Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of ancient Egyptian civilization was its inception from the ground up, as the ancient Egyptians had no prior civilization which they could use as a template. In fact, ancient Egypt itself became a template for the civilizations that followed. The Greeks and the Romans were so impressed with Egyptian culture that they often attributed many attributes of their own culture, usually erroneously, to the Egyptians. With that said, some minor elements of ancient Egyptian culture were, indeed, passed on to later civilizations. Egyptian statuary appears to have had an initial influence on the Greek version, and the ancient Egyptian language continued long after the pharaonic period in the form of the Coptic language.
Part of the reason Egyptian history is so intriguing is because it is so enigmatic - even today, despite the wealth of written materials and countless monuments, Egyptologists constantly uncover more mysteries about ancient Egypt, even if many of those mysteries are somewhat mundane and appeal more to academics. For example, historians still debate precise chronologies of dynasties, theological nuances, and architectural details.
One such mystery that shows no signs of going away is the history of the archeological site known as Amarna, which is actually the name of the modern village that is closest to the ancient Egyptian city of Akhet-Aten. Akhet-Aten was built during the reign of one of Egypt’s most enigmatic pharaohs, Akhenaten (ruled ca. 1364-1347 BCE), and modern archaeological studies have shown it was hastily built and almost as quickly abandoned.
Although the city had a brief lifespan, it was vitally important at the time, so much so that the late 18th Dynasty has been named the Amarna Period by modern scholars. The importance is reflected in the changes that Akhenaten attempted to make to Egyptian religion, art, architecture, and society, all of which can be found among the ruins of Amarna, from texts that described the Aten as the one true god to the depictions of the royal family that were like nothing seen before or after in ancient Egyptian art. An examination of Akhenaten’s rule and the life of the city of Akhet-Aten has helped modern scholars unravel some of the mysteries of the Amarna Period, but many still remain.
Akhenaten and Amarna: The History of Ancient Egypt’s Most Mysterious Pharaoh and His Capital City chronicles what’s known and unknown about the Egyptian city and the pharaoh who was responsible for it. You will learn about Amarna like never before.