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THE GREAT ATEN

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Bianca
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« Reply #135 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
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Bianca
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« Reply #136 on: March 16, 2008, 11:14:27 am »



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
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« Reply #137 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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« Reply #138 on: March 16, 2008, 11:23:39 am »











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



 


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
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« Reply #139 on: March 16, 2008, 11:29:35 am »









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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« Reply #140 on: March 16, 2008, 11:39:43 am »











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

 




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
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« Reply #141 on: March 16, 2008, 11:45:10 am »









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 Phúnicia 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
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« Reply #142 on: March 16, 2008, 11:46:58 am »










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

 




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"
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« Reply #143 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
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« Reply #144 on: March 16, 2008, 11:54:02 am »









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."
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« Reply #145 on: March 16, 2008, 11:57:09 am »









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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« Reply #146 on: March 16, 2008, 12:00:07 pm »










p. 103



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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« Reply #147 on: March 16, 2008, 12:02:14 pm »









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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« Reply #148 on: March 16, 2008, 12:03:52 pm »









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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« Reply #149 on: March 16, 2008, 12:06:52 pm »









p. 106



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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