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Author Topic: AKHENATEN  (Read 1084 times)
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« Reply #45 on: September 09, 2007, 07:41:03 am »



Erik Hornung
Translated by David Lorton                                                                      continued

                                                    A   N E W   R E L I G I O N


Akhenaten left no holy scripture, so what he founded does not belong to the
religions of the book.  And a "Word of God" is altogether inconceivable in this
new religion, for the newly promulgated god remained silent.  The Aten himself                                                did not speak; rather, his preacher Akhenaten spoke about him.  We must thus
rely on evidence stemming from the inscriptions of the king and his officials.

The inscriptions frequently mention a "teaching" or "instruction" of Akhenaten's,
which he placed in the hearts of his subjects.  To be sure, the Egyptian word
used for it, SEBAYT, also designates the wisdom literature handed down in writ-
ing from as early as the late Old Kingdom, but in the Amarna Period it seems, in
fact, to be exclusively a matter of a teaching and instruction imparted orally by
the king; nowhere is there a trace of religious tractates.

For a monarch of the New Kingdom, it is astonishing how little Akhenaten has
left to us in writing; the boundary stelae of his new Residence with their two
different texts, the "Great Hymn to the Aten," which has been ascribed to him,
probably correctly, -  though it is recorded in the tomb of Aya - and a victory
stela in distant Nubia, which was undoubtedly erected in the king's name by his
viceroy there, are a few inscriptions from the beginning of his reign and further
hymns.  Thus, for written sources regarding Akhenate's religion, we can only con-
sult certain illuminating passages from the tomb inscriptions of his officials.

It speaks to the clarity and simplicity of this religion that such meager sources
nevertheless yield a general picture, allowing us to gain some familiarity with its
essential characteristics.  But there is also pictorial evidence: representations of
the god Aten and the royal family and lavish depictions of architecture and other
motifs in the tombs and palaces.

Akhenaten endeavoured to promulgate his teachings through menmonic images,
especially the sun disk with its rays, but also scenes of his family.  These motifs
were stipulated and obligatory, leaving the artists little latitude, but the abundan-
ce of new pictorial motifs must have aroused a feeling that anything could be ex-
ressed figuratively.  This continued to have an effect long after Akhenaten; an
unprecedented wealth of religious images was developed during the Ramesside
Period and later, in Dynasty 21.

New was the compulsory nature of the pictures and the divine names of the Amar-
na Period.  Previously, a considerable freedom prevailed in the designation of
deities with names and epithets in a cult scene; it was even a principle to seek a
lively variety, with as little repetition as possible.  There was also leeway in the
representation of deities and the constellations into which they were inserted. In-
deed, each divinity had a multiplicity of names, forms of manifestation and constella-
tions to be taken into account.  But now there was only ONE fixed name and ONE
fixed image of the Aten; all variation was excluded, and even his epithets were re-
duced to a few stereotypes.
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« Reply #46 on: September 09, 2007, 07:42:13 am »

G O D   A S   P H A R O A H

We have already indicated the rigor with which the royal status of the god was
now promulgated.  Aten ruled the world as king, he had a royal titulary and wore
the royal uraeus, and he even celebrated royal festival of renewal.  Just as offi-
cials often placed the name of their king on their statues, so now statues of the
royal couple bore the cartouches of their king and god.  And his univeral rule was
indicated pictorially by the many hands of the god, to which everything was access-
ible.  After earlier, tentative attempts to provide the sun disk with hands, the
perfected, brilliantly simple image of radiant Aten was developed in a single, bold
step.  But the decided, plastic bulge the disk often displays should not lead us to
interpret it as a solar orb.

The Aten was actually not the sun disk, but rather the LIGHT that is in the sun and
which, radiating from it, calls the world to life and keeps it alive.  Heinrich Brugsch
already emphasized that Aten was a god of light, and Jan Assmannhas managed a
fresh distillation of this view.  Indeed, from early times, the sun with its rays had ser-
ved in the writing system as a hieroglyph in writing words meaning "to shine" and the

In contrast to the rich mythic frameworks in which Egyptian deities had otherwise been
embedded, the Aten remained free of such connections and constellations.  In fact, it
was said of him only that he ever and again created the world and maintains it in life;
but there was no longer an interest in the original creation of the world - Aten, "who
built himself with his own hands,"creates the world continually.

