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  • Egypt Ancient, Menes
    near modern Cairo Excavations at Saqqarah the cemetery for Memphis have revealed that the earliest royal tomb located there belongs to the reign of Aha Manetho called Menes a Thinite i e a native of the Thinite province in Upper Egypt and in fact monuments belonging to the kings Narmer and Aha either of whom may be Menes have been excavated at Abydos a royal cemetery in the Thinite nome Narmer also appears on a slate palette a decorated stone on which cosmetics were pulverized wearing the red and white crowns of Lower and Upper Egypt a combination symbolic of unification he is shown triumphant over his enemies probably an allusion to the wars fought to attain unity Actually the whole process probably required several reigns and the traditional Menes may well represent the kings involved According to Manetho Menes reigned 62 years and was killed by a hippopotamus Menes 2925 B C also spelled MENA MENI OR MIN first king of unified Egypt who according to tradition joined Upper and Lower Egypt in a single centralized monarchy Manetho a 3rd century bc Egyptian historian called him Menes the 5th century bc Greek historian Herodotus referred to him as Min and two native king lists of the 19th dynasty 13th century BC call him Meni Modern scholars have inconclusively identified the traditional Menes with one or more of the archaic Egyptian kings bearing the names Scorpion Narmer and Aha In addition to crediting Menes with the unification of Egypt by war and administrative measures tradition attributes to him the founding of the capital Menphis near modern Cairo Excavations at Saqqarah the cemetery for Memphis have revealed that the earliest royal tomb located there belongs to the reign of Aha Manetho called Menes a Thinite i e a native of the

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/menes.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • Egypt Ancient, Mythology
    Neit and Sekhet Their importance increased with the political ascendancy of the localities where they were worshiped For example the ennead of Memphis was headed by a triad composed of the father Ptah the mother Sekhet and the son Imhotep Therefore during the Memphite dynasties Ptah became one of the greatest gods in Egypt Similarly when the Theban dynasties ruled Egypt the ennead of Thebes was given the most importance headed by the father Amon the mother Mut and the son Khonsu As the religion became more involved true deities were sometimes confused with human beings who had been glorified after death Thus Imhotep who was originally the chief minister of the 3rd Dynasty ruler Djoser was later regarded as a demigod During the 5th Dynasty the pharaohs began to claim divine ancestry and from that time on were worshiped as sons of Ra Minor gods some merely demons were also given places in local divine hierarchies ICONOGRAPHY The Egyptian gods were represented with human torsos and human or animal heads Sometimes the animal or bird expressed the characteristics of the god Ra for example had the head of a hawk and the hawk was sacred to him because of its swift flight across the sky Hathor the goddess of love and laughter was given the head of a cow which was sacred to her Anubis was given the head of a jackal because these animals ravaged the desert graves in ancient times Mut was vulture headed and Thoth was ibis headed and Ptah was given a human head although he was occasionally represented as a bull called Apis Because of the gods to which they were attached the sacred animals were venerated but they were never worshiped until the decadent 26th Dynasty The gods were also represented by symbols such as the sun disk and hawk wings that were worn on the headdress of the pharaoh SUN WORSHIP The only important god who was worshiped with consistency was Ra chief of cosmic deities from whom early Egyptian kings claimed descent Beginning with the Middle Kingdom 2134 1668 BC Ra worship acquired the status of a state religion and the god was gradually fused with Amon during the Theban dynasties becoming the supreme god Amon Ra During the 18th Dynasty the pharaoh Amenhotep III renamed the sun god Aton an ancient term for the physical solar force Amenhotep s son and successor Amenhotep IV instituted a revolution in Egyptian religion by proclaiming Aton the true and only god He changed his own name to Akhenaton meaning He who is devoted to Aton This first great monotheist was so iconoclastic that he had the plural word gods deleted from monuments and he relentlessly persecuted the priests of Amon Akhenaton s sun religion failed to survive although it exerted a great influence on the art and thinking of his time and Egypt returned to the ancient labyrinthine religion of polytheism after Akhenaton s death BURIAL RITUAL Burying the dead was of religious

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/egyptian_mythology.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • Egypt Ancient, Predynastic Egypt
    political organization Probably contemporary with both predynastic and dynastic times are thousands of rock drawings of a wide range of motifs including boats found throughout the Eastern Desert in Lower Nubia and as far west as Mount Uwaynat which stands near modern Egypt s borders with Libya and The Sudan in the southwest The drawings show that nomads were common throughout the desert probably down to the late 3rd millennium BC but they cannot be dated precisely they may all have been produced by nomads or inhabitants of the Nile Valley may often have penetrated the desert and made drawings Naqadah I named after the major site of Naqadah but also called Amratian after al Amirah is a distinct phase that succeeded Badarian and has been found as far south as Kawm al Ahmar Hierakonpolis ancient Egyptian Nekhen near the sandstone barrier of Jabal al Silsila which was the cultural boundary of Egypt in predynastic times Naqadah I differs from Badarian in its density of settlement and in the typology of its material culture but hardly at all in the social organization implied by finds Burials were in shallow pits in which the bodies faced to the west like those of later