Akhenaten (/ˌækəˈnɑːtən/; also spelled Echnaton, Akhenaton, Ikhnaton, and Khuenaten; meaning “Effective for Aten”) known before the fifth year of his reign as Amenhotep IV (sometimes given its Greek form, Amenophis IV, and meaning Amun is Satisfied), was a pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt who ruled for 17 years and died perhaps in 1336 BC or 1334 BC. He is especially noted for abandoning traditional Egyptian polytheism and introducing worship centered on the Aten.
He was all but lost from history until the discovery, in the 19th century, of Amarna, the site of Akhetaten, the city he built for the Aten. Early excavations at Amarna by Flinders Petrie sparked interest in the enigmatic pharaoh, whose tomb was unearthed in 1907 in a dig led by Edward R. Ayrton. Interest in Akhenaten increased with the discovery in the Valley of the Kings, at Luxor, of the tomb of King Tutankhamun, who has been proved to be Akhenaten’s son according to DNA testing in 2010. A mummy found in KV55 in 1907 has been identified as that of Akhenaten. This man and Tutankhamun are related without question.
Modern interest in Akhnaten and his queen, Nefertiti, comes partly from his connection with Tutankhamun, partly from the unique style and high quality of the pictorial arts he patronized, and partly from ongoing interest in the religion he attempted to establish.
The parallels between Pharaoh Akhnaten and Medici University Provost Isabella Medici are so numerous as to strain credulity. Provost Medici abandoned academic lethargy for learner self determination; Pharaoh Akhnaten abandoned polytheism for monotheism. Provost Medici moved avatar transportation from flying to walking; Pharaoh Akhnaten, moved the capital city from Thebes to Amarna. Whether Medici’s ideas will be discredited once her time in office is up, as the high priests discredited Akhnaten after his reign, remains to be seen.
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