Funerary Stela

Funerary Stela


Ancient Mediterranean Funerary Art

This post is part of a series of image posts Ancient History et cetera will post each month. Today’, it is all about ancient funerary art!

All ancient cultures had varying and extensive beliefs about life and death. They also had elaborate burial rituals performed at death. These rituals ensured safe travel to the afterlife, so that the dead are remembered forever.

By the sixth century CE, ancient Greek concepts of the afterlife and ceremonies associated with burial were well established. They believed that when one died they went to the realm of Hades and his wife, Persephone. Greek burial rituals were usually performed by the women of the family and involved a prothesis (laying out of the body) and the ekphora (funeral procession). The most common forms of Greek funerary art are relief sculpture, statues, and tall stelai crowned by capitals, and finials.

Similarly, the Romans performed a funeral procession for their dead which would end in a columbarium. These columbarium, depending on the person’s station in life, could be quite elaborate. Roman Sarcophagi also tend to be quite beautiful and visually tell us Roman values. (Whereas, epitaphs provide literary insight into Roman values.) Roman funerary art also includes death masks, tombstones and sculptural reliefs.

In ancient Greece and Rome, the Etruscans were identified as a culture of their own. Etruscans burial practices resulted in many items of funerary art such as: sculpture, sarcophagi, decorative cinerary or burial urns and tombs.

The various Egyptian burial rites, I am sure most have heard about! Rather than go into detail about Egyptian beliefs, I think everyone can agree that their practices resulted in a mass of items which could be classified as funerary art.


Unknown Egyptian Funerary Stela of Senebef

Provenance [Mohareb Todrous, Luxor, Egypt] purchased by Miss Annette Finnigan (1873–1940), Houston, by 1931 given to MFAH, 1931.
Exhibition History Loaned to "Texas Women: A Celebration of History 1730–1980," organized by the Texas Foundation for Women's Resources
traveling to: University of Texas, Institute of Texas Cultures at San Antonio, 9 May–Sept 1981
Hall of State, Dallas, 24 Sept 1981–10 Jan 1982
LBJ Library, University of Texas at Austin, February–summer 1982
Panhandle Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, TX, through August 1982
University of Texas at El Paso, August–November 1982
Houston Museum of Natural Science, 23 Nov 1982–15 Jan 1983 (LN: 81.15)

Loaned to "The Egyptian Mummy: Unwrapping the Mystery," at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Mar. 23–Sep. 17, 1989 (LN: 89.14).

Loaned to "Mummies: The Egyptian Art of Death," at the San Antonio Museum of Art, Aug. 6, 1993 to Oct. 1, 1995, and continuing on view at San Antonio until July 21, 1996 (LN: 93.24).
Inscriptions, Signatures and Marks

Cataloguing data may change with further research.

If you have questions about this work of art or the MFAH Online Collection please contact us.


A Group Of Funerary Stelae

. . . “thy work, touched by the common need,
Serenely effigied upon this tomb,
With the sure seal of hope upon the face
Hinting of faith in some sublimer creed,
Proclaims a life of all-compelling grace,
A death whose final ways are reft of gloom!”

Harvey M. Watts.

These lines to an Etruscan statuary make one wish that something similar might commemorate the work of those stone cutters in ancient Athens whose hands were “led to such supreme design” in the marble stelae from the Ceramicus. The general beauty of these marbles and of all Greek funerary stelae is the more remarkable in view of the fact that the stone cutters must have been artisans working stock pieces rather than filling private orders as did the funerary sculptors of Egypt.

These ancient grave stones of whatever period have one common characteristic,—they never dwell upon the horrors of death, but always stress life, giving the idea that although life be past there is left at least a reflection of the vanished existence. As one able French critic has expressed it, “Death is always present, but as though it respected the beauty of the human form, it touches the marble effigies with a light finger, only to impress upon them a character of tranquil sweet gravity and of gentle, melancholy serenity.”

The same spirit breathes from the epitaphs in the Greek anthology:

Why shrink from death, the parent of repose,
The cure of sickness and all human woes?
As through the tribes of men he speeds his way,
Once, and but once, his visit he will pay:
Whilst pale diseases, harbingers of pain,
Close on each other crowd,—an endless train.

The funerary stele was a flat quadrangular slab with sculptured decoration on one face. It was set in the ground in the fashion of the headstones over modern graves. So far as can be determined it originated in Greece, for the Achaeans at Mycenae set up over their dead flat slabs decorated in low relief with scenes showing chieftains hunting or fighting as in life. Homer speaks of a pillar set up in Lycia where a man’s “kindred bury him with a barrow and a στἠλη, for such is the due of the dead.” This pillar must be related to the original form of the classical stele, which would have been an unhewn stone, in later generations carefully shaped and decorated. The original idea apparently was that as the grave is the dwelling of the dead, so the stele is the house of the soul, an idea parallel with that of the Ægeans that the pillar is the dwelling place of deity. This fundamental idea of the possibility of the soul haunting the monument set up over its body is not obliterated in classical times even by the popular belief in Hades and it is the logical basis of the heroizing of the dead which is so prevalent on Hellenistic tombstones. Wherever the stele itself originated, the custom of inscribing such a stone seems to have sprung up in the Islands of the Cyclades, where very early in the history of Greek art we find stones with the name of the dead cut upon them, and sometimes also the name of the relative who set up the memorial.

Fragment of a grave stele. IV Century B. C. FIG. 57.
Museum Object Number: MS4019
Image Number: 3323

The stele of classical Greece is a carefully worked monument crowned with a decorative device, such as a palmette, and in course of time surrounded with architectural mouldings or framed between columns supporting an architrave, and giving the semblance of a shrine or heroon. In the field of the slab the sculptor carved in varying degrees of relief the image of the dead in some habitual pose or favorite occupation, or again in a family group. The aim was to present something general and human rather than specific and individual. Thus it is that on such monuments we never see an individual incident but always a situation in keeping with a person’s general qualities.

The stele is the commonest form of grave monument among the Greeks, undoubtedly because its fashioning could be as simple or as elaborate as the means of the bereaved might dictate. In the archaic period of Greek art the stones were very slender, and were decorated with the single figure of the deceased as he appeared in life, with perhaps a small secondary figure of a favorite slave or a pet animal, or the like. In the fifth century B.C. the secondary figure comes to be a very effective foil to the principal figure family groups appear, and throughout the fourth century these are the regular motive for the decoration of the stelae. These groups show the nearest and dearest gathered about the deceased in restrained grief. By the clasped hands of the quick and the dead, by the calm dignity of the deceased, “untouched by the shadow of death which rests only on the living in the background” these groups reveal a deliberate ignoring of the fact of physical separation. The fourth century sees these funerary monuments come to their highest degree of development, for in this century sepulchral sculpture exhibits a happy combination of universal beauty with realistic or rather personal rendering of details and features. Toward the close of the century the stelae come to an abrupt end because of the sumptuary laws of Demetrios of Phaleron in 315 B.C.