Egyptians Notable types of material found in graves are fine pottery decorated with representational designs in white on red figurines of men and women and hard stone mace heads that are the precursors of important late predynastic objects Naqadah II also known as Gerzean after al Girza is the most important predynastic culture The heartland of its development was the same as that of Naqadah I but it spread gradually throughout the country South of Jabal al Silsila sites of the culturally similar Nubian A Group are found as far as the Second Cataract and beyond these have a long span continuing as late as the Egyptian Early Dynastic Period During Naqadah II large sites developed at Kawm al Ahmar Naqadah and Abydos showing by their size the concentration of settlement as well as exhibiting increasing differentiation in wealth and status Few sites have been identified between Asyut and the Fayyum and this region may have been sparsely settled perhaps supporting a pastoral rather than agricultural population Near modern Cairo at al Umari Ma adi and Wadi Digla and stretching as far south as the latitude of the Fayyum are sites of a separate contemporary culture Ma adi was an extensive settlement that traded with the Near East and probably acted as an intermediary for transmitting goods to the south In this period imports of lapis lazuli provide evidence that trade networks extended as far afield as Afghanistan The material culture of Naqadah II included increasing numbers of prestige objects The characteristic mortuary pottery is made of buff desert clay principally from around Qena and is decorated in red with pictures of uncertain meaning showing boats animals and scenes with human figures Stone vases many made of hard stones that come from remote areas of the Eastern Desert

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/predynastic_egypt.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • Egypt Ancient, PYRAMIDS
    be disturbed by grave robbers They chose a site on the west side of the Nile River because they believed that the home of the dead was toward the setting sun The burial chambers were placed under the exact centers of the pyramids Passageways which were built angling down from the sides and leading to the chambers were later sealed with heavy stones The pyramids did not achieve their purpose of protecting the ancient tombs however Over the centuries looters broke into most of them and stole the jewels and other treasures that had been buried in them The Greek historian Herodotus writing 2 400 years ago estimated that 100 000 men labored for 20 years to complete the Great Pyramid It is also estimated that 2 3 million stone blocks were used to build the pyramid It was once thought that the blocks weighing an average of 21 2 tons each were floated on rafts down the Nile from quarries hundreds of miles away A more recent theory holds that the blocks were cut from limestone quarries that have been found near the pyramids Another theory suggests that the blocks were formed in wooden molds at the site Many authorities believe that the blocks of stone were moved up a circular ramp constructed around the pyramid as it was built up Other scholars have studied the relationship between the position of the pyramids and the apparent motion of the sun and other stars They suggest that the pyramids design may have been influenced by a religion based on sun worship The pyramids of Giza were not the first built in Egypt Structures of this type appeared during the century preceding Khufu s reign After burying their dead in sandpits the early Egyptians placed a mastaba a solid rectangular structure

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  • Egypt Ancient, Relief sculpture and painting
    monuments of the 5th dynasty and in the private tombs of the 5th and 6th dynasties in the Memphite necropolis Outstanding are the reliefs from the sun temple of King Neuserre at Abu Jirab Ägyptisches Museum East and West Berlin and the scenes of daily life in the tombs of Ptahhotep and Ti at Saqqarah The tradition of fine painting was continued in the Middle Kingdom At Beni Hasan the funerary chambers are crowded with paintings exhibiting fine draftsmanship and use of color The best relief work of the period reviving the Memphite tradition is found at Thebes in the tomb of Mentuhotep II at Dayr al Bahri and in the little shrine of Sesostris I at Karnak where the fine carving is greatly enhanced by a masterly use of space in the disposition of figures and text In the early 18th dynasty the relief tradition was revived at Thebes and can best be observed in the carvings in Hatshepsut s temple at Dayr al Bahri Later royal reliefs of Amenhotep III and of the post Amarna kings show a stylistic refinement that was carried to its best in the reign of Seti I at Karnak at Abydos and in his tomb at Thebes The 18th dynasty also saw Egyptian painting reach its highest achievement in the tombs of the nobles at Thebes The medium of decoration and an apparently greater artistic freedom led to the introduction of small often entertaining details into standard scenes The tiny tombs of Menna and Nakht are full of such playful vignettes The paintings in great tombs such as that of Rekhmire are more formal but still crammed with unusual detail Fragments of mural and floor paintings from palaces and houses at Thebes and Tell el Amarna provide tantalizing glimpses of the marsh and

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  • Egypt Ancient, Religions
