The Early History of Syria and Palestine

By Lewis Bayles Paton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE HITTITE AND THE ARAMÆAN MIGRATION 1392-1376 B.C.

WITH the death of Amenhotep III. (c. 1392) the decline of Egyptian rule in Syria and Palestine began. One of its main causes was the discord that prevailed in consequence of the religious innovations attempted by Amenhotep IV. The first act of his reign was to adopt Aten, the solar disk, as the chief god of the realm. Against Amen of Thebes his animosity was specially directed, and he attempted to obliterate his name from the monuments. His own name he changed from Amen-hotep ("Amen is contented") to Akh-en- Aten ("Spirit of the solar disk"). Such a revolution could not fail to encounter strenuous opposition, particularly at Thebes. So uncomfortable did it become for the young king in this city, that he determined to establish a new capital in the district of the modern Tell-el-Amarna. Here he built a city and founded in its midst a palace and a temple of Aten.

A second cause of the decline of Egyptian rule in Syria and Palestine was the invasion of these regions by new tribes from the North and from the East. These peoples were warlike, and had no inclination to submit as their predecessors had done. Although

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