Tag Archives: Meritaten

Secrets of a Rebel Pharaoh

 Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of heaven,

O living Aten, beginning of life.


Transformation came to ancient Egypt when Pharaoh Akhenaten banished the old gods and established monotheism around 1350 BCE.

  • The priestly caste lost its power and prestige.
  • Thebes and other royal destinations no longer served as the Paris and Riviera of their time.
  • Pharaoh moved the entire court to an obscure northern desert location that he named Akhetaten after his god.
  • There he built a marvelous white and gold city to honor his deity, a sublime entity depicted by the disk of the sun with cascading rays.
  • For a time during his 17 year reign he lived in pleasant circumstances with his beautiful wife Nefertiti and their daughters.
  • The art of the period relaxed into informality and naturalism.
  • Pharaoh wrote exquisite poems to his beloved god, Aten.
  • He offered a new way to his people, and all seemed well.


That was only on the surface, of course, and only among Pharaoh’s most loyal family and supporters.

  • Beneath, in the beating heart of long-remembered Egypt, the old gods stirred.
  • The old priestly caste of Amen-Ra connived to reassert its power.
  • The common people of Egypt longed to demonstrate their unfailing devotion to the deities that had served them well for millennia.
  • Never mind this unrelatable, usurper god who appeared distant and unfeeling.
  • Never mind this heretical Pharaoh who had disrupted eons of stability and tradition.
  • Also, with disproportionate emphasis placed on radical change in religion and little on national security, the wolves were at the gate.


Egypt was headed for reversal, with the end result a return to the old gods and old beliefs.

  • Pharaoh, his gleaming white and gold city, and his god Aten were scratched off the stones and monuments, covered by the desert sands, and forgotten by history.
  • He remained unknown until the discovery of his long lost city, now called Amarna, in the 1800s.


Upon discovery, the modern world became captivated by the Amarna period.

  • Pharaoh and his revolution were admired.
  • Nefertiti became a subject of fascination and awe.
  • The subsequent discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb shook the world.
  • My favorites Smenkhkare and Meritaten emerged as mysterious figures that scholars fervently seek to pin down.
  • Some scholars, including Freud, theorize that Pharaoh’s beliefs were instilled by the visiting Hebrew Moses.


Again, revel in the beauty of Akhenaten’s words:

Thy dawning is  beautiful in the horizon of heaven,

O living Aten, beginning of life.


Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance



Themis’ 13 Smokin’ Hot Lovers

Themis Happy Valentine’s Day and welcome Themis, Goddess of Justice! Who better to decide the 13 hottest pairs of lovers? Now Themis needs an ice cold martini. 

Guthrum the Dane & Aehlswith (Michael York and Prunella Ransome) in the movie Alfred the Great: 5 out of 5 flames of hotness for the scene where he cuts their arms for the blood bond.

Abelard & Heloise: Despite the vile attack on him by her family that ended their physical love affair, they maintained a lifelong connection. Joseph Campbell said Abelard transferred his passion for Heloise to religious agape’, while she maintained hers, even as a nun, until her death. 

Yuri & Lara (in the book Doctor Zhivago and the movie with Omar Sharif and Julie Christie): This movie broke my heart, and he wrote poetry for her in an ice laden room!

Rhett & Scarlett (in Gone With the Wind): After the end of the book and movie (with Clark Cable and Vivian Leigh), I’m sure there is another chapter, stolen away by the fairies, where they GET BACK TOGETHER. Yes, I read the sequel and mini series and loved them for this reason.

Spock & Uhura in the newest Star Trek movie: So cute and such a twist for Spock to get the girl instead of hunky ladies man Kirk.

Meritaten & Smenkhkare (the brother or son of Pharaoh Akhenaton, whose wife was Nefertiti): I am so drawn to this couple and wish I knew more about them. I know he was murdered and she outlived him. Although she wrote to the Hittites for help, they provided no aid.

Theseus &  Hippolyta from the Mary Renault book, The Bull from the Sea: They loved and fought side by side (as do Kelly & Ingvar in Wytchfae Runes), and it is so sorrowful when he returns to where she lies wounded, but she’s cold and already gone.

Barnabas & Josette from Dark Shadows (Jonathan Frid and Kathryn Leigh Scott): Although I adored Angelique (Lara Parker) and Quentin (David Selby), Barnabas and Josette were meant to be. Just to hear the tune of Josette’s music box brings it all back. I loved the Johnny Depp movie for its homage to the tv show.

Bogie & Bacall: Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall overcame an age difference and marital track records. Their chemistry sizzled.

Liz & Dick (AKA Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor): They were the epitome of golden glamour.

Antony & Cleopatra: Their love affair flamed high, despite the high profile visibility of the couple, a fame reminiscent of celebrities of today.

Zee & Robert (Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Caine) in the movie X, Y, & Zee. To end his affair with another woman, harridan wild woman Zee takes — let us say — unusual and dramatic measures. If you haven’t seen this one, you simply must.

Luke & Laura: (General Hospital’s Anthony Geary & Genie Francis): Luke and Laura touched a generation, and now she’s back! (along with vampires Caleb & Livvie no less!) Let’s just see what happens next…

I hope you’ve enjoyed Themis’ sojourn of the heart. See you next month for 13 more faves!