Akhenaten - The Original Moses?
Although Akhenaten caused ancient controversy in his day, the birth of one-god religion, or monotheism, has been largely attributed to the biblical prophet, Moses.
If Bible stories can be considered accurate, then Moses left Egypt to return as a messenger of God on a mission to free Gods children.
Is it possible that Akhenaten was the true father of monotheism?
Could it be that Moses was exposed to the beliefs of a revolutionary Pharaoh and took them as his own?
* Time of rule - 18th Dynasty (possibly 1351 BC – 1334)
* Length of rule - Approx 17 years
* Father - Amenhotep III
* Mother - Queen Tiye
* Successor - Tutankhamun
Akhenaten changed his name from Amenhotep IV in the fifth year of his reign. His new name left behind the legacy of his forefathers and positively embraced the visions of his future.
The aten part of his new moniker was the name of an, somewhat obscure, Egyptian sun god.
He also began the construction of a new capital, which bore his new name. This would become worship central for the Pharaoh's supreme god. Newly built temples favoured sunlight rather than darkness and showed a clear shift in religious worship.
Initially he peddled his faith by comparing Aten to the previously supreme Amon-Ra, a god above all others. Eventually, aten would become the only god to be worshipped under his rule.
Similarities between Akhenaten and Moses.
The first and foremost likeness between the two, self proclaimed prophets, was the worship of a single and all supreme God.
A major shift during the radical King's reign was the idea of an intermediator between God and man. Like Moses, who supposedly communicated directly with God, he claimed himself the sole link between Aten and the general population.
With sweeping changes to the face of Egypt, the pharaoh banned the worship of idols, excluding the image of the sun disc that portrayed Aten. Similarly Moses banned the worship of false idols.
The Great Hymn to the Aten, possibly composed by the Pharaoh himself, bares similarities to Biblical Psalm 104.
The humble pharaoh?
While most artistic representations commissioned by Egyptian pharaohs were designed to reflect their greatness, this seemingly modest monarch seemed content to show himself as the true subject of his one god, Aten.
With a protruding belly, wide hips, long fingers and an effeminate countenance; it is no wonder that theories emerged in the past that perhaps he was a woman masquerading as a man.
Another more realistic suggestion is that he suffered from Marfan's Syndrome, which would explain elements of his appearance in the art work of his time.
Which ever way you look at it, he was honest in portraying himself as he truly was. The absence of grand posturing made him less god-like than most pharaohs and the inclusion of his wife Nefertiti and other family, was a strangely humble image to project for an Egyptian king.
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