K’Lee & Dale’s Cosmic Photo Challenge: Skin

The Queen Who Would Be Pharaoh

Bust of Queen Hatshepsut, Eighteenth Dynasty, Egyptian Museum Cairo, Egypt

Hatshepsut was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of ancient Egypt. Born in 1507 BCE, she came to the throne in 1478 BCE on the death of her husband Thutmose II. She was in fact only acting as regent on behalf of her infant stepson Thutmose III. Within seven years, however, she took full power, assumed the title of pharaoh and became co-ruler. To cement her authority as pharaoh, she ordered that she be depicted as a male in all likenesses, with the ruddy skin and false beard of male pharaohs. For Egyptian artists, color had meaning and symbolism; use was consistent for over 3000 years. Males, including living pharaohs, were shown with reddish skin, to symbolize their outdoor life. Females had light yellow or whitish skin. Most deities had golden skin.

Hatshepsut’s reign was peaceful and prosperous, with expanded trade routes and commerce. She build vast monuments, including her mortuary temple complex at Deir el-Bahri, near the entrance of what became the Valley of the Kings. She governed for about 22 years and is the second historically confirmed female Egyptian pharaoh. After her death, Thutmose III and his son, Amenhotep II, erased her name from monuments and destroyed or defaced her images and statues. She is never mentioned by scribes in later records, and there is a gap in the list of kings for years she ruled. Hatshepsut disappeared into the detritus of history until after 1822, when hieroglyphics were deciphered following the discovery of the Rosetta stone. Hatshepsut was acknowledged as a great pharaoh when scholars finally understand why a female name was combined with a male image. This painted limestone bust, now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, was found at her temple at Deir el-Bahri

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Thursday’s Special: Sequence

Lotus Buds In A Row

Temple of Luxor at dusk, Luxor, Egypt

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Tuesday Photo Challenge: Message

Myth and Message

Hieroglyphics, Temple of Edfu, Egypt

The Temple of Edfu, on the west bank of the Nile, is dedicated to the falcon god Horus. It is one of the best preserved ancient Egyptian temples and the 2nd largest after the Temple of Karnak in Luxor. It was constructed in the Ptolemaic period between 237 and 57 BC.  Intricate inscriptions on the walls include information on many aspects of  culture, myth and religion during the Greco-Roman period in ancient Egypt.

An ongoing Edfu project to publish and translate the texts of Edfu is currently (since 2002) run by the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Göttingen, Germany.  Their Edfu Project website describes the temple and discusses the importance of the Edfu texts.

“Regarding amount and content, the inscriptions that cover the walls of the Temple of Edfu are among the most important sources on Ptolemaic Egypt. They offer a wealth of information, mainly about religion, but also about political history, administration and other topics. Since some of the Edfu inscriptions transmit ideas that come from the eldest epochs of pharaonic history, they are often consulted as an aid in understanding older sources. Thus, religious concepts of pharaonic Egypt cannot be properly understood without interpreting the texts of Edfu. As a whole, the Edfu inscriptions can be taken as a compendium of Egyptian religious thought.”

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