A grave stele representing a banquet scene. FIG. 58. Map: 3315-8.
Museum Object Number: MS4023
Image Number: 3316

There have recently been placed again on exhibition in the Mediterranean Section two ancient funerary marbles, gifts of long standing. One, presented by Mrs. Lucy Wharton Drexel, is a fragment of Pentelic marble from the top of a fourth century stele the other, the gift of Mrs. John Harrison, is a small coarse grained stone of the Hellenistic age. There had already been on exhibition a mutilated stele, hitherto unpublished, the gift of Mrs. Drexel, and a large stele recently acquired, published by Dr. Luce in the MUSEUM JOURNAL VIII, 1917, No. 1, p. 10 ff. Although none of the three unpublished marbles is of intrinsic beauty, it seems opportune to make brief mention of them as specimens of a class of sculpture which has a very special interest in that it is at once the simplest and the commonest memorial to the dead in ancient Greece.

A funeral stele. FIG. 59.
Museum Object Number: MS4020
Image Number: 3314

Figure 57, a fragment measuring in its greatest dimensions 28 inches by 17, shows the top of a family group which would be about 42 inches in height if intact. The setting is a sort of heroon, with a triangular gable surmounted at the apex by a palmette, much damaged, and ornamented at the ends with acroteria, one of which is wholly gone and the other is in bad condition. This gable was supported at each side by flat pilasters, the upper part of one of which, on the right, is preserved. In the center of the field in low relief is the head of a woman full front. Her hair, parted in the middle and waved on both sides, is covered with a veil the ends of which hang down on each side of her neck. At her left is the head of a bearded man in high relief, turned to the left, gazing past the woman to the part of the stele now lost. Apparently he is looking at the seated figure of the deceased. On the architrave are cut two feminine names, [ΓΛ]Τ[Κ]ΕΡΑ ΦΙΛΙΠΠΗ Glycera and Philippa. The first name is apparently that of the deceased in whose honor the tomb was set up, daughter, perhaps, to the man and woman represented in the fragmentary heads. The second name would be that of a female relative previously deceased to whom no stone was set up at the time of the interment, and who now shares the stele of Glycera.

Figure 58 is a small stone 27 inches by 18.5. It is said to have been acquired in Athens. Framed by columns supporting an arch is represented a banquet scene, a motive that becomes very common after the fourth century B.C., and is especially popular with the Romans. In some form the motive is very old. It occurs in archaic Greek art as a sort of symbolic food offering to the dead. How far and for how long a period the stone cutter is conscious of this significance of the motive is difficult to say. Certainly in the late work there seems to be more of the commemorative than of the votive about it.

In this rendering of the motive a beardless man reclines on a couch, his left elbow resting on a double cushion and his right arm extended, bent at the elbow, the hand holding a patera raised for the pouring of a libation. The pose is very comfortable,—the right knee bent and raised a bit, and the left knee bent and the leg flat on the couch. The man is dressed in a short-sleeved chiton, over which is wrapped a himation which covers his legs and the left arm. By the foot of the couch on a four-legged stool sits a woman closely draped in a long chiton and a himation which covers her hair. She is probably the wife of the deceased. Her right hand lies at rest in her lap, her left is raised holding her veil close to her cheek. Her feet rest on a low footstool. Before the couch stands a three-legged table spread with food. At the extreme right and left are two diminutive attendants, the one at the right with garment girded high above the knees, the one at the left wearing a Doric chiton with an overfold, and carrying a tall jar.

On the architrave in carefully cut regular letters one reads

MENEMAXE ΔΙΦΙΛΟΥ
XPHΣTE XAIPE

“Worthy Menemachos son of Diplilos, farewell.” The alpha is cut with a broken bar.

Another stele, Fig. 59, has been for some time on exhibition in the west room of the Mediterranean Section but no account of it has been published. It is a fragment of a relief from which the top is lost. The stele at present measures 23 by 40 inches, and is decorated with a group of three figures only one of which is complete. It was obviously intended as a memorial to the woman represented by the prominent seated figure. She is dressed in an Ionic chiton and a himation, and sits comfortably in a high-backed chair, with her feet crossed and resting on a low footstool. She seems to wear sandals. Her left arm is partly hidden under her himation, and her right hand is extended clasping the hand of a man who stands facing her. He is draped in a himation which covers his legs, passes about the waist and hangs over the left shoulder, leaving the chest and right arm bare. His left hand holds his cloak near the shoulder. The head of this figure is gone, so also is that of the woman whose figure in low relief is placed in the background between husband and wife, for such the two prominent seated figures may be assumed to be. The third figure may be that of a daughter. As the architrave, the place where the inscriptions were carved, is missing, we have no means of knowing the names of any of the individuals.

Cite This Article

Rambo, Eleanor F.. "A Group Of Funerary Stelae." The Museum Journal X, no. 3 (September, 1919): 149-155. Accessed June 16, 2021. https://www.penn.museum/sites/journal/723/

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.


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Central Stele Park

The Great Stele, the Stele of Aksum, and Ezana's Stele have received great attention due to their height, weight, carvings, and significant historical value. They were positioned on the gently sloping ground of the Central Stele Park and were to be admired from the downslope part of the then relatively young centre of Aksum. This forced the inhabitants and visitors to literally look up to the monuments.

The Great Stele

The Great Stele or Stela One measures 33 m in length and about 520 tonnes in weight. The monument is likely the largest single monolith which humans have ever attempted to erect. The Great Stele probably fell down whilst attempts were being made to erect it. When it fell, it hit the megalithic structure known as Nefas Mawcha, a rectangular chamber, funerary in purpose. The stela predominantly rests on slabs, presumably pushed underneath the monolith for preservation purposes after it had tumbled.

Contrary to all other stelae, the Great Stele was carved on all four sides. It represents a thirteen-storey building with windows and false doors at the foot, both front and back – implying the belief in a kind of afterlife. The indentations on each side of the stela are elaborately undercut. This concept causes the strong Aksum sunlight to enhance the apparent relief of the carved surfaces. Excavations have revealed that major tombs survived on either side of Stela One.

The Great Stele partially rests on the Nefas Mawcha (left).

The Stele of Aksum

The Stele of Aksum or Stela Two, is approximately 24 m high and weighs 200 tonnes. In accordance with Italy’s Fascist ideal of re-establishing the Roman Empire, both physically and culturally, Italian troops occupied Ethiopia in the 1930s. Not only did the Italians take ownership over the second largest stele in Aksum, they also seized a statue of the Lion of Judah (an important Ethiopian symbol), a number of royal and ecclesiastical crowns, the state archives, and paintings.

Like the Great Stele, the Stele of Aksum lay broken in several pieces when the Italians transferred the Stele of Aksum to Massawa, then Naples, and finally, Rome in 1937. The stela was re-constructed at the Piazza di Porta Capena in front of the (former) Italian Ministry of Colonies, close to the Circus Maximus. The stela became a symbol of Italy’s desire to colonize Ethiopia, drawing a direct parallel between the Roman Empire and the modern Italian state.

In 1947, the Italian government signed a peace treaty to return all treasures to Ethiopia. It was only in 2005 that the stela was dismantled in Rome, and shipped by plane in three pieces to Aksum. The monolith’s re-erection in 2008 marked an important national event: the ancient piece of art had returned to its original location after residing abroad for almost seventy years.

King Ezana's Stele

Stela Three was manufactured and placed in honour of King Ezana (fourth century). It is the only large stela that was never relocated nor ever fell down, and is presumably the last obelisk erected in Aksum. Under Ezana’s reign, Christianity was introduced to the Aksumite population. As the religious preference of the elite shifted towards Christianity, new practices were introduced, leading to the end of the use of stelae as burial markers.

