Timeline of World History: Year by Year from Prehistory to Present Day


  Illustrated History of the World

First Empires - ca. 7000 B.C. - 200 A.D.

First Empires

ca. 7000 B.C. - 200 A.D.


Ancient Egypt

CA. 29OO-332 B.C.


The New Kingdom II: The Amarna Period 1379-1320 в.с.

Amenhotep IV introduced a form of monotheism and banned older cults. He thereby incurred the wrath of the priests, who feared losing their influence in Egypt.

The veneration of the sun disk, the Aten, was already common at the pharaoh's court under Amenhotep III. The new pharaoh, Amenhotep IV (1379-1362 B.C.), banned all other cults. He took the name 3 Akhenaton ("He who is of service to Aten") and founded a new capital city, Akhetnaton ("Horizon of the Aten"), on the plains of Tell el-Amarna in central Egypt.

In doing this, he deprived Amun-Re priesthood in Thebes of its power. Under Akhenaton, a new, more 4 naturalistic art style became popular. In the twelfth year of his reign, however, his zeal for reform let up.

Nefertiti, who until then had appeared as his equal and "great royal wife," disappeared and was replaced by the Mitanni princess Kiya. A reason for this could have been the growing threat from the Hittites, which had caused Egypt and Mitanni to ally.
Soon after Akhcnaton's death, the old cults were restored. Attempts were made to annihilate memory of the "Heretic King."

Both of the succeeding pha-raohs married а 1 daughter of Akhenaton and Nefertiti to ensure dynastic continuity. The second of them, the young Tutankh-aten, changed his name to Tutankhamun in the course of a return to orthodoxy. He was otherwise politically insignificant. The generals had steadily increased their power through continual clashes with the Hittites. Follow ing Tutankhamun's death, military leaders usurped the throne. One of them, Ramses I. established a new dynasty about 1320 B.C.


3 Portrait of Akhenaton, ca. 1355 B.C.

Portrait of Akhenaton


Akhenaten depicted as a sphinx at Amarna (now in the Kestner Museum)




From Akhenaton's Longer Hymn to Aton

"Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of heaven,
О living Aton, Beginning of life!
When Thou risest in the eastern horizon of heaven,
Thou fittest every land with Thy beauty;...
For Thou art beautiful, great, glittering...
When Thou settest in the western horizon of heaven,
The world is in darkness like the dead___
Darkness reigns,
The world is in silence.
He that made them has gone to rest in His horizon.
Bright is the earth, when Thou risest in the horizon,
When Thou shinest as Aton by day.
The darkness is banished
When Thou sendest forth Thy rays..."



1 Daughters of Nefertiti and Akhenaton in front of Aten's sun disk, relief, ca. 1355 B.C.

2 Nefertiti drives though the capital, drawing, 20th century



The Curse of King Tutankhamun

The discovery of the almost undamaged tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922 was the greatest archaeological sensation of the 20th century. But soon many of those involved in the excavation died under mysterious circumstances, and the legend of the "curse of King Tutunkhamun" was born. Today it is believed that the deaths were caused by rare bacteria, fungi, or viruses that were conserved in the burial chamber.

see also:

Tomb of Tutankhamun