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Barry Kemp's latest book on Armana
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Kharis
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:23 am    Post subject: Barry Kemp's latest book on Armana Reply with quote

I recently acquired Barry Kemp's latest book ' The City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti; Amarna and its People." I have only just started reading it, but one the the things he says at the beginning is that Akhenaten had less of an impact on the temples and attitudes to other gods than previously thought.

For example, he says that most of the temples continued to operate under Akhenaten, the only changes being the removal of the carvings and titles for Amun inside the temples. He also cites information which show temples for other gods still operating and producing texts and carvings during Akhenaten's reign.

I found this very interesting as I had had the usual view that all temples except those to Aten were closed down. Kemp says that Tutankamun's statement about restoring the neglected temples etc was an exaggeration.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:03 am    Post subject: Re: Barry Kemp's latest book on Armana Reply with quote

Kharis wrote:
I recently acquired Barry Kemp's latest book ' The City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti; Amarna and its People." I have only just started reading it, but one the the things he says at the beginning is that Akhenaten had less of an impact on the temples and attitudes to other gods than previously thought.

For example, he says that most of the temples continued to operate under Akhenaten, the only changes being the removal of the carvings and titles for Amun inside the temples. He also cites information which show temples for other gods still operating and producing texts and carvings during Akhenaten's reign.


In truth, the main cult that was affected by Akhenaten's proscription was the cult of Amun (and by extension, the cults of Mut and Khonsu, as part of his triad), and, of course, the festivals of Opet were discontinued during Akhenaten's reign, since it concerned Amun. There have been enough temples excavated and dated to realise the other cults did not stop operating, and in fact, Akhenaten even allows other cults in his mention of them in his boundary stelae, such as the cult of Thoth at Hermopolis. To be sure, certain cult worship continued to flourish within Akhetaten itself, such as the household cults of Hathor and Bes within the homes in town, Meretseger in the workers' villages, and specific cult worship such as Ptah for craftsmen. A good review of the domestic religion practised at Amarna is

Stevens, A. 2003. The Material Evidence for Domestic Religion at Amarna and Preliminary Remarks on its Interpretation. JEA 89: 143-168.

Kharis wrote:
I found this very interesting as I had had the usual view that all temples except those to Aten were closed down. Kemp says that Tutankamun's statement about restoring the neglected temples etc was an exaggeration.


Not so much exaggeration but the usual hyperbole stated by a new king taking over from his predecessor. In fact, most kings issued out similar statements upon their ascension to the throne. I suspect Tutankhamun's statement, issued on stone, bears more a political change in attitude than anything else, by acknowledging that "what had been forbidden, was no longer," and that the Amun cult was basically reinstated to royal favour.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And how about the Osiriac deities?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Neseret. It surprised me a little as most of the books I had read before seemed to imply that there was a wholesale destruction of other gods' temples.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robson wrote:
And how about the Osiriac deities?

See for that Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner : The Cult of Osiris at Abydos - An Archaeological Investigation of the Development of an Ancient Egyptian Sacred Center during the Eighteenth Dynasty. - [Philadelphia, Pa., Univ. of Pennsylvania, Diss., 2002]. - Ann Arbor, Mich. : UMI, 2002. - XXVII, 605 p.

On pages 117 - 119 we found for Abydos comparable statements. Only the names of the triad of Karnak, above all Amun, were destroyed. The main place of worship of Osiris, his temple in North Abydos was unquestional still accessible and usable.

In addition, there is speculation about a possible building activity of Akhenaten at Abydos. In the foundations of the so-called Portal Temple of Ramses II at North Abydos 26 sandstone blocks with texts and reliefs from the time of Akhenaten were found.

David P. Silverman : The so-called Portal Temple of Ramses II at Abydos. - In: International Congress of Egyptology (4, 1985, München). - SAK - Beihefte 2. - 1988. - pp. 269 - 277

identified from the inscribtions on them a building for Aton outside of Amarna, whose name was not known until then. Also, Kemp sees the possibility of a building of Akhenaten in Abydos in his article in "Lexikon der Ägyptologie" (Vol. I, 1975, col. 32 - Abydos).

This is contradicted by William Kelly Simpson : Inscribed Material from the Pennsylvania-Yale Excavations at Abydos. - New Haven : Publications of the Pennsylvania-Yale Expedition to Egypt 6, 1995. - X, 110, 31 p. He interprets them as originally from outside of Abydos.

Greetings, Lutz.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know it's not often wise to apply present-day thought to ancient situations, but the evidence to date seems to point more and more towards Akhetaten being a "pilot exercise" by the royal house.

