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The Amarna
Amarna
Period was an era of Egyptian history during the later half of the Eighteenth Dynasty when the royal residence of the pharaoh and his queen was shifted to Akhetaten ('Horizon of the Aten') in what is now Amarna. It was marked by the reign of Amenhotep IV, who changed his name to Akhenaten
Akhenaten
(1353–1336 BC) in order to reflect the dramatic change of Egypt's polytheistic religion into one where the sun disc Aten
Aten
was worshipped over all other gods. Aten
Aten
was not solely worshipped (the religion was not monotheistic), but the other gods were worshipped to a significantly lesser degree. The Egyptian pantheon of the equality of all gods and goddesses was restored under Akhenaten's successor, Tutankhamun.

Contents

1 Religious developments 2 Royal women 3 Art 4 Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun
and the Amarna
Amarna
Succession 5 Foreign relations

5.1 The Great Powers

5.1.1 Babylon
Babylon
EA 1-11 5.1.2 Assyria
Assyria
EA 15-16 5.1.3 Mittani
Mittani
EA 17–30 5.1.4 Hatti EA 41-44

5.2 Amarna
Amarna
Letters

5.2.1 The opening statement 5.2.2 Brotherhood

6 Gallery 7 See also 8 Notes

8.1 References

9 Further reading

Religious developments[edit] Akhenaten
Akhenaten
instigated the earliest verified expression of a form of monotheism, although the origins of a pure monotheism are the subject of continuing debate within the academic community. Some state that Akhenaten
Akhenaten
restored monotheism while others point out that he merely suppressed a dominant solar cult by the assertion of another, while never completely abandoning several other traditional deities. Scholars believe that Akhenaten's devotion to his deity, Aten, offended many in power below him, which contributed to the end of this dynasty; he later suffered damnatio memoriae. Although modern students of Egyptology
Egyptology
consider the monotheism of Akhenaten
Akhenaten
the most important event of this period, the later Egyptians
Egyptians
considered the so-called Amarna
Amarna
period an unfortunate aberration. The period saw many innovations in the name and service of religion. Egyptians
Egyptians
of the time viewed religion and science as one and the same. Previously, the presence of many gods explained the natural phenomena, but during the Amarna
Amarna
period there was a rise in monotheism. With people beginning to think of the origins of the universe, Amun-Re was seen as the sole creator and Sun-god. The view of this god is seen through the poem entitled "Hymn to the Aten":

"When your movements disappear and you go to rest in the Akhet, the land is in darkness, in the manner of death... darkness a blanket, the land in stillness, with the one who makes them at rest in his Akhet. The land grows bright once you have appeared in the Akhet, shining in the sun disk by day. When you dispel darkness and give your rays, the Two Lands are in a festival of light."

From the poem, one can see that the nature of the god's daily activity revolves around recreating the earth on a daily basis. It also focuses on the present life rather than on eternity. After the Amarna
Amarna
reign, these religious beliefs fell out of favor. It has been argued that this was in part because only the king and his family were allowed to worship Amun-Re directly, while others were permitted only to worship the king and his family.[1] Royal women[edit] The royal women of Amarna
Amarna
have more surviving text about them than any other women from ancient Egypt. It is clear that they played a large role in royal and religious functions. These women were frequently portrayed as powerful in their own right. Queen Nefertiti
Nefertiti
was said to be the force behind the new monotheist religion. Nefertiti, whose name means "the beautiful one is here," bore six of Amenhotep's daughters. Many of Amenhotep's daughters were as influential or more than his wives. There is a debate whether the relationship between Amenhotep and his daughters was sexual. Although there is much controversy over this topic, there is no evidence that any of them bore his children. Amenhotep gave many of his daughters titles of queen.[1] Art[edit] Main article: Amarna
Amarna
art

A relief of a royal couple in the Amarna-period style; figures may be Akhenaten
Akhenaten
and Nefertiti, Smenkhkare
Smenkhkare
and Meritaten, or Tutankhamen
Tutankhamen
and Ankhesenamun; Egyptian Museum of Berlin.

