Monday, June 18, 2012

Tausret: Forgotten Queen and Pharaoh of Egypt

This book is a summation of what is known about the life of one of the very few women to ever rule Ancient Egypt as a King. 

Tausret was the wife of Seti II, then regent for the child king Siptah and finally the last Pharaoh of Egypt’s Nineteenth Dynasty. After her death a man named Sethnakht becomes Pharaoh and initiates the Twentieth Dynasty.

This book contains the results of recent excavations of Tausret’s mortuary temple at Thebes and gives a detailed analysis of the recent re-examination of her tomb in the Valley of the Kings. A number of interesting facts are mentioned in the book, including:
  • Tausret may be the Egyptian King mentioned in the Illiad
  • Chancellor Bay, long thought to have been a supporter of Siptah and Tausret, may have been their political opponent
  • A recently studied ostracon tells us that Bay was actually executed by the King (but it does not tell us which king)

The book is properly researched and well written; laymen and scholars alike will find it readable and interesting. The authors are all recognized experts in the field and the research is as up-to-date as possible. My only complaints are that the list price of $35 is a bit steep for a book that is only 145 pages long and that some of the color photos should have been Photshopped before being included as some of the colors are more than a little “off”. The material is quite interesting however and I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Egyptian history.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Intact Tomb Found in Valley of the Kings

An intact tomb has been found in the Valley of the Kings on the west bank of the Nile in Egypt. The burial, of a Twenty-Second Dynasty Chantress named Nehemes-Bastet.

The burial was found in a new tomb (KV64), located near the tomb of Tuthmose III. Two magazines (KMT, Summer 2012 and Archaeology, July / August 2012) have articles on this discovery.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Sumerian Reader

I have been re-aquainting myself with Sumerian by translating some texts in a book called "A Sumerian Reader" by Konrad Volk.

The book grew out of some texts that the author put together to give students practice reading Sumerian. The author published the current version of the work in 1999.

The book is a slim volume that is highly useful to the student of Sumerian. Dr. Volk includes texts from three genres: Royal Inscriptions, Legal Texts (marriage contracts, slave purchases, etc.) and "Economic Documents". The texts are given in Sumerian characters and in transliteration. In all, 44 texts are presented in this volume.

The book also includes a Sumerian sign list (only for the signs used in this book), a Sumerian to English dictionary, a list of place names and personal names. Lists of divine names and Sacred Buildings are also given.

For those who have already learned Sumerian grammar, this book is a very good "next step" toward mastery of the language.