    did not pollute myself in the pure precinct of my city god I did not diminish the grain measure I did not diminish the span I did not diminish the land measure I did not load the weight of the balances I did not deflect the index of the scales I did not take milk from the mouth of the child I did not drive the cattle away from their pasturage I did not snare the fowl of the gods I did not catch the fish in their pools I did not hold back the water in its time I did not dam up the running water I did not quench the fire in its time I did not withhold the herds of the temple endowments I did not interfere with the god in his payments I am purified four times I am as pure as the great Phoenix is pure which is in Heracleopolis There arises no evil thing against me in this land in the hall of truth because I know the names of these gods who are therein the followers of the great god In another version of the protestation which is found as a doublet in the completer recensions of the Book of the Dead the sins are with some difficulty made to count forty two and the names of the forty two assessors which the dead man professes to know are enumerated Among them are such terrifying compounds as Bone Breaker from Heracleopolis Fiery Eyes from Letopolis White Teeth from the Hidden Land Devourer of Bowels Blood Eater It is no less necessary to be able to recite these names correctly than to be free from sin and lest the unfortunate should forget them or be unable to connect them with their several owners the likenesses of the infernal judges are commonly depicted in the copies of the Book of the Dead which were laid in the coffin distinctly labeled with their names These professions of rectitude exemplify the moral side of Egyptian religion As is natural in view of the religious character of the judgment offences against the gods especially trespass upon their rights of property and wrongs done to men are not discriminated Among the latter are murder theft oppression adultery lying fraud false witness slander abusive speech and tale bearing Like the second table of the Mosaic Decalogue these are elementary things against which even savage society reacts in self defense and by no means indicate a particularly advanced morality Nor is it a mark of signal progress that the customary morals of the community are put under the sanction of religion that also is common among peoples on a much lower level of civilization What is noteworthy is the extension of the divine sanction of morals over the future life for this is by no means so inevitable as it might appear to us Nothing of the kind seems to have taken place in the religion of Babylonia and Assyria nor in that of China and in Israel notwithstanding the strongly ethical character of the religion and the large development of the idea of divine retribution the belief that men s lot after death is determined by their conduct in this life came very late and not without foreign stimulus While the conceptions of what awaits man after death thus took more definite shape in the Osirian doctrine and perhaps in natural reaction from them skeptical voices begin to be heard 1 From that world about which priests profess to know so much no traveler has returned the famous kings and sages of olden time are dead and gone only their names remain we are following them to the grave let us make the most of our brief span on earth denying ourselves no pleasure it affords Such is the refrain of the Song of the Harper at the Feast one of the best known poems of the Middle Kingdom What gives it more significance is the fact that it is not the utterance of a solitary pessimist but of a court poet enlivening the guests at the banquet with the Egyptian version of let us eat and drink for to morrow we die Several interesting writings from the time of the Middle Kingdom exhibit the moral principles of members of the ruling class or throw light on the moral conditions of the age The Wisdom of Ptahhotep is in the form of instructions delivered by an aged vizier to his son and designated successor The instructions are chiefly counsels for the deportment of a minister in official and private relations He should be upright just true discreet moderate knowing how to assert his own dignity without arrogance warning is given against avarice and the pride of possessions vices are to be shunned but the wise man will not deny himself the enjoyment of life nor make it bitter with vain regrets If the son will follow this wholesome advice and the example of his father it will go well with him In an Instruction for a Minister purporting to be delivered by a king to a vizier at his installation the vizier is enjoined to deal justly and impartially with all not favoring his own kin nor showing respect of persons to princes and counselors A story with an evident moral called The Peasants Appeal tells how a poor man who had been unjustly treated by underlings and even by the high steward gets redress from the Pharaoh himself Other texts are filled with loud complaints of the degeneracy of the age righteousness is cast out iniquity is in the midst of the council hall society is thoroughly corrupt A very interesting papyrus The Prophecies of an Egyptian Sage paints in even darker colors the universal demoralization and disorders of the age aggravated as they were by foreign invasion The only imaginable remedy for these ills is a wise and good king and the author depicts such an ideal ruler the shepherd of all the people who has no evil in his heart in a strain in which a resemblance has been seen to the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament though the Egyptian parallel has no distinctly predictive element Chapter III Part I Decline The two glorious centuries of the Twelfth Dynasty were followed by a decline more swift and a fall more deep than those of the Old Kingdom The long lists of ephemeral rulers which are the sum of our knowledge of this dark age show only that legitimate and orderly succession was the exception pretenders and usurpers mounted the throne only to be supplanted by fresh conspiracies and revolutions Reduced to impotence by these internal disorders the unhappy country could present no effective opposition to the foreign invasion which was not long in coming The Hyksos kings at the head of hordes of Asiatic poured into the Delta and in a few years reduced to subjection not only Lower Egypt but the whole valley of the Nile to a point south of Thebes In the early stages of the invasion the cities and temples particularly in the Delta doubtless suffered many outrages at the hands of the conquerors but the later kings of the line were at least superficially Egyptianised they adopted the old royal titles and gave themselves Re names like their native predecessors Their principal god was identified whether by themselves or by their subjects with the old Egyptian god