Prehistory to Egypt. up to circa 1,000 BC. Introduction. Period before writing Paleolithic , up to 13,000 BC Mesolithic , 13,000 - 8,000 BC Neolithic , after 8,000 BC Paleo=old, meso=middle, neo=new lithic=stone. The first “Art”. Development of early visual art Dark outline
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Prehistory to Egypt
up to circa 1,000 BC
Period before writing
Paleolithic, up to 13,000 BC
Mesolithic, 13,000 - 8,000 BC
Neolithic, after 8,000 BC
Paleo=old, meso=middle, neo=new
Past Present Future
gazelle = fast
lion = great hunter
Egyptian MythologyINTRODUCTION The religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians were the dominating influence in the development of their culture.A true religion, in the sense of a unified theological system, never existed among them.The Egyptian faith was based on an unorganized collection of ancient myths, nature worship, and innumerable deities.In the most influential and famous of these myths a divine hierarchy is developed and the creation of the earth is explained.
CREATION According to the Egyptian account of creation, only the ocean existed at first. Then Ra, the sun, came out of an egg that appeared on the surface of the water. Ra brought forth four children, the gods Shu and Geb and the goddesses Tefnut and Nut. Shu and Tefnut became the atmosphere. They stood on Geb, who became the earth, and raised up Nut, who became the sky. Ra ruled over all.
Geb and Nut later had two sons, Set and Osiris, and two daughters, Isis and Nephthys. Osiris succeeded Ra as king of the earth, helped by Isis, his sister-wife. Set, however, hated his brother and killed him. (Osiris & Isis legend, see below)Isis then embalmed her husband’s body with the help of the god Anubis, who thus became the god of embalming. The powerful charms of Isis resurrected Osiris, who became king of the netherworld, the land of the dead. Horus, who was the son of Osiris and Isis, later defeated Set in a great battle and became king of the earth.
The Legend of Osiris and IsisThere were the four children of Geb and Nut;Boys - Osiris & SetGirls – Isis & NephthysOsiris married IsisSet married NephthysOsiris became the living king of EgyptSet was VERY jealous of thisSet tricked Osiris into getting into a gold box, which he then closed and threw into the NileSet took the throne of Egypt
This upset Set’s wife, Nephthys, and she left him to help her sister IsisTogether, Isis and Nephthys found the body of Osiris on the island of Byblos and brought it back to EgyptSet found the body and ripped it into 14 pieces, throwing them again into the Nile, where they were scattered.Isis and Nephthys went all over Egypt and found the 13 of the parts (all except the penis), building a temple to Osiris at each placeIsis then bound up the 13 pieces in cloth (mummification), and constructed a penisIsis turned into a Kite (a hawk) and flapped her wings on the body of Osiris, breathing the wind of life back into his body
Osiris and Isis then had a child, HoursIsis raises Horus in secret so Set cannot find himOsiris becomes the lord of the dead, as he was the fist person to dieWhen Horus grows up, he avenges his father’s death by defeating SetHorus castrates Set and sends him into the desert to live forever in isolationHorus becomes the “prototype” pharaoh, after which all pharaohs are viewed as divine, being “Horus”
LOCAL GODS Ennead, a group of nine divinities, and the triad, consisting of a divine father, mother, and son. Every local temple in Egypt possessed its own ennead and triad. The greatest ennead, however, was that of Ra and his children and grandchildren. This group was worshiped at Heliopolis, the center of sun worship. Their importance increased with the political ascendancy of the localities where they were worshiped. As the religion became more involved, true deities were sometimes confused with human beings who had been glorified after death. Thus, Imhotep, who was originally the chief minister of the 3rd Dynasty ruler Zoser, was later regarded as a demigod.
ICONOGRAPHY The Egyptian gods were represented with human torsos and human or animal heads. Sometimes the animal or bird expressed the characteristics of the god. Ra, for example, had the head of a hawk, and the hawk was sacred to him because of its swift flight across the skyAnubis was given the head of a jackal because these animals ravaged the desert graves in ancient times.Because of the gods to which they were attached, the sacred animals were venerated, but they were never worshiped until the decadent 26th Dynasty. The gods were also represented by symbols, such as the sun disk and hawk wings that were worn on the headdress of the pharaoh.
SUN WORSHIP The only important god who was worshiped with consistency was Ra, chief of cosmic deities, from whom early Egyptian kings claimed descent. Beginning with the Middle Kingdom (2134-1668 BC)Ra worship acquired the status of a state religion. During the 18th Dynasty the pharaoh Amenhotep III renamed the sun god Aton, an ancient term for the physical solar force.
