Geeks logo

The First Monotheist?

Who was the first person who worshipped one god

By Abubakar ShaikhPublished 6 months ago 4 min read

Akhenaten, the ancient Egyptian pharaoh, is often regarded as the first monotheist in history. His reign marked a revolutionary period in which he completely abandoned the traditional polytheistic beliefs and instead focused on the worship of a single god, the Aten.

The Aten was represented by a circular disk with rays emanating from it, symbolizing the sun's life-giving properties. Akhenaten went a step further and established a new capital city, Akhetaten, dedicated entirely to the worship of the Aten. The city was built with a unique layout designed to align with the sun's movement throughout the day, with buildings and temples facing the east to capture the first rays of the morning sun.

Akhenaten also instigated a new style of art that portrayed himself and his family in a naturalistic manner, which was a radical departure from the idealized forms preferred in traditional Egyptian art. This reflected his belief that all people were equal in the eyes of the Aten, and there was no need for the hierarchy of gods and goddesses that was previously the norm.

Although his reign was relatively short-lived, lasting only 17 years, his ideas and legacy have had a profound impact on the development of monotheistic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The focus on a single god and the rejection of traditional polytheistic beliefs laid the foundation for the development of these religions that would go on to shape the course of history.

Akhenaten's unique ideas and his embrace of the Aten as the sole god led to the development of a new theological and artistic movement. His emphasis on the naturalistic portrayal of himself and his family members represented a radical departure from previous Egyptian art styles. Even though his successors tried to erase his legacy and restore the traditional polytheistic beliefs, his influence has endured.

New archaeological discoveries have recently provided fresh insights into the reign of Akhenaten and his impact on ancient Egyptian society. These revelations have helped us understand that his religious revolution was not a sudden occurrence, but rather a gradual development of religious ideas that had been brewing in Egyptian society for many years.

Scholars have noted that the worship of Ra, the sun god, may have been a precursor to Akhenaten's emphasis on the Aten. The concept of a single god, rather than multiple gods, had been gaining popularity in Egyptian society for some time. However, it was Akhenaten's bold break from tradition and his construction of the new capital city, Akhetaten, that made his reign so significant.

What's more, archaeological evidence has unearthed a complex bureaucracy that supported Akhenaten's new religion. Building Akhetaten necessitated vast resources and organization, which would have been impossible without an efficient administrative system. This suggests that Akhenaten's religious revolution was not only a philosophical or theological shift, but also a crucial political and economic transformation.

Recent studies of Akhenaten's mummy have also revealed fascinating insights into his physical appearance. It appears that he suffered from several genetic disorders, including Marfan syndrome, which could have affected his physical features and contributed to the naturalistic style of art that emerged during his reign. These findings add an exciting new dimension to our understanding of Akhenaten's reign and his influence on Egyptian society.

Another intriguing aspect of Akhenaten's reign was his relationship with his wife, Nefertiti. Nefertiti played a significant role in Akhenaten's religious revolution and is often portrayed alongside him in many of the naturalistic artworks of the period. Some scholars have even suggested that Nefertiti may have been the driving force behind Akhenaten's focus on a single god and held considerable influence over him during his reign.

New archaeological discoveries have given us a fresh perspective on Akhenaten's reign and his impact on ancient Egyptian society. His religious revolution was a gradual evolution of ideas that had been percolating in Egyptian society for centuries. His emphasis on the worship of a single god represented a significant departure from traditional polytheistic beliefs and set the stage for the emergence of monotheistic religions in the centuries to come.

In conclusion, Akhenaten was an extraordinary pharaoh whose revolutionary ideas and focus on the worship of a single god marked a significant turning point in the development of monotheistic thought. His legacy continues to inspire many today, and his contributions to art, religion, and philosophy are an essential part of ancient Egyptian history.

vintagefact or fictionart

About the Creator

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.