems to give new life to man and to ail creation,
but the giver of light and all life in general. The bringer of light and life to-day, he is the same who
brought light and life on the first of days, therefore Aten is eternal.

Light begins the day, so it was the beginning of creation; therefore Aten is the creator, neither
made with hands nor begotten, and is the Governor of the world.

The earth was fertilized by Aten, therefore he is the Father-Mother of all creatures. His eye saw everything and knew everything.

The hymns to Aten suggest that


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[paragraph continues]

Amenhetep IV and his followers conceived an image of him in their minds and worshipped him inwardly.

 But the abstract conception of thinking was wholly inconceivable to the average Egyptian, who only understood things in a concrete form.

It was probably some conception of this kind that made the cult of Aten so unpopular with the Egyptians, and caused its downfall.

Aten, like Varuna, possessed a mysterious presence, a mysterious power, and a mysterious knowledge. He made the sun to shine, the winds were his breath, he made the sea, and caused the rivers to flow. He was omniscient, and though he lived remote in the heavens he was everywhere present on earth. And a passage in the Rig-Veda would form an admirable description of him.



Light-giving Varuna! Thy piercing glance doth scan
In quick succession all this stirring active world.
And penetrateth, too, the broad ethereal space,
Measuring our days and nights and spying out all creatures. 1



But Varuna possessed one attribute, which, so far as we know, was wanting in Aten; he spied out sin and judged the sinner.

The early Aryan prayed to him, saying,


"Be gracious, O Mighty God, be gracious. I have sinned through want of power; be gracious. What great sin is it, Varuna, for which thou seekest in thy worshipper and friend? Tell me, O unassailable and self-dependent god; and, freed from sin, I shall speedily come to thee for adoration." 2


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[paragraph continues]

And Varuna was a constant witness of men's truth and falsehood.

The early Aryan also prayed to Surya, and addressed to him the Gayatri, a formula which is the
mother of the Vedas and of the Brahmans. He said to the god,


"May we attain the excellent glory of the divine Vivifier: so may he enlighten or stimulate our understanding."



The words secured salvation for a man. 1

No consciousness of sin is expressed in any Aten text now known, and the Hymns to Aten contain no petition for spiritual enlightenment, understanding or wisdom. For what then did the follower of Aten pray? An answer to this question is given in the Teaching of Amenemapt, the son of Kanekht, who says:--



"Make the prayer which is due from thee to the Aten, when he is rising,
Say, Grant to me, I beseech, strength [and] health.
He will give thy provision for the life.
And thou shalt be safe from that which would terrify [thee]." 2


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                                                           Footnotes





61:1 Stele of Piankhi, l. 102.

63:1 Pyramid Texts, II. N. 663, p. 372.

66:1 See Davis, The Tomb of Queen Tiyi, London, 1910.

66:2 See Davis, Tomb of Iouiya and Touiyou, London, 1907.

67:1 For an example see No. 4094 in the British Museum (Table Case B. Fourth Egyptian Room).

67:2 See Nos. 4096 and 16988.

69:1 See No. 49707 in the British Museum.

70:1 For a fine example of this group of scarabs, see No. 55585 in the British Museum.

70:2 Fine examples in the British Museum are Nos. 4095, 12520, 24169 and 29438.

71:1 The stele was made by Merimes, Viceroy of the Northern Sudan, and set up by him at Samnah, some 30 miles south of Wadi Halfah. It is now in the British Museum. (Northern Egyptian Gallery, No. 411, Bay 6.) An illustration of it will be found in the Guide, p. 115.


http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/tut/index.htm




FOR THE FULL STORY OF ATENISM,  PLEASE GO TO:


AKHENATEN/TUTANKHAMEN

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,706.0.html


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Post by: Bianca on August 09, 2008, 05:07:33 pm









                                                Aten Before and After Akhenaten






by Jimmy Dunn
 

The mythology of the Aten, the radiant disk of the sun, is not only unique in Egyptian history, but is also one of the most complex and controversial aspects of Ancient Egypt.

