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Akhenaten and Henry VIII of England

 
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anneke
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:34 pm    Post subject: Akhenaten and Henry VIII of England Reply with quote

Iím not proposing any theories, but rather musing a bit about these two rulers.

Both rulers created themselves head of a new religion.
Both rulers persecuted the old faith.
Both rulers are known for their wives (Nefertiti and Kiya vs the 6 wives of Henry)
Both rulers had problems with the succession.

Henryís break with the catholic church came after the church would not grant him a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, but it is also a struggle for power between the monarch and the clergy. In the end Henry declared himself head of the new church of England and tore down the monasteries.

That made me wonder if Akhenatenís struggle with mainly the Amun priesthood comes from the same source: a struggle for power. ( I know thatís not exactly a new idea Smile ) Did he maybe need the money to build his new city? Was tearing down the old hierarchy a source of income for Akhenaten?

In England there were many factions at court, and one gets a feeling of high level of intrigue. I would expect the same to be true in Egypt. But we do not have any sources from the time that shed much light on that.

Iím not sure if there is something similar to the Catherine of Aragon vs Anne Boleyn going on? Was Akhenaten worried about the succession and did he elevate Kiya to a higher position in hopes of having a son with her? Was Kiya eclipsed by the (royal) woman who was the mother of Tutankhamen?

I think it may lead to mistakes to try to put too much stock in any parallels. After all Medieval England is not the same as Ancient Egypt, and the monarchy had a different structure. Then again vanity, greed and the quest for power are rather universalÖ

Like I said, just something I was thinking about over a nice cup of coffee this morning Very Happy
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Robson
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Catherine of Aragon = Taduhepa?
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anneke
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smile I was thinking Catherine of Aragon - Nefertiti.
Neither one was able to produce a male heir to the throne.

LOL Wonder who would have been Anne of Cleves counterpart? The poor woman was nicknamed the "Flanders Mare" indicating she was "horsey" and so unattractive that Henry couldn't do his manly duty ...
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Robson
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure, but I was thinking in a foreign born queen who didn't followed her husband's reforms and whose divorce put him at odds with a then world power which should fall in decadence and shattering in few generations
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anneke
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting point. I hadn't thought of that, but you're right.
They both made diplomatic marriages (several in fact) and the unions never quite brought about the long term stability they were supposed to.

And yes after the death of their two daughters (Mary and Elizabeth vs Meritaten and Ankhesenamun) that was the end of their direct bloodline as we know it.
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Robson
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

and Mary and Elizabeth had her own 'Dahamunzu1 episode with the prince (future king) Philip of Spain who wasn't killed but later moved war against England as did Suppiluliuma.
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Robson
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

correction: ONLY Mary did it
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herper
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

interesting thoughts. just goes to show, history tends to repeat its self.
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Naunacht
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robson wrote:
correction: ONLY Mary did it


Actually Elizabeth played at marrying everyone from Phillip II to Ivan the Terrible. One year it would be a Spanish guy, the next year a French guy--anything to keep the other great powers off balance.

She used to call herself "The best match in my parish" and you have to hand it to her, she made the most of it.

As far as a comparison with Akhenaton and Henry VIII goes it's an interesting comparison.

Henry VIII was a staunch Catholic in the days before the Pope refused to grant him a divorce. He even wrote a diatribe against Luther and the Reformation that won him the title of "Defender of the Faith". Becoming a Protestant offered him a way out of his dilemma of his wife being unable to produce a male heir.

We have no way of knowing what Akhenaton's early religious convictions were--was there an incident which turned him so violently against the ancient gods or was he an Atonist all along?

I think the real comparison is that both rulers dragged the rest of their people into their religious reforms. In Henry's case we know that in many cases it was literally kicking and screaming--often to the scaffold. Henry's dissolution of the monastaries was probably similar to Akhenaton closing the temples. As far as the reaction of the people goes, in England some people rebelled outright, others embraced the reformation, some true believers, others opportunists, most people probably did what they had to do to survive. The Divine Right of Kings and the idea that the religion of the ruler should be the religion of his people was very powerful.
We'll probably never know for sure how Akhenaton's people reacted although from the clues we have it may have been much the same.

The aftermath of both these reforms was quite different. Tutankhamon, Aye & Horemheb restored the old religion and stamped out every trace of Atonism they could get their hands on.

Mary's attempt to reintroduce the Catholic Church died with her. Her nickname--Bloody Mary--shows what the English people thought of her. Elizabeth went for a a hybrid religion, one that rejected the more extreme forms of Protestantism, looked alot on the face like the old Catholic religion but kept power firmly in the hands of the ruler. Elizabeth was a pragmatist who couldn't care less about someone's private beliefs as long as they were loyal to her and paid lip service to the official religion.
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stephaniep
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess you could say the difference between Henry VIII and Ahkenaten is that Henry's realm ran just fine after kicking papal authority out, whereas poor government plus bad events such as plague caused the aten to be replaced by traditional gods rather rapidly. Makes me think Amun was a powerful god.

But since the second prophets of amun were Aenen and Simut (controller of the treasury) under AIII, something must have gone down to make Amun so hated by Ahkenaten.
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Kharis
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

However, you have to consider that reformation against the RC Church was sweeping across many countries in Europe and that what happened in England was part of a trend. In contrast, the "Reformation" in Egypt was only applicable in Egypt and those areas where Egyptian influence meant the locals followed Egyptian Gods.
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Robson
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the Hittite Empire there were also some stuff happening not totally understood yet. The king Mursili after a plague, wrote to verses to the sun goddess and his son Muwatalli changed the capital from Hattusas to Tarhuntassa while his brother, the usurper Hattusili III, moved back and brought the cult of Ishtar of Nineveh (Shaushga) to a prominent position alongside with the traditional storm god.
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Naunacht
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kharis is right to point out that the Reformation was a Europe wide event. Even if a country's leaders hadn't embraced the Reformation, they were dealing with people who were spreading what was for them, heresy.

Also Henry VIII and his advisers were smart enough to make sure that the nobles and members of the upper classes benefited financially from the dissolution of the monasteries. If you think about it there were very few highly placed dissenters.

I don't think that a royal gift of lands would have swayed Thomas More--he was a true believer--but others, shall we say, might have their consciences salved by an increase in their wealth. Also, the example Henry made by executing, More, respected Chancellor, internationally known author and personal friend did a great deal to stifle dissent.

Were there any elite people or families, aside from those in the priesthood, who seem to have fell from a position of power at that time?
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Ankhre
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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see more similarities between Akhenaten and Elagabalus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elagabalus

*Both were autocrats.
*Both were dominated by their mother.
*Both attempted to replace the traditional religion with a virtually monotheistic sun-worship.
*Both were known for neglecting the state to follow their own fancies.
*Both were somewhat androgynous or whatever it can be called.
*Both were hated by their successors.
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