It is clear that the grave memorial does not stand absolutely vertical. Its leaning position, however, is exaggerated by the slope of the ground on which the stela stands and by the displacement of the front baseplate. Following the concerns of the stela’s tilting position, it was structurally consolidated in 2008. The pictures on the right show in detail how the stela is prevented from possibly falling down.


Main keywords of the article below: functional, stela, amenysoneb, funerary, item, middle, egypt, priest, kingdom, ancient, magical, commemorating.

KEY TOPICS
This funerary stela, commemorating Amenysoneb, a priest from the Middle Kingdom of ancient Egypt, is a functional yet magical item. [1] The city of Abydos, on the west bank of the Nile in central Egypt, was a sacred site for the ancient Egyptians during the Middle Kingdom, which lasted from the mid-twenty-first through the mid-seventeenth century BCE. [2] The Ikhernofret Stela ( Berlin Museum ref 1204) is an important Ancient Egyptian stela dated to the Middle Kingdom and is notable for its veiled description of how the mysteries of the deity Osiris were carried out in Abydos. [3]

Abydos was a really important area during the Middle Kingdom (around 2055-1650 BC), when it was believed by the Egyptians to be the burial site of the god Osiris, the ruler of the afterlife. [1] For much of Egyptian history, including the Middle Kingdom, obelisks erected in pairs were used to mark the entrances of temples. [4] During the Middle Kingdom, Egyptians outside of the elite levels of society gained access to this funerary literature and began incorporating it into their own burials. [4]

The Middle Kingdom (c. 2000-1650 BCE) was marked by the reunification of Egypt following a period of weak pharaonic power and civil war called the First Intermediate. [4] Middle Kingdom :Egypt in the Twelfth and Thirteenth dynasties, between 2055 BC and 1650 BC. [4]

Starting from Turin stela Suppl. 1266, the A. discusses the known examples of boustrophedon hieroglyphic writing from the First Intermediate Period and until the late Middle Kingdom. [5] During the Middle Kingdom, the rectangular part of a stela usually contained several horizontal lines of inscription, above the depiction of the stela's owner and, occasionally, some of his relatives. [6]


By campaigning to the north and to the south, Kamose acted out his implicit claim to the territory ruled by Egypt in the Middle Kingdom. [7] Block statues were very popular in ancient Egypt from the Middle Kingdom on. [8]

Egyptian Middle Kingdom, late Dynasty 12 - early Dynasty 1991-1640 B.C. [9]

The so-called classical stelae of the Middle Kingdom had their origin in those stone slabs, which were set into the brick mastabas of the provincial cemeteries of the late Old Kingdom and the First Intermediate period. [6] By the Middle Kingdom, stelae were inscribed with various kinds of texts, the most common being the offering formula, a prayer through which the owner of a stelae expressed the wish to participate in the offerings of the king donated to the gods. [6] Notes, remarks and suggestions concerning the dating of Middle Kingdom stelae, with special focus on the offering formula and other phrases or writings. [5] Description of two Middle Kingdom stelae re-discovered in the Turin Museum storerooms: nr. [5] The A. has collected the personal names from stelae and other documents dating from the Middle Kingdom, but only from dated or surely datable ones. [5] Senusret III (also written as Senwosret III or Sesostris III) ruled from 1878-1839 BCE and was the fifth monarch of the Twelfth Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom. [4] The construction of pyramids declined toward the end of the Twelfth Dynasty, as instability led to the decline of the Middle Kingdom. [4] Royal funerary practices in the Middle Kingdom remained much the same as in the Old Kingdom, with kings continuing to build pyramids for their burials. [4] Unlike the Old Kingdom, however, Middle Kingdom royal pyramids were not quite as well constructed, and so few of them remain as pyramid structures today. [4] Unlike the Old Kingdom, objects of daily use were not often included in the tombs however, they reappeared toward the end of the Middle Kingdom. [4] Compare and contrast the tombs and burial goods of the Middle Kingdom with those of the Old Kingdom. [4] In contrast to elitist Old Kingdom attitudes towards the gods, the Middle Kingdom experienced an increase in expressions of personal piety and what could be called a democratization of the afterlife. [4] Mentuhotep II was the first pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom, restoring stability after a period of pharaonic weakness and civil war. [4] They all fall within the range of the Middle Kingdom and the early First Intermediate Period. [10] Grand tombs in the form of pyramids continued to be built throughout the Middle Kingdom, along with villages, cities, and forts. [4] Black Pyramid of Amenemhat III : Middle Kingdom pyramids consist of mud brick and clay encased in limestone. [4] Innovations during the Middle Kingdom included the solemnity evident in portraits of Senusret III and block statues. [4] Another important innovation in sculpture during the Middle Kingdom was the block statue, which consisted of a man squatting with his knees drawn up to his chest. [4] Another important innovation in sculpture that occurred during the Middle Kingdom was the block statue, which would continue to be popular through to the Ptolemaic age almost 2,000 years later. [4]

He lived during the reign of a little known pharaoh of the 13th Dynasty, Userkare Khendjer, who ruled towards the end of the Middle Kingdom. [1] Used from the Middle Kingdom until the end of the Ptolemaic Period nearly 2000 years later, most shabtis were of a small size, often covering the floor around a sarcophagus. [4] The Karnak Temple Complex is an example of fine architecture that was begun during the Middle Kingdom and continued through the Ptolemaic period. [4]

While stelae representing individual officials, sometimes with long inscriptions, were common earlier in the Middle Kingdom, the end of Dynasty 12 witnessed an increase in the popularity of stelae portraying larger groups of relatives and colleagues. [9] The Book of the Dead of Neferrenpet, made of papyrus, contains spells that are known collectively by the modern name the Book of the Dead and are derived from the earlier Middle Kingdom Coffin Texts and Old Kingdom Pyramid Texts. [8] This fatalism, which emphasizes that the god may be capricious and that his wishes cannot be known, is also typical of late New Kingdom Instruction Texts, which show a marked change from their Middle Kingdom forerunners by moving toward a passivity and quietism that suits a less expensive age. [7]

Several that are ascribed to Old Kingdom authors or that describe events of the First Intermediate period but are composed in Middle Egyptian probably also date from around this time. [7] The "Kahun Medical Papyrus" or the "Gynaecological Papyrus" (pKahun (med.) / London UC 32057) (12/10/12) date: dyn. 12 -- Photographs (b/w) and hieroglyphic text in: Francis LLewellyn Griffith, The Petrie Papyri: Hieratic Papyri from Kahun and Gurob (principally of the Middle Kingdom). [11] V-VI - pdf-file: URL -- Description and English translation by Francis LLewellyn Griffith, The Petrie Papyri: Hieratic Papyri from Kahun and Gurob (principally of the Middle Kingdom). [11] Reign of Amenemhat II or shortly later, 12th Dynasty, Middle Kingdom. [12] The regional centre of the cult of Osiris at Abydos, which has produced the largest quantity of Middle Kingdom monuments, lost importance, but sites such as Thebes, Idfū, and Al-Kawm al-Aḥmar have yielded significant, if sometimes crudely worked, remains. [7]

