EGYPT-Study Guide de Beaufort
Fragmentary head of Senuret III.
Hatshepsut with offering jars, from the upper court of her mortuary temple, Deir el-Bahri.
Temple of Horus, Edfu.
Mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, Deir el-Bahri.
Temple of Ramses II, Abu Simbel.
Interior of the temple of Ramses II, Abu Simbel.
Senmut with Princess Nefrua, from Thebes.
Seated scribe, from Saqqara.
Fowling scene, from the tomb of Nebamun, Thebes.
Interior hall of the rock-cut tomb of Amenemhet, Beni Hasan,.
Akhenaton, from the temple of Aton, Karnak.
Nefertiti, from Amarna.
Palette of King Narmer, from Hierakonpolis.
Akhenaton, Nefertiti, and three daughters, from Amarna.
Death mask of Tutankhamen, from the innermost coffin in his tomb at Thebes.
Stepped Pyramid and mortuary precinct of Djoser, Saqqara.
Menkaure and Khamerernebty(?), from Gizeh.
Great Pyramids, Gizeh.
Egypt: A much more stable and hierarchical entity than Mesopotamia.
Civilization lasted roughly 2500-3000 years.
Predynastic and Early Dynastic
ca. 3500—2686 BCE
ca. 2686 BCE – 2181 BCE
ca. 2055—1650 BCE
ca. 1550—1069 BCE
Egyptian High Priest of the 3rd Century BCE
Chronicled Egyptian history
Recorded “Dynasties” in Greek
A “Dynasty” is a succession of Pharaohs from the same family
Roughly 30 Dynasties total
Upper and Lower Egypt
Before 3100 BC, the regions were divided into two parts of the Nile
Lower Egypt: the part from the Nile Delta to Memphis; it was lower in the sense that it
was the terminus of the Nile. Lower in Elevation.
Upper Egypt: All points along the river south of Memphis to Nubia, a separate kingdom.
Beyond Nubia is Kush and then Punt
The Nile Valley
The Nile has a regular pattern of rainfall, which floods the banks of the river every spring
and summer from the rainy season further south in the Sudan and East Africa.Flooding
was more regular and predictable than the Tigris and Euphrates in Mesopotamia.
Soil at either side was fertile because of the flooding.
Egypt also had precious metals (copper), and stone that was useful both for tools and
Aswan High Dam-1970
Peoples of the Nile
The population itself was uniform, similar languages and culture.
Stability was facilitated by its relative isolation (impassable desert on all sides), an
advantage that Mesopotamia lacked.
Thus, for 3,000 years, the political, religious, and cultural areas was uniform from the
south to the delta.
Gods of Egypt
(aka, Re, Ra and Aten) the god of the sun. He is also depicted as a scarab beetle
who emerges in the morning.
the god of the solar disk (depicted by the disk of the sun)
Mother, wife, daughter of Ra
God of the Underworld
Set or Seth
God of chaos, storms and violence; brother of Osiris who murders him
Wife of Osiris, goddess of fertility
Son of Osiris and Isis: God of the sky.
God of the scribes, Lord of Language and inventor of writing.
the god of embalmers and cemeteries (depicted as a jackal)
the god of the Nile
Goddess of truth and the universal order; wife of Thoth
She wore an ostrich feather
Judges awarded the feather to the winner of a case
Her feather was used on the scales of judgment of the dead
Egypt, as in many civilizations, was a theocracy, government by the priests
The Pharaoh was a god; god’s will flowed through him.
Order vs. Chaos
Many authorities, have argued that order was the highest value in Egyptian theology.
Egyptians saw order as being in constant tension with the deeply dreaded “chaos.”
Horus vs. Seth
Cult of the Dead/Afterlife
At death, the pharaoh was prepared for a life of eternity
A detailed and complex ten-week embalming procedure was strictly adhered to in order
to ensure safe passage to the afterlife.
Pyramids themselves were constructed solely for entombment of the pharaoh; they were
not used for ritual or any other purpose.
Conceptions of Death and the Soul
Death was the doorway to a new life..but the body had to be preserved for this to occur.
Ka: the dead person’s “vital essence” that it housed, enabled the body to enjoy l ife in
the afterlife as in the earthly life
Upraised arms above head symbolized the ka
A surrogate could act as substitute for body this could be a sculpture or even a
Book of the Dead
The Tibetan Book of the Dead describes the journey of the soul between one life and
the next; judgment based on karma
The Egyptian Book of the Dead prepares the soul for judgment.
