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Aten
Aten
(also Aton, Egyptian jtn) is the disk of the sun in ancient Egyptian mythology, and originally an aspect of the god Ra. The deified Aten
Aten
is the focus of the religion of Atenism
Atenism
established by Amenhotep IV, who later took the name Akhenaten
Akhenaten
(died ca. 1335 BCE) in worship and recognition of Aten. In his poem "Great Hymn to the Aten", Akhenaten
Akhenaten
praises Aten
Aten
as the creator, giver of life, and nurturing spirit of the world. Aten
Aten
does not have a Creation Myth or family but is mentioned in the Book
Book
of the Dead. The worship of Aten
Aten
was eradicated by Horemheb.

Contents

1 Overview 2 Religion 3 Worship 4 Royal titulary

4.1 Variant translations 4.2 Variant vocalizations 4.3 Names derived from Aten

5 See also 6 References 7 External links

Overview[edit]

Relief fragment showing a royal head, probably Akhenaten, and early Aten
Aten
cartouches. Aten
Aten
extends Ankh
Ankh
(sign of life) to the figure. Reign of Akhenaten. From Amarna, Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London

The first known reference to Aten
Aten
the sun-disk as a deity is in The Story of Sinuhe from the 12th dynasty,[1] in which the deceased king is described as rising as god to the heavens and uniting with the sun-disk, the divine body merging with its maker.[2] By analogy, the term "silver aten" was sometimes used to refer to the moon.[3] The solar Aten
Aten
was extensively worshipped as a god in the reign of Amenhotep III, when it was depicted as a falcon-headed man much like Ra. In the reign of Amenhotep III's successor, Amenhotep IV, the Aten became the central god of Egyptian state religion, and Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten
Akhenaten
to reflect his close link with the new supreme deity.[1] The full title of Akhenaten's god was " Ra-Horakhty
Ra-Horakhty
who rejoices in the horizon, in his Name as the Light which is in the sun disc." (This is the title of the god as it appears on the numerous stelae placed to mark the boundaries of Akhenaten's new capital at Akhetaten, modern Amarna.) This lengthy name was often shortened to Ra-Horus- Aten
Aten
or just Aten
Aten
in many texts, but the god of Akhenaten
Akhenaten
raised to supremacy is considered a synthesis of very ancient gods viewed in a new and different way. The god is also considered to be both masculine and feminine simultaneously. All creation was thought to emanate from the god and to exist within the god. In particular, the god was not depicted in anthropomorphic (human) form, but as rays of light extending from the sun's disk. Furthermore, the god's name came to be written within a cartouche, along with the titles normally given to a Pharaoh, another break with ancient tradition. Ra-Horus, more usually referred to as Ra-Horakhty (Ra, who is Horus
Horus
of the two horizons), is a synthesis of two other gods, both of which are attested from very early on. During the Amarna period, this synthesis was seen as the invisible source of energy of the sun god, of which the visible manifestation was the Aten, the solar disk. Thus Ra-Horus- Aten
Aten
was a development of old ideas which came gradually. The real change, as some see it, was the apparent abandonment of all other gods, especially Amun-Ra, prohibition of idolatry, and the debatable introduction of quasi-monotheism by Akhenaten.[4] The syncretism is readily apparent in the Great Hymn to the Aten
Aten
in which Re-Herakhty, Shu and Aten
Aten
are merged into the creator god.[5] Others see Akhenaten
Akhenaten
as a practitioner of an Aten monolatry,[6] as he did not actively deny the existence of other gods; he simply refrained from worshipping any but the Aten. Other scholars call the religion henotheistic.[7] Religion[edit]

The Aten
Aten
depicted in art from the throne of Tutankhamun, perhaps originally made for Akhetaten