The title specifically covers British Museum stelae from the Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period, the largest collection of Middle Kingdom stelae outside Egypt. [13] The Middle Kingdom monuments in Egypt are not as well preserved as those of the Old Kingdom. [14] The Met has an excavation in Egypt at a Middle Kingdom site south of Cairo. [14] Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, on view through January 24, presents a comprehensive picture of the art and culture of the Middle Kingdom--arguably the least known of Egypt's three kingdoms, and yet one that saw the creation of powerful, compelling works rendered with great subtlety and sensitivity. [14] The Author The late Dr Detlef Franke was a lecturer at the University of Heidelberg and an expert on the Egyptian Middle Kingdom The Editor Marcel Mar?e is an Assistant Keeper in the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum with a special interest in the Middle Kingdom. [13] With thanks to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, here's an interview between Rachel High, Publishing and Marketing Assistant in the Editorial Department at the Museum, and Adela Oppenheim, Curator in the department of Egyptian Art at the Museum and co-author with Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto of the stunning new book, Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom. [14]

Adela Oppenheim: When I came to the Met's Department of Egyptian Art, I started working with Curator Emerita Dorothea Arnold and Curator Dieter Arnold, who are two of the great scholars of the Middle Kingdom period. [14]

More specifically, it includes papers on 'Principles of decoration on Middle Kingdom stelae' 'The Mitre inscriptions on coffins of the Middle Kingdom' 'Remarks on the Temple of Heqet and a sarcastic letter from el-Lahun' 'Some remarks on the development of rishi coffins' 'An unfinished Late Middle Kingdom stela from Abydos'. [15] Unusual Middle Kingdom Funerary Stela of a Man at Alexandria National Museum no. 223. [16] Publication of a Middle Kingdom stela, is exhibited in Alexandria National Museum (Inv. [16]

Understanding Middle Kingdom art takes a little bit of patience, but it is some of the most beautiful artwork produced in ancient Egypt, so I think that extra bit of effort is very well rewarded. [14]

Stock Photo - Ancient object, Egypt, Stela of Kay, Middle kingdom 2055-1650 b.c. [17] Senwosret III as a sphinx, part of the exhibition "Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. [18] "Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom" opens Monday and continues through Jan. 24 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art 212-535-7710 metmuseum­.org. [18] It returns to the subject in "Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom," an exhibition notably low on King Tut bling and high on complex beauty. [18]


Abydos received increased royal attention in the Middle Kingdom, starting in the reign of Nebhepetre Montuhotep II. It was the location for a tomb built by Senwosret III in the 12th Dynasty, and the all-important Osiris festival defined the site. [19] Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, reign of Amenemhat III (ca. 1859-1813 B.C.). [14] Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, reign of Senwosret II (ca. 1887-1878 B.C.). [14]

Statues of the deceased, like stelae, are found in more varied contexts from the Middle Kingdom than was true in the Old Kingdom. [19] A collection of nine thematic essays on the culture of the Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate period, focusing on mortuary stelae, inscriptions, burials and coffin decoration. [15] Subsequent New Kingdom rulers dismantled the temples of the Middle Kingdom and reused the blocks in New Kingdom foundations. [14]

May the y^h sign found here represent already in this Middle Kingdom text the word iff^, one of the terms applied to the dead? 20 Egyptian Stelae of bread and beer, oxen and geese, and everything good to the spirit of Senhotep the daughter of Bau." 31672. [20] Millard, A., The Position of Women in the Family and in Society in Ancient Egypt: with special reference to the Middle Kingdom. 3 vols. [21] The line drawing of a round-topped stela (number twenty-two of the late Middle Kingdom) in black ink is extremely useful in that the inscription has faded since Petrie's original publication. 6 As observed by the author, line drawings may be more time-consuming, but they are able to flesh out signs and details that otherwise might not be apparent in photos. [21] Limestone Stela of Inyotef, born of Tjefi, Post-reunification style of Dynasty 11.5, Middle Kingdom, Deir el-Bahri. [22]

Even though Egypt was subject to political decadence after the collapse of the New Kingdom, high artistic standards continued, as is obvious in stela eighty three, a beautiful round topped stela which dates from the Third Intermediate Period to the Ptolemaic Era. [21]

Abstract: Presentation of a new project to publish 176 Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period stelae of non-royal origin in the British Museum. [23] Descendants of both the earlier forms, the round-topped stelae of the Protodynastic Period and the rectangular "false doors" of the Old Kingdom, were used in the Middle Kingdom. [20] By the Middle Kingdom, with the "democratization" of the Netherworld, more levels of society erected stelae, such as at Abydos, where the deceased hoped to partake in the mysteries of Osiris for eternity. [21] During the Middle Kingdom the dead, wherever buried, were frequently given memorial tablets at Abydos, where the god Osiris himself was thought to be interred, that they might thereby enjoy a closer intimacy with that great ruler of the dead. [20]

Offering bearer, Tomb of Meketre, Thebes (TT 280), Dynasty 11.5, Middle Kingdom, ca. 1990 BC. [22] Great offering scene, interior of outer coffin, Coffin of Djehuty-nakht, Beni Hasan, Dynasty 11.5, Middle Kingdom, paint on wood. [22] Painted sandstone seated statue of King Mentuhotep Nebhepetre, Mortuary Temple of Mentuhotep Nebhepetre, Deir el-Bahri, Dynasty 11.5, Middle Kingdom. [22] Standing figure of Mentuhotep II, Mortuary Temple of Mentuhotep Nebhepetre, Deir el-Bahri, Dynasty 11.5, Middle Kingdom. [22] Plan of latest phase of Funerary temple and complex of Mentuhotep Nebhepetre, Dynasty 11-11.5, Middle Kingdom, Deir el-Bahri. [22] Number twelve dates to Dynasty Ten, while thirteen to thirty-two are from the Middle Kingdom. [21] A relief of an elite woman painted on limestone, from about 1887-1840 BC. Credit The Trustees of the British Museum, London Oddly, given its central place in Egypt’s past, the Middle Kingdom (circa 2030 to 1650 B.C.) has never had a comprehensive museum showcase till now. [18]

Akhenaten's newly founded capital at modern Amarna, in Middle Egypt, was marked by fifteen rock-cut boundary stelae on which the king explained why he had chosen that site for his new political and religious center. [6] The earliest stelae were erected in Egypt during the 1st dynasty to mark the tombs of the kings and their courtiers in the cemetery of Abydos in Upper Egypt. [6] From the 1st dynasty (when the earliest stelae were used in Egypt) onward until Roman times, a considerable change in the shapes of stelae, their decoration and their types of inscriptions took place. [6] Map of the netherworld from the coffin of Gua, from Deir el-Bersha, Egypt (Twelfth Dynasty, 1985-1795 BCE) : The map inscribed in this coffin comprises part of the Coffin Texts intended to help the deceased navigate through the Duat. [4] After toppling the last rulers of the Tenth Dynasty, Mentuhotep II began consolidating his power over all Egypt, completing the process circa 2000 BCE. His subjects considered him to be divine or semi-divine, as suggested in a relief depicting the pharaoh receiving offerings. [4] One example of such stelae is the Annals of Amenemhat II, an important historical document for the reign of Amenemhat II (r. 1929-1895 BCE) and also for the history of Ancient Egypt and understanding kingship in general. [4]