The ancient Egyptian term for the disk of the sun was Aten, which is first evidenced during the Middle Kingdom, though of course solar worship begins much earlier in Egyptian history. It should be noted however that this term initially could be applied to any disk, including even the surface of a mirror or the moon. The term was used in the Coffin Texts to denote the sun disk, but in the 'Story of Sinuhe' dating from the Middle Kingdom, the word is used with the determinative for god (Papyrus Berlin 10499).  In that story, Amenemhat I is described as soaring into the sky and uniting with Aten his creator.

Text written during the New Kingdom's 18th Dynasty frequently use the term to mean "throne" or "place" of the sun god. The word Aten was written using the hieroglyphic sign for "god" because the Egyptians tended to personify certain expressions. Eventually, the Aten was conceived as a direct manifestation of the sun god.

Though the Aten became particularly important during the New Kingdom reigns of Tuthmosis IV and Amenhotep III, mostly sole credit for the actual origin of the deity Aten must be credited to Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten).

Even at the beginning of the New Kingdom, it's founder,  Ahmose, is flattered on a stela by being likened to "Aten when he shines".

His successor, Amenhotep I, becomes in death "united with Aten, coalescing with the one from whom
he had come".

Tuthmosis I was portrayed in his temple at Tombos in Nubia wearing the sun disk and followed by the hieroglyphic sign for 'god'.

Hatshepsut used the term on her standing obelisk in the temple of Karnak to denote the astronomical concept of the disk, though it was actually during the reign of Amenhotep II that the earliest iconography of Aten appears on a monument at Giza as a winged sun disk (though this was a manifestation of Re) with outstretched arms grasping the cartouche of the pharaoh.


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Post by: Bianca on August 09, 2008, 05:11:36 pm









Later, Tuthmosis IV issues a commemorative scarab on which the Aten functions as a god of war
(a role usually reserved for Amun) protecting the pharaoh.

Amenhotep III seems to have actively encouraged the worship of Aten, stressing solar worship in many of his extensive building works. In fact, one of that king's epithets was Tjekhen-Aten, or 'radiance of Aten', a term which was also used in several other contexts during his reign.

During the reign of Amenhotep III, there is evidence for a priesthood of Aten at Heliopolis, which was the traditional center for the worship of the sun god Re, and he also incorporated references to the Aten in the names he gave to his palace at Malkata (known as 'splendor of Aten'), a division of his army and even to a pleasure boat called 'Aten glitters'.

Also, several officials of his reign bore titles connecting them with the Aten cult, such as Hatiay, who was 'scribe of the two granaries of the Temple of Aten in Memphis. and a certain Ramose (not the vizier) who was 'steward of the mansion of the Aten'. The latter was even depicted with his wife going to view the sun disk.

Prior to Amenhotep IV, the sun disk could be a symbol in which major gods appear and so we find such phrases as "Atum who is in his disk ('aten'). However, from there it is only a small leap for the disk itself to become a god.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on August 09, 2008, 05:14:35 pm









It was Amenhotep IV who first initiated the appearance of the true god, Aten, by formulating a
didactic name for him.

Hence, in the early years of Amenhotep IV's reign, the sun god Re-Horakhty, traditionally depicted
with a hawk's head, became identical to Aten, who was now worshipped as a god, rather than as an object associated with the sun god.

Hence, prior to Akhenaten, we speak of The Aten, while afterwards it is the god Aten.

Initially, Aten's relationship with other gods was very complex and it should even be mentioned that some Egyptologists have suggested that Amenhotep IV may have equated Aten to his own father, Amenhotep III.

Others have suggested that, rather than true monotheism, the cult of Aten was a form of henotheism, in which one god was effectively elevated above many others, though this certainly does not seem to be the case later during the Amarna period.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on August 09, 2008, 05:18:12 pm










To honor his new god, Amenhotep IV constructed an enormous temple east of the Great Temple of Amun at Karnak during the third year of his reign.