Set who as the foe of Horus and Osiris seemed the natural god of the barbarian enemies of Egypt and temples to this god were erected by Hyksos kings at Tanis and at Avaris their great fortified camp on the eastern frontier Who these invaders were is an unsolved problem It is certain however that they entered Egypt from the side of Syria and when they were driven out they made a strong stand at Sharuhen in the south of what was afterward the territory of Judah It is probable that Kadesh the objective of several of the campaigns of Thothmes III was in his time the centre of their power These facts as well as the names of some of the kings support the testimony of Manetho that the invaders or at least the dominant element among them were Semites The duration of their supremacy in Egypt notwithstanding the large figures given by Manetho can hardly have exceeded a century or two and in the latter part of this time their hold on Upper Egypt must have become less firm At Thebes a family of local dynasts ruled the city probably at first as vassals of the Hyksos and gradually extended their power over Upper Egypt being reckoned by Manetho as the Seventeenth Dynasty of Egyptian kings About 1580 Ahmose I the founder of the Eighteenth Dynasty after a severe struggle captured the last stronghold of Hyksos at Avaris and expelled them finally from Egypt He followed them into Syria and took Sharuhen after a siege of six years At the other extremity of Egypt he recovered from the Nubians the territory between the first and second cataracts and thus re established the kingdom within its old limits The empire which Ahmose I founded was extended by his successors the Amenhoteps and Thutmoses far into Nubia on the one side while on the other it included all Syria to the Euphrates and the Amanus These conquests brought to Egypt as the booty of war and as tribute enormous riches and great multitudes of captives commercial expeditions especially to Punt southern Arabia contributed to the growing wealth and luxury In little more than a century Egypt which had been reduced by internal disorder and foreign invasion to complete impotence reached the highest pitch of its greatness The state was an absolute monarchy with a strongly centralized administration the princes and counts who in the break up of the Middle Kingdom and the turbulent times that followed had made themselves virtually independent lordlings were deprived of all power the landed nobility disappeared and a great part of the land was now crown domain The long wars of liberation and conquest gave the monarchy a military character unlike anything the temperamentally unwarlike Egyptians had ever known the introduction of the horse and the prominent part the chariot force now played in the battle the employment of numbers of foreign mercenaries created a professional army which overshadowed the old national levies Nowhere is the new order of things more noticeable than in religion The capital of the empire was Thebes under the banner of the Theban Amon Re the kings drove out the Hyksos and conquered Syria to him they erected temples in their Asiatic provinces As the god of the Egyptians in their wars against foreigners in every quarter and of every color Amon became the national god in quite a different sense from that in which the Heliopolitan theology had made Re a national god as Amon Re he was supreme by a double title Out of the spoils of war and the revenues of the state the kings of the Eighteenth Dynasty built him temples of size and splendor hitherto unheard of and enriched them by enormous gifts and endowments A large part of the captives of war were dedicated as slaves of the god great estates with all their serfs were settled upon the temples The priesthood now for the first time became a numerous and powerful class The chief priest of Amon was the head of the state religion with authority over all the other priesthoods and these great ecclesiastics sometimes filled high offices in the state Amenhotep III had one chief priest of Amon for treasurer and another for vizier Before the sun of Amon all the other gods began to pale only Ptah of Memphis and Re of Heliopolis who shared with him in smaller measure the favor of the kings retained something of their old prestige This was the situation when Amenhotep IV 1375 58 B C made his revolutionary attempt to dethrone the mighty Amon and establish the worship of Aton as the sole religion of the state The change meant much more than a monarch s capricious preference for one cult above another such as Elagabalus devotion to the sun god of Emesa it was a serious effort to introduce a higher monotheism It has been noted above that the Heliopolitan priesthood had exalted Re as creator and ruler of the world to a place far above all the gods but that they had compromised the monotheistic principle of their own theology by recognizing the many deities as the One under other names so that the practical result of the acceptance of the doctrine had been to confer on every god the attributes and power of Re Yet the conception of the unity of god in vaguely pantheistic form was firmly fixed in the religious philosophy of the Egyptians The priests of Memphis called this god Ptah at Heliopolis he was as of old Re at Thebes Amon in truth he is the god of innumerable names Among these names is one which though ancient had never gained wide currency Aton the solar orb or disc visible in the sky As the divine sun he is closely akin to Re but he had not like Re been fused with terrestrial gods of various beastly shapes nor represented in human form and by its freedom from such associations his name was a fit symbol for God in a purer solar monotheism Where this movement began is not certainly known there is some reason to think that it was at Heliopolis where Amenhotep IV built a temple to Aton The fact that Amenhotep III named a pleasure barge in his artificial lake Aton gleams and had a company of Aton in his body guard shows that the god and presumably the doctrine was known in Thebes before the reformation In the early part of his reign Amenhotep IV began the erection of a stately temple to Aton in Thebes between the temples of Karnak and