AKHENATON: The Rebel Pharaoh (ANCIENT EGYPT HISTORY DOCUMENTARY)
This epic series explores the lives of some of Egypt’s greatest rulers: Ramses the Great, pyramid pioneer King Sneferu, the most famous woman who ever lived, Cleopatra, the rebel heretic Akhenaten, the ill-fated Tutankhamen and feminist trailblazer Hatshepsut. Hosted by renown Egyptologist Dr. Bob Brier, this series unveils the true stories of their battles, loves, obsessions, preoccupations and deaths. Brier guides viewers on an enlightening quest for answers to the mysteries surrounding the legacies of the pharaohs. Spectacular footage and unique information make this series a perfect guide to the history of ancient Egypt.
AKHENATEN: THE REBEL PHARAOH
Host and Egyptologist Bob Brier takes the viewer on a journey back through time to the most radical pharaoh of Egyptian history, Akhenaten, who was a visionary and revolutionary. Born Amenhotep IV, he changed his name to Akhenaten to reflect his belief in Aten as a monotheistic god, rejecting the polytheistic tradition of his country. The “Rebel Pharaoh” was also an artist, who broke from the art forms of the past, creating stylized sculpture and paintings. His artworks are included in the presentation.
then the rebel Pharaoh Akhenaton turned away from the gods and shook the foundations of the most powerful country on earth until it almost fell was AK not in a religious fanatic or was he the forerunner of Christianity the pyramids and temples of Egypt seem as if they will last forever but there are some monuments here that vanished almost as soon as they were built 300 kilometers south of the pyramids of giza is amana hundreds desert sands are the remains of one of the most puzzling sites in all of Egypt strange things happened here 3,000 years ago a new religion was born and misshapen Pharaoh died leaving a mystery that in geologists are still attempting to solve today at the end of the last century sir Flinders Petrie the founder of modern Egyptology uncovered a vast lost city in the desert everything was as he expected there were temples palaces wide streets but something was missing as Egyptologist dr. Bob Bryar explains go on with the scenes of the Pharaoh smiting his enemies marching into battle there were also no scenes of the Pharaoh making offerings to the hundreds of Egyptian gods there were no gods as Petrie continued to excavate he was even more shocked the Pharaoh was shown as miss shapen elongated face breasts wide hips swollen thighs for a thousand years the Pharaoh had been shown as young vigorous well muscled ready to go into battle this Pharaoh was shown as Miss shapen it was almost as if a creature for another planet had been dropped in the Egyptian desert so what happened here some 1,300 years before the birth of Christ to answer that we have to look at the family of this rebel Pharaoh this was Egypt's most glorious era it had never been richer more powerful or more secure up and down the Nile workers build vast temples to pay homage to hundreds of gods for if the gods were pleased Egypt would prosper och not ins father the Pharaoh Amenhotep the third lived in the great religious center of Thieves city of the god of our moon whose round top storehouses were filled with the grain oil linen and wine needed to pay the thousands of priests who serve the gods this was the religious center of Egypt and right at its heart was Amenhotep the phone his two colossal statues still stand on the Theban plain once they guarded a vast temple now sunk beneath the soil all the glory and wealth of thieves would soon be shaken by a revolution the like of which have never been seen Bob Bryar is in the Cairo Museum it's not surprising that the largest statue here is of Amenhotep the third he's shown with his family at the height of Egypt's most glorious period dares Amenhotep the third and there's his wife Queen T they had six kids and what's important is how the children were treated there were four daughters there's one of them the statues kind of a family portrait and all four daughters were given important titles there was also a son Thoth Moses he was named high priests of Memphis and there was one more son named Amenhotep after dad he's not on this statue he's not on any royal portrait he's not in any royal record there's a real mystery here why was the royal family totally ignoring their youngest son even in early childhood there seems to have been something wrong with Arman hotel perhaps he was just a strange child with strange ideas but while his brother and sisters received titles and honors there were none for young Armand Hotel when the Royal entourage went to the temples to make offerings to the God our Moon and to celebrate the festivals we can imagine Armin Hotere being left behind at the palace even the God our Moon had rejected the boy the young prince was excluded from the temple ceremonies where his brother and sisters made offerings to the gods everything revolved around the temples and their thousands of priests Farrah's proudly inscribed on temple walls lists of the gold silver cattle and land they had given to the guard this was a world that rejected the young boy but things were about to change after the Pharaoh the most important person in the royal family was Queen T the Kings great wife when Amenhotep the third married T he sent what were then the world's first telegrams wedding announcements carved on scarabs beetle shaped plaques