Amarna period

New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, ca. Akhenaton and Nefertiti are shown with the three oldest of their five daughter. While the daughters are being held and caressed by their parents the placement of the god Aten in the centre of the scene reminds of the official monotheistic religion in the Amarna period. Aten is represented as a sundisc with sunrays ending in hands proffering 'ank'-signs life-signs to the royal couple.

Amarna period

Print this page Apogee and decline Little is known about the last five years of Akhenaten's reign, or the three year period after his death leading up to Tutankhamun's accession to the throne. Many theories have been advanced and the uncertainty has Amarna period compounded by the appearance during these years of new royal personages whose origins and identity remain a matter for debate.

The evidence that survives from the Amarna period is often badly damaged and in many cases throws up more questions than answers. Among them is Kiya, the mysterious secondary wife of Akhenaten.

Who was Kiya and where did she come from? Prince Tutankhaten, better known as Tutankhamun is also intriguing. He is generally thought to be the son of Amenhotep III or the son of Akhenaten and Kiya, but careful investigation has thrown new light on his parentage. The king called Smenkhkare, thought to be a brother of Tutankhaten by most scholars is perhaps the most mysterious figure.

His identity has often been confused with a female pharaoh who many scholars have identified as Nefertiti using a different name.

Amarna period

I propose that this pharaoh is not Nefertiti, but quite a different person altogether. And I also suggest a radically different identity for Smenkhkare, which I have pieced together from the various sources available.

Finally, I will offer my view of the reasons for the dramatic collapse of the first monotheistic experience in history. Given this puzzling situation, I am presenting in this article some of my new views, which are often in complete disagreement with the theories of other scholars, but which may help us to understand the succession of events at the end of Akhenaten's reign.

His new theology flourished at court. It was based on a pragmatic vision of the world, in which only phenomena accessible to the senses might be described or represented, and overturned the mythology and the theological speculation of previous eras.

The earth is bathed in the light and radiance of the sun disc, the Aten, the pharaoh's celestial co-ruler. This single, silent and inaccessible 'god' bestowed life and sustained creation.

Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti's relationship blossomed into a love to which their six daughters were testament. At Tell el-Amarna, amidst much splendour, foreign tributaries came to present the king with produce from his Empire. This harmony, however, was shattered The scenes of mourning engraved in the royal tomb show the royal family overcome with grief, weeping before the princesses' non-mummified corpses or paying homage to their memory, represented by their statue.

Death is depicted in its two real, tangible, aspects: Remarkably, the notion of the afterlife has entirely vanished. In texts, Kiya is given the lengthy title 'the greatly beloved wife of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Neferkheperure-Wa'enre, child of the Aten, who lives now and forever more'.

She is never referred to as 'Royal Wife', as this was a title reserved exclusively for Nefertiti. Kiya's abnormally elaborate title, as long as Nefertiti's, may have been given to her to compensate for what was in fact a secondary status.

On jar inscriptions, Kiya is mentioned simply as 'the Great Lady of Naharina '. After a few years in the old pharaoh's harem, she was put into that of his son.

Amarna period

During the reign of Akhenaten, relations between Egypt and Mitanni soured, as one Amarna Letter tells us Armana Letter EA 29and it is likely that Kiya paid the price for these diplomatic upheavals. Her final destiny is uncertain.I wanted some insight into the international relationships of the Amarna Period in Egypt.

Although quite formally written by scribes, the Amarna letters give a good insight into the period, particularly with the comments by the editor explaining customs of the period and some of the language.

The Amarna Period was an era of Egyptian history during the later half of the Eighteenth Dynasty when the royal residence of the pharaoh and his queen was shifted to Akhetaten ('Horizon of the Aten') in what is now Amarna.

It was marked by the reign of Amenhotep IV. Barry Kemp's masterful account of his thirty some years excavating at Amarna is surely the definitive work for anyone piqued by the life of Egypt's heretic king, his new religion, and the city he built to glorify his revolutionary thoughts in a remote and previously uninhabited wasteland.

Nefertiti seems to have taken a hitherto unprecedented level of importance in the Amarna period art. As in the example shown above from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford she is often shown making offerings to the Aten, and appears to be almost the Pharaohs equal in terms of status.

In this lesson, you'll read about Egypt's Amarna Period, during which the pharaoh, Akhenaten, made revolutionary changes to Egyptian religion, art. The Amarna Period in Egyptian history is a spectacular time filled with mystery, regardless of the massive research and analysis of Egyptologists and layman enthusiasts.

Because religion played such a significant role in all of Egypt's history, the period becomes a grand anomaly worthy of such focus.

Amarna Period | Ancient Near East: Just the Facts