THE complete break with old traditions and associations which Akhenaten now made in the removal of the seat of government to an entirely new site was no mere outbreak of petulance or spite on the part of the king against the priests of Amen and the stubborn Theban populace. No doubt anger, and perhaps considerations of personal safety, had their share in prompting the move; but it was part of a carefully considered plan which was intended to give to Atenism a settled habitation and citadel in each of the departments of the empire. As the state god was no longer merely an Egyptian god, but a being whose sway was world-wide, it was fitting that the extent of his dominion should be suggested by assigning to him a holy city not only in Egypt, but also in Asia and in Ethiopia, whence, as from a centre, his influence might spread abroad throughout the surrounding land. The Syrian city of the Aten is unknown; but the Ethiopian one was situated near the Third Cataract on the east bank of the Nile, and was known as "Gem-Aten," a title whose significance is unknown. The Egyptian city of Aten was also to be the seat of imperial government and of the court: and thus Akhenaten not only removed himself and his entourage from dangerous surroundings, and secured unbroken ground for the seed of his new faith, but also punished the recalcitrant Thebans and their priestly counsellors. To say nothing of the material loss which
the removal of the whole court circle must have meant to Thebes, the city must have been profoundly shocked and disturbed by the thought that their "Good God," the merciful deity incarnate who was the visible image of divinity to them, had in anger removed the light of his countenance from them. I n course of time, no doubt, the edge of this separation grew dull; but for the time Akhenaten could have struck no harder blow against his enemies than he did by the removal of his presence.