Gods and Goddesses


Role: The sun itself

Appearance: Sun disc whose rays end with hands, each of which is holding an ankh to symbolize that the sun gives life.

Center of worship: Akhetaten

Concerned with the rising power of the priesthood of Amun, the pharaoh Akhenaten knocked them down a few pegs by declaring that that all the other gods of Egypt no longer existed, and that there was only one god, the Aten, and it was the sun itself. All the temples to the other gods were ordered closed and the priests were suddenly unemployed and powerless. To further isolate himself from the "old" religion, Akhenaten moved the capital from Thebes (the center of worship of Amun) to a brand new city called Akhetaten ("the Horizon of the Aten").


Akhenaten and his eldest son Smenkhkare died at about the same time. Young Tutankhaten was left as the sole male heir. It was the perfect time to set things back to normal! So with the support of the unemployed priests, the vizier Ay quickly arranged for Tutankhaten to marry his half-sister Ankhesenpaaten, and made the two of them become the new royal couple of Egypt. Tutankhaten was only around eight years of age, and obviously not making his own decisions. Under influence of the priests, Tutankhaten "decided" to bring back the religion and reopen all the temples. Tutankhaten and Ankhesenpaaten had their names changed to Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun shortly after: This was to show that the Aten was "out" and Amun was "in!"

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