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THE GREAT ATEN

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Author Topic: THE GREAT ATEN  (Read 10290 times)
Bianca
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« 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.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2008, 06:53:50 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.


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