7. THE FLOTILLA FROM THEBES All of Egypt as well as all of the world looked on as the Royal Family went down from Thebes: Ikhanaton the Pharaoh, with Nefertiti, his beautiful Queen, and their daughters -- by this time, they numbered three. The Queen's sister Nezemmut came along with the Royal Family. And all of their servants came with them, together with their favored one, Ai, and the royal nurse later to make a Pharaoh of her husband to be -- her name was Ti. And they made an immense flotilla for behind them went all the harem; and the nobles, full of enthusiasm for the new religion, followed them. They were all piled upon light boats, impatient to see the promised capital. The stream of the Nile flowed quietly, carrying away the flotilla royale. There was no need for rowers, as they followed the river downstream -- the pylons and palaces of Thebes shimmered behind them as if in a dream. In a short time, that great city sank below the distant horizon, and that city seemed to have fallen from its recently proud position as capital of the world forever. The new city toward which they'd set lay near what we now know as the city Tell el-Amarna -- it lies yet in a burning and desolate region -- a vast amphitheater of sand broken by low hills and a few streams, in the midst of which the Nile's strand provides always and ever, even today, a narrow strip of cultivated ground along its way from village to village -- the Nile, from which life abounds. A heap of crumbling, unconnected walls, scattered bricks, fragments of limestone and granite, and partially excavated trenches still lie all alone near one of the largest villages and remind us that here once did stand the glorious city that for fourteen years had been the capital of Ikhanaton's land. As recently as the year 1800, the city was still well enough preserved that it was even possible yet to make out the street lines and curbs and the lay-out of the houses and the plan by which the palace sat. But peasants, marauders, and armies, and explorers and 'scientists' took care of that, ransacking the place so thoroughly that it is hard to tell anything was there -- they used even the roughest material after the antiquity dealers took their share. Joyful sounds echoed across the Nile as Ikhanaton's crew made its way aboard the laden and decorated barges with hopes of the new dawning day. And they sang out praises to Pharaoh and to the great one god Aton, whose sun disk was inscribed on the barges, as the flotilla continued on, passed the canal to Kosseir which lay on the shore of the Red Sea, and passed Qina and Abydos, as the Nile streamed toward the Great Green Sea. It carried them north with its waters -- slowly the great city emerged looming on the approaching horizon, ever closer as the river surged, and as though heralding their arrival, shining in the north African sun shone the great new city of Aton -- the city of god of Ikhanaton. 8. THE HYMN TO ATON "Thou risest beautifully on the horizon of heaven, O great god Aton, initiator of life! When thou dost form thy circle on the horizon, thou fillest the earth with thy beauties. Thou are delightful and sublime, shining high above the earth. Thy rays envelop for all time the lands and all thou hast created. Since thou art Re, Creator, thou win what they give and thou bindest it with the bonds of thy love again. Thou art far, but thy rays are on earth. The earth is in darkness when thou rests, as if dead while away from thee, thou hast slipped behind the horizon west. Men sleep in their rooms, their heads wrapped and not an eye sees another man. All their goods, put beneath them, could be stolen without their feeling it. And then every lion comes out of his cave; every snake bites. It is dark as in an oven. The earth is silent; for he who created it all is at rest in his horizon. But the dawn comes, thou risest, thou shinest as Aton of the Day; when thou sendest forth thy shafts, the darkness is banished away. The Two Lands of Egypt make merry. Men awake, and leap to their feet: it is thou who makest them rise up. They wash their limbs and eat, and they take up their clothing. Their hands worship thy rising; the Whole Land sets to work in the glory that thy rays bring. All the beasts are content at pasture. The trees and plants grow. Birds fly in the brake, with wings uplifted in the worship of thy Kai. All the wild beasts leap; all things that flutter and fly live again in the rays thou place upon the earth when thou risest for them. The boats so up and down the river; when thou risest, all roads open for thee. The fish in the river leap toward thee; thy rays go down into the depths of the sea. Thou risest up children in women, and createst the seed in men; thou feedest the child in its mother's belly, soothe and feed him, and thou send the breath of life into all creatures and man, and satisfy his needs. Thou bringest the chick from his shell and give thy strength to every seed. How numerous are thy works, all that thou has created, O thou, unequaled one! By they heart thou hast created the earth, all that exists, by thy will is done, on earth, in all foreign countries. Thou settest each man in his place, createst all needs, words, and property, his forms and his variations of face. Thou makest the Nile in the Lower World, and bringest it where thou wilt to feed men. Thou art loved of all, the Lord of this land, thy Disk of Day hast cared for them. Thou hast set all in place of the forms of earth. How excellent are they great designs. When thou risest, all grows for thee. For every area, thy rays, milk finds. Thou makest the seasons of the year. Thou hast created the distant sky. Thou comest in thy form of living Aton, rising radiant, goest away, by and by, thou returnest. Thou drawest all forms. Every eye beholds thee above. Thy son alone understands thee; thou art in my heart . . . issued from thy flesh, Ikhanaton." 