Almost all of the pharoes befpore Akhenaton had believed in the old multiple god system of Egypt. But Akhenaton was the first to proclaim that Aton was the only true god and he also changed egytian art and literature.
Akhenaton was also called Amenhotep IV, he was pharaoh of Egypt from about 1350 to 1334 BC. Akhenaton was the son of Amenhotep III and Tiy, and husband of Nefertiti, whose beauty is now famed through celebrated portrait busts of the period.
Akhenaton was the last important ruler of the 18th dynasty and notable as the first historical figure to establish a religion based on the concept of monotheism. He believed the prophets of heliopolis were correct and took it a step further by proclaiming that the only true god was Aton. He established the cult of Aton, or Aten, the sun god or solar disk, which he believed to be a universal, omnipresent spirit and the sole creator of the universe. He commisioned the building of a new open air temple to Aton it was different that temples to previous gods like Amun re which were dark with catacombs.
Some scholars believe that the Hebrew prophets’ concept of a universal God, preached seven or eight centuries later in a land that Akhenaton once ruled, was derived in part from his cult. After he established the new religion, sometimes referred to as solar monotheism, he changed his name from the royal designation Amenhotep IV to Akhenaton, meaning “Aton is satisfied.” He moved his capital from Thebes to Akhetaton (now the site of Tell el ‘Amarinah), a new city devoted to the celebration of Aton, and he ordered the obliteration of all traces of the polytheistic religion of his ancestors. He also fought bitterly against the powerful priests who attempted to maintain the worship of the state god Amon, or Amen. This religious revolution had a profound effect on Egyptian artists, who turned from the ritualistic forms to which they had been confined, to a much more realistic representation of nature as evidence of the all-embracing power of the sun, Aton A new religious literature also arose.
While he was busy instating new religious customs the political affairs of his empire were neglected. Several unanswered messages found in his library from generals and vassals all urging himto act on one another.
The blossoming of culture, however, did not continue after Akhenaton’s death. His son-in-law, Tutankhamen, moved the capital back to Thebes, restored the old polytheistic religion, and Egyptian art once more became ritualized.


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