sent to foreign countries they proclaimed I have taken a wife Queen T mistress of the two lands her parents are Yuya and tuya the new Queen's parents were not royalty and to anyone reading between the lines the message was clear my bride is a commoner but you must accept her as Queen of Egypt the sculpture shows a powerful woman one that would always get what she wanted and it would be her son Armand Hotel later to change his name to Akhenaten who would be the focus of her attention as Bob Bryar explains what Queen T wanted was the her sonic not into the Pharaoh of Egypt I'm not his older brother it died but there were other contenders they were fit young sons of the Pharaohs minor wives under normal circumstances any one of them could have been Pharaoh but it was Queen T's ugly duckling son who became King it's a curious quirk of history but because of T's determination to place Akhenaten on the throne of Egypt we still live with the consequences The Mummy of Amenhotep the third provides a clue as to how his son Akhenaten became Pharaoh The Mummy reveals an old bald fat man in poor health and it's teeth are in very poor condition in fact Amenhotep the Third's teeth may have been a contributing factor to this bizarre period of Egyptian history the pain he must have endured during the last few years of his life may have been so intense that he may have found it difficult to carry out the affairs of state for not only commoners but kings to fell victim to their diet all grains in Egypt were stone ground though today this may sound healthy in reality it was just the opposite it meant that a considerable amount of sand and grit was consumed in Egyptian bread years of eating it ground down the teeth exposing the roots to decay skilled as Egyptian physicians were they knew little about dentistry so the unfortunate Amenhotep the third had to relieve the pain as best he could he may have been sedated either by drinking wine or perhaps even taking opium if he was in no condition to make important decisions it probably made it easier for the powerful Queen T to select her teenage son to become next in line to the throne thrust to the top by his ambitious mother the outcast boy became the ruler of Egypt but what kind of Pharaoh would the strange 18 year old make just how strange the new Pharaoh was became clear in the early years of our Tartans reign when he began building his own temple at Karnak the religious heart of Thebes Karnak is actually a maze of temples covering more than 40 hectares built over a period of 2,000 years each Pharaoh added his own monuments to gain favor with the gods were not not an added his contribution the people of Egypt use something very strange it happened he was responsible for an entirely new style of art the Pharaoh was shown with long toes wide hips extremely long fingers breasts and an elongated face nothing like it had ever been seen on an Egyptian temple but the peculiarities didn't end there standing in front of the temple were colossal statues of the Pharaoh that accentuated his bizarre features even more but that wasn't all the temple was covered with scenes of the Artin the Sun disk it's ray shining down ending in hands holding arms a hieroglyph for life gone were our moon and the other gods of Egypt replaced by the solar disk the people must have wondered where their other gods had gone they were soon to find out Mark Martin had declared for the first time in recorded history that there was only one God he had turned two thousand years of Egyptian religion on its head at the beginning of this century excavators came across a large number of early carved blocks that have been reused in a later Pharaoh's building project these blocks became known as Tala taught from the modern Arabic number for three since the blocks all measured about three hand spans over the years excavators found more than 40,000 but so many pieces were missing that no one could rebuild the original temples the blocks were kept in storage for the day when someone could come and make sense of them in 1965 ray winfield smith an american businessman conceived the plan to create on paper what couldn't be put together in stone one two seven fourteen six oh six okay no more his idea was to photograph every single block even the ones that had found their way into private collections and museums around the world the photographs became pieces in a giant jigsaw puzzle and with the aid of a computer Smith's team reconstructed the temples on paper first they numbered each block then their number and description were entered into the computer the latest technology for 1965 if a piece had the head of a fairer looking left ending at the neck the computer searched for the blocks that had the body of the King that began at the neck when the computer found the blocks that showed a possible match Smith retrieved the photographs and fitted them together to see if they joined when a block was missing an artist filled in the scene the project continued for six years and gave Egyptologists an unprecedented insight into the events of this period the shunned boy was now in charge as pharaoh akhenaten could no longer be excluded from the religious festivals he had missed as a boy festivals like the feast of O pet when the statues of the three main gods of thieves our moon mut and Honsou were carried from karnak temple to luxor temple the occasion called for days of dancing singing and