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AKHENATEN

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Bianca
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« Reply #60 on: September 09, 2007, 08:57:39 am »








THE UNIVERSAL DEITY:  LIGHT                                                                  continued



Was Akhenaten planning a universal religion, as Breasted thought?  A universal picture of godhead perhaps
emerges from the Great Hymn and, at the beginning of his reign, the king in any case had a sanctuary with the name Gempaaten ("the Aten has been found") erected in Nubia and perhaps one in Syria as well.

Thus, at the beginning, he actually did wish to announce the glad tidings that the Aten had been "found" to all the world under Egyptian sovereignity; Jan Assmann has shown that at Amarna this "discovery" represented  the revelation of the god.  Alexandre Moret saw in Aten a god of all humankind, who corresponded to Egypt's international empire in the New Kingdom.  But the sources from later in the reign in no way point in this direction.

With the construction of Akhetaten, which also had a Gempaaten temple of its own and constituted a
"horizon" for the god, the area in which the new religion was valid became a highly restricted one, for all practical purposes circumscribed by the boundary stelae of the new Residence.  The king seems to have erected few buildings, such as those at Memphis and Helkopolis, outside this sacred precinct dedicated
to the Aten.  Not once is it stated that he had the intention of converting all of Egypt to belief in Aten
and, less still, is there talk of a mission beyond the borders of Egypt.

In the documentation from the archive of diplomatic correspondence, faith in the Aten remains a concern of Egypt alone.

We also see no indication that the existing temples of the gods were converted into sanctuaries of the Aten; the worship of the god had its unequivocal center in the new capital.  At the same time, only fifteen miles away in Neferusi, Khnum, Thoth and Osiris were still being worshipped!

It would certainly be interesting and instructive to know what was happening during Akhenaten's later years in, for example, the sanctuaries at Elephantine, whether a cult was being celebrated there and for whom; but our sources allow no anwer to such questions.

We must imagine that the suppression of the old cults was not altogether consistent in the distant provinces and that Thebes surely was a special case.
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« Reply #61 on: September 09, 2007, 08:59:26 am »








T H E   Q U E S T I O N   O F   M O N O T H E I S M



PERSECUTION OF THE OLD DEITIES


 At the time the god's name was changed, or just a little later, Akhenaten took the final and most
radical step in the development of his teaching.  Now there would be no gods but Aten, and the physical existence of the old deities would be obliterated by the erasure of their names and sometimes of their representations as well.  The persecution that now ensued was directed especially against Amun and his consort Mut, but it sporadically affected a number of other deities as well and even the writing of the plural noun "gods".

It appears that Thoth, the god of the moon, of wisdom and of the scribal arts was not affected and the persecution was otherwise not especially consistent.   But care was taken to erase the name of Amun, even from the letters in the diplomatic archive, commemorative scarabs and the tips of obelisks and pyramids; the distant regions of Nubia were also affected, as far as Gebel Barkal at the Fourth Cataract of the Nile. 

In some instances Akhenaten even had his own original personal name Amenophis mutilated, in his effort to do harm to the hated Amun. 

This ferocity was surely aimed not only at the heretofore predominant state god, but at the "refuge
of the poor", which Amun had increasingly become - in the Ramesside Period, he would become a special focus of personal piety, thus occupying the very position claimed by Akhenaten.

The persecution also affected theriomorphic symbols of deities, such as the vulture of Mut and the goose of Amun.  Only the falcon and the uraeus-serpent were still allowed and we hear nothing more
of the Mnevis bull of the sun god, for which Akhenaten had made provisions in the text of the bounda-
ry stelae.

It is indicative that all representations of Akhenaten as a sphinx are connected with the earlier name of the Aten; later, this theriomorphic representation of the king was also abandoned.

