Thursday, April 1, 2010
Aten, like all Heliopolitan deities, was a sun god. By the beginning of the New Kingdom, the cult of the Heliopolitan gods became increasingly influential. It reached its highest degree under the reign of Akhenaten, who neglected all the traditional cults of Egypt to honor only one god. Aten was represented as a sun disk with rays ending with human hands that gave the signs of life and prosperity to the royal family. The temple of Aten at el-Amarna, the capital of Akhenaten, or at Karnak, did not have a roof to allow the sun's rays to penetrate inside it. After the death of Akhenaten, Aten was returned to his normal place as one of the pantheon of the Egyptian gods.