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Thursday, 28 July 2011

Akhenaten

King Amenhotep IV was a pharaoh in ancient Egypt of the 18th dynasty (c. 1353–1335 BC). During his reign Amenhotep displaced all the Egyptian gods with a single deity, the sun god, Aten, in honour of whom he built many temples. The pharaoh renamed himself Akhenaten meaning, “It is well with Aten.” This was the first concerted attempt to establish a form of monotheism (the worship of a single god).

Akhenaten's religious reforms were detested and his successor Tutankhamen restored the traditional Egyptian religion with the original gods. The Aten temples were demolished, and Akhenaten became known as "the Enemy."

Akhenaten's favourite wife was Nefertiti. Her name roughly translates to "the beautiful one is come". She also shares her name with a type of elongated gold bead that she was often portrayed as wearing, known as "nefer" beads.

The fashion for ladies of the Egyptian court to wear beehive hairstyles and polish their heads to achieve a smooth, elongated profile, was begun by Nefertiti’s six daughters. Their heads were narrowed by doctors during birth to minimize their mother's labor pains.

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