Principles of Aten's religion were recorded on the rock tomb walls of Akhetaten. In the religion of Aten
Aten
(Atenism), night is a time to fear.[8] Work is done best when the sun, Aten, is present. Aten
Aten
cares for every creature, and created a Nile river
Nile river
in the sky (rain) for the Syrians.[9] Aten
Aten
created all countries and people. The rays of the sun disk only holds out life to the royal family; everyone else receives life from Akhenaten
Akhenaten
and Nefertiti
Nefertiti
in exchange for loyalty to Aten.[10] There is only one known instance of the Aten
Aten
talking, "said by the 'Living Aten': my rays illuminate..."[11] When a good person dies, he/she continues to live in the City of Light for the dead in Akhetaten. The conditions are the same after death. The explanation as to why Aten
Aten
could not be fully represented was that Aten
Aten
was beyond creation. Thus the scenes of gods carved in stone previously depicted animals and human forms, now showed Aten
Aten
as an orb above with life-giving rays stretching toward the royal figure. The king was depicted singularly in relation with divine power. This power transcended human or animal form.[12] Worship[edit] The cult centre of Aten
Aten
was at the new city Akhetaten[13]; some other cult cities include Thebes and Heliopolis. The principles of Aten's cult were recorded on the rock walls of tombs of Tall al-Amarnah. Significantly different from other ancient Egyptian temples, temples of Aten
Aten
were colorful and open-roofed to allow the rays of the sun. Doorways had broken lintels and raised thresholds. No statues of Aten were allowed; those were seen as idolatry.[14] However, these were typically replaced by functionally equivalent representations of Akhenaten
Akhenaten
and his family venerating the Aten
Aten
and receiving the ankh (breath of life) from him. Priests had less to do, since offerings (fruits, flowers, cakes) were limited, and oracles were not needed.[15] Temples of Aten
Aten
did not collect tax. Elite women were known to worship the Aten
Aten
in sun-shade temples in Akhetaten.[16] In the worship of Aten, the daily service of purification, anointment and clothing of the divine image was not performed. Incense was burnt several times a day. Hymns sung to Aten
Aten
were accompanied by harp music. Aten's ceremonies in Akhetaten
Akhetaten
involved giving offerings to Aten
Aten
with a swipe of the royal scepter. Instead of barque processions, the royal family rode on a chariot on festival days. Royal titulary[edit]

Limestone fragment column showing reeds and an early Aten
Aten
cartouche. Reign of Akhenaten. From Amarna, Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London

Headless bust of Akhenaten
Akhenaten
or Nefertiti. Part of a composite red quartzite statue. Intentional damage. Four pairs of early Aten cartouches. Reign of Akhenaten. From Amarna, Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London

[17]

Aten in hieroglyphs

Inscribed limestone fragment showing early Aten
Aten
cartouches, "the Living Ra Horakhty". Reign of Akhenaten. From Amarna, Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London

Fragment of a stela, showing parts of 3 late cartouches of Aten. There is a rare intermediate form of god's name. Reign of Akhenaten. From Amarna, Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London

During the Amarna
Amarna
Period, the Aten
Aten
was given a Royal Titulary (as he was considered to be king of all), with his names drawn in a cartouche. There were two forms of the title. The first had the names of other gods, and the second later one was more 'singular' and referred only to the Aten
Aten
himself. The early form has Re-Horakhti. who rejoices in the Horizon, in his name Shu, which is the Aten. The later form has Re, ruler of the two horizons, who rejoices in the Horizon, in his name of light, which is the Aten. Variant translations[edit] High relief and low relief illustrations of the Aten
Aten
show it with a curved surface, therefore, the late scholar Hugh Nibley insisted that a more correct translation would be globe, orb or sphere, rather than disk.[citation needed] The three-dimensional spherical shape of the Aten
Aten
is even more evident when such reliefs are viewed in person, rather than merely in photographs. Variant vocalizations[edit] Egyptologists have vocalized the word variously as Aten, Aton, Atonu, and Itn. Names derived from Aten[edit]

Akhenaten: "Effective spirit of the Aten." Akhetaten: "Horizon of the Aten," Akhenaten's capital. The archaeological site is known as Amarna. Ankhesenpaaten: "Her life is of the Aten." Beketaten: "Handmaid of the Aten." Meritaten: "She who is beloved of the Aten." Meketaten: "Behold the Aten" or "Protected by Aten." Neferneferuaten: "The most beautiful one of Aten." Paatenemheb: "The Aten
Aten
on jubilee.[clarification needed]" Tutankhaten: "Living image of the Aten." Original name of Tutankhamun. Silver Aten: The moon.

