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Post Info TOPIC: The Curse II


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RE: The Curse II

In Ancient Egypt the King, the Pharaoh, was called the Nisu[t], as well as being referred to as the Pr-aA, meaning "Great House." While the Nisu[t] was a mortal being he or she was also seen as the incarnation of the divine. In this sense the King was perceived as being the "Living Heru," the God Horus manifest on earth. However, because so much of Egyptian religion revolves around the preservation of the universe as it had existed at the moment of manifest creation, known as Tep Zepi, the "first time"(Wisner 2000, 2002.25), the King was also seen as being similar to the Sun God Atum-Ra after he had emerged from the primaeval waters of Nun. Yet, in a similar sense the texts speak of the King as the son of Ra; the direct heir to Ra's title and power (Tyldesley 1996.7-8 and Clark 1959).

As confusing as this may seem, the primary point to be understood here is that the King was considered to be divinity incarnate. As such, it was the King who formed the link between humanity and the Gods/divinity (Bell 1997.181). Thus, theoretically, the Nisu[t] was the primary priest in all of Egypt (Wilkinson 2000.86, Watterson 1998.75, Sauneron 1960.34). On an esoteric level it was the King, as priest, who was responsible for maintaining harmony thus preserving the temporal world generally and Egypt specifically.

Logistically though it was impossible for the King to be in all temples to perform the rites daily. Rather he or she would make visits to various temples. On all other occasions the priesthood of the temples would perform the rites as representatives of the King. Thus like the King, for that moment, they became the link to divine themselves.

As Serge Sauneron explains: "It is in the name and place of the reigning sovereign that the priests of Egypt daily and throughout the land maintain the practice of the divine religion." He continues by explaining that the role of the priesthood was: ". . . to maintain the integrity on earth of the divine presence, in the sanctuary of the temples where this presence has consented to dwell . . . to maintain the universe in the form in which the gods have created it. It is a work of specialists, a task of technicians" (Sauneron 1960.34).

Thus, it becomes clear that it was not the exclusive domain of the King to have contact with the divine. Rather, the practice of the priesthood performing the same duties in the temple indicates that they too had a connection with the Neteru, the Gods. In certain circumstances this same relationship could even extend to private devotee's during prayer. Dr. Geraldine Pinch points out that inscriptions from a Ramessid edifice in Djeser-Akhet show that a visitor referred to himself as "born of the iht cow" suggesting a relationship with Hwt-Hrw (the Goddess Hathor) that is comparable to that of the King! Dr. Pinch continues explaining that several votive offerings presented to Hwt-Hrw from average people commonly ask for "life, prosperity, and health" which are the equivalent of the qualities bestowed upon the King by Hwt-Hrw (Pinch 1993.177-178).



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To understand the development of kingship and the belief in the divinity of the pharaoh we need to look at the development of the civilisation in the Nile Valley and compare it to the progress made elsewhere in the world.

Religion and religious ceremony was necessary to hold together the primitive civilisations and cultures that were beginning to form some 7,000 years ago or more. The great fear of the time was death and the blackness that this brought. The promise of life after death for those that believed and followed the ‘true’ teachings was a big incentive to conform.

The country may have been unified under one ruler with one set of laws and a single legal and taxation system but the people would only be unified by a single religion. The various festivals, ceremonies and communal acts of worship were what really brought the people together as a nation.

The Pharaoh was central to Egyptian life. He encompassed both the secular and sacred which to Egyptians were one and the same. He settled legal disputes and led the religious rituals that sustained Egypt. The Pharaoh was not only a god-king but was responsible for holding the balance of ma’at, that was the rule of order over the chaos that was waiting to envelope the world. As long as king and commoner alike honoured the gods and obeyed the laws set down by them the balance was maintained and all would be well. Should the Pharaoh fail all the world would suffer and descend into the unthinkable state of anarchy.

Even the Pharaohs ritual vestments were designed to show his power. The symbols of the gods were the kings tools of office. The crook, to reward the innocent, the flail, to punish the guilty, the dual crown, showing his authority to rule the two-lands, and the Ureaus Cobra or Eye of Ra seeing all that the Pharaoh did, good or evil.

The spirit of Horus, which entered into him at his coronation, was thought to reside within him to guide him along the path of ma’at. Then when he died his spirit was merged with Osiris from where he could guide his successors.

The divine king then could not be deposed unless he lost the favour of the gods in which case he was no longer divine and could be replaced. As the head of the state and of divine origin he was also head of the religion and led the most important religious rites and services. This only served to reinforce his position.

