Download Akhenaten: History, Fantasy and Ancient Egypt by Dominic Montserrat PDF

By Dominic Montserrat

The pharaoh Akhenaten, who governed Egypt within the mid-fourteenth century BCE, has been the topic of extra hypothesis than the other personality in Egyptian historical past. This provocative new biography examines either the genuine Akhenaten and the myths which have been created round him. It scrutinises the heritage of the pharaoh and his reign, which has been continuously written in Eurocentric phrases inapplicable to historical Egypt, and the archaeology of Akhenaten's capital urban, Amarna. It is going directly to discover the pharaoh's notable cultural afterlife, and how he has been invoked to validate every little thing from psychoanalysis to racial equality to Fascism.

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Extra info for Akhenaten: History, Fantasy and Ancient Egypt

Example text

The Outline of Egyptology', satire in Punch, 28 February 1923 Akhenaten is often called a rebel pharaoh or a heretic pharaoh, and his reign a revolution or a reformation. Certainly great changes took place when he was pharaoh that had lasting consequences. In artistic representation, the conventions loosened (eventually resulting in imagery once limited to royalty filtering down socially); the language was destabilised; and most significantly there was a shift of emphasis in the relationship between god and king.

Donald Redford, for instance, sees Akhenaten as 'a man deemed ugly by the accepted standards of the day, secluded in the palace in his minority, certainly close to his mother, possibly ignored by his father, outshone by his brother and sisters, unsure of himself'. 30 Here we have a whole psychobiography cooked up out of classic Freudian ingredients - possessive mother, distant authoritarian father, etc. - and based, as 29 HISTORIES OF AKHENATEN we shall see, on absolutely no evidence. To imagine that this kind of history can be written about Akhenaten at all is another instance of how historians delude themselves into thinking that he is an accessible figure who can be identified with and understood in modern terms.

One important issue in the 'crisis of polytheism' was the unknowableness of the god, something that obviously attracted Akhenaten. During his reign Akhenaten can be said have to developed his own version of other trends in the presentation of kingship that can be traced back to his father. When Amunhotep III sailed in his barge Aten dazzles, he was analogising his own journey with the sun-god's progression across the sky and through the underworld. Akhenaten took this one step further in his chariot rides through Akhetaten.

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