Akhenaten Legacy

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b) Evaluate the legacy of Akhenaten’s reign. Akhenaten whose birth name was Amenhotep IV ruled Egypt for a period of 17 years during New Kingdom Egypt. His reign however is considered one of the most controversial in all of Egyptian history. Often referred to as the ‘Amarna interlude’ it was characterised by unprecedented structural changes in the governing of Egypt. A legacy is what someone leaves behind, however the legacy of Akhenaten is limited due to damnation memoria which was the process of his successors erasing the memory of Akhenaten from history, although Akhenaten’s physical legacy is limited there is a fair amount of philosophical evidence that allows us to draw conclusions on his reign and legacy. The positive legacy that Akhenaten…show more content…
After the death of Akhenaten, the city of Akhetaten was abandoned and attacked and any Aten related building was turned into the fillings for many later temple projects – and it was only the Akhenaten Temple Project of the 60’s that enabled us to access many primary sources of the city. It is thought that this return was started by Smenkhkare, and completed by Tutankhaten who changed his name to Tutankhamun and moved his capital from Akhetaten to Thebes, leading one to believe that Akhenaten’s reign was not entirely positive due to the fact of damnation memoria. Although statues of the king and domestic shrines to the Aten and the royal family were found in the homes of the wealthy nobles, the religious changes did not affect the personal worship of ordinary Egyptians (Bradley) indicating a potential classist nature of worship – one in which only the whose who of Egyptian aristocracy could access the Aten. Throughout Egyptian history the common people were, to a certain extent, isolated from what went on in the great cult temples. They worshipped a variety of household gods and rarely entered the outer court of the temples (Bradley). When the workers’ village at Amarna was excavated, it was found that right through Akhenaten’s reign the inhabitants had continued to worship Hathor, Bes, Taweret and a cobra deity, Renenutet. The greatest effect the closure of the cult temples had on the ordinary people was the ceasing of the annual festivals and processions of the gods in which they had participated. These had always been an important feature of their social life. Bradley states that ‘to the people, the Aten was a remote god associated exclusively with the king, the failure to set up a program of celebration and feasting with its popular appeal would have contributed to the dissatisfaction of the populace.’ This evidence suggests that Akhenaten was so determined to take the

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