By July 30, 2008 Read More →

Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) Kissing His Daughter, 1352-1336 BCE

Father of Tutankhamen



Not long after Amenhotep III died, in 1353 B.C., masons entered his mortuary temple and methodically chiseled out every mention of Amun, the god said to have fathered the great pharaoh. Astonishingly, the order to commit this blasphemy came from the king’s own son. Crowned Amenhotep IV, he changed his name to Akhenaten in his fifth year on the throne and focused his energies on promoting a single god, Aten, the sun disk. Together with his beautiful queen Nefertiti, he built a new capital, Akhetaten (today known as Amarna), banned representations of several deities and set about destroying all inscriptions and images of Amun, from the Nile Delta to today’s Sudan.

Early Egyptologists saw in Akhenaten’s approach the first stirring of the great monotheisms of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to come.

The name “Aten” had simply been a word meaning “sun” until Amenhotep III’s father elevated Aten to the status of a deity. Amenhotep III’s primary devotion, however, was to Amun-Ra, a combination of Thebes’ deity Amun and the northern Egyptian sun god Ra.

“Rebellious Son,” Smithsonian Magazine, Nov. 2007.

Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

Akhenaten Kissing His Daughter, 18th Dynasty, JE 44866

Comments are closed.