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Heaven on EarthThe Varieties of the Millennial Experience$
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Richard Landes

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199753598

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199753598.001.0001

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Imperial Millennialism The Monotheist Pharaoh Akhenaten (1360–1347 bce)

Imperial Millennialism The Monotheist Pharaoh Akhenaten (1360–1347 bce)

(p.149) 6 Imperial Millennialism The Monotheist Pharaoh Akhenaten (1360–1347 BCE)
Heaven on Earth

Richard Landes

Oxford University Press

This chapter identifies the “heretic pharaoh” Akhenaten as a millennialistavant la lettre. His version constitutes an unusual form of millennialism, a top-down, success driven apocalyptic scenario rather than the more familiar, bottom-up catastrophe-driven ones. Beginning with the spectacular reign of Akhenaten's father, Amenhotep III, the “sun-king,” the chapter traces the bizarre career of the “monotheist” Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti's move to their millennial capital, Akhetaten, where an exceptionally lively period of Egyptian art unfolded in the brief period before the rapid unraveling of the movement.

Keywords:   Akhenaten, Amenhotep III, Egypt, monotheism, iconoclasm, hierarchical millennialism, Amenhotep sa-Hapu, Sed festivals, Jubilee

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