Amenhotep Iv During the time of the New Kingdom of Egypt, peace reigned throughout the nation. Egypt’s enemies the Hyksos had been removed from rule and Egypt prospered. In fact she become an empire. By the time Amenhotop III sat on the throne Egypt was a land of wealth. Amenhotop was considered to be an equal or better Among other rulers throughout the area. Other rulers from neighboring lands refer to him as brother.
Life in the royal house was grand. He built a huge palace in Thebes which, included a lake built expressly for his wife, Tiye. He also built many temples in the city of Thebes. One such temple was built to Amen. This temple was decorated with gold and silver, precious stones, and many royal statues in granite.
He also built a huge temple to Mut, Amen’s consort, with 600 statues of the line headed goddess, Sekhent. But most impressive was the temple he built for himself in Lexor. This temple shows the amount of wealth that royal house of Egypt had. It contained 2.5 tons of gold, 215 lbs. of turquoise, 3 tons of electrum, 1.5 tons of bronze and 524 lbs.
of copper. There at that temple he built two large statues or colossi at the temple entrance. Not only was the royal house rich but there was also a sense of style throughout the palace. He set the standard for beauty and art. He showed discriminating taste by using his money to patronize many craftsmen.
The many paintings and statues of this time show that the artists and craftsmen had great confidence in their ability to paint, sculpt, create jewelry and build. This confidence of course came from the king’s desire for beautiful art. Paintings depict Amenhotop as a skilled warrior and hunter, even though Egypt was at piece and he did not have to lead army’s into battle. This was considered the traditional role of the Pharaoh. Also during this time music became more elaborate.
The lyre was being used after being brought from Asia. And the harp now contained 20 strings. Add to this the lute and double pipes and a full orchestra is now created. There is much trade with Nubia, Asia, Babylonia, and. Mitanni In fact so much gold was being taken out of Nubia that the king could afford to give it as gifts to his brother rulers, such as the king of Babylon, Kallimma-Sin.
It was considered an honor for the sister or daughter of a neighboring King to marry the king of Egypt and enter his royal house. These marriages, along with the trade and gifts of gold, helped Egypt stay at peace with its neighbors. There’s no doubt that Egypt with this large wealth and army was a force to be reckoned with in the area. And none of Egypt’s neighbors had the will to threaten Egypt’s power. During this time Egyptians worshiped many gods.
The most beloved god was Re, the son god. Egyptian religion revolved around the stable order of things. Yet this was a most adaptable religion. A god’s importance was determined by the importance of the city is people worshiped him. Each village and city had its own major god. but depending upon the whims, desires and needs of the people these gods could take on the attributes of other gods, or be combined with other gods to form a more powerful god. Horus, the god of rulers, for example and many combinations or forms. When Thebes became the capital of Egypt it’s god Amen became important and was combined with the sun god Re to become Amen-Re.
And he was now considered King of gods. Amen-Re was considered responsible for aiding the Kings armies in forcing out the Hyskos. This made the god very popular with people as well as being a powerful state god. Even though he was a powerful god other gods still abounded and were worshiped. Orisis the goddess of death was one such popular goddess.
The name Amen means hidden. He was viewed as an unseen god. The god of air. One of the eight gods a pre creation. Because he was the hidden god his shrine was in the deepest, darkest most inner part of the temple. Only to be approached by certain priests using the proper rituals.
Even in public parade is mobile shrine was covered. Amen is now seen as somewhat of a universal god. God of the air who is everywhere and is unlimited. Amen was represented in human form sometimes with ram’s head or as a ram. His face was often painted blue to show that he was invisible.
When Thebes became the capital of Egypt the priests of Amen seized the moment to enhance their own fortunes. They claimed that their God was more than just another form of the sun god. They claimed that Amen had been worshiped at Heliopolis in north Egypt under the names of Re ,Khepera, Temu and Heru-khuti and that the attributes of these gods were contained in the god Amen. His priests insisted that their God was equal with the other great gods of other ancient cities such as Memphis and Heliopolis. This enabled them to finally add the name of Re to Amen’s and create the all powerful god Amen-Re.
He was now seen as an invincible, invisible creative power which was the source of life for all heaven and earth. The priest declared that there was no other god like him, and that he was the greatest of all. This enhanced the power base for the priesthood of Amen. Because of the hidden nature of Amen, only priests were allowed to perform rituals and daily functions of the hidden god. This of course created image that the priests were men above men. Almost godlike.
As we have discussed before Amen was becoming a powerful god that the kings needed to pay respect to. Large temples were built to Amen, and much gold and wealth was given to these temples by the king. So now we see the priesthood as a powerful and wealthy class of men were the sole audience of a powerful god. This makes the priesthood a powerful organization. And the High Priest of Amen was most powerful of all.
He obtained the rank of Vizier which was a chief administrator, and minister of war rolled into one. The priesthood under the rule of the Head Priest became a powerful professional priesthood with a hierarchy of priests from the Head priest down to the local temple priest. These offices were handed down from father to son and a family’s trade would be considered to be the priesthood for many generations. So by the time of Amenhotep III this powerful and rich noble class has become entrenched in Egypt’s society and politics. And they are guarding their position most causally.
