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Atenism and the Afterlife
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We need to dial it down a few notches, people. I admit to being the hot-headed type myself, but as I've personally discovered, it's just not worth it to raise the level of debate to the point of acrimony and incivility. Furthermore, incivility will not be tolerated.

You all have valid points. I personally doubt the average Egyptian from ancient times could have mustered the required resources and managed the logistics to travel hundreds of miles for the sake of a pilgrimage. As I've said before, this was the purview of the wealthy, the people who had the means and resources for such a journey.

The major temples were open only very rarely to the comman man. The most he could expect access to was the "hearing ear" on the exterior of the temple. Local village shrines and personal shrines in the homes were certainly where most worship was conducted by commoners, and the places to which commoners had the most access.

But in maahes's defense, he has tried to express one thing all of us have tended to ignore too flippantly, and that is the tribal nature of ancient Egypt. Dynastic Egypt grew from tribal peoples, and though the Two Lands became a powerful state run by a sophisticated and complex bureaucracy, the common people remained tribal. These people lived in their nomes (or spt, as maahes accurately calls them) and rarely travelled beyond them, but their lives were based on the tribal concepts of sharing and interaction. So for a commoner wandering the paths of Egypt, it is more than likely that he would find humble sustenance and lodging along the way, epsecially if that home housed a family from the same clan.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:
We need to dial it down a few notches, people. I admit to being the hot-headed type myself, but as I've personally discovered, it's just not worth it to raise the level of debate to the point of acrimony and incivility. Furthermore, incivility will not be tolerated.


As the other moderator I thought I would add my two cents to this.
Please take a step back, and at some point just agree to disagree on things. The tone that has crept into some of the discussions is just not one that is appropriate for this board.

Civility and respect are highly valued on the board. Having the last word or "making people see" your own particular point of view is just not always going to work.

Keep in mind that even the experts don't seem to agree on many issues, so we won't either. That's the nature of the subject Very Happy

Remember to enjoy yourself. The point is to exchange ideas. No one here knows sufficiently more about any topic to warrant "lecturing".
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Remember to enjoy yourself. The point is to exchange ideas. No one here knows sufficiently more about any topic to warrant "lecturing".


Very good point. This past Saturday I sat in an auditorium at the museum for seven hours of lectures in training for our Pompeii exhibit, and I for one am lectured out!

Let's keep it friendly, folks. Don't make us lock out this thread. We're here to exchange ideas and learn from one another. Very Happy
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ImageOfAten
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 3:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Atenism and the Afterlife Reply with quote

ImageOfAten wrote:
ImageOfAten wrote:
I have heard people claim many times that Atenism had absolutely nothing to offer on the concept of death and afterlife however, I have read many different writings concerning the subject which were found inside tombs of the Amarna period that all point to the same general idea. Here is one for example:

"May thou breathe the sweet breeze of the north wind and go forth into the sky on the arms of the living Aten, your limbs protected and your heart content. No evil can affect your limbs, you remain whole and your body will never putrefy as you follow the Aten as he rises at daybreak."



This is the writing from the sarcophagus of Akhenaten (similar to the one above):

"I breathe the sweet breath that comes forth from Thy mouth;
I behold Thy beauty every day.
It is my desire that I may hear Thy sweet voice,
even in the North wind, that my limbs may be rejuvenated with life,
through love of Thee.
Give me Thy hands holding Thy spirit,
that I may receive it and live by it.
Call Thou upon my name unto eternity, and it shall never fail"

The beautiful Prince, the Chosen-one of the Sun, King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Living in Truth, Lord of the Two Lands, Akhenaten, the beautiful Child of the living Aten, whose name shall live for ever and ever


Here is another translation of the first writing I mentioned:

"Breathe the sweet breeze of the North wind which comes forth from the sky upon the hand of the living Aten. Your body is protected, your heart is glad. No harm shall happen to your body because you are sand. Your flesh will not decay. You will follow the Aten from the time when he appears in the morning until he sets in life."

-- Translation by Martin, G.T.
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VBadJuJu
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The beliefs surrounding Osiris were a little more robust than a mere plea for rejuvenation. Each king died and joined with Osisirs; his body fertilizing the land just as Osiris had and his spirit lived on to watch over the land. The new king rose like Horus.

Messing with that cycle was to tinker with a very fundamental piece of the divine order of things and threaten Egypt's prosperity, fertility and the afterlife of all its citizens. Thats partly why his reign was later deemed a rebellion and him a criminal: his reign was decidedly un-orderly (anti-maat).

