Akhenaten, the Sun Disk and the Amarna Period of Egypt

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Kelly Macquire
published on 06 February 2022

Akhenaten (who was born Amenhotep IV), is best known for his radical changes during his reign like elevating Aten the Sun Disk to the supreme deity, and moving the capital of Ancient Egypt to Amarna, a site which has given its name to the time period now referred to as the Amarna Period of Egypt. Amenhotep IV began his rule after his father’s death pretty normally, although he did begin to erect a few temples here and there for the Aten which was a bit odd. Then, in the fourth or the fifth year of his reign, Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten (which basically means successful for or of great use to the god Aten), and moved the Egyptian capital from Thebes to a brand new city which he called Akhetaten (a site that is now known as Amarna or Tell-el-Amarna).

Akhenaten instituted some serious religious reforms in Egypt - he outlawed the old polytheistic Egyptian religion and elevated the Aten or the sun disk as the ultimate deity, establishing monotheism, and proclaimed himself as the living incarnation of the Aten. The people could only worship the sun disk through the pharaoh (which was him) all while also proclaiming himself and his queen Nefertiti as gods who were aspects of Aten and so his construct is still considered monotheistic. When his son Tutankhamun (born Tutankhaten) assumed the throne, he returned the capital to Thebes and reinstated the old religious practises to Egypt.



0:00​ Introduction
0:56 Ancient Egypt Under Amenhotep III
2:59 Amenhotep IV Becomes Akhenaten
6:07 Amarna and the Amarna Letters
8:35 Akhenaten's New Artistic Style
11:20 The Family of Akhenaten
14:26 Outro

Akhenaten https://www.worldhistory.org/Akhenaten/
Amarna Period of Egypt https://www.worldhistory.org/Amarna_Period_of_Egypt/
Amarna https://www.worldhistory.org/Amarna/
Nefertiti https://www.worldhistory.org/Nefertiti/
The Art of the Amarna Period worldhistory.org/article/1110/the-art-of-the-amarna-period/
Tutankhamun https://www.worldhistory.org/Tutankhamun/
Tiye https://www.worldhistory.org/tiye/
The New Kingdom of Egypt https://www.worldhistory.org/New_Kingdom_of_Egypt/
Ankhsenamun https://www.worldhistory.org/Ankhsenamun/

Hatshepsut: the Forgotten Woman who was a King of Egypt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qw-_IHkKoI
Shabti Dolls of Ancient Egypt - Helpers in the Afterlife https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ef2K3BRwU0M
The Egyptian Book of the Dead - A Guide to the Underworld https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpsjDFCbcek
The Battle of Kadesh: Ancient Egypt vs. The Hittites https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4G9tFzl85o

You can find all attribution and credits for images, animations, graphics and music here - https://worldhistory.typehut.com/akhenaten-the-sun-disk-and-the-amarna-period-of-egypt-images-and-attributions-7842

The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

Scan by Pataki Márta
CC BY SA 3.0 - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ // GNU Free Documentation License - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Free_Documentation_License

CC BY NC 2.0 - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

World History Encyclopedia

#akhenaten #amarnaperiod #amenhotepiv

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2022, February 06). Akhenaten, the Sun Disk and the Amarna Period of Egypt. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/video/2711/akhenaten-the-sun-disk-and-the-amarna-period-of-eg/

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Akhenaten, the Sun Disk and the Amarna Period of Egypt." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified February 06, 2022. https://www.worldhistory.org/video/2711/akhenaten-the-sun-disk-and-the-amarna-period-of-eg/.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Akhenaten, the Sun Disk and the Amarna Period of Egypt." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 06 Feb 2022. Web. 06 Feb 2023.