The concepts of divine kingship and immaculate conception were of such importance in Egyptian belief that many of the kings had mammisi built showing their conception by Osiris and the shaping of the new-born by the god Khnum with the goddess Hathor present at his birth.

The concept of divine kingship was central to the continuance of rule and civil order in Egypt. The Pharaoh was seen as the emissary of the gods and life was good as long as the religious rites were performed and ma’at was maintained. The king’s notional strength came from the support of the gods and as long as this was maintained no ill could befall the country. Once this was lost, however, the kingdom was thrown into turmoil until a new strong king, who had the support of the gods, took the throne.

The importance of this was recognised by all the pharaohs up to Roman times and each new king perpetuated the myth of divine conception as a means of legitimising his (and sometimes her) claim to the throne.



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Roles of Queens from Tetisheri to Hatshepsut
The Queens of the 18th Dynasty played very powerful and influential roles. These included; assisting the Pharaoh with his reign, acting in military campaigns and associating themselves with the gods.

Queen Tetisheri came from non-royal parents (pharaohs usually married princesses and frequently including their own sisters, which preserved family unity). She is also considered by some historians a the founder of the 18th Dynasty. Tetisheri was a woman who initiated the tradition of strong and powerful queens which continued throughout the 18th dynasty. It is suggested that she was the wife of Seqenenre Tao 1 and mother of Seqenenre Tao 11.

Tetisheri was given titles and important roles. She is depicted wearing a vulture headdress and carrying a sceptre. She had many buildings; a Mortuary temple, Chapel, Pyramid, house of Tazeser. Her most important role was assisting the Pharaoh. Tetisheri was very long-lived and during this time aided her husband, her son Seqenenre Tao 11 and her grandson Ahmose in their reigns. Indications of her power are that she carried the symbols of a queen and she had much respect from Ahmose, her grandson. Ahmose makes a dedication to her on his stela at Abydos. Her grandson Ahmose, held Tetisheri in high regard, evidence to suggest this is on Ahmose�s limestone stela at abydos where he dedicates her tributes. Also he built a mortuary building because �he so greatly loved her, beyond everything�.

Queen Ahhotep, was the daughter of Queen Tetisheri and perhaps the wife to Seqenenre Tao 11. She had the title of �Gods wife of Amun� and her tomb was situated at Dira-abou-el-Naga. Ahhotep played a major political role during the unsettled years of Hyksos supremacy. She was thought to be the mother of Ahmose, and may have acted as regent during his first years of reign. Evidence to support her relation to Ahmose, is found on the doorway of a temple at Buhen, her name is inscribed. Also on Ahmose�s karnak stela, he suggests that she may have suppressed a rebellion in Upper Egypt during the Hyksos war. Another piece of evidence to support her military role, perhaps �warrior queen� is a pendant plated in god that has three golden flies. It is thought this was the �gold of valour� given as a reward to achievements in military campaigns. Thus many historians conclude, she acted as a �warrior queen�, assisting her pharaoh in his campaigns.

Ahhotep maintained a strong relationship with the gods and was closely associated with Amun-Re. Ahhotep is depicted with many possessions; a bracelet, chains, mirror, axe, dagger and ship. Ahhotep played a political role throughout her term as Queen, she was also buried near the valley of the kings. Evidence about her was found on Ahmoses stela and in her tomb goods.

Queen Ahmose-Nefertiri held many titles including; �Gods wife of Amun�, �Second prophet of Amun�, �Kings daughter�, �Kings sister�, �Divine consort� and �great wife�. It appears she played an important role during her husband (Ahmose�s) reign. She also lived during her son, Amenhotep�s reign where she was closely linked to the cult of Amenhotep 1 where she may have held a high position. Her buildings were, a mortuary temple and tomb. Her relationship with the gods was strong, she was closely associated with Amun and may have held the title of �second prophet of Amun. Overall Ahmose -Nefertiri had a divine status. She was depicted with prominent front teeth, and is often drawn on some scale as king or god. She had an equal status to her husband and was highly respected by her son.

Queen Hatshepsut, assumed the role of co-regent with Thutmose111 after her husband Thutmose 11 passed away, early into his reign. Hatshepsut (who still remained queen) was a vital assistant to the young Thutmose 111, during her 1st to 8th year as co-regent. She later ascended to become the first female Pharaoh.

