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From the many gods to the one god belief

From the many gods to the one god belief

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From the many gods to the one god belief

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  2. From the many gods to the one god belief Example of the worship of the Sun in Western Civilization (In Egypt, in Rome and in France) Dr. MONTONERI

  3. Akhenaton, Nefertiti, and one of their daughtersThe tiny princess shakes a tinkling sistrum (ancient Egyptian percussion instrument) while the royal family makes offeringsto the sun-god, Aton, whose rays end in small hands extending blessings to the people Dr. MONTONERI

  4. Outline • Introduction • Part I. Is the sun a god? • Part II. The sun of Egypt • Part III. Rome, the sun and the Christ • Part IV. The palace of the sun-king • Conclusion • References Dr. MONTONERI

  5. Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and the Royal Princesses: relief fragment from Tell el-Amarna, ca. 1350 B.C. [Dynasty XVIII]. Berlin Dr. MONTONERI

  6. Introduction • The worship of the sun, although not peculiar to any one time or place, received its greatest prominence in ancient Egypt • The pharaoh, said to be the son of Ra, was the sun-god’s representative on earth; however, Egypt revered many gods • One of these gods, Aten, the sun god, became a single supreme deity under Akhenaten (1353-1335 B.C.) • To honor his deity, the pharaoh built Amarna, a great city with temples, palaces and houses in Middle Egypt • After the death of the pharaoh, his name was omitted from official king-lists and his city was deserted • The Egyptians forgot about Akhenaten, his god and his city • More than 16 centuries later, Roman emperor Constantine (274-337), worshiper of a sun god called Sol Invictus, changed the history of the West forever • In 312, during the battle against Maxentius, he is said to have seen a cross superimposed on the sun and the words “in this sign you will be the victor” Dr. MONTONERI

  7. Introduction • Constantine defeated Maxentius. The emperor, a pagan solar worshiper, now looked upon the Christian deity as a bringer of victory. Persecution of the Christians was ended • He became the first Roman ruler to be converted to Christianity and built in 330 A.D. the New Christian Rome, Constantinople. • At first he probably associated Christ with the victorious sun god. By the time of the Council of Nicaea (325), he was completely Christian, but still tolerated paganism among his subjects • Among the Christian kings of the West, Louis XIV is one of the greatest. He believed his power as king was derived from God • The sun, his emblem, the symbol of his power and legitimacy, became a source of inspiration in Versailles • The king was portrayed as the Greek sun god Apollo and, like Akhenaten, emphasis on ordinary, day-to-day activities Dr. MONTONERI

  8. Part I. Is the sun a god? • a. Worshipers of the Sun • b. From Polytheism to Monotheism Dr. MONTONERI

  9. a. Worshipers of the sun • Sun worship was practiced in America by the Iroquois, Plains, and Tsimshian peoples, by the Aztecs and the Incas • The sun was also a Hindu deity, regarded as maleficent by the Dravidians of southern India and as benevolent by the Munda • The Babylonians were sun worshipers, and in ancient Persia worship of the sun was part of the elaborate cult of Mithras • In ancient Greece the deities of the sun were Helios and Apollo, in Rome Phoebus and Sol invictus (unconquered sun) • Ra, the sun-god, considered the first king of Egypt. The pharaoh, said to be the son of Ra, sun-god’s representative on earth • Ra worship acquired the status of a state religion, and the god was gradually fused with Amon during the Theban dynasties, becoming the supreme god Amon-Ra Dr. MONTONERI

  10. b. From Polytheism to Monotheism • During the 18th Dynasty the pharaoh Amenhotep III renamed the sun god Aton, an ancient term for the physical solar force • Under the rule of his son, Akhenaten, the sun-god Aten gained complete supremacy in Egypt’s only monotheistic period; Aten was worshipped as the sun in its capacity as life-giver • Aten is the most controversial god in the history of ancient Egypt, the worship of other supreme deities, such as Ra, was supplanted for a while by the new state religion • The pharaoh Akhenaten, his first great monotheist was so iconoclastic that he had the plural word gods deleted from monuments, and he relentlessly persecuted the priests of Amon • Akhenaton's sun religion failed to survive, although it exerted a great influence on the art and thinking of his time, and Egypt returned to the ancient, labyrinthine religion of polytheism after Akhenaton's death Dr. MONTONERI