In short, knowing the massive cultural change required, it was decided to attempt applying the new religion in one ideal city first; as Akhenaten stated, a place not owned by any other god.

This had the effect of allowing the rest of the country, in the main, to go about business as usual. This may have been essential to fund the work at Akhetaten. It may also have been essential to have kept some cult centres on good terms with the royal house, to further destabilise the powerful Amun cult.

What does appear to happen though is that following the reign of Amenhotep III a new generation of rulers emerged in foreign countries, particularly Hatti, who started to challenge Egypt's allies in a way they don't appear to have done under Akhenaten's father. This, and Akhenaten's apparent prioritisation of his religious experiment over diplomacy, seems to have chipped away at Egypt's stability and sense of "maat". Ultimately, the military took over, through Ay and Horemheb, to re-establish that stability.

The religious experiment failed, Akhenaten as the leader of the country was seen to be at fault, because Egypt had stepped back in terms of stability and power. This is after several generations of growth and prosperity. Politically, Akhenaten will have been seen as a liability, and for the society to embrace Amun again, means that they saw his battle against that particular cult as the reason for the problems the country was facing. It's slightly "chicken and egg" but as soon as the royal house re-established the status quo religiously, they re-allocated funds back to the military, were able to re-establish Egypt.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In this context, it should be the economic importance of the temple for the supply of the population not be forgotten. The system of the so-called circulation sacrifice (offerings to the deity every day, then distributed in well-defined percentages of the currently on-duty priests and their families) was certainly an important source of income for the upper and middle class of the city and the temples area of influence.

If this source of income ceased abruptly, we should certainly have seen a sign of opposition in the country. This seems to judge according the sources not have been the case. Akhenaten reigned 17 years, for a violent death there is no evidence...

Greetings, Lutz.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think it's so simple. As Kemp points out, the temple tax record comes from early in the reign of Akhenaten. As far as we know, even the cult of Amun was still flourishing in his Year 4 as he [as Amenhotep IV] sent the high priest, May, to the quarry to see about getting some stone.

In Year 9, the monotheism seems to have been reinforced. Akhenaten and Nefertiti were no longer styled as the incarnations of Shu and Tefnut and even Ra-Horakhti was removed from the cartouche of the Aten. The fact that the temples of the old gods were not demolished does not mean they were functioning as places of worship, as even Kemp allows on page 27 of his book. Especially those in the southern lands. Why worry about them? I'm not sure exactly what Kemp means by "It could be, therefore, that the general run of temples in Egypt and Nubia, once they had been cleansed of Amun references, were left to carry on as before..." In Nubia things might have been more lax and the names of other gods allowed to remain--but it is clear that, in Egypt proper, the names of other gods were proscribed, although I cannot remember examples of this proscription other than the word "mwt" or "mother" having to be written out phonetically instead of with Gard. G15. But I am sure the examples could be found easily enough as collected by someone.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That Akhenaten the language and script reformed does not tell the slightest about a possible follow-up and adjustment of the cults of other deties then Amun, Mut and Chons. It is merely a statement of his religious beliefs (and perhaps his hopes, the future of his ideas concerning).

The names of other gods than those of the triad are also not affected of extinction in Karnak or Luxor Temple. And, as already cited, Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner (2002) found clear archaeological evidence that demonstrate the cult of Osiris also under Akhenaten.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The official position, after Year 5, was clear. Akhenaten was not shown in the company of a single other god--only the Aten. Page 29 of Kemp's book--"There was no kingdom of Osiris". In fact, on the foot of a coffin found in KV55, the Osirian words "mAa xrw" were added-on later. Osiris is not mentioned in the tombs of el-Amarna.

But, yes, the erasures of the names of the old gods of Egypt were done sporadically and not quite thoroughly even in the same location.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As for those "magic bricks" from KV55, which do call Akhenaten, "the Osiris"--they are not to be trusted. First of all, they don't even match. Two are written with hieroglyphic script and two with hieratic. Such bricks are easily made and can have been fashioned for the reburial in KV55--in the Theban necropolis. Obviously, a man cannot be entirely in charge of his own burial arrangements once he is actually dead. As I pointed out, the text of the foot of the coffin that clearly has the unique epithet of Akhenaten on a band down the front [although cartouches excised at some point] had "mAa xrw" added on in addition to other changes. Here are the bricks:

http://www.perkemet.be/viewtopic.php?t=1183
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

During my many visits to Luxor I have several times spent whole days in the Karnak and Luxor Temple. Also the names of the triad were not consequent erased at all points. Especially in the Temple of Luxor even from the outside visible inscriptions clearly stood in the foreground. Cancellation of the name of other gods besides the triad, attributable clearly to Akhenaten, I have not seen. Neither yet in Karnak or in Luxor, or somewhere else in Egypt.

