Kingship In The Ancient Empire

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Kingship was often determined through divine right to rule in most ancient civilizations. Kings were seen as intermediaries for the gods of the people they ruled over and thus, the kings are given their kingship. Although most kings use artwork to their advantage in raising themselves above the average citizen they ruled, art can cause a king’s downfall when the art stops focusing on the religious beliefs of the many and starts only focusing on the sanctity of their kingship, furthermore, misrepresenting themselves as gods and belittling religious beliefs of the citizens they rule. Two examples of this overstep in power are the Stele of Naram Sin from the Akkadian culture in Mesopotamia and the many depictions of Akhenaten and his family,…show more content…
Akhenaten caused a big shift in the religious practices of the people of Egypt and did so through the use of his depiction in art at every house and temple he created during his rule ca. 1353-1337 BCE (Gates 109). The relief from the Royal Tomb in Egypt depicts Akhenaten receiving the ankh, a symbol of life force and divine right to rule, from the sun god Aten. In this depiction, his lineage is shown as the only intermediaries to the god Aten (Gates 109). This changes the main god that the of Egypt from Amun to Aten. In doing so he devalues all of the priests of the time that held power. This means Akhenaten became in control of who had power at the time, creating a singular ruling view that he controlled more than any other pharaoh before him. This relief also caused an upset in the culture because it caused the people of Egypt to worship Akhenaten and his family, instead of the god Aten himself because only Akhenaten’s bloodline could worship Aten. Although Akhenaten does not directly take the place of a god in the art, he does so in the society by making people worship him instead of a god through the depictions of himself in the Royal Tomb and in many other palaces and temples he built in his new capital, Tell El-Amarna (Gates 109). By devaluing the priests and devaluing the religious practices of the culture, he put himself at the center of society. This put Akhenaten as the only person to blame for this change and he ultimately lost the favor of his citizens as exemplified from the abandonment at Tell El-Amarna as soon as Akhenaten died and was no longer able to claim rule for his family (Gates

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