Akhenaten and the Hymn of Aten

Topics: Akhenaten, Monotheism, Great Hymn to the Aten Pages: 4 (1304 words) Published: October 17, 2012
Michael Serravalle
1st response paper
History 121- Professor Byczkiewicz

First Response Paper: Akhenaten and the Hymn of Aten

Akhenaten; Radical success or dismal failure? Formerly known as Amenhotep the IV, he grew up in the most powerful family on earth. His father Amenhotep III died leaving a reign of peace and prosperity in the hands of his son. His son was a King of radical change. He changed many customary ideas of ancient Egypt like art for example. Akhenaten celebrated the vibrancy of the real world and taught his people how to make art in this fashion. Another radical idea of his was the religious revolution he imposed. In the second year of his reign Akhenaten abandoned the traditions of polytheism and only praised one god, Aten, god of the visible sun. Akhenaten cannot be solely blamed for this radical change because there were signs of it present when his father showed Amun Re more praise and tribute than the other gods. Akhenaten’s worship to Aten landed him the distinction of being the first monotheistic ruler in recorded history. He decided to be the only priest of his new religion and this is the time he decided to change his name to Akhenaten meaning one who is beneficial to Aten. With these newfound religious ideas came new beginnings. Again throwing away Egyptian traditions he decided to build a completely different capitol city and abandon Thebes. This idea began the construction of Amarna or horizon of the sun which was built in a desolate land about 200 miles north of Thebes. Akhenaten’s justification for doing so was to escape the influences of the high priests. In the capitol he built the temple of Aten, a very open space that was built to embrace and spread the rays of Aten. In this new settlement he again defies ancient traditions and marries a commoner, Nefertiti. Together they ruled almost equally. Within his regime to further embrace Aten he created the hymn of Aten which praises the sun as the creator of the...
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