Pharaoh Akhenaten’s sun disk was known as the Aten. What was it?

Pharaoh Akenaten was one of the most controversial Pharaohs to rule over ancient Egypt. He revolutionized ancient Egyptian religion and introduced the worship of the Aten, a sun disk-shaped deity.

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An artists rendering of Ancient Egyptian symbols, a ufo.

Ancient astronaut theorists tend to be more interested in the Pharaoh Akhenaten than anyone else. As he was later known, the Heretic King had a strange appearance in carvings and statues that immediately caught the eye. He had elongated heads and gangly limbs, just like his wife, Queen Nefertiti, his daughter Meritaten, and his son Tutankhamun by another wife.

Even today, Nefertiti and Akhenaten are two of Egypt’s most famous monarchs. Why is that? The rulers who came after him, including his very own son Tutankhamun, tried to erase all he had introduced into Egyptian society. Only when the city of Amarna was discovered in the 19th century CE was his legacy rediscovered.

Tutankhaten was King Tut’s original name, but when he ascended to the throne, he renounced his former name. His rejection was probably caused by the shocking religious revolution of his father, which destroyed the cult of Amun. The wealth and political influence of the Priests of Amun had increased to a point where they were beginning to rival the pharaohs.

Pharoah Akhenaten moved the capital city from Thebes to Akhetaten, later known as Amarna, during the Amarna revolution. It was he and Nefertiti who proposed the Aten –Aton–, a disk-shaped sun god, be worshiped throughout Egypt. In a world where a plurality of gods was the norm, it was one of the earliest forms of monotheism. Even Athenaten’s name is translated to “beneficial to Aten.”

All artwork was affected by the revolution. The royal family was depicted in an intimate and strangely realistic fashion during this time, a stark contrast to how royalty had been depicted in the past when it was a totally unrealistic, glorified form.

Stranger still, in some cases, the figures cannot be identified as male or female. The figures are interchangeable as if they do not either belong to one gender or the other.

Some scholars have suggested that the family suffered from Marfan’s syndrome because of their unusual appearance. Ancient astronaut theorists on the other hand believe these signs were a sign that they were from another planet. However, so far the mummies remain missing, so we will not be able to tell for certain, even though King Tut has been subjected to some tests. These tests, however, are considered to be false and have led many to believe that Tutankhamun would suffer from a number of health problems as a result of incest.

See more about the search for Nefertiti and Akhenaten’s mummies below:

The Aten

Akhenaten and the royal family grew in importance as the only mediators between the Aten and the people. As the sole representative of Aten, they would speak for him. Is it true that the pharaoh received messages from the Aten or was this just a symbolic gesture? No matter what, the pharaoh condemned the temples and outlawed and destroyed the old ways.

According to the Aten Hymn, the Aten is an all-pervading creator of all things, manifesting in countless forms besides the familiar Sun.

“Men had slept like the dead; now they lift their arms in praise, birds fly, fish leap, plants bloom, and work begins. Aten creates the son in the mother’s womb, the seed in men, and has generated all life. He has distinguished the races, their natures, tongues, and skins, and fulfills the needs of all. Aten made the Nile in Egypt and rain, like a heavenly Nile, in foreign countries. He has a million forms according to the time of day and from where he is seen; yet he is always the same.”

The Aten Hymn

A disc-shaped like the sun shone down with natural rays, illuminating the royal family with its god-like status and granting them apparent wisdom. According to mainstream scholars, the Aten is no more than the Sun, but is it anything but that? According to ancient astronaut theories, the answer is far from what mainstream scholars are willing to accept.

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