Luxor on grounds which his father had laid out as a garden of Amon Thebes Amon s city had to hear itself officially renamed City of the Brightness of Aton and the quarter in which Amon s great temples lay Brightness of Aton the Great The proud and powerful priesthood of Amon is not likely to have looked with complacency on this exaltation of the upstart god and still less on the diversion of the streams of treasure they had been wont to see pour into their coffers But there was worse to follow Not long after the completion of the temple of Aton the king ousted the priesthoods from the temples throughout the land suppressing the public worship and effacing the names of the gods wherever they occurred in inscriptions the very word gods was treated in the same way Amon was pursued with peculiar vindictiveness not only in the temples but in the cemeteries The monuments of the king s ancestors and even those of his own father were mutilated to destroy the obnoxious word 1 The king s own name was the same as his father s Amenhotep Amon rests he changed it to Ikhnaton Spirit of Aton But after all Thebes was Amon s city The silent temples on whose walls the king s forefathers were worshipping Amon or conquering an empire in his might the obelisks commemorating their jubilees their tombs across the valley all proclaimed him every brutal scar on a historic monument cried out his name There must have been other things to make Thebes an unpleasant residence for the iconoclastic king An obsequious court might change its religion at the royal pleasure but the people must have seen with sullen discontent if not with open protest the sacrilegious outrages perpetrated on the gods and the temples and the priests were there to fan the flame It is easy to imagine therefore why Amenhotep formed the plan of removing the capital from Thebes Nearly three hundred miles farther north on an unoccupied site he founded a new city Akhetaton Horizon of Aton Three temples of Aton were erected there besides magnificent palaces and government buildings The court and officials built them residences in the new capital a flourishing city sprang into existence as by magic and tombs were hewn in the eastern cliff for the kings and the nobles a city of the dead Ikhnaton also ordered temples of Aton to be built not only at Heliopolis but in remoter parts of his empire in upper Nubia and in Syria The great temple of Aton differed from the ordinary type of Egyptian temples chiefly in having no cella for the image of the god Instead of this there were behind the hypo style hall two large halls or courts surrounded by small chambers and having an altar in the middle In these the more solemn rites of worship took place while the great altar in the fore court received the common sacrifices which consisted as in other temples of the flesh of bullocks geese and the like in great quantities In various scenes Aton is represented by a disc from which long rays issue each ending in a hand in one of these the common symbol of life the Ankh is held out to the king The teaching of the new religion which Ikhnaton professes to have received by revelation from his father Re is best learned from the great hymn to Aton which is notable not only for its nobility of conception but for its poetic beauty 1 What is remarkable in this hymn is not its recognition of one god as creator and ruler the hymns to Amon do the same and in very similar phrase it is in fact not so much in what it says as in what it does not say that it differs most widely from even the highest utterances of the orthodox Egyptian religion There are no references to the ancient solar myths such as the combat of the sun with the dragon monster to his voyage in his morning and evening barks to his ancient and magical names Not the fabulous adventures of an anthropomorphic sun god but the beneficent works of the divine sun move the poet s admiration and gratitude The realism of the art which Ikhnaton fostered is a product of the same disposition to see things as they are Besides this expurgation of the mythical and conventional there is a strikingly universal strain in the hymn The Syrians and the Ethiopians are not only creatures of God but are subjects of his providential care men s speech and their color are diverse as God has appointed Of the theological chauvinism which makes a national god out of a universal one there is no trace Even more significant is the disappearance from the tombs of the whole Osirian eschatology mythical and magical and indeed of all those fantastic notions of the hereafter which had so much exercised the Egyptians through all their history The deceased prays to the sun to grant the certainty of beholding him and to refresh him with the breath of the north wind the scarab bears a prayer to Aton and the pyramid amulet is inscribed with his name and symbol All this seems to many scholars so strange that they think it necessary to look abroad for the source of these ideas A favorite theory with them has been that the religion of Aton was introduced from Syria It seemed for a time to be made out that the queen mother Tiy who had great influence over her son and Nefertiti his wife were Syrian princesses the name Aton suggested to etymologists by sound the Canaanite Adon These combinations have proved to be mistaken the discovery of the tomb of Tiy showed that she was a native Egyptian a woman of the people But the fatal objection to the theory before as after these discoveries is that there is no trace of such a solar monotheism in Syria On the other hand it was the logical end of Egyptian theological thinking and of Amenophis own career In his first years he built temples to the sun god Re Harakhte at Thebes Memphis Heliopolis and other cities When Aton first appears it is under the title Harakhte who triumphs in the horizon in his name Splendor who is Aton the disc of the sun What is really strange is not the monotheism but the exclusive turn Amenophis gave it and his determination to make it the sole religion in his dominions Whatever the actuating motives may have been the sincerity of the king s conviction can as little be questioned as the logical consistency of his action He made at