The nightly journey through the netherworld and the defeat of Apopis, the enemy of the
sun, were now gone; there is even no mention of the barque of the god, the vehicle of
the sun's course.  In Egypt, with its innumerable waterways, all deities traveled by boat!
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« Reply #47 on: September 09, 2007, 07:43:26 am »

 P H A R A O H   A S   G O D

Aten (or Re-Harakhty) was the god of Akhenaten, but the personal god of the indi-
vidual was the king - as Assmann has put it, "He was the god who set out on pro-
cession, who performed signs and wonders, and who intervened in the destiny of the
individual, holding life and death in his hands."  The officials at Akhenaten's court cul-
tivated the topos of total dependence, in which themes from the "loyalist instructions"
of the Middle Kingdom were continued and expanded.  The king was appealed to as
the dispenser of all sustenance and the epithets of a creator god were heaped on
him; the mayor of the new capital conjured up the formula "Neferkheprure brings into
being" as a new name for himself.

This position vis-a-vis humankind was not simply the traditional role of a pharaoh; ra-
ther it had its origin in the status of Ahenaten as the beloved son of the Aten.  Pre-
viously Pharaoh had considered himself to be the "son of Re", thus stressing his divine

But Akhenaten was the son of his god in a much more personal manner, and in this lay
the seed of the failure of his teaching, for it stood and fell along with his own person.

For Egyptian theologians there also arose the question of the HOMOOUSIA of father and

In the eighth scene of the Book of Gates, a new description of the Netherworld that ori-
ginated in the Amarna Period (before and after Akhenaten), Atum expresses his total uni-
ty with Re with the formulation "I am the son who emerged from his father, I am the
father who emerged from his son", at the same time alluding, in context, to the father-son
relationship of Osiris and Horus.

While Aten was not just a national deity, but rather illuminated the entire world as the uni-
versal sun god, Akhenaten always remained pharaoh of Egypt and never became a prophet
for all humankind. 

On a purely superficial level,this is shown by his titulary.  Akhenaten was "lord of the Two
Lands", that is , Egypt, while the Aten was lord of the worldd, expressed concretely as
"Sky and Earth".

Personal piety at this time consisted exclusively in loyalty to the king, which meant to Akhe-
naten as a person; no other intermediary was conceivable.  We have already made the refe-
rence to the excessive appeals made by his officials; veritable hymns were sung to him, as
by Pabehsy:

"Praise to you, oh my god, who built me,
who determined good for me,
who made me come into being and gave me bread,
who cared for me with his KA!


I give praise to the height of the heavens,
I adore the lord of the Two Lands, Akhenaten:
god of fate, giver of life, lord of command,
light of every land,
on whose gaze one lives.
Nile of humankind,
on whose KA one is sated.
God who creates the great ones and builds
       the poor ones,
breath for every nose, by which one breathes!"

Akhenaten is constantly designated the Nile of Egypt, embodying the annual inunda-
tion and all the beneficence of nature and he is also called "mother who bears all, he
nourishes millions with his food," just as prior to Akhenaten, in the hymn of Suti and
Hor, the sun god Re was designated "mother of humans and deities," while he would
later often be called "mother and father."
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« Reply #48 on: September 09, 2007, 07:45:23 am »

The Female Element:      N E F E R T I T I

Akhenaten and his god thus partly accounted for the female sphere, but the third party in
the alliance was Nefertiti, whose importance was already noted above.  This importance was
not of a political but of a purely religious nature and thus had a different stress than in the
case of Teye, Akhenaten's mother.

Nefertiti shared in the rulership without being formally a coregent.  She was Akhenaten's per-
sonal goddess, and she, along with him and the Aten, comprised a divine trinity, like those
which so often occur in the pantheon of the New Kingdom.

The constellation that shines through here is that of Atum, the single god at the beginning of
creation and the pair Shu and Tefenet who emerged from him.

This is quite clear at the beginning of the reign when, for exampe, some of the colossal statues
of Akhenaten wear the four -feathered crown of Shu.  Later, the indications became more re-
condite, as when the royal couple "elevate" the names of the Aten.
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« Reply #49 on: September 09, 2007, 07:49:53 am »


Erik Hornung
Translated by David Lorton


A   C I T Y   F O R   A   G O D

First, Akhenaten set up Boundary Stelae around the place he had chosen for his future royal
Residence, so as to delineate its intended area with du solemnity.  The fourteen stelae - three
on the west bank of the Nile and eleven on the east bank - staked out an extensive area,
though the actual city would lie only on the eastern bank, where the cemeteries are also to be

The "Beautiful West," up to then the realm of the dead, would no longer play a role.

