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Atenism and the Afterlife
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ImageOfAten
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Akhenaten seen that there "was" something wrong with the nature of religion in ancient Egypt. He seen the old gods and goddesses as ineffective in their duties, so he brought the Aten into the picture more than ever to fix the problem, his god was unique and visible in the sky. I don't see him as a tyrant. It's not like he claimed the throne and and had bad intentions at heart just to upset the people. He was trying to make things even better than they were under his father. There is a genuine understanding behind all thoughts and actions.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ImageOfAten wrote:
Most of all I feel for Akhenaten the PERSON, people sometimes tend to forget that he too is human. He dedicated his whole life trying to help people see and become part of his dream of a possible better humanity and general. Instead of honoring him they cast him out as the "enemy" and after his death condemned his name. From what I gather he wanted to do good, he never harmed anyone. To realize that the very group of people you try to help actually dislike you and turn against you, that is a very devestating blow to one's inner person. Maybe now he is finally accepted as a person and a great leader but it is a shame it took a few thousand years to come. Too bad it couldn't happen during his lifetime so he had the chance to see it.


I couldn't have said that better myself. ^__^ Many people only hear of his politics and his religion, but enough about what he did....what about the who? The why? There is more reason to this then him just waking up one day and saying "Ha! I'm Akhenaten, now! Let's build a city and make it grand for Aten only, all the other Gods can go to Hell! And I'll get most of the attention because I'm awesome like that! I'll prove to my dad that I'm better than him! I'll show them...I'll show them all!" Shocked

...And does everything about Akhenaten have to be so...black and white? So..the story of Akhetaten ends with him being the bad guy? What if this was all a big misunderstanding? Between both sides, I mean. I really wish people would read the story between the lines, even if those lines are almost faded into oblivion. Crying or Very sad


kmt_sesh wrote:
As ruler Akhenaten tredded into the sphere of tyranny in his attempts to establish what we call Atenism. Closing the Temple of Amun was the most obvious sign of this, but there was the fact that he required his people to worship him in order to gain benefit from the Aten. This is tyranny mixed with megalomania--the latter probably not even a word in ancient Egypt because this was the norm for the royals, and Akhenaten was not alone (Ramesses II was almost as much a megalomaniac, and some might say more so).


Now, now, buddy. ^_^; Let's take another look here. Tyrant is a strong word for someone so misunderstood. Sure the politics were radical, and to the extent where the priests of Amun were plotting his downfall--right? Shocked --but from Akhenaten's point of view, he might've thought he really was doing something right, although the Egyptian people--the majority at least--weren't really prepared for all of this change. I always get picky when it comes to people on T.V. talking about only his "Bad politics", nothing about his social life, family life...I only see bits and pieces of it. Isn't there more to Akhenaten than just "Bad ruling" or "Radical religion" or "Blubber"? Laughing Wink I'd think so. ^__^

Plus, Akhenaten did have a big head...he surely must've had a big brain to fit inside that thing, right? Laughing Shows how smart he is. Wink

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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I always get picky when it comes to people on T.V. talking about only his "Bad politics", nothing about his social life, family life...I only see bits and pieces of it.

True, but we're talking about a Pharaoh here and it was his job to keep Egypt stable. When you're a leader, politics are very important. And as for his family life, I think he was a bit too loving with his daughters, if you know what I mean.
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Plus, Akhenaten did have a big head...he surely must've had a big brain to fit inside that thing, right?

Laughing That reminds me of when I was in the hospital years ago, I saw a baby who was born without a full brain and his head was much larger than it should've been. It's quite sad really, he only lived for two days. Sad
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the_tutness_is_here wrote:
Many people only hear of his politics and his religion, but enough about what he did....what about the who? The why?

The problem is that with zero evidence, such as a diary, "why" is utter (and often wild) speculation.

Attempts to sort out the motivations for someone from a time so far removed tend to remove him from his context. At various times he has been painted as a non-conformist libertarian, the first individual, Akhenaten the Internationalist and even a pacificst. In the 1920s and 30s, when Marxism was attractive to the intelligensia he became the First Socialist opposing the ruling class.

As with the present speculations, those all remove him from the Late Bronze Age and interpret his actions wholly out of context.

the_tutness_is_here wrote:
There is more reason to this then him just waking up one day and saying "Ha! I'm Akhenaten, now!

I wouldnt count on it. He was a despot. He was told he was divine. As king he was also de facto High Priest. His word was absolute. Someone with that much power doesnt have to have Good Reasons to do whatever they want.

the_tutness_is_here wrote:
I really wish people would read the story between the lines,

An activity destined by design to read more into a situation or event than what is there.

Quote:
Tyrant is a strong word for someone so misunderstood. Sure the politics were radical, and to the extent where the priests of Amun were plotting his downfall--right?
He can only be misunderstood if you are trying to extrapolate his persona and/or reasons as opposed to assessing what he actually did based on the evidence.