Egypt had never experienced an iconoclasm of such dimensions, though the erasure of names had rather often served as a political means, for the name was an inseparable component of a personality,
in which and by means of which a person could suffer harm.  Erasure of a name meant consignment
to oblivion and, because depictions embodied reality in Egypt, erasures were entailed
in any persecution.
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« Reply #62 on: September 09, 2007, 09:05:25 am »








EGYPT AS THE "CRADLE OF MONOTHEISM"?



The blow struck at the many deities of the traditional pantheon was a clear sign that Akhenaten was now
intent on the uncompromising realization of a more or less strict monotheism.  To this extent, the characteri-
zation of Egypt as the "cradle of monotheism" has its justification.

But there has been debate as to whether monotheism already existed in Egypt before Akhenaten.  To clarify this question, we must reach back in time a little.  And in this connection, it is helpful to speak in terms of a
"concept of the 'one' (as Jan Assmann called it, following Werner Beierwaltes), rather than the problematic
concept "monotheism" and to inquire into the role of the "one" in the history of Egyptian religion.

At the beginning of the modern era, there was a naive belief that God had revealed himself as the One to
Adam and thus to the first man, with the result that monotheism existed from the very beginning and that
polytheism appeared only later, as the result of a "break" with God.

In the early days of Egyptology there was a generally held opinion that at the idealized beginning of history, there was worship of a single deity in Egypt as well, a beneficent counterweight to the "jackal-headed" gods of the supposedly abtruse polytheism that represented a later degeneration.

Ancient Egypt could thus already count as "rational" in the eyes of the Enlightenment.
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« Reply #63 on: September 09, 2007, 09:06:58 am »








EGYPT AS THE "CRADLE OF MONOTHEISM"?                                                        continued



Later, however, the discovery and study of the Pyramid Texts, from 1881 on, made it clear that there was a plenitude of divine names and forms in these earliest religious texts and that a deity whom the Egyptians addressed and revered as the "one" over against the many was nowhere to be found.

Gaston Maspero, who discovered these texts, was thus the first to support the idea of an original poly-
theism in Egypt.  But the use of the absolute, singular noun "god" in personal names, in generalizing statements and in wisdom literature remained a source of confusion.  Statements like "(the) god punishes", "(the) god loves", "(the) god gives" and the like, made it seem as though, in these contexts at least, there were Egyptians who subscribed to a monotheism "for the initiated", while on a more superficial level, the people subscribed to an erroneous multiplicity of divine figures. 

In this, it was overlooked that the plural noun "gods" and actual divine names also occur in the very same sources.  There is thus no question of a monotheism in these texts, but rather of generally valid state-
ments that, for various reasons, were not to be restricted to any particular deity.
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« Reply #64 on: September 09, 2007, 09:08:52 am »








EGYPT AS THE "CRADLE OF MONOTHEISM"?                                                         continued



Nevertheless, the notion of an original monotheism gained respectability yet again, especially in the monumental work DER URSPRUNG DER GOTTESIDEE:EINE HISTORISCH-KRITISCHE UND POSITIVE STUDIE
[The Origin of the Idea of God: A Historical-Critical and Positive Study] by Father Wilhelm Schmidt, which appeared in twelve volumes from 1926 to 1949 and was supplemented by essays in the journal
ANTHROPOS.

In the field of Egyptology, Hermann Junker adopted Schmidt's ideas and attempted to establish the existence of an anonymous high god (called the "Great  One") in the Old Kingdom.  But he met with little assent and it was not until Etienne Drioton attempted in 1948 to demonstrate the existence of monotheism long before Akhenaten's reform in his LE MONOTHEISME DE L'ANCIENNE EGYPTE [Monotheism
in Ancient Egypt] that the hypothesis again became popular.

Thus, when Joachim Spiegel wrote in 1953 in his WERDEN DER ALTAGYPTISCHEN HOCHKULTUR [Develpment
of Egyptian Civilization] that "pure monotheism was thus the reigning form of Egyptian religiosity from the beginning of the historical period" he was expressing a notion that had been widespread prior to 1880, and which would once again determine characterizations of Egyptian beliefs regarding the divine until the appearance in 1971 of my book DER EINE UND DIE VIELEN [Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt: The One and the Many, 1996), which attempted to investigate the question on a broader basis.

