Akhenaten | Biography, Mummy, Accomplishments

Akhenaten is an Egyptian pharaoh who ruled ancient Egypt during the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom. He famously changed Egypt’s traditional religion from worshiping many gods to worshiping a single god named Aten.

Akhenaten Overview:

Occupation Pharaoh of Egypt
Born Around 1380 BC
Died 1336 BC
Place of burial The Royal Tomb of Akhnaten, Egypt
  • Smenkhkare
  • Meritaten
  • Meketaten
  • Ankhesenamun
  • Neferneferuaten Tasherit
  • Neferneferure
  • Setepenre
  • Tutankhamun (most likely)
  • Ankhesenpaaten Tasherit
  • Meritaten Tasherit

Ancient Egyptian religion, Atenism

Reign 1353 BC to 1336 BC
Best known for Changing the religion of Ancient Egypt and building the city of Amarna

Biography of Akhenaten

Growing Up

Akhenaten was born around 1380 BC. he was born in egypt He was the second son of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. When his brother died, Akhenaten became crown prince of Egypt. Raised in the royal court, he learned how to become an Egyptian leader.

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Becoming Pharaoh

Some historians believe that Akhenaten served as a “co-pharaoh” on his father’s side for several years. others are not. In any case, Akhenaten took over around 1353 BC. Pharaoh’s office when his father died. Under his father’s rule, Egypt became one of the most powerful and wealthy countries in the world. Egyptian civilization reached its peak when Akhenaten came to power.

Changing His Name

When Akhenaten became Pharaoh, he still used his real name of Amenhotep. His official title was Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, but he changed his name to Akhenaten around the fifth year of his reign. This new name represented his faith in a new religion that worshiped the sun god Aten. It meant “the living spirit of Aton”.

Changing the Religion

When he became Pharaoh, Akhenaten was determined to reform the Egyptian religion. For thousands of years, Egyptians worshiped various gods such as Amun, Isis, Osiris, Horus and Thoth. However, Akhenaten believed in only one god named Aten.

Akhenaten built a series of temples for his new god. He also closed many ancient temples and removed some of the ancient gods from the inscriptions. Therefore, many Egyptians and priests were not happy with him.


Around 1346 BC Akhenaten decided to build a city in honor of the god Aten. This city was named Akhetaton by the ancient Egyptians. Today archaeologists call it Amarna. Amarna became the capital of Egypt during the reign of Akhenaten. It contained the royal palace and the Great Temple of Aten.

Queen Nefertiti

Akhenaten’s main wife was Queen Nefertiti. Nefertiti was a very powerful queen. She ruled alongside Akhenaten as the second most powerful person in Egypt. Today Nefertiti is famous for her sculptures that show how beautiful she was. Throughout history, she is often referred to as “the most beautiful woman in the world.”

Changing Art

Along with the change in religion, Akhenaten brought about dramatic changes in Egyptian art. Before Akhenaten, people had ideal faces and perfect bodies. During Akhenaten’s reign, artists portrayed people more as they really were. It was a dramatic change. Some of Ancient Egypt’s most beautiful and unique works of art date from this period.

Death and Legacy

Akhenaten died around 1336 BC. Archaeologists are uncertain who took the pharaoh’s throne, but it seems that there were two pharaohs who ruled briefly before Akhenaten’s son Tutankhamun became pharaoh.

Not long after Akhenaten’s reign, Egypt returned to traditional religion. The capital was returned to Thebes and eventually the city of Amarna was abandoned. Akhenaten opposed the traditional gods, so later pharaohs removed Akhenaten’s name from the list of pharaohs. In Egyptian records he was sometimes referred to as an “enemy”.

Interesting Facts About Akhenaten

His religious inclinations were probably influenced by his mother, Queen Tiye.

The city of Amarna was abandoned shortly after Akhenaten’s death.

Akhenaten probably suffered from a condition called Marfan’s syndrome.

He was probably buried in the royal tomb at Amarna, but his body was never found there. It may have been destroyed or moved to the Valley of the Kings.