Ancient Art Antiquities

Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters

Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters
Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters
Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters
Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters
Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters
Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters
Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters
Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters
Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters
Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters
Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters

Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters    Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters

Royal Women of Amarna: Images of Beauty from Ancient Egypt by Dorothea Arnold. NOTE : We have 75,000 books in our library, almost 10,000 different titles.

Odds are we have other copies of this same title in varying conditions, some less expensive, some better condition. We might also have different editions as well (some paperback, some hardcover, oftentimes international editions). Were happy to send you a summary of the differing conditions and prices we may have for the same title. DESCRIPTION: Oversized hardcover with dustjacket.

Publisher : Metropolitan Museum of Art (1996). Size : 11½ x 9 x 1 inch; 2½ pounds. The pharaoh Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten, founder of the world's first known monotheistic religion, devoted his life and the resources of his kingdom to the worship of the Aten (a deity symbolized by the sun disk) and thus profoundly affected history and the history of art. The move to a new capital, Akhenaten/Amarna, brought essential changes in the depictions of royal women.

It was in their female imagery, above all, that the artists of Amarna departed from the traditional iconic representations to emphasize the individual, the natural, in a way unprecedented in Egyptian art. A picture of exceptional intimacy emerges from the sculptures and reliefs of the Amarna Period.

Akhenaten, his wife Nefertiti, and their six daughters are seen in emotional interdependence even as they participate in cult rituals. The female principle is emphasized in astonishing images: the aging Queen Mother Tiye, the mysterious Kiya, and Nefertiti, whose painted limestone bust in Berlin is the best-known work from ancient Egypt - perhaps from all antiquity. The workshop of the sculptor Thutmose - one of the few artists of the period whose name is known to us - revealed a treasure trove when it was excavated in 1912. An entire creative process is traced through an examination of the work of Thutmose and his assistants, who lived in a highly structured environment. All was left behind when Amarna was abandoned after the death of Akhenaten and the return to religious orthodoxy.

Metropolitan Museum of Art (1996) 190 pages. Inside the book is pristine. The pages are clean, crisp, unmarked, unmutilated, tightly bound, unambiguously unread, though I would hasten to add that of course it is possible that the book has been flipped through a few times while in the bookstore.

From our inspection I would guess that it's possible someone may have flipped through the first dozen pages while the book was on the shelf offered for sale. There's no indication of the book ever having been "read", it just feels as if someone may have flipped through the first few pages - which is always a possibility with any book which traversed normal retail distribution channels. Notwithstanding the possibility that the book may have been flipped through once or twice while in the bookstore by "lookie-loo's", the condition of the book is entirely consistent with a new book from an open-shelf bookstore environment such as Barnes & Noble, Borders, or B.

PLEASE SEE DESCRIPTIONS AND IMAGES BELOW FOR DETAILED REVIEWS AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK. PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW. During the reign of Amenhotep IV, also known as Akhenaten, Egyptian art saw a brief flowering of expressive, intimate images. This period is especially interesting because many well-preserved pieces exist, including portraits of Queen Nefertiti and her six daughters. The book traces the evolution of the elegant image of Nefertiti during the reign of Akhenaten, as well as the representations of her children, which are remarkable for their sensuous and youthful eroticism. Other depictions of royal women from the court at Amarna include a delicately carved bust of a princess that shows a close affinity to works of art from the tomb of Tutankhamun. Many of the pieces came from the workshop of Tuthmose, sculptor to the king and one of the few artists of Ancient Egypt whose name is known.

REVIEW : Exhibition catalogue for an exhibition running from Oct. 2, 1997 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Includes bibliographical references and index. REVIEW : Dorothea Arnold, Lila Acheson Wallace curator in charge of the Department of Egyptian Art at the Metropolitan Museum, has provided a landmark art-historical exploration of a period when the confluence of religion, art, and politics resulted in a unique epoch. Allen, associate curator, Department of Egyptian Art, has elucidated this revolutionary era in the history of religion, a time when the governing principle of life was a "sole god, with no other except him, " light itself.

In her brief biographical summaries, the Egyptologist Lyn Green, lecturer at Scarborough College, the University of Toronto, places the royal women of Amarna in genealogical context. REVIEW : Dorothea Arnold is Lila Acheson Wallace Curator in Charge of the Department of Egyptian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

She is the co-author of" The Royal Women of Amarna: Images of Beauty from Ancient Egypt "and editor of "Ancient Art from the Shumei Family Collection, " both published by the Museum. REVIEW : Dorothea Arnold is Lila Acheson Wallace curator, Department of Egyptian Art, The Metropolitan Museum, New York.

Allen is Associate Curator, Department of Egyptian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Lyn Green is Lecturer, Scarborough College, University of Toronto. Genealogy: The Royal Family of Amarna. The Religion of Amarna by James P. The Royal Women of Amarna: Who Was Who by L.

An Artistic Revolution: The Early Years of King Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) by Dorothea Arnold. The Workshop of the Sculptor Thutmose by Dorothea Arnold. Aspects of the Royal Female Image During the Amarna Period by Dorothea Arnold.

Youth and Old Age: The Post-Amarna Period by Dorothea Arnold. REVIEW : An introduction and guide to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's exhibition titled "Queen Nefertiti and the Royal Women: Images of Beauty from Ancient Egypt". The author explores the dramatic artistic revolution which took place during the 17-year reign of the Pharaoh Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten ca. 1353- 1335 BC during which time these fine images of Queen Nefertiti and other royal women, including Nefertiti's six daughters, were created. Includes a chronological chart of the Amarna period, a genealogy of the royal family, and a checklist of works on exhibit. REVIEW : This lavishly illustrated book should appeal to many different audiences... The volume easily stands independent as an accessible source of basic background and current scholarship on the period. REVIEW : "Royal Women of Amarna" portrays not only some of the most beautiful pieces created by any craftsmen of the ancient world with both text and fabulous plates, but also the personalities of the women who inspired such timeless masterpieces. This work is more than a mere collection of museum pieces; it tells the tale of every known Queen and princess of the period, spanning from the reign of Amenhotep III to that of his son Akhenaten, even those princesses who are attested by name only in the historical record.

The possible reasons for the prominence of females during this period are examined, as well as the symbolism embedded in the art: a personal fascination for me was the theory that the shape of Nefertiti's blue crown is based on the hairstyle worn by women about to give birth, stressing both her fertility and her link to Tefnut. Whilst examining the women who made up a great part of his life, the book also gives some insight and wonderful, suggestive hints towards the personality of Akhenaten, himself.

Again, the plates are the best one could ever hope for, making each piece seem tangible to those who have never seen them first hand(including myself) but plan to (including myself:), and the book would be worth purchasing for them alone if the text were not just as compelling. "The Royal Women of Amarna" is a must for any Amarna bookshelf and works of the late, great Cyril Aldred should find no shame in sharing company with them. REVIEW : A lovely book full of art from the Eighteenth dynasty, lots of photographs and essays.

Catalog from the Metropolitan Museum's exhibition, this is worth the price and time to find it. REVIEW : For an exhibition accompaniment this is an excellent book with many very high quality images - some in color; some in black and white.

It is getting hard to find so probably time to grab one if you find a copy. If you love Ancient Egypts 18th Dynasty, you will love this book!

Amarna and Aten : The ancient Egyptians aren't really known as a radical bunch. They had a good thing going, and they stuck with it. That's what built the pyramids, and that's what kept the Egyptian empire intact for the better part of 3,000 years. Amarna, then, is a little episode that one suspects the Egyptians happily would have swept under the rug. They did, in fact, until 100 years ago.

That's when Egyptologists began piecing together the upheaval that led to the founding of the city of Amarna. The 250 artworks and artifacts included in "Pharaohs of the Sun: Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Tutankhamen" shed some light on what scholars know. The exhibition opens Sunday at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, after drawing more than 200,000 visitors in Boston.

At the heart of the Amarna experiment is the pharaoh Akhenaten, who is still the subject of much debate (see story at right). But one thing is for certain: For the 17 years he was in charge, things were really different in Egypt. Back around 1400 BC, Egypt was at the height of its imperial power.

The religion was polytheistic; armchair Egyptologists may recall Osiris, Ra and Ptah, though local or household gods were worshiped as well. The god Amen had been elevated to a national deity and had a particularly powerful priesthood. Change was brewing by about 1360 BC, when a pharaoh named Amenhotep III declared himself a god while he was still alive, even though pharaohs typically weren't deified until their death. Then, Amenhotep IV, around 1353 BC, decided everyone should worship Aten, a god represented as the sun's disk and the god most closely associated with the pharaohs. Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten, meaning one who is effective for Aten.

He outlawed Amen and banished Amen's high priest to the quarries. Then he moved 175 miles north and built a brand-new city on the Nile dedicated to Aten. Originally called Akhetaten ("Horizon of Aten"), it is now referred to as Amarna, the name of a nearby village. "We don't have every bit of writing, so we have to piece the history together, " said Egyptologist Nancy Thomas, LACMA's deputy director of curatorial affairs. But indications are that Akhenaten chose to worship the Aten, and to achieve that he had to relocate everything.

All the temples in Thebes were dedicated to other gods. So he needed to build new temples and start over. In a very short time, Amarna housed an estimated 20,000 people or more. "It's like GM moving to a new site, " Thomas said.

Everyone sort of had to follow the royal court. Earlier museum shows have explored facets of Amarna.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for instance, curated "The Royal Women of Amarna" in 1997. Others have focused on Tutankhamen or Akhenaten specifically. "Pharaohs of the Sun, " curated by Rita Freed of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, takes the largest possible view. "It's very rare that you have an exhibition that tries to tell the whole story, " said Yvonne Markowitz, a researcher at the Boston museum who worked on the exhibition.

We have these two big aspects: the personalities--which don't always stand out so uniquely in Egyptian history--and the city. We know a lot about the city because it was abandoned, and it wasn't a continued area of settlement. Usually people build on top and top and top, Markowitz said. Excavators were able to go back to the city and look at the layout.

Border markers were carved into the cliffs looming on either side of the Nile. Below lay a highly structured and symbolically designed city. On the eastern bank were the buildings, including the Great Temple, which covered 1.8 million square feet.

"Pharaohs of the Sun" includes a scale model of Amarna and aerial photographs of the excavation. Barry Kemp, the archeologist currently working at the site, was a consultant on the model and provided details from discoveries made just last year. The temples in Amarna were markedly different. Traditional temples had a series of chambers leading to a holy--and darkened--center where the carved statues of the gods were kept.

Because the god Aten was the sun-disk, the temples dedicated to him had no roof, so the sun's rays could shine in. All these new temples, tombs and palaces meant lots of new art.

Concurrent with the religious changes--or perhaps, as with the temples, because of them--there was a dramatic shift in artistic style. The stiff, square-shouldered physiques became softened, in some cases even paunchy. Some facial features became more naturalistic--but also more stylized.

Two colossal statues of Akhenaten, each about 7 feet tall, are particularly striking examples. "You can't help but say this is a very odd physique, " Markowitz said. There's a tendency to say,'What would make someone look this way? I think it's responding to some kind of inner psychological or spiritual motive, trying to express something different from the past. Amarna and Atenism : In the Ancient Egyptian World men and women did not share equality in terms of their status in society. This is perhaps the reason as to why Nefertiti is admired, respected and remembered due to her sharing status and authority with her husband, Akhenaten. In the fourth year of Akhenaten's reign, Nefertiti and himself moved the capital of Thebes to Amarna, not only did the royal couple move the capital of the country but they also changed the religious tradition of polytheism (belief in multiple gods) to monotheism (belief in one god). The one god they chose to solely worship was the sun god, The Aten also known as the Sun Disc. Once all these changes had been made to the religious life of Egypt, Akhenaten officially changed his name to Akhenaten and Nefertiti was now known as Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti.

The changing of her name was a sign of the ever-increasing importance of the cult of the Aten. This radical religious revolution increased the amount of power that Nefertiti was associated with, she was heavily involved in not only religious but also political issues, her role as a royal queen and wife of a pharaoh increased significantly when the religious revolution occurred. Because of the royal family status, Nefertiti and her children would have lived in the Great Royal Palace in the centre of the city and perhaps also at the Northern Palace as well. Herself and the family were featured prominently in scenes at both of the palaces that they resided in and in the tombs of the nobles. Because she is shown so prominently this indicates the effect of her leadership.