Siliceous limestone fragment of a statue. There are late Aten cartouches on the draped right shoulder. Reign of Akhenaten. From Amarna, Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London

See also[edit]

Amun Atenism The Egyptian Great Hymn to the Aten Inti Pharaoh
Pharaoh
of the Exodus The spatial symbolism of the Voortrekker Monument

References[edit]

^ a b Wilkinson, Richard H. (2003). The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. pp. 236–240 ^ M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol.1, 1980, p.223 ^ Fleming, Fergus, and Alan Lothian (1997). The Way to Eternity: Egyptian Myth. Duncan Baird Publishers. p. 52 ^ Jan Assmann, Religion
Religion
and Cultural Memory: Ten Studies, Stanford University Press 2005, p.59 ^ M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol. 2, 1980, p. 96 ^ Dominic Montserrat, Akhenaten: History, Fantasy and Ancient Egypt, Routledge 2000, ISBN 0-415-18549-1, pp. 36ff. ^ Brewer, Douglas J.; Emily Teeter (22 February 2007). Egypt and the Egyptians (2 ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-521-85150-3.  ^ Akhenaten
Akhenaten
and the City of Light. Cornell University Press. 2001. p. 8. Retrieved 15 February 2015.  ^ Perry, Glenn. The History of Egypt. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 1. Retrieved 15 February 2015.  ^ Pinch, Geraldine (2002). Handbook of Egyptian Mythology. ABC-CLIO. p. 110. Retrieved 15 February 2015.  ^ Goldwasser, Orly (2010). "The Aten
Aten
is the "Energy of Light": New Evidence from the Script". Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt. 46: 163. Retrieved 27 February 2017.  ^ Groenewegen-Frankfort, Henriette Antonia (1951). Arrest and Movement: An Essay on Space and Time in the Representational Art of the Ancient Near East. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-0674046566.  ^ "Aton". Britannica. Retrieved 27 November 2017.  ^ "Aten, god of Egypt". Siteseen Ltd. June 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2014.  ^ "History embalmed: Aten". 2014 Siteseen Ltd. Retrieved 22 December 2014.  ^ Pasquali, Stéphane (2011). "A sun-shade temple of Princess Ankhesenpaaten
Ankhesenpaaten
in Memphis?". The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. 97: 219. Retrieved 27 November 2017.  ^ see Collier, Mark and Manley, Bill. How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs: 2nd Edition. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998, p. 29

External links[edit]

Works related to Great Hymn to Aten
Aten
at Wikisource Media related to Aten
Aten
at Wikimedia Commons

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Duamutef Hapi Imset Qebehsenuef

Ha Hapi Hathor Hatmehit Hedetet Hedjhotep Heka Hemen Hemsut Heqet Hermanubis Hesat Horus Heryshaf Hu Iabet Iah Iat Ihy Imentet Imhotep Iunit Iusaaset Kebechet Khensit Khenti-Amentiu Khenti-kheti Khepri Kherty Khnum Khonsu Kothar-wa-Khasis Maahes Ma'at Mandulis Matit Medjed Mafdet Mehen Mehet-Weret Mehit Menhit Meret Meretseger Meskhenet Min Mnevis Montu Mut Nebethetepet Nebtuwi Nefertem Nehebkau Nehmetawy Neith Nemty Nekhbet Neper Pakhet Petbe Ptah Qebui Qetesh Ra Raet-Tawy Rem Renenutet Renpet Repyt Resheph Sah Satis Sekhmet Seker Serapis Serket Seshat Shai Shed Shesmetet Shezmu Sia Sobek Sopdet Sopdu Souls of Pe and Nekhen Tatenen Taweret Tayt Ta-Bitjet Tenenet Thoth

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Amarna
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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 40171

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