Here, Horus balances the heart against the feather of Ma’at
If the heart outweighs the feather, the animal to the right will devour the judged
“Eye of Horus”
Ward off evil, promote re-birth
Spells ensured return of the heart to its rightful owner.
The “dung” beetle
Writing system in which
Pictorial symbols (ideograms) are used to convey particular sound, object, and/or idea.
The Rosetta Stone
Disc. 1799- Napoleon
Unlocked the mysteries of Egypt
2) Demotic (late Egyptian)
A decree by priests of Memphis honoring Ptolomey V
Ca. 196 BCE
Deduced the hieroglyphs were related to spoken Coptic, and broke the code.
There is some indication that early hieroglyphs were more important for recording rule
and kinship than they were for economic transactions
Over time, hieroglyphic writing became more and more complex
Writing was reserved for the scribes, ranked third below the pharaoh and priests
A “Cursive” form of Hieroglyph
Read up to down/left to right
Predynastic and Early Dynastic
Palette of Narmer
Ca. 3500—2686 BCE
A decorative “palette” for eye makeup
Unification of Egypt
After the conquest attributed to Menes, or Narmer,the region was united into one empire
Narmer was the first pharaoh of a family dynasty of 33 generations
Symbolism: a boxy Red Crown (Lower Egypt) with a curlicue;
And a White Crown (Upper Egypt)
After Narmer’s conquest, he wore a Double Crown to symbolize the unification of the two
Egypt’s (lower right)
The Symbolism of the Union—And Defeat of Upper Egypt
To the right, Narmer (wearing white crown) subdues a captive
Hieroglyph at top writes out Narmer’s name
God Horus (protector of all Kings) holds the captive by a feather
Papyrus blossoms symbolize Lower Egypt
To the left, two long-necked lions are entwined, suggesting union), with lion tamers on
There are the decapitated warriors in defeat
At the bottom is a bull symbolizing royal power
The mastaba was the standard type of tomb in pre-dynastic and early dynastic Egypt for
both for the Pharaoh and the social elite.
Serdab-room & chapel for effigy (statue or likeness of the deceased)
Section (top), plan (center),and restored view (bottom) of typical Egyptian mastaba
Stepped Pyramid and mortuary precinct of Djoser
Sed Festival “Jubilee” to celebrate continuation of rule.
First known artist or architect in history
Deified as a God after death.
The Old Kingdom
ca. 2686 BCE – 2181 BCE
Snefru (father of Khufu)
As the name suggests, the angle of the inclination changes from 55° to about 43°
in the upper levels of the pyramid. It is likely that the pyramid initially was not
designed to be built this way, but was modified during construction due to
unstable accretion layers. As a means of stabilising the monolith, the top layers
were laid horizontally, marking the abandonment of the step pyramid concept
Great Pyramids, Gizeh, Egypt.
Pyramids of Menkaure, ca. 2490–2472 BCE; Khafre, ca. 2520–2494 BCE; and Khufu, ca.
Khufu: Oldest and largest: 775’ long, 480’ high, 13 acre area
West of the Nile
Sides oriented to the cardinal points( NSEW)
Temples faced East (rising sun)
Solid limestone masonry
2.3 million blocks of stone
Each weighs 2.5 tons
Eternal resting place for Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure
“Stairway” to sun
Based on the ben-ben pyramidal shaped stone
Pure white limestone casing stones with gold apex (electrum)
Benben or Ben-ben, in Egyptian mythology, specifically in the Heliopolitan
tradition, was the mound that arose from the primordial waters, Nu, and on which
the creator god Atum settled.
In the Pyramid Texts, e.g. Atum himself is at times referred to as "mound". It was
said to have turned into a small pyramid, located in Annu, which was the place
Atum was said to dwell within.
Relied on seasonal labor force (Nile flooding)
Paid workers (average citizens) NOT slaves
It took 20,000- 30,000 workers 23 years to build a pyramid.
An abode for the Ka
Intertwined lotus and papyrus- united Egypt
How is Kingship shown?
suppression of movement
Ideal not Real
Menkaure and Khamerernebty(?),
Shows the formalism of Egyptian sculpture
Clenched fists, rigid stance, left foot forward, and beard and headdress of the Pharaoh
Supportive stance of wife; hand around waist and on arm
Relief or sculpture in the round?
