Lecture 9 - Old Kingdom Cont'd (5th Dynasty)

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Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
Zoe Mc Quinn

NMC343 -Ancient Egypt I Thursday Nov 8, 2012 Lecture 9 - Old Kingdom Cont’d Recap Nyuserra • Viziers play a very important role in his reign • They have lavish burials • Viziers are: ptahshepses, kay and pehenuka • Best preserved of this period are the tomb of the two barbers Menkauhor • Reign: • Turin Canon - 8 Years • Manetho - 9 years • We know he had a pyramid but for a while we had no idea what happened to it • In the 1840s a pyramid was uncovered, but the sands covered it and no one could find it until 2008 • North Saqqara: “headless pyramid” • Last sun-temple built - It is undiscovered but records say it is called ”field of Horus” Little is known about this king • • Did he celebrate a sed festival? • Image: white crown of Egypt, crook and flail, wrapped tightly, appears like in a sed-festival • Perhaps this is another ritual of which he have little understanding Djedkare • Reign: • Turin Canon - 28 years • Manetho 44 years Abusir Papyri - 41-42 years • • Expeditions • Nubia and Punt: • From punt he wanted a pigmy, and physical abnormality meant you were touched by the gods and received more honor • The ability to go to punt and bring home special people was a mark of kingship • Administration: • Provincial officials gained greater autonomy from the central government • “overseer of Upper Egypt” • Hereditary Offices, especially Vizier • During his reign there seems to be an increase in number of provincial officials • These officials move away from centralized authority of the court (no longer live at the court, but at the provinces where they rule) Seems they are no longer under control of the pharaoh, therefore the title “overseer of Up- • per Egypt” and he is direct representative of Pharaoh in south • Might have felt the need to make this position because of the trend of making offices hered- itary • The king would give you position, and with it comes control over land, food and resources NMC343 -Ancient Egypt I Thursday Nov 8, 2012 Lecture 9 - Old Kingdom Cont’d • If this becomes hereditary it means the resources are not going back to the king, but through the family, whereby taking King out of the equation • King no longer controls wealth and their prosperity not controlled by king • Maxims of Ptahhotep • Instructional literature • Copied from MK onwards • But probably written during this reign based on style • He is writing advice to his son on how to be a good and successful person in Egyptian court • No longer building pyramids atAbusir but Saqqara • Attached queen’s pyramid with own enclosure wall but within larger enclosure • Capping stones inlaid with gold Unas • Reign: • Turin Canon - 30 years Manetho - 33 years • • Few concrete historical documents from reign • He built at saqqara • His importance no in his history but his burial • To build his pyramid he had to knock down a bunch of tombs in his way because Saqarra had been a major cemetery for hundreds of years • 5th dynasty pyramids are basically rubble pyramids • Image: from causeway • 2 women with proportions not in egyptian ideal • The relief says he is showing a famine • These women are starving bedouin who come to Egypt cause there is food there • The king is sheltering those suffering famine • Pyramid Texts: Probably most important religious texts we have from Egypt of this time period • • Start during his reign • Inscriptions relating to the king’s death and afterlife • Comprised of some 800 spells or “utterances”, written in columns on the walls of the corri- dors and burial chambers • Start in centre of tomb and you read them leaving the tomb • You read them properly if your dead (leaving the tomb) • Element that they need to be spoken; start with “words to be spoken” • Egyptians believe in power of physically doing something and speaking the words makes it so Religion: Pyramid Texts • Categories: • Dramatic texts Hymns with name formulae • NMC343 -Ancient Egypt I Thursday Nov 8, 2012 Lecture 9 - Old Kingdom Cont’d • Litanies • Glorifications Magical texts • • All part of an oral tradition that is being codified for the first time • Within that oral tradition what we’re seeing is a fusing of different ideas of Egypt into one canonic text • Sometimes spells are similar - almost repeating themselves except for the type of boat they chose to display • Two spells in religious tradition but the type of boat being used is important, therefore both represented • Must have taken theologists/priests to come together what stays and goes; what is important, what isn’t, and it is important to take this into mind What didn’t make it? • • What was the purpose and meaning of the texts? • Constant reference to the cult of the sun-god: possibly composed by the priest of heliopolo- lis • The pyramid text make allusion to myths but does not provide a coherent narrative of stores: • Osiris • The conflict between Horus and Seth • The overall theme of the pyramid texts was the eternal existence of the king in the af- terlife Government and EconomicActivities in the OK - 5th Dynasty • The 5th dynasty was a time of change: centralized state of the god-kingship transformed into a bureaucratic state • Hereditary and inheritance of title incorporated into this • First hints of Nomarch • Provincial ‘rulers’? • Building bigger tombs that incorporate wealth and status and rituals previously only for king Idealized biographies • • Officials no longer found just near the kings pyramids Architecture and Traditions in the 5th Dynasty • **Pyramid complexes: Bad quality of rubble core used in all abusir pyramids has left them in poor condition • • All of the fine blocks of outer casing have been plundered and the cores have collapsed • The complexes of Neferirkare and Nyuserra are both unfinished and poorly preserved • **The pyramid complex of Nyuserra incorporated the earliest known example of a “pylon” • No longer focus on complexes? • Pyramid of Kentkawes ofAbusir • Not attached but her own • Sun-Temples NMC343 -Ancient Egypt I Thursday Nov 8, 2012 Lecture 9 - Old Kingdom Cont’d • Only two surviving examples of the sun temple: Userkaf and Nyuserra • At least 6 temples of this type are mentioned in contemporary texts The layout resembles a pyramid complex with a valley temple causeway and upper temple • • Perhaps the focus was on sun-temples instead of pyramid complexes • They were mortuary complexes for the sun or for the king in his identity as the sun before birth and after death • They were places where the communion between the sun and the king could be consum- mated • They were sacred filters for the goods that sustained the pyramid complexes of the king Religion of 5th Dynasty • Two main religions: Sun temples • • Cult of Osiris • Image: stele of Osiris • Stylistic crown with two feathers Green as he is god of vegetation • Dynasty 6 • Duration: • Manetho - 203 years Turin Canon - 181 years • • Evidence: • Lied of Queen Ankhnespepy’s sarcophagus covers events from the reigns of Teti, Userkara and Pepy I • The royal and private monuments in the necropolises of Giza,Abydos and Saqqara • Contain autobiographies with
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