I am not aware of any written statement or some other type of a command by Akhenaten to stop the cults of the traditional gods or to close their temples. I just know evidences that they still continued working (for example again the still cited work by Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner (2002)) and that the traditional gods were still worshiped (not at least from Amarna itself).

If Akhenaten has stopped the material benefits, for which there is also no written evidence, they could probably continue to maintain there operation from their own possessions, including indeed land and animal ownership.

The fact that the four bricks have two different font types (2 times hieroglyphic, 2 times hieratic) is generally regarded as an indication that two are original from the tomb in Amarna and two were made ​​for the re-burial in the Valley of the Kings. One, as I think, quite reasonable explanation...

The texts of the inscription bands on the coffin from KV 55 are original. There study in Munich in 2001 showed this clear and unambiguous. It could be found in material and method of production no evidence of subsequent changes.
Inscription A (In the center of the lid, outside.) ends with "... gerechtfertigt im Himmel und auf Erden." ("... justified in heaven and on earth." ; Grimm / Schoske, 2001, p.106).
Inscription D (Left edge of the coffin tub. Reconstructed in Munich from the Gold-Konvolut from Cairo Museum / Swiss private owner. Grimm / Schoske, 2001, p. 104 - 105 the hieroglyhic inscription as drawing.) ends with "... gerechtfertigt an Stimme, täglich ohne Unterlaß" ("... justified at voice, every day without ceasing." ; Grimm / Schoske, 2001, p. 108).

Alfred Grimm / Sylvia Schoske : Das Geheimnis des goldenen Sarges - Echnaton und das Ende der Amarnazeit. - [Special exhibition: Das Geheimnis des Goldenen Sarges - Echnaton und das Ende der Amarnazeit, München,Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst, 17. Oktober 2001 bis 6. Januar 2002]. - [Schriften aus der Ägyptischen Sammlung - SAS 10]. - München : Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst, 2001. - ISBN : 3-87490-722-8. - 162 p., num. photos and drawings.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I am not aware of any written statement or some other type of a command by Akhenaten to stop the cults of the traditional gods or to close their temples. I just know evidences that they still continued working (for example again the still cited work by Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner (2002)) and that the traditional gods were still worshiped (not at least from Amarna itself).


A written statement? Isn't that a bit much to ask? I think it is sufficiently clear that Akhenaten pursued some sort of policy--or what was the reason he was written out of the record in subsequent reigns. The man was considered a heretic even by those kings who followed shortly after--despite all attempts to "rehabilitate" him in modern times. I have already stated the erasures were sporadic and this has been known for a long time. It means no more than that a thorough job wasn't done--not that the intent wasn't there. However, private items like figures of Bes, a god of marriage and the household, found at Amarna, indicate private inclinations but, again, offer no reflection on the policy of the crown. In 15th Century Spain, Jews were not allowed to practice Judaism--but that doesn't mean they didn't secretly do it.

Quote:
If Akhenaten has stopped the material benefits, for which there is also no written evidence, they could probably continue to maintain there operation from their own possessions, including indeed land and animal ownership.


Written evidence for every move of the Egyptian pharaohs--to expect that--well, one doesn't even know how to comment on such a criterion.

Quote:
The fact that the four bricks have two different font types (2 times hieroglyphic, 2 times hieratic) is generally regarded as an indication that two are original from the tomb in Amarna and two were made ​​for the re-burial in the Valley of the Kings. One, as I think, quite reasonable explanation...


No comment.

Quote:
The texts of the inscription bands on the coffin from KV 55 are original. There study in Munich in 2001 showed this clear and unambiguous.


No one claimed otherwise. The changes were made to the inscription on the foot of the coffin.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Akhenaten, in reference to his god in the Great Hymn to the Aten: "O Sole God beside whom there is none".

That's in writing--and I think that is clear enough.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SidneyF wrote:
Quote:
I am not aware of any written statement or some other type of a command by Akhenaten to stop the cults of the traditional gods or to close their temples. I just know evidences that they still continued working (for example again the still cited work by Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner (2002)) and that the traditional gods were still worshiped (not at least from Amarna itself).


A written statement? Isn't that a bit much to ask? ...

No, not if an attempt is made here to represent all this as secured fact, contrary to the archaeological findings... Again and again: Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner (2002) for the cult in the Temple of Osiris in Abydos.
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