Even though the worship of the god Amen-Re was a most powerful state religion evidence shown that Amenhotop III may of worshiped the god Aten also. We begin to see traces Aten showing up during the reign of Amenhotop III. There may have been a thought of opposing the mighty priests of Amen and to lean towards the worship of Aten at the palace, with the queen and mother Tiye at the fore front of the movement. Amenhotop III built a large palace home for him and his wife, Tiye, in Thebes. On the large palace grounds he built a small lake. Amenhotop III and Tiye sail on this lake on a boat which had the name Aten Gleams. Also during his reign Amenhotep’s III Vizier was both the high priest of Amen and Stewart and the temple Aten.
There’s also evidence that the king made a built shrine in Karnak to the god Aten. So it can be concluded that either the to gods existed in the royal house side-by-side or that maybe Amenhotep III was starting to develop a relationship with Aten. Because of the plentiful and peaceful times life in the royal palace with a happy time. Amenhotep III married a woman named Tiye. It has been rumored that Tiye had been a woman of foreign birth or a commoner these family held no titles. But evidence has shown their parents or indeed Egyptians. They may even have been in position to be close to the king and self.
She was more than just the wife of the king. See is a strong woman who was often seen in public with her husband. And her pictures often appear to be the same size as her husband’s thereby indicating the equality. A position the government recognized by foreign dignitaries. It noted that some authors believe that in the later years of AII reign he was sick and weak and Tiye in reality took over as the real ruler of Egypt.
The king and queen had six children, two boys and four girls. The second son was Amenhotep IV. During the period of Amenhotep III reign we see the king as a more ordinary and down-to-earth person. As we have seen the Queen shares almost equal billing with the king. The royal house’s affairs and a more public.
this will be opposed to the traditional style of earlier traditional kings. He would change in the landscape of Thebes with the many temple he built. Amenhotep IV thus grew up in a world of wealth, style, elegance and art. As the second son of Amenhotep III it would not expected for him to grow up to became king. But the first son, Tuthmose, died and the role of successor was thrust upon Amenhotep IV. He is not seen on monument’s during his father’s reign.
This may be because of what was considered to be the gross appearance of the young man. Amenhotep IV had large fleshy lips, large and thin ears, a pot belly, large hips and thighs, a prominent jaw, long skinny neck and skinny legs. He tended to be quiet and thoughtful. He had a like of nature and spent time walking in the palace gardens, taking delight in the birds, animals and flowers. Because of these features it is believed that he may have had some systematic disease which kept him from being athletic and therefore that what intellectual lifestyle, and did not partake of the hunts to which is father enjoyed so much.
It can be assumed then that Amenhotep IV spent more time with the sisters and mother who must have influenced his early thought process. A question that is often discussed with reference to Amenhotep IV’s relation to his father is to whether they ruled co-regents of Egypt. Did Amenhotep IV come to the throne only after his father’s death or did he act as co-regent with his father before his father’s death? Scholars feel that Amenhotep III lived well into the time of the reign of Amenhotep IV. It is argued that the 28th and 30th year of Amenhotep III reign was the 6th year of AMENHOTEP IV reign. A stela in the house of Pinhasy found by the historian, Griffith, shows AMENHOTEP III and Tiye sitting together under the rays of Aten, whose name is seen in the form as it appeared in the 9th year of AMENHOTEP IV reign. Also another historian ,Fairman ,claims that relief’s of tunes of Armana are inscribed with Amenhotep III name along with the name of Aten. Again the name of the Aten is written in his latter form.
and that this is evidence that AMENHOTEP III lived during the period of Amenhotep IV reign. Noted historian Redford claims that Amenhotep IV is just paying homage to his father. It has been discovered that the tomb of Ramoes , Amenhotep’s III Vizier, mentions Si-Mut. Si-Mut was the 4th profit of Amenhotep III. Along with these inscriptions are references to Aten and AMENHOTEP IV and his queen. This suggests that Amenhotep III is still reigning at the time of the early reign of AMENHOTEP IV.
As stated above AMENHOTEP IV mother, Tyie, was a strong and powerful woman in her own right. There are also indications that she is a greater influence on Amenhotep IV and may have even been co-ruler with him. Or at least was a close adviser. There’s evidence that perhaps his mother, Tiye, and his wife, Neffertti, may have joined with Amenhotep IV to form a triumphant. And that they may gain control over parts of running the government.
They appeared together with him many times in public almost as an equal to Amenhotep IV himself. We do know that his mother definitely had influence over his decisions. We can determine this from a letter written by Tushratta to Tiye during the first few years of Amenhotep IV reign. The letter asks Tiye to intervene and to help create good relations with Amenhotep IV and himself. We can assume that Tiye is in a position to least influence or give counsel to Amenhotep IV .
So we see a young man who was not physically strong, and in fact may have been sick. And because of the physical condition did not spend much time with his father on hunting expeditions, but instead stayed home surrounded by sisters and a mother who would seem a greater influence upon him. What sort of man is this Amenhotep IV, who comes to the throne of Egypt? As we’ve seen he does not have what is considered to be a normal appearance, by traditional standards of that time. Because of its features is believed he may have had some sort of systematic disease which kept him from being athletic. and therefore inclined to intellectual persuits.
It is been speculated that he may have had Froelich’s syndrome. This disease however would mAkhenatene it impossible for Amenhotep IV to have children. And since the king appears many times with his wife and children Froelich’s syndrome seems to be ruled out. It’s been suggested, then the he may yet had Marfan’s syndrome. This may be a more likely possibility since Marfan’s syndrome does not affect fertility. Here we have a young man who sees to been raised by Mother of strong influence and who still may have influenced over him as king.