  11. b. From Polytheism to Monotheism • Atenism has its basis in the Hebrew religion. The history of Exodus must have left its mark upon the Egyptian people, and many adhered to the God of the Hebrews, rather than to the Egyptian deities • The defacing of the statues associated with the reign of Akhenaten demonstrates the hatred and rivalry between idolatry and the worship of the Creator God • Akhenaten called Aten father of all creation; The later hymn to Aten, from Amarna, begins, "Father of the gods who created Mankind, who made the animals... and all the plants that sustain the cattle... Lord of the rays of the sun that give light....“ • In his famous and controversial book, Moses and Akhenaten: The Secret History of Egypt at the Time of the Exodus, Ahmed Osman made a reinterpretation of biblical and Egyptian history that shows Moses and the Pharaoh Akhenaten to be one and the same • Seizing on the striking similarities between the religious vision of this "heretic" pharaoh and the teachings of Moses, Sigmund Freud was the first to argue that Moses was in fact an Egyptian Dr. MONTONERI

  12. Part II. The sun of Egypt • a. Akhenaten • b. Amarna Dr. MONTONERI

  13. a. Akhenaten“The one who is beneficial to Aton” • Amenhotep IV “Amun is content” (Akhenaten), pharaoh of Egypt (1353-1335; 18th Dynasty), son of Amenhotep III, his reign represented a focal point in history • Introduced the concept of a single supreme deity, Aton (Aten), the disk of the sun, moved the capital to Akhet-Aten (now Tell el-Amarna) • The new religion focused more on the divinity of the king than ever before; Aton, universal, omnipresent spirit and the sole creator of the universe • He ordered the obliteration of all traces of the polytheistic religion of his ancestors and fought bitterly against the powerful priests who attempted to maintain the worship of the state god Amon Dr. MONTONERI

  14. a. Akhenaten • Akhenaten raised the Aten to the position of 'sole god', represented as a disk with rays of light terminating in hands which reach out to the royal family • The distant but universal power of the sun fitted well with prevailing ideas of the supreme power of the king both within Egypt and beyond its borders • Akhenaten's religion is probably not strictly speaking monotheistic, although only the Aten is actually worshipped and provided with temples • Akhenaten's 'great king's wife' was Nefertiti and they had six daughters. There were also other wives, including the enigmatic Kiya who may have been the mother of Tutankhamun Dr. MONTONERI

  15. a. Akhenaten • Nefertiti, his wife, disappears from the archaeological record around year 12 of the reign • Nefertiti means “the beautiful one has come”; scholars assume she was foreign-born • Some have argued that she reappears as the enigmatic co-regent Smenkhkare towards the end of Akhenaten's reign • It also has been suggested that Nefertiti ruled as pharaoh with Akhenaten until his death, and possibly after. Proof of her power is evident in art; she was depicted in the archetypal images of kingship—the king smiting an enemy—in Relief of royal barge with Nefertiti smiting. Nefertiti is the only queen who was ever depicted in such a manner • Sculpture and stela under Akhenaten provided many intimate glimpses of the royal family with their children—a type of representation unheard of under previous pharaohs Dr. MONTONERI

  16. Akhenaton and Nefertiti, rulers of Egypt during the Amarna period, worshiped one god, Aton Dr. MONTONERI

  17. b. Amarna • Akhenaten decided that the worship of the Aten required a location uncontaminated by the cults of traditional gods • He chose a site in Middle Egypt for a new capital city called Akhetaten, “Horizon of the Aten” • The king forms the link between the god and ordinary people whose supposed focus of worship seems to have been Akhenaten and the royal family rather than the Aten itself • Increasing emphasis on ordinary, day-to-day activities which include intimate portrayals of Akhenaten and Nefertiti playing with their daughters beneath the rays of the Aten • Akhenaton's revolution, known as the Amarna period, short-lived; his successors restored the traditional beliefs • The city of Akhetaten gradually crumbled back into the desert. His name and those of his immediate successors were omitted from official king-lists • They remained unknown until the archaeological discoveries at Akhetaten and in the tomb of Tutankhamun Dr. MONTONERI

  18. b. Amarna • To the east of the city is a valley leading into the desert in which the king began excavating tombs for the royal family • On the plain near the river massive temples dedicated to the Aten • At least four palaces in the city, plus all the administrative facilities, storage and workshops necessary to support the royal family, court and the temple cults • Amarna is a site with a significant amount of archaeological information about how people actually lived in ancient Egypt • Alain Zivie, Research Director at the French National Research Center, has been leading excavations on site at Saqqara, the cemetery of ancient Memphis, for nearly 20 years • In January 2003, he has discovered the tombs of high-ranking officials of the New Empire. Of great interest from an artistic and historical perspective, these include the tomb of Maïa, the wet nurse of Tutankhamun (1333 to 1323 B.C.) Dr. MONTONERI

  19. Amarna The area is covered mostly with sand and outlined with ruins of temples, palaces and houses; the site of Tell el Amarna is first mentioned by French mathematician Edme Jomard, reporting on his travels in the Middle Egypt region in 1799 Dr. MONTONERI

