When Amenhotep III died, he left behind a country that was wealthier and more powerful than it had ever been before. The treaty with Mitanni concluded by his father had brought peace and stability, which resulted in a culture of extraordinary luxury. A large percentage of the income generated by Egypt's own resources and by foreign trade went into building projects of an unprecedented scale. Inscriptions enumerate the enormous quantities of gold, silver, bronze, and precious stones used in the construction and decoration of the temples.
There can be little doubt that Amenhotep IV was officially crowned by Amun of Thebes, for he is described as 'the One whom Amun has Chosen to Appear in Glory for Millions of Years' on some scarabs from the beginning of his reign, but this reference to Amun can not conceal the fact that the new king was clearly determined right from his accession to go his own way.
Amenhotep IV is mentioned as 'Real King's Son' on one of the many jar sealings found in his father's palace at Malkata, most of which are associated with the three sed-festivals celebrated by Amenhotep III during the last seven years of his reign. Opinions are divided over the issue of a possible co-regency between Amenhotep III and IV. some scholars think of a period of joint rule lasting for some 12 years, others have at best admitted the possibility of a short overlap of one or two years, whereas the majority of scholars reject it entirely.
Akhenaten sent his army abroad to put down a rebellion in Nubia in the 12th year. It was also in the 12th year that a great ceremony took place, during which the King received the tribute from 'all foreign countries gathered together as one', an event that may well be connected with the Nubian campaign of the same year. It has been suggested that the King may have been involved in a confrontation with the Hittites.
A person named Smenkhkare (with virtually the same throne name as Nefertiti / Neferneferuaten) appears in some inscriptions from the end of the Amarna Period. In one or two rare representations, he is accompanied by his Queen Meritaten. The identity of the Smenkhkare is uncertain. But some scholars see him as Nefertiti's male successor, perhaps a younger brother or even another son of Akhenaten. Akhenaten's successor probably did not survive him for very long, and when he/she died, the very young Tutankhaten, the only remaining male member of the royal family, ascended the throne.