Akhenaten Biography – Family, Reign, Achievements & Facts

Other notable achievements of Akhenaten

Amenhotep IV

Pharaoh Akhenaten’s reign lasted for at least a decade and a half | Image: Statue of Akhenaten at the Egyptian Museum

  • He championed a new architectural style for the construction of buildings. The style allows for an efficient construction by using smaller blocks. Both the Gempaaten (the “Aten is Found”) and the Hutbenden (“the Temple of the benben stone”) used this technique to great efficiency.
  • To celebrate his reign as pharaoh, Amenhotep IV organized an extremely lavish festival (the sed festival), which had many foreign diplomats and rulers grace the occasion. The sed festivals were usually a time for the pharaoh to reaffirm his status as not just the ruler of Egypt but also the representative of the gods on earth. Traditionally, the sed festival was held after the 30th year reign of an Egyptian pharaoh; however, Amenhotep IV, just like his father, held his a couple years into his reign.

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Akhenaten’s successors

The pharaohs that came immediately after Akhenaten were: Smenkhkare, Neferneferuaten, Tutankhamun, Ay, and Horemheb were very important in restoring the polytheistic culture in ancient Egyptian religion.

Akhenaten’s immediate successor Smenkhkare is said to have ruled for a very short period of time before he was succeeded by Akhenaten’s son Tutankhaten (also known as Tutankhaten). The boy-king Tutankhamun in turn took his older sister Ankhesenpaaten (later Ankhesenamun) as his chief wife.

More Akhenaten facts

Akhenaten depicted as a sphinx at Amarna (Akhetaten).

  • Akhenaten gave birth to Tutankhamun with Kiya, a relatively younger woman than Queen Nefertiti. It’s been inferred that she was from Nubia due to her Nubian hair style.
  • The pharaoh had a very large harem which included two of his daughters – Meritaten and Ankhesenpaaten. He even had children with them.
  • As it was common practice among many ancient Egyptian royal families, Akhenaten married many of his family members, including his cousins and two daughters. His son Tutankhamen (“King Tut”) was undoubtedly a product of such incestual relationship, according to some DNA tests conducted by researchers.
  • His name translates to “he who is effective on the behalf of Aten”.

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