The Egyptian Canon of Proportions was maintained over many centuries through the
medium of the artist's grid, in which the different parts of the human body corresponded
to different squares in the grid. This grid system was not merely a copying device which
made it possible to render a particular scene on any chosen scale, but rather a complete
system of proportions by means of which the human figure could in theory be correctly
COLLAPSE OF THE OLD KINGDOM
After the reigns of Userkaf and Sahure, civil wars arose as the powerful nomarchs
(regional governors) no longer belonged to the royal family. The worsening civil conflict
undermined unity and energetic government and also caused famines. Additionally,
massive building projects of the Fourth Dynasty had exceeded the capacity of the
treasury and populace. The final blow was a severe drought in the region that resulted in
a drastic drop in precipitation between 2200 and 2150 BCE, which in turn prevented the
normal flooding of the Nile The result was the collapse of the Old Kingdom followed by
decades of famine and strife.
An important inscription on the tomb of Ankhtifi, a nomarch during the early First Intermediate
Period, describes the pitiful state of the country when famine stalked the land.
"The whole of Upper Egypt died of hunger and each individual had reached such a state
of hunger that he ate his own children. But I refused to see anyone die of hunger and
gave to the north grain of Upper Egypt. And I do not think that anything like this has been
done by the provincial governors who came before me....I brought life to the provinces of
Hierakonpolis and Edfu, Elephantine and Ombos!"
FIRST INTERMEDIATE PERIOD
The First Intermediate Period, often described as a “dark period” in ancient Egyptian
history, spanned approximately one hundred years after the end of the Old Kingdom from
ca. 2181-2055 BCE. The end of the First Intermediate Period is placed at the time when
Mentuhotep II of the eleventh dynasty defeats the kings of Lower Egypt and reunites
Egypt under a single ruler. This act helps usher in a period of great wealth and prosperity,
known as the Middle Kingdom.
• Thebes of Upper Egypt rises in prominence
• Pharaohs made fewer claims to divinity, more “approachable” than past pharaohs and
• Increased efficiency
• Expanded irrigation systems
• Stockpiled granaries
• Expanded overseas trade
• Secured Egypt’s borders
• Effectiveness of leadership still relied on personal attributes
• Also no more Pyramids
Statue head of Senusret III
Unprecedented realism-heavy eyes and brooding expression
Large ears in other works show a king who is “listening to the people”
There are 39 ancient tombs here of Middle Kingdom nomarchs
Two distinct cemeteries here: the upper range and the lower necropolis- each associated
with the different levels of resources available to the deceased.
SECOND INTERMEDIATE PERIOD
Succession disputes erupted
Thousands of Asians (Hyksos) invaded Lower Egypt
Divided again into Upper and Lower Egypt
Lower Egypt under traditional pharaohs
Upper Egypt under Hyksos
Hyksos introduced new technology :
Ahmose the Liberator created militaristic state
Egypt attempts to create a buffer between the Levant and Egypt, and attained its greatest
territorial extent. They also expanded far south into Nubia and hold wide territories in the
Near East where Egyptian armies fought Hittite armies for control of modern-day Syria.
Hatshepsut 1473-1458 BCE
From Regent for Thutmose III (too young) to Pharaoh.
Thutmose III never forgave.
“Foremost of Noble Ladies” was the fifth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient
Egypt. She is generally regarded by Egyptologists as one of the most successful
Hatshepsut re-established the trade networks that had been disrupted during the
Hyksos occupation of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period and oversaw
the preparations and funding for a mission to the Land of Punt. Egyptians
returned from the voyage bearing thirty-one live myrrh trees, the roots of which
were carefully kept in baskets for the duration of the voyage. This was the first
recorded attempt to transplant foreign trees. It is reported that Hatshepsut had
these trees planted in the courts of her Deir el Bahri mortuary temple complex.
She had the expedition commemorated in relief at Deir el-Bahri, which also is
famous for its realistic depiction of the Queen of the Land of Punt, Queen Iti, who
appears to have had a genetic trait called steatopygia.
Designed by Senemut (possible lover), the building is an example of perfect
symmetry that predates the Parthenon, and it was the first complex built on the
site she chose, which would become the Valley of the Kings. Hatshepsut was
one of the most prolific builders in ancient Egypt, commissioning hundreds of
construction projects throughout both Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, that were
grander and more numerous than those of any of her Middle Kingdom
predecessors. Later pharaohs attempted to claim some of her projects as theirs.
