Akhenaten was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who reigned about 3,500 years ago. He made some major changes to various aspects of ancient Egyptian culture, with the most notable one being his religious revolution. Akhenaten also made himself quite different from his predecessors, changing many styles in ancient Egyptian art.
He was a ruler of the eighteenth century, which consequently was an age of evolution in Egyptian history. Only three reigns prior to Akhenaten's had Hatshepsut heiling as ruler.
The aura of Akhenaten still lies strong today, leaving contrasting impressions on people. To some people he was a fanatical lunatic and to others he came across as a strange, eccentric young man whose actions and behavior were heavily influenced by his mother. There are some people who consider Akhenaten to have been a Christ-like visionary and a mentor of Moses, while realists perceive him as a man who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and who had little to no impact on the reformations of his reign.
Akhenaten had a rather large family. His parents were Amenhotep III and Tiye. Before changing his name to Akhenaten, he was known as Amenhotep IV. Akhenaten was married to Nefertiti, whom was made famous by her glorious bust at Amarna. Many people have speculated Nefertiti was a princess from a far off land, but there are signs that point to family link with Akhenaten.
Akhenaten and Nefertiti had six daughters, naming them Merytaten, Meketaten, Ankhesenpaaten, Neferneferuaten-tasharit, Neferneferure, and Sotepenre. Their eldest daughter, Merytaten, died quite young due to unknown causes. Neferneferuaten-tasharit, Neferneferure, and Sotepenre died soon after and it is believed that their deaths were a result of the brutal plague circulating around Egypt at the time.
There were two rather unknown people in Akhenaten's family - Smenkhkare and Tutankhaten, whom later changed his name to Tutankhamen. These two were most certainly brothers, as the respective bodies were layed in tomb 55. Their connecton to Akhenaten, however, remains a mystery.
Akhenaten's Religious Revolution
Other cool sites to visit with thorough information on Akhenaten:
A site that offers a different, modern look at Egyptian history
A website that offers many informative stories regarding Akhenaten's reign in the eighteenth century
A more in-depth look at the changes in Egyptian art during Akhenaten's reign