Due to his "philosophy" or personality they may have thought it unlikely that he would or could merge with Osiris. Thus if his mummy was encounted in KV55, it would have likely been torn limb from limb and burned to prevent him from continuing to disrupt things in the afterlife.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do understand why the Egyptian people were upset, mainly because they feared the old gods and what would become of themelves in the afterlife but, Akhenaten's concept of maat was not as spiritual as the traditional beliefs. His concept was more so the natural intended order of the whole world that has been going on for eternity, it was not just limited to human civilization, his picture was broader than that. Maybe in his time people did consider him a "criminal" but that is still an unfair common label that writers today still give him. He never had the support he deserved in the past and now in modern times he still does not receive much positive credit. I guess people have not changed their way of thinking much in the past few thousands of years. Sad
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ImageOfAten wrote:
mainly because they feared the old gods and what would become of themelves in the afterlife


I think it is more profound than that. He threatened the Divine Cycle of Life (I made that term up, but it is embodied in the Osiris thing above). As such not just their afterlife, but their earthly prosperity and the very primacy of Egypt which was endangered.

If kings were to cease to look after them from the afterlife, what would be come of Egypt??? What about thier children??? Atenism provided nothing to assure them Egypt itself would continue.

Therein lie his treason.

ImageOfAten wrote:
His concept was more so the natural intended order of the whole world that has been going on for eternity


From their perspective the Old Order was FANTASTIC. Egypt was wealthy, propserous, well fed and master of much of the universe. By definition, he was not offering something better, because if they had been doing something wrong, none of that would be true.

All of which begs the question: Is it the role of the king to overthrow the divine order of things and introduce a new one; ie fix what is not broken?

I think it looks like he would have made a fantastic artist of some sort; or a mediocre radical or fundamentalist prophet. Unfortunately for him and Egypt, he was born a Son of Re and was quite unsuited for the job. And I think the last part is being quite kind.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "Divine Cycle of Life" only focused on human life. It seems Akhenaten saw this as a problem since he recognized that there was so much more to life that was NOT being recognized(that is a problem). He tried to do something to fix it and he was rejected for his efforts. He was trying to fix what others did not realize was "broken". Akhenaten was not the enemy even though many still perceive him to be.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All people died and became dilineated attributes of their life force.
Each was symbollically interred in one temple, pyramid or outshed and each sahu was born on its reemergence with Sah the imperishable star.
Ausir was rejuvination. The religion of Egypt was still ausirian, the modern thinking hippies adopted amenism ( think Buddhism) and the atenist amenists ( think Sufiism) were born in a moment when reflections were reflected on ever burnished surfaces. But regeneration and plant life Ausir- this is old as dirt. Nothing in atenism could touch the cycle of life.
i think Akhenaten was simply trying to replace some of the burdensome dogma that had been stacked on the state religion by generations of growing poor descended of immigrants and refugees as well as farmer castes. He was simply saying sunlight transforms life= use the mind to realize -- keep in mind too that Akhenaten may have not been gifted with healthy eyes. something about his image suggests to me that he may have suffered from river blindness and bilharzia.
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VBadJuJu wrote:
Quote:
If kings were to cease to look after them from the afterlife, what would be come of Egypt??? What about thier children???


That's just it. That's why in old times pyramids were built, and in the New Kingdom the great royal mortuary temples were erected. A king's service did not end with his death. As you intimitated, as long as he was properly tended to in his mortuary cult, a king would go on maintaining maat from the next world.

The ancients harbored a great fear that were a pharaoh not on the throne to maintain maat, or were a pharaoh not looking out for his people from his noble perch in the afterlife, then the people risked the onslaught of chaos and the crumbling of the cosmos--the end of maat.

ImageOfAten wrote:
Quote:
He was trying to fix what others did not realize was "broken". Akhenaten was not the enemy even though many still perceive him to be.