feasting at night shaven-headed priests chanted their prayers to placate the gods of egypt the mother of mothers and for the seven Celestion hi I open my mouth to speak in the midst of silence I caused to be that Manganiello – which d'etre it was the greatest show on earth and the young act Martin had been no part of it until now as Bob Bryar explains but there's a happy ending at least for now Akhenaten becomes king of Egypt and with his power he can make everything right he'll reject the gods of Thieves they were never his anyway and he'll have his own private God who loves him the Otton and he'll take his new religion and his new God and he'll leave Thebes and all the childhood suffering he'll start a new world the only question is where the answer to we're at Norton should begin his new life came in the fifth year of his reign from the Artin himself as act Norton traveled across a remote stretch of desert in the middle of Egypt about 280 kilometers north of Thebes the Sun rose on the horizon and seemed to rest in a notch in the nearby mountains the hieroglyph for horizon was the Sun resting in a notch of a mountain The Horizon represented the beginning and the end this was the sign act Norton was waiting for he believed the Artin had appeared to him and told him to build his city in the uninhabited desert he named it archit on the horizon of the army after arc Norton's revelation to build his city he led a small group of his followers out of Thebes to the barren desert site that the rtant had chosen the place now called Amana but Norton was now a cult leader and this would be his commune at one of the boundary markers he assembled the faithful and as he looked out on the desolate plains where the new city would be built he held a service but Martin was no longer alone he was now married to Nefertiti one of the most beautiful women in history now he had his own family a wife two daughters and four more to come the shunned boy had come a long way there must have been an incredible sense of excitement in the new city they were pioneers in a brave new religion and the Pharaoh was their leader not until the advent of Christianity with such a feeling occur again it was a turning point in the history of the world Nanak Norton was the pivotal figure but would the rest of Egypt accept the Pharaohs new religion many questions were being raised by the priests what will become of us if there is but one God the Artin what will happen to the vast temples of our Moon and things if the Pharaoh no longer believes in the gods what will happen to the thousands of priests the powerful priesthood of Thebes was furious with AK not the rebel Pharaoh had declared their gods extinct and deserted the religious capital of Egypt vowing never to return gone were the Royal offerings to the temples there would be no more donations of prisoners taken in wars the resources of Egypt were flowing out of the established citizen into the desert to build the Pharaohs new city but it wasn't only the priests who suffered many industries depended on the old religion Egyptians wore amulets small figures of the gods worn for protection the Egyptian amulet makers who carved scarabs with images of the gods and names of the kings were now redundant the skilled wood carvers who made statues of the gods that adorned Egyptian houses were also out of work what did Ark Naughton think he was doing what was probably even more terrifying to the Egyptians was that act Norton was interfering with their afterlife Egyptologist Bob Bryar explains this is The Book of the Dead look over here there's the deceased and can you see what's holding in his hand it's his heart the heart was very important to the Egyptians they believed that you thought with your heart it makes some sense when you get excited it's your heart that beats quickly not your brain that's why in Valentine's Day you send chocolate hearts not chocolate brains and look over here these four gods they're protecting the internal organs of the deceased you see the Egyptians were resurrectionists they believed your body would literally get up and go again in the next world so you had to have a complete body including your internal organs and the journey to the next world that would be made in a boat now if you look over here at the end of the book of the Dead it even provides magical oars for the journey in a sense this is a map to the next world but Akhenaten was throwing out all the old maps he was writing his own before art nurten the walls of Egyptian tombs showed the next world looking much like this one the deceased is still working in the fields but it's a far better life for him he's wearing his finest white linen robes that Akhenaten changed this to at amana tomb walls no longer showed the deceased in the next world those scenes were replaced with pictures of art Naughton and the royal family often worshipping the Artin if there was a next world it seemed to revolve around Akhenaten along with his confusing vision of an afterlife is one of the greatest intellectual achievements of the ancient world a poem written by up Naughton himself splendid new rise at dorm living artem creator of life you have dawn in the east plan to be beauty's great when you sat in the West is in darkness as in death every lion pounds from his den all the servants right right Robin's silent as there make arrests came down religion wasn't the only thing I cannot in Altered a thousand