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Why did Akhenaten start his religious revolution?
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 12:10 am 
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Was it to thwart the rising power of the evil corrupt Amun priesthood? Or was he zapped by some sort of warm fuzzy divine revelation?

Personally. I've always been intruiged by the possibility of political causes. In many ways, Atenism became a "cult of the leader" during the Amarna period and even in the symbolism of the Aten itself, it makes a convenient propaganda tool for enforcing the idea of Akhenaten's own divinity. What are everyone else's thoughts?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 4:01 am 
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The Aten was not completely new - his family had had some interest in the Aten.
Also I have memories of there being a burial of an Aten priest at Saqqara inthe Remeside period.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 8:35 pm 
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I agree with tnrees, Atenism was around before Akhenaten. Akhenaten helped push it farther. Some say this was more for political reasons rather then spiritual ones? :?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 9:17 pm 
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Though the Aten was starting to come into vogue shortly before Akhenaten's reign, it was still a reasonably minor god.

It's been suggested that Akhenaten made Atenism Egypt's principal god because of the rising power and wealth of the Amun priesthood. Sometimes I wonder if the idea of that "threat" is over-exaggerated...

But though the Aten was an old god, Akhenaten did manipulate Aten worship in some very new ways. For example, downplaying the roles of the priests and having himself as the only one who can communicate with this god.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 10:15 am 
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I don't think we'll ever know for absolutely sure what the reasons for Aten's power-gain. It's true that the idea of Aten had been around for quite some time before Akhenaten, but it was he who made the worship of the Aten first and formost in Egypt.
It seems, more and more, to have been a desire to surpress the worship of Amon. No so much a revolt against the god as a way to srop the power that the Amun priesthood was gaining.
Although the worship of the other gods and goddesses was banned by Akhenaten, his ideas never seemed to go over well with the people, even those in Aketaten. Shrines and statues of different gods and goddesses have been found the the excavation of private homes.
Perhaps Akhenaten was a religious zealot who saw his worship and his god as the Only One for Egypt. Perhaps he was a cunning ruler who saw and wanted to curtail the power of the priests.
Even with all the excavation work that has been and is being done, the mental reasoning of Akhenaten will more than likely never be absolutely clear to us.


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Re: Why did Akhenaten start his religious revolution?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:45 am 
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Tadukhipa wrote:
Was it to thwart the rising power of the evil corrupt Amun priesthood? Or was he zapped by some sort of warm fuzzy divine revelation?

Personally. I've always been intruiged by the possibility of political causes. In many ways, Atenism became a "cult of the leader" during the Amarna period and even in the symbolism of the Aten itself, it makes a convenient propaganda tool for enforcing the idea of Akhenaten's own divinity. What are everyone else's thoughts?


Though, was the Amun priesthood so corrupt that they'd be considrered..."Evil"? You gotta look at BOTH sides of the story before making such a harsh judgement. Yea, they were probably greedy, and envious of the Pharaoh's power--who wouldn't be? The common joe could feel the same envy, and still not be so evil. Though the common folk can't compare with the priesthood in status, they're still people, too.

On one side, Akhenaten: He veiws them as evil, and I see you take his side on that, and you have my congratulations (Me being the Akhy-freak I am). He might have seen these people as an obstacle, people who would bring down Egypt instead of bettering it (Hoo, boy, I'm running out of words, ahaha). Thus, he believes by removing them, and instating the Aten and glorifying it, he has helped Egypt in some small way, little realizing of the repercussions to follow.

Then you have the priests: THEY view Akhenaten as evil, stripping them of thier titles, wiping out the Gods and Goddesses in favor of just the one God. They see him as a religious tyrant, he views them as political demons. So, you can't really take one side or the other, it's like an actual debate. And whether it be for political or religious reasons may remian a mystery, it might be both, really. Religion, I think, was closely tied in with it.

To end my ceaseless ranting, I say try to look at both sides of the equation first before judging. See how each side must have felt, and put yourself in thier positions, especially the priests. Though, if you choose a side, it's up to you.I just tend to look into both sides of the story. ^_^;;


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Akhenaten's Religious "Reforms"
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:41 pm 
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Tutness has a point-you do have to look at it from both sides, from Akhenaten's point of view and from the Priests of Amun's....It seems, from newer books and such, that most are tending to lean toward Akhenaten doing all the "reforms" because of political reasons, which others have already mentioned, but I think it went beyond that. Some scholars used to say that he was mentally unstable....(Which totally erks me.) Then, you've got scholars like Weigall who say that it was purely religious. I, myself, say it was both. His "reforms" killed two birds with one stone in a way. He's following his own beliefs, but at the same time he's cutting down the threat of the Amun priesthood. (I back Akhenaten in the view that they had WAY too much power. When a temple to a god owns about a third or more of the country...yeah, it's time to do something, and who better to do that than a Pharaoh who had religious convictions as well?)