It doesn't make a lot of sense to argue how "good" Atenism seemed or how practicle Atenism may be in this day and age because we have to try to view it through the eyes of ancient Egypt, and through those eyes we see Atenism upsetting maat and risking the end of all things. From the perspective of the ancients Atenism was counter to maat and could bring great peril to all of mankind. Akhenaten was perceived as the enemy in his own time, and even by the next dynasty he was referred to as the "Criminal of Akhetaten" (I have read that this term was used because his very name was not supposed to be spoken). We have to frame our arguments from the perspective of the ancient Egyptians because it's their beliefs and mores of the Two Lands that matter, not ours.
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VBadJuJu
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ImageOfAten wrote:
The "Divine Cycle of Life" only focused on human life. It seems Akhenaten saw this as a problem since he recognized that there was so much more to life that was NOT being recognized


No, the cycle encompased many things, but it hardly matters. A New Order which upsets everything Good In Life wouldnt be worthy of their consideration.

maahes wrote:

keep in mind too that Akhenaten may have not been gifted with healthy eyes
Back when they were thinking he was afflicted with something, someone said they thought the the depiction of him kissing one of the baby girls was actually him trying to see her.

I dont buy it, but there it is.

kmt wrote:

even by the next dynasty he was referred to as the "Criminal of Akhetaten" (I have read that this term was used because his very name was not supposed to be spoken).


You have to wonder what Akhenaten thought his legacy would be. With the aftermath of Hatshepsut not so distant, did he think he'd get the same treatment? With fewer than 10,000 people in Neferville, did he think the city would durvive? With NO PRIESTHOOD and maybe no city, did he think Atenism would survive?

Given the sudden and total collapse of the city and cult, were even his kids, wife and coregant humoring him?
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Back when they were thinking he was afflicted with something, someone said they thought the the depiction of him kissing one of the baby girls was actually him trying to see her.


This is for real? LOL I've never heard that one before. A classic example of someone trying to read way too much into the evidence. As I read it, most Egyptologists today no longer seriously consider that Akhenaten suffered from anything unusual (well, perhaps mental defect, but I'm talking physical). This was a case of earlier scholars misreading the intentions of the art in the early stages of the Amarna Period.

Quote:
You have to wonder what Akhenaten thought his legacy would be.


We cannot know this for sure. It's too subjective and is not the sort of record the ancient royals left to us. But I don't think one can argue against the claim that Akhenaten was a megalomaniac. Many pharaohs were, of course, but Akhenaten raised it to new levels. I think he fully expected Atenism to be embraced into the indefinite future as the new order of things. I wouldn't doubt that he may have been as delusional as he was eccentric.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Might want to keep in mind that a major disease outbreak was raging through the region. atenville may have been a refuge of clean air and one relatively free of rubbish heaps. - If plague finally reached amarna the king may have been ultimately blamed for disturbing maat. But just as one can't blame Bush for Halliburton or Halliburton for the military industrial complex - Its dangerous to assume that Akhenaten was responsible for destroying the fabric of Amenism - the majority of the priests may have died of the plague, dengue a new form of malaria we just dont know the most pressing factors that labeled Akh as heretic
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

* At some point, the name of the Aten is enclosed in a cartouche. Thus he is Akhenaten's co-regant (or vice versa), and Akhenaten is on a par with the god.

* Early in his reign Amunhotep IV changes his name to Akhenaten, which in the opinion of Aldred can be translated as "Effective for [or incarnation of] the Aten". Thus, a mere Son of Re not being enough, Akhenaten was also a god on earth.

* A depiction in Cambridge probably from the temple at Karnak, shows a bowing scaping figure trailing behind Amenhotep IV (ie before year 4 or 5 when he changed his name). The figure is carrying his sandals and a box and bears the title "First Prophet of the King". Thus Akhenaten declared himself a god complete with a priest(hood).

* Like other funerary invocations, the KV55 coffin possibly started for his own daughter Meriaten but used by Smenkhare, bears a prayer or beseechement to Akhenaten. Even his own children/coregent/brother whatever were induced to pray to him.

Thus, a case can be made that an underachiever in the shadow of Amenhotep The Great is trying to keep pace with pop (or other ancestors), but what evolves is Akhenatenism for the people.

At the very least these are fairly outlandish changes for a junior coregant to effect.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes we should be trying to see through the eyes of the actual ancient Egyptians but there were probably some (even if it was a very small number) who honestly believed in the new religion and supported it so we should be trying to see it from their point of view too. It is something you have too look at from all possible angles. Even though Our opinions do not matter, most of us will favor the traditional religion or the new religion and there is nothing wrong with that. That is why we are here so we can discuss the evidence, our views, and anything else that might pop-up. That is why this is such an enjoyable forum! Smile

Also instead of delusional and eccentric as defining characteristics of Akhenaten, how about determined and original? Very Happy
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