Donald Trump and Akhenaten: Compared (pt. 1) Religion

Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, was a radical candidate that was chosen, despite his outrageous, as well as exclusive beliefs. Although people would never think to view the parallels between Trump and Akhenaten, also known as the “Heretic King,” there are more similarities that lie then people realize.

Trump is well known for his thoughts on excluding Islam, a peaceful religion, from the United States; due to his ideals that every Muslim is a terrorist, and the US’s borders won’t be safe with Muslims freely coming into the country. Although it may be difficult to pick out the similarities between Trump and Akhenaten because of this aspect of Trump’s administration, there is a large one lying there.

Trump is a radical; most people would agree. Most people would also agree that Akhenaten was a radical; although it was portrayed in different ways.

Akhenaten worshipped a monotheistic God, Aten, the sun. Egypt was dominantly a polytheistic religion, and there were more than two thousand Gods in that religion. Akhenaten banished the Ancient Egypt religion, deeming Aten to be the only “true god.”

Trump, evidently in the grand scheme, is trying to ban Islam from the United States, when people who have different religious beliefs indeed create a much needed cosmopolitan and religious diversity in the US, and Akhenaten banned the Ancient Egyptian Gods.

 

Cleopatra and Her Influence on Powerful Men

Cleopatra VII is, quite possibly, what most people think of when “Ancient Egypt” comes to mind. Her presentation through the media, books, and general stories, generally represent her as a seductress, who was responsible for the destruction of both Julius Caesar, as well as Mark Antony. Both these men, these historical figures who are revered and well known for their leadership and battlefield tactics; both fell “susceptible” to Cleopatra.

Evidently, she was a genius. The way she was able to convince the two most powerful men in the world, both at different times, to side with her even though her position seemed weak, was no easy feat in any way, shape, or form. History states that even though she was not a conventional beauty; with her Ptolemaic nose and facial structure, her voice, charm, and genius made men fall for her. The way she was able to string together words to make something out of nothing, is credited for her power over both these generals.

To have Julius Caesar’s baby was an added nicety for Cleopatra’s position; it furthered her political agenda to assure that it would play out in her favor. It is well known that she presented herself to Caesar by coming out of a rug; something we don’t know for sure, but something that is entirely possible.

Hatshepsut: The Balance Between Femininity and Being a Pharaoh

We know that Hatshepsut is considered, and revered, even, to be the  one of the first female pharaoh’s in Ancient Egypt. Hatshepsut was the daughter of Thutmose l and his primary wife, Ahmose, and she wed Thutmose ll, who was her half brother by her Father. Failing to produce a male heir, Hatshepsut had a daughter named Neferure, and, like is expected of a pharaoh, Thutmose ll took on a second wife, Iset, and she produced a male heir named Thutmose lll. She is assumed to have co-reigned with Thutmose ll, taking heavy responsibility for the crown and all of its implications, and she then assumed the throne as Pharaoh after her husbands (unknown) death. If we look at what it means to be a powerful woman in the 21st century; there are still many men who would rather not see women in power; and this feeling was only heightened in the 18th dynasty when Hatshepsut was pharaoh. Egypt had of course known queens, but not women who took on a male part, and Hatshepsut, especially, took on the role heavily. She is said to have worn a beard, and dressed as a male pharaoh.

Hatshepsut’s extensive building projects are considered to be extremely successful, and she is said to have brought wealth and prosperity to Egypt during her time as a ruler.

When we look at Hatshepsut not embodying the spirit of a male during her time as Pharaoh, we see that she also payed attention to her feminine side. She took on a lover named Senenmut, and there are pictures displaying acts of their love, and portraits of them that were plastered in her tomb, in the palace, and on her building projects.

Nefertiti and Akhenaten

Nefertiti, who is presumed to be one of the most beautiful queens that Egypt has ever known; bore six or more children with Akhenaten. All of them are girls. If you look back at history, when a queen doesn’t give her husband a son, she often falls from favor, (i.e. Anne Boleyn, Catherine of Aragon, etc.) In this case, it might be considered peculiar that Nefertiti managed to keep Akhenaten so close within her grasp. A huge contributing factor to her power over Akhenaten was religion. Akhenaten is known as the “Heretic King,” he created a monotheistic religion called Atenism, and created a new city dedicated to his sole god, the sun, Aten. The city was called Armana, and even though after Akhenaten and his dynasty died out the capital of Egypt was moved back to Thebes, he created an impact on the lives of many people in Egypt. Nefertiti fully supported Akhenaten in his religious beliefs, even though it was technically Heresy in those times. People had been used to the same religion for thousands of years, and suddenly, these two monarchs swept in and replaced the Ra’s and Isis’s with one god, Aten.

Nefertiti was, presumably, extremely clever if she was able to rule for as long as she did, and even though we are uncertain about her death, she still managed to get by for a long period of time without getting assassinated. She knew that the people would grow angry at the fact that their Gods were being replaced, and assuming she wasn’t as crazy about the new religion as Akhenaten, she made herself a God. She drew her and her family’s images on the walls, made themselves statues, and made themselves the people’s people so they wouldn’t lose their kingdom.

Ancient Egyptian Religion Set 1: Akhenaten

The complex religion of the Ancient Egyptians, to most people, often appears to be an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in a mystery that is ever unraveling. The aspects of sacrificing, and the seemingly “idealistic” approaches to the afterlife, paying tribute to the Gods, and everyday life ultimately seem like something that is completely different; and the religion, just like religions of other ancient peoples, seem completely alien. At first glance, when we look at prominent pharaohs like Akhenaten, we see a strange, and even crazy approach to religion and life. Akhenaten took a completely different approach to the Egyptian religion; he believed in and worshipped a monotheistic deity; opposed to taking part in the religion that recognized more than two thousand Gods who had been around and worshipped, since the very foundation of Ancient Egypt. The Pharaoh was believed to have been the direct line to the Gods, and was even considered to be a God himself so they could keep that mysterious, magical aura; but Akhenaten said that he was more of the intermediary to Aten, his sun god. He proclaimed that the people could only speak to Aten through him. His revolution of Atenism ultimately failed, and after his reign, he was considered to be a heretic.