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Akhenaten: King of Egypt Paperback – April 1, 1991

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Until recently, the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten was considered a revolutionary reformer, an idealist and pacifist. But now his monotheism is seen as short-lived, quickly forgotten by the masses after he died; some scholars even consider him an atheist. The romantic image of his deep bond with queen Nefertiti was challenged when a secondary queen named Kiya turned up. We know more about Akhenaten's incest with his daughters, and there is much speculation that the effeminate visual representations of this broad-hipped pharaoh signify that he suffered from a pituitary disorder. In this careful survey of the archeological evidence, Aldred, author of Akhenaten, Pharaoh of Egypt, reviews controversies such as whether the king shared power with a co-regent and the meaning of the "Amarna Letters," 350 cuneiform slabs. Over 100 photographs and sketches bring the latest finds to light. History Book Club and Macmillan Book Club selections.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Respected Egyptologist Aldred offers a new study, valuable to scholar and layperson alike, of this much-studied Egyptian pharaohregarded as the precursor of Judaeo-Christian monotheism and ruler from 1358 to 1340 B.C. This informative, well-written and -illustrated book, is, in part, a summary of Aldred's numerous studies previously published, including some from his earlier Akhenaten: Pharaoh of Egypt (McGraw, 1968). Used are computer-assisted reconstructions of the Karnak temples, and examined are neglected evidence, such as a stone fragment concerned with the equally famous Queen Nefertiti, his wife. For Egyptologists, other antiquity students. History Book Club, Macmillan Book Club. Jackson P. Hershbell, Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson (April 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500276218
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500276211
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.8 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #272,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Cyril Aldred was one of the best minds ever to work in Egyptology. He used both common sense and intelligence, and rarely found himself swept up in the fantasies that abound in Egyptology. This book is an excellent example of his meticulous work. Read, for example, his chapter deciphering the contents of KV55. Not just the mummy, but the shrines and other objects, found in a hopeless jumble. Guided by what is simple and probable, he presents a reasonable explanation of how the tomb was found in that state it was; and how such a mixed burial, with objects referring to Akhenaten, Tiye and Smenkhara, came to be.
He also treats Akhenaten's "monotheism" with much less awe that it is usually given. He points out that it wasn't quite a religion ahead of its time, but a return to Old Kingdom sun-worship, and that it was by no means monotheism as we now consider it.
To respond to the issue raised in the review below: Aldred didn't invent the theory of Froelich's syndrome. It was a going theory at that time, as Egyptologists tried to find an explanation for Akhenaten's unique and somewhat feminine appearance.
Aldred knew the disease caused impotence. A working theory for many Egyptologists was that the disease went into remission before it made Akhenaten sterile. Aldred does present the idea that Amenhotep III might have fathered the children, if Akhenaten had been unable to. However, he then shows artwork of Akhenaten in mourning, with a growth of beard, showing that he did have secondary sex characteristics. Aldred then concludes the most likely theory is that Akhenaten fathered his own children.
In regard to the "incest-mania": that, too, was a going theory, not one invented by Aldred.
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This book is a must for all interested in the Amarna period, whether they be a serious student or one whose interest is casual. Though slightly dated, the work is still the largest depository of knowledge concerning Akhenaten other than the late Cyril Aldred, himself. The plates are excellent and compliment well the captivating discussions they accompany. KV55 and its importance to the Amarna period are discussed at length, that discussion including theories on just who it was the make-shift burial was originally for. The conclusion of the book also leaves one imagining the meeting of Cyril and Akhenaten in the afterlife, each enjoying the company of an equally great leader in his field
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By A Customer on January 9, 1999
Cyril Aldred was one of the greatest Egyptologists of our time. In "Akhenaten: King of Egypt" he has left us his greatest legacy. This book reads as if you are right there. It is a mix between a volume for specialists, and an interesting detective novel. There are 107 excellent illustrations, both photographs and drawings, to compliment the wonderfully comprehensive text. A must have for anyone interested in Egypt, or in the world's first monothiest.
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Written by a notorious Egyptologist, this classic tells of Akhenaten and Nefertiti's life and family, the foundation of Amarna,and the conception of monotheism. One of the best books ever written on the subject, it is well researched and extremely informative, with many illustrations. Definitely recommended to anyone interested in learning more about this pharaoh.
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The book begins with a systematic survey describing the evidence available for the reign of Akhenaten. This is followed by a very useful description of the milieu into which Akhenaten was born, which allows the reader to place the information contained in the book into context and to judge for themselves the extent to which Akhenaten's beliefs, policies and actions differed from those of his predecessors. Next follows an insightful discussion of the enigmas surrounding the Amarna period, including the possible identity of the mummy found in tomb 55, the question of a co-regency with Amenophis III and the nature of Akhenaten's religious beliefs. The final sections describe the reign of Akhenaten and some of the interpretations that have been given to it by various scholars.

Though of course almost all of the points discussed are contentious, Aldred argues convincingly from the evidence base. His style is extremely readable and the discussions of the enigmas in particular are laid out in a clear and logical manner. I have read a number of books about this fascinating pharaoh, but none have dealt as comprehensively and systematically with the evidence as Aldred does. This work must be considered to be one of the most definitive works on the subject and a must read for the student of the Amarna period.
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Very informative!! Thoroughly written and researched!!
If a person is inexperienced in Egyptology, this book commences
from day one of the life of Akhenaten and Nefertiti to the end,
and aftermath of this great pharoah.

Well written. The way it (the writing) is constructed,
makes one feel like they are following history, just after
it has occurred. I commend Mr. Aldred, whom is no longer
among us, and recommend this reading to anyone who is
interested in two uniquely and innovative leaders,
Akhenaten and Cyril!
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