Wed, 3 September 2014
Senuseret I (Part II) and the Teachings of Amenemhat.
In the wake of his father's unexpected murder, Senuseret I ascends the throne as sole ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt. His early years must be spent navigating the transition of power: although this was greatly facilitated by ten years of co-regency, the king must now find his own way.
To strengthen his ethical reputation among the country's elites, Senuseret commissions and publishes The Teachings of Amenemhat. Puporting to be written by the late king, the work promotes the new king's view of his situation and courtly society, with special warnings to trust no one.
Whether the work is full of Senuseret's own ideas, or perhaps composed from teachings given by the late Amenemhat during their co-regency, it is a fascinating piece of Egyptian didactic literature.
An 18th Dynasty copy of the Teachings, written in hieratic.
The pyramid of Amenemhat I at al-Lisht. A modern cemetery in the foreground.
The cartonnage and wood coffin of Hapy-Ankhtyfy, Twelfth Dynasty.
Nakht, a steward for Amenemhat I and Senuseret I. Buried in the cemetery at al-Lisht.
The mummy mask of Khnum-hotep, a Twelfth Dynasty official.
A New Kingdom piece of cartonnage: linen or papyrus coated in plaster, left to set, and then painted.
Tue, 2 September 2014
Senuseret I (Part II) and the Flight of Sinuhe
Egypt is in disarray. King Amenemhat I has been murdered in his bed, slain by his own guards.
Hearing the news, a royal soldier and attendant named Sinuhe panics - with Amenemhat dead, his livelihood has disappeared and his connection to Egyptian society severed.
Sinuhe flees to Byblos, in modern Lebanon. Venturing inland, he meets a chieftain of Yam, and is taken into his service. He prospers, and builds a new life.
But Sinuhe has not escaped trouble, and must face a local warlord in single combat, and then deal with the fallout when Senuseret learns where Sinuhe has fled.
The Egyptian ; now available on Youtube (link)
A papyrus version of Sinuhe's tale, now in the Berlin Museum.
A 19th Dynasty ostracon (decorated shard of limestone or pottery) with a segment of the Tale of Sinuhe.
The journeys of Sinuhe (approximate).
Scott Morschauser. "What made Sinuhe run?" Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt. Vol. 37 (2000): 187-98.
Hans Goedicke. "Sinuhe's Duel." JARCE Vol. 21 (1984): 197-201.
Anthony Spalinger. "Orientations on Sinuhe." Studien zur Altägypischen Kultur. Vol. 25 (1998): 311-39.
Tue, 12 August 2014
Amenemhat I (Part II) and Senuseret I (Part I).
Amenemhat is a man of innovation and change. Having secured his rule over the Two Lands, he establishes a new capital city: Itj-tawy Amenemhat, a.k.a. "Amenemhat seizes the Two Lands." Talk about aggressive branding!
To complement his new city, he commissions a pyramid, the first built in Egypt for nearly two hundred years!
Then, to cap off a career of firsts, Amenemhat appoints his son, Senuseret I, as his co-ruler. This unprecedented position brings with it all the military and administrative power of a King (though perhaps not the spiritual authority). They will rule together, father and son, for nearly ten years!
A statue of Senuseret I, from the Neues Museum in Berlin.
Mon, 28 July 2014
Amenemhat I (Part I).
Amenemhat I, the new ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt, must secure his legitimacy. After his predecessor died without heir, Amenemhat has seized power in a short conflict with two rivals.
To assert his claim to power, he commissions an audacious work of propaganda: The Prophecy of Neferty.
Neferty - a fictional sage of the Fourth Dynasty - prophesieses that Egypt will fall to wrack and ruin. Chaos will reign until a saviour emerges, born in Upper Egypt. His name? Yep, Amenemhat (or "Ameny").
Amenemhat's servant, Khnumhotep I, takes over governorship of Beni Hassan. Here he establishes a local ruling dynasty that will last for many years...
A seated statue of Amenemhat I.
A wall painting from the tomb of Khnumhotep II, son of Khnumhotep I. Beni Hassan, Middle Egypt.
Wed, 25 June 2014
Nebtawyre Montuhotep IV.
"A period in which no king reigned." This was the legacy of Nebtawyre Montuhotep IV, a king doomed to be forgotten.
Why was this king shunted to the side?
