Author: Bruce Lincoln
In Religion, Culture, and Politics in Pre-Islamic Iran, Bruce Lincoln offers a vast overview on different aspects of the Indo-Iranian, Zoroastrian and Pre-Islamic mythologies, religions and cultural issues. The book is organized in four sections according to the body of evidence they engage most directly: Avestan, Old Persian, Pahlavi, and Iranian materials in comparison with other data, including studies of myths, especially those with cosmogonic implications, ritual practices, cosmological constructions of space and time, points of intersection between religion, ethics, law, and politics, ideological aspects of scientific and medical theorizing, social organization and gender relations, and other diverse topics.
Author: Jonathan Yogev
In The Rephaim: Sons of the Gods, Jonathan Yogev provides a new theory regarding the mysterious characters, known as "Rephaim," in Biblical and ancient Near Eastern literature. The Rephaim are associated with concepts such as death and the afterlife, divinity, healing, giants and monarchy among others. They appear in Ugaritic, Phoenician and Biblical texts, yet it is difficult to pinpoint their exact function and meaning. This study offers a different perspective, along with full texts, detailed epigraphic analysis and commentary for all of the texts that mention the Rephaim, in order to determine their specific importance in societies of the ancient Levant.
In The “God of Israel” in History and Tradition, Michael Stahl provides a foundational study of the formulaic title “god of Israel” ( ’elohe yisra’el) in the Hebrew Bible. Employing critical theory on social power and identity, and through close literary and historical analysis, Dr. Stahl shows how the epithet “god of Israel” evolved to serve different social and political agendas throughout the course of ancient Israel and Judah’s histories. Reaching beyond the field of Biblical Studies, Dr. Stahl’s treatment of the historical and ideological significances of the title “god of Israel” in the Hebrew Bible offers a fruitful case study into the larger issue of the ways in which religion may shape—and be shaped by—social and political structures.
Middle Kingdom Palace Culture and Its Echoes in the Provinces addresses the significant gaps that remain in scholarly understanding about the origins and development of Egypt’s “Classical Age”. The essays in this volume are the end result of a conference held at the University of Jaén in Spain to study the history, archaeology, art, and language of the Middle Kingdom. Special attention is paid to provincial culture, perspectives, and historical realities. The distinguished group of Egyptologists from around the world gathered to consider the degree of influence that provincial developments played in reshaping the Egyptian state and its culture during the period. This volume aims to take a step towards a better understanding of the cultural renaissance, including the ideological transformations and social reorganization, that produced the Middle Kingdom.

Abstract

The aim of the present study is to assess the possibility of the existence of “co-regencies” in the local court of Elephantine during the twelfth dynasty. This idea was first suggested in the 1990s following the publication of two seal-impressions found in Elephantine that mention the name of two consecutive governors of the late twelfth dynasty; Ameny-Seneb and Khakaure-Seneb. Further evidence of possible “co-regencies” has been found in the cases of Ankhu and his father Sarenput II, and Heqaib I and his father Sarenput I. All these instances are discussed in order to argue for the existence of this mechanism of succession and the institution known to the ancient Egyptians as the “staff of old age”. When appropriately interpreted, it becomes clear that the material evidence indicates the existence of “co-regencies” of governors in Elephantine. The most notable evidence appears in monumental inscriptions and on seal-impressions.

In: Middle Kingdom Palace Culture and Its Echoes in the Provinces

Abstract

This paper discusses a group of fourteen faience figurines that entered the collection of the British Museum in 1891. Although the figurines were purchased through the antiquities market, they formed a homogenous group that can be typologically and stylistically dated to the late Middle Kingdom (1800–1650 B.C.). Similarities in manufacturing techniques, shape, decoration, raw materials, and other aspects of the technologies employed to create them indicate a common provenance, and by extension, place of production. The site of Lahun is tentatively proposed here as that place of production, based on the date the pieces were purchased as well as the comparative studies. The second part of the article takes a more theoretical and methodological approach to establish the degree to which faience figurine production was centralised and/or dispersed to local centres during the Middle Kingdom, taking four key variables. The dissonant evidence provided by the study of these four different variables, which yielded some conflicting information, demonstrated that faience production was an ‘ambiguous’ process using a medium that could not be fully controlled during all the steps of production. The only degree of control that could be exercised was related to the individual craftsmanship of the artisans. Since faience figurines of the late Middle Kingdom were not produced in moulds, and were therefore not mechanically reproducible, only skilled makers with access to the necessary knowledge about the chemical processes involved could have generated such artefacts.

