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How long did Akhenaten rule Egypt?

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Quick Answer

Akhenaten ruled Egypt for 17 years during the 18th Dynasty. He was known as Amenhotep IV until the fifth year after beginning his reign.

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Full Answer

The reign of Akhenaten is remembered for his abandonment of traditional polytheism by introducing worship that focused on the Aten, which is likened in early inscriptions to the sun as compared to stars. In later times, the Aten was called a solar deity that was held in more esteem than regular gods.

The religious reforms that Akhenaten tried to bring about during his lifetime and the departure from traditional polytheism to a more monotheistic or henotheistic religion never caught on. After his death, traditional religious beliefs came back into practice.

After his death, rulers sought to erase Akhenaten from history by referring to him as a criminal or enemy. In fact, he was lost to history until the 1800s when the city that he erected for the Aten was unearthed. Until the unearthing of the tomb of King Tutankhamen in 1907 and subsequent DNA testing in 2010, it was not known that King Tut was actually the son of Akhenaten. The mummy of Akhenaten was also exhumed in 1907 in the Valley of the Kings at Luxor, Egypt.

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