Who was Akhenaten?

Becoming Pharaoh
Worship of Aten
Building Akhetaten
After Akhenaten
Final Perspectives

Pharaoh Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye


When Akenaten was born in the 14th century BCE, the Egyptian dynastic kingdom of pharaohs had already been in existence for 18 centuries before him and would last another 13 centuries more. Akhenaten's grandfather, Tuthmosis III, brought an end to a long military conflict between Egypt and the kingdom of Mitanni at the start of the 14th century BCE. This laid the foundations for a period of peace, prosperity, and stability in the reign of Akhenaten's father Amenhotep III (c. 1390 to 1353 BCE). Internationalization, trade, tolerance, building and reconstruction characterized his reign.

Amenhotep's chief queen was Tiye, daughter of Iuya (an official) and Tuya. She gave birth to at least four daughters: Satamun, Henuttaneb, Nebetiah, and Aset. Akhenaten is her son, but the mother of Tuthmose, another son of Amenhotep III, is unknown. Portrayals of Tiye in equal proportion to the pharaoh, sitting on her own throne, and written documents indicate her importance in government affairs, as well as a position complementing the pharaoh.

Amenhotep had other wives, both native and foreign. It is not surprising, given the nature of Egypt's international affairs at this time. Of special note are the marriages cementing diplomatic relations with successive kings of Mitanni: first to a daughter named Gilukhipa and some years later, to a daughter called Tadukhipa.

Pharaoh Amenhotep III had a long rule of about 39 years, celebrating his first jubilee, or Sed festival, of the renewal of his power in Year 30 of his reign. Two other jubilees followed in about Year 34 and Year 37. Akhenaten was born sometime during the latter part of his reign.

Ancient Mystery Schools (Part I) Group Project--Akhenaten's Life