Akhenaten Biography – Family, Reign, Achievements & Facts
Ancient Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten (c. 1379-1336 BCE), also known as Amenhotep IV, is most famous for being perhaps the first monotheist Egyptian ruler, or for that matter the first monotheist ruler of the ancient world.
Born to Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye, Akhenaten caused quite a lot of uproar among the religious and political establishment when he relegated a number of traditional ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses to the backbench. In place of those gods, Akhenaten, an 18th Dynasty pharaoh, imposed the sun god Aten as the supreme ruler of Egyptian pantheon.
Such was his devotion to monotheism and the worship of the god Aten that he invested a lot of resources and time into building a brand new capital city and several temples in honor of Aten.
What else was Akhenaten, Egypt’s first-known monotheist ruler, most famous for? What did he achieve during his rule? The article below explores the birth, family, and life achievements of Pharaoh Akhenaten.
Akhenaten: Quick Facts
Born: c. 1379 BCE
Died: c. 1336 BCE
Parents: Pharaoh Amenhotep III (1390-1353 BCE) and Queen Tiye
Spouses: Queen Nefertiti; two of his daughters – Meritaten and Ankhesenpaaten; the Younger Lady, Kiya – possibly the mother of Tutankhamun
Chief wife: Queen Nefertiti
Children: Six daughters with Nefertiti, including Meritaten and Ankhesenpaaten; Tutankhamun and numerous others
Reign: c. 1353-1337 BCE
Dynasty: 18th Dynasty
Era: Middle Bronze Age, New Kingdom Egypt
Capital city: Akhetaten
Birth, education and early life
At the time Akhenaten’s birth, his father, Pharaoh Amenhotep III, had been king for eight or nine years. What this means is that the future pharaoh of Egypt was born around 1378 BCE.
His mother, Tiye (Tiy), was the chief wife of Amenhotep III. He was the second son of his father, behind his older brother Thutmosis who died unexpectedly. Thutmosis’ death meant that the young Akhenaten became heir to Amenhotep III.
As it was typical for Egyptian princesses and princes, Akhenaten was most likely given a very sound education by retainers in the royal court. Egyptian high priest Wennefer (Parennefer) is said to have tutored the young Akhenaten. Other very famous tutors of Akhenaten include Aanen, his uncle and the second priest of the god Amun, and Amenhotep son of Hapu, a very important noble and senior court official of Pharaoh Amenhotep III.