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By the time of Amenhotep IV, the Cult of Amun owned more land than the king.

In the 5th year of his reign, Amenhotep IV outlawed the old religion and proclaimed himself the living incarnation of a single, all-powerful, deity known as Aten and, by the 9th year, he had closed all the temples and suppressed religious practices.

A hallmark of any monotheistic belief system, however, is that it encourages the belief that, in order for it to be right, other systems must necessarily be wrong; and this insistence on being the sole administrator of ultimate truth leads to intolerance of other beliefs and their suppression; this is precisely what happened in Egypt.

The names of the god Amun and the other gods were chiseled from monuments throughout Egypt, the temples were closed, and the old practices outlawed.

Akhenaten ordained new priests, or simply forced priests of Amun into the service of his new monotheism, and proclaimed himself and his queen gods.

The pharaoh as a servant of the gods, and identified with a certain god (usually Osiris), was common practice in ancient Egypt but no one before Akhenaten had proclaimed himself an actual god incarnate.

His reign is known as The Amarna Period because he moved the capital of Egypt from the traditional site at Thebes to the city he founded, Akhetaten, which came to be known as Amarna.One of the many unfortunate results of Akhenaten’s religious reforms was a neglect of foreign policy.From documents and letters of the time it is known that other nations, formerly allies, wrote numerous times asking Egypt for help in various affairs and that most of these requests were ignored by the deified king.Those `old tribal deities’ of Egypt, however, had encouraged peace, harmony, and the development of one of the greatest ancient cultures the world has ever known.The polytheism of the ancient Egyptians encouraged a world view where peace and balance were emphasized and religious tolerance was not considered an issue; there is not even a word directly corresponding to the concept of `religious tolerance’ in the ancient Egyptian texts.

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