Amenhotep IV, instituted a revolution in Egyptian religion by proclaiming Aton the true and only god. He changed his own name to Akhenaton, meaning "Aton is satisfied." This first great monotheist was so iconoclastic that he had the plural word gods deleted from monuments, and he relentlessly persecuted the priests of Amon. Akhenaton’s sun religion failed to survive, although it exerted a great influence on the art and thinking of his time, and Egypt returned to the ancient religion of polytheism after Akhenaton’s death.
BURIAL RITUAL - The Book of the Dead Burying the dead was of religious concern in Egypt, and Egyptian funerary rituals and equipment eventually became the most elaborate the world has ever known. The Egyptians believed that the vital life-force was the ka. The ka, a duplicate of the body, accompanied the body throughout life and, after death, departed from the body to take its place in the kingdom of the dead. The ka, however, could not exist without the body; every effort had to be made, therefore, to preserve the corpse. Bodies were embalmed and mummified according to a traditional method supposedly begun by Isis, who mummified her husband Osiris.
After arriving in the kingdom of the dead, the ka was judged by Osiris, the king of the dead, and 42 demon assistants. The Book of the Dead also contains instructions for proper conduct before these judges. If the judges decided the deceased had been a sinner, the ka was condemned to hunger and thirst or to be torn to pieces by horrible executioners. If the decision was favorable, the ka went to the heavenly realm of the fields of Yaru.
Gods and GoddessesAnubisAnubis was the son of Nephthys.Anubis was depicted as a jackal, or as a jackal-headed man.Probably because of the jackal's tendency to prowl around tombs, he became associated with the dead, and by the Old Kingdom.Anubis was worshipped as the inventor of embalming, who had embalmed the dead Osiris, thus helping preserve him in order to live again.
ApisAn early deity, probably the best known Egyptian deity represented only as an animal.He was represented as a bull crowned with the solar disk and serpent.He was primarily a deity of fertility.
AtenThe sun-disk itself.Aten was depicted as a disk with rays, each ray terminating in a human hand and bestowing symbols of "life" upon those below.
BastA cat-goddess.A protector of cats and those who cared for cats. As a result, an important deity in the home (since cats were prized pets).
GebThe god of the earth.He is generally represented as a man with green or black skin - the color of living things, and the color of the fertile Nile mud.Note that Geb is masculine, contrasting with many other traditions of Earth being female.
HathorA very old goddess of Egypt, worshiped as a cow-deity from earliest times.She was usually shown with a solar disk flanked by cow horns on her head.She was also the patron of love, dance, alcohol, and foreign lands.
HorusOne of the most important deities of Egypt. As the Child, Horus is the son of Osiris and Isis, who, upon reaching adulthood, avenges his father's death, by defeating and castrating his evil uncle Set. He then became the divine prototype of the Pharaoh.Shown with the head of a hawk.
ImhotepImhotep was a historical figure. He was the architect, physician, scribe, and vizier (adviser) of the 3rd Dynasty pharaoh Zoser.It was Imhotep who conceived and built the Step Pyramid at Sakkara.In the Late Period, Imhotep was worshipped as the son of Ptah and a god of medicine, as well as the patron of scribes. He was one of the few mortals born of common blood to be elevated to the rank of deity.
IsisPerhaps the most important goddess (or god, for that matter) of all Egyptian mythology.Her most important functions, however, were those of motherhood, marital devotion, healing the sick, and the working of magical spells and charms. She was believed to be the most powerful magician in the universe, owing to the fact that she had learned the Secret Name of Ra from the god himself.She was the sister and wife of Osiris, sister of Set, and twin sister of Nephthys, and was the mother of Horus. Isis was responsible for protecting Horus from Set during his infancy; for helping Osiris to return to life; and for assisting her husband to rule in the land of the Dead.
Nephthys"Lady of the House", the youngest child of Geb and Nut.The sister and wife of Set, and sister of Isis and Osiris; also the mother of Anubis.She abandoned Set when he killed Osiris, and assisted Isis in the care of Horus and the resurrection of Osiris. She was, along with her sister, considered the special protectress of the dead, and she was the guardian of Hapi, the protector of the lungs of the deceased.
NutThe goddess of the sky.Nut was generally depicted as a woman with blue skin, and her body covered with stars, standing on all fours, leaning over her husband Geb, representing the sky arched over the earth.