Much of what we know of the kingdoms and administrations of Egyptian kings are from the public and private stelae that recorded bureaucratic titles and other administrative information. [4] Senusret III is considered to be perhaps the most powerful Egyptian ruler of the dynasty and led the kingdom to an era of peace and prosperity. [4] His military campaigns gave rise to an era of peace and economic prosperity that not only reduced the power of regional rulers, but also led to a revival in craftwork, trade, and urban development in the Egyptian kingdom. [4]

Coffin Texts evolved from the previous Pyramid texts of the Old Kingdom, expanding and introducing spells that were more relatable to nobles and non-royal Egyptians. [4]

Besides the offering formula, which remained the most common prayer on stelae throughout Egyptian history, stelae also had genealogies, dedication formulas and other texts. [6] The article will present three unpublished stelae from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo (JE 45246CG 20810, JE 39069CG 20803, JE 36422CG 20800). [10]

If the typical Egyptian stela looks suspiciously like a traditional tombstone, the reason is because traditional tombstones are a modern rendition of these ancient markers. [6] In the Late Period and also in the Ptolemaic Period, a clear distinction was made once again between the lunette and the rectangular part of the stela, although some still follow the decorative scheme of the New Kingdom stelae. [6] Stelae with ears are classed as "magic" stelae, like the so-called cippus from the Late Period, a type of stela with the image of the child god Horus standing on a crocodile and holding snakes, scorpions and other dangerous animals. [6] Votive stelae where often dominated by large images of the god to whom the stela was dedicated, and they contain very little text. [6] The Kamose stela was erected to commemorate the victory of the pharaoh Kamose over the Hyksos ruler in about 1570 BC. Successful military campaigns were also mentioned on the boundary stelae that were set up by Senusret III of the 12th Dynasty, in Semna and Uronarti, lower Nubia, and by Tuthmosis I and Tuthmosis III of the 18th Dynasty, on the banks of the Euphrates River and on the Gebel Barkal in upper Nubia, respectively. [6] The first two are round-topped stelae, while the third is a rectangular stela. [10]

The false doors in the tombs of the 3rd Dynasty at Saqqara consist of a door niche as well as a rectangular slab stela, which shows the tomb owner in front of an offering table. [6] The offering formula was written in tombs, on coffins, and on a type of object we call a funerary stela. [1]

The owner of our stela, Amenysoneb (which means "The God Amun is healthy’) worked at Abydos, where he was in charge of a small rotation of priests, called a phyle. [1] Review of a very famous MK stela belonging to a "Master-sculptor" who worked in Abydos during the reign of Senwosret I, 12th dynasty. [5]

Re-examination of a small stela in the Museum of the Accademia dei Concordi in Rovigo (old nr. 12 new nr. [5]

In the rock-cut tombs of the New Kingdom, stelae were placed in the open courts to represent the owner. [6] Painted wooden stelae occurred for the first time during the New Kingdom, but hey become more frequent from the Third Intermediate Period onward. [6]

At the end of the Old Kingdom, Abydos developed into an important cult center for the god Osiris. [6] As in the Old Kingdom, stone was most often reserved for tombs and temples, while bricks were used for palaces, fortresses, everyday houses, and town walls. [4] Owing to the enlargement of the tomb superstructures during the Old Kingdom, the offering place was moved into a niche in the panel decoration that covered the facades of the tombs. [6]

In the Old Kingdom, the Pyramid Texts, which contained spells to help the dead reach the afterlife successfully, were only accessible to the elite. [4]

One of the few kings who were deified and honored with a cult during their own lifetime, he is considered to be perhaps the most powerful Egyptian ruler of the dynasty. [4] He was able to collect more than four hundred objects, part of them on the advice of Ernesto Schiaparelli, the first Director of the Egyptian Museum in Florence (1884) and from 1894 of the Turin Museum. [5] Osiris :The god of the underworld and husband of the goddess Isis in the Egyptian pantheon. [4] Hieroglyphic and pictorial carvings in brilliant colors were abundantly used to decorate Egyptian structures. [4] Ancient Egyptian architects used sun-dried bricks, fine sandstone, limestone, and granite for their building purposes, though typically reserved stone for temples and tombs. [4] Stelae inscriptions were usually written in hieroglyphs but occasionally also in Hieratic, the cursive writing of the ancient Egyptians. [6] In ancient Egypt, stelae are slabs of stone or wood, of many different shapes, usually bearing inscriptions, reliefs or paintings. [6] The stelae of Ancient Egypt served many purposes, from funerary, to marking territory, to publishing decrees. [4] Stelae have played an important role in our understanding of ancient Egypt. [6]

It was found by Professor John Garstang in 1907 at Abydos in Egypt, a site which is part way between Luxor and Cairo. [1]

While most stelae were taller than they were wide, the slab stelae took a horizontal dimension and was used by a small list of ancient Egyptian dignitaries or their wives. [4] IV, 1981-1990 -- Transcription and English translation ("based mainly on Stela S"): URL -- English translation by James Henry Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. II, Chicago, 1906, sections 958-972 : URL -- English translation (based on Stela S): Lichtheim II, 48-51: URL -- English translation by William J. Murnane, Texts from the Amarna Period in Egypt, Atlanta, Georgia, 1995, pp. 81-86 -- German translation by Wolfgang Helck, Urkunden der 18. [11]

IV, 1539a-1544 - URL -- English translation in: James Henry Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. II, Chicago, 1906, sections 810-815: URL Also available at URL -- Transliteration, English translation and commentary of the dream section only (lines 8-13) in: Appendix of Texts used in Szpakowska, Kasia. [11]

Exercises and Middle Egyptian Texts, Leiden, 1970, p. 46 -- Transcription and English translation by Mark-Jan Nederhof - 2 pp., pdf-file (12 KB): URL -- English translation by James Henry Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. II, Chicago, 1906, sections 649-650: URL -- Hieroglyphic text (based on Urk. [11]

Amenism, Atenism and Egyptian Monotheism, New York, 1923, pp. 46-54: URL -- English translation in: Lichtheim II, 86-89 -- German translation (first and second hymn) by Jan Assmann, in: TUAT II, 844-846 -- Italian translation (partial): URL -- Online version of: Steven Blake Shubert, Double Entendre in the Stela of Suty and Hor, in: Gary N. Knoppers, Antoine Hirsch (eds.), Egypt, Israel, and the Ancient Mediterranean World. [11]

Egypt: crowns The crown of Lower Egypt (left) and the crown of Upper Egypt (right), both worn by King Sesostris III, Egypt, 19th century bce in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. [7] Just as Asians resident in Egypt were incorporated into Egyptian society and could rise to important positions, so their gods, though represented as foreign, were worshiped according to Egyptian cult practices. [7] Not only were foreign objets d’art imported into Egypt, but Egyptian artisans imitated Aegean wares as well. [7]

The New Kingdom was a time of increased devotion to the state god Amon-Re, whose cult largely benefited as Egypt was enriched by the spoils of war. [7] Beginning in the New Kingdom, small human-shaped figurines called shabtis were placed in Egyptian tombs as a common part of the burial equipment. [8] The vernacular form of the New Kingdom, which is now known as Late Egyptian, appears fully developed in letters of the later 19th and 20th dynasties. [7]

