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Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten)

Akhenaton, often called Amenhotep I, was a famous pharaoh. Repeatedly, many rulers tried to remove him from the throne. When he started his reign, he was named Amenhotep IV, which means Amun was satisfied. He was the son of Amenhotep III, who inherited a peaceful and prosperous nation. He typically began his reign, but the early years showed that the pharaoh went against conventional rules. During his first year as a king, he constructed a temple dedicated to Aten at Karnak at the perimeters of the Temple of Amun. In the third year of his reign, he celebrated the Sed festival and took an unconventional step.

amenhotep IV

Powerful women dominated the eighteenth century, but even then, Akhenaton overruled the norms and emerged as an influential leader; it’s believed that the king granted his chief wife, Nefertiti, powers. She is said to have ruled as a co-regent for a part of the king’s reign.
During the early years of his reign, Akhenaton built many structures at Karnak under the name Amenhotep IV. These temples included the Rud-menu and a palace complex named Gempaaten. The palace is believed to be the place where the royal family lived during the winter season.

Change to Akhenaton


During the fifth or sixth year of his rule, Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaton and then built a new capital named Akhetaten, which now lies in modern Armarna. The area is not linked with any god. He then vowed never to leave the city’s boundaries, and when he completed the nine years of reign, he said there was only one god, Aten, and he was an intermediary between Aten and the people.


The reign of Akhenaton is said to have brought not just religious reforms but artistic ones as well. Akhenaton was usually illustrated with long, spindly arms and a feminine figure. It has been suggested that this is evidence of disease or a caricature of the King's slightly feminine appearance. In some paintings, he was also shown with a long face, heavy eyelids, and full lips. The daughters of the King were painted with elongated skulls, and Egyptologists still debate whether this was a true-to-life depiction or if it was just a new artistic style. Later on, however, the rough, exaggerated style gave way to a more realistic one, in which the famous bust of Nefertiti was fashioned.

The demise of the King

King Akhenaton is said to have died in his seventeenth year on the throne, and his reforms did not last much longer after this. His co-regent and successor was a nine or ten-year-old boy who died after a short reign. The powers then passed to one of the few pharaohs more famous than Akhenaton, "King Tut," but when he assumed the throne, he was Tutankhamun.

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