The pharaoh Akhenaten was one of Ancient Egypt’s most unique and interesting rulers. Here’s why.

When he came to power in 1350 B.C. he tried to change Egypt’s religious beliefs from Polytheistic (the worship of many gods) to Monotheistic (the worship of a single god). It was Akhenaten’s sudden change of direction, art style and religious beliefs that make him so unique.

He decreed that Egypt should only worship Aten. Aten was a sun god who was derived from Ra. This singular worship was met with disdain and it never really took off. Many people still worshipped the old gods in secret.

When he died, his successors (including his son, Tutankhamun) tried desperately to revert Egypt’s religious system back to normal. Thankfully, the people were appeased.

It wasn’t until modern times that Akhenaten’s existence was rediscovered. He was labelled a heretic in his own time and was almost completely lost to history.

The act of Damnatio Memoriae after his death wasn’t enough to erase his existence completely.