9. THE CITY OF GOD Pharaoh's favorite birds, the doves, saw fluttering over figs and sycamore and acacia which stood about leaping waters in the inner courts of the palaces, before them on the north, the chief temple, faced fine of pink and white limestone. The sacred precinct flanked by storehouses was surrounded by a great wall of stone and took up a great area of which the temple proper was but a small part. Behind was a wide enclosure, and then came the royal Palace in art of the East with its bricks all covered with blue faience. Its entrance was white, surmounted by silver masts, about which red streamers danced in the breeze expressing hospitality. The other dwellings of the great were gathered in the south of town. Three wide paved streets ran straight and parallel to the Nile River, towards the factories -- the world's first -- glass works and huge decorative mason's yards, where worked those artisans versed in the crafts that made Egypt excel. Dotted all over about the town were numbers of temples dedicated to Aton -- all of them set down in wide open spaces for lightness. The royal pleasure park was indeed a beautiful place, consisting of two enclosures, where the seed of Pharaoh, his three daughters, and the Queen went every day with Ikhanaton. The first enclosure was a cool paradise, where they lounged amidst an abundance of sweet-smelling and fruit-bearing trees growing on a rich, black soil brought from Mesopotamia to be strewn here in this new city. It all lay before a majestic gallery with thirty-six brightly colored columns, behind which they could see a delightful little artificial lake rejoicing in reflecting water lilies and lotus floating on it. About its irregular shores delicately were placed little rustic huts, the shelters of ducks and sheep, mirrored in the clear calm water in peaceful splendored sleep. In the second enclosure, a tiny charming pavilion dowsed with a great sheet of water which surrounded it was of exquisite proportions that repeat- ed themselves as it rose up, and its slender columns of faded red expanded into lotus at the top. Their people must have fed delightfully on the spectacle of the amorous passion of Pharaoh and Nefertiti and their family. Each evening they all would go to this small perfumed enclosure and watch the city in the setting sun clad in its opulent majesty, drinking wind of Ikhanaton's own growth. And on the water, trembling to caresses of the cool breeze, the King's barge, towed by servants, would bear them slowly with ease, his beloved, beautiful, and wise wife reclining there against his heart, while the wild duck, swan, and crane followed in their wake. This art reflected the wisdom of the city of the god Aton, which means 'the One indivisible;' and Ikhanaton means 'It is well with Aton.' 10. THE CITY BUILDER It is indeed well with Aton, the one God, indivisible and true -- there is order in the universe and Ikhanaton was one who knew -- there is lawful composition of the universe, and he sought an ordering of society in which that divine potential of man is brought to fruition such that through each individual reason can be known the lawful composition of the universe. Upon this, civilization has grown. Through the cognitive powers of the mind, we strive for the perfectibility of man -- not that man is perfect, at all, or for that matter, that he can ever reach a state of perfection, for it is hardly so static a state, but that he can strive for perfection through the world that he creates, ordering thus the universe through man-ordered freedom of will. Man was God on earth to John, before him and since him still. Not that we can be perfect, but that we can strive to create a better world through reason -- man is the master of his fate. We are the captain of our ship, but we only matter in our field, for what good is the captain at sea without his ship, or unless it is filled? Through the logos -- logic, reason -- we strive to increase the power of our mastery over the universe -- there are no limits that our mind is bound to adhere to, and science and indeed the state are the vehicles by which we strive to master and to create. And Ikhanaton knew this well; the city of God he built was patterned on the golden section, and what he did was spilt over all the world of his time, and inspired the entire earth -- for man was God upon it; it was his right by birth. And so Ikhanaton built his city and he did so out of wilderness away from the evil lurking among those who sought to dispossess his rule, his throne, his actions. The world's first factories were there in the city that he created, and there were other places where he also built up other cities, and he fostered trade to grow among them and existing cities. He sent out men to go to all the corners of the earth -- China, America, everywhere. He developed national industries to promote trade, not just to scare artisans from leaving Egypt, which had been the policy. He mandated education for all and was to eliminate slavery. He broadened the language of Egypt and sought one universal tongue as well as one God for his empire, what in reality was to become the first nation-state of man where the government forces progress, and he undertook great projects -- a Suez Canal, irrigation -- and stressed true art that is a reflection of the true spirit of humanity -- it can be seen in the art after him; the world's first renaissance, truly! 