Since that time, the hypothesis of an original monotheism has not reappeared; perhaps it now belongs definitively to the "history" of ideas, along with the idea of a "monotheism for the initiated".
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« Reply #65 on: September 09, 2007, 09:10:05 am »








THE QUESTION OF MONOTHEISM                                                                       continued



But discussion of Egyptian religious belief is ongoing and the concept of an "idea about the 'one' " has
opened up new avenues of approach.

With the "one", Egyptian thinking concerned itself above all with understanding creation and in this re-
spect we can speak with a certain justification of an "original monotheism", for the divine was supposed to have been originally one and then differentiated himself only in the process of creation: "the one who became millions", as it is stated in a formulation popular after the time of Akhenaten.

The Egyptians were always fascinated by the attempt to understand this derivation of multiplicity from an
original unity and they tended to describe this ultimately incomprehensible process by means of paradoxical statements regarding the unity.

A wealth of such statements is to be found as early as the Coffin Texts of the Middle Kingdom.  There, the god Khepri created his own parents ("I engendered my father and was pregnant with my mother") and Horus was born
 "when Isis (his mother!) did not yet exist";  similarly, Orion could state regarding the divine role of a deceased person, "He is my son, older than I." 

In the New Kingdom hymns to the sun god, statements of this sort were applied to Amun, Re or Ptah:
the creator god was "the one", who engendered his engenderers, who "bore his mother" or "the one who bears without having been born."  Along these lines, there is Akhenaten's address to the Aten:
                                          "You Are the One Who Created What Does Not Exist".

The solution to this paradox regarding the beginning of creation was that the original divine unity secreted
something of his substance, whether as spittle, sweat, tears, semen or even as the word that went forth
from his mouth.

The first divine pair and thus plurality resulted from this original emanation.  As early as the Coffin Texts,
this process was described with a "trinitarian' formula: "When He Was One, When He Became Three".
Multiplicity and the plurality of divine forms were thus derived from an original unity.
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« Reply #66 on: September 09, 2007, 09:12:29 am »








THE QUESTION OF MONOTHEISM                                                                continued




THE MONOTHEISTIC "COSMIC FORMULA"



Akhenaten "found" (as he formulated it) the Aten by means of intellectual endeavor or intuition - that is, he discovered the world'd dependence on light and believed it could be understood as the central principle from which all could be understood as the central principle from which all could be derived, a cosmic formula that embraced everything in itself.

But, with light, he committed himself to the visible and was constrained to deny everything that did not be-
long to the visible world: darkness, the afterlife and the deities of the pantheon, especially Amun, the
"Hidden One".!

In the early years of Akhenaten, it was said of the sun god that "there is no other god like him", while in the tombs of the new Residence we read that "there is no other but him".  Therein lies the decisive step toward monotheism and its exclusivity.  Correspondingly, the king was now "unique like Aten, there being no other great one but him" (from the tomb of Aye), while in the "Great Hymn to the Aten", the king proclaims "There is no other who knows you" - in biblical language, "You shall have no other gods before me" and "No one comes to the Father but by me"! (Revised Standard Edition).
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« Reply #67 on: September 09, 2007, 09:13:46 am »








THE MONOTHEISTIC "COSMIC FORMULA"                                                     continued



There has been constant debate as to whether we have to do here with a "true", consistent monotheism
for, even the Aten formed a trinity with the royal couple, which relativizes the oneness of the god.

Like so many concepts, monotheism cannot be defined with absolute strictness or affectuated in reality.
But, with its relentless rigor, this religion of light was the simplest and clearest religion that had ever been
devised!

