The Pharaoh Akhenaten

To be ignorant of history is to remain always a child - Cicero
Featured in Macworld - one of the
best history sites on the web

previous slide
exhibit menu
next slide
Statue of Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten)
Yellow stone Musée du Louvre
Akhenaten, Egyptian Museum, Cairo

Amenhotep IV came to the throne of Egpt after the death of his father, Amenhotep III in around 1353 B.C. Within a year or two he changed his name to Akhenaten in honor of Aten, the sun god. He banned worship of other Egyptian dieties and took power and privilege away from the priests. Aten was the only god who could be worshipped. It was forbidden to speak of god in the plural. This is the earliest known form of monotheism. It is not certain where this idea came from, but many believe that it was Akhenaten's own understanding, because Aten was the creator god - the one source of everything, the self-creator even of Aten.

More Information


Who makes seed grow in women,
Who creates people from sperm;
Who feeds the son in his mother's womb,
Who soothes him to still his tears.
Nurse in the womb,
Giver of breath,
To nourish all that he made.
When he comes from the womb to breathe,
On the day of his birth,
You open wide his mouth,
You supply his needs.
When the chick in the egg speaks in the shell,
You give him breath within to sustain him;
When you have made him complete,
To break out from the egg,
He comes out from the egg,
To announce his completion,
Walking on his legs he comes from it.

How many are your deeds,
Though hidden from sight,
O Sole God beside whom there is none!
You made the earth as you wished, you alone,
All peoples, herds, and flocks;
All upon earth that walk on legs,
All on high that fly on wings,
The lands of Khor and Kush,
The land of Egypt.
You set every man in his place,
You supply their needs;
Everyone has his food,
His lifetime is counted.
Their tongues differ in speech,
Their characters likewise;
Their skins are distinct,
For you distinguished the peoples.

Excerpts from Great Hymn to the Aten- tomb of Ay, no. 25 at Amarna

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt Image Gallery

Ancient Egypt Books

Great Hymn to Aten - Primary Source

Part of Monotheism in Egypt: The Cult of Akhenaten, a HistoryWiz exhibit

copyright HIstoryWiz 2008

Through Amazon.com
HistoryWiz Books

Your purchase of books or other items through links on this site helps keep this free educational site on the web.