44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
This is far and away the best book published about Akhenaten and the Amarna period. Unlike so many other publications it does not sensationalise or hypothesise about the life of this extraordinary man and his family, but presents the facts, balanced argument and rational discussion. You will not find any murder mysteries here!
It's a very comprehensive review of this period in Egyptian history, with many illustrations of key art works and monuments. Aside from the life and beliefs of Akhenaten himself, key issues discussed are the mystery occupent of KV55, the possible co-regencies and the excavation of Amarna in modern times.
I like the honesty of this book - the fact the Aldred discusses what is 'most likely' or 'possible' from the evidence we have in our possesion, rather than formulating a theory then presenting it as though it were fact - a crime common to many more recent authors and 'experts' on this subject!
A must-own if you are interested in this period of history.
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2001
Cyril Aldred has delivered a book that brings to life one of the Ancient World's most enigmatic and fascinating characters. We meet a man who, albeit briefly, revolutionised the politcal, social and religious norms of his time, by introducing the concept of monotheism in the worship of the Aten (or sun disc), into Egyptian polytheistic society in the 14th century bc.
The book is a journey that begins with the modern discovery of Akhenaten's existence and ends with an account of his reign at Armana and its implications after his death. It places Akhenaten firmly in historical context, with accounts of the reigns of his father (Amenophis III) and his grandfather (Tuthmosis IV). This is very enligtening as Cyril Aldred shows that although change under Akhenaten took the form of giant leaps, his immediate predecessors had taken small steps in the same direction. It was, as the writer points out, the suddeness of these changes under Akhenaten that rocked Egyptian society, and which led to the inevitable backlash from the religious elite that followed his death.
We are also shown Akhenaten as a family man. A devoted husband, father and son, as demonstrated by the many illustrations in the book. Particularly moving is a black and white plate with details from a house stela at Armana, showing Akhenaten with his daughter Meritaten on his knee, playing with his face, while he kisses her.
This is a very well written and illustrated account of Akhenaten and the Armana period. It is easily read and like any other good book, ends too soon, therefore begging many re-reads.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2008
The book begins with a systematic survey describing the evidence available for the reign of Akhenaten. This is followed by a very useful description of the milieu into which Akhenaten was born, which allows the reader to place the information contained in the book into context and to judge for themselves the extent to which Akhenaten's beliefs, policies and actions differed from those of his predecessors. Next follows an insightful discussion of the enigmas surrounding the Amarna period, including the possible identity of the mummy found in tomb 55, the question of a co-regency with Amenophis III and the nature of Akhenaten's religious beliefs. The final sections describe the reign of Akhenaten and some of the interpretations that have been given to it by various scholars.
Though of course almost all of the points discussed are contentious, Aldred argues convincingly from the evidence base. His style is extremely readable and the discussions of the enigmas in particular are laid out in a clear and logical manner. I have read a number of books about this fascinating pharaoh, but none have dealt as comprehensively and systematically with the evidence as Aldred does. This work must be considered to be one of the most definitive works on the subject and a must read for the student of the Amarna period
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 17 March 2008
This is a must buy book about Amarna era. All you need to know around the family of Amenhotep III , Akhenaten and even the aftermath with Aye horemheb.
This book covers the countries around Akhenaten. It shows the Amarna history in a greater picture.
A must buy, I recomend this book highly.
Start to read this book before you read anything of authors like :REEVES or REDFORD.
This book will get you a firm ground to stand on with all the theories that flows around Amarna.
I belive this is the most honest picture of Amarna.
on 19 June 2014
very intresting man , this book was a mine of information , no ordinary guy , he had lots of ideas of his own , well before his time , people didn't like it but he was very special . Really good read .