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Akhetaten

Detail of the Berlin bust of Nefertiti; and the latest 3D sculpture of the queen based on the mummy of the Younger Lady; design by Anand Balaji

Religion and Magic in Amarna: A World of Confusion in Akhetaten—Part II

The population that inhabited Akhenaten’s brand new city, Akhetaten, in Middle Egypt was ill at ease with the massive religious uncertainty their monarch had unleashed. A question mark hung over not...
Thousands of talatat blocks from Akhenaten's dismantled Aten temples lie in the precincts of Karnak complex; design by Anand Balaji

Akhenaten, the Savior of Karnak: Breaking Ties with “tainted” Amun - Part II

(Read Part I) Trouble brewed on the horizon when Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten in Regnal Year 5 in honor of his “father” the Aten, and abandoned Thebes (Waset) to occupy a desolate...
Enormous columns in the Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak Temple complex, modern-day Luxor; design by Anand Balaji

Akhenaten, the Savior of Karnak: Sun God Vs the Hidden One - Part I

The fifth year of Pharaoh Akhenaten’s reign was to prove a watershed moment in ancient Egyptian history. In a bid to break free from the shackles of the influential Amun-Ra priesthood, the ruler...
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...
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...
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...
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...
 A painted relief of Ankhesenamun; design by Anand Balaji

The Hunt for Ankhesenamun: How Did a Young Woman Stop an Ancient Dynasty from Imploding? Part I

The names of Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and Tutankhamun —prominent players from the Eighteenth Dynasty of the New Kingdom period in ancient Egypt—have been in the spotlight for well over a century...
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...
Collection of Egyptian Art, design by Anand Balaji

Akhenaten: Imperishable Art of an Iconoclast: Creativity Blossoms in the Desert—Part I

Never before had a pharaoh ushered daring, almost bizarre and inconceivable transformations in religion and statecraft as Akhenaten did. Not only did he oust the pantheon of traditional gods and...
Collection of Egyptian Art, design by Anand Balaji (Photo credits: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden/CC BY-SA 4.0, Leiden; Dr Chris Naunton, Heidi Kontkanen and A. K. Moyls); Deriv.

The Many Mysteries of Maya: Faith, Labor and Love for the Motherland–Part II

The sudden and unfortunate death of Tutankhamun created an unprecedented power vacuum that had to be filled swiftly, if order was to be maintained in the Egyptian state. It is probable that a tussle...

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