10: Excursus: The Amarna Period

Exam 1 Tuesday Feb. 18 in class

Exam format:
10 Multiple Choice
10 Short answer
10 Identifications

Dominic Montserrat,
Akhenaten: History, Fantasy and
Ancient Egypt
(Routledge 2000)

Philip Glass, Akhnaten:
An Opera in Three Acts

Personal piety

Votive offerings


New Kingdom, 18th dynasty (c. 1550-1295 BCE)

From Thebes (in south)

God Amun of Thebes


High Priest of Amun

Amun and the king
Amunhotep ("Amun is satisfied)

Amunhotep III

Sun gods

Divinity of King


Amunhotep IV
c. 1350 BCE


Amunhotep IV becomes Akhenaten

"The effective spirit of Aten"

Move from Thebes:
New capital Akhetaten
("Horizon of Aten) or Tell el Amarna

Hence "Amarna Period"

Aten titles change: no more reference to other gods

Closure of temples of other gods

Erasing of images and names of other gods

Abstract image of Aten


Akhenaten and family



Artistic styles

Akhenaten, Nefertiti,Aten as triad
NOT monotheistic("one-god")?

- as father and mother figure?
- as fertility figure?

compare to Nile god figure

Hymn to the Aten

Lack of funerary/afterlife provision
Canopic jars, Shabti figures

but no articulated afterlife beliefs

Survivals of old religion

Success of Akhenaten's reforms?

Restoration of old religion

Back to Thebes, Amun