What were the radical changes that King Akhenaten made?
Akhenaten was known as a “heretic” pharaoh due to the radical changes he made during his reign as an Egyptian pharaoh. The people of Egypt had been worshipping many different deities all the time and Akhenaten was the first pharaoh to break the tradition by introducing monotheism, which was the worship to only one god. Other than reforming the religious beliefs, he also introduced arts of different styles to worship the Sun god, Aten. The changes made during Akhenaten’s reign had no doubt brought some effects to the lives of the Egyptians and also people from other countries later on.
Akhenaten, formerly known as Amenhotep IV, was the pharaoh of the eighteenth
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One of the most important gods was Amen and there was even a priesthood of Amen. During the first few years of Akhenaten’s reign, he introduced the worship of Aten, the sun disk which can be seen in the sky. At that time, Thebes was the capital of Egypt and Amun was the state god. Aten was raised to the level of being the ‘supreme god’ by Akhenaten in Thebes. In his fifth year of reign, Akhenaten started constructing his new city, Akhetaten (also known as El-Amarna), and two years later, the capital of Egypt moved from Thebes to Akhetaten. Later on, he declared that Aten was not merely the ‘supreme god’, but the ‘one and only god’ to be worshipped. He forbade his people to worship other gods in order to reinforce monotheism in his city. To make things worse, he even sent workmen to destroy temples of other gods and cut off their names and images from the inscriptions. His actions further deepened the hatred of the Egyptians and the Amen priesthood, which led to his downfall later on. However, Akhenaten’s idea of monotheism was not like what we have today. Akhenaten placed himself between Aten and the people of Egypt, like a representative of god. The people were supposed to worship Akhenaten and his royal family rather than Aten itself, and Akhenaten would in turn worship the sun disk god. This eliminated the need of forming priesthood