we carry our ghosts
on our backs –
new stone offers no comfort
without the old gods
With more Nick Cave for the Cave fans
Amarna: City of Aten
“Amarna is the modern name for the city built by Akhenaten, a Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of ancient Egypt. In modern terms, that places his reign around 1350 BCE (1353 to 1336 BCE, Freed 1999:13). Akhenaten held different religious views than his predecessors. In his theological view, the Aten (the sun disk) was supreme over all deities. However, his view is not a true monotheism, but rather the concept that the Aten had subsumed the essence of all of the other deities. This ideology was not universal, and many resisted it. None, however, were more resistant than the clergy. Priests were a largely hereditary society with a great deal of financial and political power in their established bases. This was especially true at Memphis, the traditional seat of power in this time period, and Thebes, where Akhenaten’s father Amenhotep III built his palace and temples. Akhenaten recognized this after building initially at Thebes, and thus chose to build a city on land that had never before been dedicated to another god or goddess. This site was what later came to be called Amarna, though it was known as Akhenaten, or “Horizon of the Aten”. Amarna is located on the Eastern side of the Nile, approximately one third of the distance between Cairo and Aswan, south from Cairo.
The religious conviction that brought about the building of Amarna, though, later served to preserve it so well. The funerary structures here were devoid of the traditional gods and goddesses to preserve the dead on their journey through the underworld. Akhenaten did not truly convert his people to his religious ideology, and thus they were unwilling to risk their souls in his form of burial. Consequently, the city was abandoned shortly after Akhenaten’s death.”