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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars

on 17 April 2017
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on 10 January 2014
I recommend this book for those who have, clearly, an interest in the Amarna period of Ancient Egypt, who have probably watched inumerable documentaries about the period and it's personalities, but are perhaps wary of jumping into the more heavyweight books on the subject. This book will dispel some of the more wilder claims made about Akhenaten and his times, such as the strangely recurring suggestion that the elongated heads in Amarna art show "reality" because they were "space aliens" or bound their heads, which Ancient Egyptians simply did not do, as their mummies show. As other reviewers have already mentioned, Hornung has his own view on Akhenaten, which he leaves until the last moment to show. This is not a bad thing as it gives the reader time to come to their own conclusions. Hornung lays out the framework for Akhenaten and his religion in a clear manner, and if this is the only book about this subject that anybody reads, then you will have made a good choice. Certainly other books exist, many, and of variable quality, though most newish books on the subject have been excellent, if not necessarily for the general reader. Everybody has an opinion on Akhenaten, ranging from monster to saint and, sadly, we will never know the full story, but this book will get rid of some ridiculous misconceptions and shine some light on the subject.
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on 19 September 2014
Hornung offers a clear and lively introduction to the study of Akhenaten. Some of the extracts quoted from earlier authors are very helpful and indicate the sheer range of views that have been expressed about this pharaoh and the Aten religion. In relation to the latter, there is much helpful analysis of its precedents and the ways in which Akhenaten may have instigated further development that in effect ensured there would be an antagonistic response.

In the long tradition of rather forceful statements about Akhenaten, Hornung adds his own: "Akhenaten was perhaps the first fundamentalist in history" (page 126). This is interesting as a starting point but I found the general comments Hornung makes at this point and thereafter somewhat superficial. (A philosophical response rather than one that is archaeologically based would be fine if it were properly thought through and explored.)

Overall, this is one of several good books about a fascinating period in the life of ancient Egypt. Although somewhat more wide-ranging in focus, Barry Kemp's 'The City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti' and Dominic Montserrat's 'Akhenaten: History, Fantasy and Ancient Egypt' are two outstanding alternatives.
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on 9 February 2003
I recommend this book as a good primer of Akhenaten and amarna period.
A good perspective that I understood the problem.
This compact book is english translation of written in German in 1995.
Chapter 1 surveys excavation after amarna discovery and history of theory by a report of a symposium.
After Chapter 2 are times setting of the 18th dynasty, an appearance of Amenhotep4, the reign of Akhenaten, a chronicle to revival by Horemheb.
Balance is good and introduces various opinions.
As is expected, as for the interpretation of Aten-religion, there is persuasive power.
References of the end of a volume are guided on the topics that it was not able to mention in the text adequately.
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