During Akhenaten's reign, royal portraiture underwent dramatic change. Sculptures of Akhenaten
Akhenaten
deviate from conventional portrayal of royalty. Akhenaten
Akhenaten
is depicted in an androgynous and highly stylized manner, with large thighs, a slim torso, drooping belly, full lips, and a long neck and nose.[2] Some believe that the break with convention was due to "the presence at Amarna
Amarna
of new people or groups of artists whose background and training were different from those of the Karnak sculptors."[1] The events following Akhenaten's death are unclear and the identity and policies of his co-regent and immediate successor are the matter of ongoing scholarly debate. Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun
and the Amarna
Amarna
Succession[edit] Main article: Amarna
Amarna
succession Tutankhamun, among the last of his dynasty and the Amarna
Amarna
kings, died before he was twenty years old, and the dynasty's final years clearly were shaky. The royal line of the dynasty died out with Tutankhamun. Two fetuses found buried in his tomb may have been his twin daughters who would have continued the royal lineage, according to a 2008 investigation.[3] An unidentified Egyptian queen Dakhamunzu, widow of "King Nibhururiya", is known from Hittite annals. She is often identified as Ankhesenamun, royal wife of Tutankhamun, although Nefertiti
Nefertiti
and Meritaten
Meritaten
have also been suggested as possible candidates. This queen wrote to Suppiluliuma I, king of the Hittites, asking him to send one of his sons to become her husband and king of Egypt. In her letters she expressed fear and a reluctance to take as husband one of her servants. Suppiluliumas sent an ambassador to investigate, and after further negotiations agreed to send one of his sons to Egypt. This prince, named Zannanza, was, however, murdered, probably en route to Egypt. Suppiluliumas reacted with rage at the news of his son's death and accused the Egyptians. Then, he retaliated by going to war against Egypt's vassal states in Syria and Northern Canaan
Canaan
and captured the city of Amki. Unfortunately, Egyptian prisoners of war from Amki carried a plague which eventually would ravage the Hittite Empire
Hittite Empire
and kill both Suppiluliumas I and his direct successor.[citation needed] The last two members of the eighteenth dynasty – Ay and Horemheb
Horemheb
– became rulers from the ranks of officials in the royal court, although Ay may have married the widow of Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun
in order to obtain power and she did not live long afterward. Ay's reign was short. His successor was Horemheb, a general in the Egyptian army, who had been a diplomat in the administration of Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun
and may have been intended as his successor by the childless Tutankhamun. Horemheb
Horemheb
may have taken the throne away from Ay in a coup. He also died childless and appointed his successor, Paramessu, who under the name Ramesses I ascended the throne in 1292 BC and was the first pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty. Foreign relations[edit]

Map of the ancient Near East
Near East
during the Amarna
Amarna
period, showing the great powers of the period: Egypt (green), Hatti (yellow), the Kassite kingdom of Babylon
Babylon
(purple), Assyria
Assyria
(grey), and Mittani
Mittani
(red). Lighter areas show direct control, darker areas represent spheres of influence. The extent of the Achaean/Mycenaean civilization is shown in orange.

The Amarna
Amarna
Letters feature correspondence among the rulers of several empires, dubbed by modern historians The Club of Great Powers:[4] Babylon, Assyria, Mitanni
Mitanni
and Hatti, viz. the major powers in Mesopotamia, the Levant
Levant
and Anatolia
Anatolia
during the Late Bronze Age. The Great Powers[edit] Babylon
Babylon
EA 1-11[edit]

