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1352-1336 B.C.
18th Dynasty

The tenth king of the 18th Dynasty was perhaps the most controversial because of his break with traditional religion. Some say that he was the most remarkable king to sit upon Egypt’s throne. Akhenaten was traditionally raised by his parents, Amenhotep III and Queen Tiy (1382-1344 B.C.) by worshipping Amen. Akhenaten, however, preferred Aten, the sun god that was worshipped in earlier times. Early in his reign he changed his name to Akhenaten, meaning “He Who is of Service to Aten” and renamed his queen to Nefer-Nefru-Aten, which is “Beautiful is the Beauty of Aten.” The king and his queen, leaving Thebes behind, built elaborate buildings at Akhenaten (Amarna) “The Horizon of Aten.” He then sent his officials around to destroy Amen’s statues and to desecrate the worship sites. These actions were so contrary to the traditional that opposition arose against him. The estates of the great temples of Thebes, Memphis and Heliopolis reverted to the throne. Corruption grew out of the mismanagement of such large levies. Akhenaten died in the 18th year of his reign. His successor, Horemhab, claimed his reign began from the date of Amenhotep III, thus wiping out the entire rule of Akhenaten.

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