History Embalmed


Short Biography, Information & Facts about Akhenaten, the famous pharaoh and heretic king of Egypt

Biography, Facts and information about the life of a Pharaoh
The term pharaoh was the title of an ancient Egyptian king who was considered to be a living god and worshipped as a deity. The pharaoh was an absolute ruler of Egypt, both the political and religious leader. 

Short Biography of the life of Akhenaten - The Heretic King
The history, facts and information about Akhenaten, a famous pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. The following biography information provides basic facts about the life Akhenaten:

  • Akhenaten was first known as first known as Amenhotep meaning "Amun is content"
  • Alternative spellings of the name: Akenaten, Arkhenaten
  • He changed his name to Akhenaten, meaning "Effective for Aten" when he forced the change from a polytheistic religion, with many gods, to monotheism, the worship of one god - the Aten

  • Egyptian Period / Kingdom: New Kingdom
  • Dynasty: Akhenaten ruled in the Eighteenth Egyptian Dynasty
  • Name of Previous Pharaoh: Amenhotep III r1389 BC -1351 BC
  • Years of Reign: 1351 BC -1337 BC
  • Succeeded by: Smenkhkare (1336 BC -1334 BC) and then Tutankhamun (1334 BC -1325 BC)
    • There is some speculation that the Pharaoh referred to as Smenkhkare Ankhetkheperure was in fact a woman due to the feminine spelling of the name. Further speculation questions whether Smenkhkare Ankhetkheperure could have been Nefertiti, Akhenaten's Chief Wife and the mother-in-law and stepmother of Tutankhamun
  • Family
    • Father: His father was Amenhotep III
    • Mother: His mother was Queen Tiye
    • His brother, Prince Tuthmose, the eldest son of pharaoh Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye and heir to the throne, mysteriously disappeared from all records and Amenhotep (later Akhenaten)
    • Chief Wife: His chief wife and consort was Nefertiti and other wives included Kiya (the mother of Tutankhamun)
    • Children: Meritaten, Meketaten, Ankhesenpaaten, Neferneferuaten Tasherit, Neferneferure and Tutankhamun
  • His Master of Horses was Ay, who later became Pharaoh
  • Year of Death: 1337 BC
  • Location of the Burial Site: The Royal Wadi in Amarna
  • Name of Egyptologist who discovered the burial site, or tomb, of Akhenaten in Armana: Alessandro Barsanti in 1893. The mummy of Akhenaten was moved from his tomb in Amarna to the Thebes Necropolis in the Valley of the Kings
  • Why Akhenaten was famous: The Heretic Pharaoh who change radically changed Ancient Egypt from a polytheistic religion, with many gods, to monotheism (the worship of one god). Akhenaten used the might of the army and its powerful military commanders to destroy the old religion and its priesthood.  He also instigated a radical artistic movement focussing on realism.
  • Biography and accomplishments of Akhenaten: Akhenaten was originally called Amenhotep meaning "Amun is content", the second son of Pharaoh Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye. His elder brother Crown Prince Tuthmose mysteriously disappeared and the young Amenhotep (Akhenaten) became heir to the throne of Egypt. His father had brought peace and prosperity to Egypt but his authority was threatened by the growing power of the priests of the Temple of Amun at Karnak. The polytheistic religion of Ancient Egypt had been followed since at least 3050 BC. The Egyptians worshipped almost 2000 different gods, and had done so for literally thousands of years.
  • The main centre of worship for their main god Amun was located at Karnak which was located on the East Bank of Thebes (modern day Luxor). Once he was established as Pharaoh Amenhotep and about 4 years into his reign, (Akhenaten) declared that all the old gods should be abandoned and replaced by a sole god - the Aten. In year 5 of his reign he changed his name from Amenhotep to Akhenaten. He started to build a new city called Amarna which was located on the banks of the Nile about midway between Thebes and Memphis.
  • In year 7 of his reign the population of Thebes, totalling over 20,000 were forced to move to the new city of Amarna abandoning their businesses, homes and religion. The priests of Amun were expected to worship the sole god Aten. Akhenaten ordered that all images of all other gods were ordered to be destroyed. The role of the priest in the new religion was decreased as only the Pharaoh, who had changed his name to Akhenaten, and his chief wife Nefertiti were allowed to directly worship the Aten.
  • Akhenaten became increasingly autocratic. All of his energy was focussed on the new religion. Other home and foreign affairs of Egypt were virtually ignored. The traditional temple based economy, run by priests of Amun, had been replaced by the new regime which was run by local administrators and military commanders. The new economy became subject to the greed and corruption of the new officials.
  • Hittites and Assyrians were threatening Egypt and Akhenaten did nothing. After a reign of 17 years  it is believed that Akhenaten was forced to abdicate and soon after died.
  • Akhenaten not only championed a religious revolution he also instigated also radical changes in art and how people were portrayed. Gone were the stylised images of Pharaohs, who were only depicted as perfect, dignified young men, to be replaced with a far more realistic approach with everyday scenes and images.
  • Akhenaten was succeeded by Smenkhkare (1336 BC -1334 BC). There is some speculation that this Pharaoh referred to Smenkhkare Ankhetkheperure was in fact a woman due to the feminine spelling of the name. Further speculation questions whether Smenkhkare Ankhetkheperure could have been Nefertiti, the Chief Wife of Akhenaten and the mother-in-law and stepmother of Tutankhamun. The reign of Smenkhkare was short lived and Tutankhamun became Pharaoh.
  • Tutankhamun was succeeded by Ay who took numerous steps to ensure that Ancient Egypt completely reverted back to their old religion and attempts were made to totally eradicate the name of Akhenaten, the Heretic Pharaoh from the history of Egypt.

Each section of this Ancient Egyptian website addresses all topics and provides interesting facts and information about the Golden Age of Pharaohs and of Akhenaten. The Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts provided about the fascinating subject of the Ancient Egyptian Kings - their life, family, reign, dynasty, important dates and events and accomplishments.

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