Hatshepsut would have played may roles including; that of co-regent governing the land, a warrior queen and a religious figure. The role Hatshepsut would have played as a warrior, would have been from her few military campaigns. There is evidence for a northern campaign, in Hatshepsut�s mortuary temple at Deir-el Bahri. The inscription states �her arrow among northeners� this implies she sent a force to attack these �northerners�. There is also a suggestion by the historian Redford that Hatshepsut also campaigned in Nubia. This is supported by a stela erected that refers to Thutmose 111 slaughtering rhinos in Nubia, once a rebellion had stopped. Hatshepsut�s role as a religious figure was extremely important for Egypt to maintain Maat. She had strongly associate herself with all the gods, especially Amun (the State god). Her Punt expedition was undertaken because Amun commanded her to. Hatshepsut was perhaps the greatest queen of the New kingdom, as she accomplished much, before becoming Pharaoh.



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Roles of Amun and the Amun priesthood
Amun and his priesthood has a significant function in relation to the New Kingdom. They acted together to help the Pharaoh and his servants make Egypt a wealthy, powerful and flourishing nation.

Amun was originally the local god, but as his worship spread to Thebes he became identified with the sun god Re, and was later worshipped as Amun-Re. This was also due to the establishment of the Egyptian rule over foreigners because of the Pharaohs successes. Amun gradually played an important political role. The Pharaohs used Amun to claim divine birth right, so they would have legitimacy to take the throne.

Amun was considered to be the true father of the pharaoh and his crowning was the recognition of the son by his father. Amun was the counsellor of the king, who consulted the god's statue either in his sanctuary or during a procession, with the statue answering by voice or a nod. The private use of the oracle by the king in the role of High Priest strengthened the validity of his decisions by giving them the approval of the gods, while the public oracle was a tool in the hands of the priesthood to achieve their political and social aims.

Amun is usually depicted in human form, but was sometimes depicted with a rams head, or actually as a ram. He wore a ceremonial beard, plaited and curved at the end. He also wore a short kilt with an animal tail, and a tall hat with two ostrich feathers; and when he combined with Re, an solar disc was positioned between those feathers. Amun would hold the ankh and a wooden sceptre, these were symbolic of his power.

Amun�s purpose in the new kingdom was to promote nationalism and imperialism. Certain Pharaohs, Thutmose11 and Thutmose 111 both attributed their victories in battle to Amun�s support. Evidence to uphold these claims comes from the Aswan inscription and Konossos inscription. In turn Amun would reciprocate, and grant the Pharaohs divine sanction. Amun�s divine sanction was important as it functioned as incentive for the common to be confident soldiers during their battles.

The temple at Karnak became the centre of Egyptian's national religion during the New Kingdom. This temple had giant gateways, many open courts and a sanctuary to the gods. This complex was increasingly important during the New kingdom. The wealth gained in victorious campaigns was housed in this complex by the priests. Thutmose 111, the son of Thutmose 11, had grown up in the temple of Amun, first destined for priesthood. Some historians claim that Thutmose 111 was supported by those who feared that a woman (Hatshepsut) couldn't fill the position of king effectively and became involved in the affairs of the army.

The Amun priesthood's role during the New Kingdom was religious and political influence. They had grown considerably in power since the Hyksos domination, their temples were lavished with enormous wealth, power and prestige. The priesthood used legitimacy issues to increase their influence: Thutmose 1, the son of one of Amenhotep's concubines, became king only because of his marriage to the princess Ahmose, daughter of Queen Ahhotep. When Hatshepsut, a daughter of his and Ahmose, survived into adulthood, he was asked to resign in her favour, which he did in front of his court and the priesthood of Amun. Thutmose 11, his son by a concubine who followed him in the list of kings, did so thanks to his marriage to Hatshepsut, the legitimate heiress.

The priesthood also carried out rituals in the Karnak Temple to emphasize the Pharaohs relationship with Amun. The high priest represented the Pharaoh within the temple. He was usually noble, hand picked by the Pharaoh. Although the Pharaoh also had the power to appoint a new high priest. It is also common for the high priest to become vizier; for example Hapusoneb was the First Prophet of Amun who first became administrator of the temple's wealth and the head of all the gods' priests of Upper and Lower Egypt and finally prefect of Thebes and vizier. Also Ptahmose, was high priest during Amenhotep 111�s reign before becoming vizier too.

