Ancient Egyptians: Akhenaten [DVD]

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At the end of the 18th dynasty a great heresy plagued Egypt. The pharaoh Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten and declared that there is but one god, Aten the solar disk. He moved the capital of Egypt from Thebes to a desert wilderness, which he called the Horizon of the Aten. Along with the change in religion, Akhenaten changed the 2000-year cannon of Egyptian art from highly stylised formal presentations to natural poses and subjects. Working under Akhenaten's slogan of "Living in Truth", craftsmen created new glazes for ceramics and new poses for statues and paintings. Akhenaten himself was portrayed as deformed, with elongated head and jaws, wide hips, thick thighs and breasts. Contrasting this grotesque image was the beautiful Nefertiti, by whom he had six daughters. Throughout Akhenaten's reign, Egypt was growing weak. Akhenaten's fascination with religion and art excluded the traditional military exploits, and the army dwindled. This episode probes the uniqueness of the mystic pharaoh and the impact he made on Egypt during his reign some 3,500 years ago.

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