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Akhenaten (1353–1336 BC), whose name means “he who praises Aten,” was an 18th dynasty king and philosopher who changed his name from Amenhotep, meaning “Amen is satisfied.” Although he was not the first African philosopher, no other thinker of the ancient period was as significant as Akhenaten in establishing a persona that has reverberated through the ages. None of the earlier philosophers such as Imhotep, Merikare, Duauf, or Amenemhat left the enduring reputation for creativity as did Akhenaten. Yet this popularity has been questioned by numerous African scholars and can best be viewed by examining an array of facts surrounding the life and times of Akhenaten. This entry outlines the religious and political contexts in which Akhenaten arose, discusses his reign, and looks at what ...

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