OsirisThe god of the dead, and the god of the resurrection into eternal life; ruler, protector, and judge of the deceased.Osiris was the first child of Nut and Geb, thus the brother of Set, Nephthys, and Isis, who was also his wife. By Isis he fathered Horus, and according to some stories, Nephthys assumed the form of Isis, seduced him thus, and from their union was born Anubis.Being the first person to die, he subsequently became lord of the dead.
Pharaohs as deitiesFrom earliest times in Egypt the pharaohs were worshipped as gods: the son of Ra, the son of Horus, etc. The pharaoh was looked upon as being chosen by and favored by the gods, his fathers.
RaRa was the god of the sun; the name is thought to have meant "creative power", and as a proper name "Creator", similar to English Christian usage of the term "Creator" to signify the "almighty God."Very early in Egyptian history, Ra was identified with Horus, who as a hawk or falon-god represented the loftiness of the skies. Ra is represented either as a hawk-headed man or as a hawk.In order to travel through the waters of Heaven and the Underworld, Ra was also depicted as traveling in a boat.
SelketA scorpion-goddess, shown as a beautiful woman with a scorpion poised on her head; her creature struck death to the wicked.She was also petitioned to save the lives of innocent people stung by scorpions and was also viewed as a helper of women in childbirth.She is depicted as binding up demons that would otherwise threaten Ra, and she sent seven of her scorpions to protect Isis from Set.She protected Qebehsenuef, the son of Horus who guarded the intestines of the deceased.She was made famous by her statue from Tutankhamen's tomb, which was part of the collection which toured America in the 1970's.
SetHe was the patron deity of Lower (Northern) Egypt, and represented the fierce storms of the desert that the Lower Egyptians sought to appease.When Upper Egypt conquered Lower Egypt and ushered in the 1st Dynasty, Set became known as the evil enemy of Horus (Upper Egypt's dynastic god).Set is best known for murdering his brother and attempting to kill his nephew Horus.Horus, however, managed to survive and grew up to avenge his father's death by establishing his rule over all Egypt, castrating Set, and casting him out into the lonely desert for all time.
ThothThe god of wisdom, Thoth was said to be self-created at the beginning of time, along with his consort Ma'at (truth).Thoth was depicted as a man with the head of an ibis bird, and carried a pen and scrolls upon which he recorded all things. He was shown as attendant in almost all major scenes involving the gods, but especially at the judgement of the deceased. He served as the messenger of the gods, and was thus equated by the Greeks with Hermes.He is a god of the moon, and is also the god of time, magic, and writing. He was considered the inventor of the hieroglyphs.
ARRANGEMENT OF HIEROGLYPHIC INSCRIPTIONS Hieroglyphic inscriptions could be written either vertically or horizontally, usually from right to left, or top to bottom.The direction for any given inscription is indicated by the individual signs, which normally face the beginning of the inscription. The king's two most common names were inscribed in cartouches or "royal rings," stylized representations of loops formed by a double thickness of rope with the ends tied at the bottom.
DECIPHERMENT OF HIEROGLYPHS The Romans believed that Egyptian hieroglyphs were symbolic and allegorical, not phonetic; this theory prevailed into the time of the Renaissance. The breakthrough came in 1799, when a soldier serving in Napoleon's campaign in Egypt discovered the Rosetta Stone, a bilingual stela inscribed (196 BC) with a decree in honor of Ptolemy V in Greek, hieroglyphic, and demotic (“popular” writing form) Egyptian.
It was not until the work (begun 1821) of the French Egyptologist, Jean François Champollion, however, that the two Egyptian scripts were recognized as phonetic. In earlier stages of the work Champollion had predicted the hieroglyphic spelling of various royal names based on the demotic; these spellings were confirmed by actual cartouches on the Rosetta Stone and other Ptolemaic monuments. After identifying the names and titles of the Greco-Roman rulers, he combined the phonetic values he had so derived with his knowledge of Coptic, the late stage of the Egyptian language. This achievement enabled him to decipher earlier Pharaonic cartouches. In 1822 the decipherment of the script was completed.
Show parts of the body from their most identifiable side;Head – sideLower body – sideEye – frontUpper body – frontFace rarely shown from frontIdea was to preserve the essence of what was being shown, not always realistic.
Architecture2nd most important art formOld KingdomImhotep, architect for ZoserStepped pyramid at Saqqarahc. 2,720BCGrew from mastaba (Ar. “bench”)