Akhenaten Biography – Family, Reign, Achievements & Facts
Akhenaten established a new capital city
Perhaps the crowning achievement of Akhenaten’s reign came when he established a new capital city called Akhetaten. The Pharaoh had grown very frustrated of the immense power Theban priests of Amun and Khonsu wielded; hence, he moved the capital of ancient Egypt from Thebes to Akhetaten, whose name translates to the “Horizon of Aten”.
During the establishment of Akhetaten, Pharaoh Akhenaten is believed to have relocated up to 25,000 people to the new city. He then proceeded to build numerous temples in his new capital in honor of the god Aten.
The embodiment of Aten
With the sun god Aten at the center of religious practices during his reign, Akhenaten went on to proclaim himself the co-ruler of the land of Egypt with the god Aten. Such proclamations were not uncommon as many of his predecessors described themselves as the physical manifestations of gods such as Amun and Osiris.
Art and sculptures of the royal family during the reign of Akhenaten were anything but different to the ones seen in previous Egyptian dynasties and kingdoms. Archaeologists and Egyptologists have noted how slightly different the faces and bodies of the royal family were during his one and a half-decade stay on the throne of Egypt.
The faces of the pharaoh and his family members, particularly Queen Nefertiti and their six daughters, were a bit more elongated than in other eras. Similarly the bodies were depicted a bit slender with long fingers and wider hips.
Such depictions of Akhenaten and his wife and children were his way of communicating their divine status to his subjects. Basically the pharaoh deployed revolutionary art forms to support his religious reforms.