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Author Topic: AKHENATEN  (Read 1021 times)
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« Reply #75 on: September 09, 2007, 09:30:36 am »



Erik Hornung

Translated by David Lorton

                                                        D A R K   Y E A R S


With the persecution of the old deities, the new religion reached its acme and, at the same time, went
too far.  Thus began a final phase, which Donald B. Redford has characterized as a "sunset".

The last two official monuments of the king stem from his twelfth year and both have to do with his foreign
policy.  One is a victory stela, several copies of which were probably set up in Nubia; some fragments of one such copy, later reused at the temple of Buhen, were partially published only in 1976, while another
was located at Amada. 

The topic of their inscription is a military expedition against the Nubian land of Ikaita, which Akhenaten entrusted to his viceroy Tuthmosis.  The text follows a long-standing mode, according to which the "re-
bellion" of this land is reported to the king, affording him the pretext for a military intervention.  This assu-
med a scale of a relatively modest punitive expedition, as shown by the list of spoils at the end of the in-
scription: 145 enemies were captured and eighty were killed, some of them in battle and some "on the stake", that is execution.

This is the only expedition attested to date for Akhenaten and he surely did not lead it himself; he thus
evaded the established model according to which every pharaoh lead an expedition, often only a symbolic
one, at the beginning of his reign, so as to fulfill his role as a victorious monarch.  In other ways, as well, he avoided warlike attributes, such as we still find in the reign of his father Amenophis III and the representation of the triumphal scene of "smiting the enemies" seems to have been absent from the pylon
towers of the temple at Amarna.

In the correspondece from the Amarna archive, his loyal vassals constantly implore him, in vain, to inter-
vene militarily in western Asia; this is the origin of the cliche` of the "pacifistic" king who remained inactive
abroad while wrapped up in his fantasy world at Akhetaten.  But toward the end of his reign, we encounter
lively foreign policy activity in connection with the visit of the prince Aziru of Amurru to Akhetaten.

The other monument of year 12 is the "tribute of the foreign lands", which is represented in the tombs of two officials of the new Residence.  Previously, the "tribute" (actually trade goods) of foreign peoples had
been depicted in the tombs of viziers; nominally the highest civil officials, they also had oversight of
foreign trade.  Nothing of the sort is found in the tombs of Akhenaten's viziers, Ramose and Aper-El.

This stress on foreign policy was probably important to the king, because of increasing difficulties on the domestic front, the intensification of his religious policy doubtless incurred reactions and, along with those, there were family problems as well.
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