  20. Part III. New Rome, the sun and the Christ • a. Constantine • b. Constantinople Dr. MONTONERI

  21. a. Constantine • Constantine (274-337), born at Naissus, now Nisch in Serbia, the son of emperor Constantius and St. Helena (feast: Aug. 18) • 306 Proclaimed emperor at York in Britain after the death of his father, Constantius I • 312 Defeated Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge outside Rome to become sole ruler in the western empire • Constantine said that he saw a cross and the words "in hoc signo vinces" (in this sign you will be the victor) in the sky before the battle at the Milvian Bridge, and sent his army into battle with crosses painted on their shields • Following the example of his father and earlier 3rd-century emperors, Constantine in his early life was a solar henotheist, believing that the Roman sun god, Sol, was the visible manifestation of an invisible “Highest God” (summus deus), who was the principle behind the universe Dr. MONTONERI

  22. a. Constantine • This god was thought to be the companion of the Roman emperor. Constantine's adherence to this faith is evident from his claim of having had a vision of the sun god in 310 while in a grove of Apollo in Gaul (now France) • 313 Issued jointly with eastern emperor Licinius the Edict of Milan, which granted civil rights and toleration to all religions including Christianity • 324 Defeated Licinius, become ruler of the Roman world • Constantine intervened in ecclesiastical affairs to achieve unity; in 325 he presided over the Council of Nicaea to resolve divisive issues within the Christian church • Constantine built churches in the Holy Land, where his mother supposedly found the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified • As the first emperor to rule in the name of Christ, he was a major figure in the foundation of medieval Europe Dr. MONTONERI

  23. a. Constantine • Constantine's famous edict (321 A.D.) definitely enrolled Sunday among the holidays of the Roman State religion • This edict commanded that “On the venerable day of the sun let all magistrates and people . . . Rest”; the sun was universally celebrated as the invincible guide and protector of Constantine • His enforcement of Sunday worship, under the guise of Christianity, continued to brand followers of the state catholic religion with the mark of pagan sun worship • The pagan feast of dies natalis Solis Invicti (the birthday of the Invincible Sun) was held on December 25, long before Christ • After the Council of Nicaea, the Church of Rome, to facilitate the acceptance of the faith by the pagans, found it convenient to institute the 25th of December as the feast of the temporal birth of Christ, to divert them from the pagan feast, celebrated on the same day in honor of the 'Invincible Sun' Mithras, the conqueror of darkness." In the East, the birth of Christ was celebrated on January 5 and 6 Dr. MONTONERI

  24. Constantine (England, York) Dr. MONTONERI

  25. b. Constantinople • Constantine began the building of Constantinople in 326 on the site of ancient Greek Byzantium. The city was completed in 330, given Roman institutions, and beautified by Greek works of art • Byzantium renamed Constantinople became the capital of the entire Roman Empire, then of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) and of the Ottoman Empire after 1453; since 1930 officially called Istanbul • The part of Istanbul corresponding to historic Constantinople is situated entirely on the European side; it rises on both sides of the Golden Horn, a narrow channel of the Bosporous • Constantine built churches in the Holy Land, where his mother (also a Christian) supposedly found the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified Dr. MONTONERI

  26. Constantinople Dr. MONTONERI

  27. b. Constantinople • Constantine strengthened the Roman Empire and ensured its survival in the East, in Constantinople • As the first emperor to rule in the name of Christ, he was a major figure in the foundation of medieval Christian Europe • Constantinople has been chosen for religious and strategic reasons • The new Christian city, which became the “New Rome,” sat on the route that linked the Mediterranean to the territory of Rome’s greatest enemy, Persia (now Iran) • Within a short time Christianity had adopted the language and philosophical vocabulary of the Greco-Roman world to express its message; it began to spread to the East, with Constantinople, and to the West with the Barbarian kingdoms that defeated Rome Dr. MONTONERI

  28. Part IV. The palace of the sun-king • a. Louis XIV • b. Versailles Dr. MONTONERI

  29. a. Louis XIV, the Sun King • The birth of Louis Dieu-Donné (God-Given), in 1638, fulfilled all the devotees' prayers • Louis XIV (1638-1715), king of France (1643-1715), ruled for 72 years, the longest reign in European history • In 1682 he moved his government to Versailles, the biggest palace in the world, southwest of Paris • Ruled as an absolute monarch, believing that his power as king was derived from God and that he was responsible to God alone • Monarch by divine right, the king was God's lieutenant on earth; during his coronation, he swore to defend the Catholic faith • But he also took the sun as his emblem and connected himself to its radiant image, he was portrayed as the Greek sun god Apollo • Apollo, god of peace and arts, was also the heavenly body which gave life to all things, regulating everything as it rose and set Dr. MONTONERI