'Tyrant' does not mean evil hearted or corrupt. It simply means someone who wields absolute power, like a Pharoah. I prefer the term despot because that is the term for the form of rule Egypt had and it doesnt carry with it the connotations that tyrant does; but they mean the same thing.

The notion of an epic struggle between priests and king is one of those out-of-context readings from the late 19th century when similar struggles marked much of European history. Not many subscribe to it these days because it rests partly on a notion of separation of Church and State which would have been utterly foreign to the AEs.

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Isn't there more to Akhenaten than just "Bad ruling" or "Radical religion"?
Of course there is. It seems apparent he was a loving and devoted father. If some of the inscriptions are to be belived in whole or in part, he was the primary source for the distinctive Armana art style and may have written the Hymn himself. But he wasnt born to be an artist, poet, architect or The Bronze Age's Greatest Father. Unfortuantely none of those are qualifications or requirements for Ruler. You can be a fine dad or great artist and still be a horrible ruler. Nero fancied himself a magnificent artist.

Akhenaten was born Son of Re, King of Upper and Lower Egypt, the Pharoah. Looking at his actions, he seems to have abnegated that role in favor of First High Priest of Atenim, secluding himself in Atenville, focusing on its development and decor rather than the welfare of the entire kingdom.

In that, the best that can be said of him is that he was indifferent to the people and country that he was born to rule and supposed to rule.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If Akhenaten wanted to establish a successful religion I don't think he really would have had any time to concentrate on any of the other duties that come with being a ruler of the lands, so he left those to his officials and such and had to seclude himself in Akhetaten. It takes a vast amount of time and energy to set up a new religion I am sure he did know that and realized that he only had ONE lifetime to accomplish as much as he possibly could with Atenism, and then just hope for the best outcome once his life would end. Unfortunately, it didn't hold influence well after his death because he was not there to say what should happen under the circumstance of his death.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ImageOfAten wrote:
If Akhenaten wanted to establish a successful religion I don't think he really would have had any time to concentrate on any of the other duties that come with being a ruler of the lands

There are not just "other" duties, they were his primary duties.

ImageOfAten wrote:
I am sure he did know that and realized that he only had ONE lifetime to accomplish as much as he possibly could with Atenism
Looks to me like the evidence is that he did the very least amount possible to establish the cult: a hymn and select a site. He appears to have done virtually nothing to promote it except toward the end when he tried to force it down their throats by excising some of the other gods.

ImageOfAten wrote:
Unfortunately, it didn't hold influence well after his death because he was not there to say what should happen under the circumstance of his death. (emphasis mine)
Gosh, that sounds remarkably like a personality cult. Wait, thats what it was.

As long as he could attract a few people to Atenville to worship him, he seems to have been content and satisfied. When he died, the cult had to expire because it revolved solely around him.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They might have been his primary duties according the traditional role of the king but Akhenaten obviously did not view it that way and since he was king he did things HIS way because he was obviously not a traditional
person. He established the religious order as much as he possible could it was at the point where further influence was up to the people, they either would want to be a part of it or not but, the Amun priests would not have it and he probably excised the other gods as a revenge on them for their interference. The only mistake I see that he has ever made during his reign was when he was nearing old age he did not make his successor "a divine god" in the way he is. If he had, Atenism may have flourished for a longer period of time.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ImageOfAten wrote:
They might have been his primary duties according the traditional role of the king but Akhenaten obviously did not view it that way and since he was king he did things HIS way because he was obviously not a traditional person.
You almost swerved into the truth.
If a college kid has a Physics paper, but since he is an "individual" and instead submits a paper on "The Music of the Go-Go's as Post Modernist Prophets of the New Millennium", he/she will probably fail because he didnt do the job.

If the boss sends you to Atlanta for a meeting, but because you are creative, you go to Aspen instead because the skiing is better, you probably will get fired because you didnt do the job.

If 1-2 million people are looking to the Pharoah to intercede for them with the gods (all of them) but instead he sets up his own reality in the boondocks, he isnt doing his job. When he dies he will probably get labeled a Heretic, his corpse torn limb from limb and burned, and his sarcophogus used as as a litter basket.

2 million people cant be wrong and only him be right.

ImageOfAten wrote:
The only mistake I see that he has ever made during his reign was when he was nearing old age he did not make his successor "a divine god" in the way he is.
A bit hard to name a successor when one of the tenets of Atenism is that he and only he knew the Aten. With that same tenet then being cause to worship him as a god, you get the picture of what Atenism was really all about. Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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2 million people cant be wrong and only him be right.


Reminds me of "Eat ***, millions of flies can't be wrong". Very Happy

Sorry, has nothing to do with the topic at hand.....

