A Sinister Plot to Eliminate the Sun King: The Assassination of Akhenaten—Part I

A Sinister Plot to Eliminate the Sun King: The Assassination of Akhenaten—Part I

The Pharaoh clearly had enough of life at Thebes (Waset). His determined attempts to introduce Atenism—a syncretism of the Memphis-Heliopolis solar philosophy, with a deification of kingship dating from Amenhotep III's Heb-Sed—doubtless raised the hackles of the Amun priesthood and caused much consternation amongst them.

The bad blood that was created when the unconventional Neferkheperure-waenre Amenhotep (IV)-netjerheqawaset (later Akhenaten) threw caution to the winds, probably escalated into an overt display of antagonism against his reign and policies that were considered an affront to Ma’at. But could the forces that had developed a visceral hatred of the radical king have dared to kill him? If extant records are an indicator, such a conclusion is no flight of fancy.

This colossal sandstone sculpture of Pharaoh Akhenaten was discovered – among scores of others – in situ at Karnak Temple; where it was attacked and felled to the ground by furious agents of the Amun priesthood. National Museum of Alexandria.


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