The high priest was exceptionally influential and wealthy, and also held power over all the other temples and priesthood. The priesthood were a valuable part of the officials for the Pharaoh, as they gave the nation strength to over throw the foreigners (Hyksos) and in doing so brought tributes to gain the gods approval and thus Egypt was prosperous.



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Amenhotep III
He reaped the benefits from the conquests of his predecessor, Thutmose II, Amenhotep II and Thutmose IV. Amenhotep III ruled his empire through diplomacy rather than force. he communicated and exchanged gifts with the great kings of Babylon. Incredible wealth poured into Egypt which enabled him to initiate a great building program. He dedicated vast wealth to the god Amun. Amenhotep II built temples at Karnak and Luxor. It was a time of artistic flowering, court life was fashionable and elegant. He was supported by his great royal wife Tiye who also has an influence on the government of Egypt.

Came from established line of powerful kings, inherited a stable country
Son of Thutmose IV and Queen Mutemweya. Thutmose IV died when Amenhotep was only 12. Mutemweya probably acted as regent. Amenhotep had a close relationship with his mother.
Strong influential queen Tiye, non royal background.
After Amenhotep's accession to throne, part of his coronation ceremony was to marry Tiye. This event has commemorative Scarabs made.
Breasted "This was the first time a Queen's name was inserted into the royal titulary"
Many historians emphasized that marriage scarabs show Tiyes non royal background
Amenhotep honored Tiyes parents by allowing them to be buried in richly endowed tomb in the valley of the kings. Queen Tiye portrayed as having exotic appearance which leads historians to believe her family came from Nubia. Amenhotep was rarely represented without Tiye. She was often depicted on the same level as her husband.
Amenhotep also trusted her imput in state matters. Amenhotep publicly honored Tiye who was described "lady of delight". Year 11 he constructed a pleasure lake for Tiye in her city of Djaruka. It is believed they had 7 children, the heir died and Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) became heir.
EVIDENCE - from the Amarna Letters says Tiye played an active role in diplomatic affairs. Foreign rulers directly wrote to her. When Amenhotep died the Mitanni king wrote to Tiye requesting Egypt and their good relations stay the same indicating respect for Tiye.
Children include; Sitamun, Baketaten, Amenhotep IV
Married numerous foreign princesses

Status of the King
Celebrated 3 jubilees which suggest a long peaceful reign
Shown as sportsman, typical warrior pharaoh despite the lack of wars
Diplomatic marriages hint at Egypt being dominate partner
Presented the pharaohs image was an important task
Image of a warrior pharaoh was the most important. Amenhotep presented himself in reliefs as " Superhuman, all conquering warrior king"
Also focussed on the hunter image as evident from commemorative scarabs. These scarabs portrayed Amenhotep to the world.
In the New kingdom it was important to expand borders, during his reign "extending the borders of Egypt was over". Therefore Amenhotep couldn't present this "warrior pharaoh" image the way his predecessors did.
This is why he exaggerated some campaigns e.g. 5th years raids in southern Egypt were turned into a giant defeat.

Marriage scarabs describe him as "smitter of Asiatics"
Victory tablets in mortuary temple
Stela, first cataract depicts Amenhotep killing Nubians
Therefore, Amenhotep never actually lead an army to smite enemies, but it was important that he keep that image as it maintains maat.

Foreign Policy
International diplomacy was carried out
EVIDENCE- Amarna letters show marriages and contact between kings
It was a relationship between Amenhotep and "brother kings". These treaties of friendship provided for assistance against attack by a third party, but forbade a vassal ruler to support an attack against the king Amenhotep.
Amenhotep III ruled his empire from a position of great advantage. the battles had been won, the treaties and alliances made and the administration of the empire established before he came to throne. His role was to maintain and protect what already existed.
Although there were no military campaigns, Amenhotep maintained an army and forts and garrisons throughout the empire
No more need for war, empire controlled through diplomacy - marriage, letters, gifts
Egypt seems dominant partner, no princesses sent from Egypt
Complacency over foreign affairs - rising of the Hittites
Amenhotep governed his empire through a policy of diplomacy
Communicated by letter to great kings; Mitanni, Babylon
negotiated alliances with rulers
Added foreign princess to royal harem
exchanged gifts with brother kings
Employed highly trusted envoys to travel to east
Lettered were used by vassal princes, extensive flattery, and complaints. This communication negotiated marriages.
Diplomatic marriages were done for two reasons
maintain friendly relations
obtaining luxury goods
Foreign princesses were sent to Egypt with rich dowry. The regular exchange of gifts between kings was also expected. No records suggest Egyptian princesses were given to foreign kings
"Never has the daughter of an Egyptian King been given to anyone."
Harem was the women Amenhotep married for diplomatic reasons, yet this didn't affect Tiyes status. Large sums of gold was handed over from foreign kings. A full harem increased Amenhotep's power and status.
It was not until the end of his reign that the Hittite King Suppiluliumash began to challenge the established balance of power. Future Pharaohs had to deal with the full force of this new conqueror.
Foreign policy bought more foreigners and trade to Egypt. From this Egyptians learned skills of foreign artisans, craft influence from the east.

