The decline of the 18th Dynasty began at the close of the reign of its greatest ruler, Amenhotep III. Amenhotep's son and successor, Akhenaten, inaugurated a dramatic religious transformation, eliminating worship of the traditional gods in favor of a single deity, known as the Aten. Abandoning the established temples, Akhenaten created a new religious and political capital in Middle Egypt at a site called el-Amarna. Akhenaten's modifications were short-lived, and could not be sustained following his death.
After a brief reign, Akhenaten's successor, Smenkhkare, was followed by the young Tutankhamen, who quickly undertook the eradication of Akhenaten's religious changes. Since he died without heirs, Tutankhamen was followed by two of his own advisors, the final rulers of the Dynasty. These two kings, Ay and Horemheb, bore the burden of repairing the damage done by Akhenaten and restoring the glory of the 18th Dynasty.
Return to Who Was Ramesses I?