In: Middle Kingdom Palace Culture and Its Echoes in the Provinces
Author: Harco Willems

Abstract

Coffins B7C and B14C from Dayr al-Barshā display examples of type VI exterior decoration, but the false door ornamentation on them differs from the usual pattern. It reproduces the profile of the perimeter wall around Djoser’s Step Pyramid complex at Saqqara. The same motif is found on some of the walls encircling the pyramid complex of Senwosret III at Dahshūr, and on sarcophagi of this pharaoh and his female relatives. This article argues that the ornamentation on the two Dayr al-Barshā coffins was inspired by a particular fashion trend, and that the appearance of the ‘Djoser wall ornament’ on coffins at that time can be regarded as a new dating criterion. It also suggests that the owners of B7C and B14C employed (or were provided with) coffins with this decorative type because of their close ties to the royal court. Finally, it is suggested that the name of the original owner of B14C may not have been Djehutinakht, as is generally assumed, but Djehutihotep. If this is correct, then this coffin gives an insight into the appearance of major items of Djehutihotep’s tomb equipment, for the first time.

In: Middle Kingdom Palace Culture and Its Echoes in the Provinces
Author: Adela Oppenheim

Abstract

Middle Kingdom mastabas are best known from the cemeteries around the pyramids of Amenemhat I and Senwosret I at Lisht and Senwosret III at Dahshur, although all have been reduced to foundations and fragments. Those at Lisht had a wide range of architectural forms with decorative programs that focused on offering subjects, but also included other types of scenes. The Middle Kingdom mastabas thus far excavated at Dahshur are more restricted in their architectural and decorative programs. They were mainly rectangular structures with interior spaces confined to small niches on the east side. Relief decoration focused on large-scale inscriptions along the tops of the walls and at the corners, offering subjects in the niches, and depictions of the tomb owner outside the niches and on the west side. Distinctions in style and subject matter among the Dahshur mastabas are likely chronological markers, and it appears that artists connected to royal workshops executed some of the relief decoration.

In: Middle Kingdom Palace Culture and Its Echoes in the Provinces

Abstract

The funerary complex of Sarenput II is one of several rock cut tombs built at Elephantine for the powerful local rulers who lived there during the Middle Kingdom. The tomb, now numbered QH31, has been the subject of several studies. Wallis Budge first published details of the funerary chambers in 1886, but the team undertaking the work did not completely excavate the complex. Budge did not produce complete plans for the explored chambers and did not supply detailed information regarding the material culture recovered or evidence for different phases of occupation. In 2015, the University of Jaén initiated a new project to excavate the funerary chambers. Survey work carried out during the season was used to produce an accurate plan of the monument. The finds included fragments of both the inner and outer coffins of Sarenput II, which was intentionally destroyed at some undetermined time in the past. The aim of this paper is to describe and discuss the different phases of use of the inner section of the tomb during several different periods. The main focus of the investigation was on the Middle Kingdom and on identifying the reasons that could have provoked the damage inflicted on Sarenput’s coffins.

In: Middle Kingdom Palace Culture and Its Echoes in the Provinces

Abstract

The holders of the title ‘follower of the king’ (šmsw nswt) worked in the outer palace and court and were occupied with external affairs. This title often followed that of high steward (mr pr), perhaps indicating that an official with this additional title followed the king around the country when he travelled. The ‘servant of the palace’ (šmsw pr- ꜥꜣ) was in charge of valuable commodities in the living quarters of the palace of the king, or other high-ranking court officials. An analysis of the individual dossiers of the holders of the titles šmsw nswt and šmsw pr- ꜥꜣ may shed new light on the scope of their duties within the palace complex, but also on their activities within the provinces.

In: Middle Kingdom Palace Culture and Its Echoes in the Provinces