The temple included pillared courts with striking colossal statues of the king and at least three sanctuaries, one of which was called the Hwt-benben ('mansion of the Benben'). This emphasized
the relationship between Aten and the sun cult of Heliopolis.

The Benben symbolized the primeval mound on which the sun god emerged from Nun to create the universe.

One section of the temple appears to have been the domain of Nefertiti, Amenhotep IV's principal
wife and in one scene, she is pictured together  with two daughters, but excluding her husband, worshipping below the sun disk.

Artistically, this temple at Karnak was even decorated in a novel "expressionistic" style that broke
with previous tradition and  would soon influence the representation of all figures.

Perhaps nowhere is this artistic style more evident then in the tomb Amenhotep IV's vizier, Ramose. Most of the tomb's decoration consists of fine low reliefs carved during the last years of Amenhotep III reign in a congenital Theban style, but on the rear wall of the pillared tomb is a mixture of traditional design and the startling developments in art made by Akhenaten.

This new artistic style was to usher in to Egypt considerable religious upheaval.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on August 09, 2008, 05:22:06 pm









Amenhotep IV, who would change his name to Akhenaten to reflect Aten's importance, first replaced the state god Amun with his newly interpreted god.

The hawk-headed figure of Re-Horakhty-Aten was then abandoned in favor of the iconography of the solar disk, which was now depicted as an orb with a uraeus at its base  emitting rays that ended in human hands either left open or holding ankh signs that gave "life" to the nose of both the king and the Great Royal Wife, Nefertiti.

It should however be noted that this iconography actually predates Amenhotep IV with some examples from the reign of Amenhotep II, though now it became the sole manner in which Aten was depicted.



Aten was now considered the sole, ruling deity and thus received a royal titulary, inscribed like royal names in two oval cartouches. As such, Aten now celebrated its own royal jubilees (Sed-festivals).

Thus, the ideology of kingship and the realm of religious cult were blurred.

The Aten's didactic name became "the living One, Re-Harakhty who rejoices on the horizon, in his name (identity) which is Illumination ('Shu, god of the space between earth and sky and of the light that fills that space') which is from the solar orb."

This designation changes everything theologically in Egypt.

The traditions Egyptians had adopted since the earliest times no longer applied. According to Akhenaten, Re and the sun gods Khepri, Horakhty and Atum could no longer be accepted as manifestations of the sun. The concept of the new god was not so much the sun disk, but rather
the life giving illumination of the sun. To make this distinction, his name would be more correctly pronounced, "Yati(n)".

Aten was now the king of kings, needing no goddess as a companion and having no enemies who could threaten him.

In effect, this worship of Aten was not a sudden innovation on the part of one king, but the climax of a religious quest among Egyptians for a benign god limitless in power and manifest in all countries and natural phenomena. 


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on August 09, 2008, 05:26:03 pm










After Aten ascended to the top of the pantheon, most of the old gods retained their positions at
first, though that would soon change as well. Gods of the dead such as Osiris and Soker were several
of the first to vanish from the Egyptian religious front.

In fact, step by step, Amenhotep IV perused his new found religious reformation in what Egyptologists have more and more seen as a rational plan.

In year six of his reign, Amenhotep IV became weary of Thebes and the old powerful Amun priesthood, and thus founded a new capital city in the desert valley area we now call el-Amarna (ancient Akhetaten) somewhat north of the old capital in Middle Egypt.

Amenhotep IV mentions on two stelae that the priests were saying more evil things about him than
they did about his father and grandfather, so from this we learn that there must have been a conflict that dated back at least to the reign of Tuthmosis IV. Luckily for the king, however, the priesthood
was apparently not strong enough to curb a pharaoh's inclinations at this point in time.



There, in his new capital of Akhetaten ('horizon of Aten'), Aten could be worshipped without any consideration of other deities.