years of art was to be disregarded before art noggin Egyptian art had hardly changed over the centuries in our civilization we're used to art styles changing but in Egypt art was intended for eternity the statue of a pharaoh of 2500 BC is not radically different from one 2,000 years later aknadin was an anomaly in the thousands of years of Egyptian history there were no more idealized muscular bodies McNaughton is shown warts and all the slogan for the age of art Martin was living in truth if the Pharaoh was deformed let it be shown that way not even the beautiful Nefertiti was exempt from the new policy of truth in art the famous bust of Nefertiti had become an enduring symbol of great beauty throughout the world but as she matured even she was portrayed with poor posture and an aging body it became fashionable to show the entire royal family with elongated heads not only was the new art liberating for AG nuttin it gave the artists who worked at Amana a new freedom they now had an unprecedented opportunity to express themselves new scenes of the royal family could be composed with no worries about tradition they were shown informally kissing and touching and eating meals together to look into the private life of Aveiro was unheard of in ancient Egypt but our Norton permitted it growing up at Thebes aknadin had never been depicted with his family never even mentioned on a monument now here at Amana he could say accept me for what I am for the first time in his life Ark Norton could be himself in its finished State Amana offered a theatrical setting for celebrating our Norton's kingship the city sprawled over the plane there were palaces with banners streaming and statues of the Pharaoh suburbs house the court officials who commuted to work on the Royal Road that ran through its center probably the widest Street in the ancient world it was designed for chariot processions led by arc not in himself slamming the road a bridge connected the palace with a temple area here Ark Martin uh Nefertiti appeared before the people on the balcony known as the window of appearances from which they tossed down gold ornaments and other gifts to those he wanted to honor at its height the city's population reached more than 10,000 there were boatman bureaucrats traders artisans priests and their families it must have been a city full of excitement with new lives new homes and new beginnings but at Martin's utopia did not please everyone while the Pharaoh reveled in the warmth of the Sun some foreign envoys were left to burn literally a king of Assyria wrote Wat Norton why are my messengers kept standing out in the open Sun they will die out there if it does the king good to stand in the open Sun let him stand there and die in the open Sun Egyptologist Bob Brier is our guide to the city this is where it all happened Akhenaten actually walked this street and one of his followers lived in this house Akhenaten probably rewarded him with gifts of gold he wanted his followers happy you see Akhenaten was a flower child of the 60s he wanted everyone happy everything beautiful everyone loving everyone else unfortunately the world doesn't work like that Akhenaten had been isolated too long he didn't understand people he had created a beautiful idealistic religion that was way ahead of its time but the people just didn't get it they were used to gods they could see carved in stone gods were the beautiful bodies of men and women and the heads of animals art Norton's God the I was an abstraction it was the basic principle of the universe light something arc Naughton subjects just couldn't comprehend this wasn't a God they could rely on in times of trouble there was an elitism to the new religion the would-be Sun worshipers found difficult to accept the Artem never shed its rays on them only on the royal family the Artin was at Norton's own personal God giving the King unbridled love and sustenance perhaps it was a replacement for the father who had pushed him into the background it was Ark Martin and his family who worshipped the Artin everyone else had to make do with the light reflected from him it's almost as if the new religion came in two sizes commoner size and King size at his holy city in the desert Ark Norton was far removed from the suffering he had experienced as a child of Thebes but he was also removed from reality for there was trouble in paradise Egypt was dying the more than 10 years AG Norton had lived in his beloved Amana with his thoughts focused on his religion and the needs of Egypt have been sorely neglected Egypt's once great army had grown weak foreign countries no longer send tribute from remote outposts in Syria and Lebanon egypt's foreign ambassadors wrote to the king that they were no longer respected letters written by one of his loyal princes Revati tells of the lack of respect for both our norton and himself writing from his fortified position he pleaded there formed a conspiracy with one another and thus i have great fear that there is no man to rescue me out of their hand like words but lie in a net so rabat ii was extremely isolated for Egyptian troops to reach him they would have to march through Gaza Canaan into the baqar Valley of Syria and then north this had always been hostile territory today you can still see Crusader forts built 2,000 years later remnants of medieval battles that were fought here this was where Abbate was writing from if the Egyptian army