Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ancient Warfare

The latest issue of Ancient Warfare Magazine focuses on the Ancient Egyptian military. I have not yet read the articles, but will give you a quick overview of them in case you would like to find a copy of the magazine to read yourself.
  • "Warriors of the Nile" by Josho Brouwers (editor of Ancient Warfare Magazine) - this article is a quick look at the Egyptian military from the Old Kingdom through the Roman Empire
  • "Sources for Ancient Egyptian Warfare - Pictures, Objects and Words" by Bridget McDermott (PhD in Egyptology from Manchester University) - discusses the sources we have for knowing how the Egyptians waged war, from Pre-Dynastic Pottery through New Kingdom temple reliefs
  • "The Rulers of Foreign Lands" by Arianna Sacco (currently working on her PhD on the Hyksos Period) - discusses the contributions of the Hyksos to the Egyptian military
  • "From the 'Walls of the Ruler' to the 'Belly of Stones'" by Sigrid M. van Roade (studied Egyptology at Leiden University) - talks about Egypt's eastern border defenses
  • "The Battle of Kadesh" by Bridget McDermott - the title says it all, this is another analysis of the battle between Ramesses II and the Hittites
  • "A Pharaoh's Arsenal" by Paul McDonnell-Staff - this article takes a look at the weapons, chariots, etc. found in the tomb of Tutankhamen
  • "Conversations of Great Kings" by Josho Brouwers - this is a quick overview of the cuneiform letters that were exchanged by the courts of the ancient Near East

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The London and New York Obelisks

     The Egyptian obelisks now standing in London, on the banks of the Thames River, and in New York, in Central Park, were originally a pair erected in Heliopolis by Tuthmose III. They were moved to Alexandria by the Romans and set up in a temple that was originally built by Cleopatra VII.
     Both obelisks stand just short of 70 feet (21 meters) high and weigh about 224 tons. The London obelisk was presented to Egypt by Muhammed Ali in 1819, but it was not until 1877 that funds were found to transport it to London. The New York obelisk was brought to Central Park in 1881 and can be seen today from the roof top of the Metropolitan Museum.

     Time, and pollution, have not been kind to either obelisk. The inscriptions on both are rapidly being destroyed. Future generations may walk by them and not realize that they once bore inscriptions carved by two of the ancient world's most important kings, Tuthmose III, who originally made them, and Ramesses II, who added his name and titles many years later.


Monday, May 13, 2013

The Paris Obelisk

Fig. 1 - Ramesses II Obelisk in Paris
     The Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II set up two obelisks at the entrance to the Luxor temple, one of which has been moved to France and is now in the Place de la Concorde in Paris.  

     The obelisk was moved to Paris via a specially built boat named "the Luxor". This boat left Toulon in France on April 15, 1831. By December 19th the obelisk was safely on the the Luxor, but it could not be moved until the inundation of the Nile River started. It was not until August 25th of 1832 that the obelisk began its long trip to Paris.

Fig. 2 - The Story of Erecting the Obelisk is on the Pedestal
     The obelisk was erected in the Place de la Concorde on October 25th, 1836. About 200,000 spectators, including King Louis-Philippe, were present when the obelisk was set atop the pedestal on which it now rests. The story of how the obelisk was erected is shown on the sides of the pedestal.

          Numerous other Egyptian obelisks now reside in far off lands. One of them is now in London, another is in New York. And there are a number of obelisks now in Rome.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lost City of Heracleon Found Underwater

The city of Heracleon has been found underwater about four miles of the coast of Egypt at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. Quite a few well-preserved statues have been found. Another find was a large stela originally set-up by the Pharaoh Nectanebo I (the link below has a good picture of the stela being raised from the bottom of the sea).

Some information and photos of the find can be seen here.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

"Rishi Coffins" - a Review

Rishi coffins were coffins decorated with feathered patterns and used by the ancient Egyptians during the Second Intermediate Period. Almost all the known examples of these coffins come from Upper Egypt, on the West Bank of the Nile opposite the modern city of Luxor.

Rishi Coffins and the Funerary Culture of Second Intermediate Period Egypt by Gianluca Minaci is a great example of how scholarly research should be done. The author has painstakingly found every known example of a rishi coffin, researched the circumstances of its discovery and documented it in a well written book. There is a photograph and / or a line drawing of each coffin in the catalog. Where possible, the author has included a hand copy of the text on the coffin as well. This work is also a fine example of how a book should be printed. It is a large and heavy paperback printed on high quality, glossy paper.

This book is probably not for everyone interested in ancient Egypt due to the obscurity of the topic. But for any scholar interested in the Second Intermediate Period, this book is absolutely required reading.