The heretic Akhnaten's memory was erased from Egypt's sands by Horemheb so thoroughly that later scribes make no mention of...

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AKHNATEN: The Rebel Pharaoh

The heretic Akhnaten's memory was erased from Egypt's sands by Horemheb so thoroughly that later scribes make no mention of the ""lean, sad-eyed pharaoh, with his crooked head and his stooping shoulders."" Why Akhnaten should have been sad-eyed while married to the brilliantly beautiful Nefertiti is a mystery. The delicate Akhnaten, remote dreamer, is credited with fathering monotheism. For Egypt's thousand gods he substituted Atenism, which posited one universal god of warmth and forgiveness of whom no image could be made. His ideals were truth, justice, order, and he called himself ""living in truth."" Unfortunately for him, few of his subjects went along with his simple vision. Only during the last century, due to archeological discovery, has he in fact been known to exist. None know now whether Akhnaten truly believed himself divine, as did other pharaohs, but it seems unlikely that the Hebrew psalmist of Psalm 104, who quotes the Aten hymn verbatim, would quote a blasphemer. Silverberg's mural-esque biography of Akhnaten's life and seventeen-year reign brings the court alive, prods the horses and sets the ostrich feathers dancing, by reading bits of daily detail from the Amarna murals. As Akhnaten ordered his artist, he wants to be shown ""warts and all"" and he very nearly is.

Pub Date: June 16, 1964

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1964