The fact that Nefertiti has her own official to keep the household intact suggests that she had a demanding role. During the reign of her husband, Akhenaten, Nefertiti was given unprecedented rule, authority and power. The Coregency Stela is seven piece stela fragments made from limestone found in a tomb at Amarna, the stela shows the figures of Akhenaten, Nefertiti and Meritaten. On the Coregency Stela it shows Nefertiti as a co-regent with her husband. The excavations at Amarna have established conclusively that Nefertiti was eclipsed as the dominant figure beside her husband at the time after the twelfth year of his reign and is plausible she may have been given the status of co-regent, equal in status to the pharaoh.

Nefertiti was a full partner in the religious reformation, in many depictions she is shown with Akhenaten worshipping the Aten. She was involved in all the functions associated with religious and political issues.

In one scene she is shown killing the enemies of Egypt, this was usually the role of a Pharaoh, thus giving more evidence that her authority and status was equal to the pharaoh. The royal women of Amarna played a large and needed role in royal and religious functions, always represented being powerful. Tiye and Nefertiti were the most prominent and significant women in the Amarna period. Amarna : Analysis of remains from a cemetery at the city of Amarna is painting an unsettling picture of the reign of the famously monotheistic pharaoh Akhenaten. C, Akhenaten rejected the traditional pantheon of Egyptian gods and moved his capital to Amarna, some 200 miles south of modern Cairo, where he established a religion dedicated to the worship of the sun god Aten.

Art from the period depicts Amarna as an idyllic city of plenty, but the cemetery tells a different story. Remains of children show they were malnourished and engaged in an unusually high degree of physical activity.

Adult skeletons show evidence of hard labor and numerous injuries. "We have evidence of the most stressed and disease-ridden of the ancient skeletons of Egypt that have been reported to date, " says University of Arkansas bioarchaeologist Jerome Rose.

Amarna is the capital city of the Egyptian empire. There should be plenty of food. Something seems to be amiss.

Akhenaten : Akhenaten, known as Amenhotep IV at the start of his reign, was a Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. He is thought to have been born to Amenhotep III and his Chief Queen Tiy in the year 26 of their reign (1379 BC or 1362 BC).

Amenhotep IV succeeded his father after Amenhotep III's death at the end of his 38-year reign, possibly after a co-regency between the two of up to 12 years. Suggested dates for Akhenaten's reign (subject to the debates surrounding Egyptian chronology) are from 1353 BC-1336 BC or 1351 BC-1334 BC. Akhenaten's chief wife was Nefertiti, who has been made famous by her exquisitely painted bust in the Ägyptisches Museum of Berlin. A religious revolutionary, Amenhotep IV introduced Atenism in the first year of his reign, raising the previously obscure god Aten (sometimes spelt Aton) to the position of supreme deity. Aten was the name for the sun-disk itself hence the fact that it is often referred to in English in the impersonal form "the Aten".

The Aten was by this point in Egyptian history considered to be an aspect of the composite deity Ra-Amun-Horus. These previously separate deities had been merged with each other. Amun was identified with Ra, who was also identified with Horus. Akhenaton simplified this syncretism by proclaiming the visible sun itself to be the sole deity, thus introducing monotheism.

Some commentators interpret this as a proto-scientific naturalism, based on the observation that the sun's energy is the ultimate source of all life. Others consider it to be a way of cutting through the previously ritualistic emphasis of Egyptian religion to allow for a new "personal relationship" with God. Yet others interpret it as a political move designed to further centralize power by crushing the independent authority of the traditional priesthood. This religious reformation appears to have begun with his decision to celebrate a Sed-festival in his third regnal year a highly unusual step, since a Sed-festival, a sort of royal jubilee intended to reinforce the Pharaoh's divine powers of kingship, was traditionally held in the thirtieth year of a Pharaoh's reign. Year 5 marks the beginning of his construction of a new capital, Akhetaten ('Horizon of Aten'), at the site known today as Amarna.

In the same year, Amenhotep IV officially changed his name to Akhenaten ('Effective Spirit of Aten') as evidence of his new worship. Very soon afterward he moved the religious capital of Egypt from Thebes to Akhetaten, though construction of the city seems to have continued for several more years. In honor of Aten, Akhenaten also oversaw the construction of some of the most massive temple complexes in ancient Egypt, including one at Karnak, close to the old temple of Amun. In these new temples, Aten was worshipped in the open sunlight, rather than in dark temple enclosures, as the old gods had been. Akhenaten is also believed to have composed the Great Hymn to the Aten. Initially, Akhenaten presented Aten as a variant of the familiar supreme deity Amun-Ra (itself the result of an earlier rise to prominence of the cult of Amun, resulting in Amun becoming merged with the sun god Ra), in an attempt to put his ideas in a familiar Egyptian religious context. However, by Year 9 of his reign Akhenaten declared that Aten was not merely the supreme god, but the only god, and that he, Akhenaten, was the only intermediary between Aten and his people. He even ordered the defacing of Amun's temples throughout Egypt. In a number of instances inscriptions of the plural'gods' were also removed. Aten's name is also written differently after Year 9, to emphasize the radicalism of the new regime, which included a ban on idols, with the exception of a rayed solar disc, in which the rays (commonly depicted ending in hands) appear to represent the unseen spirit of Aten, who by then was evidently considered not merely a sun god, but rather a universal deity. It is important to note, however, that representations of the Aten were always accompanied with a sort of hieroglyphic footnote, saying, in effect, that the representation of the sun as All-encompassing Creator was to be taken as just that: a representation of something that, by its very nature as something transcending creation, cannot be fully or adequately represented by any one part of that creation. The early stage of Atenism appears to be a kind of henotheism familiar in Egyptian religion, but the later form suggests a proto-monotheism. The idea of Akhenaten as the pioneer of monotheistic religion was promoted by Sigmund Freud (the founder of psychoanalysis), in his book Moses and Monotheism and thereby entered popular consciousness. Recently Ahmed Osman has even claimed Moses and Akhenaten to be the same person, [1] supporting his belief by interpreting aspects of biblical and Egyptian history.

Apart from the most obvious correlation (both forms of monotheism arising around the same time and geographically close), there are alleged to be others, including a ban on idol worship and the similarity of the name Aten to the Hebrew Adon. This would mesh with Osman's other claim that Akhenaten's maternal grandfather Yuya was the same person as the Biblical Joseph.

Although Ahmed Osman's hypotheses have gained acceptance in some quarters, most mainstream Egyptologists do not take them seriously, pointing out that there are direct connections between early Judaism and other Semitic religious traditions, and that the principal Judaic terms for God, Yahweh and Elohim have no connection to Aten. Furthermore abundant visual imagery was central to Atenism, which celebrated the natural world, but was proscribed in the ten commandments. It is also known that Yuya's family were part of the regional nobility of Akhmin, in Upper Egypt, which would make it very unlikely that he was an Israelite. Immanuel Velikovsky, in Oedipus and Akhenaton, Myth and History, (Doubleday, 1960) has argued that Moses was neither Akhenaton, nor one of his followers. Instead Velikovsky identifies Akhenaton as the history behind Oedipus and moved the setting from the Greek Thebes to the Egyptian Thebes.

Velikovsky also posited that Akhenaton had elephantiasis, producing enlarged legs - Oedipus being Greek for swollen feet. Styles of art that flourished during this short period are markedly different from other Egyptian art, bearing a variety of affectations, from elongated heads to protruding stomachs, exaggerated ugliness and the beauty of Nefertiti. Significantly, and for the only time in the history of Egyptian royal art, Akhenaten's family was depicted in a decidedly naturalistic manner, and they are clearly shown displaying affection for each other. Nefertiti also appears beside the king in actions usually reserved for a Pharaoh, suggesting that she attained unusual power for a queen. Artistic representations of Akhenaten give him a strikingly bizarre appearance, with slender limbs, a protruding belly and wide hips, giving rise to controversial theories such as that he may have actually been a woman masquerading as a man, or that he was a hermaphrodite or had some other intersex condition.

The fact that Akhenaten had several children argues against these suggestions. However, it is also suggested by Bob Brier, in his book "The Murder of Tutankhamen", that the family suffered from Marfan's syndrome, a dominant autosomal mutation of Chromosome 15, which is known to cause elongated features, a long thin face, arachnodactyly (spider like fingers), a sunken chest and an enlarged aorta, with a proneness for heart problems.

Conic shaped eyes also gives a distinctive slit eyed appearance, and may be associated with short-sightedness. Brier speculates that this may explain Akhenaten's appearance, and perhaps his fascination with the sun - since Marfan's sufferers often feel cold easily. Marfan's Syndrome tends to be passed on to the children, usually appearing after 10 years of Age.

Artists tended to show Akenaten's children as suffering the same physical character as their father. If the family did suffer from Marfan's syndrome it could help explain the high mortality rate within the family.

Akhenaten, three of his daughters, and his co-regent Smenkhkare all died within a brief period of 5 years at the end of his reign. Against the Marfan's diagnosis is the fact that his successor, Tutankhamen, does not appear to have suffered from the condition.

An alternative source of the elevated mortality of the Royal Family of the Amarna period is the fact that a known pandemic was sweeping the region. It is possible that the history of the royal family inbreeding could have finally taken a physical toll. This claim is countered by the fact that Akhenaten's mother Tiy was not from within the royal family, probably being the sister of Ay (Pharaoh after Tutankhamen), and High Priest Anen. It has also been claimed that he suffered from acromegaly, a pituitary disorder that can cause longer and thicker bones, oversized jaw, dolicephaly, bilharzia and altered sex characteristics. However, other leading figures of the Amarna period, both royal and otherwise, are shown with some of these features, suggesting a possible religious connotation though its also possible that his family and court were depicted as similarly formed to Akhenaten as a compliment to him.

In addition, in Akhenaten's later reign, art becomes less idiosyncratic. Under the new chief sculptor Thutmose, Akhenaten is depicted as more normal-looking. Some claim that his earliest portraits appear the most normal, with a progression towards more elongated and feminine features later in life, suggesting an endocrine disorder of post-pubertal onset, but the earliest images of the pharaoh are in the conventional pre-Amarna style. Until Akhenaten's mummy is located and identified, these proposals are likely to remain speculative. Crucial evidence about the latter stages of Akhenaten's reign was furnished by discovery of the so-called "Amarna Letters".

These letters comprise a priceless cache of incoming clay tablets sent from imperial outposts and foreign allies. The letters suggest that Akhenaten's neglect of matters of state were causing disorder across the massive Egyptian empire. The governors and kings of subject domains wrote to beg for gold, and also complained of being snubbed and cheated.

Early on in his reign, Akhenaten fell out with the king of Mitanni. He may even have concluded an alliance with the Hittites, who then attacked Mitanni and attempted to carve out their own empire. A group of Egypt's other allies who attempted to rebel against the Hittites were captured, and wrote begging Akhenaten for troops; he evidently did not respond to their pleas. This Amarna period is also associated with a serious outbreak of a pandemic, possibly the plague, or perhaps the world's first outbreak of influenza, which came from Egypt and spread throughout the Middle East, killing Suppiluliuma I, the Hittite King. The prevalence of disease may help explain the rapidity with which the site of Akhetaten was subsequently abandoned.

It may also explain the fact that later generations considered the gods to have turned against the Amarna monarchs. Akhenaten planned to start a relocated Valley of the Kings, in the Royal Wadi in Akhetaten. His sarcophagus was destroyed but has since been reconstructed and now sits outside in the Cairo Museum.

There is much controversy around whether Amenhotep IV succeeded to the throne on the death of his father, Amenhotep III, or whether there was a co-regency (lasting as long as 12 Years according to some Egyptologists). Current literature by Nicholas Reeves, Peter Dorman and other scholars comes out decisively against the establishment of a long coregency between the 2 rulers and in favor of either no coregency or a brief one lasting 1 to 2 years, at the most. Similarly, although it is accepted that both Smenkhkare and Akhenaten himself died in Year 17 of Akhenaten's reign, the question of whether Smenkhkare became co-regent perhaps 2 or 3 years earlier is also unclear, as is whether Smenkhkare survived Akhenaten. If Smenkhkare outlived Akhenaten, becoming sole Pharaoh, he ruled for less than a year.

