Sat, 17 August 2013
Morality for a New Era.
A new king, Teti, has ascended the throne after marrying Iput, a daughter of Unas. For historians, this is a good point to mark the beginning of the Sixth Dynasty.
Concurrently, we see the rise of a new literary genre: Didactic (Instructional) Literature emerges. The classic author of the period, a Vizier named Ptah-Hotep, dictates his thoughts on moral behaviour and a good life.
The father of Kagemni, also a Vizier, does the same.
Photos below by the author, taken in early February 2013.
From the cemetery around Teti's pyramid, the cenotaph of a Sole Companion, Revered One named Ihy.
Goose, an ox leg and several palm fronds adorn the offering table before him.
The antechamber of Teti's pyramid tomb. Adorning the walls are the Pyramid Texts, lengthy columns of prayers, hymns and offering formulae for the King's venerated soul.
Teti's enormous sarcophagus; it's tall enough that even I (5'10") had to stand on the limestone block at left to see inside.
Miriam Lichtheim. Ma'at in Egyptian Autbiographies and Related Studies. 1992.
Jan Assmann. Ma'at: Gereghtigkeit und Unsterblichkeit im alten Ägypten. 1995.
Mon, 29 July 2013
Djedkare II & Unas the Cannibal.
The last kings of Dynasty V, Djedkare and his son Unas, rule Egypt one after another. In the reign of Unas, we see the appearance of a new form of religious text.
These texts, carved on the walls of the king's tombs, are known as the Pyramid Texts and for Unas, they reveal a complex mythology of union with the gods.
This could be achieved by many means, including cannibalism...
For a vocalisation of the Pyramid Texts of Unas, you can now listen on Youtube! Orlando Mezzabotta, Historian and Youtube poster, has made these works available for free. Thank you, Orlando!
The starving Bedouin of the causeway of Unas' pyramid. Evidence for famine on the frontier?
The Vizier Senedjemib, from his tomb at Giza. Reign of Djedkare. Photo by Dominic Perry.
Wed, 10 July 2013
Djedkare (Part I).
The reigns of Niuserre and Djedkare are notable for the increased visibility of nobles in the state administration. With this new found status comes an increase in the kingdom's literacy rate.
The state administration flourishes, becoming more visible than ever before.
The pyramid of Djedkare at Saqqara.
Wed, 3 July 2013
Niuserre (Part II).
The reign of Niuserre is a time of great achievement and splendour. Outside the royal family, elite families are gaining status and expressing themselves anew.
His short-lived successor, Menkauhor, also appears on the throne. His pyramid may have been rediscovered recently.
Mon, 17 June 2013
Niuserre (Part I).
The reign of Niuserre has begun, and the political landscape is changing with the times. Courtiers with no blood-link to the royal family begin to enter the highest levels of administration.
Ptah-shepses, once a hairdresser, strides up the career ladder, eventually attaining the rank of Vizier.
Ny-ankh-Khnum and Khnum-hotep appear as well; a special pair in an evolving world.
The Mastaba of Ptah-shepses today; off-screen at left is a chamber designed for the burial of a boat.
Ptah-shepses, on a pillar in his tomb.
Ny-ankh-Khnum and Khnum-hotep embrace in their tomb. Photo: Wikipedia.
Mon, 10 June 2013
Sahure, Neferirkare and Raneferef.
The long reign of Sahure now draws to a close, and his son Neferirkare Kakai takes the throne.
The wife of Neferirkare, Khentykaus II, wields enormous influence from her position of power.
But...with the Sun Temples playing a major religious role in this period, how much do they clash with the king's authority?
We investigate these institutions and their impact.
Miroslav Verner. Abusir III: the Pyramid of Khentykaus II. 1995.
Paule Posener-Kriéger. Les Archives du Temple Funéraire de Neferirkare Kakai - Les Papyrous d'Abousir. 1976.
Wed, 29 May 2013
Sahure and the Royal Fleet
A new ruler comes to power: Sahure, son of Userkaf.
The new king commissions a magnificent fleet to vist the mysterious land of Punt.
To commemorate the voyage the king decorates his pyramid at Abusir in lavish style.
The organisation of temples gets a look-in.
One of the ships of Sahure's great royal fleet, from the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Tue, 7 May 2013
The Fifth Dynasty Begins.
The end of the Fourth Dynasty comes with the reigns of Shepseskaf and his brother, Userkaf.
These two rulers are guided (or led?) by their mother, Khentykaus I.
We also amend some of our conclusions from the previous episode.
Userkaf, first ruler of the Fifth Dynasty, initiates a significant new institution: the Sun Temple.
The deification of the king proceeds aided by the rise of Osiris.
[Right] The Pyramid of Userkaf, near the Step Pyramid of Djoser [left].
The monuments seen from the north, showing the terrible state of Userkaf's tomb.
Thu, 18 April 2013
Royal Women, Dynasty IV Ends.
The power of the throne is now in the hands of the queen Khentykaus I, a mother of two kings.
Although she may not be a full-fledged king, the queen wields significant power and influence.
Khentykaus I from her tomb at Giza; image from Miroslav Verner's Forgotten Pharaohs, Lost Pyramids.
A seated scribe of the early Fifth Dynasty. Pharaonic-monuments.blogspot.com
Mon, 15 April 2013
Menkaure and the Egyptian Economy
The death of Khafre sees his elder son Menkaure take the throne.
His pyramid, the third and smallest of Giza, reveals the strain on the Egyptian economy.
We discuss the economic nature of the Egyptian state and its relationship to the people.
Menkaure's Triad Statues: Hathor at [our] left, a nome goddess at right.
The Pyramid of Menkaure viewed from the courtyard of his mortuary temple.
The Pyramid of Menkaure, viewed from Khafre's pyramid.
The gash in the side is the remnant of a twelfth century attempt to demolish the pyramid.
Workers struggled for eight months to tear the stones down, but only succeeded in removing these few.
Egyptian building practices win the day!