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Book Chapter

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Yale University Press


A damnatio memoriae followed the death of Akhenaten. His son-in-law reverted to the religious beliefs that had lain under ban and persecution. The Egyptian monarch's massive granite sarcophagi and ala-baster Canopic chest stood unused. His body was either interred in a secondhand coffin or torn to pieces and thrown to the dogs. His capital stood abandoned to the desert, never again to serve as a royal residence and only to be recovered from the sands thousands of years later by German and English archaeologists in the decades surrounding the World Wars. The Ramessides of the succeeding dynasty worked out this obliteration, even excluding Akhenaten and his immediate progeny from the king-lists of Egypt. Whenever possible the symbols and figures of the hated Pharaoh were erased from monument and stele. His name was execretion.

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At the Origins of Modern Atheism


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