Early Egyptian Religious Beliefs and Akhenaten?s Reforms Essay

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Early Egyptian Religious Beliefs and Akhenaten’s Reforms

     During the New Kingdom of Egypt (from 1552 through 1069 B.C.), there came a sweeping change in the religious structure of the ancient Egyptian civilization. "The Hymn to the Aten" was created by Amenhotep IV, who ruled from 1369 to 1353 B.C., and began a move toward a monotheist culture instead of the polytheist religion which Egypt had experienced for the many hundreds of years prior to the introduction of this new idea. There was much that was different from the old views in "The Hymn to the Aten", and it offered a new outlook on the Egyptian ways of life by providing a complete break with the traditions which Egypt held to with
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Upper and Lower Egypt were united for the first time under one ruler, however, this would come to an end around 2200 B.C.. In much of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, the Pharaoh was often depicted as almost larger than life, with great power and much of Egyptian art is a celebration of his accomplishments. The formation of a royal absolutism occurred during this period, with the Pharaoh and a small-centralized administration, composed mainly of royal kin and relatives, overseeing all aspects of Egyptian life. The Pharaoh was looked at as a living god among the Egyptian people, who assured the success of Egypt as well as its peace. "The Pharaoh belonged both to the world of the gods and the world of men, and he was seen as a bridge between them. Some of the local deities represented various aspects of nature, such as the earth and the sky, or the Nile and it's gifts of fertility. So the king, living in their midst, could bring the Egyptians into a harmonious relationship with their divinities and with the forces of nature upon which their whole existence depended" (Hawkes 43).
     
     In regard to the religious structure of the Old Kingdom, there was a polytheistic view of the world, as in Mesopotamia. However, unlike the
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