The Aten's monotheistic character is desplayed on three levels.  One is to be seen in formulations such as "no other but him", which lay claim to exclusivity; additionally, he had neither a female partner nor an
opponent, so that nothing existed besides him.

Here, Akhenaten's thinking is more radical than that of Deutero-Isaiah ("Besides me there is no god", Isaiah
44.6) or that of Islam; in its rigor, it has been surpassed only by tendencies in Islamic mysticism, for which
existence itself is incompatible with the existence of God, for there can be nothing besides God.

The second, more tangible level consists of the persecution of the old deities, which clearly signaled that
there was to be no god but Aten.  Not until Christianity was there a renewed attempt to eliminate the plethora of deities in favour of the One!

And the third level is that of the "cult", which from the beginning of Akhenaten's reign was directed solely and exclusively to the Aten (also in his names of Re and Re-Harakhty) on all official monuments.
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« Reply #68 on: September 09, 2007, 09:15:39 am »








 B E L I E F   I N   A N    A F T E R L I F E   W I T H O U T   A   H E R E A F T E R




OSIRIS IN THE SHADOW OF THE NEW LIGHT


Amun, the state god who was later to suffer so much persecution, still appeared on early monuments of
Akhenaten; but from the very beginning there was a striking abstinence "vis-a`-vis" Osiris, the ruler of the dead and of the netherworld, the realm of the afterlife.

This points to  a profound change in beliefs regarding the afterlife, one in which there no longer was room
for Osiris.  At Amarna, even the title "Osiris" disappeared, which heretofore every deceased person had borne and would bear again later.

This system of thought, which made light its absolute reference point, had great difficulty with the dark side of the world.  Nighttime negated the Aten and signified death - :They sleep, as though dead", as it is formulated in the Great Hymn and, still more concisely, "When you rise, they live and when you set, they die!"

The total dependence of all existence on light, which is the Aten, was now a given.  Previously, the night
had also been filled with life and traditional solar belief had pictured the nightly journey of the sun through the netherworld in loving detail.

But now the nocturnal phase no longer meant the regeneration of light in the darkness, but merely its absence. When the sun tarries so long is never stated; the Aten is quite simply "gone", though his normal location is "in the sky".  The moment of his return is the critical one, which all creation jubilantly greets and which ends his nightly absence.

The wakening of the dead to new life was no longer accomplished nocturnally in the netherworld, but in the morning, in the light of the rising sun and at the same time as those still alive.  All was now oriented
toward the east and, indeed, even the tombs lay in the eastern mountain of Akhetaten - in the text of the earlier boundary stelae Akhenaten gave directions to prepare his tomb there, "where the sun rises"'.

The "West", previously the mortuary realm on whose "beautiful ways" the blessed dead had walked, disappeared from the concept of the world. 

Generally, insofar as hymns to the setting sun were written (an example is furnished by the tomb of the overseer of the harem, Meryre), the talk is not of the sun's stay in the netherworld, but only of Akhetaten.
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« Reply #69 on: September 09, 2007, 09:17:25 am »








THE AFTERLIFE BECOMES THIS-WORLDY



Like the form of the mummy, the tombs were now mere shells for the body.  The dead did not live in
their tombs, but on earth.

Only very seldom is there mention of the DUAT, the traditional realm of the dead; thus, Suti expresses a wish to leave the Duat in the morning to gaze upon the sun as it rises daily, "without ceasing". Basi-
cally, there was no longer a "here-after" and, especially, no "netherwordly realm" of the dead.  The world of the dead was not distinct from that of the living and the Aten of the daytime shone over both.

The boundary between this life and the next was also blurred by the door frames of the dwellings.  From as early as the Old Kingdom, it was common to display the titles and name of the owner of a tomb on its entrance, so that he would be visible to all who passed by.

Now, such "calling cards" in stone also marked the entrances to living quarters, transferring the afterlife  into the "this-worldly" environment of Akhetaten.

