Ancient Egypt eBook

George Rawlinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 284 pages of information about Ancient Egypt.
greatly to his mother, Mutemua, and in the latter portion to his wife, Tii or Taia; but there is no evidence that any evil result followed, or that these princesses did not influence him for good.  It is too much taken for granted by many writers that female influence is corrupting.  No doubt it is so in some cases; but it should not be forgotten that there are women whom to have known is “a liberal education.”  Mutemua and Tii may have been of the number.

FOOTNOTES: 

[21] “Eastern Life,” vol. i. pp. 84, 289.

[22] Kinglake, “Eothen,” pp. 188, 189.

[23] Fergusson, “Handbook of Architecture,” vol. i. p. 234.

XIV.

KHUENATEN AND THE DISK-WORSHIPPERS.

On the death of Amenhotep III., his son, Amenhotep IV., mounted the throne.  Left by Amenhotep III to the guardianship of his mother, Tii, who was of some entirely foreign race, he embraced a new form of religion, which she appears to have introduced, and shocked the Egyptians by substituting, so far as he found to be possible, this new creed for the old polytheism of the country.  The heresy of Amenhotep IV has been called “Disk-worship;” and he, and the next two or three kings, are known in Egyptian history as “the Disk-worshippers.”  It is difficult to discover what exactly was the belief professed.  Externally, it consisted, primarily, in a marked preference of a single one of the Egyptian gods over all the others, and a certain hatred or contempt for the great bulk of the deities composing the old Pantheon.  Thus far it resembled the religion which Apepi, the last “Shepherd King,” had endeavoured to introduce; but the new differed from the old reformation in the matter of the god selected for special honour.  Apepi had sought to turn the Egyptians away from all other worships except the worship of Set; Amenhotep desired their universal adhesion to the worship of Aten.  Aten, in Egyptian theology, had hitherto represented a particular aspect or character of Ra, “the sun”—­that aspect which is expressed by the phrase, “the solar disk.”  How it was possible to keep Aten distinct from the other sun-gods, Ra, Khepra, Turn, Shu, Mentu, Osiris, and Horus or Harmachis, is a puzzle to moderns; but it seems to have been a difficulty practically overcome by the Egyptians, to whom it did not perhaps even present itself as a difficulty at all.  Disk-worship consisted then, primarily, in an undue exaltation of this god, who was made to take the place of Ammon-Ra in the Pantheon, and was ordinarily represented by a circle with rays proceeding from it, the rays mostly terminating in hands, which frequently presented the symbols of life and health and strength to the worshipper.

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Ancient Egypt from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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