October 10, 2012

Tel el Amarna Facts

Tel el Amarna
This was the site chosen by Ikhnaton (Amenhotep IV King) for his new capital when he rebelled against the priests of Amon in the 18th dynasty, abandoned Thebes and promoted the sole worship of the Aten, the sun-disc. The site was occupied for only about 21 years before the priests of Amon reasserted control and returned the court to Thebes. They regarded Ikhnaton’s monotheism as a religious revolution and endeavoured to obliterate all evidence of his reign from the land, razing the temples and palaces in Tel el Amarna; but some of the main streets may still be discerned, as well as the ground- plan of the Aten temple . The royal family and noblemen fortunately constructed their tombs in the hills to the east of the city. Though in poor condition these contain some of the best surviving examples of the realism characteristic of the ‘Amarna period’.
Tel el Amarna
The religious movement of Ikhnaton Pharaoh was accompanied by an artistic revolution which freed the artist from ancient traditions. Paintings and sculpture tended to be more realistic both as regards style and subject matter. The royal family, especially, were represented in a manner totally different from the stylised representations of earlier periods. In one scene, for example, Ikhnaton and Nefertiti, with two young princesses, are seated at a table facing each other. Above them is the symbol of the new religion: the sun with rays extending in hands (Huye 1 tomb). Another depicts the Pharaoh and the royal family emerging from the palace, inspecting barns and stables attached to the temple, or (accompanied by their daughters) worshipping the sun (Meri-Re Tomb). In the Egyptian tomb of Iy, favourite of the pharaoh, is a scene of the king and queen at a window of the palace, again accompanied by the young princesses, one of whom touches her mother’s chin. They throw decorations to Iy and his wife.

Tel el Amarna Facts

It was at Tel el Amarna that the famous Berlin painted bust of Nefertiti Queen was found, and also the valuable archives on clay tablets, state letters between Amenhotep III and IV Pharaohs and the leaders of Syria, Palestine and Asia.

Dashur
South of Saqqara are the two pyramids of Senefru King, the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid . On the same plateau there are also two Middle Kingdom Egyptian pyramids which cannot be compared, in terms of material or construction, with those of the Old Kingdom. They are the pyramids of Senursert III (Sesostris) and Amenemhet II, both brick constructions. The latter is a shapeless black heap of rubble.

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