The next successor was certainly Tutankhaten (later, Tutankhamun), at the age of 9, with the country perhaps being run by the chief vizier (and next Pharaoh), Ay. Tutankhamun is believed to be a younger brother of Smenkhkare and a son of Akhenaten. With Akhenaten's death, the Aten cult he had founded gradually fell out of favor.

Tutankhaten changed his name to Tutankhamun in his Year 2 of his reign (1349 BC or 1332 BC) and abandoned Akhetaten, the city eventually falling into ruin. Temples Akhenaten had built, including the temple at Thebes, were disassembled by his successors Ay and Horemheb, reused as a source of easily available building materials and decorations for their own temples, and inscriptions to Aten defaced. Finally, Akhenaten, Smenkhkare, Tutankhamun, and Ay were excised from the official lists of Pharaohs, which instead reported that Amenhotep III was immediately succeeded by Horemheb. This is thought to be part of an attempt by Horemheb to delete all trace of Atenism and the pharaohs associated with it from the historical record. Akhenaten's name never appeared on any of the king lists compiled by later Pharaohs and it was not until the late 19th century that his identity was re-discovered and the surviving traces of his reign were unearthed by archaeologists.

Akhenaten and Nefertiti : The pharaoh Akhenatens sarcophagus informs the modern viewer of the atypical role his wife, queen Nefertiti, played in his controversial regime. Nefertitis regality and presumed divinity is invoked through the decorative and symbolic imagery applied to the container. The manner in which the queen is portrayed is indicative of the power she enjoyed as well as her spiritual and political responsibilities. Akhenatens rule in the Eighteenth Dynasty marked a period of scorned political, religious, and artistic change (Reeves, 18). Akhenaten was intensely devoted to Aten, a mythological sun disk originally associated to the sun god, Re-Horakhty (Reeves, 18).

Aten was viewed by Akhenaten as a god in its own right, leading the pharaoh to denounce the popular worship of any other Egyptian gods (Reeves, 18). The pharaohs religious preferences spurred the break of many ancient Egyptian conventions, including the costly destruction of evidence of past polytheistic traditions (Reeves, 18). Akhenatens reign was also associated with a new, stylized and somewhat strange, artistic style. The royal family was frequently depicted engaging in scenes of relaxed domesticity, a genre previously unassociated with ancient Egyptian royals. The manner in which royal individuals were rendered was also unusual, with figures sporting potbellies, wide hips, and exaggerated, elongated, facial features. The roles assigned to Akhenatens wife were also unorthodox, as demonstrated by the pharaohs sarcophagus. Imagery related to funerary practice supports evidence of Nefertitis unconventional role in her husbands regime. The ornamentation of her husbands Aswan red granite sarcophagus from the Royal Tomb at Amarna indicates that the queen enjoyed political privilege and divine status (Arnold, 94). At each of the four corners of the intricately ornamented sarcophagus, female figures were carved in high relief.

The figures were positioned with arms outstretched, enveloping the container. By encircling the container with their bodies, the figures appear to protect the contents of the sarcophagus, acting as safeguards for the king and his remains in his afterlife (Arnold, 94). Such imagery first appeared on an object associated with an earlier 18th Dynasty ruler, Amenhotep II (Reeves, 105). Like Akhenatens sarcophagus, Amenhoteps canopic box, a container designed to hold the pharaohs embalmed remains, was adorned with female figures at each of the boxs four corners (Reeves, 105). These forms have been identified as renderings of the tutelary deities Isis, Nephthys, Selkis, and Neith (Reeves, 105).

The application of the goddesses to the container suggests that the remains of the pharaohs organs necessitated divine protection. In the case of Akhenatens sarcophagus, however, depictions of the four deities are replaced by repetitions of Nefertitis portrait positioned at each of the containers four corners (Arnold, 95). The queen, identified by inscribed text on fragments related to the sarcophagus, appears wearing traditional robes and an elaborate headpiece, which incorporates sun disk imagery (Arnold, 95). Nefertitis appearance lacks some of the physical attributes typically correlated with the queen; here, her forehead and nose are clearly defined and her neck does not protrude forward. Art historians have also identified inconsistencies in eye shape between Nefertitis semblance on her husbands sarcophagus and other renderings of the queen (Arnold, 95). Through the application of Nefertitis portrait to her husbands sarcophagus, the queen was assigned a tutelary role; she was to be viewed as a protector of her husbands body and legacy after his death. Moreover, the queens appearance in the place of Isis, Nephthys, Selkis, and Neith likened Nefertiti to the divine, a somewhat abstract concept in ancient Egyptian culture (Arnold, 96). She was to be viewed as a manifestation of god, an attribute typically associated with those figures (Arnold, 96). Nefertitis status as both goddess and queen, cultivated by imagery presented by Akenatens sarcophagus, mirrors her husbands self-prescribed role as dual god and king (Samson, 88). Samson asserts that the prevalence of regal imagery of the queen suggests that Nefertiti was expected to assume the throne for a period after her husbands death (Samson, 88).

Much of the imagery that relates Nefertiti to her political responsibilities does not correspond to a funerary context, but Nefertitis appearance on Akhenatens sarcophagus directly links the queens political power to her husbands death. Akhenatens view of Nefertiti as protector of his body suggests that the pharaoh was confident that his wife could honor his legacy through assuming his political role after his death in the absence of an immediate successor.

This sentiment relates to a functionalist theory referenced by Pearson in The Archaeology of Death and Burial. Anthropologists Malinowski, Radcliffe-Brown and Evans-Pritchard state that, the ceremonial of death, which ties the survivors to the body and rivets them to the place of deathcounteracts the centrifugal forces of fear, dismay, demoralization, and provides the most powerful means of reintegration of the groups shaken solidarity and of the re-establishment of its morale (Pearson, 23). The integration of Nefertitis imagery into an object associated with funerary ritual served to promote the notion of divine protection of the deceased pharaohs body and defense of political stability while offsetting some of the uncertainty associated with the death of a controversial leader. The sarcophagus of Ramesses III only utilizes renderings of two of the goddesses, Isis and Nephthys (Barbotin). The manner in which Nefertitis portrait is incorporated into the design of her husbands sarcophagus is indicative of several noteworthy aspects of her duty as wife and queen during Akhenatens reign.

Her representation as protector of her husbands remains and her assumption of the role of goddess in the containers composition demonstrate the queens divine status and her assumed capacity to promote Akhenatens legacy after his death. Queen Nefertiti : It is not known who Nefertitis parents were. The most popular theory seems to be that Nefertiti was the daughter of the high ranking courtier Aye and his unnamed first wife. Ayes wife Tey is known to have been Nefertitis wet-nurse and tutor.

This means that Nefertiti must have grown up with Aye and Tey. Other theories have included Nefertiti being the daughter of the Mitanni King Tushratta and his wife Yuni. But there does not appear to be much evidence to support this theory.

We first see Nefertiti as the Kings Great Wife of Amenhotep IV (who would later rename himself Akhenaten). Nefertiti is known to have had six daughters: Meritaten, Meketaten, Ankhes-en-pa-aten, Neferneferuaten-tasherit, Neferneferure, and Setepenre. Meritaten served as Great Royal Wife towards the end of the reign of Akhenaten and into the reign of the mysterious Smenkhare. Ankes-en-pa-aten would be the longest surviving daughter of Nefertiti.

She married the boy-king Tutankhamen and changed her name to Ankhesenamen. Nefertiti was the Great Royal Wife of Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten.

Amenhotep IV built several structures at Karnak. The structures there include the Gempaaten which is a palace complex. It is believed that the royal family lived at the Gempaaten during the winter months (according to Aldred). One of the structures within the Gempaaten complex is the Hut-Benben (Mansion of the Benben). Aldred mentions that the Mansion of the Benben was a temple exclusively devoted to Nefertiti.

In year 3, Amenhotep IV and Nefertiti apparently held a great festival in the temple at Karnak. Inscriptions show the royal couple traveling by palanquin, feasting while being entertained by dancers and musicians, and appearing at the palaces window of appearance waving at the crowd. Amenhotep at some point changes his name to Akhenaten, and founds a new Capital named Akhet-Aten more than a 100 miles north of Thebes.

Nefertiti takes on the longer name of Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti. Several beautiful temples and palaces are built in Akhetaten and Nefertiti plays an important role in religious life as well as court life. In year 12 there is another large festival that takes place. Inscriptions in the tombs of the nobles show that there is a large tribute, and Akhenaten and Nefertiti are shown with their six daughters receiving tribute from many people. Soon after year 12 disaster seems to strike. First Meketaten, the second eldest daughter, dies. Scenes in the royal tomb in Akhet-Aten (modern Amarna) show a grief stricken Nefertiti and Akhenaten mourning their daughter. Around roughly the same time Akhenatens mother Queen Tiye also dies, and several of the younger daughters of Nefertiti also disappear from the scene. It is difficult to say what exactly happened with Nefertiti towards the end of the reign of Akhenaten. For a while it was thought that Nefertiti fell into disgrace and was replaced at court by her daughter Meritaten. This theory was based on a mistaken identity however. A royal lady seems to have disappeared from the scene and her place was taken by Meritaten, but the lady in question was the secondary Queen named Kiya, not Nefertiti. It is possible that Nefertiti became a co-regent to Akhenaten and that Nefertiti ruled alongside her husband in the latter years of his reign. There is mention of an individual named Djeserkheperure Smenkhare and it is possible that this is a king who ruled between Akhenaten and Tutankhamen. Some Egyptologists believe that Smenkhare is just another name for Nefertiti and that she became pharaoh after the death of her husband Akhenaten. Nefertiti may have been buried in the royal tomb at Amarna, but this is by no means certain. A special set of rooms appear to have been prepared for her.

It is not known what happened to her after that. Some speculate that her funerary equipment was reused in the burial of King Tutankhamen. There are some statues from Tuts tomb which appear to depict a female ruler.

People have tried to identify several mummies as being that of Nefertiti. The latest attempt was by Joanne Fletcher who claimed that a mummy in KV34 was that of Queen Nefertiti.

This identification was actually first proposed by Marianne Luban. Susan James had proposed that the mummy of the older woman in the same tomb was actually that of Queen Nefertiti. The experts do not seem to consider any of the arguments conclusive and no mummy has been definitively identified as that of our illustrious queen. There is also a partial shabti of Queen Nefertiti found in Amarna.

The experts do not agree on the implications of that find. Some think it means that Nefertiti was buried as a queen, not a pharaoh, while others think that it could have been a votive figure donated at the time of one of the other royal burials. Nefertitis Tomb : Have we finally found the secret lost tomb of ancient Egypt's Queen Nefertiti? The Big Question: The discovery of a secret tomb behind Tutankhamun's is being hailed as unique by archaeologists around the world.

Cambridge Egyptologist Kimberley Watt explains what's been found - and why we should all be excited. Why are we asking this now? The tomb of Tutankhamun, the king of ancient Egypt who became famous when Howard Carter discovered his tomb nearly intact in 1922, is now a hot topic again. That's because Dr Nicholas Reeves, an eminent Egyptologist and former director of the Amarna Royal Tombs Project, published a paper demonstrating how behind the walls of this small tomb, there were more rooms as demonstrated by thin cracks in the decorative paintings.

In his opinion, the rooms could contain the remains of Queen Nefertiti. The scans of the walls were done in November 2015 but the results were only released on the 17 March 2016 by Dr Mahmoud Eldamaty, the Minister of Egyptian Antiquities since 2014. Using ground-penetrating radar (radiating electromagnetic pulses into a surface then analyzing the type of response), a team composed of the Egyptian minister and various specialists performed a scan of the walls of the burial chamber and treasury of the tomb of Tutankhamun.