a cost greater than he could foresee the attempt to reform the religion of his country by putting into effect its highest conceptions and by rejecting the incongruous survivals of its barbarous beginnings which choked these ideas and rendered them unfruitful We cannot but be reminded of the like attempt of Josiah to make monotheism the religion of Judah in reality as well as in prophetic doctrine by casting out all foreign gods and destroying the high places The event too was not dissimilar no sooner was the strong hand of the royal reformer withdrawn than his reforms were engulfed in a flood tide of reaction While Amenhotep was building temples and arranging ceremonies and composing hymns in honor of Aton the Asiatic provinces of the empire the conquests of his great forefathers were slipping from his grasp The letters and dispatches from Syria found in the archives of the new capital called the El Amarna letters from the modern name of the place contain urgent appeals to the Pharaoh to come to the rescue of his hard pressed governors and loyal vassals but these appeals remained unheeded It is evident from the records of Harmheb s reign that internal affairs had also suffered from the same preoccupation An absolute ruler cannot give his whole mind to religion without neglecting more vital concerns of the state We hear of no serious disorders however so long as he lived though the sequel shows that disaffection must have been wide spread Amenophis IV died about 1358 after a reign of seventeen years or more He had no son and was succeeded by the husband of his eldest daughter who was soon followed by another son in law Tutenkhaton Living Image of Aton The turn things were taking is shown by the fact that Tutenkhaton transferred the capital back to Thebes and not only permitted the resumption of the worship of Amon but restored the temples and himself conducted the great festival of the god at Karnak and Luxor it was not long before he changed his own name to Tutenkhamon The reaction was in full swing The name of Amon was restored in the inscriptions which Amenophis had mutilated Tutenkhamon s successor Eye who seems to have had no better title to the throne than that he was the husband of Amenophis nurse was the last of the heretic kings After a brief period of anarchy Harmheb the commander in chief of the army with the support of the military and the priesthood of Amon proclaimed himself king When he had re established order with a hard hand his first concern was to restore the temples throughout the land replace the images according to the old pattern furnish the shrines with the vessels of silver and gold for use in worship provide them with priests assign them the materials for offerings and endow them with lands and cattle The work of restoring the names of the gods in the mutilated inscriptions was completed every mark of Amenophis iconoclastic fury was as far as possible effaced The temples of Aton at Thebes were razed and the stones used to build two pylons for Amon At the abandoned capital Akhetaton the temples and tombs were ruined everywhere the name of the Ikhnaton was obliterated and when it was necessary in legal proceedings to cite enactments or documents of his reign he was referred to as that criminal of Akhetaton Amon Re was avenged His priests in their hymns exulted over the fallen foe of the god Woe to him who injures thee Thy city endures but the city of him who injures thee has perished Shame upon him who commits sacrilege against thee in any land The sun of him who knew thee not has set but he who knows thee he shines the sanctuary of him who injured thee lies in darkness and the whole earth is in light The reform that fails always leaves things worse than they were and especially a reform put through by force provokes a more violent reaction which is carried by its own momentum farther than its first leaders foresee or desire So it was with Amenophis reforms From the time when the old religion was triumphantly reinstated its face was turned backward and the only visible progress it made for a thousand years was in reviving ancient superstitions and inventing new ones The kings of the Nineteenth Dynasty who followed Harmheb endeavored to reconquer the Asiatic provinces which had been lost under Amenophis IV and in the disorders that followed his death Seti and Rameses II had little difficulty in recovering Palestine and southern Syria but the new Hittite power which had arisen in the north barred their way in that direction After a series of campaigns extending over some fifteen years which notwithstanding the boasts of conquest in the inscriptions do not seem to have permanently advanced the Egyptian frontier much beyond Beirut and the southern end of the Bika a treaty of alliance was contracted between the two states These wars like those of the great kings of the Eighteenth Dynasty were conducted under the banner of Amon Re as the national god and again as in the earlier conquests a great part of the spoils was bestowed on his temples Rameses II removed the residence from Thebes to Tanis in the Delta for its greater convenience as a base for his Syrian enterprises but the city of Amon was not neglected to say nothing of other buildings such as the enlargement of the Luxor temples the great hall of columns at Karnak surpasses all that his predecessors had done Nor were the other gods forgotten everywhere Rameses enlarged rebuilt or beautified their temples so that there are few temples remaining in Egypt on which his name does not appear Great additions were also made to the wealth of the temples by occasional gifts and by endowments It was the theory of the state religion that the temples were royal sanctuaries where the king worshipped the god in the scenes on the temple walls depicting religious rites the king is always the central figure The successors of Rameses continued to lavish treasure upon the temples and as their possessions were exempt from taxation they became enormously rich From the figures given in the Harris Papyrus it appears that under one of the later kings of the dynasty three quarters of a million acres nearly one seventh of all the land of Egypt was church property