The date on the three earlier stelae can be reconstructed as the thirteenth day of the fourth
month of the season PERET, in the fifth regnal year of the king.  It thus falls only one brief month
after that of a letter sent from Memphis by the administator Ipi, a nephew of the vizier Ramose,
to the king, who was probably already encamped at Amarna. 

In this letter, Ipi informs the monarch, who was still called AMENOPHIS, that all was well in the
temple of Ptah at Memphis and that the prescribed offerings were being carried out in their en-
tirety for all the gods and goddesses of Memphis, with nothing being withheld from them.

All this was being done in the name of the king, and Ipi designated the king's relationship to PTAH


                                                               P T A H
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« Reply #50 on: September 09, 2007, 07:51:27 am »

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« Reply #51 on: September 09, 2007, 07:52:00 am »


                                   Boundary Stela - Year 5

We owe a scenario for the founding of the new capital to the American astronomer Ronald
Wells, who has studied the orientation of Egyptian temples.  According to him, the date chosen
was that on which, for an observer, the rising sun shone directly into the length of a small tem-
ple, that is, the mortuary temple of the king, from an indentation in the eastern horizon, where
the desert valley that was to contain the royal tomb opened up into the broad plain of Amarna;
around 1350BC this day was March 4 in the Julian Calendar, or February 20 in the Gregorian.

It well suited Akhenaten's religion of light that the foundation date occurred when the Aten emer-
ged from the valley that the king had earmarked for his own and his family's tomb, flooding with his
light the plain where the city was to lie.  Well's assumption is, thus, attractive, but it has also
found objections: the temple axis has in no way been established that exactly, nor is it clear just
how sunrise was defined in those ancient timeS. Still, the very name of the new Residence, AKHETATEN
or "Place of the Light of Aten" is programmatic, referring to the sun as a HEAVENLY BODY.
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« Reply #52 on: September 09, 2007, 07:54:28 am »

 Remains of the Great Temple at Amarna - Columns are reconstructed

The desert terrace on the east bank, crisscrossed by a few shallow depressions, offered a site well suited to the indented metropolis.  First, a camp was set up, as noted in the later text of the stelae of year 6; from there, the king was able to inspect the construction work when he visited.  The work progressed quickly, the
repetition of the king's oath in his eighth regnal year might indicate the court's move to the new Residence at that early date.  We must imagine a gigantic construction site already in year 5, and this was the year when the regular deliveries of wine to the Aten's city commenced.  In year 6, Amun's domains in the delta still parti-
cipated in the supply.

                       Digital reconstruction of the Great Temple
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« Reply #53 on: September 09, 2007, 07:56:38 am »


                        A K H E N A T E N   A N D   T H E   R E L I G I O N   O F   L I G H T

Erik Hornung
Translated by David Lorton

                                             T H E   P U R E   T E A C H I N G



In the new Residence, the Aten's followers found themselves in an ideal setting for their endeavours,
one where they could devote themselves undisturbed to the service of the new teaching, which now attained its perfection.

Temples and tombs were not rendered superfluous by Akhenaten's teaching, despite the many innova-
tions it entailed.  The sanctuaries of the Aten constituted the spiritual center of the new Residence of
Akhetaten, while on his boundary stelae the king made specific provisions for the preparation of tombs in the eastern mountain.  But the structure and meaning of these constructions differed fundamentally from those of the past.

Previously, every Egyptian temple had been understood as a shrine for the cult image of a deity.  Since
the Aten had no image aside from the radiant sun, the whole world was in fact his shrine.  And since his cult image was accessible only to prayers and offerings, all the richness of the daily cult ritual that had been celebrated in each of the innumerable temples, with its purification, anointing, and clothing of the divine image, no longer applied.  This was not without consequences for the forms assumed by the new cultic structures.

Along with the introduction of the new artistic style, we discern in the representations a new type of architecture: the Aten temple.  Like all Egyptian sanctuaries, it was sheltered from the outside world by high walls (this was true, at least, of the temple at Amarna), but it was open above to the sunlight, which had previously had only limited access to the columned halls and chambers.  Even the doorways now had broken lintels, while the processional way through the middle of the columned halls was unroofed.  To diminish the play of shadows, doorways were provided with raised thresholds.