These scans indeed indicate that there are openings behind the West and North walls of the burial chamber. Further examination of the resulting data indicates that there are organic and metallic remains behind each of these voids. This means that they were intentionally created and carefully concealed, with access plastered over and then decorated to hide it from view. They were so well hidden that they lay undiscovered for nearly a century after the first opening of the tomb. His tomb was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter and Douglas Berry, and surprisingly seemed to have gone unnoticed by past and recent tomb robbers.

The famous golden head mask exposed in the Egyptian Museum of Cairo is one of the most impressive pieces of its funerary goods, but the wooden panels and statues are just as unique in their designs. Who is the mysterious Queen who might be hiding in Tutankhamun's tomb?

Artists secretly scan Queen Nefertiti bust and recreate using data Tutankhamun tomb'must not be damaged' in hunt for secret chamber Tutankhamun's golden face mask'was actually made for his mother. Tutankhamun was the eleventh king of the 18th dynasty (16th 13th century BCE), who reigned for nine years and died when he was approximately 18 years old. DNA analyses indicate that he was the son of Akhenaten, the previous king, and of Akhenatens sister, a royal concubine. He died with no heirs, which allowed two army generals to access the throne, Ay followed by Horemheb. After the break from orthodoxy of the Amarna period, Tutankhamun and his successors resumed the ancient form of the religion and started extensive temple constructions in the country.

What more do we want to know? Tutankhamuns tomb is unique not only because it was one of a few preserved from robbers, but also because its plan differs greatly from the other tombs of the period. The tombs were carved and excavated by workmen within the Theban mountain (on the opposite bank of modern Luxor), thus hiding the royal remains and funerary furniture deep into the mountain. The funerary material that was uncovered was unprecedented for any king in our records. This means that a lot of it seems unique. It is possible this new discovery will change our opinion, if it appears that another member of the royal family was buried in these hidden rooms. Ancient Egyptian Religion : Egyptian religion was a combination of beliefs and practices which, in the modern day, would include magic, mythology, science, medicine, psychiatry, spiritualism, herbology, as well as the modern understanding of'religion' as belief in a higher power and a life after death. Religion played a part in every aspect of the lives of the ancient Egyptians because life on earth was seen as only one part of an eternal journey, and in order to continue that journey after death, one needed to live a life worthy of continuance. During one's life on earth, one was expected to uphold the principle of ma'at (harmony) with an understanding that one's actions in life affected not only one's self but others' lives as well, and the operation of the universe. People were expected to depend on each other to keep balance as this was the will of the gods to produce the greatest amount of pleasure and happiness for humans through a harmonious existence which also enabled the gods to better perform their tasks. By honoring the principle of ma'at (personified as a goddess of the same name holding the white feather of truth) and living one's life in accordance with its precepts, one was aligned with the gods and the forces of light against the forces of darkness and chaos, and assured one's self of a welcome reception in the Hall of Truth after death and a gentle judgment by Osiris, the Lord of the Dead. The underlying principle of Egyptian religion was known as heka (magic) personified in the god Heka. Heka had always existed and was present in the act of creation. He was the god of magic and medicine but was also the power which enabled the gods to perform their functions and allowed human beings to commune with their gods. He was all-pervasive and all-encompassing, imbuing the daily lives of the Egyptians with magic and meaning and sustaining the principle of ma'at upon which life depended.

This is exactly the relationship of Heka to the gods and human existence: he was the standard, the foundation of power, on which everything else depended. A god or goddess was invoked for a specific purpose, was worshipped for what they had given, but it was Heka who enabled this relationship between the people and their deities. The gods of ancient Egypt were seen as the lords of creation and custodians of order but also as familiar friends who were interested in helping and guiding the people of the land. The gods had created order out of chaos and given the people the most beautiful land on earth.

Egyptians were so deeply attached to their homeland that they shunned prolonged military campaigns beyond their borders for fear they would die on foreign soil and would not be given the proper rites for their continued journey after life. Egyptian monarchs refused to give their daughters in marriage to foreign rulers for the same reason.

The gods of Egypt had blessed the land with their special favor, and the people were expected to honor them as great and kindly benefactors. Long ago, they believed, there had been nothing but the dark swirling waters of chaos stretching into eternity.

Out of this chaos (Nu) rose the primordial hill, known as the Ben-Ben, upon which stood the great god Atum (some versions say the god was Ptah) in the presence of Heka. Atum looked upon the nothingness and recognized his aloneness, and so he mated with his own shadow to give birth to two children, Shu (god of air, whom Atum spat out) and Tefnut (goddess of moisture, whom Atum vomited out). Shu gave to the early world the principles of life while Tefnut contributed the principles of order. Leaving their father on the Ben-Ben, they set out to establish the world. In time, Atum became concerned because his children were gone so long, and so he removed his eye and sent it in search of them.

While his eye was gone, Atum sat alone on the hill in the midst of chaos and contemplated eternity. These tears, dropping onto the dark, fertile earth of the Ben-Ben, gave birth to men and women. These humans had nowhere to live, however, and so Shu and Tefnut mated and gave birth to Geb (the earth) and Nut (the sky). Geb and Nut, though brother and sister, fell deeply in love and were inseparable.

Atum found their behavior unacceptable and pushed Nut away from Geb, high up into the heavens. The two lovers were forever able to see each other but were no longer able to touch. Nut was already pregnant by Geb, however, and eventually gave birth to Osiris, Isis, Set, Nephthys, and Horus the five Egyptian gods most often recognized as the earliest (although Hathor is now considered to be older than Isis). These gods then gave birth to all the other gods in one form or another. The gods each had their own area of specialty.

Bastet, for example, was the goddess of the hearth, home life, women's health and secrets, and of cats. Hathor was the goddess of kindness and love, associated with gratitude and generosity, motherhood, and compassion.

According to one early story surrounding her, however, she was originally the goddess Sekhmet who became drunk on blood and almost destroyed the world until she was pacified and put to sleep by beer which the gods had dyed red to fool her. When she awoke from her sleep, she was transformed into a gentler deity. Although she was associated with beer, Tenenet was the principle goddess of beer and also presided over childbirth.

Beer was considered essential for one's health in ancient Egypt and a gift from the gods, and there were many deities associated with the drink which was said to have been first brewed by Osiris. An early myth tells of how Osiris was tricked and killed by his brother Set and how Isis brought him back to life. He was incomplete, however, as a fish had eaten a part of him, and so he could no longer rule harmoniously on earth and was made Lord of the Dead in the underworld. His son, Horus the Younger, battled Set for eighty years and finally defeated him to restore harmony to the land. Horus and Isis then ruled together, and all the other gods found their places and areas of expertise to help and encourage the people of Egypt. Among the most important of these gods were the three who made up the Theban Triad: Amun, Mut, and Knons (also known as Khonsu). Defeated his rivals and united Egypt, elevating Thebes to the position of capital and its gods to supremacy.

Amun, Mut, and Khons of Upper Egypt (where Thebes was located) took on the attributes of Ptah, Sekhmet, and Khonsu of Lower Egypt who were much older deities. Amun became the supreme creator god, symbolized by the sun; Mut was his wife, symbolized by the sun's rays and the all-seeing eye; and Khons was their son, the god of healing and destroyer of evil spirits. These three gods were associated with Ogdoad of Hermopolis, a group of eight primordial deities who embodied the qualities of primeval matter, such as darkness, moistness, and lack of boundaries or visible powers. It usually consisted of four deities doubled to eight by including female counterparts (Pinch, 175-176).

The Ogdoad (pronounced OG-doh-ahd) represented the state of the cosmos before land rose from the waters of chaos and light broke through the primordial darkness and were also referred to as the Hehu (`the infinities'). They were Amun and Amaunet, Heh and Hauhet, Kek and Kauket, and Nun and Naunet each representing a different aspect of the formless and unknowable time before creation: Hiddenness (Amun/Amaunet), Infinity (Heh/Hauhet), Darkness (Kek/Kauket), and the Abyss (Nut/Naunet). The Ogdoad are the best example of the Egyptian's insistence on symmetry and balance in all things embodied in their male/female aspect which was thought to have engendered the principle of harmony in the cosmos before the birth of the world. The Egyptians believed that the earth (specifically Egypt) reflected the cosmos. The stars in the night sky and the constellations they formed were thought to have a direct bearing on one's personality and future fortunes.

The gods informed the night sky, even traveled through it, but were not distant deities in the heavens; the gods lived alongside the people of Egypt and interacted with them daily. Trees were considered the homes of the gods and one of the most popular of the Egyptian deities, Hathor, was sometimes known as "Mistress of the Date Palm" or "The Lady of the Sycamore" because she was thought to favor these particular trees to rest in or beneath. Scholars Oakes and Gahlin note that Presumably because of the shade and the fruit provided by them, goddesses associated with protection, mothering, and nurturing were closely associated with [trees]. Hathor, Nut, and Isis appear frequently in the religious imagery and literature [in relation to trees].

Plants and flowers were also associated with the gods, and the flowers of the ished tree were known as "flowers of life" for their life-giving properties. Eternity, then, was not an ethereal, nebulous concept of some'heaven' far from the earth but a daily encounter with the gods and goddesses one would continue to have contact with forever, in life and after death.

In order for one to experience this kind of bliss, however, one needed to be aware of the importance of harmony in one's life and how a lack of such harmony affected others as well as one's self. The'gateway sin' for the ancient Egyptians was ingratitude because it threw one off balance and allowed for every other sin to take root in a person's soul. Once one lost sight of what there was to be grateful for, one's thoughts and energies were drawn toward the forces of darkness and chaos.

This belief gave rise to rituals such as The Five Gifts of Hathor in which one would consider the fingers of one's hand and name the five things in life one was most grateful for. One was encouraged to be specific in this, naming anything one held dear such as a spouse, one's children, one's dog or cat, or the tree by the stream in the yard. As one's hand was readily available at all times, it would serve as a reminder that there were always five things one should be grateful for, and this would help one to maintain a light heart in keeping with harmonious balance.

This was important throughout one's life and remained equally significant after one's death since, in order to progress on toward an eternal life of bliss, one's heart needed to be lighter than a feather when one stood in judgment before Osiris. According to the scholar Margaret Bunson: The Egyptians feared eternal darkness and unconsciousness in the afterlife because both conditions belied the orderly transmission of light and movement evident in the universe. They understood that death was the gateway to eternity. The Egyptians thus esteemed the act of dying and venerated the structures and the rituals involved in such a human adventure.

The structures of the dead can still be seen throughout Egypt in the modern day in the tombs and pyramids which still rise from the landscape. There were structures and rituals after life, however, which were just as important. The soul was thought to consist of nine separate parts: the Khat was the physical body; the Ka ones double-form; the Ba a human-headed bird aspect which could speed between earth and the heavens; Shuyet was the shadow self; Akh the immortal, transformed self, Sahu and Sechem aspects of the Akh; Ab was the heart, the source of good and evil; Ren was ones secret name. All nine of these aspects were part of one's earthly existence and, at death, the Akh (with the Sahu and Sechem) appeared before the great god Osiris in the Hall of Truth and in the presence of the Forty-Two Judges to have one's heart (Ab) weighed in the balance on a golden scale against the white feather of truth.

One would need to recite the Negative Confession (a list of those sins one could honestly claim one had not committed in life) and then one's heart was placed on the scale. If one's heart was lighter than the feather, one waited while Osiris conferred with the Forty-Two Judges and the god of wisdom, Thoth, and, if considered worthy, was allowed to pass on through the hall and continue one's existence in paradise; if one's heart was heavier than the feather it was thrown to the floor where it was devoured by the monster Ammut (the gobbler), and one then ceased to exist. Once through the Hall of Truth, one was then guided to the boat of Hraf-haf ("He Who Looks Behind Him"), an unpleasant creature, always cranky and offensive, whom one had to find some way to be kind and courteous to. By showing kindness to the unkind Hraf-haf, one showed one was worthy to be ferried across the waters of Lily Lake (also known as The Lake of Flowers) to the Field of Reeds which was a mirror image of one's life on earth except there was no disease, no disappointment, and no death. One would then continue one's existence just as before, awaiting those one loved in life to pass over themselves or meeting those who had gone on before.