When the Aten rose in the morning,, he filled the temple with his light and his presence, received the offerings made by the royal couple and cared for the needs of both the livind and the dead - for the
BA-souls of the deceased also drew near at that moment to receive their food, which they continued to need, in the form of offerings. 

In their tomb inscriptions, Huy and other officials describe how their BAS  are summoned to eat in the temple, where they receive bread, beer, roasted meats, cool water, wine and milk, while the Aten continues to supply them with the necessary breath of life.  This new role of the BA-soul, which enters the temple freely, able to receive all sorts of offerings "without being blocked from what it desires", is specific to the Amarna Period, but did have some influence thereafter.

One such effect was on the popular scene with the tree goddess, where the BA, in the form of a bird, would be given food and drink along with the deceased, a charming extension of the motif.  In the
tomb now one could do without the false door, which had heretofore been the actual cult place: it was
meaningless for the BA, with its freedom of movement and even the corpse had no need of it, for it no longer made the crossing between this world and the next.

Pure, corporeal continued existence or regeneration was entirely irrelevant at Amarna; what was crucial was existence as a "living BA".  Nevertheless, there remained the wish that the BA might
again unite witht the corpse, for only thus could the totality of a person be established.
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« Reply #70 on: September 09, 2007, 09:20:19 am »








THE AFTER - LIFE BECOMES THIS - WORLDLY                                               continued



In his  tomb, Tutu makes an express reference to the analogy between life and death: You stand up in your tomb in the morning to see the Aten when he rises.  You wash yourself and clothe yourself as you did when you were on earth....You arise and forget weariness"; afterwards, freshly animated by the rays of the Aten, he would accompany the god "like the blessed in the hall of the House of the BenBen
(a temple)". 

The pricipal yearning of mortal beings was to gaze upon the Aten and follow him and to breathe the "sweet breath of the north wind (or of life)"; the decisive moment of existence was awakening in
the morning, which signified the renewal of life.

On the lintel of Hatiay in the Louvre, which probably stems from the early years of Akhenaten, when the old deities were still worshipped, the deceased prays before Osiris, Isis, Sokar and Hathor, expressing the wish that he might go out (from the tomb or the netherworld) as a living BA "to see the Aten on earth".  In a longer prayer, Osiris is invoked as the sun; his essence has merged fully with that of the sun god Re, for "his disk is you disk, his image is your image, his majesty (SHFYT) is your
majesty".  This solution builds on intimations in the Litany of Re and it would result in a total amalgamation of the two gods on the coffins of Dynasty 21,

In the Litany of Re, whose ancient Egyptian title was "Book of Adoring Re in the West" and which originated at the beginning of the New Kingdom, seventy-five invocations of the sun god in his night
netherworldy aspects are illustrated with figures that serve to depict the epithets and functions that are invoked.  These include depictions of Osiris, who was becoming ever more widely perceived as the sun at night and connected with Re as the "united" deity, as he is called in the title and text of the Litany.

In a next step, this "United One" received the ram's head of the nocturnal sun god - in a hymn from the Memphite tomb of Haremhab and, thus. shortly after Akhenaten, Osiris is already called "ram-headed" and , beginning with the tomb of Nefertary, he could also be represented as such.

But, despite this close affinity with the sun god, Akhenated preferred to banish Osiris entirely from his concept of the afterlife; he did not allow him to serve even as the nocturnal manifestation of the sun, for his popularity would easily have made him a competitor to the worship of Aten.
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« Reply #71 on: September 09, 2007, 09:21:51 am »








LIVING ON IN THE TEMPLE



The realm of the dead, as Akhenaten and his intimates saw it, lay in the temple of the Aten at Akhetaten; for this reason Meryre, the overseer of the harem, called himself "justified in Akhetaten", while the general Ramose was styled "possessor of provisions (IMAKH) in Akhetaten".  One was no longer obliged to trust in a distant "Field of Reeds" or "Field of Offerings" to feel certain of provisioning after death. 

