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Atenism and the Afterlife
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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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


Yes, he certainly did employee many people to construct Akhetaten. It would have taken a large and well-organized work force, and the site of their workmen's village is very important to understanding the logistics and organization of ancient Egyptian government-city planning (not on the scale of Deir el-Medina, mind you, but definitely important). And there were the priests and officials who were employed in the temples of the Aten, although their number and precise functions are not well known.

But what of the masses who were "disemployed" and swept aside, the large numbers of people who were put out of work when temples to proscribed deities were closed? And what of the many farmers and herdsmen who no doubt lost their means of living because their lands or animals belonged to those shuttered temples? I am keeping in mind your minority who found favor and succor under Akhenaten, but I must weigh that against the majority who never found fault with the way things had been established millennia before Akhenaten was even born. Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Akhenaten was probably a nice guy in general. Even though there were masses becoming unemployed, with all the extensive building and the new temples open, there probably was enough work to go around (correct me if I am wrong). I think he would have offered work to the herders and farmers who were most negatively effected by the location building process.
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VBadJuJu
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was probably a net loss of jobs: he closed a number of temples to other gods. Thebes would probably have been hardest hit, being the home of Amun. Offsetting that would have been the temples and palace homes in far off Akhetaten.

The saving grace for Egypt was that it looks like that didnt happen until late in his reign. Thus, while AIII was possibly alive to protect the peasantry, the economy benefitted from his building projects and his son's. Once AIII died, and Akhenaten lashed out at the other gods things could have gotten grim in parts of the country. Agrarian ewconomies are more fragile than modern ones.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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There was probably a net loss of jobs: he closed a number of temples to other gods. Thebes would probably have been hardest hit, being the home of Amun. Offsetting that would have been the temples and palace homes in far off Akhetaten.


Well even better the reason to move to the elaborate city of Akhetaten Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Well even better the reason to move to the elaborate city of Akhetaten


That's probably exactly what the ancient Egyptian travel agents had printed on their pamphlets and brochures. Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:
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Well even better the reason to move to the elaborate city of Akhetaten


That's probably exactly what the ancient Egyptian travel agents had printed on their pamphlets and brochures. Laughing


That's all of the persuading I need!! Had I lived back then I probably would have been among the first to arrive Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ImageOfAten wrote:
Well even better the reason to move to the elaborate city of Akhetaten


It might be seductive to think so, but probably not. Most of the work would just be erecting decidedly unelaborate mud brick buildings. So after working on the house of a noble all day, you collect your 5 loaves of bread, 2 onions and some radishes, go home and work on your own home, then sleep on the ground. How lovely.

One profession that would have been in demand would be scribes and inscribers to decorate the temples and noble's houses. But not many farmers or herdsmen fall into that category.

Much of what we would call heavy industry, like quarrying, appears to have been handled by the military. Leaving even less work for the rare common man who could leave his other dependants like elderly parents and such to go off to see the wizard.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Most of the work would just be erecting decidedly unelaborate mud brick buildings. So after working on the house of a noble all day, you collect your 5 loaves of bread, 2 onions and some radishes, go home and work on your own home, then sleep on the ground. How lovely.


Nothing wrong with that, at least you would have some food too eat, and undesirable work is better than no work, right?

Quote:
Much of what we would call heavy industry, like quarrying, appears to have been handled by the military. Leaving even less work for the rare common man who could leave his other dependants like elderly parents and such to go off to see the wizard.


Not fair, I want to go off to see the wizard Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ImageOfAten wrote:
Nothing wrong with that, at least you would have some food too eat, and undesirable work is better than no work, right?


Nothing at all wrong except you have to leave your home village, all your friends, extended family - possibly dependents, leave the burial place of your ancestors and a comfy established home all to build a house or temple for the very S.O.B who put you out of work.

I just dont think they were that stupid.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nobody said anyone was stupid. I don't have many friends so it could have worked out for me just fine Very Happy Unfortunately, I did not live back then.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 9:26 pm    Post subject: Let's deconstruct the box for one moment. Reply with quote

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Alhazen also taught that vision does not result from the emission of rays from the eye, and wrote on the refraction of light, especially on atmospheric refraction, for example, the cause of morning and evening twilight. He solved the problem of finding the point on a convex mirror at which a ray coming from one point is reflected to another point.


... What does the word Akh signify?

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Akh-The akh was the eternal part of the spirit, which existed forever. The akh went into the heavens and circled the stars.
The akh was one of the aspects of the "self" that was allowed to freely wander the land, and thus able to interact with the living.
- The akh was believed to be forever the same, it never changed or perished
-The akh was depicted as a crested ibis.

In the realm of the Afterworld, akh was the deceased who became an effective being by being supplied with all of the necessary offerings and who knew the necessary spells. One became an akh through a ritual appropriately titled, "Cause One to Become an Akh." This ritual was performed by a priest called the "akh-seeker" (skhen-akh). Those deceased who have become akhu can still act for or against the living, and exist with them in a reciprocal relationship. If the living care and maintain the deceased, the deceased can care and protect the living.