The extent of the Babylonian Empire during the Kassite
Kassite
dynasty

The Babylonians were conquered by an outside group of people and were referred to in the letters as Karaduniyas.[5] Babylon
Babylon
was ruled by the Kassite
Kassite
dynasty which would later on assimilate to the Babylonian culture. The letters of correspondence between the two deal with various trivial things but it also contained one of the few messages from Egypt to another power. It was the pharaoh responding to the demands of King Kasashman-Enlil, who initially inquired about the whereabouts of his sister, who was sent for a diplomatic marriage. The king was hesitant to send his daughter for another diplomatic marriage until he knew the status of his sister. The pharaoh responds by politely telling the king to send someone who would recognize his sister.[6] Then later correspondence dealt with the importance of exchanging of gifts namely the gold which is used in the construction of a temple in Babylonia. There was also a correspondence where the Babylonian king was offended by not having a proper escort for a princess. He wrote that he was distraught by how few chariots there were to transport her and that he would be shamed by the responses of the great kings of the region.[7] Assyria
Assyria
EA 15-16[edit] By the time of the Amarna
Amarna
letters, the Assyrians, who were originally a vassal state, had become an independent power. The two letters were from king Assur-uballit I. The first dealt with him introducing himself and sending a messenger to investigate Egypt: “He should see what you are like and what your country is like, and then leave for here.” (EA 15) The second letter dealt with him inquiring as to why Egypt was not sending enough gold to him and arguing about profit for the king: "Then let him (a messenger) stay out and let him die right there in the sun, but for (but) for the king himself there must be a profit." [8] Mittani
Mittani
EA 17–30[edit] Once enemies, by the time of the Amarna
Amarna
letters, the Mittanni had become an ally of Egypt's.[9] These letters were written by the King Tuiseratta and dealt with various topics, such as preserving and renewing marriage alliances, and sending in various gifts. For example, EA 22 and EA 25 in the Amarna
Amarna
letters are an inventory of the gifts from the Mittani
Mittani
king Tusratta to the pharaoh. Other correspondences of note dealt with a gold status that was addressed in EA 26 and EA 27. Akhenaten
Akhenaten
married a Mittani
Mittani
princess in order to create stronger ties between the two nations. Hatti EA 41-44[edit] Theirs was a kingdom in Eastern Anatolia
Anatolia
that would later make the Mitanni
Mitanni
their vassal state. The correspondence from the Hatti come from a king called Suppiluliumas. The subjects of the letters varied, from discussing past alliances to gift giving and dealing with honor. In EA 42, the tablet stated how the Hittite king was offended by the name of the pharaoh written over his name. Although the ending of the text was very fragmented, it was discerned as saying that he will blot out the name of the pharaoh.[10] Amarna
Amarna
Letters[edit] Main article: Amarna
Amarna
letters

This section may stray from the topic of the article. Please help improve this section or discuss this issue on the talk page. (October 2012)

The opening statement[edit]

The opening statement:

— Say to Nibmuareya, the king of Egypt, my brother: Thus Tuiseratta, the King of Mittani, your brother. For me all goes well. For you may all go well. For Kelu-Heba may all go well. For your household, for your wives, for your sons, for your magnates, for your warriors, for your horses, for your chariots, and in your country, may all go very well.

William Moran discussed how the first line in these documents followed a consistent formula of “Say to PN. Thus PN.” There are variations of this but was found common among all the tablets. The other is a salutation which is one a report of the monarch's well being and then the second which is a series of good wishes toward the monarch.[11] Indeed, this seems to be part of the style of Akkadian style of writing which helped facilitate foreign correspondence for the long term. As scholars argued, this aided in filtering out the chauvinistic domestic ideology at home to the other monarch. This allowed diplomacy to flourish which aided to the relative peace of the time.[12] Brotherhood[edit] Despite the great distances between the rulers, the concept of a global village reigned.

As is seen in EA 7:

— From the time the messenger of my brother arrived here, I have not been well, and so on no occasion has his messenger eaten food and drunk spirits in my company. If you ask... your messenger, he will tell you that I have not been well and that, as far as my recovery is concerned, I am still by no means restored to health.... I for my part became angry with my brother, saying, has my brother not heard that I am ill? Why has he shown me no concern? Why has he sent no messenger here and visited me?