Although the Greek historian Herodotus claims that only men could be priests in ancient Egypt, the Egyptian record argues otherwise. Women could be priests of the cult of their goddess from the Old Kingdom onward and were accorded the same respect as their male counterparts. Usually a member of the clergy had to be of the same sex as the deity they served.

The cult of Hathor, most notably, was routinely attended to by female clergy (it should be noted that'cult' did not have the same meaning in ancient Egypt that it does today - cults were simply sects of one religion). Priests and Priestesses could marry, have children, own land and homes and lived as anyone else except for certain ritual practices and observances regarding purification before officiating. Bunson writes: In most periods, the priests of Egypt were members of a family long connected to a particular cult or temple. Priests recruited new members from among their own clans, generation after generation. This meant that they did not live apart from their own people and thus maintained an awareness of the state of affairs in their communities. They blessed amulets to ward off demons or increase fertility, and also performed exorcisms and purification rites to rid a home of ghosts. Their chief duty was to the god they served and the people of the community, and an important part of that duty was their care of the temple and the statue of the god within. Priests were also doctors in the service of Heka, no matter what other deity they served directly. An example of this is how all the priests and priestesses of the goddess Serket (Selket) were doctors but their ability to heal and invoke Serket was enabled through the power of Heka. The temples of ancient Egypt were thought to be the literal homes of the deities they honored. Every morning the head priest or priestess, after purifying themselves with a bath and dressing in clean white linen and clean sandals, would enter the temple and attend to the statue of the god as they would to a person they were charged to care for.

The doors of the sanctuary were opened to let in the morning light, and the statue, which always resided in the innermost sanctuary, was cleaned, dressed, and anointed with oil; afterwards, the sanctuary doors were closed and locked. No one but the head priest was allowed such close contact with the god. Those who came to the temple to worship only were allowed in the outer areas where they were met by lesser clergy who addressed their needs and accepted their offerings.

There were no official `scriptures' used by the clergy but the concepts conveyed at the temple are thought to have been similar to those found in works such as the Pyramid Texts, the later Coffin Texts, and the spells found in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Although the Book of the Dead is often referred to as `The Ancient Egyptian Bible' it was no such thing.

The Book of the Dead is a collection of spells for the soul in the afterlife. All three of these works deal with how the soul is to navigate the afterlife. Their titles (given by European scholars) and the number of grand tombs and statuary throughout Egypt, not to mention the elaborate burial rituals and mummies, have led many people to conclude that Egypt was a culture obsessed with death when, actually, the Egyptians were wholly concerned with life.

The Book on Coming Forth by Day, as well as the earlier texts, present spiritual truths one would have heard while in life and remind the soul of how one should now act in the next phase of one's existence without a physical body or a material world. The soul of any Egyptian was expected to recall these truths from life, even if they never set foot inside a temple compound, because of the many religious festivals the Egyptians enjoyed throughout the year. Religious festivals in Egypt integrated the sacred aspect of the gods seamlessly with the daily lives of the people. Egyptian scholar Lynn Meskell notes that religious festivals actualized belief; they were not simply social celebrations.

They acted in a multiplicity of related spheres (Nardo, 99). There were grand festivals such as The Beautiful Festival of the Wadi in honor of the god Amun and lesser festivals for other gods or to celebrate events in the life of the community.

Bunson writes, On certain days, in some eras several times a month, the god was carried on arks or ships into the streets or set sail on the Nile. There the oracles took place and the priests answered petitions. The statue of the god would be removed from the inner sanctuary to visit the members of the community and take part in the celebration; a custom which may have developed independently in Egypt or come from Mesopotamia where this practice had a long history.

The Beautiful Festival of the Wadi was a celebration of life, wholeness, and community, and, as Meskell notes, people attended this festival and visited the shrine to "pray for bodily integrity and physical vitality" while leaving offerings to the god or goddess as a sign of gratitude for their lives and health. Meskell writes: One may envisage a priest or priestess coming and collecting the offerings and then replacing the baskets, some of which have been detected archaeologically. The fact that these items of jewelry were personal objects suggests a powerful and intimate link with the goddess.

Moreover, at the shrine site of Timna in the Sinai, votives were ritually smashed to signify the handing over from human to deity, attesting to the range of ritual practices occurring at the time. There was a high proportion of female donors in the New Kingdom, although generally tomb paintings tend not to show the religious practices of women but rather focus on male activities. The smashing of the votives signified one's surrender to the benevolent will of the gods. A votive was anything offered in fulfillment of a vow or in the hopes of attaining some wish.

While votives were often left intact, they were sometimes ritually destroyed to signify the devotion one had to the gods; one was surrendering to them something precious which one could not take back. There was no distinction at these festivals between those acts considered'holy' and those which a modern sensibility would label'profane'. The whole of one's life was open for exploration during a festival, and this included sexual activity, drunkenness, prayer, blessings for one's sex life, for one's family, for one's health, and offerings made both in gratitude and thanksgiving and in supplication. Families attended the festivals together as did teenagers and young couples and those hoping to find a mate. Elder members of the community, the wealthy, the poor, the ruling class, and the slaves were all a part of the religious life of the community because their religion and their daily lives were completely intertwined and, through that faith, they recognized their individual lives were all an interwoven tapestry with every other.

Ancient Egyptian Culture : Ancient Egyptian culture flourished between circa 5500 B. With the rise of technology (as evidenced in the glass-work of faience) and 30 B. With the death of Cleopatra VII, the last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt. It is famous today for the great monuments which celebrated the triumphs of the rulers and honored the gods of the land. The culture is often misunderstood as having been obsessed with death but, had this been so, it is unlikely it would have made the significant impression it did on other ancient cultures such as Greece and Rome.

The Egyptian culture was, in fact, life affirming, as the scholar Salima Ikram writes. Judging by the numbers of tombs and mummies that the ancient Egyptians left behind, one can be forgiven for thinking that they were obsessed by death. However, this is not so. The Egyptians were obsessed by life and its continuation rather than by a morbid fascination with death. The tombs, mortuary temples and mummies that they produced were a celebration of life and a means of continuing it for eternityFor the Egyptians, as for other cultures, death was part of the journey of life, with death marking a transition or transformation after which life continued in another form, the spiritual rather than the corporeal.

This passion for life imbued in the ancient Egyptians a great love for their land as it was thought that there could be no better place on earth in which to enjoy existence. While the lower classes in Egypt, as elsewhere, subsisted on much less than the more affluent, they still seem to have appreciated life in the same way as the wealthier citizens. This is exemplified in the concept of gratitude and the ritual known as The Five Gifts of Hathor in which the poor laborers were encouraged to regard the fingers of their left hand (the hand they reached with daily to harvest field crops) and to consider the five things they were most grateful for in their lives.

Ingratitude was considered a `gateway sin as it led to all other types of negative thinking and resultant behavior. Once one felt ungrateful, it was observed, one then was apt to indulge oneself further in bad behavior. The Cult of Hathor was very popular in Egypt, among all classes, and epitomizes the prime importance of gratitude in Egyptian culture. Religion was an integral part of the daily life of every Egyptian.

As with the people of Mesopotamia, the Egyptians considered themselves co-laborers with the gods but with an important distinction: whereas the Mesopotamian peoples believed they needed to work with their gods to prevent the recurrence of the original state of chaos, the Egyptians understood their gods to have already completed that purpose and a humans duty was to celebrate that fact and give thanks for it. So-called `Egyptian mythology was, in ancient times, as valid a belief structure as any accepted religion in the modern day.

Egyptian religion taught the people that, in the beginning, there was nothing but chaotic swirling waters out of which rose a small hill known as the Ben-Ben. Atop this hill stood the great god Atum who spoke creation into being by drawing on the power of Heka, the god of magic. Magic informed the entire civilization and Heka was the source of this creative, sustaining, eternal power. In another version of the myth, Atum creates the world by first fashioning Ptah, the creator god who then does the actual work. Another variant on this story is that Ptah first appeared and created Atum. Another, more elaborate, version of the creation story has Atum mating with his shadow to create Shu (air) and Tefnut (moisture) who then go on to give birth to the world and the other gods. From this original act of creative energy came all of the known world and the universe. It was understood that human beings were an important aspect of the creation of the gods and that each human soul was as eternal as that of the deities they revered.

Death was not an end to life but a re-joining of the individual soul with the eternal realm from which it had come. The Egyptian concept of the soul regarded it as being comprised of nine parts: the Khat was the physical body; the Ka ones double-form; the Ba a human-headed bird aspect which could speed between earth and the heavens; Shuyet was the shadow self; Akh the immortal, transformed self, Sahu and Sechem aspects of the Akh; Ab was the heart, the source of good and evil; Ren was ones secret name. An individuals name was considered of such importance that an Egyptians true name was kept secret throughout life and one was known by a nickname. Knowledge of a persons true name gave one magical powers over that individual and this is among the reasons why the rulers of Egypt took another name upon ascending the throne; it was not only to link oneself symbolically to another successful pharaoh but also a form of protection to ensure ones safety and help guarantee a trouble-free journey to eternity when ones life on earth was completed.

According to the historian Margaret Bunson. Eternity was an endless period of existence that was not to be feared by any Egyptian.

The term `Going to Ones Ka (astral being) was used in each age to express dying. The hieroglyph for a corpse was translated as `participating in eternal life. The tomb was the `Mansion of Eternity and the dead was an Akh, a transformed spirit.

The famous Egyptian mummy (whose name comes from the Persian and Arabic words for `wax and `bitumen, muum and mumia) was created to preserve the individuals physical body (Khat) without which the soul could not achieve immortality. As the Khat and the Ka were created at the same time, the Ka would be unable to journey to The Field of Reeds if it lacked the physical component on earth. The gods who had fashioned the soul and created the world consistently watched over the people of Egypt and heard and responded to, their petitions. A famous example of this is when Ramesses II was surrounded by his enemies at the Battle of Kadesh 1274 B.

And, calling upon the god Amun for aid, found the strength to fight his way through to safety. There are many far less dramatic examples, however, recorded on temple walls, stele, and on papyrus fragments. Papyrus (from which comes the English word `paper) was only one of the technological advances of the ancient Egyptian culture. The Kahun Gynecological Papyrus circa 1800 B. Is an early treatise on womens health issues and contraception and the Edwin Smith Papyrus circa 1600 B.

Is the oldest work on surgical techniques. Dentistry was widely practiced and the Egyptians are credited with inventing toothpaste, toothbrushes, the toothpick, and even breath mints. They created the sport of bowling and improved upon the brewing of beer as first practiced in Mesopotamia. The Egyptians did not, however, invent beer. This popular fiction of Egyptians as the first brewers stems from the fact that Egyptian beer more closely resembled modern-day beer than that of the Mesopotamians.

Glass working, metallurgy in both bronze and gold, and furniture were other advancements of Egyptian culture and their art and architecture are famous world-wide for precision and beauty. Personal hygiene and appearance was valued highly and the Egyptians bathed regularly, scented themselves with perfume and incense, and created cosmetics used by both men and women. The practice of shaving was invented by the Egyptians as was the wig and the hairbrush. The water clock was in use in Egypt, as was the calendar. Some have even suggested that they understood the principle of electricity as evidenced in the famous Dendera Light engraving on the wall of the Hathor Temple at Dendera.

The images on the wall have been interpreted by some to represent a light bulb and figures attaching said bulb to an energy source. This interpretation, however, has been largely discredited by the academic community. In daily life, the Egyptians seem little different from other ancient cultures. Like the people of Mesopotamia, India, China, and Greece, they lived, mostly, in modest homes, raised families, and enjoyed their leisure time. A significant difference between Egyptian culture and that of other lands, however, was that the Egyptians believed the land was intimately tied to their personal salvation and they had a deep fear of dying beyond the borders of Egypt. It was thought that the fertile, dark earth of the Nile River Delta was the only area sanctified by the gods for the re-birth of the soul in the afterlife and to be buried anywhere else was to be condemned to non-existence. Because of this devotion to the homeland, Egyptians were not great world-travelers and there is no `Egyptian Herodotus to leave behind impressions of the ancient world beyond Egyptian borders. Even in negotiations and treaties with other countries, Egyptian preference for remaining in Egypt was dominant. The historian Nardo writes, Though Amenophis III had joyfully added two Mitanni princesses to his harem, he refused to send an Egyptian princess to the sovereign of Mitanni, because, `from time immemorial a royal daughter from Egypt has been given to no one. This is not only an expression of the feeling of superiority of the Egyptians over the foreigners but at the same time and indication of the solicitude accorded female relatives, who could not be inconvenienced by living among `barbarians. Further, within the confines of the country people did not travel far from their places of birth and most, except for times of war, famine or other upheaval, lived their lives and died in the same locale.

