Ikhnaton's fanaticism was his undoing. He defaced every monument carved with the name of Amon, previously the greatest god of Egypt. The Aton cult died with Ikhnaton because the sentiments of the priesthood and the people were outraged by his destruction of their traditions and by his terror-filled reign. After his death, his mummy was destroyed and most references to him were removed from temples and palaces. Ikhnaton's religious zeal also lost Egypt the empire, because he had seriously neglected the provinces. As a result, his successors, Sakere and Tutankhamen, received—instead of an empire including Nubia and Syria—only Egypt and some of the upper valley. There is a theory that Ikhnaton was coregent with his father, Amenhotep III, during the crucial years of change, but the question remains as yet unsolved. Of the many artistic achievements of the era of Ikhnaton, perhaps the most familiar today is the bust of his wife, Nefertiti.
See biographies by D. B. Redford (1984), C. Aldred (1988), and N. Reeves (2001).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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