By Elizabeth Frood
The Ramessid interval in Egypt (ca. 1290-1075 B.C.E.) corresponds to the overdue Bronze Age, a time of serious switch either in Egypt and the close to East. this era of empire, ruled via the determine of Ramesses II, witnessed the most important advancements in paintings, language, and non secular reveal. Biographical Texts from Ramessid Egypt deals insights into those cultural variations throughout the voices of forty-five clergymen, artists, civil officers, and armed forces males who served less than the kings of the 19th and 20th Dynasties. Sixty-five biographical texts, which have been inscribed in tombs, on statues and stelae in temples, and tremendously on temple partitions, supply information in their careers and personality. The metrically prepared translations are brought by means of descriptions of the texts huge contexts and, the place attainable, summaries of the careers in their proprietors. the amount presents an advent to the ancient heritage of the Ramessid interval, drawing jointly key issues and interpretive matters raised by means of the texts and their contexts. those contain the illustration of relationships to deities and the king, the thematization of the priestly lifestyles, and implications of alterations within the texts media, together with new ornamental courses of nonroyal tombs. This integration of textual content with context sheds gentle at the that means of biographical writing in historic Egypt as an entire.
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Additional info for Biographical Texts from Ramessid Egypt (Writings from the Ancient World)
These expansions in decorum for nonroyal self-presentation culminated with the high priest Amenhotep at the end of the Twentieth Dynasty, who made extensive use of the walls of the southern processional route in Karnak for his biographical scenes and texts (nos. 5–9), extending the priestly decoration begun by Roma more than a century earlier, in order to display his own INTRODUCTION 23 power and position in the temple and in relation to the gods. The priest’s role in these texts and scenes approaches royal prerogatives, although images of the king are retained.
Oracles, as singular moments of divine intervention, are first attested as the focus of royal monumental narratives in the early Eighteenth Dynasty (Kruchten 2001). They become a component of nonroyal, priestly biographical narrative in the Nineteenth Dynasty. The phrase “I was high priest as the gift of Amun” in the biography of Roma (no. 3c) alludes to oracular appointment (see also nos. 1, 3b, 18). One of the most elaborate developments of this motif comes from outside the priestly domain. In a striking departure from traditional biographical structures, the stela of the military officer Penre uses the frame of the oracle to present a speech of the goddess directed to the protagonist (no.
This statue can be compared with the Nineteenth Dynasty tradition of biographical block statues of high priests in Karnak (nos. 2, 3a–c). Hapuseneb also dedicated at least two other statues in that temple complex. The increased focus on temples that characterizes the New Kingdom is connected with the expression of religious INTRODUCTION 11 concerns in biography. , Lichtheim 1976, 86–89; discussion: Gnirs 1996, 215–17). This practice continued in the Ramessid period. Biography generally gains prominence in the Eighteenth Dynasty both through its expansion into temple domains and through the increased space accorded it in tombs, particularly on stelae in Theban tombs (see Hermann 1940).