As it was believed that ones afterlife would be a continuation of ones present (only better in that there was no sickness, disappointment or, of course, death), the place in which one spent ones life would constitute ones eternal landscape. The yard and tree and stream one saw every day outside ones window would be replicated in the afterlife exactly. This being so, Egyptians were encouraged to rejoice in and deeply appreciate their immediate surroundings and to live gratefully within their means. The concept of maat (harmony and balance) governed Egyptian culture and, whether of upper or lower class, Egyptians endeavored to live in peace with their surroundings and with each other.

Among the lower classes, homes were built of mud bricks baked in the sun. The more affluent a citizen, the thicker the home; wealthier people had homes constructed of a double layer, or more, of brick while poorer peoples houses were only one brick wide.

Wood was scarce and was only used for doorways and window sills (again, in wealthier homes) and the roof was considered another room in the house where gatherings were routinely held as the interior of the homes were often dimly lighted. Clothing was simple linen, un-dyed, with the men wearing a knee-length skirt (or loincloth) and the women in light, ankle-length dresses or robes which concealed or exposed their breasts depending on the fashion at a particular time. It would seem that a womans level of undress, however, was indicative of her social status throughout much of Egyptian history.

Dancing girls, female musicians, and servants and slaves are routinely shown as naked or nearly naked while a lady of the house is fully clothed, even during those times when exposed breasts were a fashion statement. Even so, women were free to dress as they pleased and there was never a prohibition, at any time in Egyptian history, on female fashion.

A womans exposed breasts were considered a natural, normal, fashion choice and was in no way deemed immodest or provocative. It was understood that the goddess Isis had given equal rights to both men and women and, therefore, men had no right to dictate how a woman, even ones own wife, should attire herself.

Children wore little or no clothing until puberty. Marriages were not arranged among the lower classes and there seems to have been no formal marriage ceremony.

A man would carry gifts to the house of his intended bride and, if the gifts were accepted, she would take up residence with him. The average age of a bride was 13 and that of a groom 18-21. A contract would be drawn up portioning a mans assets to his wife and children and this allotment could not be rescinded except on grounds of adultery (defined as sex with a married woman, not a married man).

The historian Thompson writes, Egypt treated its women better than any of the other major civilizations of the ancient world. The Egyptians believed that joy and happiness were legitimate goals of life and regarded home and family as the major source of delight. Because of this belief, women enjoyed a higher prestige in Egypt than in any other culture of the ancient world. While the man was considered the head of the house, the woman was head of the home. She raised the children of both sexes until, at the age or four or five, boys were taken under the care and tutelage of their fathers to learn their profession (or attend school if the fathers profession was that of a scribe, priest, or doctor). Girls remained under the care of their mothers, learning how to run a household, until they were married. Women could also be scribes, priests, or doctors but this was unusual because education was expensive and tradition held that the son should follow the father's profession, not the daughter. Marriage was the common state of Egyptians after puberty and a single man or woman was considered abnormal. The higher classes, or nobility, lived in more ornate homes with greater material wealth but seem to have followed the same precepts as those lower on the social hierarchy. But only those of means could afford a quality playing board. This did not seem to stop poorer people from playing the game, however; they merely played with a less ornate set. Watching wrestling matches and races and engaging in other sporting events, such as hunting, archery, and sailing, were popular among the nobility and upper class but, again, were enjoyed by all Egyptians in as much as they could be afforded (save for large animal hunting which was the sole provenance of the ruler and those he designated). Feasting at banquets was a leisure activity only of the upper class although the lower classes were able to enjoy themselves in a similar (though less lavish) way at the many religious festivals held throughout the year. Swimming and rowing were extremely popular among all classes. The Roman writer Seneca observed common Egyptians at sport the Nile River and described the scene: The people embark on small boats, two to a boat, and one rows while the other bails out water. Then they are violently tossed about in the raging rapids. At length, they reach the narrowest channelsand, swept along by the whole force of the river, they control the rushing boat by hand and plunge head downward to the great terror of the onlookers.

You would believe sorrowfully that by now they were drowned and overwhelmed by such a mass of water when, far from the place where they fell, they shoot out as from a catapult, still sailing, and the subsiding wave does not submerge them, but carries them on to smooth waters. Swimming was an important part of Egyptian culture and children were taught to swim when very young. Water sports played a significant role in Egyptian entertainment as the Nile River was such a major aspect of their daily lives.

The sport of water-jousting, in which two small boats, each with one or two rowers and one jouster, fought each other, seems to have been very popular. The rower (or rowers) in the boat sought to strategically maneuver while the fighter tried to knock his opponent out of the craft. They also enjoyed games having nothing to do with the river, however, which were similar to modern-day games of catch and handball. Gardens and simple home adornments were highly prized by the Egyptians. A home garden was important for sustenance but also provided pleasure in tending to ones own crop. The laborers in the fields never worked their own crop and so their individual garden was a place of pride in producing something of their own, grown from their own soil. This soil, again, would be their eternal home after they left their bodies and so was greatly valued.

A tomb inscription from 1400 B. Reads, May I walk every day on the banks of the water, may my soul rest on the branches of the trees which I planted, may I refresh myself under the shadow of my sycamore in referencing the eternal aspect of the daily surroundings of every Egyptian. After death, one would still enjoy ones own particular sycamore tree, ones own daily walk by the water, in an eternal land of peace granted to those of Egypt by the gods they gratefully revered.

Ancient Egyptian Burial : Egyptian burial is the common term for the ancient Egyptian funerary rituals concerning death and the souls journey to the afterlife. Eternity, according to the historian Bunson, was the common destination of each man, woman and child in Egypt but not `eternity as in an afterlife above the clouds but, rather, an eternal Egypt which mirrored ones life on earth. The afterlife for the ancient Egyptians was The Field of Reeds which was a perfect reflection of the life one had lived on earth. Egyptian burial rites were practiced as early as 4000 B.

And reflect this vision of eternity. The earliest preserved body from a tomb is that of so-called `Ginger, discovered in Gebelein, Egypt, and dated to 3400 B. Burial rites changed over time between circa 4000 B. But the constant focus was on eternal life and the certainty of personal existence beyond death. This belief became well-known throughout the ancient world via cultural transmission through trade (notably by way of the Silk Road) and came to influence other civilizations and religions.

It is thought to have served as an inspiration for the Christian vision of eternal life and a major influence on burial practices in other cultures. According to Herodotus 484-425/413 B. , the Egyptian rites concerning burial were very dramatic in mourning the dead even though it was hoped that the deceased would find bliss in an eternal land beyond the grave. He writes: As regards mourning and funerals, when a distinguished man dies, all the women of the household plaster their heads and faces with mud, then, leaving the body indoors, perambulate the town with the dead mans relatives, their dresses fastened with a girdle, and beat their bared breasts. The men too, for their part, follow the same procedure, wearing a girdle and beating themselves like the women.

The ceremony over, they take the body to be mummified. Mummification was practiced in Egypt as early as 3500 B. And is thought to have been suggested by the preservation of corpses buried in the arid sand. The Egyptian concept of the soul which may have developed quite early dictated that there needed to be a preserved body on the earth in order for the soul to have hope of an eternal life.

The Khat needed to exist in order for the Ka and Ba to recognize itself and so the body had to be preserved as intact as possible. After a person had died, the family would bring the body of the deceased to the embalmers where the professionals produce specimen models in wood, graded in quality. They ask which of the three is required, and the family of the dead, having agreed upon a price, leave the embalmers to their task. There were three levels of quality and corresponding price in Egyptian burial and the professional embalmers would offer all three choices to the bereaved. According to Herodotus: The best and most expensive kind is said to represent [Osiris], the next best is somewhat inferior and cheaper, while the third is cheapest of all.

These three choices in burial dictated the kind of coffin one would be buried in, the funerary rites available and, also, the treatment of the body. According to the historian Ikram, The key ingredient in the mummification was natron, or netjry, divine salt. It is a mixture of sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, sodium sulphate and sodium chloride that occurs naturally in Egypt, most commonly in the Wadi Natrun some sixty four kilometers northwest of Cairo. It has desiccating and defatting properties and was the preferred desiccant, although common salt was also used in more economical burials. The body of the deceased, in the most expensive type of burial, was laid out on a table and the brain removed via the nostrils with an iron hook, and what cannot be reached with the hook is washed out with drugs; next the flank is opened with a flint knife and the whole contents of the abdomen removed; the cavity is then thoroughly cleaned and washed out, firstly with palm wine and again with an infusion of ground spices.

After that it is filled with pure myrrh, cassia, and every other aromatic substance, excepting frankincense, and sewn up again, after which the body is placed in natron, covered entirely over for seventy days never longer. When this period is over, the body is washed and then wrapped from head to foot in linen cut into strips and smeared on the underside with gum, which is commonly used by the Egyptians instead of glue. In this condition the body is given back to the family who have a wooden case made, shaped like a human figure, into which it is put.

The second most expensive burial differed from the first in that less care was given to the body. No incision is made and the intestines are not removed, but oil of cedar is injected with a syringe into the body through the anus which is afterwards stopped up to prevent the liquid from escaping. The body is then cured in natron for the prescribed number of days, on the last of which the oil is drained off. The effect is so powerful that as it leaves the body it brings with it the viscera in a liquid state and, as the flesh has been dissolved by the natron, nothing of the body is left but the skin and bones. The third, and cheapest, method of embalming was simply to wash out the intestines and keep the body for seventy days in natron The internal organs were removed in order to help preserve the corpse but, because it was believed the deceased would still need them, the viscera were placed in canopic jars to be sealed in the tomb. Only the heart was left inside the body as it was thought to contain the Ab aspect of the soul. Even the poorest Egyptian was given some kind of ceremony as it was thought that, if the deceased were not properly buried, the soul would return in the form of a ghost to haunt the living.

As mummification could be very expensive, the poor gave their used clothing to the embalmers to be used in wrapping the corpse. This gave rise to the phrase The Linen of Yesterday alluding to death.

The poor could not afford new linens, and so wrapped their beloved corpses in those of `yesterday. In time, the phrase came to be applied to anyone who had died and was employed by the Kites of Nephthys (the professional female mourners at funerals).

The deceased is addressed by these mourners as one who dressed in fine linen but now sleeps in the `linen of yesterday. That image alluded to the fact that life upon the earth became `yesterday to the dead (Bunson, 146). The linen bandages were also known as The Tresses of Nephthys after that goddess, the twin sister of Isis, became associated with death and the afterlife.

The poor were buried in simple graves with those artifacts they had enjoyed in life or whatever objects the family could afford to part with. Every grave contained some sort of provision for the afterlife. Tombs in Egypt were originally simple graves dug into the earth which then developed into the rectangular mastabas, more ornate graves built of mud brick. Mastabas eventually advanced in form to become the structures known as `step pyramids and those then became `true pyramids.

These tombs became increasingly important as Egyptian civilization advanced in that they would be the eternal resting place of the Khat and that physical form needed to be protected from grave robbers and the elements. The coffin, or sarcophagus, was also securely constructed for the purposes of both symbolic and practical protection of the corpse. The line of hieroglyphics which run vertically down the back of a sarcophagus represent the backbone of the deceased and was thought to provide strength to the mummy in rising to eat and drink. Provisioning the tomb, of course, relied upon ones personal wealth and, among the artifacts included were Shabti Dolls.