  30. a. Louis XIV, the Sun King • Like Apollo, the warrior-king Louis XIV brought peace, was a patron of the arts, and dispensed his bounty • The regularity of his work habits and his ritual rising and retiring (levé and couché) were another point of solar comparison • Saint-Simon's Portrait of Louis XIV is eloquent: “Nothing could be regulated with greater exactitude than were his days and hours. In spite of all his variety of places affairs, and amusements, with an almanac and a watch one might tell, three hundred leagues away, exactly what he was doing” • He transformed France into the dominant nation in Europe; France also consolidated the administration of its colonial possessions and commerce, becoming a world power Dr. MONTONERI

  31. b. Versailles, palace of the sun • The wealth of art found at Versailles is famous for its quantity, quality, and diversity. This is due to its twin role as royal residence and Museum of French History • Versailles constituted a seat of power; it was also part of an artistic renaissance that flourished under Louis • The system of absolute monarchy emphasized the role of the king, and no monarch was more successful in creating the image of monarchy than Louis XIV • Devoting himself to his people, he put himself constantly on public show—Versailles was open to everyone, not just courtiers • Access to the monarch was governed by court ceremonial, and the immutable rites of the Sun King's day drove the entire 'court mechanism' Dr. MONTONERI

  32. b. Versailles, palace of the sun • He took the sun as his emblem and connected himself to its radiant image. Portraits, woodcuts, and engravings of the king portrayed as the Greek sun god Apollo • Throughout Versailles, decoration combines images and attributes of Apollo (laurel, lyre, tripod) with Louis XIV’s portraits and emblems (the double LL, the royal crown, the sceptre and hand of justice) • The Apollo Salon is the main room of the Grand Apartment because it was originally the monarch's state chamber. The path of the sun is also traced in the layout of the gardens • Versailles, no longer a royal palace after the Revolution, continued to play a key historical role • In 1919, the First World War officially ended when Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles in the Hall of Mirrors Dr. MONTONERI

  33. Apollo and the Nymphs 1666-73 Dr. MONTONERI

  34. Conclusion b. Three sun-god’s representative on earth • Akhenaten, Constantine and Louis XIV have at least two things in common: they used the sun as symbol of their power and they created an entire city dedicated to their faith and leadership • Although Akhenaten’s name and legacy were erase after his death, his influence is indubitable; scholars like Alain Zivie continue their work in Egypt and try to solve some enduring mysteries • Amarna, Constantinople (now Istanbul) and Versailles are three of the greatest sites dedicated to god, king and country • The sun, as universal power giving life and light, inspired many civilizations on earth and the link between the sun god and Christianity is obvious Dr. MONTONERI

  35. Conclusion b. Similarities between Egyptian religion and Christian beliefs • In Egypt 3000 years ago, the birthday of the sun god was celebrated on the 25 December. The sun was then in the sign of Capricorn, then known as the Stable of Augeus, the infant sun god was said to have been born in a stable • The stories of Jesus and Horus are very similar. Osiris, the father of Horus was a supreme and transcendental god; Horus was born of the virgin Isis-Meri, Isis the Beloved, on December 25th • Osiris was the god who suffered, died and rose again, to reign eternally over the souls of the righteous dead • His worshippers believed that, like their god, they would inherit eternal life. Osiris's coming announced by Three Kings or Three Wise Men: the 3 stars Mintaka, Anilam and Alnitak in the belt of Orion • Even Horus and his Father, Osiris, were interchangeable, reminding us that Jesus said: "I and my Father are one." Dr. MONTONERI

  36. References Books : • Erik Hornung, David Lorton (Translator), Akhenaten and the Religion of Light, Cornell University Press, 2001 • Erik Hornung, John Baines (Translator), Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt: The One and the Many, Cornell University Press, 1996 • Ahmed Osman, Moses and Akhenaten: The Secret History of Egypt at the Time of the Exodus, Inner Traditions Ltd, 2002 • Nicholas Reeves, Akhenaten: Egypt's False Prophet, Thames and Hudson, 2001 • Pharaohs of the Sun: Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Tutankhamun by Rita Freed, Yvonne Markowitz and Sue D'Auria (eds) (Museum of Fine Arts, 1999) Dr. MONTONERI

  37. References Online: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Pharaohs of the Sun: Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Tutankhamen Metropolitan Museum of Arts, Egyptian collection Versailles Constantine Dr. MONTONERI

  38. Update new discoveries in Egypt • • • • • • • Dr. MONTONERI