Earlier works in Middle Egyptian were copied in schools and in good papyrus copies, and new texts were composed in Late Egyptian. [7] The first datable corpus of literary texts was composed in Middle Egyptian. [7] In the reign of Thutmose I, Egyptian conquests in the Middle East and Africa reached their greatest extent, but they may not yet have been firmly held. [7] In the early 12th dynasty the written language was regularized in its classical form of Middle Egyptian, a rather artificial idiom that was probably always somewhat removed from the vernacular. [7]

At about the time that he altered his name to conform with the new religion, the king transferred the capital to a virgin site at Amarna (Tell el-Amarna Al-ʿAmārinah) in Middle Egypt. [7] Akhenaton, Nefertiti, and their daughters King Akhenaton (left) with Queen Nefertiti and three of their daughters under the rays of the sun god Aton, Egypt, mid-14th century bce in the State Museums, Berlin. [7] In an inscription recording Tutankhamun’s actions for the gods, the Amarna period is described as one of misery and of the withdrawal of the gods from Egypt. [7]

IV, 26-29: URL -- English translation by James Henry Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. II, Chicago, 1906, sections 33-37: URL -- German translation in: Kurt Sethe, Urkunden der 18. [11] VII, 47-50: URL -- English translation by: James Henry Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. I, Chicago, 1906, sections 694-706: URL idem, at: URL -- German translation in: Dietrich Wildung, Sesostris und Amenemhet. [11] IV, 1713-1721 - pdf-file: URL -- Drawings: LD III, 74-75: URL -- English translation by Benedict G. Davies, Egyptian Historical Records of the Later Eighteenth Dynasty, Fascicle IV, Translated from W. Helck, Urkunden der 18. [11] IV, 2025-2032 (not yet online) -- English translation by John Bennett, The Restoration Inscription of Tut'ankhamun, JEA, vol. 25, pp. 8-15 (1939), : URL -- English translation by Benedict G. Davies, Egyptian Historical Records of the Later Eighteenth Dynasty, Fascicle VI, Translated from W. Helck, Urkunden der 18. [11]

Although Ahmose (ruled c. 1539-14 bce ) had been preceded by Kamose, who was either his father or his brother, Egyptian tradition regarded Ahmose as the founder of a new dynasty because he was the native ruler who reunified Egypt. [7] Egyptian sculpture: head of a queen Head of a queen, brown quartzite sculpture from Egypt, c. 1479-25 bce in the Brooklyn Museum, New York. [7]

Hieroglyphic texts on Egyptian stelae, drawing of a limestone stele of the official Senitef son of Rehutankh, depicting servants bringing offerings to a royal statue of pharaoh Nubkaure (Amenemhat II on the upper left, facing right). [12] Wealthier Egyptian officials often had memorial stelae erected near their tombs or memorial chapels. [8] The individual's name as well as his image had to be preserved hence, Egyptian tombs contain images of the deceased in both relief and statuary. [8] The University of Pennsylvania Museum's (UPM) Egyptian collection contains many examples of tomb statues. [8]

The city was important to the cult of Osiris, the god of the dead, and played a special role in Egyptian funerary rituals. [2] The king of the 12th dynasty with the most enduring reputation was Sesostris III (1836-18 bce ), who extended Egyptian conquests to Semna, at the south end of the Second Cataract, while also mounting at least one campaign to Palestine. [7] The Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations flourished almost simultaneously during the first civilizational phase (3000-1500 bce ). [7]

"Papyrus Anastasi I." -- Photographs (BM, several sheets): URL -- Hieroglyphic text and English translation by: Alan Henderson Gardiner, Egyptian Hieratic Texts: transcribed, translated and annotated by Alan H. Gardiner. [11] IV, 814-815: pdf-file - URL -- Hieroglyphic text in: A. de Buck, Egyptian Readingbook. [11]

The Dream Stela of Thutmosis IV date: dyn. 18, reign of Thutmosis IV -- Drawing of the stela: LD III, 68: URL -- A nice drawing of the situation at the time of the Lepsius expedition (0.1 MB): URL -- Photograph of the stela (0.4 MB): URL -- Hieroglyphic text in: Urk. [11] The Gebel Barkal Stela (Boston MFA 23.733) date: dyn. 18, reign of Thutmosis III -- Photographs (zoomable): URL -- Hieroglyphic text: Urk IV, 1227-1243 -- Hieroglyphic text (based on Urk. [11] The Stela of Suti and Hor (BM EA 826) date: dyn. 18, reign of Amenophis III -- BM fact-sheet with photos: URL -- Photograph and hieroglyphic text in: I. E. S. Edwards, British Museum. [11] The Stela of Ahmose from Abydos / Tetisheri Stela (Cairo CG 34002) date: dyn. 18, reign of Ahmose -- Photograph in: Hellmut Brunner, Hieroglyphische Chrestomathie, Wiesbaden, 1965, pl. 14 -- Photograph of upper part (79 KB): URL -- Hieroglyphic text: Urk. [11] The Restoration Stela of Tutankhamun (CG 34183) date: dyn. 18, reign of Tutankhamun -- Photographs: URL -- Hieroglyphic text: Urk. [11] The Northampton Stela of General Djehuty date: dyn. 18, reign of Hatshepsut -- Photograph in: William Compton Northampton, Marquis of, Report on some excavations in the Theban necropolis during the winter of 1898-9, London, 1908, pl. I: URL -- Hieroglyphic text in: Urk. [11] The Piankhi / Piye Stela (JE 48862) date: dyn. 25, reign of Piankhi -- Drawing of the front side: URL -- Hieroglyphic text in: Urk. [11] The Armant Stela of Thutmosis III (Cairo JE 67377) date: dyn. 18, reign of Thutmose III -- Hieroglyphic text: Urk. [11] The Great Abydos Stela of Ramesses IV for Osiris and the Gods (JE 48831) "I am a legitimate ruler I did not usurp." date: dyn. 20, reign of Ramesses IV -- Drawings in: Auguste Mariette, Abydos. [11] Three lines of text at the top of the stela request offerings for both Ameny and Yotsen, invoking Osiris, lord of Abydos, and the canine funerary god Wepwawet. [9] The content and style of the stela suggest a date late in Dynasty 12 or early in Dynasty 13. [9]

The emerging kingdom of Mitanni in northern Syria, which is first mentioned on a stela of one of Amenhotep’s soldiers and was also known by the name of Nahrin, may have threatened Egypt’s conquests to the north. [7] Under Amenhotep I the pyramidal form of royal tomb was abandoned in favour of a rock-cut tomb, and, except for Akhenaton, all subsequent New Kingdom rulers were buried in concealed tombs in the famous Valley of the Kings in western Thebes. [7] Setnakht’s son Ramses III (ruled 1187-56 bce ) was the last great king of the New Kingdom. [7] Sesostris III completed an extensive chain of fortresses in the Second Cataract at Semna he was worshiped as a god in the New Kingdom. [7]

The Book of the Dead dates to the New Kingdom or later and consists of prayers, invocations, and magical texts to ensure the survival of the deceased in the afterlife. [8] The earliest preserved important New Kingdom monuments from Memphis also date from this reign. [7]

