Great Hymn to the Aten

ancient Egyptian literary work

Great Hymn to the Aten is the longest of a number of hymn-poems written to the sun-disk deity Aten. Composed in the middle of the 14th century BC, it is varyingly attributed to the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Akhenaten or his courtiers, depending on the version, who radically changed traditional forms of Egyptian religion by replacing them with Atenism.

Pharaoh Akhenaten and his family adoring the Aten.
Drawing of the inscription of the hymn text (1908 publication).

QuotesEdit

  • How manifold it is, what thou hast made!
    They are hidden from the face (of man).
    O sole god, like whom there is no other!
    Thou didst create the world according to thy desire,
    Whilst thou wert alone: All men, cattle, and wild beasts,
    Whatever is on Earth, going upon (its) feet,
    And what is on high, flying with its wings.
    • As translated and reprinted in Pritchard, James B., ed., The Ancient Near East – Volume 1: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1958, pp. 227-230.
  • You are in my heart,
    There is no other who knows you,
    Only your son, Neferkheprure, Sole-one-of-Re [Akhenaten],
    Whom you have taught your ways and your might.
    [Those on] Earth come from your hand as you made them.
    When you have dawned they live.
    When you set they die;
    You yourself are lifetime, one lives by you.
    All eyes are on [your] beauty until you set.
    All labor ceases when you rest in the west;
    When you rise you stir [everyone] for the King,
    Every leg is on the move since you founded the Earth.
    You rouse them for your son who came from your body.
    The King who lives by Maat, the Lord of the Two Lands,
    Neferkheprure, Sole-one-of-Re,
    The Son of Re who lives by Maat. the Lord of crowns,
    Akhenaten, great in his lifetime;
    (And) the great Queen whom he loves, the Lady of the Two Lands,
    Nefer-nefru-Aten Nefertiti, living forever.

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