and the temples held among them 107 000 slaves besides enormous herds of cattle By far the greater part of these riches belonged to three gods Amon of Thebes Ptah of Memphis and Re of Heliopolis Amon alone held 583 000 acres of land and 420 000 cattle large and small The office of high priest of Amon the head of all the priesthoods of the land had now become hereditary He maintained a body of troops and altogether wielded a power which even the strongest king could not with impunity defy Under the Twentieth Dynasty the Theban high priest Hrihor who had long been the real ruler of Egypt boldly set aside the fiction of ruling for the Ramessid king and seated himself upon the throne about 1090 Chapter III Part II The more completely the worship in the temples became the business of the rulers and the priests in which the people had no part except as spectators the more the common man turned to gods who had no place in the state cult such figures as the bandy legged dwarf Bes or the she hippopotamus Thoueris to Onuris and Nefertem and the wise Imhotep Many foreign gods also appear in this age soldiers and captives introduced the Syrian deities Baal and Resheph Anat and Astarte There is no doubt that the Egyptians had a large store of myths about both the local deities and the great nature gods the liturgies are larded with allusions to such stories Among the few specimens that have been preserved chiefly in texts from the time of the Empire or later the most interesting are that which tells how Isis learned the secret name of Re and the myth of the destruction of mankind Isis was an adept in the magical arts but her most potent spell was the hidden name of Re and this is how she got the secret from him Re was drooling with age his slaver trickled to the ground Isis kneaded earth with it and made a viper which she laid in the path where Re went out to walk the viper smote Re as he passed attended by a train of gods and he cried out in pain To the concerned inquiry of his companions he at length replies I am a prince and son of a prince the divine offspring of a god I am a great one and the son of a great one My father and my mother told me my name and it has remained hidden in my body since my birth that no magician might gain magical power over me I went abroad to behold what I had made and passed through the two lands Upper and Lower Egypt that I had created Then something stung me I know not what Fire it is not water it is not my heart is burning my body shivers and all my limbs tremble All the gods are summoned and among them comes Isis with well feigned solicitude What is it what is it divine father A reptile has hurt thee one of thy children has lifted up its head against thee It shall yield to a potent charm I will overthrow it by powerful magic Re repeats the story and Isis rejoins Tell me thy name O divine father for the man s life is saved who is called by his true but secret name Re recites a string of mouth filling titles such as abound in the ritual concluding I am Khepre in the morning and Re at noon and Atum in the evening an old priestly formula but it did no good That is not thy name Isis says tell me thy true name that the poison may leave thee At last Re yields and by its magical virtue she restores him to health This is what may be called a professional myth the enchanter who has learned from Isis to heal ailments by the magic power of names explains how Isis came to know the greatest of all The myth of the destruction of men belongs to a different class of which the widely distributed deluge myths are the best known 1 Re has grown old and feeble and his authority is despised men conspire against him as might happen to a Pharaoh who had outlived himself Re summons the gods to a council and on the advice of Nun sends the fierce lion headed goddess Sekhmet to pursue men into the mountain fastnesses whither they have fled and destroy them The goddess descends to earth and executes her mission with such good will that the whole valley swims with blood and Re fearing that the human race will be exterminated repents of his command It was not so easy to call off the lioness who had tasted blood but Re found a way A mixture of beer with the juice of narcotic fruit and human blood was prepared seven thousand jars full and poured out in the early dawn upon the fields Sekhmet sallying forth to resume her work of slaughter found these pools of blood as she thought and drank till she was too far gone to recognize men any more so the remnant was saved But Re was weary of the thankless task of ruling the world and after appointing Thoth his viceroy on earth retired to rest on the back of the sky cow in the heavens The myth of Osiris is known to us most fully through Plutarch but innumerable allusions in texts from all ages show that the story is very old The actors are the four deities who constitute the last generation of the Heliopolitan Ennead Osiris and Isis Set and Nephthys Osiris was a wise and good king who taught the Egyptians agriculture and gave them laws the founder of Egyptian civilization His brother Set plotted his destruction and accomplished it by an ingenious trick At a feast he produced a beautiful and richly decorated chest which he had had made exactly to the measures of Osiris offering to present it to any one whom it should fit one after another tried it until at last Osiris laid himself in it 1 Thereupon Set and his accomplices clapped on the cover fastened it securely and threw the chest into the Tanitic arm of the Nile Isis fled to a retreat in the marshes where she gave birth to a son Horus Leaving him there Isis set forth in quest of Osiris body and found it at last at Byblos in Phoenicia whither the current had borne the coffin She brought it back to Egypt and concealed it but while she was gone to Buto to see her son Horus Set hunting by moonlight discovered the coffin and vented his hatred on the dead body by rending it limb from limb and scattering the members far and wide Isis sought them out and buried them wherever she found them the backbone for example at Buto the head at Abydos and each of these places became a seat of Osiris worship When Horus grew up he took it upon him to