There is scarcely any trace of local population from the later New Kingdom, when many more temples were built in Nubia by the end of the 20th dynasty, the region had almost no prosperous settled population. [7] Material relating to funerary practices, tombs, and mastabas comes from major UPM excavation sites including Dendereh (provincial Old-Middle Kingdom cemetery), Giza (cemetery of minor officials of the Old Kingdom), Saqqara (Old Kingdom pyramid cemeteries), Meydum (Old Kingdom through Roman/Coptic periods), Abydos (Predynastic through Late Period material), Dra Abu el-Naga (New Kingdom), among others. [8] He restored many monuments in the Memphite area, including pyramids and pyramid temples of the Old Kingdom, and had buildings constructed near the Sarapeum at Ṣaqqārah. [7]

In its later periods, Egyptian society, the values of which had previously tended to be centralized, secular, and political, became more locally based and more thoroughly pervaded by religion, looking to the temple as the chief institution. [7] According to Egyptian belief, the permanent inscription of a person's name was necessary for achieving immortality. [2] The word Hyksos dates to an Egyptian phrase meaning "ruler of foreign lands" and occurs in Manetho’s narrative cited in the works of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (1st century ce ), which depicts the new rulers as sacrilegious invaders who despoiled the land. [7]

IV, 44: URL -- English translation and discussion by Marshall Clagett, Ancient Egyptian Science. [11] IV, 155-176 (introductory speech) 176-177 (calendar proper): URL -- English translation by Sherif el-Sabban, Temple Festival Calendars of Ancient Egypt, Liverpool, 2002, pp. 17-19 (part of the introductory speech by the King and his court the calendar proper) -- French translation - of the calendar only - by Auguste Mariette, Karnak. [11] In an act of piety that also reinforced his legitimacy, Ramses IV saw to the compilation of a long papyrus in which the deceased Ramses III confirmed the temple holdings throughout Egypt Ramses III had provided the largest benefactions to the Theban temples, in terms of donations of both land and personnel. [7] Thutmose III Thutmose III smiting his Asian foes, detail of a limestone relief from the Temple of Amon at Karnak, Egypt, 15th century bce. [7] Colossi of Memnon The Colossi of Memnon, stone statues of Amenhotep III, near Thebes, Egypt, 14th century bce. [7] Nefertari Wall painting of Queen Nefertari from her tomb in the Valley of the Queens, Thebes, Egypt, 13th century bce. [7] The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Dayr al-Baḥrī, Thebes, Egypt, 15th century bce. [7] Thutmose IV Gray granite sculpture of Thutmose IV, Egypt, 15th century bce. [7] To judge from his mummy and less formal representations of him from Amarna, he was obese when, in his 38th regnal year, he died and was succeeded by his son Amenhotep IV (ruled 1353-36 bce ), the most controversial of all the kings of Egypt. [7] The main line of Hyksos was acknowledged throughout Egypt and may have been recognized as overlords in Palestine, but they tolerated other lines of kings, both those of the 17th dynasty and the various minor Hyksos who are termed the 16th dynasty. [7] Between the reign of Akhenaton and the end of the 18th dynasty, Egypt lost control of much territory in Syria. [7] During the long reign of Ramses II (1279-13 bce ), there was a prodigious amount of building, ranging from religious edifices throughout Egypt and Nubia to a new cosmopolitan capital, Pi Ramesse, in the eastern delta his cartouches were carved ubiquitously, often on earlier monuments. [7] Merneptah’s son Seti II (ruled 1204-1198 bce ) had to face a usurper, Amenmeses, who rebelled in Nubia and was accepted in Upper Egypt. [7]

Under Amenhotep II, Asian gods are found in Egypt: Astarte and Resheph became revered for their reputed potency in warfare, and Astarte was honoured also in connection with medicine, love, and fertility. [7] Amenhotep I Limestone sculpture of Amenhotep I, Egypt, c. 1500 bce. [7] Sesostris I Sesostris I, detail of a limestone statue, Egypt, c. 1900 bce. [7]

Meshwesh prisoners of war, branded with the king’s name, were settled in military camps in Egypt, and in later centuries their descendants became politically important because of their ethnic cohesiveness and their military role. [7]

Abydos, the great sanctuary of the funerary god Osiris, was one of ancient Egypt's most sacred places. [9] These funerary texts were a necessary part of the funerary equipment of the ancient Egyptians. [8] The ancient Egyptian empire during the rule of Thutmose III (1479-26 bce ). [7]

Textual Sources for the History of the Middle Nile Region between the Eighth Century BC and the Sixth Century AD, vol. III, Bergen, 1998, pp. 1121-1123 -- Hieroglyphic text in WinGlyph notation, transcription, English translation (by Griffith) and commentary in a posting of Michael Tilgner to AEL on May 17, 1998: URL (PDF file) Added to this post: A photograph of the hieroglyphic inscription & A drawing of the hieroglyphic text from: F. Ll. [11] The Mendes Stela (CG 22181) (27/7/12) date: reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus -- Drawing of the lunette (with inscriptions) in: Unijournal. [11] CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION A funerary stela, on which, below four lines of inscription, the stela's owner stands at the left before an offering table surmounted by three jars, a trussed fowl, a khepesh-leg, and a leek. [24]

This particular stela was carved in honor of a man named Mentuwoser, an official in charge of agricultural and livestock management, at the behest of Senwosret I (ca. 1971-1926 BCE) the king's name appears at the top center, inside the cartouche. [2] Legitimacy and the Book of the Dead in a Stela of Ramesses IV from Abydos, in: L'impero ramesside. [11] The finely carved hieroglyphics taking up more than half the surface of Mentuwoser's stela include lists of his good works and accomplishments, as well as prayers intended to guide him in the afterlife and give him access to the festival of Osiris. [2] The stela records how the festivities were celebrated in four main parts. [3]

In particular as people from all over Egypt built chapels with stelae at Abydos, we often cannot even tell if a stela is from such a chapel or from a tomb chapel. [19] While these look basically identical to small offering chapels associated with tombs of the period (at Abydos and elsewhere) there are no tombs here - they could be built by people buried at sites elsewhere in Egypt. [19]

Stelae are stone monuments that were used in many different ways in ancient Egyptian society, including as tombstones, as offerings to gods and as commemorative monuments. [13] Egyptian stela of Sehetepibre and others (Illustration) - Ancient History Encyclopedia Egyptian stela of Sehetepibre and others Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin On this sandstone stela, there are 10 lines of hieroglyphs inside the border line. [25] Emily Teeter, "Egyptian Art," Museum Studies: Ancient Art at The Art Institute of Chicago, vol. 20, no. 1 (1994), pp. 19-20 (ill.), no. 3. [26]

Geoff Emberling and Emily Teeter, "The First Expedition of the Oriental Institute, 1919-1920," in Pioneers to the Past: American Archaeologists in the Middle East 1919-1920, ed. Geoff Emberling, Oriental Institute Museum Publications 30 (Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 2010), pp. 47-48, fig. 4.17. [26] Egyptians' perceptions of the world change in the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms I hope that is evident in the various objects that we discuss in the book and exhibition. [14] The great pyramids were built in the Old Kingdom, and many of the household name pharaohs, like Ramesses, Hatshepsut and Tutankhamun reigned in the New Kingdom. [27]

One of the most famous documents from ancient Egypt on the artistic process is a funerary stele now in the collection of the Louvre, created by the artist Irtisen for his own tomb. [14]

RANKED SELECTED SOURCES(27 source documents arranged by frequency of occurrence in the above report)