Thus he built both a Great Aten temple in the city as well as a smaller royal temple that could have likely also been his mortuary temple.

Both were unique, having a novel architectural plan emphasizing open access to the sun rather than
the traditional darkness of Egyptian shrines.

Outside of Akhetaten, there appears to have also been temples dedicated to Aten at Memphis, at Sesebi in Nubia, and perhaps elsewhere during at least part of Akhenaten's reign.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on August 09, 2008, 05:29:29 pm









Around the time Akhetaten was founded, Amenhotep IV changed his own royal titulary to reflect the Aten's reign, but perhaps more remarkably, he actually changed his own birth name from Amenhotep, which may be translated as "Amun is content", to Akhenaten, meaning "he who is beneficial to the Aten" or "illuminated manifestation of Aten".

Afterwards, the king proceeded to emphasize Aten's singular nature above all other gods through excessively preferential treatment.

Ultimately, he suppressed all other deities.

However, it is interesting that Akhenaten retained in his new titulary all references to the sun god Re.
In his prenomen there is 'Neferkheprure' (Beautiful are the manifestations of Re) and 'Waenre' (Sole one of Re).

George Hart in his Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddess tells us that Aten was:



"..really the god Re absorbed under the iconography of the sun disk.

The eminence of Aten is a renewal of the kingship of Re as it had been during its apogee over a thousand years earlier under the monarchs of the 5th Dynasty."



However, it is really doubtful that such a simple statement can be made for, in reality, Aten took on many characteristics alien to Re. Re did not function in a vacuum of gods and goddesses. Yet there remained cloudy associations with Re even as Akhenaten moved into his new capital.

There, accommodations were made for the burial of a Mnevisl, which was the sacred bull of Re.

Furthermore, the king's last two daughters were named Nefernefrure and Setepenre, both incorporating Re into their names.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on August 09, 2008, 05:34:00 pm









But indeed, Akhenaten's new creed could be summed up by the formula,



                                "There is no god but Aten, and Akhenaten is his prophet".



The hymn known as the "Sun Hymn of Akhetaten" offers some theological insight into this newly
evolved god. We find this hymn, which may have been composed by the king himself, in the tomb
of the courtier Ay, who later succeeded King Tutankhamun.

Scholars have noted a similarity between the hymn and Biblical Psalm 104, although the distinct parallels between the two are usually interpreted simply as indications of the common literary heritage of Egypt and Israel.

Inscribed in thirteen long lines, the essential part of the poem is a hymn of praise for Aten as the creator and preserver of the world. Within it, there are no allusions to traditional mythical concepts, since the names of other gods are absent.

In this hymn, no longer are night and death the realm of gods such as Osiris and various other deities, as in traditional Egyptian religion, but are rather briefly dealt with as the absence of Aten. Hence, it should be noted that, unlike other supreme gods of Egypt, Aten did not always absorb the attributes
of other gods. His nature was entirely different. 

The hymn abounds with descriptions of nature and with the position of the king in the new religion.

Irregardless of the existence of a priesthood devoted to Aten, only to Akhenaten had the god revealed itself, and only the king could know the demands and commandments of Aten, a god who remained distant and incomprehensible to the general populace. In fact, the priesthood may not have served so much Aten as they did Akhenaten. The high priest of the Aten was actually called the priest of Akhenaten, indicating not only the elevated position of the king in this theology, but also the effective barrier that he formed between even his priests and the god Aten.


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on August 09, 2008, 05:38:01 pm









However, while the hymn seems to provide exclusive rights to the Aten only to the king, his family appears to have been included within this inner circle.

The new myths of the religion were filled with the ruler's family history and it is not surprising that the faithful of the Amarna period prayed in front of private cult stelae that depicted the royal "holy" family.

Yet, Aten was not a god of the people during the reign of Akhenaten.

Far from it, in fact, considering that Egyptian religion had become more democratized around the god, Osiris. Aten had to be forced on the Egyptian people, and outside of Akhetaten (and really even there) and the official state religion, Aten never replaced all the traditional Egyptian gods. 