The importance of this in EA 7 is that it demonstrates the mindset of the rulers in the Near East
Near East
world at the time. The "enlarged village" which scholars like to term permeated their thoughts where they took the idea of brotherhood. They were related through the political marriages but is an idea of a village of clans which gives reason to the good wishes and update on the health of the monarchs themselves. The monarchs seem to have very little concept of the time of travel between each other and at most likely saw that the village worldview they lived in was applicable for the long distant correspondence of the Amarna
Amarna
letters.[4] Indeed, there is a constant demonstration of love as seen in these letters. Scholars pointed out that to demonstrate good friendship it had to be on the practical level of constant stream of gift giving. This request for gifts is constant with the various correspondence with the Great Kings.[13] Gallery[edit]

Queen Tiye, matriarch of the Amarna
Amarna
Dynasty. She was the mother of Akhenaten
Akhenaten
and wife of Amenhotep III. She mainly ran Egypt's affairs of state for her son.

Akhenaten, born Amenhotep IV, began a religious revolution in which he declared Aten
Aten
was a supreme god and turned his back on the old traditions. He moved the capital to Akhetaten.

Queen Nefertiti, the daughter of Ay, married Akhenaten. Her role in daily life at the court soon extended from Great Royal Wife to that of a co-regent. It is also possible that she may have ruled Egypt in her own right as pharaoh, Neferneferuaten.

Smenkhkare, was a co-regent of Akhenaten
Akhenaten
who ruled after his death. It was believed that Smenkhkare
Smenkhkare
was a male guise of Nefertiti. However, it is accepted that Smenkhkare
Smenkhkare
was a male. He took Meritaten, Queen Nefertiti's daughter as his wife.

Queen Meritaten, was the oldest daughter of Akhenaten
Akhenaten
and Nefertiti. She was the wife of Smenkhkare. She also may have ruled Egypt in her own right as pharaoh and is one the possible candidates of being the pharaoh, Neferneferuaten.

Neferneferure
Neferneferure
and Neferneferuaten
Neferneferuaten
Tasherit. Shown here as children, they were two of six daughters born to Akhenaten
Akhenaten
and Nefertiti. It is possible that Neferneferuaten
Neferneferuaten
Tasherit was the one who may have been her father's co-regent and may have ruled as the female pharaoh, Neferneferuaten.

Kiya. She was one of Akhenaten's secondary wives. It was once believed that she was the mother of Tutankhamun, but that was proven not the case when DNA revealed it not so.

The Younger Lady
The Younger Lady
mummy of KV35
KV35
was by DNA matching Tutankhamun's mother. Originally thought to be Nefertiti, DNA showed that she was the sister of Akhenaten. Princess Nebetah or Beketaten
Beketaten
are considered candidates.

Maia was the wet nurse of the Crown Prince, Tutankhamun. Having lost his mother at a young age, she helped rear the young prince. Maia was later allowed to have a grand tomb at Saqarra. Here the young prince holds her hand.

Tutankhamun, formerly Tutankhaten, was Akhenaten's son through an incestuous relationship with his sister. As pharaoh, he instigated policies to restore Egypt to its old religion and moved the capital back to Memphis.

Ankhesenamun, born Ankhesenpaaten, was the wife of Tutankhamun, and daughter of Akhenaten. After her husband's death, she was married to her maternal grandfather Ay.

Ay served as vizier to Akhenaten, and Tutankhamun. He was the father of Nefertiti. After the death of Tutankhamun, Ay lay a claim to the throne by burying him and by marrying his granddaughter Ankhesenamun.

After the death of Ay, Horemheb
Horemheb
assumed the throne. A commoner, he had served as vizier to both Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun
and Ay. Horemheb
Horemheb
instigated a policy of damnatio memoriae, against everyone associated with the Amarna
Amarna
period. He was married to Nefertiti's sister, Mutnodjmet, who died in child birth. With no heir, he appointed his own vizier, Paramessu as his successor.