Pharaoh as Woman/Man
To deal with the problem of being a female king, she emphasized that she was
daughter of Thutmose I. She also traced her lineage to Mut, a primal mother
goddess of the Egyptian pantheon, which gave her another ancestor who was a
deity as well as her father and grandfathers.
While Hatshepsut was depicted in official art wearing regalia of a pharaoh, such
as the false beard that male pharaohs also wore, it is most unlikely that she ever
wore such ceremonial decorations, just as it is unlikely that the male pharaohs
did. Statues depicting her seated wearing a tight-fitting dress and the nemes
crown, are thought to be a more accurate representation of how she would have
presented herself at court.
Erased by Thutmose III
Toward the end of the reign of Thutmose III and into the reign of his son, an
attempt was made to remove Hatshepsut from certain historical and pharaonic
records. This elimination was carried out in the most literal way possible. Her
cartouches and images were chiselled off some stone walls, leaving very obvious
Hatshepsut-shaped gaps in the artwork.
Ramses II1279 BC – 1213 BC
He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh
66 year rule, very tall (for Egyptian), lived to age 90
Ramses II was also famed for the huge number of children he sired by his various wives
and concubines; the tomb he built for his sons, many of whom he outlived, in the Valley
of the Kings has proven to be the largest funerary complex in Egypt.
The Battle of Kadesh.
Rameses sought to recover territories in the Levant that had been held by the 18th
Dynasty. His campaigns of reconquest culminated in the Battle of Kadesh, where he led
Egyptian armies against those of the Hittite king Muwatalli II and was caught in history's
first recorded military ambush but Ramses was able to rally his troops and turn the tide of
battle against the Hittites thanks to the arrival of the re-enforcements The outcome of the
battle was undecided with both sides claiming victory at their home front, ultimately
resulting in a peace treaty between the two nations.
Ramses x 4
65 feet high
Queen Nefertari at his feet
Commemorate battle of Kadesh and intimidate the Nubians
Ramses as Osiris
1st day of summer rays of light enter the deepest part of the tomb
Atlantid: Male statue used as a column
No load-bearing function, 32 feet tall
New Kingdom Pylon Temples
Karnak, Temple of Amen Re
Tomb of Nebamun
• Nebamun: scribe and counter of grain
• Recreation in eternal afterlife
• Fresco Secco: dry fresco wet pant on a dry surface
Musicians and Dancers
Profile view=lesser status
Nude Belly dancers: sensual: meaning?
Fertility, Rebirth and regeneration
Conquest of death
During the New Kingdom the priesthood of Amen had become more powerful than the
Monotheism: Aton the sun God represented as a sun disk not human or animal form
Akhenaton forms new religious order, he is the sun and sole prophet of God
Changes in politics were reflected by changes in artistic style
One of the best-known 18th Dynasty pharaohs is Amenhotep IV, who changed his name
to Akhenaten in honor of the Aten and whose exclusive worship of the Aten is often
interpreted as history's first instance of monotheism. Akhenaten's religious fervor is cited
as the reason why he was subsequently written out of Egyptian history. Under his reign,
in the 14th century BC, Egyptian art flourished and attained an unprecedented level of
Towards the end of the 18th Dynasty, the situation had changed radically. Aided by
Akhenaten's apparent lack of interest in international affairs, the Hittites had gradually
extended their influence into Phoenicia and Canaan to become a major power in
international politics—a power that both Seti I and his son Ramses II would need to deal
with during the 19th dynasty.
Ramses was the pharaoh most responsible for erasing the Amarna Period from history
He, more than any other pharaoh, sought deliberately to deface the Amarna monuments
and change the nature of the religious structure and the structure of the priesthood, in
order to try to bring it back to where it had been prior to the reign of Akhenaten
Formerly Amenhotep IV
Starts new religion with ONE god
Moves capital to Amarna, builds brand new city (Akhetaten)
Androgynous: (having male and female qualities)
Sexless sun disk-a manifestation of ATON OR a product of geneology?
Frontal pose, Curving contours
Long face, full lips, heavy eyelids, dreamy expression
Misshapen body, Narrow waist, Protruding belly, Wide hips, fat thighs
Unusual familial intimacy
(1070 BC-30 BC)
A period of political weakness
Attacks from Nubians to south (controlled Egypt during 8th Century BC
Invasions by Assyrians and Persians
Alexander the Great takes over Egypt in 332 BC—rule by Ptolemy I and his successors
Roman conquest in 30 BC