Explain why Akhenaten moved his capital to Amarna (including analysis of historians)

Essay by Chuck_3000High School, 11th gradeA, May 2007

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Historians' views as to why Akhenaten moved his capital to Amarna are distinctly contrasted, and the suggestions are numerous. These include three predominant theories promoted by various historians with divergent views of Akhenaten. These theories are all conceptually based on the concept of Akhenaten using Amarna to develop his religious ideals. Firstly, it is believed that having his revolutionary religious reforms reached their goals; Akhenaten employed the city of Amarna as an escape from Amun dominated Thebes. This would remove the distractions of other Gods and Deities still around in Thebes, and leave people free to worship the Aten. Secondly it is suggested that Akhenaten repositioned his capital to Amarna in order to escape the Amun Priesthood, as he felt that his beliefs and principles could not fully flourish whilst they still retained a prominent role within society. Finally, and most commonly, it is believed that Akhenaten moved his capital to Amarna to create a place where his religion could thrive without the pressure of established temple communities; and thus he created a brand new centre of religion aimed at spreading his radical beliefs.

James Henry Breasted's reverence of Akhenaten was such that he described him as "the first individual in history." A staunch deist and strong believer in pacifism, Breasted believed he had a great deal in common with Akhenaten's style of leadership. Breasted suggested that Akhenaten used a form of deism with the Sun represented as the sole god - a god that was open to all and seen by all. Akhenaten's headship throughout his reign in his foreign and economic policies; and his stances on warfare strongly reflected the morals of Breasted - for example Breasted asserting that "We have come to speak habitually of an Amarna age, in religion, in life, in art, and this...