In life, the Egyptians were called upon to donate a certain amount of their time every year to public building projects. If one were ill, or could not afford the time, one could send a replacement worker. One could only do this once in a year or else face punishment for avoidance of civic duty. In death, it was thought, people would still have to perform this same sort of service (as the afterlife was simply a continuation of the earthly one) and so Shabti Dolls were placed in the tomb to serve as ones replacement worker when called upon by the god Osiris for service. The more Shabti Dolls found in a tomb, the greater the wealth of the one buried there. As on earth, each Shabti could only be used once as a replacement and so more dolls were to be desired than less and this demand created an industry dedicated to their creation. Once the corpse had been mummified and the tomb prepared, the funeral was held in which the life of the deceased was honored and the loss mourned.

Even if the deceased had been popular, with no shortage of mourners, the funeral procession and burial was accompanied by Kites of Nephthys (always women) who were paid to lament loudly throughout the proceedings. They sang The Lamentation of Isis and Nephthys, which originated in the myth of the two sisters weeping over the death of Osiris, and were supposed to inspire others at the funeral to a show of emotion. As in other ancient cultures, remembrance of the dead ensured their continued existence in the afterlife and a great showing of grief at a funeral was thought to have echoes in the Hall of Truth (also known as The Hall of Osiris) where the soul of the departed was heading.

From the Old Kingdom Period on, the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony was performed either before the funeral procession or just prior to placing the mummy in the tomb. This ceremony again underscores the importance of the physical body in that it was conducted in order to reanimate the corpse for continued use by the soul. A priest would recite spells as he used a ceremonial blade to touch the mouth of the corpse (so it could again breathe, eat, and drink) and the arms and legs so it could move about in the tomb. Once the body was laid to rest and the tomb sealed, other spells and prayers, such as The Litany of Osiris (or, in the case of a pharaoh, the spells known as The Pyramid Texts) were recited and the deceased was then left to begin the journey to the afterlife.

Death in Ancient Egypt : To the ancient Egyptians, death was not the end of life but only a transition to another plane of reality. Even though the Egyptian view of the afterlife was the most comforting of any ancient civilization, people still feared death. Even in the periods of strong central government when the king and the priests held absolute power and their view of the paradise-after-death was widely accepted, people were still afraid to die. The rituals concerning mourning the dead never dramatically changed in all of Egypt's history and are very similar to how people react to death today.

One might think that knowing their loved one was on a journey to eternal happiness, or living in paradise, would have made the ancient Egyptians feel more at peace with death, but this is clearly not so. Inscriptions mourning the death of a beloved wife or husband or child - or pet - all express the grief of loss, how they miss the one who has died, how they hope to see them again someday in paradise - but not expressing the wish to die and join them anytime soon. The Egyptians loved life, celebrated it throughout the year, and were in no hurry to leave it even for the kind of paradise their religion promised. A famous literary piece on this subject is known as Discourse Between a Man and his Ba (also translated as Discourse Between a Man and His Soul and The Man Who Was Weary of Life). , is a dialogue between a depressed man who can find no joy in life and his soul which encourages him to try to enjoy himself and take things easier.

The man, at a number of points, complains how he should just give up and die - but at no point does he seem to think he will find a better existence on the'other side' - he simply wants to end the misery he is feeling at the moment. The dialogue is often characterized as the first written work debating the benefits of suicide, but scholar William Kelly Simpson disagrees, writing: What is presented in this text is not a debate but a psychological picture of a man depressed by the evil of life to the point of feeling unable to arrive at any acceptance of the innate goodness of existence. His inner self is, as it were, unable to be integrated and at peace. His dilemma is presented in what appears to be a dramatic monologue which illustrates his sudden changes of mood, his wavering between hope and despair, and an almost heroic effort to find strength to cope with life.

It is not so much life itself which wearies the speaker as it is his own efforts to arrive at a means of coping with life's difficulties. As the speaker struggles to come to some kind of satisfactory conclusion, his soul attempts to guide him in the right direction of giving thanks for his life and embracing the good things the world has to offer. His soul encourages him to express gratitude for the good things he has in this life and to stop thinking about death because no good can come of it. To the ancient Egyptians, ingratitude was the'gateway sin' which let all other sins into one's life. If one were grateful, then one appreciated all that one had and gave thanks to the gods; if one allowed one's self to feel ungrateful, then this led one down a spiral into all the other sins of bitterness, depression, selfishness, pride, and negative thought.

The message of the soul to the man is similar to that of the speaker in the biblical book of Ecclesiastes when he says, "God is in heaven and thou upon the earth; therefore let thy words be few". The man, after wishing that death would take him, seems to consider the words of the soul seriously. Toward the end of the piece, the man says, Surely he who is yonder will be a living god/Having purged away the evil which had afflicted him... Surely he who is yonder will be one who knows all things.

The soul has the last word in the piece, assuring the man that death will come naturally in time and life should be embraced and loved in the present. Another Middle Kingdom text, The Lay of the Harper, also resonates with the same theme. The Middle Kingdom is the period in Egyptian history when the vision of an eternal paradise after death was most seriously challenged in literary works. Although some have argued that this is due to a lingering cynicism following the chaos and cultural confusion of the First Intermediate Period, this claim is untenable. Was simply an era lacking a strong central government, but this does not mean the civilization collapsed with the disintegration of the Old Kingdom, simply that the country experienced the natural changes in government and society which are a part of any living civilization.

The Lay of the Harper is even more closely comparable to Ecclesiastes in tone and expression as seen clearly in the refrain: "Enjoy pleasant times/And do not weary thereof/Behold, it is not given to any man to take his belongings with him/Behold, there is no one departed who will return again" (Simpson, 333). The claim that one cannot take one's possessions into death is a direct refutation of the tradition of burying the dead with grave goods: all those items one enjoyed and used in life which would be needed in the next world.

It is entirely possible, of course, that these views were simply literary devices to make a point that one should make the most of life instead of hoping for some eternal bliss beyond death. Still, the fact that these sentiments only find this kind of expression in the Middle Kingdom suggests a significant shift in cultural focus. The most likely cause of this is a more'cosmopolitan' upper class during this period, which was made possible precisely by the First Intermediate Period, which 19th- and 20th-century CE scholarship has done so much to vilify. The collapse of the Old Kingdom of Egypt empowered regional governors and led to greater freedom of expression from different areas of the country instead of conformity to a single vision of the king. Literature again focuses on an eternal paradise which waits beyond death.

The popularity of The Book of Coming Forth by Day (better known as The Egyptian Book of the Dead) during this period is amongst the best evidence for this belief. The Book of the Dead is an instructional manual for the soul after death, a guide to the afterlife, which a soul would need in order to reach the Field of Reeds. The reputation Ancient Egypt has acquired of being'death-obsessed' is actually undeserved; the culture was obsessed with living life to its fullest.

The mortuary rituals so carefully observed were intended not to glorify death but to celebrate life and ensure it continued. The dead were buried with their possessions in magnificent tombs and with elaborate rituals because the soul would live forever once it has passed through death's doors. While one lived, one was expected to make the most of the time and enjoy one's self as much as one could. A love song from the New Kingdom of Egypt, one of the so-called Songs of the Orchard, expresses the Egyptian view of life perfectly.

In the following lines, a sycamore tree in the orchard speaks to one of the young women who planted it when she was a little girl: Give heed! Have them come bearing their equipment; Bringing every kind of beer, all sorts of bread in abundance; Vegetables, strong drink of yesterday and today; And all kinds of fruit for enjoyment; Come and pass the day in happiness; Tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow; Even for three days, sitting beneath my shade. Although one does find expressions of resentment and unhappiness in life - as in the Discourse Between a Man and his Soul - Egyptians, for the most part, loved life and embraced it fully.

They did not look forward to death or dying - even though promised the most ideal afterlife - because they felt they were already living in the most perfect of worlds. An eternal life was only worth imagining because of the joy the people found in their earthly existence. The ancient Egyptians cultivated a civilization which elevated each day to an experience in gratitude and divine transcendence and a life into an eternal journey of which one's time in the body was only a brief interlude. Far from looking forward to or hoping for death, the Egyptians fully embraced the time they knew on earth and mourned the passing of those who were no longer participants in the great festival of life.

Ancient Egyptian Grave Goods : Grave Goods in Ancient Egypt. The concept of the afterlife changed in different eras of Egypt's very long history, but for the most part, it was imagined as a paradise where one lived eternally. To the Egyptians, their country was the most perfect place which had been created by the gods for human happiness.

The afterlife, therefore, was a mirror image of the life one had lived on earth - down to the last detail - with the only difference being an absence of all those aspects of existence one found unpleasant or sorrowful. One inscription about the afterlife talks about the soul being able to eternally walk beside its favorite stream and sit under its favorite sycamore tree, others show husbands and wives meeting again in paradise and doing all the things they did on earth such as plowing the fields, harvesting the grain, eating and drinking. In order to enjoy this paradise, however, one would need the same items one had during one's life.

Tombs and even simple graves included personal belongings as well as food and drink for the soul in the afterlife. These items are known as'grave goods' and have become an important resource for modern-day archaeologists in identifying the owners of tombs, dating them, and understanding Egyptian history. Although some people object to this practice as'grave robbing,' the archaeologists who professionally excavate tombs are assuring the deceased of their primary objective: to live forever and have their name remembered eternally. According to the ancient Egyptians' own beliefs, the grave goods placed in the tomb would have performed their function many centuries ago. Grave goods, in greater or lesser number and varying worth, have been found in almost every Egyptian grave or tomb which was not looted in antiquity.

The articles one would find in a wealthy person's tomb would be similar to those considered valuable today: ornately crafted objects of gold and silver, board games of fine wood and precious stone, carefully wrought beds, chests, chairs, statuary, and clothing. The finest example of a pharaoh's tomb, of course, is King Tutankhamun's from the 14th century B. Discovered by Howard Carter in 1922 A. But there have been many tombs excavated throughout ancient Egypt which make clear the social status of the individual buried there. Even those of modest means included some grave goods with the deceased.

The primary purpose of grave goods was not so show off the deceased person's status but to provide the dead with what they would need in the afterlife. The primary purpose of grave goods, though, was not so show off the deceased person's status but to provide the dead with what they would need in the afterlife.

A wealthy person's tomb, therefore, would have more grave goods - of whatever that person favored in life - than a poorer person. Favorite foods were left in the tomb such as bread and cake, but food and drink offerings were expected to be made by one's survivors daily. In the tombs of the upper-class nobles and royalty an offerings chapel was included which featured the offerings table.

One's family would bring food and drink to the chapel and leave it on the table. The soul of the deceased would supernaturally absorb the nutrients from the offerings and then return to the afterlife. This ensured one's continual remembrance by the living and so one's immortality in the next life. If a family was too busy to tend to the daily offerings and could afford it, a priest (known as the ka-priest or water-pourer) would be hired to perform the rituals. However the offerings were made, though, they had to be taken care of on a daily basis.

Deals with this precise situation. Khonsemhab finds and repairs the tomb and also promises that he will make sure offerings are provided from then on. The end of the manuscript is lost, but it is presumed the story ends happily for the ghost of Nebusemekh.

Beer was the drink commonly provided with grave goods. In Egypt, beer was the most popular beverage - considered the drink of the gods and one of their greatest gifts - and was a staple of the Egyptian diet. A wealthy person (such as Tutankhamun) was buried with jugs of freshly brewed beer whereas a poorer person would not be able to afford that kind of luxury.

People were often paid in beer so to bury a jug of it with a loved one would be comparable to someone today burying their paycheck. Beer was sometimes brewed specifically for a funeral, since it would be ready, from inception to finish, by the time the corpse had gone through the mummification process. After the funeral, once the tomb had been closed, the mourners would have a banquet in honor of the dead person's passing from time to eternity, and the same brew which had been made for the deceased would be enjoyed by the guests; thus providing communion between the living and the dead. Among the most important grave goods was the shabti doll. Shabti were made of wood, stone, or faience and often were sculpted in the likeness of the deceased. In life, people were often called upon to perform tasks for the king, such as supervising or laboring on great monuments, and could only avoid this duty if they found someone willing to take their place. Since the afterlife was simply a continuation of the present one, people expected to be called on to do work for Osiris in the afterlife just as they had labored for the king.

The shabti doll could be animated, once one had passed into the Field of Reeds, to assume one's responsibilities. The soul of the deceased could continue to enjoy a good book or go fishing while the shabti took care of whatever work needed to be done.

