Based on firsthand archaeological discoveries, this revealing biography examines the life of Akhnaton, who reigned as king of ancient Egypt from 1379 to 1362 B.C. Changing his name from Amenhotep IV to Akhnaton ("Aton is satisfied"), as a reflection of his religious conversion, he abandoned polytheism to embrace monotheism. His religion centered around the sun (Aton) and was brutally absolute in its zealous efforts to eradicate the worship of other gods. His choice of monotheism was not only motivated by spiritual devotion, but by an attempt to increase the power of the pharaoh. As most of his reforms were introduced with force, and disturbed the balance of power and influence, they were met with strong resistance.
During his reign, Akhnaton moved the capital from Thebes to Amarna and neglected foreign policy. By the end of his rule, much of the Egyptian empire, including Nubia and Syria, had been lost, and he and his wife, Queen Nefertiti, were despised. Following his death, Akhnaton was branded as a heretic. The monotheistic Aton cult died swiftly and Egypt reverted back to its old familiar gods, but Akhnaton's reign remains uniquely fascinating as what is arguably the first incarnation of monotheism, predating Judaism by centuries.