Political Changes In Akhenaten

Decent Essays

Along with his striking religious changes, Akhenaten also led a political revolution, namely in the perception of the pharaoh. One of the most visible changes in Akhenaten’s reign was a drastic change in art. Public perception of the pharaoh was essential to political power, but Akhenaten's portraits do not portray the pharaoh in the “larger-than-life” style associated with other New Kingdom rulers. Firstly, Akhenaten was feminine in appearance, and is shown affectionately playing with his children and Nefertiti. Amarna art is realistic and Akhenaten chose to portray a reality no other pharaoh had been willing to show. Nicholas Reeves explains these changes: “In Akhenaten’s ‘new look’ these striking changes in composition and gesture, which …show more content…

Religious life was tied to social life in every aspect, and the Egyptian year was based around religious festivals. These festivals stopped under Atenism, and the people of Egypt were introduced to a new tradition: the procession of Akhenaten and Nefertiti mirroring the sun moving across the sky. However, this new tradition was not capable of adequately replacing the traditions of the past: “The festivals of the past which had divided the year and provided the stops and starts which powered day-to-day living were removed; and they do not seem to have been replaced-despite the fact, as Barry Kemp has observed that ‘worship of the sun provides a ready-made set of calendrical feasts [in the form of] the solstices and equinoxes.’ The progress of the king along the Royal Road, however splendidly orchestrated, offered but a poor substitute.” Egyptians lived their lives based around the various festivals of their gods, and in removing these festivals, Akhenaten removed a piece of culture he could not replace. Maat, the Egyptian concept of order controlled by the pharaoh meant that every single part of daily life was touched by the introduction of the new religion. Thebes, the cultural center of Egypt, was abandoned by the pharaoh, and he moved life to Akhenaten. For Egyptians outside of the city, what they experienced of Atenism was a loss of traditions they had followed for generations, and these changes did not bode well for a long-lasting

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