Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Brenda J. Washington
In ancient Egypt during the Middle Kingdom, the word Aten , also spelled Aton, was originally used to describe the orb or radiant disk of the sun. By the mid-New Kingdom times, a solar god named Aten was well known and established among the other Egyptian deities, although it was not until the 18th dynasty of Egypt that the worship of the Aten emerged. During the reign of King Amenhotep III, the worship of the Aten was encouraged. Throughout the history of ancient Egypt, from c. 1550 BC, when the Egyptians finally drove out the Hyksos from their land, the god Amon-Ra had been given credit for this victory and was elevated to the status of chief of all Egyptians' traditional gods and from whom the early Pharaohs claimed descent. This status was held by Amon-Ra until the ascendancy of Amenhotep Ill's son, Amenhotep IV (1352–1336 BC), to the Egyptian ...