Let’s meet ancient Egypt’s most radical family man—Akhenaten.
This is the man who, for the first time in Egyptian history, threw his devotion behind a single god, the Aten, with the king now venerated as society’s sole link to the god.
At the same time, he drove an attack-campaign on the traditional state god, Amun, having his name chiselled from the walls of temples and tombs up and down Egypt.
Art suddenly became more angular, more exaggerated, androgynous. No one really knows why, although Akhenaten may have intended to portray himself and his wife Nefertiti as the first gods created by Aten at the beginning of time.
Yes, Akhenaten certainly was radicalised.
But whatever might else be said about Akhenaten, he wanted to be seen as a devoted father.
Delightful, intimate portraits of the royal family provide an insight into palace life never before seen.
This stela, now in Berlin's Neues Museum, was probably set up in a shrine in a private house at Amarna. Akhenaten, Nefertiti and three daughters are enjoying some quality family time under the life-giving rays of the Aten. Akhenaten lifts his daughter Meritaten to give her a kiss, whilst her sister, Meketaten, sits on her mother’s knee and Ankhesenpaaten (the future wife of Tutankhamun) plays with a uraeus pendant on Nefertiti’s crown.
More than any other pharaoh, Akhenaten used his image to reflect his revolutionary religious dogma. The current issue of Nile Magazine looks at the power of the royal image to drive our modern-day opinion of the ancient Kings and Queens.
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