Ancient Egyptian Pacifist Pharoah Ikhnaton

About the ancient Egyptian pharoah Ikhnaton, history and biography of the pacifist and monotheist.


IKHNATON (c. 1388 B.C.--1358 B.C.)

His Person: Egyptian pharaoh who was the world's first known idealist, first monotheist, and first prophet of internationalism. Assumed power as Amenhotep IV in Thebes, traditional capital of the Egyptian empire. Founded a new religion--that of Aton (also spelled Aten), or the sun--and built the city of Akhetaton, dedicated to the new concepts. Changed his name to Ikhnaton ("it pleases Aton") and ruled there for 17 years. The new religion was the first expression of monotheism, stressing not only the concept of one God but also that of truth. Attached the phrase "living in truth" to his name and preached a gospel of perfect love. Encouraged his artists to "see with truth" and promoted naturalness, openness, and the abandonment of convention. Renounced new military campaigns and refused to provide for the military defense of Egypt. Incurred military wrath, which forced him to split his power. After his death, the temples of Aton were destroyed and his name was nearly expunged from the records of Egypt. He lay in an unknown tomb until 1907. Called the "Heretic King." Nefertiti was his consort and Tutankhamen his son-in-law.

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