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 5:06 am 
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Against his actions being politicaly motivated is the way he seems to have let the empire go.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 8:51 am 
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He seems to have been more than willing to let the dailey operations of the Empire to be handled byt others, and to have spent most of his time thinking of, and gradising, the Aten.
We will probably never know, as I have stated above, the real reasons he had for the various actions he took. Was it completely political? Completely religious? I pweaonally think it was a combination of both, a relious fevor and some very astute advisors.
That Amun had grown too powerful was quite obvious. Curtailing that power needed to be taken in small steps. And changing the outlook of thee common person to a religion that emphasized one god was impossible. The old religion was so very entrenched in the lives of those peoples. Even in the city of Aten, evidence of the continued worship of the old gods has been found.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 8:48 pm 
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Osiris got a point....Evidence for the worship of the old gods was found in Akhetaten....Bes, Tawaeret.....The olds gods that the common people prayed to and depended on...The old religion was embedded in these people like Osiris said...And we will probably never know exactly what his motivations were, like just about everyone else has said.....But I've always thought he was ahead of his time even if he did "ignore" his daily duties as Pharaoh, and that there had to be some religious convictions. Why else would he risk his people hating him and destroying his images and afterlife if it wasn't for something that he believed in strongly? It wouldn't make any sense. He was Egyptian. Afterlife=EVERYTHING


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:26 am 
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I think it is notable that he promoted the sun as other solar deities (like tefnut) remained in favour. Amun developed from the ogdoad of heliopolis while the solar aspect of ennead of heliopolis is present in the Aten.

It is tempting to simplify and say that you have a choice between naturalistic visible gods (the sun, the river etc) who are popular with Akhenaten and also the common people and the invisible gods (Amun is after all "the hidden one") who represent ideas (wisdom, truth etc). Although the two were inextricably merged over time, you can see why a king who was naturally drawn to nature (as shown by art works and his own poetry) would adopt the main alternative to Amun - the sun.

Thus, i sit on the fence. I think he was an intellectual/religious man who loved to spend time with his family and in contemplating nature. But he was also egotistical or sensible enough to want total control and to be free of the priests of Amun who had massive grants of land and very cushy tax deals. Retaking that land and its revenue would have easily paid for his new city.

I don't know that he was really a peace-lover. By abandoning Egypt's allies the Mitanni and allowing the Hittites to rampage around the area he was hardly promoting peace. He does not seem to have attempted any diplomacy to prevent the situation degenerating. It seems he was only really interested in his comfy life, or am I being too harsh?


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Re: Akhenaten's Religious "Reforms"
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:16 pm 
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BelovedofWa'Enre wrote:
Tutness has a point-you do have to look at it from both sides, from Akhenaten's point of view and from the Priests of Amun's....It seems, from newer books and such, that most are tending to lean toward Akhenaten doing all the "reforms" because of political reasons, which others have already mentioned, but I think it went beyond that. Some scholars used to say that he was mentally unstable....(Which totally erks me.) Then, you've got scholars like Weigall who say that it was purely religious. I, myself, say it was both. His "reforms" killed two birds with one stone in a way. He's following his own beliefs, but at the same time he's cutting down the threat of the Amun priesthood. (I back Akhenaten in the view that they had WAY too much power. When a temple to a god owns about a third or more of the country...yeah, it's time to do something, and who better to do that than a Pharaoh who had religious convictions as well?)


...I like you. You are in the favor of Tutness. 8)

Yes, sorry I'm a bit late...didn't know people were paying attention to my rantings of love. >_> Ahem, anywho...I like what you said, "Killing two birds with one stone." Though I do hate it when they portray Akhenaten as the EVIL one, the dictator. He means well, others outside of his family and court are in disagreement, and throwing their arms up in "What the HEY?! Who the Hells is HE to turn his back on the Gods like this?!"

Though I do beleive...he was sincere, and he thought he was really doing a good thing...Akhenaten knew change was good...he just didn't realize it would backfire just a little bit... :lol:

Though what I wanna know is...could he have approached this Sun God worship another way? Ohh, I feel some opnions coming on!! Woohoo! I'm just curious as to what you all think...could he have done better? Because that couldn't get any worse...right? O_o

...Eh...it could, actually...never mind...I'm typing to myself again. :shock:


Quote:
I don't know that he was really a peace-lover. By abandoning Egypt's allies the Mitanni and allowing the Hittites to rampage around the area he was hardly promoting peace. He does not seem to have attempted any diplomacy to prevent the situation degenerating. It seems he was only really interested in his comfy life, or am I being too harsh?


Woohoo! Alrighty, first off, let me just say...that was an awesome statement you made. Here's the thing: He wanted peace, but I say this because he was the "I'm a lover, not a fighter" kind of king. He wasn't fit to be a military king, obviously, and you are right-he was into his family life more than getting out and fighting. He's such a contradicting king, he wants peace...yet he doesn't send help out to his country. I think he was sort of in the zone at home...I don't think he was selfish. Rather, I think he was either scared...or just lazy. Either or would work, or both, but I digress.

Thank you for making me think, you are also in the favor of Tutness. :wink:


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 3:40 pm 
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But those countries weren't really Egypt....They were other countries that payed tribute to Egypt...Part of the Empire, but still seperate. I think, as long as it wasn't at his front door he didn't really care. Proof of one 'military' campaign to Nubia led by, you guessed it, Akhenaten HAS been found. Most scholars think it was a cover-up, and that he wasn't really doing anything but being a 'missionary', but I think they're being a little too harsh on the guy.

I think if he had done it any other way...He would not be remebered as well....He may have ended up in the Bible for crying out loud!!! Then we wouldn't know anything about him at all!!!! Okay, I took that one too far...Sorry....I think the way he did it was best. Honestly. (If I was Pharaoh....I would do the same....) To me the way he did it shows there were beliefs backing it...That he wasn't doing it just to do it. So...., I think any other way...I wouldn't respect him nearly as much as I do. (I hope I made some sense, if not ask and I will translate. :D)


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