akhenaten

Detail from one of the three surviving planks of Queen Tiye's wooden shrine from KV55; made of wood, gesso and gold leaf. Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

The Golden Shrine of Queen Tiye: Reburial of a Rebel Ruler and His Mother - Part II

When he came to the throne, Pharaoh Tutankhamun set about transporting the royal remains of his immediate ancestors from Amarna to Thebes. The inhabitants of the Sun City had also begun to slowly...
A relief originally from the tomb of Userhat (TT47) at Thebes depicts Queen Tiye. Brussels Royal Museum.

The Golden Shrine of Queen Tiye: When and How Did It Reach the Theban Necropolis? -Part I

Among the hundreds of ancient rock-cut royal sepulchers that have been discovered in Egypt one in particular, KV55, stands out for its infinite intrigue. At some point in time, this Eighteenth...
Bust of Nefertiti (ca. 1370 BC – ca. 1330 BC), the Great Royal Wife (chief consort) of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten.

Lady of Interest: Nefertiti Was no Pharaoh, Says Renowned Egyptologist

The bust of Nefertiti is one of the most iconic artifacts from ancient Egypt and the lady herself probably ranks second only to Cleopatra among the most famous queens of the Nile. As such she is...
Bust of Akhenaten

The Silence of Akhenaten: Was the Pharaoh Mute, Blind or Cultic?

The enigma of Pharaoh Akhenaten has captured the imagination of the world ever since Napoleon’s savants brought him to light. Today, every scholar holds steadfast to his or her theory about the...
Ancient Egyptian relief. Design by Anand Balaji. (Image credit: Julian Tuffs);Deriv.

Amarna Era Chronological Conundrum: Accession of Neferneferuaten and Tutankhamun’s Death–Part II

With only an Amarna wine jar label from Regnal Year 17 – purported to be the last dated inscription from his reign – that makes no mention of Akhenaten by name, and the generous 59 years’ rule...
Ancient Egyptian relief. Design by Anand Balaji.

Amarna Era Chronological Conundrum: Dating Akhenaten’s Death and the Length of Horemheb’s Reign–Part I

When the Nineteenth Dynasty Pharaoh Menmaatre Seti I drew up the famed King List at his mortuary temple in the holy city of Abydos, he was confident that he had struck the final nail in the coffin of...
Ancient Egyptian painted relief showing foot and toes. Design by Anand Balaji.

Game of Toes in Amarna: Missing Body Parts and Funerary Practices of King and Commoner

Pharaoh Akhenaten was the subject of great controversy when he lived; and this did not cease after he died. If anything, his memory has both troubled and impressed people down to this day. Be it his...
Ancient Egyptian relief. Design by Anand Balaji.

Understanding the Monotheism of Akhenaten: Solar Disc Thrust into Eternal Darkness–Part II

At first glance it appears as though Pharaoh Akhenaten is someone whom one would describe as a textbook monotheist, but are we missing the plot? Apart from Amun (and later, Osiris) the king doesn’t...
A bust of Pharaoh Akhenaten. Design by Anand Balaji.

Understanding the Monotheism of Akhenaten: Decay of a Dream and the Final Curtain Call–Part I

Pharaoh Akhenaten has been revered and reviled in equal measure for unleashing his religious policy of one god, the Aten sun disc. But, was the king a monotheist in letter and spirit – one who...
Collage of Egyptian art, design by Anand Balaji.

Amarna in 3 Acts: Defining Vignettes from an Incomparable Era

Three important aspects, in many ways, defined and shaped the Akhetaten years and the post-Amarna period. His detractors in the new disposition erased Pharaoh Akhenaten’s memory in great haste—an...
Dark forces conspired in Ancient Egypt. Egyptian relief, design by Anand Balaji.

Dark Forces Conspire to Destroy the Radiant One: The Assassination of Akhenaten—Part II

Akhenaten’s religious experiment, which was launched in the imperial capital Thebes and later nurtured in the new city Akhetaten, resulted in dramatic changes. Not only did the king oust the panoply...
Was there a sinister plot to eliminate the Sun King? Egyptian relief, design by Anand Balaji.

A Sinister Plot to Eliminate the Sun King: The Assassination of Akhenaten—Part I

The Pharaoh clearly had enough of life at Thebes (Waset). His determined attempts to introduce Atenism—a syncretism of the Memphis-Heliopolis solar philosophy, with a deification of kingship dating...
Main: Temple of Aton in Amarna (CC by SA 3.0). Inset eclipse (public domain)

Eclipse over Amarna: Beginning of the End for Akhenaten in his City of Light?

The ancient Egyptian civilization was wedded to the Sun, and yet, extant records only ever mention the solar aspect as the giver and sustainer of life that shines brightly for all eternity. Sterling...
his head of indurated limestone is a fragment from a group statue that represented Amun seated on a throne, and Tutankhamun standing or kneeling in front of him. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Hunt for Ankhesenamun: A Murderess, Vixen or Helpless Child in this Ancient Egyptian Soap Opera? Part II

Ankhesenamun, wife of the boy-king Tutankhamun, is portrayed in many ways; as a terrified and hapless youngster; a power-hungry murderess; or a loathsome vixen who will stop at nothing to achieve her...
Collection of Egyptian Art, design by Anand Balaji (Photo credits: Heidi Kontkanen, Dave Rudin, and Dmitry Denisenkov); Deriv.

Was Tutankhamun’s Coronation Delayed? Making sense of the Ascendance of Pharaoh Aye

One of ancient Egypt’s best-kept secrets is the identity of the mysterious Amarna Period royal, Smenkhkare. Who, after all, was he or she? Scholars have offered a bouquet of possible candidates...
Collection of Egyptian Art, design by Anand Balaji (Photo credits: Heidi Kontkanen, Oliviero Piccinali, and Julian Tuffs); Deriv.

Akhenaten: Imperishable Art of an Iconoclast: Age of Extravagance in Amarna—Part II

The monuments Akhenaten constructed were no less impressive than those of his father, Amenhotep III. But all his buildings were dismantled and destroyed during the Amarna backlash—including the city...

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