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THE GREAT ATEN

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Bianca
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« Reply #165 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. 
« Last Edit: May 26, 2009, 11:03:48 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #166 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.
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Bianca
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« Reply #167 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.
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« Reply #168 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.
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« Reply #169 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".
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« Reply #170 on: August 09, 2008, 05:40:24 pm »



                            

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
« Last Edit: August 09, 2008, 05:46:39 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #171 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/
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« Reply #172 on: April 21, 2009, 09:47:26 pm »




             

            STELA OF THE GREAT TEMPLE OF ATEN
            AT AKHETATEN
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« Reply #173 on: April 22, 2009, 08:25:07 am »



THE GREAT ATEN TEMPLE AT AKHETATEN
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« Reply #174 on: April 22, 2009, 08:28:32 am »

 

FRONT OF THE GREAT TEMPLE OF THE ATEN AT AKHETATEN

(RECONSTRUCTION)
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« Reply #175 on: April 22, 2009, 08:30:18 am »

 

  REAR OF THE GREAT TEMPLE OF THE ATEN AT AKHETATEN

  (RECONSTRUCTION)
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« Reply #176 on: May 26, 2009, 10:39:29 pm »

,
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« Reply #177 on: May 26, 2009, 10:55:14 pm »

,
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