Because I’m a serial procrastinator it has taken me this long to get around to typing up my notes. Finally, however, I’m trying to break the pattern.
Lecture Report – Amarna: A New Mythology? By Dr Garry J. Shaw
AEMES, Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, UK. Saturday 14th March 2015
A new solar mythology started appearing in the Books of Am Duat, and in hymns and rituals in the 18th Dynasty. The sun’s power guaranteed the balance of the cosmos and, though distant, you could feel the sun god’s presence in his rays. Much became subsumed by the sun god, including Osiris, Ra and Amun, and the other gods lessened in importance.
During the late 18th Dynasty Amenhotep III passed on the throne to his son Amenhotep IV, who later changed his name to Akhenaten. However, the throne should have gone to an older son, one who died. Amenhotep IV showed a particular interest in a deity called Aten – ‘the disc’. Aten is referred to in the Middle Kingdom as the physical manifestation of Ra, and is closely affiliated with the king. Aten is the faceless sun disc with long rays ending in hands. It is asexual and androgynous, with no spouse. It is anthropomorphic and has no body, so there are no traditional offering scenes.