avenge his father and engaged in a fierce conflict with his uncle in which he had one eye torn out and Set was emasculated Finally Thoth parted the combatants and healed their wounds Set had to own himself beaten and Horus ascended the throne of his ancestor Geb and ruled on earth while his father Osiris became king of the dead From the time when Rameses II removed his capital to Tanis in the Delta Thebes was never again permanently the residence of the kings but it was still the religious capital and there the rulers were buried The kings of the Eighteenth Dynasty cut their tombs in the face of the cliffs in a narrow lateral valley Long galleries here and there opening out into chambers were drifted far into the solid rock at the farther end was the golden house in which the stone sarcophagus laid The walls of the galleries and chambers were covered with religious texts pictorially illustrated dealing with the other world and the same texts were also painted on coffins The longest of these is Amduat the Book of Him Who is in the Under World which has for its subject the nocturnal voyage of the sun from his setting behind the mountains in the west to his reappearance in the east In this voyage he passes through

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  • Egypt Ancient, legitimation of kings
    out were originally believed to contain the power through which the king ruled The star garment of the Persian king symbolized his world rulership similar to the feather mantle of the kings of Hawaii In many cultures the throne the crown and the scepter are viewed as divine and identified with gods and goddesses This view was especially expressed in the Egyptian royal theology in the hymnal prayer during coronations the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt were addressed as goddesses of the red and white crown by the king In India the throne personified the kingdom Sometimes the throne that a new king ascends is viewed as the throne of the god For example Hatshepsut an Egyptian queen reigned 1503 1482 BC was announced by Horus You have appeared on the throne of Horus On many Egyptian images the king sits on the throne and the god is at his side holding a hand over the king In becoming someone else a god the king receives a new name a throne name Throne names are known in Africa Mesopotamia and Egypt where the five throne names comprise the whole king theology birth name royal name hawk name serpent name and a name that designates the king as heir of the power of the gods of the stars In Iran for example the king is proclaimed by his royal name as world ruler Immediately upon the proclamation of the new status of the king and his royal name the subject people generally evoke a jubilant shout such as Long live the king An African variety of a response to the proclamation is He is our corn and our shield which shows the importance of the king for his people Another response to the proclamation is a prayer for the king

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  • Egypt Ancient, The recovery and study of ancient Egypt
    the property of the British Museum in London This document greatly assisted the decipherment accomplished by Jean François Champollion in 1822 The Egyptian language revealed by the decipherment and more than 150 years of study is a member of the Afro Asiatic formerly Hamito Semitic language family The Egyptian is closest to the family s Semitic branch but is distinctive in many respects During several millennia it changed greatly The script does not write vowels Because Greek forms for royal names were known from Manetho long before the Egyptian forms became available those used to this day are a mixture of Greek and Egyptian In the first half of the 19th century vast numbers of antiquities were exported from Egypt forming the nucleus of collections in many major museums These were removed rather than excavated inflicting together with the economic development of the country colossal damage on ancient sites At the same time many travelers and scholars visited the country and recorded the monuments The most important and remarkably accurate record was produced by the Prussian expedition led by Karl Richard Lepsius in 1842 45 which explored sites as far south as the central Sudan In the mid 19th century Egyptology developed as a subject in France and in Prussia The Antiquities Service and a museum of Egyptian antiquities were established in Egypt by the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette a great excavator who attempted to preserve sites from destruction and the Prussian Heinrich Brugsch made great progress in the interpretation of texts of many periods and published the first major Egyptian dictionary In 1880 Flinders later Sir Flinders Petrie began more than 40 years of methodical excavation which created an archaeological framework for all the chief periods of Egyptian culture except for remote prehistory Petrie was the initiator of much in archaeological method but he was later surpassed by George Andrew Reisner who excavated for American institutions from 1899 to 1937 The greatest late 19th century Egyptologist was Adolf Erman of Berlin who put the understanding of the Egyptian language on a sound basis and wrote general works that for the first time organized what was known about the earlier periods From the 1890s on complete facsimile copies of Egyptian monuments have been published providing a separate record that becomes more vital as the originals decay The pioneer of this epigraphy was Norman de Garis Davies who was joined in the 1920s by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and other enterprises Many scholars are now engaged in epigraphy In the first half of the 20th century some outstanding archaeological discoveries were made Howard Carter uncovered the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922 Pierre Montet found the tombs of 21st 22nd dynasty kings at Tanis in 1939 44 and W B Emery and L P Kirwan found tombs of the Ballanah culture the 4th through the 6th century AD in Nubia in 1931 34 The last of these was part of the second survey of Lower Nubia in 1929

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