All the spells that had previously been needed for orientation, suppplies and protection in the fields of the hereafter became unnecessary - there was no Book of the Dead in the actual Amarna Period, just as the royal books of the netherworld were no longer used.

And we now understand why architecture played such a role in the decoration of the tombs of the officials at Amarna - temple and palace were indeed the new realm of the dead, one located in this world!

The question arises, "What sort of next-worldly destiny was conceivable outiside Akhetaten?"  In his tomb at Saqqara the vizier Aper-El was called "justified in the west of Memphis"; he thus counted
on a continued existence there, though in this case we are quite likely dealing with the early years
of Akhenaten.

In the provinces there are no tombs dating with certainty to his later years.  But we can imagine that the BA-soul, as a human component endowed with freedom of movement, visited the nearest Aten temple or, even better, the chief temple at Akhetaten, in order to participate in the regular offerings and the proximity of the king; Akhenaten was now in fact present only in his Residence.

By way of comparison, we may cite the older concept that all human BAS would probably accompany
the sun god in his barque, just as they all now made their way to the temple.  Thus, in its beliefs re-
garding the afterlife, the Aten religion embraced no universal outlook, but rather a narrowly bounded
regionalism.
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« Reply #72 on: September 09, 2007, 09:26:05 am »








EXTERNAL FORMS


Although the concept of life after death experienced a radical change, existing funerary customs and
forms, such as burial rites and the traditional grave goods, were preserved

But mourning and burial in the form of a mummy are represented in only one official's tomb at Amarna,
that of Huy, on the east wall!  Since only daytime existence, in the light of the Aten, counted now, a mummy was in fact unnecessary and regeneration of the body in the afterlife no longer played a role.  For this reason, the scarab beetle, the most important symbol of regeneration, disappeared from the output of the royal workshops; in its place, there was the neutral form of the finger ring. 

Scarabs bearing the name of Akhenaten are thus extremely rare.  On the other hand, many royal
SHAWABTIS - in an unmistakable Amarna style are preserved to us - mortuary figurines that served
as workers who were supposed to carry out burdensome labor that migh be required of the deceased in the afterlife.

Traditionally, they were inscribed with a spell from the Book of the Dead, which designated the deceased as an
"Osiris"; Akhenaten's figurines bore only the title and name of the king.  Of the relatively few private SHAWABTIS
from this period, some are inscribed in the traditional manner - even in the case of a "chantress of the Aten"!
while some bear an offering formula containing the name of the Aten.

We must assume that a royal tomb at Thebes had been planned for Akhenaten at the beginning of his reign, though until now it has not been located with certainty.  "Magical bricks" on which the king was still designated as "Osiris" were probably intended for this burial place.

In the royal tomb at Tell el-Amarna fragments of several coffins of pink granite were found; they bear prayers by
Akhenaten to the radiant Aten instead of the heretofore usual protective gods, the "Sons of Horus" and Anubis.
It is significant that the queen stood at all four corner of his sarcophagus: under Tutankhamun, she would be replaced by the protective goddesses Isis, Nephthys, Neith and Selkis.

Nefertititi was thus Akhenaten's protective goddess, who wished him pleasant breath for his mouth and nose.  On
the other hand, he employed the canopic shrine, for the traditional vulture was too loaded with associations with the old religion.  The smaller Aten temple at Akhetaten was presumably intended for his mortuary cult; like the mortuary temples at Thebes, it lay in the immediate vicinity of a palace and bore the designation HUWET.

The king's precedent of replacing the protective deities with the queen on his coffin was immediately imitated. The
coffin of Taat from Deir el-Medina is an important, although thus far unique, attestation of this; here as well, the
protective deities are replaced by members of the deceased's family.
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« Reply #73 on: September 09, 2007, 09:27:25 am »








THE KING'S GRACE REPLACES THE JUDGMENT OF THE DEAD



 Since the afterlife no longer entailed a realm of the dead, the concepts of a general judgment of the Dead as vindication in the afterlife were no longer suited to the times.  The ethical basis for a blessed afterlife was now the grace and mercy of the king, who "lived on Maat' and thus embodied for his officials, the plumb line of her scale of justice. 