11. THE CULT OF ISIS Much as the isles of the Great Green are constantly lapped by the ravaging sea, the foundations laid by this Pharaoh were constantly lapped by feudality. The feudal system, long and deeply rooted, was all about, and back in Thebes, the High Priest of Amen, in his temple alone, did not share in what Pharaoh believed. And there was indeed a common thread -- or more a stream or rope -- that tied the belief system of those priests to the needs to which the feudal lords ascribed. For them, man was but a beast, needing control to function in society -- a beast whose role was service to the priests and their oligarchy. Man could and should be manipulated by that special class to their needs, and their venom was in the land and it sought to poison the seeds of the budding renaissance of Pharaoh -- they couldn't understand his thought. And so they plotted endlessly and against his ideas, they fought. The Cult of Isis had developed even more than a millennium before as an instrument of that rule, and the general intent of their lore about Isis, Horus, and Osiris, had always been impotent Man, enforced by inculcating the myth of Isis throughout the land. The rites of the cult involved gestures that accompanied ritual incantations, and in these dances, the rhythm of the music from the beating drums and the repetitive movements and structure of the simplistically structured sounds, were helped by hallucinogenics that were secret and were bound for preparation by only the initiate who would use all this to control both the peasantry and nobility, who were convinced in their souls, of the illusion of satisfied desire and visitation by the divine that arose from the spell cast by the drugs and music on their minds. This was infantile sense certainty -- the Dionysian world view; and it reinforced the concept of man as a beast unable to do anything at all about the world -- man could have no impact. Simple man possessed not reason, and, indeed, he even lacked the basic powers of cognition; superstition ruled the world. Sorcery and magic were the banners the cult unfurled. The world was pronounced a mystery -- it was beyond humans to understand; one must rely on the priesthood who knew the mystery system and could use its mysterious forces, the monstrous gods to so appease, which were half human and half animal. The anti-culture of all these would be directed at the Renaissance that the Pharaoh had inspired -- for culture indeed means growth -- all the while that they conspired to murder Pharaoh and promote policies that would confine the people to non-creative roles in slave-labor projects. The human mind would thus be subverted away from the lawful patterns of rational thought -- it was in this manner that the priests would seek to undo what Pharaoh had wrought. 12. A DAY IN THE LIFE OF YOUNG TUT The Pharaoh of Egypt, Ikhanaton, had no sons by his Great Queen, who had given him six daughters, but no direct male heir, it seems, and thus it was succession fell on his only son -- of a concubine of his magnificent harem, but married to a princess of the royal bloodline, the third daughter of Nefertiti, the princess Ankhsempaaten; and greatly formed in the physical image of his father Ikhanaton. Thus appeared the young Tutankhaton, wedded to the throne at seven years old, and seated on it by the time he was twelve, and but a brief reign was his to hold. Like all such children, the young Tut was brought up in the royal harem in the white palaces of Akhetaton in the nursery. The education of all was of concern to the Pharaoh, but more especially so for the noble young, and so there was a school by the harem, to which all the noble children would come. Here, they would learn gymnastics, swimming, the use of arms, martial arts. Close by, in the House of Life, they learned administration. For his part, each day the young Tut awoke with dawn and rose from his ebony and ivory bed, with his clean-shaven head, save for the lock that fell over his left ear from the top of his head -- the sign that he was of noble birth -- he and the other children would wash and eat, and then the tutors would gather them -- they put on no clothes due to the stifling heat. After drinking milk from alabaster pots, they would all sit down on the ground to receive the basic rudiments of schooling -- as the Seated Scribes, they sat around. Tutankhaton was initiated in the mysteries of hieroglyphics, and covered sheets of papyrus for hour upon hour to prepare him for the duties he'd meet. And he was schooled in the cuneiform that was used in official records. Then came the arithmetic lessons, which the Rhind Papyrus accords. He learned to do addition and subtraction and the fundamentals of geometry, proceeding from the circle to diameter to point, and not vice versa as with Ptolemy. He was taught to measure in royal cubits and to weigh in the utau, as well as computing value with the shat standard though there was no real money to buy or sell until Ikhanaton decreed there would be. He was taught to measure the moons and how the year was divided into three seasons of four months each of a moon -- those of water or Shait, and then vegetation called Piruit, and Shemu for the Harvest. When twelve months passed, a year would begin that was new -- it was marked by the rising of Sothis which came during August's first days. And after the time for these lessons, there came the time for them to play. Then it was the time for dinner among the columns of the great banquet hall, using long gold spikes to spear their food, Tut and the six princesses delighted in it all. Fan-bearing servants cooled them while others sand soft verses to the accompaniment of harps and lutes and mandolins and double flutes -- music that was meant for listening, that developed and taught as it played, not the repetitive rhythms of Isis. The meal ended in the hot hours of the day. Continue