Thus, wherever he strode, the king was in contact with his god.  Every cultic act actually did take place
under the radiant sun.  And because there was sunlight everywhere, even in the interiors of the buildings, it was practical to employ only sunk relief, which heretofore had been reserved for exterior walls.
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« Reply #54 on: September 09, 2007, 07:58:02 am »

NEW SANCTUARIES FOR THE ATEN                                                          continued


A further consequence of the new beliefs was that there was no longer a need for a holy of holies, a
sanctuary for an earthly cult image of the god fahioned out of costly materials.  As soon as the Aten rose in the morning, he filled the temple completely with his presence, as stressed in the text of the earlier boundary stelae: "by means of his rays, he fills it with himself."  The temple thus now had no real axis, and the king's processional way ended at an elevated altar dedicated to the cult of the sun.

The Aten's effect on his temple and the world was not worked through words he spoke to Pharaoh, but through his rays.  His life-maintaining and life-giving hands were present everywhere in the sanctuary.
And so that they might take hold of offerings everywhere they touched, the sanctuary was now overfilled with altars on which food lay ready for the god.  Among these (we must not deceive our-
selves) there were still sacrificial offerings, cattle and geese and the Aten temple had its own slaughter
house.  But all these were decked with flowers, which were now the preferred offering.  And the offering was still always accompanied by the singing of hymns and by music and incense.

However much the king stressed that he lived on Maat, he was now obliged to abstain from representing
Maat as a goddess and, with that, from the heretofore popular scene, laden with symbolism, of the presentation of Maat.  Its replacement was probably the proffering of votive figures that tended to be decorated with feathers, producing again a reference to Maat, for her name could also be written with the hieroglyph of a feather.  The figures tended to be connected with cartouches, and this practice would later be continued in the Ramesside Period, when the king offered his throne name, compounded with the concept of Maat, to a deity.  As so often, Nefertiti took an active part in these cult scenes-in no other period was a queen so intensively involved in the divine cult of Amarna.  She was a member of the triad that the royal couple formed along with Aten, and which replaced the triads of Thebes (Amun-Mut-Khons) and Memphis (Ptah-Sakhmet-Nefertem), which had previously stood at the head of the
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« Reply #55 on: September 09, 2007, 08:46:02 am »


Family scenes, in which all six daughter now often appear, also displaced earlier scenes of deities and their mythological constellations.  Intimately and emphatically, the royal family display the love that reigns among its members-a love that, because it is pleasing to the Aten, is supposed to emanate over all the world.  The daughters caress one another or are affectionately tended to by their parents.  They sit on their parents's laps, and once, on a fragment in the Louvre, Nefertititi appears on Ahenaten's lap.  In any other period, it would have been unthinkable to represent Pharaoh eating and
drinking, as happens in the tombs at Amarna.

As far as its ground plan and its conception are concerned, the temple remained a processional route with a stress on its central axis-though no longer a route for a deity whose image would leave the temple, but rather one for the king who entered it.  The royal family's departure by chariot replaced the divine barque processions on festival days.

Like its predecessors, the processional temple was made up of pylons, courtyards and columned halls.  Representations show that the facade of the great Aten temple at Amarna was adorned with ten flag-
poles, thus surpassing the temple of Karnak with its eight.  Innumerable statues of the royal couple filled the empty spaces between the columns, but it seems that the statues of officials were no longer set up in the temple to share in the daily cult and its offerings.

Such a share in the cult was not possible for the officials, for their place was outside the temple.  An unusual tomb scene depicts the police chief Mahu kneeling before heaped-up offerings after being rewarded by the king and praying to Aten for the king's health; exceptionally, an official prays here directly to the god, but the scene takes place in front of the closed pylon of the great temple, not inside the sancturary.  For the rest, small places of worship were found in the houses of Akhenaten's followers, where a sort of household altar depicted the royal family under the radiant Aten.  Here, they could turn to the holy trinity and venerate Akhenaten as their personal god.
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« Reply #56 on: September 09, 2007, 08:47:36 am »


About four years after the king, the god Aten also received a new royal titulary, one that mirrored the continuing developements in the teaching. There were harbingers of this in new writings of the old name in a strictly phonetic form, avoiding Horus and Re.  The divine names Horus and Shu were removed from the new double cartouche, leaving only Aten and Re.  The new creed-for this "dogmatic" name is just that!-reads: "Live Re, the ruler of the horizon, who rejoices in the horizon in his name Re the father (?), who returns as Aten". 

The god (and the king as well) is otherwise designated as "ruler", an additional stress on the royal rule exercised by light over all the world.  In private letters from the new capital, such as those of the "oil-boiler" Ramose to his siblings, the full name of the god was avoided, but even the short form "Aten" was enclosed in a cartouche.