The ruins of Akhetaten. Now commonly called Amarna, Akhenaten's capital city was abandoned by Tutankhamun. It survived several years before being torn apart by Horemheb's orders.

See also[edit]

Amarna
Amarna
letters

Notes[edit]

^ a b c Arnold, Dorothea, James P. Allen, and L. Green. The Royal Women of Amarna: Images of Beauty from Ancient Egypt. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1996. Print. ^ Cothren, Michael and Stokstad, Marilyn: Art History. Prentice Hall, 2011. ^ Khanna, Aditi (2008-09-01). "Bodies found in the tomb of 'boy king' Tutankhamun's tomb are twin daughters". Times Online. London. Retrieved 2008-09-01.  ^ a b Liverani, Mario, "The Great Powers' Club," in Cohen & Westbrook (2000), pp. 18–19 ^ Moran (1992), p. 7 ^ Moran (1992), pp. 1–3 ^ Moran. Amarna
Amarna
Diplomacy. 21 ^ Moran (1992), pp. 41–42 ^ Cohen & Westbrook (2000), p. 6 ^ Moran. Amarna
Amarna
Diplomacy. 116 ^ Moran (1992), p. xxii–xxiii ^ Cohen & Westbrook (2000), pp. 235–236 ^ Zaccagnini, Carlos, "The Interdependence of the Great Powers," in Cohen & Westbrook (2000), p. 145

References[edit]

Cohen, Raymond; Westbrook, Raymond (2000). Amarna
Amarna
Diplomacy: the Beginnings of International Relations. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-6199-3.  Moran, William L. (1992). The Amarna
Amarna
Letters. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-4251-4. 

Library resources about Amarna
Amarna
Period

Online books Resources in your library Resources in other libraries

Further reading[edit]

Arnold, Dorothea, James P. Allen, and L Green. 1996. The Royal Women of Amarna: Images of Beauty From Ancient Egypt. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Freed, Rita A., Yvonne Markowitz, and Sue H. d’Auria, eds. 1999. Pharaohs of the Sun: Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Tutankhamun. London: Thames & Hudson. Hari, Robert. 1985. New Kingdom Amarna
Amarna
Period: The Great Hymn to Aten. Leiden: E.J. Brill. Hornung, Erik. 1999. Akhenaten
Akhenaten
and the Religion of Light. Translated by David Lorton. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Kemp, Barry J. 2012. The City of Akhenaten
Akhenaten
and Nefertiti: Amarna
Amarna
and Its People. London: Thames & Hudson. Martin, Geoffrey Thorndike. 1991. A Bibliography of the Amarna
Amarna
Period and Its Aftermath: The Reigns of Akhenaten, Smenkhkare, Tutankhamun, and Ay (c. 1350-1321 BC). London: Kegan Paul International. Murnane, William J. 1995. Texts from the Amarna
Amarna
Period in Egypt. Edited by Edmund S. Meltzer. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 5. Atlanta: Scholars. Redford, Donald B. 1984. Akhenaten: The Heretic King. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Thomas, Angela P. 1988. Akhenaten’s Egypt. Shire Egyptology
Egyptology
10. Princes Risborough, UK: Shire.

v t e

Amarna
Amarna
Period

Pharaohs

Akhenaten Smenkhkare Neferneferuaten Tutankhamun Ay

Royal family

Tiye Nefertiti Kiya "The Younger Lady" Tey

Children

Meritaten Meketaten Ankhesenamun Neferneferuaten
Neferneferuaten
Tasherit Neferneferure Setepenre Meritaten
Meritaten
Tasherit Ankhesenpaaten Tasherit

Nobles Officials

Mutbenret Aperel Bek Huya Meryre II Nakhtpaaten Panehesy Parennefer Penthu Thutmose

Locations

Akhetaten Karnak KV55 KV62 Amarna
Amarna
Tombs

Other

Amarna
Amarna
letters Amarna
Amarna
succession Aten Atenism Dakhamunz

.