Assess the impact and legacy of Akhenaten

Born as Amenhotep IV in 1375 BC, Akhenaten became the 10th Pharaoh of Egypt in the 18th Dynasty. His reign is now known as the Amarna Revolution, as Akhenaten revolutionised all aspects of Egypt, most notably impacting religion and foreign affairs. His legacy is one of the most controversial in history - to Weigall and Brier, Akhenaten was a religious visionary, far ahead of his time, but to Reeves and Redford he was a heretic and the cause of Egypt’s downfall. However a more accurate assessment of his legacy was that although he was a revolutionary thinker who attempted to advance Egyptian society, his focus on the Aten distracted him from all other aspects of ruling, contributing to Egypt’s loss of power.
Bob Brier refers to Egypt as “the most conservative country in history”, as for thousands of years, Egyptian society went virtually unchanged. However, the fifth year of the pharaoh’s reign marked the beginning of what would make an incredible impact on Egyptian religion, as the country began the sole worship of Aten and therefore became the first monotheistic society in history. Within the Aten cult Akhenaten declared that he was the only person, through whom prayers and petitions to Aten could be delivered, eliminating all forms of priesthood and making it a very exclusive religion. In the shrines of private houses, in tombs and temples, the images of the old gods were replaced with images of the Royal family and prayers were now directed to them. This is supported by reliefs of the Royal family, including those found in the Hewet-benben Temple and the Tombs of Ramose and Parennefer, all of which depict the Aten’s rays shining on the Royal family – no one else.                                                                                                                                                                 Although it is doubtful that these monotheistic views were wide spread, the impact of a sudden...