Nothing changed in the representations, and the sole, obligatory icon of the god of light remained the sun disk with its rays and hands.  Since he was in the sky, the image of the god is ABOVE the king in all scenes depicting the cult, not in front of him.  And as indicated by the protective uraeus-serpent in the middle of the disk-previously it had appeared on its side-the sun in the sky and thus also the god of light.  There could be no statues of this god-"sculptors do not know him", as it is stated in the earlier text of the boundary stalae-for how could the light that ruled the world be represented in sculpture in the round?  A statue in the Brooklyn Museum published by Robert S. Bianchi in 1990, which he wished to connect with Aten (though he argued that it was created under Amenophis III), is no exception.  The
disk (without a uraeus!) that replaces its head has parallels in relief sculpture, all relating to the sun god, so that we doubtless have here an image of the traditional god.  In the New Kindom, it was possible to replace the head of a deity with an object, thus further intensifying the symbolic possibilities of "mixed forms".

The essence of this god is the special concern of Akhenaten's "Great Hymnb to the Aten", which is perhaps to be ascribed to him personally.  It was recorded in the rock tomb of Aye, where it survived through the ages until 1890, when a portion of it was maliciously destroyed during a quarrel among local inhabitants, though it is preserved in a copy made earlier by Urbain Bouriant.  We thus have the comp-
lete text of this poem, in which Akhenaten's ideas found their purest expression.
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« Reply #57 on: September 09, 2007, 08:49:40 am »

                                               THE GREAT HYMN TO THE ATEN

The first lines of the text contain the title and names of Aten, Akhenaten and Nefertiti.  The actual
hymn begins with the words "he says" (referring to Akhenaten).

"Beautiful, you appear
in the horizon of the sky, oh living sun, who determines life!
You have appeared on the eastern horizon
and filled every land with your beauty.
You are beautiful, great and shining,
high over all the land.

Your rays embrace the lands
to the limit of all you have created.
You are Re when you reach their borders
and bow them down to your beloved son.
You are distant, though your rays are on earth;
you are in their face, though your course is inscrutable.

When you set in the western horizon,
the world is in darkness,
in  a state of death.
Sleepers are in their rooms,
heads covered, no eye sees the other.
Were all the possessions under their heads robbed,
they would not notice.
Every beast of prey emerges from its den,
and all the serpents bite.
The darkness is a tomb,
the earth lies numb,
its creator has indeed set in his horizon.

In the morning, you rise on the horizon
and are radiant as the sun in the daytime;
you drive off the darkness and cast your rays.
The Two Lands are in festival daily,
the people awaken
and stand on their feet, for you have roused them.
Clean is their body, they have clothed themselves,
and their arms are (raised) in prayer when you appear,
the whole land does its work.

All cattle are satisfied with their fodder,
trees and foliage bloom.
The birds have flown from their nests,
their wings praise your KA.
All the game animals frisk on their hooves,
all that fly and flutter live
when you have risen for them.
Freighters fare downstream
and back upstream,
every road is open through your rising.
The fish in the river leap before your face,
your rays are within the sea.

Oh you who cause semen to develop in women,
who make "liquid" into people,
who keep a son alive in his mother's womb
and quiet him so that his tears dry up-
you nurse in the womb!-
who give breath
to keep all creation alive.
When (the child) emerges from the womb
to breathe on the day of his birth,
you open wide his mouth
and provide for his needs.

The chick in the egg,
which speaks already in the shell-
you give it breath therin to bring it to life.
You have set its due time
to break (the shell) in the egg;
it emerges from the egg
to speak at its due time,
it is already running about on its feet when it
emerges from it.

How manifold are your works
which are hidden from sight,
you sole god without equal!
You have created the earth as you desired, quite alone,
with people, cattle and all creatures,
with everything upon earth
that walks about on feet
and all that is on high and flies with its wings.
The foreign lands of Syria and Nubia,
and the land of Egypt-
you set all in their place and care for their needs,
they all have their nourishment, their lifetimes
are determined.
Tongues differ in speech,
their characters as well,
their skin colors differ, for you distinguish the peoples.

You create the Nile in the netherworld
and bring it up according to your will
to keep humankind alive, for you have created them.
You are lord of them all, who toils for them,
oh lord of all lands, who rises for them,
oh sun of the daytime, great of majesty!
All the distant foreign lands, you yourself keep them alive,
you have placed a Nile in the sky,
that it might descend to them,
with waves beating on the muntains like the sea,
to water their fields with what they need.
How effective are your plans, oh lord of eternity!
The Nile in the sky, which you give to foreign peoples
and all the creatures of the desert that go on legs;
but the true Nile comes from the netherworld to Egypt.