That's what happens after too much work and too few brain cells Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are right, a college kid writes a paper on the subject they want too instead of the assigned one they will get a failing grade(I know that one from my own experience) Sad An employee goes to a different place than supposed too they get fired. But Akhenaten was his own boss, there was no one to fail of fire him. Yes he did meet an unfair fate after death, but his sarcophagus being filled with litter is just unjustified considering it has nothing to do with him personally, that just shows how (no offense to anyone) ignorant and disrespectable a few modern people can be! Akhenaten WAS the only one who knew the Aten but he could have made an exception to that rule when he realized he did not have much time left on Earth.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

History is littered with those with oversized egos who thought they could march to the beat of thier own drum. Julius Caesar, Oliver Cromwell and Napolean come to mind. No one claims they were misunderstood.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VBadJuJu wrote:
History is littered with those with oversized egos who thought they could march to the beat of thier own drum. Julius Caesar, Oliver Cromwell and Napolean come to mind. No one claims they were misunderstood.


True, however, we know more about those three lives combined then the life of Akhenaten. The majority of his life is still a big debate, and his reasoning is still unclear. They have one major thing in common though: power, and they wanted it. But Akhenaten wasn't as greedy as the said three. He didn't want to conquer all of Europe, or spread his influence outside Egyptian borders, or upstart a major war. Unlike the three you mentioned, he was more peacefull then that. He never killed anyone, as far as I'm concerned. He just thought he was doing something right. And recall that much of his history was erased, while the other three--Caesar, Napoleon, and Cromwell--are found in many history books, and they're fresh in our minds. If one spoke of Napoleon today, they would either think of a short, Frech dictator or a tall nerdy guy with glasses who lives in Idaho, last name being "Dynamite". Laughing

If you asked someone about Akhenaten, they would just tilt thier head and look at you quizzically for a moment. After you show them a picture, they would either maaaaybe understand, or look at the picture with a disgusted yet curious look. Not many common people today who aren't into Egyptlogy know about Akhenaten...except if Hollywood portrays him in a certain movie, which I hope won't be coming out, as an evil djinn. Mad It's based off a book. Shocked That's all I'm going to say.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ImageOfAten wrote:
Quote:
Akhenaten seen that there "was" something wrong with the nature of religion in ancient Egypt. He seen the old gods and goddesses as ineffective in their duties, so he brought the Aten into the picture more than ever to fix the problem, his god was unique and visible in the sky. I don't see him as a tyrant. It's not like he claimed the throne and and had bad intentions at heart just to upset the people. He was trying to make things even better than they were under his father. There is a genuine understanding behind all thoughts and actions.


This is where we must be careful. It is impossible for us to know the mind of this man or the true motivations that drove him: these are things over which the experts still heatedly argue. I don't doubt that Akhenaten himself saw no bad intentions in his own actions, but that's about as far as we can take it. We cannot invent thoughts and feelings for him. And in closing down major places of worship and in forcing his people to worship him, Akhenaten was most definitely conducting himself as a tyrant. One comparison we can make with the modern day and age is this: if a country's leader did this to his people today, we would compare him with Hitler and Stalin. Now, Akhenaten does not in most ways appear to have been a genocidal maniac like Hitler and Stalin were, but he possessed the same megalomaniac tendencies.

Akhenaten was a true thinker and visionary, a wistful dreamer born out of his time. But he was also pharaoh, and from the perspective of ancient Egypt it was the responsibility of pharaoh to maintain maat within the cosmos. I must return again to their perspective, because to the majority of those who came after Akhenaten, he was not an effective ruler. That is why they called him "the criminal of Akhetaten." Wink

anneke wrote:
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Reminds me of "Eat ****, millions of flies can't be wrong".


LOL I'll never look at flies quite the same way. I may not even look at **** quite the same way again. Laughing
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VBadJuJu
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the_tutness_is_here wrote:
He never killed anyone, as far as I'm concerned.
Nonesense. His actions in Nubia were as agressive as they were unoriginal. Or maybe they dont count?

In the case of Caesar and Naploleon, their "crime" was not in belligerancy or imperial conquest; the citizens and powers that be were quite happy with them as long as they were winning.

Their crime was in upsetting the political balance. Caesar's position became too much like that of a king, so they offed him. Much the same was true for Nappy - all power was flowing to him not the nobles, church etc.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are right, one cannot claim to know what someone who live 3,000 or so years agro was thinking. Don't get me wrong but out of logical thinking, would Akhenaten (or anyone else for that matter) change anything in the religious thinking if he felt that there was not anything wrong with it? From the majority point of perspective, he was doing something wrong but not in the eyes of the minority. It seems that Akhenaten liked to help the less fortunate people of Egypt, he gave them jobs and probably helped them out in other ways too, is that not an example of a good ruler? I find that very admirable Smile
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