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THE GREAT ATEN

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Bianca
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« Reply #150 on: March 16, 2008, 12:11:08 pm »









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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« Reply #151 on: March 16, 2008, 12:14:23 pm »









p. 108



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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« Reply #152 on: March 16, 2008, 12:18:22 pm »









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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« Reply #153 on: March 16, 2008, 12:20:39 pm »









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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« Reply #154 on: March 16, 2008, 12:22:25 pm »









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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« Reply #155 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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« Reply #156 on: March 16, 2008, 12:28:38 pm »









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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« Reply #157 on: March 16, 2008, 12:32:02 pm »









p. 113



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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« Reply #158 on: March 16, 2008, 12:34:16 pm »











p. 114



[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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« Reply #159 on: March 16, 2008, 12:36:25 pm »










p. 115



[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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« Reply #160 on: March 16, 2008, 12:37:30 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/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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« Reply #161 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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« Reply #162 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.
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« Reply #163 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.
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« Reply #164 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.
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