By the 18th Dynasty of ancient Egypt's history, the ancient Egyptians had developed a very complex polytheistic 'religion' which had incorporated the worship of many gods and goddesses as well as having various, numerous and sometimes contradictory ideals and concepts of death and the afterlife. Then along came Amenhotep IV, who decided to abolish the worship of many gods, in favour of the monotheistic adoration of the 'Aten'. He also moved the capital of Egypt to a virgin site and named it Akhetaten [Horizon of the Aten]. His name was changed to that of Akhenaten ['One Who is Useful to Aten' or '[He Who Serves] The Spirit of Aten'] - a few of the many translations of this name. The art of ancient Egypt was also radically changed from the perfect and formal representations of the gods, people and life of the Egyptians, to an art form that was more relaxed and showed many scenes of Akhenaten, his wife, Nefertiti and their daughters in loving, family embraces.
The Aten or 'Sun-Disc' rose from near obscurity to the state god of Egypt in a very short time. The artistic representation of the Aten is that of a sun disc emanating rays of light with hands on the ends of the rays
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The Reforms of Akhenaten