In the next life, as in this one, provisions could be received only from the king.  Whoever was loyally devoted to him would survive death as a MAATY: one who was an adherent of Maat and thus vindi-
cated.  Without this loyalty, there was no life after death, for Akhenaten was the "god of fate (Shai),
who grants every lifetime and a burial (after) old age in his favour", as stated by the general Ramose in an inscription from his home at Akhetaten. 

In their tombs, officials were still always designated as "vindicated" (MAA-KHERU).  Immediately after the Amarna Period, pictorial representations of the Judgment of the dead would receive an important new element in the form of "Swallower-of-the-Dead", a female monster composed of a crocodile, a
lion and a hippopotamus; she embodied the very jaws of hell that devoured the "enemies".

Beliefs regarding the afterlife at Amarna can thus be summarized quite simply: the dead slept at night and in the daytime they accompanied the Aten and the royal family to the Great Temple, where all were provisioned. 

There was thus still life after death,but the king was responsible for it as lord of provisions both in this life and the next; the Aten tended personally only to the continued existence of the king.  The temple
and the palace, with all their painted architectural detail, ruled the new tomb decoration, for they mirrored the new, thoroughly earthly afterlife of the deceased; the departure of the royal family from the palace and the daily offerings made by the king in the temple were also popular themes. 
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Bianca
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« Reply #74 on: September 09, 2007, 09:28:44 am »








BELIEF IN AN AFTERLIFE WITHOUT A HEREAFTER                                              continued


Instead of the usual pillars, columns were now employed in the tombs - Aya had an actual columned hall in his-and in this way, too, the realm of the dead took on architectonic form as something belong-
ing to this world, though this particular usage was a continuation of developments under
Amenophis III.

In a somewhat murky formulation in the Great Hymn,we learn that even when the Aten has "gone
away he, nevertheless, remains in the heart of the king.  That was his enduring place and the community, together with his prophet, mitigated the solitude that surrounded him in his daily course acress the sky.

The afterlife of traditional belief, which the sun now no longer touched and illuminated, lost much of its luster.  In the tomb of an artisan whose name Paatenemheb points to the Amarna Period, there is the earliest copy of the "Inyotef Song", which was once dated to the Middle Kingdom because of its ficti-
tuous ascription to a king named Inyotef.

Its skeptical stance 'vis-a`-vis the afterlife, which characterizes the entire new genre of harpers' songs as well as the new laments over the dead, is a product of Akhenaten's religion of light and the deep shadows it cast.


****************************************************************************




THE INYOTEF SONG



I have heard the words of Imhotep and Hardedef
whose maxims are cited everywhere.
Where are their places?  Their walls have collapsed,
their places do not exist, as though they had
    never been made.
No one comes from there to describe their condition
and give tidings of their needs
and calm our hearts
until we, too, arrive where they have gone.

So let your heart rejoice, so as to forget all that -
it is good for you to follow your heart as long as you live.
Place myrrh on your head, clothe yourself in finest linen,
anoint yourself with genuine oil of the god's property.
Increase your well-being andl let your will not grow slack!
Follow your heart together with your beloved,
do your work on earth and let your heart grieve not,
until that day of mourning comes to you.
But the "Weary of Heart" (Osiris) does not hear their cries,
and their laments save no human heart from
   the netherworld.
Again: Spend a happy day, do not weary of it!
Remember: no one can take his goods with him.
Remember: no one who has passed away returns!



****************************************************************************

The entire text is preserved on Papyrus Harris 500 (=Brithis Museum 10060) from Dynasty 19.
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