The father probably of Tutankhamun, Amenhotep IV-Akhenaten, is one of the pharaohs the more strange that Egypt has known. His reign of seventeen years was marked by the emergence of the first veneration of a single deity in history. The modern theologians are often reluctant to use the term “monotheism” due more to a definition limited to the word in the dictionaries because of the nature of the devotion practiced by Akhenaten, focused on the ball of the sun, in egyptian the Aton. If, from the dogmatic point of view, the nature of the”atonisme” is difficult to define, from the point of view of form (in places of worship, rituals, prayers), it is certainly a monotheism.

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It is true that this form of worship exclusive to a single divine entity is very different from those who succeeded him: judaism, christianity, and islam.

In the first place, this “god” is not placed outside of the sensible world but it belongs to it, since it is the light emanating from the sun, visible to all. Moreover, the “religion” of Akhenaten belongs to a current of thought which does not take into account that the phenomena accessible to the senses and that marginalizes everything that could be reached by a spiritual or intellectual, turning its back on centuries of theology. To use the terminology from Albert Camus, the philosophical attitude would be the radical form of a “phenomenology” which was born in the Eighteenth dynasty.

In the second place, unlike the three religions of the Book, there is no divine revelation. The god has nothing to say, in contrast to the chatty deities egyptian traditional. On the other hand, it is spreading on the world light, warmth, life, which are manifestations of his perfection and his love. As a result, the Aton has no ethical dimension: it punishes nor rewards person, unlike the God of the Bible.

As the Aton is a god who is essentially mute, Akhenaton is not his “prophet”. It is a ritualist whose role is essentially to devote the offerings and there is neither the intellectual, nor really the spiritual leader of the worship they practice. Moreover, the only prayer known at the time the courtesans who pray as much the king as the Aton and exhibit personal piety is not widespread previously. Akhenaten has never been the author of the famous hymn to Aten found in the tomb of Aÿ, and who draw an old fund of hymns the solar re-contextualized for the occasion.

rupture of The most brutal, caused by Akhenaten certainly lie in the burial practices where the beyond completely disappears from the iconography and texts, and even if a soul (the ba) appears to survive up to the individual. Only two tables remain in the tombs amarniennes of the elite: the lamentation of the corpse and the homage to the statue, which are two scenes firmly rooted in the here-below. Judaism primitive, too, was devoid of real beyond, which had caused a great surprise in Spinoza.

The cult-exclusive Aten has not survived Akhenaten and as of year 2 of his enigmatic successor feminine, the pantheon traditional was again honored.

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The reasons for this apostasy are difficult to determine. We can mention three events that may have played a role:

1) The cult of the solar disc Aton was the personality cult of the king. On the death of his sponsor, he had no objective reason to remain.

2) The egyptian armies had been defeated in Syria and an attempt at a matrimonial alliance with the Hittites had failed, threatening the egyptian Empire in Asia.

3) A pandemic was raging then in the middle East including the egyptian origin is ensured.

Combined, these three events could be understood as a revenge of the forsaken gods and precipitate the fall of the cult’s exclusive ball of the sun Aton. The king was misled, it was urgent to reopen the temples of the past. There is, however, a lesson to be learned for the modern age: the first monotheism failed, which calls into question the historical determinism that is displayed in most of the monotheistic religions in the future.

As many assumptions as there are egyptologists

The short period – less than three years between the death of Akhenaten and the rise on the throne of Tutankhamun is one of the most obscure and we can say that there are as many hypotheses as there are egyptologists. The egyptian texts mention apparently the two kings of which at least one is certainly a queen of pharaoh, as had been Hatshepsut before. For most historians, English-speaking, it would be queen Nefertiti. But a more persuasive case can be identified with the eldest daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, princess Merytaton, promoted by his father to the rank of great royal wife (no doubt in the context of a marriage) after the death of Nefertiti, and only a few months before that of Akhenaten. Several small rings of gold found in Tutankhamun’s tomb give its name in the clear. Paradoxically, several elements of the funerary equipment of the female pharaoh that died after two and a half years of reign are known…

As to the king male, he could never have reigned because it shares the same name of coronation as the king of women. Speculation about his identity is going smoothly: the son of Amenhotep III, son of Akhenaten or even Nefertiti herself disguised as a man. Designated as the spouse of Merytaton on two documents isolated, it is perhaps necessary to identify the prince hittite Zannanza claimed by a widow of Akhenaten (and not of Tutankhamen as was long believed) to become the king of Egypt so that the troops egyptian incurring a defeat at Kadesh. According to the hittite archives, the unfortunate prince was assassinated while he was in Egypt. It was then that Merytaton has without doubt taken the power for herself by ousting his young brother (he was only five years old). She disappeared to turn, three years later, at the age of sixteen years. It is not buried not with the sumptuous funerary equipment prepared for her. It was, on the contrary, remployé for the benefit of Tutankhamun.

© Laboratoriorosso, Viterbo/Italy

Tutankhamun – the treasure of The Pharaoh

On the occasion of the splendid exhibition to the Grande Halle de la Villette (which sees the treasure leave Egypt for the last time before joining the collections of the Grand Egyptian Museum), Le Figaro Hors Série focuses on the figure of gorgeous, this pharaoh juvenile. The best egyptologists penetrate the buried secrets of his existence, backed up by the most beautiful photographs of her treasure: the story of her life, virtual tour of the exhibition, presentation and deciphering of the sublime objects of his tomb, analysis of geopolitical context, a report by Egypt on its traces, and from Luxor to Karnak to the Valley of the Kings, the discovery of the Grand Egyptian Museum currently under construction in Cairo… He had ruled, there are more than three thousand years, on the civilization the most powerful in the mediterranean region. He was sitting on a throne of glory much too large for him. It is, however, in front of his traits of gold that humanity is a joy.

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