In effect, among the common Egyptians, if anything, the situation created a religious vacuum which
was unstable from the beginning.

And while it is clear that the elite of Akhetaten certainly paid respect to Aten, there is no real evidence for personal individual worship of the god on the part of the ordinary Egyptians whose only access to the god was through the medium of the king. On the contrary, at even the workers' village in eastern Amarna, there has been unearthed numerous amulets of traditional gods, as well as some small private chapels probably dedicated to ancestor worship but showing no traces of the official religion.

Around the ninth year of of Akhenaten's reign, the name of the god Aten was once more changed.

Now, all mention of Horakhty and Shu disappeared. Horakhty was replaced by the phrase,


                                                  "Ruler of the Horizon".


No longer was the hawk form of the god acceptable and this image was definitively replaced with new iconography and a purer form of monotheism was introduced. Now, Aten became


"the Living One, Sun, Ruler of the Horizon, who rejoices on the horizon in his name, which is Sunlight,

which comes from the disk".


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on August 09, 2008, 05:40:24 pm


                             (http://touregypt.net/featurestories/aten12.jpg)

Left: The early form of the Aten's cartouches incorporating other forms of the sun god

Right: The later, more restricted form of the Aten's twin royal cartouches








Akhenaten's new religion, which inaugurated theocracy and systematic monotheism, manifests itself
with two central themes surrounding light and the king.

It was probably after the god's final name change that Akhenaten ordered the closure of the temples dedicated to all other gods in Egypt. Not only were these temples closed, but in order to extinguish
the memory of these gods as much as possible, a veritable persecution took place.

Literal armies of stonemasons were sent out all over the land and even into Nubia, above all else, to hack away the image and name of the god Amun.

However, even the plural form of the word god was avoided, and so other gods were persecuted as
well.

Yet by this time, the Amarna period had already reached the beginning of its end.



Soon after the death of Akhenaten, his capital was dismantled, as was his religion.




Aten was removed from the Egyptian pantheon, and Akhenaten as well as his family and religion,
were now the focus of prosecution. Their monuments were destroyed, together with related
inscriptions and images.

While the Aten did continue to be worshipped for some period after Akhenaten's death, the god
soon fell into obscurity.



http://touregypt.net/featurestories/aten.htm


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on October 18, 2008, 10:45:22 pm









                                                            A T E N I S M





Atenism (or the Amarna heresy) is the monotheistic religion associated above all with the eighteenth

dynasty Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, better known under the name he later adopted, Akhenaten.

In the 14th century BC it was Egypt's state religion for around 20 years, before a return to the

traditional gods so comprehensive that the heretic Pharaohs associated with Atenism were erased

from Egyptian records.



http://www.spiritus-temporis.com/tutankhamun/


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on April 21, 2009, 09:47:26 pm



             (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/20/Stela_of_the_Great_temple_of_Aten_at_Akhetaten2008.jpg)

            STELA OF THE GREAT TEMPLE OF ATEN
            AT AKHETATEN


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on April 22, 2009, 08:25:07 am
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/64/Small_aten_temple.jpg)

THE GREAT ATEN TEMPLE AT AKHETATEN


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on April 22, 2009, 08:28:32 am
  (http://www.amarnaproject.com/images/model_of_the_city/model/21_large.jpg)

FRONT OF THE GREAT TEMPLE OF THE ATEN AT AKHETATEN

(RECONSTRUCTION)


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on April 22, 2009, 08:30:18 am
  (http://www.amarnaproject.com/images/model_of_the_city/model/22_large.jpg)

  REAR OF THE GREAT TEMPLE OF THE ATEN AT AKHETATEN

  (RECONSTRUCTION)


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on May 26, 2009, 10:39:29 pm
,


Title: Re: THE GREAT ATEN
Post by: Bianca on May 26, 2009, 10:55:14 pm
,