Myths and Folklore Wiki

Aten was the supreme god in the Atenist cult of Egyptian mythology.

The Pharaoh Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten and established the worship of the sun disk Aten as supreme deity, discarding the polytheistic pantheon established preceding his rule. His decision made him the enemy of the High Priests and, after his death, the worship of Aten ceased and the ancient pantheon returned.

Architecture and Art

Aten's temples were unique in architecture compared to other Egyptian temples of the time. Balustrades depicting Akhenaten, the queen and the princess embracing the rays of Aten would flank either side of stairwells, ramps, or altars. Fragments of these Balustrades were initially identified as stele but were later decided to be balustrades due to the location they were found and the way the pattern was carved into both faces of the slab.

Temples to Aten were open-air structures with little to no roofing to maximize the amount of sunlight on the interior. A slaughter yard and places to grow food were near the temple for preparing sacrifices to Aten. Two temples were central to the city of Akhetaten, the larger of the two had an "open, unroofed structure covering an area of about 800 by 300 metres (2,600 ft × 1,000 ft) at the northern end of the city". Aten, by nature, was everywhere and intangible because he was the sunlight and energy in the world. Therefore, he did not have physical representations that other Egyptian gods had; he was represented by the sun disc and reaching rays of light.