Just as one could not avoid one's obligations on earth, though, the shabti could not be used perpetually. A shabti doll was good for only one use per year. People would commission as many shabti as they could afford in order to provide them with more leisure in the afterlife. Shabti dolls are included in graves throughout the length of Egypt's history. They were mass-produced, as many items were, and more are included in tombs and graves of every social class from then on. The poorest people, of course, could not even afford a generic shabti doll, but anyone who could, would pay to have as many as possible. A collection of shabtis, one for each day of the year, would be placed in the tomb in a special shabti box which was usually painted and sometimes ornamented. Instructions on how one would animate a shabti in the next life, as well as how to navigate the realm which waited after death, was provided through the texts inscribed on tomb walls and, later, written on papyrus scrolls. The Pyramid Texts are the oldest religious texts and were written on the walls of the tomb to provide the deceased with assurance and direction. When a person's body finally failed them, the soul would at first feel trapped and confused. The rituals involved in mummification prepared the soul for the transition from life to death, but the soul could not depart until a proper funeral ceremony was observed.

When the soul woke in the tomb and rose from its body, it would have no idea where it was or what had happened. In order to reassure and guide the deceased, the Pyramid Texts and, later, Coffin Texts were inscribed and painted on the inside of tombs so that when the soul awoke in the dead body it would know where it was and where it now had to go.

These texts eventually turned into The Egyptian Book of the Dead (whose actual title is The Book of Coming Forth by Day), which is a series of spells the dead person would need in order to navigate through the afterlife. Spell 6 from the Book of the Dead is a rewording of Spell 472 of the Coffin Texts, instructing the soul in how to animate the shabti. Once the person died and then the soul awoke in the tomb, that soul was led - usually by the god Anubis but sometimes by others - to the Hall of Truth (also known as The Hall of Two Truths) where it was judged by the great god Osiris. The soul would then speak the Negative Confession (a list of'sins' they could honestly say they had not committed such as'I have not lied, I have not stolen, I have not purposefully made another cry'), and then the heart of the soul would be weighed on a scale against the white feather of ma'at, the principle of harmony and balance.

If the heart was found to be lighter than the feather, then the soul was considered justified; if the heart was heavier than the feather, it was dropped onto the floor where it was eaten up by the monster Amut, and the soul would then cease to exist. There was no'hell' for eternal punishment of the soul in ancient Egypt; their greatest fear was non-existence, and that was the fate of someone who had done evil or had purposefully failed to do good. If the soul was justified by Osiris then it went on its way. In some eras of Egypt, it was believed the soul then encountered various traps and difficulties which they would need the spells from The Book of the Dead to get through. In most eras, though, the soul left the Hall of Truth and traveled to the shores of Lily Lake (also known as The Lake of Flowers) where they would encounter the perpetually unpleasant ferryman known as Hraf-hef ("He Who Looks Behind Himself") who would row the soul across the lake to the paradise of the Field of Reeds.

Hraf-hef was the'final test' because the soul had to find some way to be polite, forgiving, and pleasant to this very unpleasant person in order to cross. Once across the lake, the soul would find itself in a paradise which was the mirror image of life on earth, except lacking any disappointment, sickness, loss, or - of course - death. Reuniting with loved ones and living eternally with the gods was the hope of the afterlife but equally so was being met by one's favorite pets in paradise. Pets were sometimes buried in their own tombs but, usually, with their master or mistress.

The two best examples of this are High Priestess Maatkare Mutemhat circa 1077-943 B. Who was buried with her mummified pet monkey and the Queen Isiemkheb circa 1069-943 B. Who was buried with her pet gazelle.

Mummification was expensive, however, and especially the kind practiced on these two animals. They received top treatment in their mummification and this, of course, represented the wealth of their owners. There were three levels of mummification available: top-of-the-line where one was treated as a king (and received a burial in keeping with the glory of the god Osiris); middle-grade where one was treated well but not that well; and the cheapest where one received minimal service in mummification and burial.

Still, everyone - rich or poor - provided their dead with some kind of preparation of the corpse and grave goods for the afterlife. Pets were treated very well in ancient Egypt and were represented in tomb paintings and grave goods such as dog collars.

The tomb of Tutankhamun contained dog collars of gold and paintings of his hunting hounds. Although modern day writers often claim that Tutankhamun's favorite dog was named Abuwtiyuw, who was buried with him, this is not correct. Abuwtiyuw is the name of a dog from the Old Kingdom of Egypt who so pleased the king that he was given private burial and all the rites due a person of noble birth.

, Akbaru, was greatly admired by his master and buried with him. The collars of dogs, which frequently gave their name, often were included as grave goods.

Contained two ornamented dog collars of leather. These were dyed pink and decorated with images. One of them has horses and lotus flowers punctuated by brass studs while the other depicts hunting scenes and has the dog's name, Tantanuit, engraved on it.

These are two of the best examples of the kind of ornate work which went into dog collars in ancient Egypt. By the time of the New Kingdom, in fact, the dog collar was its own type of artwork and worthy to be worn in the afterlife in the presence of the gods. There was a significant philosophical shift where people questioned the reality of this paradise and emphasized making the most of life because nothing existed after death. Some scholars have speculated that this belief came about because of the turmoil of the First Intermediate Period which came before the Middle Kingdom, but there is no convincing evidence of this. Such theories are always based on the claim that the First Intermediate Period of Egypt was a dark time of chaos and confusion which it most certainly was not.

The Egyptians always emphasized living life to its fullest - their entire culture is based on gratitude for life, enjoying life, loving every moment of life - so an emphasis on this was nothing new. What makes the Middle Kingdom belief so interesting, however, is its denial of immortality in an effort to make one's present life even more precious. The literature of the Middle Kingdom expresses a lack of belief in the traditional view of paradise because people in the Middle Kingdom were more'cosmopolitan' than in earlier times and were most likely attempting to distance themselves from what they saw as'superstition'. The First Intermediate Period had elevated the different districts of Egypt, made their individual artistic expressions as valuable as the state-mandated art and literature of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, and people felt freer to express their personal opinions rather than just repeat what they had been told. This skepticism disappears during the time of the New Kingdom, and - for the most part - the belief in the paradise of the Field of Reeds was constant throughout Egypt's history. A component of this belief was the importance of grave goods which would serve the deceased in the afterlife just as well as they had on the earthly plane. Ancient Egyptian Cosmetics : Arts: It's clear from wall-paintings that 4,000 years ago make-up was worn in the upper Nile. Now we find that skilled chemists created cosmetics for men, women and children - for health reasons. When Cleopatra seduced Mark Antony, she wielded powers subtler than piling stones into pyramids.

Chief among the Queen's feminine wiles would have been the cosmetic arts. Now scientists are also being attracted to the strong, dark lines of ancient Egyptian eye make-up. Studies are showing that the ancient Egyptians may have possessed a knowledge of complicated chemistry that was far further advanced than anyone previously suspected. "For us it was very surprising that the Egyptians could create such complex chemical reactions without knowing the laws of chemistry, " says Patricia Pineau, director of research communication for the cosmetics giant L'Oreal, which has spent two years analyzing 4,000-year-old Egyptian cosmetics with scientists from the Louvre. The 49 alabaster, wood and reed jars of make-up that form the focus of the study were brought back to France by Napoleon as part of the loot from his invasion of Egypt.

Eventually the containers ended up in the subterranean storage vaults of the Louvre's laboratories. What has baffled scientists is that the ancient Egyptians were using "wet" chemistry: chemical reactions involving moist, typically watery ingredients. It is commonly thought that most of wet chemistry's rules were not fully understood prior to the last few hundred years. Pauline Martinetto, a student with the research laboratory of the Museums of France, says that we knew about ancient Egyptians using "fire" chemistry, employing heat and fire to manipulate materials, but the discovery of their use of wet chemistry was totally unexpected. In an elementary way, most cooking involves wet chemistry. Mix eggs, flour, milk, cocoa and sugar, and you end up with a chocolate cake. Because the chemical reactions are quick, wet chemistry in cooking is easy to work out. The astonishing thing about the Egyptian wet chemistry is the long time it took to get a result, and the complex procedures necessary for success. The Egyptians mixed salt water, lead oxide and sodium chloride to produce lead chloride crystals for eye make-up. The process took several weeks of filtering water and maintaining chemical balances.

Without knowing much chemistry, how did they have the foresight to know that a chemical reaction started on one day would produce such and such a result after several weeks? And everything had to be the same each day. Change one factor, and the product would have been ruined. The compounds are far too rare in Egypt to have been supplied naturally over the eight centuries they were in use. Pauline Martinetto works among the hieroglyphs and microscopes in the maze of research labs beneath the Louvre.

She says it was only recently that scientists had the time and tools to take a new look at these very old cosmetics. They also turned to a 2,000-year-old recipe from Greco-Roman texts, to re-create compounds similar to those found in Egyptian cosmetics.

From this they speculate that the Romans may have been drawing on Egyptian knowledge. The research team was also surprised to see how well-preserved the cosmetics were. As Marie Verdiere, a cosmetician working in a perfumery on the Champs- Elysees, explains, modern make-up is good only for about a year.

"After that, many lipsticks or creams will start to smell bad and will burn your skin if you try to use them, " she says. Eventually the animal fats and other oils in make-up start to break down.

Part of the reason why the dry powders of the Egyptians' cosmetics have lasted as long as 40 centuries is that they were buried in the dry, dark air of ancient Egyptian tombs. Pineau says that this highlights the importance of make-up for the ancient Egyptian woman - and indeed man. The tomb was meant to contain things needed to live well in the afterlife. And people didn't take cosmetics to the grave just to look good in the world beyond. The make-up was used for its therapeutic value.

Medical instructions on papyrus tell how the products were used for eye problems. This burgeoning ancient Egyptian pharmaceutical industry had more than a hundred prescriptions for the eyes alone. Pineau says that the medicinal value of cosmetics meant that men and children used the green, white or black make-up as well as women.

Make- up was far from being just a female preserve. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers.

Please ask for a rate quotation. ABOUT US : Prior to our retirement we used to travel to Europe and Central Asia several times a year. Most of the items we offer came from acquisitions we made in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) during these years from various institutions and dealers.

Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe and Asia connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. Though we have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, our primary interests are ancient jewelry and gemstones. Prior to our retirement we traveled to Russia every year seeking antique gemstones and jewelry from one of the globes most prolific gemstone producing and cutting centers, the area between Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg, Russia. From all corners of Siberia, as well as from India, Ceylon, Burma and Siam, gemstones have for centuries gone to Yekaterinburg where they have been cut and incorporated into the fabulous jewelry for which the Czars and the royal families of Europe were famous for. My wife grew up and received a university education in the Southern Urals of Russia, just a few hours away from the mountains of Siberia, where alexandrite, diamond, emerald, sapphire, chrysoberyl, topaz, demantoid garnet, and many other rare and precious gemstones are produced.

Though perhaps difficult to find in the USA, antique gemstones are commonly unmounted from old, broken settings the gold reused the gemstones recut and reset. Before these gorgeous antique gemstones are recut, we try to acquire the best of them in their original, antique, hand-finished state most of them centuries old. We believe that the work created by these long-gone master artisans is worth protecting and preserving rather than destroying this heritage of antique gemstones by recutting the original work out of existence. That by preserving their work, in a sense, we are preserving their lives and the legacy they left for modern times.

Far better to appreciate their craft than to destroy it with modern cutting. Not everyone agrees fully 95% or more of the antique gemstones which come into these marketplaces are recut, and the heritage of the past lost. The item "Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters" is in sale since Thursday, October 22, 2020. This item is in the category "Antiques\Ethnographic\Other Ethnographic Antiques". The seller is "ancientgifts" and is located in Lummi Island, Washington. This item can be shipped worldwide.
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Museum of Art (1996)
  • Format: Oversized hardcover with dustjacket
  • Length: 190 pages
  • Dimensions: 11½ x 9 x 1 inch; 2½ pounds

Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters    Amarna Royal Ancient Egyptian Women Art Sculpture Akhenaten Nefertiti Daughters