Amenhotep IV

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Amenhotep IV, or Akhenaten (sometimes written as Ikhnaton), was Pharaoh of Egypt from 1353 - 1336 B.C. as part of the 18th Dynasty. He is famous for rejecting the traditional pagan gods of Egypt in favor of the sun, which he called Aton. He changed the capital from Thebes to Akhetaton (modern Amarna) to escape the influence of the priests of Ra.

Statues of him show an artistic form new in Egypt, including various deformities which have led some scholars to conclude he had Marfan's syndrome or Frolich’s syndrome. However, various courtiers were also depicted similarly.[1]

The mysterious disappearance of his wife Nefertiti from the historical record has led scholars to many speculations, ranging from her usurping power to Akhenaten's banishing her.

He was assassinated, leading to the eventual reign of his famous boy-king nephew, Tutankhaton, renamed by the priests as Tutankhamun, or "King Tut". His monotheism did not survive his reign. After his death, Egypt went back to the former polytheistic religion, and the royal priests regained their power.

Akhenaten and Moses

The similarities between Akhenaten's monotheism and the monotheism described in the Pentateuch has led some historians to speculate about correlations between Akhenaten and Moses. Akhenaten's religion is thought to have been the first historical example of monotheistic religious belief to arise.

Sigmund Freud proposed that Moses was Ikhnaton's priest, and that the Exodus happened soon after the pharaoh's death[2].

References

  1. John Ashton & David Down. Unwrapping the Pharaohs, chapter 21'
  2. Moses And Monotheism, by Freud; see chapter "If Moses was an egyptian" at www.archive.org
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