didn't save him no one would Revati repeatedly wrote telling art martin of the egyptians weakening position and asking for troops his last letter also went unanswered I cannot go out of the gate and I have written to the palace but thou has not sent an answer I have been wounded nine times and so have feared for my rabat II was not alone other pleas came from Egypt's outposts but they too went unanswered Egypt's domination of the Near East had slipped away aknadin didn't seem to know or care isolated from the problems of Egypt and perhaps from reality art Martin must have been truly contented with his new God his new family and his new city but after 14 years of marriage his beautiful wife and companion Nefertiti died his other wife kia had also died he was now without a woman at his side McNaughton had been raised among women with four sisters and his powerful mother Queen T Nefertiti had always been there to share his dreams keya his beautiful minor wife had also been important to him she even had her own temple now both wives were gone Akhenaten was alone the great experiment in the desert was nearly over in the 17th year of his reign still only in his 30s Akhenaten died and disappears from history will we ever know what really happened at our mark did our Norton really look like his statues many believe that these questions will only be answered when art Norton's mummy is found and that's exactly what some Egyptologist believed happened in January 1907 of all the royal mummies ever discovered none cause more controversy than the one found in tune 55 of the Valley of the Kings at the beginning of the century Theodore Davis a wealthy American excavating in Egypt discovered a tomb in which a burial from the Amana period had been reinterred this tomb was clearly unfinished and the burial had been a hasty one gilded wooden panels lay on the floor and against the wall they bore the damaged image of our Norton worshipping the Sun disk and the name of Queen T in a niche were four beautiful alabaster jars that held the mummy's internal organs lying on the floor was a badly damaged but stunning coffin made with thousands of pasted inlays and semi-precious stones in the shape of protective wings but the cartouche is containing the occupants name had been hacked out everyone involved in the tombs excavation believed that once the coffin lid was removed and the inscriptions on the Pantages or jewelry could be examined the Mummy's identity would be revealed when the day of unwrapping arrived all those present had an overwhelming sense of the events historical importance they were going to be the first in more than 3,000 years to gaze at the face of a king or queen of Egypt Egyptologist dr. Bob Breyer when they raised the lid to the coffin a mummy was revealed wrapped in gold leaf but as they began unwrapping the mummy something out of a horror movie happened as soon as they touch the mummy it crumbled to dust leaving the excavators with a pile of disarticulated bones at the bottom of the coffin but beneath the skeleton the last sheet of gold seemed to have the damaged name of Ark not written on it the pelvis was wide like a female's buttock not and had always been shown in statues with a wide pelvis and the head was elongated wycott knots it all seemed to fit perfectly some of those present were absolutely convinced they had found the mummy of Akhenaten today the identity of the mummy in tomb 55 remains a mystery but the final word on why Ark Norton and the royal family was shown with deformed bodies comes from a group of scientists working on a disease known as Marfan's syndrome a genetic defect that damages the body's connective tissue it's believed that Abraham Lincoln was probably a sufferer of Marfan syndrome among the symptoms are an elongated face protruding chin long thin fingers and toes and unusual eyes if our Norton had this genetic defect each of his daughters had a 50% chance of inheriting it that might explain why the whole family are depicted with similar features in the United States research on Marfan syndrome is currently being carried out at New York Hospital Bob Bryar has gone to meet dr. Jessica Davis for her diagnosis she's one of the world's leading experts on Marfan syndrome some of the people that's a very interesting story some of the older people in the little people of America which is this is our patient Brendan yeah I recognize this well yeah I know who this is are there any features that might suggest Marfan and if this guy walked into your office I think that the suggestive things here is just the elongated face that long narrow face but also this is a handsome individual so that those are two things that I would be looking at someone who has essentially regular features but long and narrow face but the diagnosis that mark vinz wouldn't really depend on a facial appearance so I think it's important just to say that these are people truly hear of Marfan syndrome have normal facial features but they look off again more classic now typical of the period the art is elongated hands and actually the kind of real exaggeration and I think now that that's that's a hand that's almost unnatural where the theme goes is that is there anything like that with long fingers with Marfan or like this very slender limb would certainly be suggestive of an underlying connective tissue disorders as with these very long thin fingers and what you can see here is that