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THE GREAT ATEN


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Bianca
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« Reply #60 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.
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« Reply #61 on: March 08, 2008, 02:52:39 pm »









                                                              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.
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« Reply #62 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.
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« Reply #63 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.
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« Reply #64 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.
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« Reply #65 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.
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« Reply #66 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.)
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« Reply #67 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.)
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« Reply #68 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.
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« Reply #69 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.
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« Reply #70 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     
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« Reply #71 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
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« Reply #72 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 isnīt all that far.
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« Reply #73 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).
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« Reply #74 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.
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