Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nectanebo II - Egypt's Last Native Pharaoh

Figure 1 - Nectanebo II offers to Osiris
     Nectanebo II came to the throne as the result of winning a civil war against Teos (who reigned from 362 - 360 B. C.). Nectanebo was able to remain on the throne until 343 B. C., when the Persians once again conquered Egypt.

Figure 2 - Osiris Homag
     Nectanebo did some construction at Behbeit el Hagar where some of his carvings honor Osiris and Isis. In this black granite carving (now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art), Nectanebo II appears twice making two different offerings to Osiris Homag. On the left he offers the contents of two pots, while on the right he offers a collar.

     The scenes shown here have some unusual features to them. In figure 1, notice the lightly carved straight line that separates Osiris and the Pharaoh in both of the two offering scenes. I am not aware of any other offering scene in Egyptian art where the god and the King are separated this way. Also note in figure 2 that Osiris is shown here in human form, rather than in mummiform. This is not common in Egyptian art.

     The carving appears to be incomplete as the representation of Osiris on the right holds nothing in its hands, in contrast with the representation of the god on the left side of the scene.

Photos copyright (c) 2013 by John Freed

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snow in Cairo for First Time in 112 Years

Check out this link to some pictures of the snow in Cairo. I particularly like the second photo with the pyramids and sphinx made of snow.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cleopatra's Needle at the Met

     The Metropolitan Museum opened an exhibit dedicated to "Cleopatra's Needle" on December third. Cleopatra's Needle is an Egyptian obelisk originally erected by Tuthmose III in Helipopolis about 1,400 years before Cleopatra. It arrived in New York in 1880 and was erected in Central Park, near the then recently opened Metropolitan Museum.

      The exhibit will also cover the fascination for obelisks through the ages, from Caesar Augustus moving obelisks to Rome to the erection of obelisks in London, Istanbul and New York among other places.

     I have not yet seen the exhibit, but will give an update once I do.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

More Tombs in the Valley of the Kings?

A team of archaeologists have been collecting data in Egypt's Valley of the Kings and they believe that there are several more tombs waiting to be discovered according to a recent announcement. The archaeologists have also found an ancient flood control system designed to keep water from damaging the royal tombs.

The team admits however, that the geology of the Valley sometimes leads to "false positives" for tombs. These false positives are caused by faults and cracks in the stone. Possible tomb sites would need to be excavated to determine if a tomb actually exists.