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Author Topic: AKHENATEN  (Read 1090 times)
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« Reply #30 on: September 09, 2007, 07:22:02 am »

THE FIRST STEPS                                                                                    continued

                                O N C E   A G A I N,   T H E   S E D    F E S T I V A L

On these blocks, an important role is played by the Sed-Festival that Akhenaten
celebrated together with his god Aten.

We have already mentioned this festival of royal renewal in connection with its
celebration by Amenophis III.  But, while the father endeavoured to gather all the
deities of the land for this festival and to perform its ceremonies in front of shrines
containing various divine images, his son strode from one shrine to another, each
containing only the Aten, depicted as the sun disk with its rays.  Along with tradi-
tional motifs like the dances for Hathor, there are novel and unusual scenes; one
depicts the king with a hammer in his hand.                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Therepresentation of the festival cannot itself attest to its celebration, for the
Egyptians always created reality through pictures alone.  Even Akhenaten had
himself and Nefertiti represented as felling enemies without having undertaken a
military campaign.

Yet, there is reason to think that Akhenaten inaugurated the royal status of his
god Aten with the celebration of a SED-festival.  Whether he celebrated his own
thirtieth birthday at the same time, as some have supposed, remains highly un-


Though the king planned "millions" of sed-festivals in the text of the earlier bound-
ary stelae of his new capital and obliged himself to celebrate them there and no-
where else, he evidently did not celebrate any festival of renewal at Akhetaten;
at the least, there is no evidence for one.

An actual SED-Festival should have left traces in a great number of inscriptions
preserved on vessels.  Instead, there is only a single wish for the celebration of
sed-festivals, carved on a door-frame from the house of the officer Nekhuenpaaten.
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