FT 09-E Mummies and Monotheists: Egypt in the Age of Akhenaten
Egypt, the first great African culture, enjoyed a remarkably stable society with little change for over 2,000 years. The 14th century BCE, however, saw a revolution in religion, society, politics, and art under the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten, who moved the center of his administration to a new city, established the worship of a single god (Aten), and created new styles in art and architecture. After his death, however, he was so reviled that the Egyptians ‘erased’ all traces of him. Who was this shadowy and controversial figure? What changes did he make in society, religion, and politics, and why did he do so? What sorts of relations did he have with the other powerful kingdoms of the Mediterranean and Near East? Was he influenced by the Hebrews or were other more secular forces at work in his religious revolution? We will explore Egyptian culture in some detail before focusing on the reign of Akhenaten and his successor Tutankhamun. We will look at the remains of his capital city of Amarna and the records of his administration and foreign policy found within. As part of our analysis of the culture and art of the period, we will visit the exhibit of finds from the unrobbed tomb of Tutankhamun at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, where students will adopt an object to serve as a focus for research and writing. Prior to their arrival on campus, students will read Akhenaten: Egypt’s False Prophet by Nicholas Reeves as background to our study.w
Day, Leslie P.