We explore the reasons, journeying out into the Wadi Hammamat once more, and then back to a kingdom experiencing the turbulence of a civil war.
Dorothea Arnold. "Amenemhat I and the Early Twelfth Dynasty at Thebes." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Journal 26 (1991).
Sat, 7 June 2014
Sankhkare Montuhotep III.
Led by Henenu, Steward and Chief of the Six Courts of Justice, the expedition's destination is none other than the legendary Punt.
They will trade for myrrh, incense, and gum arabic, and return home victorious.
A head from Thebes, possibly Montuhotep III. From Dorothea Arnold (1991)
Montuhotep III, from the Louvre.
Montuhotep's kingdom and the reach of Henenu's expedition.
Gum Arabic. Wikipedia.
Senegalese traders exchanging gum arabic.
Egyptian papyrus rope, discovered in the Mersa Gawasis. Discover Magazine.
An Egyptian anchor, discovered on the Red Sea coast. Limestone.
Thu, 29 May 2014
After only 45% of voters turned out for elections, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt's interim military leader, is heading for a landslide victory.
Many groups boycotted the election, citing a lack of faith in both major candidates.
Category:general -- posted at: 8:11 AM
Thu, 22 May 2014
Montuhotep II (Part III).
His rule secured, and Egypt united under one ruler, Nebhepetre Montuhotep II is ready for war once more.
Into Nubia, the Eastern Desert, and Palestine, Egyptian troops advance their king's agenda. These wars will bring plunder and captives back into the kingdom, perhaps stimulating greater productivity in a Nile Valley still recovering from the Long Drought and the conflicts between Thebes and Herakleopolis.
The imy-rah mesha "overseer of troops" Intef. Servant of Montuhotep II.
The King is embraced by Montu. British Museum.
Fragments of the decoration at Deir el-Bahari. Navile, The XIth Dynasty Temple, Vol. 1.
(G) a soldier grasps the leg of his foe, ready to strike.
Other fragments of the temple, with scenes of fighting. Navile, Vol. 1.
Nubian warriors of the XIth Dynasty. National Geographic.
Montuhotep's Egyptian kingdom.
Lazlo Török. Between Two Worlds. 2009.
Tue, 6 May 2014
Montuhotep II (Part II).
The Thebans have finally conquered the North, and defeated their rivals - the Herakleopolitan kings.
Now they must deal with an expanded domain and population, with all the administrative headaches those bring. Monuthotep II, the Victorious, begins to re-organise his government and curb the power of provincial officials.
At Deir el-Bahari, the funerary temple is expanded with beautiful statues. Meanwhile, preparations for the war in Nubia continue, aided by the Vizier Dagi and the royal bodyguard, Horus-Hotep.
A colossal statue of Montuhotep II, from Deir el-Bahari. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Two sons (?) of the Vizier Dagi; from his tomb, near Deir el-Bahari.
Cliff-tombs of the XIth Dynasty at Thebes, near Deir el-Bahari (click for larger image).
In the foreground are the remains of a Saite Period (mid-1st Millennium BCE) temple/tomb.
Red arrows indicate the tomb entrances.
At left can be seen Hatshepsut's mortuary temple of Dynasty XVIII.
Herbert E. Winlock. "The Theban Necropolis in the Middle Kingdom." The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures. Vol. 32 (1915).
Fri, 18 April 2014
Montuhotep II (Part I)
The First Intermediate Period is drawing to a close; the Thebans have conquered the North, at last.
Now, Montuhotep II, King of Upper and Lower Egypt, must take a thought for the afterlife. To celebrate his victory, and ensure his immortality, the King expands his Mortuary Temple, now under construction west of Thebes.
The temple at Deir al-Bahari is a fascinating structure, which will influence tomb-builders right up to the legendary Hatshepsut of Dynasty 18.
A stela of King Montuhotep II. The elongated proportions and bright eyes bear all the hallmarks of First Intermediate Period artwork. Louvre Museum of Art.
Queen Kawit. FineArtAmerica.
A stela of Intef II, king of Thebes. Met. Museum of Fine Art.
The Deir el-Bahari monument. AncientEgyptOnline.
Queen Khemsit. Edouard Naville, The XIth Dynasty Temple... Vol. 3, plate 3.
The burial chamber of Montuhotep II.