it's kind of dislocated this a little bit it looks flexible I'll be sure your foot first of all these are very thin limbs then the ham hand and arm were suggested the ankle certainly is suggestive and this is a very long elegant kind of foot with long toe I mean again that's something that we wouldn't be measuring out in the clinical diagnosis of a person with Marfan syndrome so yes that's suggestive given the face the hands the feet with the body the skeletal structure would you send this man for a Marfan diagnosis would you would you would I do more I mean an echo we send record whatever I would probably I mean I think that this is a fascinating reasonable and the thesis is damia and the hypothesis is one that deserves looking at and I think looking at other members of his family okay so without more ado Bob Bryar will speak to us yeah there were more clues for Bob Brier on the trail of Morphin syndrome insights from people who have the syndrome today could they explain are Norton's behavior well I dressed very differently uh sometimes even exaggerating my difference in wearing long capes and very much well if I'm different well look at me I'm really I am different but that's interesting I never thought of that people accentuate I kind of could understand sort of just going away but but accentuating is it almost what not does I mean like not experience called the Amarna and so I'm wearing a heart the hands are very extreme well look at this guy this is up not and oh oh okay well well your fingers long yeah don't you feel better even you I don't think and do naturally but yeah you did sort of like that she was does that something seems similar or the hint yeah I could did I ever check on his toes in any of the art you have today every show the toes as you like okay okay okay okay yeah put your foot right giant what do you think what I'd really like to ask you is we have a theory that we're going to present and from you people I'd like to know if it makes sense is it reasonable to you people that perhaps because he was put aside as a child that maybe when he became king he decided to reject everything and just say this is it my religion this is in my town this isn't my family I'm moving out and I'm changing everything is that something that either you've experienced or in terms of marfan seems reasonable the family rejecting him is very much possible yeah yeah from my own experience this very much can occur are you the only one with are you the only one in your parents my father and my father passed away in 1975 and I and the family really instilled at to this point really does keep me at the margins really yeah the way you look is very important in life and if you look different and you can't be called a Mongolian black or gay or you know they don't have a name at the time I discovered very late that I had their orphan they my father still denies that I have it so the attitude of my family was denying but sort of means there was a shame yeah well if it's fair I mean if the family is in denial if you have a kid often that looks different yes you know and they're not acknowledging that you know and and the rest of us never got to be the ruler country yeah we don't exactly know what we would do but finally having had that denial around you all your life it might be very nice to suddenly say no more of that this is who I am and this is what I look like this may be as close as we ever get to how our norton really felt even in death our norton rebelled against the traditions of egypt rejecting the site where his ancestors have been buried his – he selected a remote valley at Amarna it resembles the Valley of the Kings where his father was buried perhaps the child in him still seeked acceptance in this tomb the most original religious thinker the ancient world had ever seen was laid to rest he had foreshadow the monotheism of Moses and the tranquility and hope of Christ long before the people of ancient Egypt were able to accept it soon after his death the followers at our mana unable to understand what their Pharaoh had been preaching abandoned the city and return to Thebes and all the familiar gods the name of our tartan branded a heretic would be a raised from the monuments of Egypt it was his son a young Pharaoh named Tutankhamun whom all the world would come to know the bold experiment in the desert had ended and the city of our mana was returned to the sound American Egyptologist James breasted said of art Martin there died with him such a spirit as the world had never seen before a brave soul undauntedly facing the momentum of immemorial tradition this man who in an age so remote and under conditions so adverse became the world's first idealist and the world's first individual 3,000 years ago the rebel Pharaoh Akhenaton outraged the inhabitants of the Nile Valley by preaching there is only one God but less than a hundred years after arc Norton's death Moses would be preaching monotheism on the banks of the Nile to the Israelites today millions of Egyptians hear the Mazzini and mosques affirm that there is but one God and His name is Allah the idea of a single God once the radical belief of an isolated heretic is now embraced by Muslims Christians and Jews throughout the world the vision of Akhenaten lives on king of the pyramids never is tomorrow's great Egyptian at 10 o'clock on Discovery Channel next a proud nation finally subdued by British invaders Zulu Wars you