The Royal Gods (Episode 111)

Akhenaten (Part 4): Aten Above All.

In 1360 BCE, regnal year 3, King Nefer-kheperu-Re Amunhotep IV made some of his most startling decisions yet. Promoting the sun disc, Aten, even further, Amunhotep began to give the god royal accessories (cartouches, uraei etc) and present it as a being tied intimately with the pharaoh. This culminated in an unprecedented event: a Sed-Festival, celebrated at Karnak, and shared by the King and God together…

  • Time period: c.1360 BCE (regnal year 3)
  • King: Amunhotep IV (Nefer-kheperu-Re Wa-en-Re)
  • Queen: Nefertiti (Nefer-neferu-Aten Neferet-iti)
  • Locations: Waset (Thebes); the Wadi Hammamat
111. Logo name
Listen Online or Direct Download (Save As mp3).
111. Jubilee Processions (Redford ATP Website)
The grand depiction of Amunhotep IV’s Sed-Festival (Penn Museum).
The Sed-Festival at Karnak: Amunhotep IV makes offerings to Aten inside small kiosks or shrines. Attendants bow before the King and bring goods for use (Wikipedia).
The Sed-Festival: Amunhotep IV makes offerings to Aten (left) and walks in procession, wearing the sed-festival robe (right); an attendant (centre) carries sandals and an ax for the King (Tim the Egyptians).
ATP - Akhenaten Temple Project (3)
The Sed-Festival: Amunhotep and Nefertiti ride a chariot, attendant by members of the army or court (ATP).
ATP - Akhenaten Temple Project (14)
The Sed-Festival: Amunhotep departs his palace, accompanied by Nefertiti (left); the King ascends to his carrying chair, while attendants hold fans (right) (ATP).



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Select Bibliography

ATP – Smith and Redford, Akhenaten Temple Project, 1976.

Aidan Dodson, Amarna Sunrise, 2014.

Jocelyn Gohary, Akhenaten’s Sed-Festival at Karnak, 1992.

James K. Hoffmeier, Akhenaten & the Origins of Monotheism, 2015.

Donald B. Redford, Akhenaten: The Heretic King, 1987.

Donald B. Redford, The Akhenaten Temple Project vol. II: Rwd-Mnw and Inscriptions, 1988.

Donald B. Redford, “Akhenaten: New Theories, Old Facts,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (2013): 9-34. JSTOR.

Dominic Montserrat, Akhenaten: History, Fantasy and Ancient Egypt, 2005.

William J. Murnane, Texts from the Amarna Period in Egypt, 1995.

William J. Murnane, “Observations on Pre-Amarna Theology During the Earliest Reign of Amenhotep IV,” Gold of Praise: Studies on Ancient Egypt in Honor of Edward F. Wente (1999): 303-317.

Nicholas Reeves, Akhenaten: Egypt’s False Prophet, 2005.

Ray Winfield Smith and Donald B. Redford, The Akhenaten Temple Project vol. I: Initial Discoveries, 1976.

Eric Uphill, “The Sed-Festivals of Akhenaton,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies (1963): 123-127. JSTOR.


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