Tue, 21 October 2014
Senuseret I (Part IV) and the Gold of Nubia.
Gold! Gold! Gold! The driver of empires and warfare since time immemorial. For the Egyptians, gold is a valuable resource to embellish temples and state projects. And Senuseret has a lot of these; you have to get your decorations from somewhere...
Into Nubia, the Eastern Desert and Sinai, Senuseret's soldiers and labourers are led in campaigns to find the precious resources needed to decorate the king's thirty-five different building projects in various parts of the Nile Valley.
Some of the major sites of this episode. (Wikipedia.org).
Negotiating the Second Cataract.
Nubian fortresses, from the JIAAW (Brown.edu).
Thu, 2 October 2014
Senuseret I (Part III) and Karnak Temple.
The building projects of Senuseret I were the most widespread and splendid of any ruler since the Old Kingdom. Buildings up and down the Nile valley were begun under his rule, including monuments at Karnak, Heliopolis and Elephantine.
The king's pyramid at al-Lisht attempted an innovative building method, with mixed success.
The White Chapel of Senuseret I at Karnak. Re-assembled in the modern era.
Senuseret before Min. White Chapel.
The exquisite carvings of the White Chapel. Senuseret receiving life from Re.
Digital reconstruction of the White Chapel, by the UCLA Digital Karnak Project.
Digital reconstruction of the Amun Temple of Senuseret. By the UCLA Digital Karnak Project.
(More images of the White Chapel can be found here - Flickr User: Kairoinfo4u)
Part of the Satet Temple at Elephantine; this section dates from long after the Middle Kingdom. (Photo: Dominic Perry, 2008).
Part of the Satet Temple looking East; nearby to this was a deep pit used to measure the Inundation, for which Satet was partly responsible. (Photo: Dominic Perry, 2008).
Part of the Satet temple, with modern tourists (my colleagues). (Photo: Dominic Perry, 2008).
The Obelisk of Senuseret I at Heliopolis. Originally one of two, they it flanked the entrance to a temple for Atum-Re.
Close-up of the same.
The king's pyramid at al-Lisht. Badly denuded, its burial chamber remains submerged in groundwater. (Image: Wikipedia)
The internal masonry of the pyramid, showing the sixteen cells that strengthened the pyramid's core. (Image: Wikipedia).
The original layout of the king's pyramid complex. Satellite pyramids now mostly destroyed. (Image: Wikipedia)
A polished shell decorated with the nomen of Senuseret. Digitalegypt.ac.uk.
Wed, 17 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 I) 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 Son.
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) and Neferty's Prophecy.
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.
Thu, 26 June 2014
Nebtawyre Montuhotep IV the Invisible.
"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).
Sun, 8 June 2014
Sankhkare Montuhotep III and Punt.
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: 8:11pm +12
Thu, 22 May 2014
Montuhotep II (Part III) and Nubia.
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.
Egyptian soldiers attack a fortified town, from the tomb of Intef at Thebes. 11th Dynasty (Brown.edu).
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.