It appears Amenhotep ran a well governed Egypt. The bureaucracy ran smoothly under the supervision of the viziers, public works were maintained and a massive building program undertaken
Brilliant officials helped maintain the countries status e.g. Ramose, Amenhotep son Hapu. Large numbers of chief officials came from lower Egypt. First part of his reign was in the capital of Memphis the moved to Thebes and officials accompanied him. Vizier Ramose was responsible for the day to day running of the vast palace complex. Scribe of recruits was Amenhotep son of Hapu, who was in charge of all countries manpower. High priest of Amun was Ptahmose he was vizier before becoming high priest.
The influence and wealth of these officials is reflected in the size and richness of their tombs

Established trade/tribute system meant large incoming wealth from western Asia, Nubia, Aegean
His rule provided almost 40 years of peace and at the same time the Egyptians enjoyed the benefits from earlier conquests; taxes, tribute, slaves and labour force.
EVIDENCE from tombs gives an impression of the great prosperity achieved during Amenhotep's reign

Building Program
Amenhotep III's building program, surpassed that of any of his predecessors in both quantity and quality. He began his building program early in his reign.
Shows wealth, power and control to embark on such extensive building programs
Shows dedication to Amun, Thebes and other gods
e.g Karnak pylon, Malkata Palace, Mortuary Temple, Temple of Luxor
Amenhotep III reign was the height of prosperity due to trade and tribute boom. This enabled Amenhotep to develop one of the greatest building programs.
Major features
Enormous size and massive sanctuary
Lavish rich materials
quality in design and workmanship
Temple of Luxor
Regarded as greatest building achievement. Designed by Suti and Hor for Opet festival the temple is built out of sandstone, decorated with gold. The building was unfinished at the end of Amenhotep's reign.
Enormous court
Inner sanctuary, statues of Amun
Reliefs depicting divine birth of Amenhotep III
Third pylon at Karnak
Amenhotep III created great gateways built for the temple of Amun at Karnak. He also built canals from the Nile that were 20 years later covered by Seti and Ramesses

Amenhotep Mortuary Temple
Regarded as being the most impressive temple ever built in western Thebes. Two enormous statues of the king himself stood over the entrance.
EVIDENCE -inscription from the building stela has a description of its splendor and wealth.
Malkata Palace
When he moved his residence from Memphis to Thebes he built a new palace on the west bank of the Nile. It was a vast complex stretching 32 hectares. The buildings were one of three storeys, made from mud brick
Amenhotep emphasized his relationship with the gods to ensure their protection in the next life, he honoured them trough monuments benefactions.

Arts and crafts
High standard of excellence, high quality of materials, and workmanship
shows imagination/beauty
shows peaceful country that allowed for artistic development
New style of art appearing suggests intellectual development, perhaps made possible by peace/prosperity
Amenhotep's reign reached "zenith of magnificence" as the borders secured the kingship could flourish in artistic greatness. There were two forms of art; traditional and naturalism. Naturalism in art appeared in statues, tomb reliefs and jewelry. It was not at exaggerated as the Amarna Period.

Suggestions of problems
No force lead to complacency over foreign affairs and allowed the rise of northern powers
Promotion of the Aten may indicate problems. Aten is a link to earlier kings who has absolute power. Perhaps the power of the Amun priesthood was threatening the kings power. Amenhotep showed devotion to Amun, yet began to promote the sun god Aten "dazzling sun disc". Maybe this was diminish the power of the Amun Priesthood.
Image of Amenhotep as fat, lethargic, while this suggests a prosperous reign, it may not have been the image expected of a Pharaoh.

When Amenhotep III died he took with him an Egypt of political and religious certainties, a state that had regained strength and respect at home and abroad.

Redford "Amenhotep III and the Egypt he ruled never had been, nor would again, in such a position of absolute power in the world"

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