Akhenaten (ca. 1351-1334 B.C.)Akhenaten (ca. 1351-1334 B.C.) - The pharaoh who changed everything. For the first five years of his reign, he was known as Amenhotep IV, and his rule was typical for an Egyptian king. Then, in his sixth year, he underwent a radical transformation; one that would be felt throughout the entire kingdom. He abandoned the traditional deities of his ancestors and replaced them with a single one; Aten, the god sun. Not a god who had dominion over the sun, but the actual sun as a god. You can imagine that the Egyptian people had a difficult time accepting this, but a pharaoh's word is law and the Aten survived as long as he did. Which was about another dozen years. After Akhenaten's death, the Aten did not last long. The traditional gods were too entrenched in Egyptian culture and they returned soon after Akhenaten's reign. Not only that, but he was punished for bringing such heresy to Egypt. The temples to the Aten were destroyed and Akhenaten's name was erased from every monument which bore his name. In fact, he became a forgotten pharaoh until his city, Amarna, was discovered in the 19th century. It was a city dedicated to the Aten, and its excavation restored Akhenaten to history.  It was also the site where the all-important Amarna Letters were discovered, which shed considerable light on this period in history.