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The Time Line of Amenhotep IV

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1390 BC         Early Life

            Amenhotep IV was born around 1390 BC in Egypt and was raised by his parents Amenhotep III and Queen Tyi in a secluded environment of the palace. He was also called Amenophis IV, which means the peace of Amon. Amenhotep IV lost his elder brother, Thutmose, at a very tender age. Had he not died, Thutmose would have been the heir of the throne (Magill 23, pp. 23).

1377 BC         Coming into Power

Amenhotep IV was the eleventh king of the 18th dynasty of Egypt. He began his reign at approximately 1377 BC at the age of about 11 years. He was crowned at Karnak (temple of the god, Amon) and then married a royal blood Nefertiti with whom he had six daughters. During his first year, he still continued with the building projects of his father (Akhenaten, 2008, para. 3). He planned a jubilee for his reign which was usually practiced after thirty years of reign but in this case, only few years after he had come to power. The jubilee was marked by the construction of four large temples at Karnak (Magill 23, pp. 24).

1372 BC         Reign

            Five years after Amenhotep IV got into power, he changed his name to Akhenaten which means ‘he who is of service to Aten’. He also changed the name of his queen to Nefer-Nefru-Aten meaning ‘beautiful is the beauty of Aten’. This is because he preferred Aten, the sun god who was worshipped in earlier times. During this time, he introduced monotheism in Egypt where only Aten was worshiped. He even composed a hymn to the Aten in worship of the god. Later he moved the capital city from Thebes to Armana, further down the Nile and called it Akhenaton. Moreover, Amenhotep IV destroyed all temples of other gods including Amon, the main god of the dynasty and issued a command that the name Amon was to be erased wherever it occurred (Magill 23, pp. 23).

1366 BC         The city of Akhetaton

He hastily constructed the new city which ran 7 miles along the east bank of the Nile River. His dwelling was constructed at the north end of the city. There was a strong military guard at Akhetaton as it was at Thebes. However, other cities like Memphis and Thebes were left to fend for themselves which led to the people thinking that the king had ignored them. Akhenaten isolated himself from Thebes and dedicated the entire land and everything in it to Aten (Magill 23, pp. 23).

1364                Economic Difficulties

In the twelfth year of his reign, Akhenaten experienced economic difficulties at Armana where he had moved the new capital city. The economy was under stress and income from the empire was affected. The king was concentrating too much on the honor of Aten than on his empire. His mother, Queen Tyi advised him to curb his enthusiasm and look at the question of state revenue (Roberts, 2006, pp. 20).

1362                Last days

Fourteen years after his rise in power, Queen Tyi, his wife Kiya and four of his daughters had died. Due to this and the old age of the king, his daughter Merataton rose in power with her husband Smenkhare. He acted as a co-ruler of Akhenaten before his death and this was to familiarize the people with their future leader (Magill 23, pp. 23).

1360                Death

 Amenhotep IV died at the age of thirty after ruling for just about eighteen years. He was succeeded by his son in law Smenkhare. After the death of Akhenaten, Egyptians returned to their previous culture with the leadership of Tutankhaten who succeeded Smenkhare. He was the husband of one of the daughters of Akhenaten. He even changed his name from Tutankhaten to Tutankhamun as a symbol to the people the end of the revolution (Roberts, 2006, pp. 21).


Magill, Frank N., ed. Dictionary of World Biography: The Ancient World. Vol. 1. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1998.

Akhenaten. (2008). Retrieved August 25, 2010, from http://www.ancient-egypt.co.uk/cairo%20museum/cm,%20akhenaten/pages/akhenaten.htm

Roberts, P. (2006). Ancient history, Book 2. Glebe, NSW: Pascal Press.

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