Actually, Akh means transcendant light and is still the word used to describe the phenomenon of refraction aka Mirage by the peoples of Siwa and Kharga. Interestingly, the country we refer to as Yemen was known to the ancient Egyptians as Akh.

And even more compelling for us bird brains the Crested Ibis
once nested along the cliffs of coastal Yemen. Regardless, Amenism was not a religion! It is a naturalistic philosophy.
Atenism is nothing but a reinvention of Amenism. We could describe it as a referendum. The religion that Akhenaten experienced as a child was the religion of Ausir Astet/ Shu/Tefnet .









Getting back to Atenville, can anyone try to
imagine a hypothetical situation, where Akhenaten's so called religious revolt, was not a revolt but a referendum?
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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can anyone try to
imagine a hypothetical situation, where Akhenaten's so called religious revolt, was not a revolt but a referendum?


I find it very difficult to see it that way since it seems that more people were against Akhenaten's spiritual innovations than there were people who sided with him. It is a tough situation!
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VBadJuJu wrote:
Quote:
It might be seductive to think so, but probably not. Most of the work would just be erecting decidedly unelaborate mud brick buildings.


I suppose it depends on where one lived. Though almost nothing remains of Akhetaten--thanks in large part to the enthusiasm of the agents of the Ramessides--enough exists and has been found elsewhere (as fill at Karnak, for instance), to demonstrate that the city of the Aten was more than likely a splendid place. Granted, the main construction for the important buildings seems to have been talatats rather than large building stones seen elsewhere in ancient Egypt, but by all accounts people residing within the city lived in comfortable abodes in a well laid out civil plan.

And no doubt the main temples to the Aten, not to mention the royal palace, were lavish and beautiful structures. This doesn't say much for many of the commoners who lived and worked nearby, tending the fields and grazing their herds, but I have no doubt that Akhetaten was a wonderful sight on an otherwise barren and arid desert plain--an oasis along the Nile, as it were. Whether or not we agree with what Akhenaten did socio-politically, his city must have something to behold. After all, nothing but the best would do for the greatest megalomaniac of Dynasty 18.

maahes wrote:
Quote:
Getting back to Atenville, can anyone try to
imagine a hypothetical situation, where Akhenaten's so called religious revolt, was not a revolt but a referendum?


It depends what you mean by "referendum." In the political sense it would indicate some measure or legistlation put to a general vote by popular initiative. In a time when Amun was the great and unrivalled state deity, I don't see the establishment of Atenism (and the temporary death of Amun) as terribly democratic. But there was nothing terribly democratic about ancient Egyptian state politics to begin with, before or after Akhenaten.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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And no doubt the main temples to the Aten, not to mention the royal palace, were lavish and beautiful structures. This doesn't say much for many of the commoners who lived and worked nearby, tending the fields and grazing their herds, but I have no doubt that Akhetaten was a wonderful sight on an otherwise barren and arid desert plain--an oasis along the Nile, as it were. Whether or not we agree with what Akhenaten did socio-politically, his city must have something to behold. After all, nothing but the best would do for the greatest megalomaniac of Dynasty 18.


In a lot of works scholars compare Akhetaten to the idea of Utopia. I wonder if the idea of Utopia was originally created based on Akhetaten itself. I can see it all in my head right now..... Idea The glittering Nile waters, the luscious gardens, the elaborate architecture with many colors incorporated to the temples and palace, the array of native and exotic animals, and the Sun in all it's natural grace lingering in the sky, perfectly in place inbetween two mountains as if placing the anticipated last piece of a puzzle into it's correct place!
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The term "utopia" was invented by Thomas More in the sixteenth century to express a couple of Greek concepts; I can't remember the Greek words themselves but they mean "a good place" and "no place." That being said, the idea of "utopia" is probably as old as civilization itself, and what we call civilization predates ancient Egypt (though not by much). We also see the idea of "utopia" vividly expressed in other cultures, such as in the Pentateuch of the early Jewish peoples--the Garden of Eden, of course.

I have no doubt Akhenaten viewed his city as a utopia. That was the point: to create a setting of perfection for the veneration of the Aten. For him the founding of Akhetaten was divinely inspired, right down to the geography of the location (the two mountain peaks you mentioned, which from the perspective of Akhenaten must have closely resembled the hieroglyphic triliteral 3kht, the sun rising between two hills).

I can't remember which channel it was on (Discovery Channel, History Channel, The Learning Channel, Playboy Channel...after a while they all tend to blur together), but they did a special on some of the most interesting historical sites in the world, and Akhetaten was one of them. This must have been rerun twenty times or more. The interesting thing was the computer-generated reconstructions they did of the Tell el-Amarna site, and if they were even slightly close to what actually once stood there, it must have been a dazzling sight to see. Very Happy
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