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The Evolution of Funerary Practices in Ancient Egypt

Existence in all but a few exceptionally rare cases, justification of the state of being is the cornerstone of human culture. The need to uncover meaning in life as well as death has therefore become a timeless desire of man, one which the Ancient Egyptians held to the highest esteem. This civilization and their need to comprehend this life as well as the next led to the creation of an incredibly complex web of religion, woven together by a myriad of gods, goddesses, myths, and rituals. The steadily evolving faith, which began in Pre-dynastic times as fragmentary and varied beliefs and traditions, transformed into a state religion that sustained Egyptian culture through its incredible span of history. While the increasing complexity of the Egyptian belief system can be traced through several aspects of their religion, funerary ideology perhaps best displayed the progressing thought put into existence and the afterlife. It is within the architecture, texts, and ideas of these funerary practices, that one can see the incredible intricacy of an evolving spiritual world, one that would credit the Egyptians as being “more religious than any other people.[1]”

The genesis of funerary rights coincides with the dawning of Egyptian civilization a time before written records, intense social stratification, and a unified nation. In this Pre-dynastic period, archaeological evidence reveals that even within the simplest society, there was a belief in the divine that called for particular care of the deceased. By the Neolithic era, there is an almost “standardized” practice of burial. The graves, which usually consisted of oval pits, contained a body that would be oriented on its left side, with the head towards the south, facing west. Also, with the settling of populations and the rise of a material culture, grave goods, such as jewelry, pots, slate palettes, and stone tools, became a commonality.

As time progressed, so did the cultural and social complexity of the Ancient Egyptians. With the nearing of a unified nation and the stratification it consequently impress upon society, funerary practices had to be adapted to the more demanding necessities that allowed an individual to attain an afterlife. The early Pre-Dynastic saw the rise of the Naqada Period, whose Amratian and Badarian cultures still buried the majority of their dead simply. With the former although a minority of burials were much larger, containing coffins and far more grave goods, although these goods do not yet seem to have had hierarchical implications. It is not until Naqada II that social stratification is reflected in death. It is at this time that the first wrapped bodies are discovered, along with increasing mass burials and varied graves, ranging from simple pits to partitioned mud-brick enclosures. By the end of Naqada III, there is the appearance of “royal” burials that included multiple roomed tombs equipped with pottery and other elite goods.

The emergence of an Egyptian state at ca.3200 B.C.E brought about yet another major change in traditional funerary practices. With the founding of an unshakable authority -the pharaohnic institution- monumental architecture such as elaborate tombs and mortuary complexes arose at sites like Abydos. The idea of a mortuary cult also began to take hold even in the lowest of classes, who had their own simple cemeteries in contrast to the superstructures constructed for government officials and others of higher status. The glorification of funerary complexes only amplified with the commencement of the Old Kingdom. It was during this period that the mastaba tombs, which were enclosed burial chambers led to by a vertical shaft, quickly gave way to perhaps the hallmark of Ancient Egypt the pyramid.

As the brainchild of King Djoser’s vizier, Imhotep, the pyramid became a major catalyst of change. At first built as a stepped structure, it achieved its perfected state during the Fourth Dynasty. The grandeur of the innovative architecture not only served as a proper resting place for the pharaoh, but also symbolized the solidity and strength of the Egyptian state. Furthermore, it brought change to the funerary traditions of the remainder of society. Royals, officials, and priests, who were still being buried in mastaba tombs, wished to be buried near their king’s funerary complex with the hopes of maintaining a relationship with him in death. This wish was manifested as well in the royal funerary cult, whose numbers surged during this period.

During the early Fifth Dynasty there came a break from pyramid building. Instead, Sun-temples that revered the God Ra became the sought after resting place of the king. While constructed was fairly different from the pyramid complex, the sun temples still retained the traditions of receiving tribute, harboring a vast array of goods for the departed, and serving as a center of cult worship. Nevertheless, the phase was short lived. By the close of the dynasty, pyramid construction had begun to reappear and again proved to stoke the fires of change. With the introduction of the Pyramid texts, the earliest religious compositions know from Ancient Egypt, the foundation was laid for the cult of Osiris and the development of the concepts and representations of the afterlife.

The decentralization of power during the First Intermediate Period featured a vast array of funerary innovations. Mummy masks were incorporated as well as Coffin Texts, which were found mainly among provincial society. In addition to the new elements of burials, the mastaba tomb itself underwent re-invention. Family groups were often buried in multi-chambered tombs and their status in said family was made visible by means of the burial.

As control was restored and the Middle Kingdom steadily progressed, the cult of Osiris achieved its height in popularity. Tombs and monuments built by the pharaohs of the Middle Kingdom dynasties revered this God of the Necropolis, and with the rapid growth of the cult came the �mocratization of the afterlife.’ For the first time in Egypt’s religious history, the same funerary privileges were available to both royal and common. Another link between the social classes was established with the idea of the ba, or spiritual force, which was once believed to only exist within the king.

On a more material basis, the mortuary complexes exceeded those of the past in mastery and skill, becoming larger and more beautiful, with added elements such as terraced ambulatories and galleries. The tombs were still equipped with lavish goods, but now also held shabti and paddle dolls, both of which were not seen before this period.

Cartonnage masks were now also a commonality, while the act of mummification itself was increasing, but not yet becoming overly effective.

By the Seventeenth Dynasty, the wealth of tombs had been drastically curtailed, although traditions such as the mass elite burials near royal tombs remained. The location of these burials differed as well. Instead of a prominent cemetery, most royals were buried in the Valley of the Kings in rock cut tombs. But with the rise of the Eighteenth Dynasty and the beginnings of the Amarna Period, funerary culture was again driven by change.

Ideologically, Akhenaten, the tenth ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty undertook a religious revolution, altering the state religion, mode of worship, and all components of burial architecture. Kings themselves became more closely associated with the gods. Their tombs were more than a lasting glorification of their life’s achievements, and depicted the gods as much as the king himself. Within the burial chambers, inscribed texts were written in a more everyday language, although the line between official and vernacular languages failed to disappear. The tomb itself was although no longer seen as a final resting place. Instead, they served only as a place where the ba went to rest at night otherwise, the spirit of the dead lived on earth. Even with this major ideological change, funerary rites and tribute continued.


Funerary Stela - History

Other famous tombs are those at Petra, the
ancient rock city in what is now Jordan. The hills here are honeycombed with
tombs cut into rock.

Many large tombs were built in ancient Asia Minor. The most notable was that of
King Mausolos, from whose name came the word “mausoleum”.

Originally graves in the 1700s also contained footstones to demarcate the foot end of
the grave. Footstones were rarely carved with more than the deceased's initials and
year of death, and many cemeteries and churchyards have removed them to make
cutting the grass easier. Note however that in many UK cemeteries the principal, and
indeed only, marker is placed at the foot of the grave.

Graves and any related memorials are a focus for mourning and remembrance. Often
the names of loved one’s are placed on the marker to chronicle their deaths. Since
gravestones and a plot in a cemetery or churchyard cost money, they are also a
symbol of wealth or prominence in a community. Some gravestones were even
commissioned and erected to their own memory by people who were still living, as a
testament to their wealth and status. In a Christian context, the very wealthy often
erected elaborate memorials within churches rather than having simply external
gravestones.


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