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By the time Amenhotep IV came to power, the priests of Amun were on almost equal standing with the royal house in wealth and influence.The historian Lewis Spence writes, “With the exception of Ra and Osiris, the worship of Amun was more widespread than that of any other god in the Nile Valley; but the circumstances behind the growth of his cult certainly point to its having been disseminated by political rather than religious propaganda” (137).Those `old tribal deities’ of Egypt, however, had encouraged peace, harmony, and the development of one of the greatest ancient cultures the world has ever known.The polytheism of the ancient Egyptians encouraged a world view where peace and balance were emphasized and religious tolerance was not considered an issue; there is not even a word directly corresponding to the concept of `religious tolerance’ in the ancient Egyptian texts.The Amarna Period is the most controversial era in Egyptian history and has been studied, debated, and written about more than any other.
Prior to this conversion, he was known as Amenhotep IV (or Amenophis IV).The Aten was not new to the rule of Akhenaten and, prior to his conversion, was simply another cult among the many in ancient Egypt.It should be noted that `cult’ did not have the same meaning in this regard as it does in the present day. 1353-1336 BCE) was a pharaoh of Egypt of the 18th Dynasty.He is also known as `Akhenaton’ or `Ikhnaton’ and also `Khuenaten’, all of which are translated to mean `successful for’ or `of great use to’ the god Aten.
He was the son of Amenhotep III and his wife Tiye, husband of Queen Nefertiti, and father of both Tutankhamun (by a lesser wife named Lady Kiya) and Tutankhamun’s wife Ankhsenamun (by Nefertiti).