Your rays nurse all the fields-
when you rise, they live and grow for you.
You create the seasons to make all creation develop-
the winter to cool them,
the heat of summer that they might sense you.
You made the sky far in order to ascend to it
and gaze upon what you have created.

You are unique when you have risen
in all your manifestations as the living Aten
who shines and gleams,
distances himself and comes near;
you create millions of forms from yourself alone-
cities, towns, and fields,
roads and river.
All eyes find themselves facing you,
when you are above the land as the sun of the daytime.

When you have gone, there no longer remains your eye,
which you have created for their sake,
so that you do not behold yourself as the sole one
of what you have created-
even then you remain in my heart,
and there is no one else who knows you,
except for your son, Neferkheperure Waenre,
whom you have taught your nature and your might.

The world comes into being from your gesture, as
you have created it.
When you rise, they live,
when you set, they die;
you are lifetime itself, one lives through you.
Eyes rest on beauty until you set,
all work is laid down when you set in the west.
The rising one strengthens all arms for the king,
and speed is in every foot.

Since you founded the world, you rouse them
for your son, who emerged from your body,
the king of the two Egypts, who lives on Maat,
Neferkheperure Waenre,
the son of Re, who lives on Maat,
the lord of diadems, Akhenaten, great in his lifetime,
and the great king's wife, whom he loves,
the mistress of the Two Lands, Neferneferuaten Nefertiti,
who lives and is rejuvenated
for ever and ever.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2007, 08:51:34 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #58 on: September 09, 2007, 08:54:16 am »

THE PURE TEACHING                                                                                      continued

Comparing the "Great Hymn to the Aten" with traditional solar hymns, it is striking how the plenitude of mythic images that characterizes the latter has been replaced by the pure contemplation of nature.  The
hymn of Suti and Hor from the reign of Amenophis III anticipates this to some extent, but now there is no longer an interest in the primeval creation of the cosmos - Aten, "who built himself with his own hands", continually creates the world by means of his light, which is pure presence and thus is no need of mythical past or a distant primeval time.  In contrast to earlier hymns, there is also a lack of any comparisons, for this god can be compared with nothing and no one.

Before and after the Amarna Period, Pharaoh was wished the lifetime of Re, the years of Atum, or the jubilees of Tatenen.  Now the wish was for jubilees like "the sand on the shore, the scales of fish and the hairs of cattle" (in his tomb, Aye also adds "the feathers of birds and the leaves of the trees") and the king was supposed to remain "here", in his new Residence of Akhetaten, "until the swan turns black and the raven turns white, until the mountains get up and walk, and until water runs upstream."  Undesirable associations were eliminated even in designating the boundaries of the king's sovereignity. 

Previously, his northern boundary had extended "as far as the darkness", but now it reached "as far as the sun (Aten) shines", for darkness would have been too reminiscent of older mythological concepts.
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« Reply #59 on: September 09, 2007, 08:55:32 am »


As depicted in the "Great Hymn to the Aten", the god's care extends to distant lands beyond Egypt - "each one has his nourishment, his lifetime is determined".  This sentiment was a product of the times, for in the "Book of Gates", which might have been composed in the reign of Amenophis III and is first attested under Haremhab, we have the famed representation of the four races of humankind in the afterlife and there, too, they are all accorded their lifetimes and their provisions.

Ramesses II would later take up the theme when, after concluding a treaty with the Hittites, he spoke of the friendship of the two previously inimical great powers; on his "marriage stela" it is said, "They ate and they drank together and were of ONE accord, like brothers, ....peace reigned among them".

Akhenaten's Aten, who shone on ALL humankind, was especially suited to be a universal god, whom all lands could worship.

The omnipresence and the effect of light has also inspired some to a belief in the divine in more modern times.  In their last conversation on March 11, 1832, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe confided to his assistant Johannn Peter Eckermann that he was prepared to "revere the Sun....for he is likewise a manifestation of the highest Being and, indeed, the most powerful which we, the children of the earth, are allowed to behold.  I adore in him the light and the productive power of God; by which we all live, move and have our being - we, and all the plants and animals with us".  And in his MEMORIES, DREAMS, RE-FLECTIONS, after depicting the rejoicing of African baboons at sunrise, Carl Gustav Jung states, " The MOMENT in which it become light IS  God.  That moment brings redemption, release.  To say that the SUN is God, is to blur and forget the archetypal experience of that moment".
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