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Unformatted text preview: n (“the horizon of the Aten”) near
Amarna north of Thebes and chiseling out the name of Amun
from inscriptions everywhere. Shortly after his death, Amarna
was abandoned and partially razed. A large diplomatic archive
of tablets written in Akkadian was left at the site, which give
us a vivid, if one-sided, picture of the political correspondence of the day. During the reigns of Akhenaten’s succes- sors, Tutankhamun (born Tutankhaten) and Horemheb,
Amun was restored to his former position, and Akhenaten’s
monuments were defaced and even demolished.
In representations, Egyptian gods have human bodies,
possess human or animal heads, and wear crowns, celestial
discs, or thorns. The lone exception is the Aten, made nearly
abstract by Akhenaten, who altered its image to a plain disc
with solar rays ending in small hands holding the hieroglyphic sign for life to the nostrils of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. The gods were thought to reside in their cult centers,
where, from the New Kingdom on, increasingly ostentatious
temples were built and staffed by fullWatch the Video
time priests. At Thebes, for instance, for
The Temple of Karnak
over 2,000 years successive kings enlarged the great Karnak temple complex dedicated to Amun.
Although the ordinary person could not enter a temple
precinct, great festivals took place for all to see. During
Amun’s major festival of Opet, the statue of the god traveled in a divine boat along the Nile, whose banks were
thronged with spectators.
The Egyptians thought that the afterlife was full of
dangers, which could be overcome by magical means,
among them the spells in the Book of the Dead. The goals
were to join and be identified with
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the gods, especially Osiris, or to sail
Papyrus of Ani, The Egyptian
Book of the Dead c. 1200 B.C.E.
in the “boat of millions.” Originally,
only the king could hope to enjoy immortality with the gods, but gradually this became available
to all. Since the Egyptians believed that the preservation of
the body was essential for continued existence in the afterView the Image
life, early on they developed mummifiScene from the Egyptian
cation, a process that by the New KingAfterlife
dom took seventy days. CRAIMC01_001-039hr.qxp 20 8/12/10 3:57 PM Page 20 Part 1 Human Origins and Early Civilizations to 500 B.C.E. Document Love Poems from the New Kingdom Numerous love poems from ancient Egypt reveal the Egyptians’ love of life through their frank sensuality. ■ How does the girl in the first poem propose to escape the supervision of her parents?
What ails the young man in the second poem?
SHE: Love, how I’d love to slip down to the pond, bathe with you close
by on the bank.
Just for you I’d wear my new Memphis swimsuit, made of sheer linen,
fit for a queen—Come see how it looks in the water!
Couldn’t I coax you to wade in with me? Let the cool creep slowly
Then I’d dive deep down and come up for you dripping,
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This document was uploaded on 04/03/2014.
- Spring '14